Mourner’s Kaddish And Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch By Saul Jay Singer and Corona Lockdown: and Using alcohol to deal with coronavirus isolation 'can make things worse' and 3000 year old bathrooms and 16 Matzah Facts Every Jew Should Know, and its Easter soon, but it is the Jews that are looking for Eggs!
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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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its Easter soon, but it is the Jews that are looking for Eggs!
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
Poisoning the Well: Presenting irrelevant adverse information about someone in a way that makes everything else that person says seem untrustworthy. "Before you hear my opponent's healthcare plan, let me remind you that he got a DUI in college."
Using alcohol to deal with coronavirus isolation 'can make things worse'
liquor stores were deemed essential businesses in both the United Kingdom and the United States, which health experts warned occasional drinkers to be careful with. By ZACHARY KEYSER
Binge-drinking your way through self-isolation during the coronavirus lockdown might not be the best idea, according to a World Health Organization official.Dr. Aiysha Malik, a mental health and substance abuse expert for WHO Europe, called binge-drinking an "unhelpful coping strategy" for dealing with the distress caused by the coronavirus solitude, adding that using substances to cope in times like these "can make things worse."
"It's important that the government, alcohol producers and retailers keep reminding us that it's best to stick to 14 units a week or less," Alcohol Change United Kingdom CEO Dr. Richard Piper, told The Independent. "With routines out of the window, we might well find ourselves reaching for a drink more often.
""While keeping off-licenses open is consistent with clinical advice to protect those who are physically dependent on alcohol from going into dangerous withdrawal, they wouldn't want to unintentionally send the message that alcohol is 'essential' to all our lives." Liquor stores were deemed essential businesses in both the United Kingdom and the United States, which health experts warned occasional drinkers to be careful with, so as to not become alcohol dependent by the time quarantine lockdowns are lifted.Malik highlighted the best practices to keep yourself mentally well during the crisis, which includes an outline of eating healthy, exercising, sleeping well and continuously seeking social support (digitally of course, for the time being). Past research also notes that excessive drinking can weaken your immune system, making binge-drinkers more vulnerable to the virus.WHO Europe told the NHS that they should expect a surge in demand for mental health services after a survery of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom revealed that nearly two-thirds of the population are experiencing some sort of anxiety or uncertainty regarding the coronavius spread, adding that 30 percent of the population feel a sense of fear and 22 percent feel a sense of panic.
"This poll was carried out before full lockdown was introduced," said Dr Antonis Kousoulis, director of research at the Mental Health Foundation, alluding to the notion that social distancing and the complete lockdown of the United Kingdom over the past week has probably since impacted those results. "Even then there were clear indications that the pandemic was beginning to have a significant impact on the nation's mental health."Britain's Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, also urged people on Sunday to take care of their mental health during the coronavirus lockdowns."The last few weeks have been anxious and unsettling for everyone. We have to take time to support each other and find ways to look after our mental health," read a post on their Kensington Palace Twitter feed."By taking simple steps each day we can all be better prepared for the times ahead."
It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.
Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
Storms make trees take deeper roots.
If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.
We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try.
A peacock who rests on its feathers is just another turkey.
I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else.
When I got somethin' to say, I'll say it.
Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
You always want your people to be proud of what you have accomplished.
If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.
It's hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.
I know who I am, I know what I can and can't do. I know what I will and won't do. I know what I'm capable of and I don't agree to do things that I don't think I can pull off. . You gotta keep trying to find your niche and trying to fit into whatever slot that's left for you or to make one of your own.
Being a star just means that you just find your own special place, and that you shine where you are.
I'm not happy all the time, and I wouldn't want to be because that would make me a shallow person. But I do try to find the good in everybody.
You know, I look like a woman but I think like a man. And in this world of business, that has helped me a lot. Because by the time they think that I don't know what's goin' on, I then got the money, and am gone.
Smile — it increases your face value.
I always just thought if you see somebody without a smile, give'em yours!
