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The Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home


The Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

FEATURE Senator Joe Lieberman on His Newest Book on Shavuos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

LIFESTYLES In the Kitchen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

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Dear Readers, A great miracle happened this week. Approximately 40,000 Gazans came to an Israeli border with the intent to overrun it and allow the thousands of violent people among them to flood the nearest Jewish communities – a mere mile away – looking for soldiers, men, women, or children they could murder and/or capture. They weren’t shy about their plans. Aerial maps of the region were shared on social media so the “protesters” could identify the quickest route to the Jews. Both before and after this attackmasked-as-a-protest occurred, Hamas leaders publicly expressed that they intended for people to bring knives and other weapons to use once the border was breached. Here’s the back-and-forth a reporter with NPR had with a protester flying a kite with a swastika on it when asked what the swastika means to him: Protestor: “The Jews go crazy when you mention Hitler” Steve Inskeep: “Do you know that the Israelis are using swastikas to discredit Gazans?” Protester: “It’s what we mean. We want them to burn.” Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said this last week when planning for 100,000 rioters to breach the fence: “Our people and our boys will surprise the entire world with what they have in store. Let them wait for our big push. We will take down the border, and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” The result? 50 known Hamas terrorists were killed. 11 people other people died after joining the terrorists at the fence even though the IDF dropped pamphlets warning that attempts to breach the border would be met with deadly force. It is unclear whether those people intended to protest or to join terrorists in committing violence

upon Israeli citizens. A great massacre and/or kidnapping was averted. We would be remiss not to mention the hypocrisy, immorality, and dangerous behavior of many media outlets in portraying this the way they have. Hypocritical. If they would face this type of onslaught, many more people would be killed. Immoral. Self-defense isn’t just a right – it’s an obligation. Dangerous. By ignoring genuine threats – those of the Syrians (who continue to bomb and gas their own population) and Hamas (who steals the money intended to heal, educate, feed, and house Palestinians) – they allow these tragedies to continue. To the continent of Europe, we say, Shame. on. you. Jewish blood is just drying up in your countries, and yet instead of celebrating the Jews capabilities in defending themselves, you protest them?! If we ever needed proof as to why the Jewish people need an army of their own, this is it. We’ll take the degradation if it means we get to live. Many midrashim speak of a war over Jerusalem which will precede the final redemption of the Jewish people. After untold Jewish suffering throughout our exile, we hope, pray, and trust in Hashem that this war will come to pass figuratively speaking in the halls of the UN, and among the Jewish people in Israel and with us in the Diaspora there will be light, joy, gladness, and splendor as a prelude to the great miracles we are sure to experience in the very near future. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and an enjoyable yom tov,

Shalom

T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Cheder Menachem L.A. Celebrates Learning Achievements On Sunday, 28 Iyar, talmidim of Cheder Menachem Los Angeles, together with their parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends, gathered together to mark the culmination of over two months of learning mishnayos and Tanya baal peh, as a present to the Rebbe in honor of Yud-Alef Nissan. The event began with a video of the talmidim of Kitah Alef, learning Tanya baal peh in class, which was followed by these talmidim, in their first year as part of mishnayos baal peh, receiving their prizes. Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, Menahel of the Cheder, then began the formal part of the event, welcoming all. Rabbi Greenbaum introduced Rabbi Shimon HaLevi Raichik, Rav of Anash, who shared divrei brachah, reminding all present that it is in the zechus of the children learning Torah that we received the Torah on Shavuos.

Special hakaras hatov was expressed to Reb Yankel Ginsburg and family, who are the “Zevulun” of the Mishnayos Baal Peh program, sponsoring the prizes given to the talmidim, liluy nishmas his father Reb Dov Reuven ben Reb Dovid HaLevi, obm. Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld, the coordinator of the Program gave a brief overview of this year’s accomplishments, highlighting the fact that this year, in particular, we saw a lot of ish es re’eihu yazoru, with classmates encouraging each other and helping them memorize and be tested. With over 64,000 lines of Torah learnt baal peh, including more than 25,000 lines of mishnayos, 11,500 lines of Tanya and many lines of siddur and yediyos klaliyos, every talmid participating has a share in the nachas we have brought to the Rebbe. Highlighting this, a video was shown

with part of a sichah where the Rebbe spoke about learning and reviewing mishnah by heart, followed by two occasions where talmidim of oholei Torah went for Dollars, telling the Rebbe about the mishnayos they had learnt. We see the Rebbe’s brochos continuing, where one of the boys in that video, has now three children of his own in the Cheder, who each learnt substantial amounts of mishnayos and Tanya baal peh this year. Three talmidim, Yitzchok Wolowik, Avremele Levitansky, and Levi Yitzchok Hecht came up to the stage as representatives of the Yud-Bais Perakim Club, encouraging talmidim to learn the first 12 perakim of Tanya by heart before their bar mitzvah. These boys have all learnt more than seven perakim by heart already. A lot of mishnayos learnt this year were learnt as part of the Siach Hasodeh

program, started in memory of Hechover Reb Shmuel Yosef and Mrs Chana Heidingsfeld, obm, where talmidim can learn and be tested from the beginning of the year, baal peh, on the mishnayos they are learning in class. This year’s achievements include 13 boys from Rabbi Blasberg’s girsa class who learnt the entire Masechta Megillah baal peh, with the teitch, and Yossi Heidingsfeld, sixth grade, who learnt the entire Seder Moed as well as Masechtos Bikurim and Avos. After this, every talmid received their prize according to their achievements. Each talmid also received a special booklet made for the occasion which includes stories as well as short sayings from the rabbeim about the importance of learning and reviewing mishnayos and Tanya baal peh


The Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Purpose and Pleasure, All Year Long press re le a s e It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, the moment you are living for. The night is inky, the world is asleep, and you’re infused with such purpose, such pleasure, such pride that your heart feels tight with joy. It’s Shavuos night, and you are learning and feeling so connected – to Hashem, to His ratzon, to yourself – and experiencing a simchah shel Torah to soar you for a lifetime. For some select individuals, this sublime experience is a nightly occurrence. And its depth and dimension increase with time, expand with experience. These are the distinguished talmidei chachamim of Kollel Chatzos, who imbibe

the aliyah of Torah all night, every night. That silent moment before the alos, with the heady exhilaration of a night of Torah behind you – when you feel so close to Hashem, and you can daven and be heard – these talmidei chachamim exult in this experience every night of the year. And so, it is no secret that when Yidden seek a yeshua, they approach these talmidei chachamim to represent them before the kisei hakavod. Yidden who have a glimpse of the madreigos of Torah on Shavuos know firsthand the koach of nightlong Torah learning. These Yidden understand the power of the Kollel Chatzos talmidei chachamim.

While supporting talmidei chachamim is a tremendous zechus every night of the year, erev Shavuos is a particularly special time. Rabbi Chaim Palagi encouraged people waiting for a yeshua – especially individuals longing for children – to set aside 104 special coins for talmidei chachamim erev Shavuos to merit miracles. After witnessing the incredible power of this segulah, Kollel Chatzos invites Yidden to partner with Kollel Chatzos. For just $104, Kollel Chatzos will perform this segulah on behalf of you or your loved ones. Many partner with Kollel Chatzos specifically for Shavuos. It’s the day of kabbalas haTorah, when the talmidei chachamim receive the strength and cheshek to continue learning all year long. Yidden worldwide feel privileged to be counted

amongst those who give the talmidei chachamim the ability to continue learning. And, in return, Yidden receive the birchos HaTorah…For the Torah always rewards her supporters handsomely.

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hallel on Sunday morning, May 13, 2018. Sponsored by the RZLA (Religious Zionists of Los Angeles), with a generous gift by RVW Wealth, the community enjoyed a festive breakfast following the davening. During the meal, those in the social hall viewed an inspirational video about the importance of Jersualem to the Jewish people. Rabbi Muskin, Senior Rabbi of YICC, delivered emotional words on the impact of Yom Yerushalyim on his own life and shared stories of that fateful day when Rav Goren, the IDF Chief Rabbi, received the shofar he blew at the Kotel from Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, ztz”l. Many community rabbonim from surrounding shuls attended, including Rabbi Pini Dunner of Young Israel of North Beverly Hills and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of Bnai David, demonstrating unity within

the city. Rabbi James Proops, YICC’s assistant rabbi, davened hallel accompanied by Dr. Mark Goldenberg, who played guitar, and by Dr. Yakov Agatstein, President of the RZLA, who played drums. Spontaneous dancing broke out in the middle of hallel. Rabbi David Israel, Executive Vice president of the RZA (Religious Zionsits of America) flew out from New York to be present. He delivered a beautiful explanation of the shofar of the Jubilee and how it compares to the shofar blast that Rav Goren sounded at the Kotel in 1967 on the day it was recaptured by the IDF. Many people expressed that they were on a spiritual high the the rest of the day after the morning event. May this recent event be a forerunner for the time when Klal Yisrael will merit the coming of the ultimate redemption, when the entire Jewish people will all celebrate together in its eternal undivided capital city, Jerusalem.


TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

RCC Hosts Mashgiach Workshop with Rabbi Yosef Eisen

The RCC recently hosted a major workshop on techniques for enhancing kashrus for its dedicated mashgichim. On Tuesday, May 8th, over 30 mashgi-

chim joined the RCC Kashrus administrative staff at Adas Torah for an evening with Rabbi Yosef Eisen. Rabbi Eisen, Rabbinic Administrator of the

Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns, is renowned for his expertise and lead-

