Fast of Esther on Thursday and full three-day Purim schedule for Jerusalem--if you are over 60 and have not had the vaccination yet, fasting is a question. If you have had the vaccination, fasting is still a question, and United: Small electric air taxis will zip people to airports and A Gag About Israel and Vaccines is MORE than a Bad JokeBy Jonathan S. Tobin the short honeymoon is over After Claiming No Vaccine Existed Under Trump, Biden Faults Him for Not Buying Enough, Having No Plan
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.
So, this year is what's known as פורים משולש here in Yerushalayim, which means things are slightly confusing (it means three days Purim)
Here is a simple outline of what's when:
Thursday, 25th February – Fast of Esther.
Thursday night/ Friday morning – Megillah and Matanot L'evyonim.
Shabbat – say al hanisim.
As noted, the A1 ha-Nissim prayer is recited on Shabbat, the fifteenth, and is not recited on the sixteenth, in Shemoneh Esreh nor in the Grace after Meals.
Sunday, 28th February – Seudah (the Purim meal) and mishloach manot (giving of the gifts to others),
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Is Thursday's fast of Esther cancelled? — Pros and Cons on the idea. I wrote these words a full year ago on last Purim. Here is the update for this year!
Do you need to fast or not? Like everything else in the world, it depends on who you are.
Only a Jew has to keep 613 mitzvahs, a Gentile does not. A woman keeps fewer stringencies than a man about many religious practices as she is not obligated in many (some she is) time-bound mitzvah, and a Slave (though we don't have anymore) even less.
Judaism is the world's oldest monotheistic religion, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Followers of Judaism believe in one God who revealed himself through ancient prophets. The history of Judaism is essential to understanding the Jewish faith, which has a rich heritage of law, culture, and tradition.
Over the 4000 years, we have had many times questions about whether a fast is canceled or not either for medical conditions or over the safety of the Jewish People as other nations like to threaten us with either loss of life or property.
Judaism believes in the principle that life comes first in most instances (not all as there are three primary exceptions–violating believes in Idolatry, Harming others, or sexual immorality may supersede life).
So when life is at stake, the fast may have to go. The fast of Esther is a Rabbinic Fast, not a Torah Fast, so since it was created by the Rabbis, the Rabbis have the right to make the rules about who has to keep it.
So to answer the question, about keeping the fast we turn to history. The Place we start is about the most serious Torah Fast, Yom Kippur. If that fast can be put off, then certainly a less serious fast can be put off.
Rabbis and doctors have always considered the weighty issue of fasting.
Whether an elderly person should eat or drink on Yom Kippur depends on whether he is healthy or fragile. And for all of us that say 60 is the new 40, unfortunately for whether you are elderly or not, 60 is the test.
Ta'anit Esther begins at 5:03. Ends at 18:03 As a general rule, a healthy young person must fast. As we said if you are over 60, you are not young anymore for purposes of this test no matter how "young" you feel.
The people who are exempt from fasting are: 1. One who is ill whose life is in danger or not in danger. 2. One who has recovered but still feels weak ("the heart knows its own bitterness"). 3. One who is in a high-risk category or has pre-existing medical conditions (one who has heart and lung complications, one who is taking life-saving medication, one who has diabetes, etc.). 4. One who takes medication daily must continue to take it. 5. Elderly people who are weak and frail and are not strong enough to fast (this automatically includes anyone over 60) 6. A woman who had a miscarriage and still feels the physical effects. 7. A woman who is within two years of giving birth. 8. A woman who is pregnant who feels weak, may drink water and may eat as well.
During this period of Corona, there are a few extra situations of which to be aware: 1. One who is sick with Corona, who is exhibiting symptoms, even if he does not have a fever, is exempt. 2. A person who was ordered to go into isolation on the chance that perhaps he came into contact with someone who was sick: if he feels healthy and under 60 he should fast. If he is so frightened, to the point that he develops headaches or anxiety, he is exempt. 3. One who feels healthy but has a fever, is exempt.