Mourner's Kaddish And Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch By Saul Jay Singer
Contrary to popular belief, Mourner's Kaddish is not a prayer for the dead and, in fact, makes no mention of death; rather, it is an affirmation of the Jew's belief that, even in tragedy, G-d is righteous and just.
Although Kaddish is mostly written in Aramaic – the vernacular of the Jewish people two millennia ago – some Hebrew words appear in it. Some scholars claim it was originally written in Hebrew and only later translated so that the masses could understand it.
Most authorities agree that Kaddish dates from the time of the Mishnah and was not designed to be a synagogue prayer but, rather, a devotion recited in the beit medrash after Torah study. The earliest connection between Kaddish and the souls of the departed date to the post-Second Temple era and the heichalot texts, a collection of documents primarily in Hebrew and Aramaic that deal with mystical themes pertaining particularly to G-d's chariot-throne (the "Merkavah").
One such text relates that when Jewish sinners in purgatory say "Amen" to King David's recitation of "Yehei shemei rabba mevarach le'olam u'lealmei almaya" – "May G-d's great name be praised for all eternity," G-d tells the angels, "Open for them the gates of the Garden of Eden so that they can come and sing before Me."
The origin of Mourner's Kaddish, however, which is steeped in antiquity, is still very much debated. Many sources erroneously link it to the era of the Crusades when the mass murder of Jews inexorably linked individual loss to the universal bereavement of the Jewish people. The oldest version of Kaddish is found in the ninth-century siddur of Amram Gaon, who was the first rabbinic scholar to fix a complete prayer liturgy. Later, in Machzor Vitri, a liturgical guide composed in the 12th century, R. Simcha ben Samuel of Vitri (d. 1105), a student of Rashi, cites the following famous etiological tale, the most common of several forms of the story:
Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch postcard
Upon encountering a wretched ash-covered naked man running under a load of wood in a cemetery, R. Akiva (a second-century tanna) offered to help him by paying his debt. The man responded that he was actually dead and is sent out each day to chop and carry wood as punishment for favoring the rich and killing the poor while serving as a tax collector.
He explained that the gravity of his transgression was such that the only way he could secure release from his eternal punishment was for his son to stand before a congregation and recite "Yehei shemei rabba mevarach…" He cried that, when he died, he left behind a pregnant wife but, even if she delivered a boy, he had not a friend in the world and there would be no one to teach Torah to his son.
When R. Akiva arrived in (the nearby) town and asked about the decedent, all the townspeople yelled, "May his bones be ground to dust." When he persisted in his inquiry, they told him that a son had, in fact, been born, but that he was an uncircumcised heathen. R. Akiva found the boy and, in the face of great and sustained resistance, ultimately succeeded in teaching him some basics. The boy then stood before a congregation and recited "Yehei shemei rabba mevarach…," after which R. Akiva had a dream in which the dead man appeared to him and said that, as the result of this one act by his son, he was released from eternal damnation.
The earliest known mention of an orphan reciting Kaddish for the dead is arguably in Sefer HaRokeach by R. Elazar b. Yehuda of Worms (1176-1238), who writes that according to Ashkenazi custom the orphan rises and says Kaddish, after which everyone leaves the synagogue. His student, Isaac ben Moses of Vienna (1180-1250) – the Ohr Zarua – writes that the custom in Bohemia and throughout the Rhineland was for the orphan to recite Kaddish, now called Kaddish Yatom, or Mourner's Kaddish. He also notes with some disapproval the custom in France, where the Jews were not careful to ensure that Kaddish was recited by an orphan which, he observes, is inconsistent with the story of R. Akiva.
Machzor Kol Bo, first printed in 1699 and of disputed authorship, retells the R. Akiva story and observes that it "was on this basis that the custom of reciting Kaddish became widespread." By this time in history, even people mourning family members other than their parents were reciting Mourner's Kaddish (although only for 30 days as opposed to 11 months for a parent).
There are significant differences amongst congregations regarding which mourners may recite Mourner's Kaddish aloud. In Sephardi synagogues, mourners have traditionally risen and chanted it together. Rav Yaakov Emden, in his renowned 18th-century siddur, approves of this Sephardi practice but stresses that mourners must recite Mourner's Kaddish in unison as the very purpose and effect of Mourner's Kaddish – the public sanctification of G-d's name – is undermined if each mourner recites the prayer at his own pace.
