Jewish Man Dies in Car Swamped by Tropical Storm Ida By Hana Levi Julian and Rosh Hashanah starts tomorrow night and lasts until Wednesday night and Groom Sustains Serious Injury from Breaking Glass under the Chuppah and Shalom Pollack on the land of Israel and 20 Weird, Wacky and Remarkable Things about Israel | Facts about Israel and my yearly asking for forgiveness for anyone I have offended and the fast of Zom Gedilia is on Thursday this week
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.
Rosh Hashanah 2021 in Israel will begin in the evening of Monday, 6 September and ends in the evening of Wednesday, 8 September
Regardless of the differences of opinions with any of my readers, Rosh Hashanah is coming up and I have a duty to ask everyone for forgiveness if I have offended you this year and I ask you for your forgiveness Cordially Rabbi Yehuda Lave
Fast of Gedalia
The Fast of Gedalia, also transliterated from the Hebrew language as Gedaliah or Gedalya, is a minor Jewish fast day from dawn until dusk to lament the assassination of Gedaliah, the righteous governor of Judah.
His death ended Jewish autonomy following the destruction of the First Temple.
Tropical Storm Ida claimed another victim Wednesday night on the New York State Thruway near the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Rabbi Shmuel Weissmandel, 69, of Kiryat Nitra was trapped by flood waters near the bridge while driving from Monsey to Mount Kisco, where he lived.
The rabbi passed away in his vehicle before anyone could rescue him.
The rabbi was the son of Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandel, who served as the Rosh Yeshiva of Nitra.
It is not clear whether the rabbi drowned, or passed away from a heart attack, officials said.
At least 14 people died in the New York-New Jersey area due to Ida's fury. Most of them were victims of the flash floods caused by the remnants of what had begun as a Category 4 Hurricane Ida when the storm made landfall in Louisiana earlier in the week.
Shmita Politics: Here we Go Again By David Weinberg
With shmita, the sabbatical year for agriculture, just around the corner (beginning on Rosh Hashanah 5782, September 7, 2021), secular, religious, and ultra-religious protagonists have yet another battlefront on which to skirmish. Every Israeli's breadbasket will be affected.
Observance of shmita once every seven years is Biblically mandated as recognition of G-d's sovereignty over the land and as a means of enforcing socio-economic justice. Shmita is meant to teach man humility before G-d. Its observance, even to the point of financial loss to the farmer and economic hardship for the consumer, is considered an extremely important test of society's religious and moral mettle.
However with modern Israel beset by agricultural and economic difficulties and diplomatic-military challenges, absolute shmita observance is far from simple. A few hardy farmers indeed are letting their fields lie fallow. But that is not a solution for the entire country, which still needs to eat and keep its agricultural sector solvent.
In response, rabbinic leadership 125 years ago crafted the heter mechira, the "sale" of agricultural land to non-Jews for the year of shmita under a trust agreement, which permits Jews to farm the land and sell the produce under certain conditions.
The heter mechira end-run around shmita has been reluctantly re-ratified by the Chief Rabbinate every shmita since then, but its implementation grows ever more problematic.
To begin with, the heter was meant as a temporary arrangement, not a two century-long exemption from shmita observance. Moreover, many farmers sign the heter papers "selling" their land, but fail to follow the complicated guidelines which govern farming under the heter.
In the shmita of 5768 (2007-2008) the situation was greatly improved through the hard work of Tnuva's rabbi, Zeev Weitman, who headed the Rabbinate's shmita board and who worked assiduously to revamp and improve observance of the heter in a serious way by farmers across the country. Unfortunately, the Haredi-controlled Rabbinate cut Rabbi Weitman out of the picture during the shmita seven years ago (5775, 2014-2015), and this year the Rabbinate has made no earnest effort to implement heter procedures properly.
Orthodox Jews who impose on themselves stricter standards of shmita observance get through the shmita year primarily by buying Arab-grown produce or expensive foreign produce. Indeed, the various Badatz kashrut organizations of the haredi world have been busy signing produce-supply contracts with Palestinian Authority, Gazan, Jordanian, and Turkish farmers.