Although religion should promote good health, sometimes the two can clash. In such cases – for example, religious fasts – clergymen and doctors should intervene to ensure that patients are not harmed.
"The fast was initiated by the G-d (or in the case of Tannat Esther the Rabbis), "but it is meant for healthy adults, not for the sick or for children or pregnant or lactating women. If you can't fast for health reasons, it's just as good to give charity instead."
RABBI YOSEF Zvi Rimon, the rabbi of JCT (The Jerusalem College of Technology, an Orthodox Jewish educational institution in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood) and head of its Beit Midrash, noted that "medicine develops all the time. Doctors may have said something 20 years ago, and rabbis gave halachic rulings on the basis of that, but maybe the information is obsolete. The principles of Jewish law are the same, but conclusions may be wrong because doctors made statements based on medical evidence and research at the time
One has to go deeper." The rabbi produced a pamphlet with guidelines for patients on Yom Kippur fasting."It there is doubt, one must consult with a rabbi. If it is impossible and there is a real doubt [about whether the fast will cause harm], one should not fast and not endanger life, even if there is no immediate danger but only one that is distant. A patient must not risk his or her health and fast in contravention of doctor's orders."
The rabbi added that if one's doctor and rabbi say the patient can fast, except to drink small amounts of water every nine (or even six) minutes, the permitted amount of water is easy to measure. Fill your mouth with as much water as you can and then spit it out into a cup. Half of that amount can be drunk every nine minutes by chronic patients who need to hydrate themselves. The average amount is 38 milliliters and should be less than 44 milliliters.
If necessary, to provide sick people with more energy, they can drink a sweet beverage or soup in intervals, Rimon continued. If a patient has to eat at intervals as well, the food should be able to fit inside an Israeli-style matchbox. A patient is allowed to take a shower on Yom Kippur to refresh himself (it is forbidden to healthy people) if he needs it too fast and is advisable over eating and drinking if the doctor permits.
It is preferable to stay home, pray and fast, if permitted by a doctor or rabbi, rather than go to synagogue and forgo the fast. Pregnant and lactating women who are healthy usually are bound to fast (unless the new mother cannot produce enough milk for the baby), but pregnant women should consult with authorities on whether going without food and drink would harm them or the fetus. Chronically ill patients who must take pills during the fast are advised to take them without water, but if this is impossible, they should do so in a different way, such as adding a bit of salt or something bitter, the rabbi suggested.
DR. EPHRAIM Jaul, director of complex geriatric nursing at Jerusalem's Herzog Hospital, said that ironically, there were many recommendations for vaccination for babies and children up to the age of 18, but only one recommended vaccination (against pneumonia) for those over 60. This was written before our current vaccine for Covid, so the Covid is now recommended as well.
Whether an elderly person should eat or drink on Yom Kippur, said Dwolatzky, (as opposed to this Rabbinic fast of the Esther-which is much more lenient) depends on whether he is healthy or fragile (living at the edge of his abilities and could fall at a slow walking speed). "From my experience, most old people fast better than young persons.
"DEHYDRATION FROM fasting is a significant risk in elderly patients, noted Dr. Ephraim Rimon of the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera, who happens to be the older brother of Rabbi Rimon.
"One should drink three liters of water during the 24 hours before a fast, but it's hard for the elderly to drink so much. If a patient is dehydrated, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is higher. An elderly person who wants to fast and drink at intervals may forget to drink water and harm himself.
"He told the story of Rabbi Chaim Sonnenfeld of the Eda Haredit who learned of a blind woman who was fasting and endangered her health. "He came to her and blew the shofar during the fast and told her it was night and the fast was all over.
But every case is different." DR. RABBI Mordechai Halperin, head of Jerusalem's Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research, added that a patient with irregular heartbeats can even die if he fasts.
"If we make an error in our guidelines, we are spilling blood. If a person is sick and at risk, he doesn't need to drink at intervals. He should eat. If based on medical evidence, a person could be harmed by the fast, he must eat.
"THE ONLY part of the body that needs carbohydrates is the brain, said Prof. David Zangen, a senior endocrinologist at Hadassah University Medical Center."When you haven't eaten for hours and the blood sugar level is low, the liver will release sugar from the liver to reach the brain rather than to remain in storage.