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ership in community kashrus. Rabbi Eisen encouraged the mashgichim to recognize their singular importance and responsibility. A mashgiach is very much like a kohein who is both a shaliach of Hashem and a shaliach of the people. He has a dual role of acting for the community interest while protecting Hashem’s halachah and guidelines. Taking the comparison a step further, Rabbi Eisen stressed that “A mashgiach is also kadosh just like the kohanim, and it is therefore vital that a mashgiach know his kochos, as well as responsibilities.” He also stressed the importance of combining both humility and strength. The baalei mussar say that in one pocket one needs to have “Bishvili nivrei olam – the world was created just for me,” and in the other pocket ‘’Ani afar v’efer – I am only dust and ash.” Rabbi Eisen explained that a mashgiach cannot always be an anav, a humble person. Sometimes he needs to express himself with backbone and a sense of ownership. Practically speaking, a mashgiach must learn to strike the perfect balance with a simple formula: “B’mo’ach, v’lo b’cho’ach – With the brain, not with force.” It is essential to be firm, but you win by being smart. The evening closed with words from Rabbi Yakov Vann, Director of Kashrus Services for the RCC. Rabbi Vann thanked the mashgichim for their hard work and expressed hakaras hatov to those mashgichim who had gone above and beyond for the sake of community kashrus. The feedback from mashgichim was superb. One attendee stated, “It meant a lot to me that after many years of working as a mashgiach, my role was identified with great importance.” Another long-time mashgiach added that “seeing many of our fellow mashgichim gathering together reminds me of how important all of our roles really are, no matter where we are working; a hotel, restaurant, catering or small business.”

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Undeterred

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

In the Torah, there are several references to mountains that are central to our history. We are introduced to Har Hamoriah, when Avrohom Avinu approached it to offer his son, Yitzchok, as a korban. On that mountain, malochim appeared to Avrohom and Yitzchok. On that mountain, Yaakov Avinu experienced kedusha and received tremendous brachos. On the mountain, the Bais Hamikdosh was built. The mountain that hosted much holiness also had its share of tragedy. Though it beheld so much kedusha, during the period of churban its kedusha was defiled and tumah found a home there. The Torah writes about Har Gerizim and Har Eivol, mountains near Sh’chem. On one, eternal brachos were delivered. On the other, eternal damnations rang out for those who don’t follow the Torah. One mountain was covered with greenery. The other was desolate and barren. They remain so until today. In Nach, we learn of the peak on which Eliyohu Hanovi faced off against the nevi’ei habaal. Most central to who we are is Har Sinai. Though small as far as mountains are concerned, its summit towers over the landscape of Jewish history. On Shavuos, we are reminded of the mountain as we conjure up the image of millions camped around its perimeter, experiencing tangible awe. They had traveled for forty-five days, following Moshe Rabbeinu through a hot, dusty desert to get there. Journeying on a trek that began at creation, the nation headed towards its destiny. Bereishis - bishvil haTorah shenikra reishis. There was thunder and lightning. The sound of a shofar boomed, growing increasingly louder. Smoke rose from the mountain, which sat under a heavy cloud. The Divine Voice resonated throughout the universe, shaking the earth’s foundations. The Bnei Yisroel were fearful. They watched as their leader ascended the mountain and disappeared inside the arofel, foggy clouds. As we study the story of Moshe Rab-

beinu on Har Sinai, we recognize that to reach supreme holiness, we often have to make our way through fog. We have to ensure that we persevere and do not become deterred when enveloped by darkness. Wherever there is kedusha, there is tumah seeking to break through and destroy it. The more we build and the larger we grow, the more the forces of tumah seek to seep in and spread their poison. Throughout the ages, inspired people yearned to raise and purify themselves, so that they would not be weighed down by fog, smoke and loud noises that surrounded them. They courageously pressed forward towards kedusha.

tempt at placing the ring on the girl’s finger. The seemingly simple task escaped him once again and the ring dropped to the ground. This time, people began murmuring. Someone turned to the Rov and said, “This seems like a sign that they should not be getting married. Perhaps the whole thing should just be called off.” The Rov shook his head. “This is a sign,” he said, “that the couple was meant to marry now and not three minutes earlier.” Upon hearing that, the boy calmed down. His father handed him the ring, he placed it on the kallah’s finger, and he said, “Harei at mekudeshes li… kedas

The strength it grants its adherents is eternal. Ever since Har Sinai, Jews have been confronted by darkness and fog. The urge is to shirk from the challenge and retreat. But just as Moshe did as he entered the arofel atop the mountain, people who are drawn towards kedusha and taharah understand that they must advance undeterred by the tishtush hamochin that affects others. The Brisker Rov was the mesader kiddushin at a wedding. Standing under the chupah, it was time for the chosson to place the ring on the kallah’s finger and pronounce her his wife. As the young man attempted to place the ring on her finger, he was so nervous that he was shaking and dropped the ring. His father bent down, picked up the ring from the floor, and returned it to the chosson. Once again, the chosson’s hand was shaking so much as he tried to place the ring on his kallah’s finger that it fell to the ground. His father picked it up and returned it to him. The nervous chosson made a third at-

Moshe v’Yisroel.” Many times, the future looks bleak and we see signs from heaven pointing this way and that. We must always remain focused on our goal and not permit anything to deter us. We don’t look at setbacks as signs of defeat. We see them as challenges that we must overcome. The study of Torah is difficult, and many times, while learning, we feel as if we are in arofel, lost in a fog of misunderstanding. We can’t follow the back and forth of the Gemara or don’t get the kushya or teretz of Tosafos. We say that the sugya is too difficult for us to comprehend. We just want to close the Gemara and find something easier to do. We must remember that this is the way of the Torah. It doesn’t come easy, but we immerse ourselves in it anyway, and after much work, we begin to understand it and appreciate its beauty and brilliance. Rav Shmuel Auerbach told a story he heard from a witness, ish mipi ish. One of the holy tzaddikim of Yerushalayim

