Russian Chief Rabbi Lazar Urges Jews to Use Sputnik Vaccine By David Israel and The Portion of DevarimThe Sting of the Bee and What's My Line? - Eleanor Roosevelt (Oct 18, 1953) [W/ COMMERCIALS] and Court Rejects Yair Netanyahu’s Appeal, Former PM’s Son to Pay $75K for Libel and We Must Expand Outreach To Evangelicals, Despite The Risks By Rabbi Tuly Weisz and Tish'a B'Av (The Ninth of Av) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at sundown on Saturday, 17 July 2021 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, 18 July 2021.
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.
According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrants fasting:
The Twelve Spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. The midrash quotes God as saying about this event, "You cried before me pointlessly, I will fix for you [this day as a day of] crying for the generations", alluding to the future misfortunes which occurred on the same date.
The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE, and the population of the Kingdom of Judah was sent into the Babylonian exile. According to the Bible, the First Temple's destruction began on the 7th of Av (2 Kings 25:8) and continued until the 10th (Jeremiah 52:12). According to the Talmud, the actual destruction of the Temple began on the Ninth of Av, and it continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av.
The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
The Romans subsequently crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 500,000 Jewish civilians (approximately 580,000) on August 4, 135 CE.
Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, in 135 CE.
Over time, Tisha B'Av has come to be a Jewish day of mourning, not only for these events, but also for later tragedies which occurred on or near the 9th of Av. References to some of these events appear in liturgy composed for Tisha B'Av (see below).
The First Crusade officially commenced on August 15, 1096 (Av 24, AM 4856), killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.
The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290 (Av 9, AM 5050).
The Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306 (Av 10, AM 5066).
The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492 (Av 7, AM 5252).
Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9–10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.
On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, AM 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for "The Final Solution." As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world's Jewish population perished.
On July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
The AMIA bombing, of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killed 85 and injured 300 on July 18, 1994 (10 Av, AM 5754).
The Israeli disengagement from Gaza began in the Gaza Strip, expelling 8000 Jews who lived in Gush Katif; August 15, 2005; 10 Av, 5765.
While the Holocaust spanned a number of years, most religious communities use Tisha B'Av to mourn its 6,000,000 Jewish victims, in addition to or instead of the secular Holocaust Memorial Days. On Tisha B'Av, communities which otherwise do not modify the traditional prayer liturgy have added the recitation of special kinnot related to the Holocaust.
In connection with the fall of Jerusalem, three other fast-days were established at the same time as the Ninth Day of Av: these were the Tenth of Tevet, when the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians began; the Seventeenth of Tammuz, when the first breach was made in the wall by the Romans; and the Third of Tishrei, known as the Fast of Gedaliah, the day when Gedaliah was assassinated in the time of the Babylonians following the destruction of the First Temple. The three weeks leading up to Tisha B'Av are known as The Three Weeks, while the nine days leading up to Tisha B'Av are known as The Nine Days.
Laws and customs
Tisha B'Av falls in July or August in the Gregorian calendar. When Tisha B'Av falls on Shabbat (Saturday), it then is known as a nidche ("delayed") in Hebrew and the observance of Tisha B'Av then takes place on the following day (that is, Sunday). This last occurred in 2019, and it will next occur in 2022. No outward signs of mourning intrude upon the normal Sabbath, although normal Sabbath eating and drinking end just before sunset Saturday evening, rather than nightfall.
The fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning just before sunset on the preceding evening lasting until nightfall the next day. In addition to fasting, other pleasurable activities are also forbidden.
Tisha B'Av bears a similar stringent nature to that of Yom Kippur. In addition to the length of the fast which lasts about 25 hours, beginning just before sunset on the eve of Tisha B'Av and ends at nightfall the following day, Tisha B'Av also shares the following five prohibitions:
No eating or drinking;
No washing or bathing;
No application of creams or oils;
No wearing of (leather) shoes;
No marital (sexual) relations.
These restrictions are waived in the case of health issues but a competent posek, a rabbi who decides Jewish Law, must be consulted. For example, those who are seriously ill will be allowed to eat and drink. On other fast days almost any medical condition may justify breaking the fast; in practice, since many cases differ, consultation with a rabbi is often necessary. Ritual washing up to the knuckles is permitted. Washing to cleanse dirt or mud from one's body is also permitted.
Reading kinnot at the Western Wall
Study of the Tanakh is forbidden on Tisha B'Av (as it is considered a spiritually enjoyable activity), except for the study of distressing texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss the laws of mourning and those that discuss the destruction of the Temple.