If there isn't enough, a patient can fall and be seriously hurt."Working with observant adolescents with type-1 diabetes, Zangen asked if they intended to fast on Yom Kippur. Thirty-nine of 190 said they would fast no matter what the doctor said.
"They want to be like all the others, but it could be dangerous. Those who nevertheless insist on fasting are advised to check their blood sugar every 2.5 hours and to start eating if they have nausea, vomiting or hyperglycemia. A diabetic should always consult their personal physician, as he or she knows the medical condition well."
Now let us turn to the current issue, not just of health, but of an epidemic condition One of the most famous cases was:
Following Shacharit on Yom Kippur of 5610, in
September 1849, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, the famous
and pious Vilna rabbi -founder of the Mussar Movement,
dedicated to injecting the pursuit of ethical excellence
into traditional Jewish observance, ascended to the bimah of the Vilna synagogue.
He explained to the congregation that because of the
raging cholera epidemic in Vilna,
they must not spend the day gathered together
in the synagogue, but should leave the building and walk
outside -fresh air was believed to prevent the spread of
Furthermore, he said, it was imperative that everyone
maintain their strength so that they would not fall, victim,
to disease. And so, on that Yom Kippur, Rabbi Yisrael
Salanter explained, everyone should break their fast,
eat and drink so that they could protect their health
and survive the disease.
Cholera is a horrific disease. It is painful, terrifying,
and deadly. The Hebrew word for cholera- רעחולי sounds
similar to "cholera" but more literally can be translated
as "evil disease."
Over the course of the 19thcentury, modern medical
science learned how to prevent the spread of cholera,
and also how to effectively treat cholera.
However, in 1849, in Eastern Europe, nobody knew how
the disease spread and there were no effective
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter was one of the most
famed rabbis of Vilna.
He threw himself into the fight against the disease.
He volunteered to care for the sick, and was
instrumental in organizing the Jewish community
to take care of the sick and to watch over orphans
left behind in the wake of the disease
Concerning Ta'anit Esther, a person in isolation should not fast, so as not to weaken his immune system, since there is a chance that he is infected or can infect others
Other Doctors and Rabbis have stated that anyone over 60 is at great risk from the new disease (younger people don't seem to be as affected). It is not much of a stretch than to Poskin, that even if you are in good health, anyone over 60 should not fast, and of course, if you are not in good health, no matter what your age you should not fast. Either go to the synagogue or not (some are afraid of the potential virus in crowds), but as my Grandfather who lived to a ripe old age used to tell me, Stay home, take a bath, save money and be healthy!
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
Three-Day Purim Purim falls on Friday this year, except in Jerusalem, where the holiday will coincide with the Sabbath. However, because of the Sabbath, the mitzvot of giving gifts to the poor and sending food to at least two people cannot be carried out, and the residents of the capital will do so on Sunday, making it a three-day holiday. The Book of Esther is also not read aloud on the Sabbath and Jerusalem will join the rest of the country in hearing it on Thursday night and Friday morning. In Yaffo (Jaffa), Acco, Tzfat, Hevron and elsewhere, both Shushan and regular Purim are celebrated due to uncertainty about their walled status during the relevant period.
The Festival of Purim celebrates the hidden hand of G-d working through a the seemingly fortuitous sequence of events that brought a Jewess named Hadassah to the Persian King's palace under the assumed name Esther (meaning "hidden") and allowed her to use her position to thwart the genocidal plans of the monarch's Jew-hating advisor Haman.
The atmosphere on Purim in particular, and throughout the month of Adar, is one of great joy and thanksgiving to G-d for the miraculous deliverance. Individual communities that enjoyed similar deliverances throughout history has marked the occasion locally with a holiday called "Little Purim."
The holiday, though sometimes erroneously treated as a children's festival, was considered by Jewish sages and mystics to be the holiest day of the year, surpassing Yom Kippur and the high holidays in its stature. The Talmud says that even in Messianic times, after other holy days will no longer be marked, Purim will remain in effect.
