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The Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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

JEWISH THOUGHT Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

LIFESTYLES Op-Ed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Humor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13




Dear readers, We’re told, “Fix yourself first, then fix others.” The reasons usually given are these: 1. You can’t help someone else without helping yourself first. In the words of flight attendants everywhere, “Make sure your oxygen is secured before helping others with theirs.” 2. It’s hypocritical to explain the value of a certain habit while not practicing it yourself. As usual, there’s more to it. Inspiring others, even by way of a living example, equals influencing from the outside. But each one of us has a person they can affect and influence from the inside: ourselves. There’s one person in this world whom we can completely change, inspire, uplift, and totally remake. All we need to do is internalize our prayers, learning, lessons learnt from others, and in general strive constantly to be a bit better than we were yesterday. In this area, we are more effective, more powerful, than anyone else, so we should make it our #1 priority. The truth is, on a spiritual level, by being who we should be we are already influencing others. “Kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh,” means that the good we do automatically lifts up the collective Jewish soul. May we continue inspiring each other these last days of golus until the time when “…no longer shall one teach his neighbor or one his brother… for they shall all know Me.” Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos, 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

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News Communicated

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Are You Looking to Take Your Business to the Next Level?

Are you struggling with the art of delegation? Are you looking to scale your business? Are you wondering how the new tax laws will affect your business? Most small to medium sized businesses all face these critical challenges. That is how the Winning Edge 2018 was born. The one-day executive business conference is scheduled to take place on Monday, June 18, 2018, at Montclair State University and will address these and other burning business concerns. Presented by Saul Friedman and Co. and produced by Bottom Line Marketing Group, the Winning Edge 2018 is designed for entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners to gain valuable insights and strategies for tackling their most pressing business challenges. Through rapid-fire sessions and presentations from key business celebrities, attendees will be educated on the most innovative methods for taking their businesses to the next level and leave with real takeaways to be better equipped to develop their businesses, expand their corporate visions, and grow their company brands. The Winning Edge 2018 has confirmed a full line-up of fascinating and engaging presenters who have earned acclaim for their wisdom and experience, stimulating corporate audiences around the globe. The opening keynote presentation will be given by sought-after lecturer and NSA Speaker Hall of Fame, Jeffrey Hayzlett. A celebrated business expert, Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime TV and radio host,

global business celebrity, and bestselling author. Formerly the CMO of Fortune 100 company, Eastman Kodak, and presently Chairman of the C-Suite Network, Jeffrey is an expert in brand marketing, focusing on business transformation, leadership, and change management to drive businesses to grow. The conference will close with a keynote presentation given by Stephen Shapiro. Appropriately dubbed the “Innovation Instigator,” Stephen Shapiro is a sought-after speaker and business advisor, most notable for his expertise on business innovation and his work with key clients like Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and Dell. Passionate and captivating, Stephen’s high-energy lectures get audiences out of their seats and into new ways of thinking about their business growth. Other presenters include Michael A. Macintyre, U.S. Head of Retail of HSBC; Michael Langer, Founder and CEO of Gul-

liver’s Gate; Saul N. Friedman and Simeon Friedman of Saul N. Friedman and Company; Yitzchok Saftlas, Founder and CEO of Bottom Line Marketing Group; Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union; Bradley Nash and Solomon Klein, Partners at Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP; and Josh Nass, Founder & CEO of Josh Nass Public Relations. The event will be held at Montclair State University, centrally located within the tri-state area, and within close distance to major airports. Two delicious meals will be fully catered by Fine Art Catering under the supervision of the KCL. There will be a mashgiach temidi on premises. Following the event, participants will receive a post-event whitepaper: an orga-

nized, concise yet comprehensive, compilation of key points and ideas from each presentation. The goal of the whitepaper is to provide a real takeaway to promote and maximum post-conference growth and retention. With interactive workshops, high-level networking, and a range of presentations, The Winning Edge 2018, promises to be a rewarding experience for executives to gain critical tools to advance in the corporate world. Secure your spot today and walk away with real takeaways which are certain to propel your business forward! To make reservations, go to or call 718-412-3508.

Kol Sasson at Amuka Sometimes, the most painful sound is silence. …When the phones have stopped ringing because shadchanim have stopped calling. …When the house remains quiet, as adult children visit with no grandchildren in tow to disrupt the stale monotony. …When the hopeless heart beats soundlessly, as even its deepest dreams and wishes have become muted with the passage of time.

It’s time to shatter that silence. As we approach the yahrtzeit of Rabi Yonason ben Uziel, 26 Sivan, the famed tanna whose holiness fired up the entire world with Torah and light, we hear a whisper – of hope, of rachamim, of yeshua. After all, generations upon generations of Yidden have been zocheh to find their zivugim after davening at Rabi Yonason ben Uziel’s kever in Amuka. And this year, Kollel Chatzos has been nominated to serve as shiluchei tzibur for the many

broken-hearted older singles, who are desperately waiting for a shidduch.