There are numerous sources, which I will not cite here, for the proposition that the essence of Kaddish is for the entire congregation to respond as one, "Amen, Yehei shemei rabba…" Suffice it to say that the importance of this communal response was so great that the Talmud (Sotah 49a) proclaims: "Since the destruction of the Temple, the world has been sustained by 'Yehei shemei rabba.'"
The original custom in Ashkenazi synagogues was to avoid the problem of a cacophonous mass recitation by designating one mourner to recite Kaddish on behalf of everyone. However, as mourners would sometimes physically assault others contending for the right to be the designee, a strict order of priority developed over time: the highest priority was (1) a mourner during shivah; followed by (2) a person observing yahrzeit (3) a person during shloshim; and (4) a person mourning a parent within the 11 months of mourning.
Most contemporary Ashkenazi congregations, however, have adopted the Sephardi custom of all mourners jointly reciting Kaddish. Remnants of the old Ashkenazi ranking system remain today only with respect to the designation of a mourner to lead the synagogue service, which includes additional recitations of Kaddish said only by the chazzan.
In this incredible responsa written in German, Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) answers a question posed by the gabba'im of the Wurzburg community regarding whether it is permissible, either generally or under special circumstances, for more than one person to recite Kaddish at the same time:
Handwritten letter by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch
Frankfurt/Main, January 27 79
To the Honor of the Gabbaim of Wurzburg
Kaddish as a rule is to be recited by one person only; it is the sacred custom of our synagogue, and should not be changed. This practice is also in accordance with normative halacha. If a group of people wished to recite Kaddish together, either one of them would have to say it aloud while the others recited it quietly or they would all have to recite it aloud together. But a Kaddish that is recited silently isn't considered a Kaddish because the person is commanded to sanctify His name publicly. … And if two or more people recited Kaddish together, it would violate the general halachic rule that it isn't possible to discern two voices sounded simultaneously [Rosh Hashanah 27a]. The exception to this rule is only atypical prayer excerpts because they are rare and will inspire special attention, but Kaddish [which is said regularly] is not in that category.
With all respect, S. Hirsch
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Rav Hirsch (1808-1888) attended public schools, where he was strongly influenced by Schiller and Hegel. He studied under Rav Yaakov Ettlinger, the Aruch LaNer, before entering the University of Bonn, where he studied classical languages, history, and philosophy. He later became chief rabbi of Moravia and his departure from that position to assume the spiritual leadership of the fledgling independent kehillah of Frankfurt-am-Main bore dramatic consequences, not only for the Jews of Frankfurt but, indeed, for all Western Jewry.
R. Hirsch is best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism, pursuant to which Torah knowledge is synthesized with "worldly endeavor," i.e., secular studies and the knowledge of civilization is integrated into a broad religious world view. Its salient construct is the "Israel-Man," an ideal enlightened Jew who is at once an uncompromising believer in the divine authority of the Torah and the Oral Law and a cultured member of the modern world who studies secular philosophy, arts, and sciences.
It was in the Germany of R. Hirsch's day, when Jews were being granted progressively greater rights, that authentic Judaism first confronted the challenges of modernity. He viewed Jewish immersion into general culture as the default approach, not as something the Torah discourages. Thus, in virtually all his writing, he argues that Torah im Derech Eretz is not merely achievable, but actually constitutes a philosophical imperative if Judaism is to triumph.
Hermann Struck (1876-1944) sketched commissioned portraits of many leading figures of his era, including Ibsen, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, Herzl, and Wilde. Shown here is an original signed sketch of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, which evidences his renowned skill as an etcher.
He foresaw that Torah im Derech Eretz would become even more essential as Jews moved further from the protective insularity of the shtetl to living and working in secular society. Moreover, as he cogently argued, a Jew can only discharge his holy duty to serve as an "ohr la'goyim – a light unto the nations" – if he is conversant with the ways of the world.