In addition to hearing the reading of the Megillah, Jews are also obligated to send gifts of ready-to-eat food to at least one friend and to give charity to at least two poor people. A festive meal takes place during the joyous day, during which wine is imbibed, the Purim story recounted, songs are sung and the contemporary relevance of the holiday's lessons are expounded upon.
Though wine plays a central role in the holiday, with the sages exhorting Jews to drink until they can "no longer distinguish between the hero Mordechai and the villainous Haman," organizations such as the Orthodox Union, concerned about alcohol abuse, have highlighted minority rabbinical opinions that joy should be attained without alcohol, or that the inability to distinguish be attained by going to sleep.
BLAST FROM THE PAST-THESE WERE THE RULINGS LAST YEAR ON PURIM
Tehran Chief Rabbi Forbids Fasting On Taanis Esther Due To Coronavirus
March 6, 2020 12:15 pm
Tehran Chief Rabbi Yehuda Grami publicized a ruling to the Jewish communities in Iran not to fast on Taanis Esther due to danger to life.
The coronavirus outbreak in Iran is the deadliest outside China and because fasting causes weakness and can lower the immune system, Rav Grami made a decision to forbid fasting on the upcoming fast day.
The death toll in Iran's outbreak rose by 17 on Friday to a total of 124.
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto.
The short honeymoon is over, After Claiming No Vaccine Existed Under Trump, Biden Faults Him for Not Buying Enough, Having No Plan
It's clear after this week that President Joe Biden is anxious for Americans to believe that his administration should get the lion's share of the credit for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
During a CNN town hall on Tuesday, Biden went so far as to say, in an apparent gaffe, there was no vaccine when he took office.
"The biggest thing, though, is that you remember … when you and I talked last, we talked about, it's one thing to have the vaccine — which we didn't have when we came into office — but a vaccinator," Biden told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "How do you get the vaccine into someone's arm?"
It would seem the point he was trying to get across, however clumsily, was, "I am the guy. My administration is making it happen."
An average of over 1.4 million Americans were being vaccinated per day the week Biden took office, according to data from The New York Times.
In other words, there were a lot of vaccinators putting shots in people's arms.
The current seven-day average for vaccination is 1.6 million per day, so not considerably more despite being a month further into the effort.
Biden continued in this vein of wanting to take credit for the vaccination effort on Friday after touring a Pfizer production plant in Michigan.
"Just over four weeks ago, America had no real plan to vaccinate most of the country," the president claimed.
"My predecessor, as my mother would say, 'God love him,' failed to order enough vaccines, failed to mobilize the effort to administer the shots, failed to set up vaccine centers. That changed the moment we took office," Biden said.
The supposed failure to order enough vaccines seems a silly critique.
The Trump administration had brought 100 million doses from Pfizer even before the vaccine was proven effective.
His team then purchased an additional 100 million doses in December.
Trump officials did the same for the Moderna vaccine for a total of 400 million between the two manufacturers.
So that's enough for at least 200 million people. And it is likely a significant portion of Americans will choose not to get vaccinated.
A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation at the end of last month found not quite half of American adults are wanting to get the vaccine soon. The poll surveyed 1,563 adults and had a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.
There are approximately 210 million American adults, so Trump ordered plenty for the foreseeable future to meet the needs of the about 100 million who want it.
Further, there seems little doubt Trump would purchase more as necessary given his aggressive purchasing pattern.
Operation Warp Speed was his administration's brainchild, after all.
Trump mobilized the private sector to develop the vaccine in record time and then mobilized the military and private carriers to distribute it to tens of millions when his term ended.
Biden and his handlers, no doubt, see the rapidly falling COVID-19 numbers and potential herd immunity on the horizon, and they're nervous his administration will not receive much of the credit.
This is the Trump administration's achievement. The best Biden can say is that he carried it forward and so far doesn't appear to have screwed it up.