Kollel representatives will learn all night and then daven at Amuka in their zechus on Friday night and Motzei Shabbos of 26 Sivan. And they will continue to storm shaarei shamayim for the rest of the year – until the silence is shattered and the kol sasson fills the air. When people are waiting – still. When things are quiet – and still. It takes a little bit to listen and hear an invitation for more Torah, more tefilah – and a yeshua.

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Congregation Bais Naftoli Hosts Annual Breakfast press re le a s e Andrew Friedman, President of Congregation Bais Naftoli, has announced that the synagogue will be celebrating its 26th Annual Breakfast on June 10, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. This year’s honorees will be Morton A. Klein, National President of Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), and Dr. David Frey, Director of Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, U.S. Military Academy. The event’s special guest will be the Hungarian Consul General, Tamas Szeles. Under the leadership of honoree Morton Klein, the ZOA has become the most credible advocate for Israel on the American-Jewish scene today. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “Morton Klein has done important work explaining Israel’s case to the American public, media, and Congress. Morton Klein refuses to compromise the truth

and emphasizes that Israel doesn’t occupy Arab land.” David Frey is Professor of History at West Point and the author of Jews, Nazis and the Cinema of Hungary. Dr. Frey spearheaded efforts to increase the U.S. Armed Forces’ awareness and understanding of the phenomenon of genocide, in general, and the Holocaust, in particular. Among his many initiatives, he conducts annual workshops for military academy students as a means of prevention. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has appointed Dr. Frey to its Education Committee and as a member of the Steering Committee. Consul General Tamas Szeles will be the synagogue’s special guest in appreciation for the recent vote of the Hungarian government at the European Union supporting the American move to establish

the Israeli Embassy in Jerusalem. In the near future, the Prime Minister of Hungary, represented at the Breakfast by Consul General Szeles, will be the guest of the Israeli government at the invitation of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Congregation Bais Naftoli is composed of Holocaust survivors and modern Amer-

ican professionals. It provides charitable services throughout Southern California to those in desperate need of food, clothing, and shelter. The synagogue is located at 221 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036. For reservations, please RSVP to (323) 931-2476.

whose families could not afford health insurance. This inspired him to author Healthy Families, a California public benefits program, which has served more than 750,000 children in our State. Without question, this life-saving program stands as one of Antonio’s hallmark legislative accomplishments, and reflects his commitment to best serving our families. As Mayor, Antonio was also never shy about challenging the stagnant educational system, knowing that in addition to needing our children to be healthy, it is imperative for them to be well educated – as this is vital for their future success regardless of race, religion, or creed. A tenet of Judaism is to foster a healthy and prosperous population. This principle is biblically illustrated with the story of Jacob arriving at the city of Shechem, where he helped form institutions of public hygiene, marketplaces, and monetary policy. Jacob knew the vital importance for everyone to have an equal opportunity to thrive, and as one of our Patriarchs, his legacy is indelibly etched into the moral fiber of our lives today.

On a broader level, while we are all applauding the great accomplishment of our President in moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city of Jerusalem, let us remember that 8 years ago, Antonio stood on the democratic convention national stage in front of millions of people and proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. He has personally visited Israel, and I can say without hesitation, that Antonio places great value on the heritage of the Jewish people and its rightful land. As Jewish residents of the great City of Los Angeles, we have an obligation to vote in next week’s primary and thank G-d we have the freedom in our country to choose the candidate we prefer. With this in mind, I write this piece to share the assets I personally know Antonio possesses after watching him serve as our State Speaker, Councilmember, Mayor, and friend. Antonio and I have spent time with each other’s families, sharing dinners, special occasions, and spirited discussions; though we may come from different backgrounds and religions – and I do not agree with all of his policies – there is no doubt that the Antonio I know remains dedicated to making every effort to help provide our State’s children and families the best possible foundation on which to pursue the dreams we all share for a bright future. This will be Antonio Villaraigosa as California’s next governor.


Villaraigosa as Governor By Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten

On June 5th, the score card on who will be the contenders for the gubernatorial race in California will be set in print. While there are 27 candidates vying for this coveted role, only 2 will be chosen by voters. As leading media outlets are paid to do, they provide polls and commentary projecting the winners of the upcoming primaries; however, if recent years have taught us anything, polls of this nature are often not based in reality or hold much credibility. At the end of the day, it’s the voters’ voice that matters. For decades, California has been seen as a bright blue state, regardless of the party of our governor. Our current governor, Jerry Brown, and his Senate, have burdened our State with billions of dollars to build a train that will unlikely have a tangible benefit, and has turned our Central Valley into a dustbowl, which has severely impacted our farms and its workers. These two topics alone deserve their own attention and outcry; though for me personally, one of the most egregious failures of California’s leadership is the shameful state of our public healthcare system – specifically Medi-Cal, which for all intents and purposes, is broken. While millions of Californians have a Medi-Cal benefits ID card in their wallet, the obstacles to simply identify specialists, afford one’s share of cost, or even receive medical care results in far too many people unable to get the