In synagogue, prior to the commencement of the evening services, the parochet (which normally covers and adorns the Torah Ark) is removed or drawn aside, lasting until the Mincha prayer service.
According to the Rema it is customary to sit on low stools or on the floor, as is done during shiva, from the meal immediately before the fast (the seudah hamafseket) until midday (chatzot hayom) of the fast itself. It is customary to eat a hard boiled egg dipped in ashes, and a piece of bread dipped into ashes, during this pre-fast meal. The Beit Yosef rules that the custom to sit low to the ground extends past mid-day, until one prays Mincha (the afternoon prayer).
If possible, work is avoided during this period. Electric lighting may be turned off or dimmed, and kinnot recited by candlelight. Some sleep on the floor or modify their normal sleeping routine, by sleeping without a pillow (or with one fewer pillow than usual), for instance. People refrain from greeting each other or sending gifts on this day. Old prayer-books and Torah scrolls are often buried on this day.
The custom is to not put on tefillin for morning services (Shacharit) of Tisha b'Av, and not a talit, rather only wear the personal talit kattan without a blessing. At Mincha services tzitzit and tefilin are worn, with proper blessings prior to donning them.
End of fast
Although the fast ends at nightfall, according to tradition the First Temple continued burning throughout the night and for most of the following day, the tenth of Av. It is therefore customary to maintain all restrictions of the nine days through midday (chatzos) of the following day.
When Tisha B'Av falls on a Saturday, and is therefore observed on Sunday, the 10th of Av, it is not necessary to wait until midday Monday to end restrictions of the nine days. However, one refrains from involvement in activity that would be considered "joyous", such as eating meat, drinking wine, listening to music, and saying the "shehecheyonu" blessing, until Monday morning. One can wash laundry and shave immediately after the end of a delayed tisha b'av.
When Tisha B'Av begins on Saturday night, the Havdalah ritual is postponed by 24 hours, as one could not drink the accompanying wine. One says Attah Chonantanu in the Saturday night Shemoneh Esrei prayer, and/or says Baruch Hamavdil, thus ending Shabbat. A blessing is made on the candle Saturday night. After Tisha B'Av ends on Sunday evening, the Havdalah ceremony is performed with wine (without candle or spices).
The laws of Tisha B'Av are recorded in the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 552–557.
"Console, O Lord, the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and the city laid waste, despised and desolate. In mourning for she is childless, her dwellings laid waste, despised in the downfall of her glory and desolate through the loss of her inhabitants…. Legions have devoured her, worshippers of strange gods have possessed her. They have put the people of Israel to the sword… Therefore let Zion weep bitterly and Jerusalem give forth her voice… For You, O Lord, did consume her with fire and with fire will You in future restore her… Blessed are You, O Lord, Who consoles Zion and builds Jerusalem."
Abbreviated from the Nachem prayer.
The scroll of Eicha (Lamentations) is read in synagogue during the evening services.
In many Sephardic congregations the Book of Job is read on the morning of Tisha B'Av.[non-primary source needed]
Those called to the Torah reading on Tisha B'Av are not given the usual congratulations for this honor. There is also a tradition that those who were called to read from the Torah or Haftarah in the Tisha B'Av morning service are also called to read in the afternoon service, because the morning readings are filled with calamity and the afternoon readings contain words of consolation.
Main article: Kinnot
In addition, most of the morning is spent chanting or reading Kinnot, most bewailing the loss of the Temples and the subsequent persecutions, but many others referring to post-exile disasters. These later kinnot were composed by various poets (often prominent rabbis) who had either suffered in the events mentioned or relate received reports. Important kinnot were composed by Elazar ha-Kalir and Rabbi Judah ha-Levi. After the Holocaust, kinnot were composed by the German-born Rabbi Shimon Schwab (in 1959, at the request of Rabbi Joseph Breuer) and by Rabbi Solomon Halberstam, leader of the Bobov Hasidim (in 1984). Since Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, some segments of the Religious Zionist community have begun to recite kinnot to commemorate the expulsion of Jewish settlers from Gush Katif and the northern West Bank on the day after Tisha B'Av, in 2005.
A paragraph that begins Nahem ("Console...") is added to the conclusion of the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim ("Who builds Jerusalem") recited during the Amidah (for Ashkenazim, only at the Mincha service). The prayer elaborates the mournful state of the Temple and city of Jerusalem. The concluding signature of the blessing is also extended to say "Blessed are You, O Lord, Who consoles Zion and builds Jerusalem."