Although undoubtedly a child of the Haskalah ("Enlightenment"), R. Hirsch was also a loyal adherent of Torah and rabbinic law and almost single-handedly checked half a century of unbroken ascendancy of the German Reform movement, as he vigorously opposed its belief that halacha could be changed as a process of historic development and battled against the religious philosophy of compromise promulgated by the newly emerging Conservative movement.
He offered a beautiful and powerful vision of traditional Judaism to young German Jews who viewed their Judaism as little more than an impediment to their participation in the broader secular society. Even today, modern Orthodox Jews, whether they realize it or not, are essentially "Hirschians."
However, R. Hirsch had many opponents, some of them quite vituperative, and he was bitterly criticized for, among other things, adopting many controversial practices, including permitting a (males-only) choir, shaving his beard, and delivering sermons in German. Many argued that he himself approved of secular studies only as a hora'as sha'ah, a temporary dispensation necessary to save traditional 19th-century Torah Jewry from the ravages of assimilation, and that the doctrine of Torah im Derech Eretz has no contemporary legitimacy.
Among the great religious leaders who agreed was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who had himself studied mathematics, physics, and philosophy at the University of Berlin and at the Sorbonne. In a letter to a Yeshiva University professor, he wrote:
While it is understandable that the direct descendants of Rabbi Hirsch or those who were brought up in that philosophy should want to disseminate his teachings, I must say emphatically that to apply his approach to the American scene will not serve the interests of Orthodoxy in America … [you] should again re-examine the whole question and see if the Rabbi Hirsch approach should be applied to the American scene. My decided opinion is, of course, that it should not….
R. Hirsch's legacy is not only his general philosophical gestalt, but his renowned religious works, including particularly his commentary on the Torah, which epitomized his exegetical approach and is commonly used today in many Modern Orthodox synagogues. His other great works include The Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel, a brilliant defense of traditional Judaism in German, the first of its kind when it was published in 1836, and Choreb (1838), a rationalist explanation of the 613 commandments.
3000 year old bathrooms
King David and King Solomon were both kings in Jerusalem. David was first the King in Hebron, but then evolved to become the King over the entire Jewish people in Jerusalem. But he did not merit to build the Temple. That was his lifelong yearning. But God told him that only his son, Solomon, would merit to build the Temple. King David valiantly fought the wars of Israel, including against the giant Goliath. But, King Solomon was ultimately the one who led the Jewish Nation-State to it's greatest boundaries – well into Syria and Jordan of today.
But at no time was the center of their leadership anywhere but Jerusalem. Jerusalem from that time and onward has always been the center of the focus of the Jewish people. At every Passover Seder, Wedding, Circumcision, and Yom Kippur High Holiday, the apex and focus is Jerusalem. This cuts across all levels of Jewish observance. No matter how non-observant a Jew may be, they are aware of the concept of Jerusalem. Today, they can walk through it's history and literally feel what it had been like to ascend to the Temple Mount from the City of David. Yes, hygiene is interesting too. But, more than anything, it is the amazing unearthing of history that we see from so many angles from the Holy city of Jerusalem.
16 Matzah Facts Every Jew Should Know
1. We Eat Matzah at the Seder
The Seder (Passover Feast) coming up on Wednesday Night is a highlight of the Jewish calendar, when Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance gather with family and friends to celebrate our nation's miraculous Exodus from Egypt. This year many people will be doing it alone. This feast includes drinking four cups of wine, retelling the story of the Exodus, and eating certain ceremonial foods. The most important food of all is the Matzah, which is eaten at several key points during the evening.
2. We Ate Matzah During the Exodus
Even before our ancestors left Egypt, they were told to prepare a lamb to be eaten together with Matzah and bitter herbs. The following morning, they finally left Egypt. They departed in such a hurry that there was no time to wait for their dough to rise, so they ate Matzah, unleavened bread. With only this food (but with great faith), our ancestors relied on the Almighty to provide sustenance for the entire Jewish nation—men, women, and children. Each year, to remember this, we eat Matzah on Passover, thereby fulfilling the Torah's commandment, "Matzah shall you eat . . . "
3. It Used to Be Eaten With Passover Lamb
From the time of the Exodus until the destruction of the Second Temple, with brief breaks in between, Matzah was enjoyed together with the Passover lamb, which was sacrificed that afternoon. As recorded in the Haggadah, the great sage Hillel would wrap his lamb together with Matzah and bitter herbs, an act we recreate every year (sans the lamb) when we eat the korech sandwich.