had a kemei’a that he would lend to people in need of a yeshuah. The Kabbalistic document was written by the Taz, author of the Turei Zohov on Shulchan Aruch. The kemei’a was especially powerful and many people who used it saw their issues resolved. The owner of the kemei’a was very curious as to what was written on the concealed piece of parchment that beheld such power. Though an amulet generally loses its powers when opened, he reasoned that he could copy the secret names of Hashem and malochim written on it onto a new parchment and preserve the ability to help people in dire straits. Upon opening the antique sacred text, the man was astonished to see that it didn’t bear holy names or names of ministering angels. Instead, in the handwriting of the Taz was one line that read: “Dear Creator of the world, please bring salvation and blessings to the person wearing this amulet in the merit of my deep toil to understand the words of Tosafos in Chulin on daf 96.” This is the power of Torah. This is the reward for diligence in understanding the words of a Tosafos. The Torah gives life to those who struggle through the arofel to understand and grasp its holy words and messages. The strength it grants its adherents is eternal. But we must exercise patience, discipline and intelligence to attain a proper understanding of Torah. We must not quit and surrender. In Nach (Shmuel I, perek 13) we read that shortly after Shaul was appointed king, the Pelishtim gathered to battle Am Yisroel. The Jews hid in caves and pits, while Shaul and his small army prepared for the battle. Shmuel Hanovi had told Shaul to wait for him to come and offer korbanos - an olah and a shelomim - prior to going to war. The people grew testy and began leaving Shaul. Under increasing pressure, Shaul Hamelech decided to offer the korbanos himself and not wait for Shmuel. He brought the olah and then Shmuel came. The novi admonished the king for not waiting for him to bring the korbanos as Hashem had wished. Shmuel informed Shaul that because he did not follow the word of Hashem, his reign, which was destined to last forever, would soon end. There is nothing as blinding and fearful as the fog of war, but because Shaul feared that he would fail if he would follow the command of the novi, he was punished and soon vanquished from his rule. Threatened by forces of nature, deserted by man, with everything seemingly


Living with the Times The Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

stacked against us, if we remain loyal and do not succumb to the temptation of veering from the commands of Hashem, we will be blessed with success and eternal blessings. The first Jews to receive the Torah had their own arofel, servitude in Mitzrayim, sinking to the lowest levels of tumah. Their faith sustained them as they followed Moshe out of the country through the Yam Suf. Within 49 days, they prepared themselves to receive the Torah at Har Sinai. They fought their way through the fog of Mitzrayim’s tumah and raised themselves to the highest levels man can attain. On Shavuos, we read Megillas Rus, the tale of Na’ami and her daughter-in-law, Rus. Two courageous women survived tragedy and lifted themselves through their personal arofel to give birth to the progenitor of Dovid Hamelech and Moshiach. Rus Hamoaviah rose from the depravity of her native land and became a dedicated giyores. Nothing was able to deter her from remaining loyal to Torah and the Jewish people. She endured poverty and loneliness as she pursued her chosen path. She was rewarded with royal offspring and eternal blessings. We all await the arrival of her descendant, the ultimate redeemer. Rus had many reasons to return to Moav and the wealth she had left behind when marrying into Elimelech’s family, yet she so eloquently cast her lot with the Jewish people. Her story encourages us to persevere in our times of hardship. Her story is yet another demonstration that those who follow the path of Hashem and cleave to Torah and mitzvos, determined to prevail, will flourish and thrive. Rather than stepping away, she moved forward. Instead of succumbing to what seemed to be insurmountable deterrents, she showed us that fidelity to Torah is always preferable to any alternative. We must also never quit, no matter the difficulties we encounter in the observance or study of Torah. When Hashem appeared to the Bnei Yisroel and offered them the Torah, they responded in unison, “Na’aseh venishma We will do and we will hear whatever you tell us.” The response was so praiseworthy that the Gemara in Maseches Shabbos (88a) relates that following their response, malochim placed two crowns on the head of each Jew, one for na’aseh and one for nishma. A bas kol rang out, proclaiming, “Who taught my children this secret?” Many question what was so extraordinary about na’aseh venishma that it engendered such a dramatic response. Perhaps we can explain that by responding in this way, they were declaring, “Na’aseh, we will act according to the dictates of the Torah and follow its commands. Venishma, and we will accomplish through dedicating ourselves to the study of Torah. No difficulty will stop us from working as hard as we can to understand the words of the Torah. We will not get lost or deterred in the arofel. Na’aseh venishma. We have been reciting that pledge for thousands of years. Wherever we are, whatever language we

speak, irrespective of geographical distance from major Jewish centers, of the ravages of the exile, of golus, churban and pogroms, we all proclaim together, “Na’aseh venishma.” Those words are what set us apart and have kept us through the ages. We have been guarded by the Torah and our fidelity to it and what it demands of us. The other nations of the world throughout our history are all gone. We are here because of those two words that guide and define us. On the Yom Tov of Kabbolas HaTorah, we are regifted the Torah and proclaim, “Na’aseh venishma,” yet again. We focus on the positive, we remain mindful of our objective and mission, and we rededicate