This infuriates me. Primary reliance on Arab produce is neither realistic nor acceptable for health, nationalist, and religious reasons.
Almost every shmita cycle, there is an epidemic of hepatitis in the haredi community, caused by the contamination contained in vegetables grown by Arabs in untreated sewage water. Several times, the Israel Ministry of Health barred the import of cucumbers and beans from Palestinian areas because of high levels of pathogens.
Last shmita, Arab farmers conquered vast tracts of market share in the Israeli agricultural economy because their produce was in demand, while Jewish farmers couldn't find buyers. Many of the big food chains were forced by the Badatzkashrut organizations (which have an increasingly outsized influence on the market) not to buy and supply heter mechira vegetables.
But note: Last shmita, haredi kashrut organizations were forced to admit that much of the "Arab-grown" produce they purchased for their public turned out to be Jewish-grown produce, sold secretly by the kibbutzim to the Arabs for resale to the Jews. If larger than ever parts of the Israeli public are now to be coerced into buying from the "Arabs," the fraud can only be expected to increase.
Last shmita and the one before that, the Ultra-Orthodox threatened to strip kashrut approval in Jerusalem and other cities from any food establishment relying on shmita leniencies. They forced hotels, restaurants, and catering establishments in places like Jerusalem to abjure heter mechira veggies or risk loss of their kashrut certification. Enforcement of such stringent rulings on the broad public is politically and economically wrong-headed.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter. On the national level, observance of shmita is not just a personal matter of technical-halachic right and wrong, or a question of getting by as a religious consumer. It's also a question of public policy. That means caring for all Jews in Israel, not just for the faultless kashrut of your own dishes and the impeccable purity of the vegetables you put in your own mouth.
In this religiously broader, more nationally responsible context, one must consider other halachic imperatives: the imperative to ensure that the broad public has access to basic kashrut and is not forced into absolute violations of tradition; the imperative of maintaining an economically viable Jewish agricultural sector; and the imperative of protecting the Land of Israel from creeping Arab annexation.
Centuries ago, responsible rabbinic leadership understood that it had the responsibility to harmonize halacha with the greater good of society. Thus, it fashioned the pruzbul, a legal stratagem which diplomatically manages the sabbatical year's across-the-board debt-forgiving regime. Responsible rabbis also contrived the heter iska, a halachic contract which allows businesses to finesse the Torah's prohibition against the charging and paying of interest.
Why did they do this? Because real life and the masses required it.
Responsible rabbinic leadership of today ought realize that for the entire country it is not yet time to dispense with the heter mechira. Moreover, it can and should support a range of other strategies for supplying agricultural produce during the shmita year, especially through the innovative otzar beit din arrangement.
Otzar beit din is a "public treasury" solution that involves embracing, not circumventing, Jewish-Israeli agriculture in the shmita year, and treating the produce as sacred "holy fruit." It is a mitzvah, not a sin, to consume this produce, although extra special efforts need to be made to market, eat, and dispose of leftovers in ways that are respectful of the "holy" status of the produce. (Fear of michshol, of placing such a "stumbling block" before secular Israelis, is one reason why haredi rabbis shrink from the otzar beit din approach.)
The "Otzar Haretz" association offers guaranteed supplies of "public treasury" agricultural produce to consumers who register in advance through its website (https://otzar-haretz.co.il). The association also markets vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin that were grown in the "sixth year" and stockpiled in coolers, and fruits and vegetables grown hydroponically by Israeli farmers or grown in the ground by Israeli farmers in the Arava desert and parts of the Negev. (In both these latter cases, the laws of shmita do not apply).
From national, security, economic, and spiritual perspectives, the otzar beit din route is far preferable to importing agricultural produce from abroad or from the Palestinians. And according to many prominent halachic authorities, it is preferable to reliance on heter mechira produce as well. It is unfortunate that neither the haredi-controlled Rabbinate nor the Ministry of Agriculture is investing real effort in this direction.