4. Matzah Has Just Two Ingredients
On Passover, we eat nothing that contains grain that has risen through contact with water (chametz). Matzah is something that can theoretically become chametz but did not, since we took care when baking it to prevent it from rising. ClassicMatzah, the kind we eat at the Seder, contains just two ingredients: wheat flour and water.
5. Matzah Made With Egg or Juice Is Not Ideal
The Matzah eaten at the Seder is referred to as "poor man's bread." If the mix contains egg, juice, etc., it is no longer poor, but rich, and not fit for Seder use. An additional issue with Matzah that contains anything other than flour and water is that it may rise and become chametz quicker than the flour-and-water variety. For this reason, Ashkenazim only use such Matzah for the elderly or infirm on Passover (and not for the Seder).
6. It's the "Food of Faith" and "Food of Health"
The Zohar refers to Matzah as both the "food of faith" and the "food of health," implying that eating Matzah actually improves your physical health and bolsters your faith in G- d. Matzah is called the Food of Faith and the Food of Healing. When healing brings faith ("Thank you, G- d, for healing me"), then clearly there has been illness. When faith brings healing, there is no illness to start with.
7. Not All Matzah Is Kosher for Passover
This may come as a surprise, but not all Matzah is kosher for Passover. The box may look similar, and it may even have Hebrew letters all over it, but if there is no seal from a supervising rabbi or organization stating that the Matzah is actually kosher for Passover, you can assume that no care was taken to ensure that the dough did not become chametz, and it may not be eaten on Passover.
9. Matzah Was Once Thicker and Softer
Did you know that the word korech (which we translate as "sandwich") actually means "wrap"? That's because until a few hundred years ago, Matzah was thicker and softer than our thin, cracker-like Matzah and was easily wrapped around the bitter herbs (and lamb).
10. You Can Get Oat and Spelt Matzah
While traditional wheat flour is preferred, those with celiac and other conditions can use Matzah made from spelt or oat flour, which generally costs more (it is a specialty item) and is not advisable for those who can eat regular Matzah.
11. It Is the Only Mitzvah You Ingest
In today's era, when there are no longer Temple sacrifices, the only thing we eat to fulfill a biblical commandment is Matzah. So savor the moments you spend eating Matzah, recognizing that doing so gives pleasure to your Creator.
12. It Must Be Eaten After Nightfall
We eat Matzah during the Seder, after night has fallen. This is in accordance with the verse, "In the evening, you shall eat unleavened cakes. Practically, this means that the entire Seder, which centers around the consumption of Matzah, must begin after night has fallen.
13. Matzah Was Offered in the Holy Temple
While many of us are familiar with animal sacrifice, the fact is that wine libations and stacks of Matzah (!) were regularly offered in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
14. We Stop Eating It a While Before Passover
The long-established practice is to not eat Matzah on the day before Passover, so that when we eat it at the Seder, it feels new and exciting. Some stop eating it for two weeks or even a full month in advance, giving plenty of time to build up our Matzah appetites.
15. It Has the Same Blessing as Bread
While Matzah is very different from puffy bread, it is essentially . . . bread. That's why before eating Matzah, you wash your hands and say the same blessing you would say before eating bread, acknowledging G -d, "Who brings forth bread from the earth."
16. We Eat Matzah Again on Pesach Sheni
A month after Passover, we celebrate Pesach Sheni (Second Passover), which was the day that those who missed bringing the Passover offering in Jerusalem were able to make up for their loss. Today, it is marked primarily by eating Matzah and reliving the day's message: it's never too late to make up for a missed opportunity.
Passover is just a couple of days away-We want Maschiach now