Various Modern Orthodox and Conservative rabbis have proposed amending Nachem, as its wording no longer reflects the existence of a rebuilt Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, for example, issued a revised wording of the prayer and Rabbi Hayim David HaLevi proposed putting the prayer's verbs relating to the Temple's destruction into the past tense. However, such proposals have not been widely adopted.
History of the observance
Lamenting in the synagogue, 1887
In the long period which is reflected in Talmudic literature the observance of Tisha B'Av assumed a character of constantly growing sadness and asceticism. By the end of the 2nd century or at the beginning of the 3rd, the observance of the day had lost much of its gloom. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi was in favor of abolishing it altogether or, according to another version, of cancelling it when the fast had been postponed from Saturday to Sunday.
The growing strictness in the observance of mourning customs in connection with Tisha B'Av became pronounced in post-Talmudic times, and particularly in one of the darkest periods of Jewish history, from the 15th century to the 18th.
Maimonides (12th century) says that the restrictions as to the eating of meat and the drinking of wine refer only to the last meal before fasting on the Eighth Day of Av, if taken after noon, but before noon anything may be eaten. Rabbi Moses of Coucy (13th century) wrote that it is the universal custom to refrain from meat and wine during the whole day preceding the Ninth of Av. Rabbi Joseph Caro (16th century) says some are accustomed to abstain from meat and wine from the beginning of the week in which the Ninth Day of Av falls; and still others abstain throughout the three weeks from the Seventeenth of Tammuz.
A gradual extension of prohibitions can be traced in the abstention from marrying at this season and in other signs of mourning. So Rabbi Moses of Coucy says that some do not use the tefillin ("phylacteries") in the morning of the Ninth Day of Av, a custom which later was universally observed (it is now postponed until the afternoon). In this manner many customs originally designated as marks of unusual piety finally became the rule for all.
Jews pray in a synagogue on Tisha B'av. Painted by Maurycy Trębacz and published in 1903. From the collection of the National Library of Israel
A 2010 poll in Israel revealed that some 22% of Israeli Jews fast on Tisha B'Av, and 52% said they forego recreational activity on this day even though they do not fast. Another 18% of Israeli Jews responded that were recreational spots permissible to be open they would go out on the eve of the fast day, and labeled the current legal status "religious coercion". The last 8% declined to answer.
In Israel, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Tisha B'Av and the following day by law. Establishments that break the law are subject to fines. Outside of Israel, the day is not observed by most secular Jews, as opposed to Yom Kippur, on which many secular Jews fast and go to synagogue. According to halakha, combat soldiers are absolved of fasting on Tisha B'Av on the basis that it can endanger their lives. The latest example of such a ruling was issued during Operation Protective Edge by Israel's Chief Rabbis: Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef.
When Menachem Begin became Prime Minister, he wanted to unite all the memorial days and days of mourning on Tisha B'Av, so that Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day would also fall on this day but it was not accepted.
In relation to the creation of the State of Israel
As the main focus of the day recalls the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent Jewish diaspora, the modern day re-establishment of a Jewish state in the Holy Land has raised various attitudes within Judaism about the appropriateness of fasting and other mourning customs associated with the day. Some observant Jews outside of Orthodoxy curtail some of the mourning customs in recognition of the miracle of the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty after nearly two thousand years.
Following the Six-Day War, the national religious community viewed Israel's territorial conquests with almost messianic overtones. The conquest of geographical areas with immense religious significance, including Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount, was seen as portentous; however, only the full rebuilding of the Temple would engender enough reason to cease observing the day as one of mourning and transform it into a day of joy instead.
We Must Expand Outreach To Evangelicals, Despite The Risks
Just last week, Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, zt'l, was laid to rest in his beloved homeland in Eretz Yisrael, far from his hometown in San Antonio, Texas. The warm hearted and scholarly marah d'asrah of Congregation Rodfei Shalom served there with distinction for more than half a century. While Rabbi Scheinberg dedicated his rabbanus to the residents of the Lone Star State, his visionary leadership made a monumental impact on the Jewish State.
Exactly 40 years ago, in the summer of 1981, the international community viciously condemned Israel for its "military aggression" following the Israeli Air Force precision strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor. A young pastor from San Antonio was outraged at the open hostility toward Prime Minister Menachem Begin's government and felt that, if anything, the world should be thanking Israel for making it a safer place.