Senior Staff Writer
A Gag About Israel and Vaccines is MORE than a Bad Joke
A comedian telling a bad joke that hurts someone's feelings isn't news. Or at least it didn't use to be. But when the bad joke validates a lie that is fueling the latest anti-Semitic blood libel, it may actually be far more important than even many of those who are always on guard against anti-Israel bias think. That's especially true if it is broadcast on one of the late-night comedy programs that have increasingly played an outsize role in shaping American public opinion.
Those who saw the most recent episode of "Saturday Night Live" heard comedian, chief writer and "Weekend Update" anchor Michael Che's casual claim that Israel's record vaccination rate has already covered half its population. The butt of the "joke" was when Che quipped: "The Jewish half." The comment provoked immediate outrage from pro-Israel groups and viewers alike—and not all of them Jewish. Yet predictably, Che's jibe provoked as much left-wing support for the false assertion cloaked in a humorous review of the news as it did anger. That speaks volumes about the pervasive nature of the anti-Semitic myths spread by Israel's enemies about its successful effort to vaccinate its citizens—all of its citizens.
The most important thing to understand about this kerfuffle is that the argument isn't about defining what is or isn't funny or, as one celebrity rabbi mistakenly insisted, the need for more outreach or an effort to better educate an African-American comedy star who is probably as well-versed in the news of the day as most pro-Israel activists. Nor is this the moment for wise guy kibitzers to tell the Jewish community to chill out, and understand it was just a joke and not be taken so seriously.
Instead, it's time to realize that the ground on which the battle to combat misinformation about the Middle East conflict and anti-Semitism is fought has shifted. It's a mistake to dismiss the content of television satire as mere pop-culture fluff. What is said on "SNL" or any of the other late-night comedy shows may be as important as the bad reporting in mainstream news outlets on which the writers of these satirical skits base their calumnies.
In recent years, as the #MeToo movement gained ground, along with the Black Lives Matter movement and a host of other left-wing causes that became unquestioned orthodoxy in the pop-culture world, comedy has ceased being a genre where one could be an equal opportunity offender. It started with stand-up comedians no longer feeling welcome on college campuses. This spirit of intolerance was once confined to universities but has now spread to the rest of society, including much of the news media—where woke mobs of reporters bully their editors over decisions to give conservatives a voice at outlets like The New York Times and Politico, especially to cultural venues.
In the entertainment world, anyone who transgresses whatever the left is currently defining as politically incorrect is in trouble. That's a loosely defined term that includes what can be fairly or unfairly construed as racist, sexist, transphobic, and now, increasingly can also simply mean having supported former President Donald Trump or raised questions about election fraud. The result is nothing less than a revival of the old Hollywood "blacklist," with the only difference being that the ones being shunned are now conservatives rather than leftists and that liberal civil libertarians who once denounced such practices now cheer them since the victims are now their foes as opposed to their friends.
One of the most reliable indicators of what can or cannot be said is late-night comedy, which has become increasingly politicized in the last two decades. This is especially important because these programs—whether it's episodes of "SNL" or Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and HBO's "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" or the humorless diatribes that pass for comedy on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (and his less overtly political but still reliably liberal competitors hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon)—aren't just operating in lockstep when it comes to politics. They also have tremendous influence, especially on younger viewers, who are less likely to read or watch actual news than their elders.
The Pew Research Institute has conducted surveys pointing out that many viewers rely on "The Daily Show" to learn about current events. Another poll showed that its audience actually considers Colbert's show to be a "trusted source of political news."
Just as important, the "Weekend Update" segment and political skits on "SNL" that regularly pillory anyone on the right, especially but not solely attacking Trump while treating liberal icons like Barack Obama with kid gloves, are now must-see TV for anyone wanting to be in the know about contemporary politics. Some of the one-liners and satirical segments are hysterical. Some are lame. But either way, they matter.
The humor on these programs almost never challenges the prevailing liberal orthodoxy of the moment, although such political skits go back all the way to the mid-1970s when the show started. That has made them a modern political catechism for young audiences seeking to know what is or isn't acceptable to think or say about the issues of the day. As politics came to dominate culture in the Trump era and as leftist orthodoxies like BLM have become pervasive, that is more the case than ever.