ourselves to fulfilling it, this day and every day. My uncle, Rav Avrohom Chaim Levin, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Telz, shared an incident at a Torah Umesorah convention. He recalled a sad period in Telz when something happened that provoked the ire of the rosh yeshiva, Rav Elya Meir Bloch. Rav Elya Meir addressed the yeshiva. As he began, the bochurim were expecting a severe lecture about the depths to which some had sunk. Rav Elya Meir told them something else entirely. “We know how low a person can fall,” he said, “but now we shall focus on how high man can soar.” With a classic mussar message of gadlus ha’odom, he delivered a shmuess about

the potential to grow, helping the talmidim realize the heights they could reach. Rav Levin concluded by telling the gathered mechanchim not to limit their focus on protecting their talmidim from the darkness. “We also have to inspire them to rise above it,” he clamored. We are a great people. The fire of Torah has the ability to glow in our souls, incinerating the tumah that seeks to envelop us, and light our path through the darkness. We each have a spark waiting to be kindled, so that we will have the motivation and strength to walk through the arofel, as kedoshim, reaching for the Heavens. Have a good Yom Tov.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Keep Showing Up: An Unexpected Lesson From Shavuot Sarah Pachter

I’ve always wondered about something. Every year as a Jewish nation, we are supposed to relive the holidays as though the events which we are celebrating are happening right now. For example, on Passover, we are supposed to feel that we are actually being freed from Egypt. On Shavuot, we are meant to re-accept G-d’s Torah upon ourselves, as if we are Har Sinai right now. However, this is a pretty difficult thing for anyone to do. For instance, most women have a hard time feeling freed from slavery when they are slaving away in the kitchen prepping for Passover. As for Shavuot, no matter how wild your imagination is, it is difficult to feel as though you are standing at Mount Sinai in 2018, experiencing firsthand the giving of the Torah. This Shavuot, our family will be in Israel celebrating my nephew’s bar mitzvah. Despite my excitement, for better or worse, my mind has been occupied with lists of packing items and itinerary ideas for my family of six. Additionally, I have been on call for my sister helping her when I can. Honestly, I feel that I have been preparing more for the flight than matan Torah itself. What does re-accepting the Torah each year really mean? How can the average person who is caught up in everyday tasks apply this concept to his or her own life? There is a quintessential phrase that the Jewish nation proclaimed at Har Sinai: “Naaseh v’nishmah,” often translated as, “We will do, and we will listen.”

We understand this to mean that the Jewish people were over-enthusiastic about receiving the Torah. Unlike other nations, we were so excited about the gift of Torah that it didn’t even matter to us what was written inside. We immediately proclaimed, “Yes! We will follow! Don’t worry G-d, count us in! You can tell us what’s inside later!” In today’s terms, that might be the equivalent of doing a favor for someone without asking questions or rushing to help someone even if you’re not sure what needs to be done. Rav Zalmen Mindell explains that the concept of Naaseh v’nishmah is actually much deeper. Naaseh and nishmah are two very different ideas. Naaseh comes from the Hebrew word aseh, meaning “to do.” It connotes, I may not really feel like it, but I’m doing it anyway. Nishmah comes from the Hebrew word shema. Shema translates into “listen” or “hear.” Yet it’s not referring to the physical ability to hear sound, but rather to understand or resonate with something. For example, if we are having a conversation, and I say to you, “I hear you,” I am referring to the fact that the comment resonated with me and I connected to it. Thus, “Naaseh v’nishmah” means: I’m doing it despite not feeling connected right now because I know that one day I will be “nishmah” again and feel connected then. In no way, however, does this mean blind acceptance. When Jews received the Torah, they were “Naaseh and nishmah.” They were committed to this reality called Torah (growth). They understood that it

wouldn’t always be total clarity; we knew Torah would not always be easy. We knew there would be times we did not understand God’s ways, but we would stick with it regardless. I recently saw an Instagram quote that said, “Keep showing up.” If you’ve overslept, or you don’t feel like it, you show up to the office anyway. That’s also Naaseh v’nishmah. This is the secret to getting through life’s rough patches. When things get tough, we must stick with our commitments regardless. We get through hard times by doing, being aseh, and knowing it will one day be good again. Growth, Torah, is about saying, “I’M GOING TO DO IT, I’ve committed!” All of this makes me think of half-pipe skateboarding. (I know what you’re thinking: Sarah, how did you get from Sinai to half pipe? Hang with me here.) One time I went bike riding with my family in Venice Beach, and we stopped to look at the skateboarders riding the half pipe. All the spectators were cheering with fervor each time the skater did their trick at the top of the pipe. When the skater is standing at the top of the ramp about to skate down, is he upset that he has to skate down? No! He embraces the “down” because it is precisely the down that enables him to move back up and perform the trick. He can NEVER do the trick unless he goes back down. We should embrace the down, knowing that the down gives us the adrenaline and speed to go back up! This is what it means to relive the accepting of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s too hard for us to envision Sinai and feel we are experiencing matan Torah. However, every one of us can relate to the feelings of ups and downs in life. We all have moments of feeling emotionally and physically strong, and we all have moments of feeling emotionally weak and wanting to give up. Regarding Judaism, sometimes we feel very connected to Hashem, His Torah, and mitzvot, and sometimes we are just going through the motions. On Shavuot we are given a gift called Torah, called growth, and we recommit ourselves to what we know will help us get up again. We accept this reality and commit to it even when we