John Hagee began reaching out to local rabbis and invited them to attend a "Night to Honor Israel" at his church, but the mainstream Jewish community turned him away; he was an Evangelical after all. Pastor Hagee made one final call before giving up, and Yeshiva University alumni and Chaim Berlin musmach Aryeh Scheinberg agreed to go outside of the box and into the church. That "Night to Honor Israel" launched a movement of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) that has been growing vigorously for the past four decades.
Today, CUFI boasts more members than there are Jews in America. Nonetheless, despite ten million Christians united for Israel, we again find ourselves in a crisis with much of the world united against Israel.
Unlike 40 years ago, in the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terror group, hundreds of pro-Palestinian rallies erupted across America leading to a frightening wave of violence against Jews. At the same time, a digital intifada exploded on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and hateful, antisemitic propaganda spread virally influencing the minds and hearts of the younger generation on social media.
It is abundantly clear that despite Israel's best attempts at public diplomacy, public opinion is quickly shifting away from Israel, especially among young Jews and Evangelicals. That is why we urgently need the next generation of American rabbis and pastors to pick up the mantle established by Pastor Hagee and Rabbi Scheinberg a generation ago.
I realize many disagree with Rabbi Scheinberg's vision of collaborating with Christians. As an Orthodox rabbi and grandson of Holocaust Survivors, I fully acknowledge the dangerous physical and spiritual pitfalls of this kind of outreach. I am intimately aware of the sensational examples of missionaries working deceptively in the Jewish State and have taken an active role in using my website, Israel365 News, to expose the Christians using illegal and deceptive tactics to prey on our people.
Yes, it is true that many Evangelicals still want to convert the Jews. No one denies that missionizing is an ancient and important part of their faith. Christians passionately believe that they have the best approach which they want to share with others, and I can even respect their enthusiasm and religious zeal.
However, I always explain to my Christian friends that if we are going to work together, we must understand and respect each other. And therefore, after centuries of forced conversions and Christian antisemitism, the Jewish people won't tolerate proselytizing, which we consider an act of hatred, not love. Worst of all, I try to explain whenever I can, is when Christian missionaries use lies and deception to infiltrate our community, violate our trust and take advantage of our openness.
Having worked closely with Evangelicals for ten years as the founder of Israel365 and editor of The Israel Bible I know that we are in a crisis and at a crossroads in our relationships with Christians. In addition to the examples mentioned above, research studies came out recently documenting a major drop in young Evangelicals' support for Israel. It would be understandable but inexcusable if we let these cracks in the foundation grow into irreparable chasms, greatly undermining Israel's safety and security, not to mention our destiny to be an Ohr Lagoyim – Light to the Nations.
America's Evangelical community firmly believes in the Bible, whose opening verse establishes that Hashem created the world, and, as Rashi points out, gave the Land of Israel to the people of Israel. If more Jews, especially frum Jews who believe in the Torah, boldly reach out to our Evangelical friends, we can transform Israel from the most hated country in the world into the most beloved. Although it seems like we are hopelessly outnumbered on the public relations battlefield, by embracing a faith-based approach to Israel advocacy, we can reclaim and reframe the narrative. A faith-based, Biblical Zionist movement could bring together all those who believe that what unites us is much stronger than what divides us.
Biblical Zionism will address the serious concerns and profound sensitivities of the Jewish community through heartfelt but tough conversations between rabbis and pastors. We will build alliances with millions of Evangelicals who reject the horrific replacement theology that led to Christian antisemitism throughout history and who sincerely support Israel and the Jewish people – with no strings attached.
Together, we can develop the largest pro-Israel movement around the world by encouraging every shul and church to become a goodwill Israel embassy. Nations establish one embassy in a capital city, but imagine if there was a goodwill Israel embassy in every city across the world? Israel deserves that level of support and can achieve it!
Forty years ago, a game-changing movement started when one pastor and one rabbi began a friendship. In 1981, there were not millions of Christians united for Israel, but in 2021, baruch Hashem, there are. With support for Israel slipping, we can't afford to take our Evangelical friends for granted. Rather, those who are concerned for Israel's future and passionate about Israel's potential to be a Mamlechet kohanim v'goy kadosh must build upon the legacy of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, with uncompromising fear of heaven and unprecedented courage.
The Portion of Devarim
The Sting of the Bee
The Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) is also known as "Mishne Torah" (the repetition of the Torah) because Moses, in his farewell address to the people, reviews all that has transpired since the exodus from Egypt to the rapidly approaching day when the Children of Israel will enter the Promised Land.
Among the events that Moses recalled was the sin of the spies, which was then followed by the sin of those people who insisted on going forward despite the Lord's clearly stated prohibition "do not go up and do not fight" (Deuteronomy 1;42).