As the special shmita year approaches, I once again lament the fact that the Chief Rabbinate remains in the hands of narrow-minded leaders. Israel is stuck with chief rabbis who reject nationally responsible and halachically uplifting solutions to the shmita crisis – that would benefit religious and non-religious Israelis alike.
The chief rabbis also refuse to consider government proposals for new ways to supervise kosher food in this country; new ways of approaching the conversion of non-Jews in Israel; and new guidelines for the appointment of religious court judges (dayanim). One of Israel's chief rabbis regularly erupts with loutish tirades, attacking Israel, secular Israelis, general education, army service, and the value of gainful employment.
The failure of the rabbinate to approach shmita 5782 with any creativity and sensitivity is proof, once again, that the system and criteria for choosing Israel's next chief rabbis must be changed. It is essential that in 2023 Israel elect cosmopolitan and reasonable chief rabbis.
Top 20 Weird, Wacky and Remarkable Things about Israel | Facts about Israel | Facto Me
Did you know that Israel is a global leader in medical clowning, a group of Netanya artists made the world's largest mosaic made of 12,000 socks, and that Israel is roughly half the size of Lake Michigan.
Groom Sustains Serious Injury from Breaking Glass under the Chuppah
On Sunday evening in Rishon LeZion, a groom broke more than the glass under the chuppah during his wedding in the Rose Garden wedding hall. This groom sustained a serious injury to his leg when he followed the traditional Jewish custom of breaking the glass under the Chuppah in memory of the destruction of our holy Temple.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs and ambulance team who were called to the scene, treated the man for his injury and transported him to the hospital. The ambulance team then stuck around at the hospital to transport him back to his wedding after he received treatment.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Baruch Greenwald who responded to the incident recalled: "When I arrived at the scene I treated the groom and then I called United Hatzalah's dispatch center and told them about the sensitivity surrounding the issue. They sent an ambulance to bring the groom to Kaplan hospital and called the emergency room in the hospital to see if they could expedite the groom's treatment so we could take him back to his wedding."
Moshe Indig who was one of the ambulance team members said: "This was a very special incident and it filled my heart with joy to be able to help get this groom back to his wedding as quickly as possible after treating him. It is a big mitzvah to make a bride and groom happy on their wedding day. We arrived quickly, transported the groom to Kaplan Hospital to receive treatment, and we promised the bride we would bring him back as quickly as we could. The groom was rushed into the E.R. and treated quickly, then was released back to us. We then rushed him back to the wedding as fast as we could so he could continue to celebrate."
Mazal Tov and, well, Refuah Shleima.
Shalom Pollock on the land of Israel
For as long as Jews yearned to return to the homeland and as reflected in the Zionist movement, the aim was to have a Jewish state in Eretz Yisroel with as many Jews and as few non-Jews as possible.
The idea was to create a country and environment dominated by Jews and Jewish culture who will be solely responsible for its destiny.
To that end, the Zionist movement from the outset dedicated itself to were purchasing land and bringing Jews to settle it.
The return to Zion was not a cosmopolitan movement. It was not a call to humanity to come to Eretz Yisroel, join hands and create a new multi-cultural society.
It was not planned to be a state of "all its citizens''.
It was a uniquely a Jewish idea and a Jewish project.
A good portion of the Arabs of Eretz Yisroel were attracted there by the development and employment opportunities that the Jews brought with them. Before the arrival of the Zionist, the land was famously desolate.
The Arabs that the Jews met upon arrival were relatively few in number and lived in squalor. The Jews offered the Arabs cooperation and prosperity (the influential Socialist element of the Zionist movement believed that class affiliation would overcome national /religious tension) but from the onset the Arabs refused the hand offered.
The history is well known.
Bottom line; after the 1948 invasion of tiny, just born Israel by the Arab world, many local Arabs left the war-torn areas. Some, the smart ones stayed and though former enemies, were granted Israeli citizenship.
This did not mean that the Arabs who remained were happy that they lost the war or embraced the victors.
It also did not mean that Israel would not have been happy if all the Arabs left.
This sensitive subject was not discussed in polite company.
When the yearly demographic statistics are published, the item of greatest concern is; how many Arabs to Jews? How many babies per mother? Going up or down? Jewish immigration numbers. Where is the next wave of Jewish immigrants going to come from?