don’t feel like it because one day we will reconnect. This can be applied to our personal commitments, and to ideas like our health, finances, and relationship goals. Shavuot is a time to recommit and follow through with that commitment. My nephew was born on Shavuot, and as I mentioned, we will be celebrating his bar mitzvah in Jerusalem exactly thirteen years later. He will be accepting Torah upon himself for the first time. I’ll never forget the first Shabbos after my sister and brother-in-law brought him home from the hospital. They ushered Shabbos in with a calm that was almost too good to be true. Everything was peaceful and quiet as my brother-in-law was about to start kiddush. As soon as he opened his mouth to recite the holy words, my nephew starting crying, which turned into hysterical wailing that not stop for six months straight! Yup, he was about as colicky as they come. Did my sister and brother-in-law say, “Oh forget this parenting thing! Let’s drop him to the fire station – this is too hard?” No! They rolled up their sleeves and raised him one day at a time. They showed up despite the ups and downs. My sister committed to parenting her child, no matter how difficult, knowing there would one day be an “up” again – like his bar mitzvah day. Up until now, every time he committed a sin, the onus was on his parents. But after turning thirteen, one accepts the Torah upon himself. The obligation is now upon that person. This means when we become a mature adult, we recognize there will be ups and downs. There will be times where we feel connected to prayer and mitzvot, and times where we are tired, disconnected and simply don’t feel like it. Shavuot, whether one is celebrating a bar mitzvah or not, is a time to recommit to something larger than ourselves. It’s about reconnecting to something greater and something infinite. This is what it means to truly accept the Torah upon ourselves the way the Jewish nation did on Mount Sinai. May we all have the strength and courage to accept the Torah upon ourselves this Shavuot and each day moving forward.


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MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Senator Joe Lieberman on His Newest Book on Shavuos By Rena Gray

T

he period between Pesach and Shavuos is viewed by many as a time for personal growth, humble reflection, and Torah learning. Senator Joe Lieberman, together with Rabbi Ari Kahn, used this time as a stage for their new book, With Liberty and Justice: The Fifty-Day Journey from Egypt to Sinai, blending Jewish observance with political experience as they lead readers through the counting of the omer. Acting as a concise yet comprehensive sefira companion, the work is comprised of fifty essays – one for each day of sefira – on the topic of law and liberty in our lives today. The Senator supports his ideas with verses from the Torah and Talmud and ties it together with personal accounts from his political career and religious experiences. We recently spoke with Senator Lieberman about his newest book and to gain some insight into his unique role as an Orthodox Jew in politics.

Senator, what prompted you to write this book? In some sense it is a follow up to the book I wrote on Shabbat, The Gift of Rest. I just felt very good about it and felt that it had a positive effect on people who read it. I was encouraged by my teacher and friend Rabbi Menachem Genack to write another book and he suggested one on Passover. I felt, respectfully, that there were already

so many books on Passover, and to me the most underappreciated holiday in the Jewish year is Shavuot, arguably one of the most important because it commemorates the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. I thought this would be an opportunity to write something that would make the connection between Shavuot, the festival of receiving the law, and Passover, the festival of our freedom – to have it both be an argument for

more observance of Shavuot and also a discussion of the necessity and importance of law in both Jewish history and any civilized society in the world. The basic message is that G-d freed the Jewish nation in the Exodus from Egypt, which we celebrate on Passover, but the purpose was not just freedom alone; as I say in the book, the Children of Israel were not just let go in the desert to just

go wander freely and they were not essentially emancipated to become citizens of Egypt – they were given a mission. And this is what Moses appeals to Pharaoh for constantly: to serve G-d and to go to Mt. Sinai to receive the law. And I think in this journey there’s a big message from the Torah, which is that freedom alone is not enough. That humans, because we’re imperfect, need law to set standards to embrace our values


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and to live civilized lives. This concept also holds true in modern society. Yes, it does. A lot has changed – we’ve gone from the agricultural age to the industrial age to the information age, and we have previously undreamed of capabilities technologically but human nature remains what it is. History tells us, as it did at the time of the Exodus and Sinai, that without law societies will inevitably degenerate into chaos, violence, immorality, and perhaps even self-destruction. With law they have a chance to live better lives and achieve justice. The other end of it is, as I say in the book, that if there’s too much law, you lose your freedom and you end up where the Jews were in Egypt – in slavery – and that’s obviously not acceptable either. So I think that that is still true of human nature. As we see in rule-of-law societies such as ours, Israel and some European countries, people live better and more secure lives. In other countries that are more authoritarian or totalitarian like Iran and North Korea, and increasingly Russia and Turkey, people don’t have freedom, which is their birthright from G-d. Who would you say is the target audience for your book? That’s a good question. I think there are different target audiences. I think the book will probably be read a lot by Jewish people who are religiously observant and already observe Shavuot. It’s divided into 50 essays that you can read every day during the counting of the Omer between the two holidays, and I hope that people will read it and that it will enrich their journey from Egypt to Sinai. But I’m also hoping for two other audiences. One is for people who observe Pesach but never get to Shavuot; some may not even know about it. I hope that this intrigues them enough that they want to, if nothing else, gather in a group on Shavuot to study the law and the place of the Ten Commandments in Jewish and world history, maybe even using my book as a guide to doing that.