Thus when Che noted that half of Israel's population had become vaccinated—"the Jewish half"—it's not just a matter of an unfunny and false claim. A year ago, he made a tasteless and possibly anti-Semitic joke about the winner of a "Miss Hitler contest" being "Miss Israel," while also implying that pro-Israel Fox News host Laura Ingraham was a Nazi. But this past week, he was repeating libelous assertions about Israel denying the coronavirus vaccine not only to Arabs—an untruth that has been aired on CNN by correspondent Christiane Amanpour and also spread by BDS supporter Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—but to Christians and other minorities who live in the country as well. All of which is false. In fact, many of them have already been vaccinated, to which the Israeli Ministry of Health can attest.
Che's endorsement of the smear prompted CAMERA, the leading anti-Israel media bias watchdog, to send a letter to NBC urging both it "and SNL to apologize for the blatant anti-Semitic smear, and to make clear that Israel is providing equal access to the coronavirus vaccine for its entire population, Jews and non-Jews alike." The American Jewish Committee similarly demanded an apology. The Zionist Organization of America went further and demanded that "SNL" fire the writer of the line. They and others correctly pointed out that the claim that Israel should be vaccinating Arabs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is also false. The Oslo Accords gave responsibility for health matters in the areas to the autonomous government of the Palestinian Authority, which oversees the West Bank while Hamas controls Gaza.
But this problem should transcend those put forward by the usual activist suspects.
Among pop-culture influencers, Israel has become an acceptable target for the sort of unfair skewering that is otherwise reserved for conservative political figures and groups, even if it means treating an anti-Semitic blood libel as credible. Given that anti-Semitic attacks on Israel are embraced by intersectional ideology and critical race theory that are the foundations of the BLM movement, it's hardly surprising that venues that support them will eventually turn on the Jewish state.
With pop culture becoming a political battlefield, comedy shows can't be given a pass for spreading dangerous lies. Claiming that Jews are letting Arabs die when they should be saved isn't a joke. Not only does it paint the Jews as oppressors, but it's also classic anti-Semitism. The fact that it is uttered by someone that a lot of people like and look to for entertainment makes it even more dangerous than when it comes from biased news sources.
The proper response requires not just an apology, but a realization on the part of those who run these shows that the applause and laughter their political virtue-signaling generates shouldn't be mistaken for legitimacy.
United: Small electric air taxis will zip people to airports
AP) — United Airlines said Wednesday it will buy up to 200 small electric air taxis to help customers in urban areas get to the airport.
The airline said it will help electric-aircraft startup Archer develop an aircraft capable of helicopter-style, vertical takeoffs and landings. Archer hopes to deliver its first aircraft in 2024, if it wins certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
United said once the aircraft are flying, it and partner Mesa Airlines will acquire up to 200 that would be operated by another company.
According to an Archer presentation to investors, the orders are worth $1 billion with an option for $500 million more.
Privately held Archer, which is based in Palo Alto, California, announced separately that it has agreed to merge with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. and form a new publicly traded company. Archer and Atlas put a $3.8 billion value on the deal, which sent Atlas shares up 22%.
Archer's aircraft are designed to fly under battery power for up to 60 miles (97 kilometers) at speeds of up to 150 mph (240 kph).
The company plans to launch service in congested areas close to airports. United estimated the air taxis could shuttle people from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport at about half the carbon emissions per passenger.
Cowen analyst Helane Becker said United could use Archer's aircraft could operate between New York City and United's hub operation at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, or from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport, allowing airline customers to avoid traffic.
Chicago-based United portrayed the move as part of a broader plan to invest in technology behind cleaner modes of air travel. CEO Scott Kirby said Archer's design "has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world."
Aviation is a small contributor to greenhouse gases that cause climate change, but its share of the problem is growing rapidly. Many airlines including United have made investments in biofuel, but limited supplies are likely to hinder wider use of such alternatives to jet fuel for many years.
In December, United pledged to offset all its carbon emissions by 2050 in part by investing in technology to remove carbon from the air and bury it.