Is the Galilee really majority Arab? Oy!
What can be done?
This existential concern is kept under the carpet but discussed in earnest by Israeli policy makers.
I recall in the 1980s, Ariel Sharon, then housing minister in the Begin government launched a massive campaign of "Judaizing the Galilee ''. This included creating infrastructure and incentives for Jews to move to parts of the Galilee that were "threatened" with Arab demographic domination.
It won wide support and was lauded as the classic Zionist endeavor at the time.
I wondered then, how do Arab Israelis feel about this? How does it feel to have your very presence considered a threat to the country in which you are a citizen? They must have resented it on some level.
Arabs did not complain much about it then. Times were different.
The facade of coexistence on Israel's terms was still strong.
This morning I heard an Arab Knesset member explain the country wide Arab pogroms against their Jewish neighbors.
She said that it is insulting that groups of Jews buy Arab property in "mixed " cities in order to "Judaize" it.
She referred to the young idealistic families organized into ""Torah nuclei" to bolster and revitalize weak and declining Jewish populations in what were once Jewish neighborhoods. Increasingly, emboldened Arab crime and anti-Semitism have been chasing large numbers of Jews from their homes.
Not all Jews can leave. They are stuck and suffer hostility and attacks from Arabs in their building, street and neighborhood.
The Arab MK claimed that "Judaizing" these areas is a racist policy and is the reason that Arabs pour their wrath upon Jews.
During the nationwide pogrom, Arabs attacked in areas where there were no "Judaizing" efforts under way. To this the MK responded there is "frustration" with the situation in the Temple Mount and Gaza.
In recent years the courts have for the first time instructed that Arabs be permitted to purchase homes in Jewish towns on land that was purchased by the Jewish National Fund for specifically Jewish settlement to strengthen the Jewish nature of the country. (Jews rarely venture into Arab villages and towns, let alone buy homes there)
There was no shame about the goal or the means of ensuring the greatest Jewish presence possible in all parts of the Jewish state.
It was natural. That was Zionism.
Today this is a subject that elicits guilt and shame in some Jews.
What has changed?
Yes, to be an Arab minority in the Jewish country that you fought against and lost is not easy from a psychological perspective.
From a practical perspective, being a citizen of the Jewish state is heaven, but "man does not live from bread alone."
I get it.
For some Israelis, guilt in winning the war of Independence and the subsequent Arab flight, blind them to the severity of the recent country wide Arab onslaught in Israel.
They seek reasons, root causes, symmetry.
The Left "mea culpa" chorus makes excuses for violence against Jews. These same guilt-ridden Jews pounce on the unusual case of a Jew attacking an Arab.
This, more than massive assaults on Jews is intolerable in a Jewish state.
Arabs try to solve their identity problem by remaking the Jewish country to one of "all its citizens". The next stage should be clear.
Tens of torched synagogues during the pogroms reflect their ultimate goal.
Arabs in Israel have Leftist allies who also don't want a Jewish country but a country of "all its citizens' '. They don't understand that the next stage of "liberation" does not include them.
So, there it is. We have two problems:
One is the Israeli Arab who will never accept Jewish sovereignty in return for material gain and human rights.
The other and more serious one is Jews who don't want a Jewish country and ally with frustrated Jew haters. The Arabs are encouraged by these Jews.
Once Jews are strong in their identity and purpose, the rest will fall into place.
The Arab problem will be diminished as their current rising expectations will be thwarted.
This prospect may cause some of them to consider leaving the Jewish state. We should assist them. It should be a major goal of the country.
The Left have been doing their best to turn Jews away from Jewish identity and sense of rightness. They want to deJudaise the Jews. There is a Kulturkampf for the soul of the Jew in Israel today.
This is the root problem.
The Arabs are just a symptom.
Rosh Hashanah starts tomorrow (Monday night)
Tomorrow (Monday's piece will have laws about Rosh Hoshanah which will last until Wednesday night.
Rosh Hashanah is like Shabbat so there will be no blog on Tuesday and Wednesday.