The third audience, which might be the furthest reach, is people who are just interested in the law. I do

laughs] I think I would try to work in a Shavuot seder on the first night where people gathered around the

The day Al Gore and I would have been sworn in, I probably would have stayed at a hotel nearby and walked to the Capitol.

make a lot of comparisons between Jewish law and secular law [including] some very close connections between what happened at Mt. Sinai and what happened in Philadelphia when America declared its independence and adopted the Constitution. In many ways the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai was the beginning of law as we know it, certainly in Western civilization. Early on in its history Christianity embraced the Ten Commandments, and Islam does too. Why do you think it is that Pesach is so well-known while Shavuos is quite the opposite? Well, it’s really interesting – I think it’s a combination of factors. One is the appeal of the story, which is that freedom is our birthright and that G-d entered history to take the Israelites out of slavery. Of course that’s been a metaphor for freedom movements since Sinai and certainly in modern history in the Civil Rights movement here in the United States. The second is that the central event for many people of Passover observance is the seder. The seder [invites] family and friends around a table, which is a very pleasant and memorable experience that people want to repeat. Also the text of the Haggadah, while in some ways is quite ornate and complicated, seems to draw people into the discussion by the way it was constructed. If they authorized me to redesign Shavuot [the Senator

dinner table, obviously eating dairy food and discussing really what happened on Mt. Siinai. In Jewish law there’s the Written and Oral Torah. Is there anything comparable in secular law?

Moshe says in the Torah that this is the law of G-d and you cannot add to it or subtract from it, but [in its] context it couldn’t answer all of the questions. There was clearly a need for [interpretation]. The Torah provided for this by enumerating sources of authority, the Kohanim or Sanhedrin, to interpret the Torah, and that’s the tradition. This development of interpretation of the Written Law of the Torah grew more intense when Jerusalem fell and the Temple was destroyed and the Jewish people were in the diaspora. The rabbis put a larger role in really sustaining Judaism without the Temple, without Jerusalem, and without Israel. It’s quite interesting, though it’s not an exact parallel, but in America we have a written Constitution, but there, too, it’s clearly a statement of general principles that need application and interpretation. In our system, judges, sometimes legislators, and sometimes executives by regulation are there to interpret and

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The Week In News Feature

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apply the law. You can change the Constitution; you can’t change the Torah. You can amend the Constitution, and it has been amended, but it’s very difficult so it doesn’t happen very often. In your political career did you ever experience a clash between American and Jewish law? Generally I did not have that kind of conflict. What would you have done if you would have won the vice presidency in the year 2002 and when the presidential inauguration fell on Shabbos? What are the general challenges of being an Orthodox Jew in politics? I made a rule for myself when I started out way back at the state Senate level in Connecticut, which was that I would not do political events on Shabbat, but that I would

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

try very hard never to fail to carry out my governmental responsibilities on Shabbat. When it really came into conflict was when I became a U.S. senator and there were times, probably over forty in the 24 years that I was in the Senate, where there were votes on Friday night or Saturday and I felt it was my responsibility to vote because if I wasn’t there, I couldn’t delegate my vote – I couldn’t sign over power of attorney. If I wasn’t there Connecticut would only have half of the representation they were entitled to, so I would walk or stay down at the capital. The day that Al Gore and I would have been sworn in, I probably would have stayed at a hotel nearby and walked to the Capitol. I felt an obligation, even though we had not been declared the winners, to walk to be there, and so I walked in. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Senator. My pleasure, thank you!

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By the early 1970s, I was fully observing Shabbat, but on the festivals, after attending synagogue in the morning, and sharing a meal with my family, I would go to work in the afternoon. After I had become a state senator, I committed to a political event during the afternoon of one Shavuot holiday. I was feeling guilty about doing so, but I did not want to back out of my commitment. When I closed the front door of my house as I left for the event, something flew by my eyes. I looked down at the stoop and saw a klaf, the small piece of parchment that sits inside the mezuzah... As part of our service to G-d, we are to put tefillin on every day, place mezuzot on our doorposts, and teach the commandments to our children. Going to a political event on Shavuot was in direct violation of those commandments. I looked at my front doorpost and, sure enough, the back of the mezuzah had come loose, releasing the klaf to the ground. I had opened and shut that door any number of times. Why did it now unsettle the mezuzah? For me, the answer was clear. I looked up and said: “OK, G-d. I got the message. This is the last time I go to a political event or work on one of the festivals. And it was.” I could not be happier about that decision. - From With Liberty and Justice: The Fifty-Day Journey from Egypt to Sinai, Day 44, “A Mystical Shavuot”

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The Week In News Recipe

In The K

MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

tchen

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Ingredients for decoration: 1/4 cup pecans, halved 2 tbsp of silan (date syrup)

Preparation 1. Dust the surface with flour and gently roll out the dough to 1/4’’ thick, put it in the baking pan, cut the excess dough from the edges of the pan, pierce the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for half an hour. 2. Heat the oven to 340 °F . 3. Cheese filling: mix all of the ingredients of the filling, except for the beaten egg. Add the egg, and stir until smooth and even. Pour into the pan on top of the crust. 4. The pecan and the silan filling: mix all the ingredients together and gently pour over the cheese filling. 5. Arrange the pecan nuts on top of the pie. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool. 6. Mix 2 tbsp of silan with a tsp of boiling water and brush the pie with the mixture. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.