Moses describes the latter's encounter with the Amorites and the expected result. "And the Amorites, dwelling in that mountain, came out towards you and pursued you as bees do…"(ibid 1;44).
As we know, when bees swarm and sting human beings the bees then die.
While the Amorites won the battle and blinded the Israelites eyes, as bees do, their victory was short lived, as it is written "And I destroyed the Amorites…(Amos 2;9).
An allusion to this is found in the accompanying picture where we see two prongs emanating from the letter "ayin" (the Hebrew word for eye) in the word "ta'asenah" (as bees] do", symbolizing first victory and then defeat. (Rokeiach on the Torah)
The Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, on Sunday sent an urgent letter to hundreds of Jewish communities in Russia, urging them to vaccinate quickly and reassuring them that the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is safe.
Rabbi Lazar wrote (translation via Collive): "Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic has recently been on the rise again, and there are many families who became sick. First, I wish them all a speedy recovery, we pray for them and hope that everyone will be able to overcome the plague."
He continued: "I appeal to you with a very important request – get vaccinated against the Corona, as the halacha demands of us to guard our health in every way."
Rabbi Lazar reminded Russian Jews that "the virus is very dangerous not only for the elderly but also for people with chronic diseases. For many, the disease was mild and they are almost asymptomatic, but doctors warn that even in this case there may be various after-effects and complications."
The Chief Rabbi called on Russian Jews to get vaccinated with Sputnik V, noting, "I spoke to many doctors and they all unanimously say the vaccine is completely safe."
Chief Rabbi Lazar caught the coronavirus in early June and was under medical supervision, according to TASS. His press service announced at the time that "Rabbi Lazar has been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection. He is under medical supervision. His health is out of danger."
According to TASS, Rabbi Itzkhak Kogan of the Moscow Synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya Street was taken to hospital with a coronavirus infection in March.
Court Rejects Yair Netanyahu's Appeal, Former PM's Son to Pay $75K for Libel
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Monday morning rejected the request of Yair Netanyahu, son of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to void the defamation lawsuit filed against him by former Walla website editor Avi Alkalay.
In February 2020, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court ruled that Netanyahu Jr. would pay a quarter of a million shekels ($75,000) to the editor of Walla because he shared information on social media that Alkalay was a "plant of the Wexner Foundation" who was involved in a conspiracy against his father.
The Wexner Foundation focuses on the development of Jewish professional and volunteer leaders in North America and public leaders in Israel. Founded by Leslie Wexner, CEO of Limited Brands, and his wife, Abigail Wexner, the headquarters are located in New Albany, Ohio with additional offices in New York City and Jerusalem.
In October 2018, Israeli reporter Erel Segal and the right-wing news outlet Mida reported that the Wexner foundation paid $2.3 million to former PM and DM Ehud Barak for unknown work between 2004 and 2006. Radio station 103FM reported that Ehud Barak had been given the funds while he was a private citizen and the fund transfer is under investigation. Bit the following November, after a call for an investigation by the attorney general of Israel had been filed, it was reported that contrary to initial claims, the Wexner funds had been transferred to Ehud Barak while he may not have been a private citizen.
According to the NY Times, American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a trustee of the foundation from 1992 to 2007, and held "an unusually strong hold on Mr. Wexner," receiving "the title of President of the Wexner family financial office."
The Netanyahu Jr. post further stated that Alkalay participated in acts that deemed an investigation, and therefore he should be arrested. The information shared by Yair Netanyahu stated that Alkalay "fabricated" correspondence with former Walla editor Ilan Yeshua, a star witness in the case against Netanyahu Sr. Yair Netanyahu added to the original post the request "Share, share, share."
Yair Netanyahu appealed the court's decision, claiming that the indictment had not been lawfully delivered to him. Judge Kochava Levy on Monday rejected the claim that he had not received the indictment and ruled that the material was lawfully sent to him by registered mail. She also ruled that he must pay the plaintiff NIS 30,000 ($9,000) in legal fees.
Otzma Yehudit chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir issued a response to the judge's ruling, saying, "The decision not to overturn the verdict that had been given in the absence of a defense for Yair Netanyahu has a strong political odor! In all my years as a lawyer I have not encountered a judgment in the absence of an undeniable defense, even if the defendant had zero claims. The defendant is always allowed to defend himself."
Ben-Gvir was also critical of "the hallucinatory legal expenses: NIS 30,000 for a single request?" and suggested, "the district court will have to intervene."
See you Sunday which is Tish Abov, starting Saturday night, Shabbat shalom