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MAY 17, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

UN’s Top Nuclear Inspector Steps Down

The head inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, resigned from his post last week. No reason has been provided for Tero Varjoranta’s quick exit from his position, which was announced a few days after President Donald Trump backed out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The IAEA is in charge of, among other things, inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities and verifying the country’s compliance with the deal that was signed in 2015. Varjoranta had held his position since late 2013 and will temporarily be replaced by Massimo Aparo, the acting director of the Agency’s Office for Verification in Iran. “The Agency’s safeguards activities will continue to be carried out in a highly professional manner,” its spokesperson said. A permanent replacement is to be appointed as soon as possible. The United States has said that although it has withdrawn from the deal, it still expects the IAEA’s inspections in Iran to continue. “The United States will continue to support the robust implementation of IAEA inspections in Iran to the full extent of the IAEA’s authority,” an official at the U.S. mission said after news of Varjoranta’s retirement was announced.. Though the other parties to the deal, including China, Russia, and many European powers, are keen on keeping it in place, many analysts feel that the deal will soon collapse under the economic sanctions the United States has reinstituted.

Made in China In an attempt to create a navy worthy of rivaling the world’s leading maritime powers, China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier began sea trials on Sunday. The new aircraft carrier, temporarily

named Type 001A, set sail at around 7 a.m., according to reports in Chinese state media. The massive 50,000-tonne ship will become the country’s second aircraft carrier. The ship is roughly 1,033 feet in length and 246 feet wide. This is the first aircraft carrier to be entirely built and designed in China. It will join the fleet before 2020. Following the carrier’s sea trial Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a few words. He announced plans to build a ”world-class” navy under the banner of the Chinese Communist Party. China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, was revealed in 2012. The vessel was purchased from the Ukraine and was said to have fulfilled a “70-year dream” of the Chinese nation. The new aircraft will boost China’s military power in the Asia region. However, according to U.S. officials, its technology is not as sophisticated as other nations’ vessels. “This is, in and of itself, not designed to be some frontal challenge to U.S. power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn’t in the class of America’s aircraft carriers,” Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney’s Lowy Institute, noted. The plans for the second aircraft carrier are more “modernized” compared to its first. Experts said the design will be larger and heavier to allow it to carry more aircrafts.

As of this year, the United States Navy fields 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, more than any other nation in the world. U.S. ships feature “catapult” technology, in which gear attached to a steam-powered piston or an electromagnetic rail gets aircraft up to flight speed as they leave the deck. Aircraft launched by catapults can get airborne faster, loaded with greater quantities of fuel and ammunition, giving them an advantage. Other planes rely on their own power when lifting off from the Liaoning’s ski-jump. “The U.S. Navy and the capability for the U.S. Navy will still be superior to the Chinese Navy in 10 years, but the size of the Chinese fleet will be larger and they’ll have closed the gap in technology and training,” Boston College professor of political science Robert Ross observed.

Double Amputee Conquers Everest A Chinese double-amputee who lost his feet to frostbite in a previous effort to scale Mount Everest  is among the first

group of climbers to summit the world’s tallest mountain this year. Xia Boyu, 69, conquered Everest early Monday on his fifth attempt, ending a 43year battle with the 29,029-foot giant. Xia was almost not even allowed to take on the mountain again. The Nepali government recently introduced a ban on double amputee and blind climbers from summiting its mountains. The move was overturned by Nepal’s Supreme Court in March on the basis that it discriminated against disabled people, leaving Xia free to once again pursue his dream.

The Chinese climber is only the second double amputee to reach the highest point on Earth, following New Zealander Mark Inglis, who conquered it in 2006. Xia is the first double-amputee to summit from the Nepalese side of the mountain. Xia’s first attempt was in 1975 as part of a Chinese government-supported expe-

dition. However, bad weather stranded him close to the top of the mountain where oxygen levels are low and unexpected storms can be deadly. Though he made it down alive, he suffered severe frostbite and lost both feet. He was later diagnosed with blood cancer, requiring both legs to be amputated below the knee. Xia returned to Everest in 2014 and 2015, but was unable to attempt a climb after the season was canceled due to natural disasters. In 2016, he made it within 700 feet of the summit before being forced to abandon the climb. Before this year’s expedition, Xia said, “Climbing Mount Everest is my dream. I have to realize it. It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate.” Last year, 634 people summited Everest and seven people died while attempting to climb the mountain. More than 300 people are known to have died attempting to conquer Everest. The Nepalese government has been battling to reduce the number of climbers on the mountain, citing safety and environmental issues that such large numbers bring. With such a small climbing window, the top of Everest can become extremely congested. Expeditions have been forced to wait in line for hours near the top of the mountain, putting climbers at risk of exposure injuries and sudden weather changes.

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Scenes From The Opening Of The U.S. Embassy In Jerusalem This Week


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