help they need. What’s worse is that for those adults diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, almost all of our City’s major hospitals and specialists do not accept HMO Medi-Cal; thus patients are going without care. Many people might not find these topics of interest, as they have no impact on their daily lives. However, for hundreds of thousands of Californians, specifically in Greater Los Angeles, this governmental breakdown has resulted in needless suffering and irreparably broken families. As we closely examine our candidates, we must look at what they bring to the healthcare table, as well as their commitment to our State’s most vulnerable people. From time to time, I’ve written articles about my own experiences with various politicians, and most recently about my personal relationship over the past 30 years with President Donald J. Trump. With this in mind I am writing to convey my endorsement and support for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor. When I first met Antonio, he was Speaker of the California State Assembly. What struck me most was his dedication to bettering our healthcare system to help ensure that those in need could receive medical care, regardless of their ability to pay. He was especially concerned with the countless number of children in our State

Torah Musings The Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Amen: The Power of a One Word Wonder Sarah Pachter

“Sarah, would you please lead us in saying grace?” The request hit me like a ton of bricks. At nine years old, I was the token Jew in my elementary school. Sitting at my Christian classmate’s dinner table, I had never felt more out of place. Cue Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents, when he is asked to lead a prayer before the meal. I politely declined, then proceeded to hold hands with my tablemates while my friend led the benediction. Dinner turned out to be lovely and uneventful (unlike poor Ben Stiller’s), and I didn’t think about that moment again for many years afterward. Later in life, along my journey toward becoming more observant, this dinner scene played out in my mind as I began to learn about the beautiful laws of brachot, which instruct us to make a special blessing before and after we enjoy food. Even the smallest bite or snack warrants a blessing, recognizing through each food group that G-d is the Source of all blessing, and Creator of all that we are fortunate to consume. And then I learned the real kicker: not only are we required to say words of gratitude before each new food category that we eat, but if someone recites a blessing over food aloud, those present should respond with the word “amen.” It turns out this one word has tremendous power, even more so than the blessing itself (Brachot 53b, Nazir 66). Most people may not realize that saying amen after a blessing is the halachah (Orach Chaim 124), and the sages write that the reward for this one word is beyond the comprehension of angels. Some liken a blessing made with no one to answer “amen” to a check with no signature. Social powers are at play here as well, as one cannot say “amen” to their own blessing. How is this possible? After all, it’s only one word – how could the reward be so great? Also, a simple one-word response to a blessing would seem to be much easier than remembering to say a blessing unprompted before each new food. What is it about this word that seems to garner so much power in the upper realms? Rabbi Yaakov Marcus from Neve Yerushalayim has an incredible insight about the power of Amen and its connection to an unlikely source: art. A successful artist needs three things:

creative talent, skill, and continuity. If one does not have that initial spark of inspiration, then art cannot possibly spring forth. But creativity without the skill to implement it will not lead to anything worthwhile. Lastly, and potentially the most important, is that an artist needs continuity, rather than just a single creative moment. If someone claims to be an artist and then admits that they have only made one painting, most people would agree that the title is a bit of a stretch. In order to be called an artist, one must create art repeatedly. Interestingly enough, the word for artist or craftsman in Hebrew is omanot, which has the root amen. This begs the question, where does the word “amen” really come from, and is there a deeper connection to the creative work of an artist? Hashem is the ultimate artist, for He: 1. created the universe (creative talent) 2. is running it constantly (skill) 3. continues renewing his creations forever (continuity) Amen is also the root for the word emunah, or “faith.” Recognizing that Hashem is the ultimate artist is the key to unlocking a deep level of faith in our Creator. And when we say amen, we are affirming that we trust in Hashem and that He has the inspiration, skill, and continuity to create life. Because He is the master artist, Hashem didn’t just create the world and walk away. Every moment of every day, He continues to create us, allowing us to survive with each breath we take. But why is amen more powerful than the blessing over a food item itself? Imagine a time when you were absolutely ravenous. Before taking a bite, you quickly recite a blessing acknowledging Hashem as the creator of everything, and then proceed to chow down. I’m acknowledging that G-d is in control, but my mind is really focused on the food in front of me. The person sitting next to me, however, already had their lunch and is not interested in my meal. By stating, “Amen,” to my brachah, they are acknowledging that Hashem creates so much more than my simple lunch. Their amen, and the acknowledgement of my blessing, brings an additional layer of meaning that can only come from someone who is not focused on satiating their own physical needs.

One cannot say amen to their own brachah because a hungry person may not be able to see beyond the food in front of them. On the other hand, the individual who responds amen merits such an immense reward because without benefiting from the physical gratification, they are able to broaden the meaning of the blessing beyond the momentary enjoyment (Maharal in Netivat Olam, “Netiv Ha’Avodah” 11). Keeping this intention in mind, the possibilities for spiritual wealth are endless, especially when it comes to such a seemingly simple act. Of course, it is important to put focus on the big commandments – we spend so much time and energy

on Shabbat and keeping kosher, but amen is such an easy action that we often let slip through our fingers. However, don’t let its simplicity fool you into thinking that it is not capable of making a big spiritual impact. Imagine if we were to say, “Amen,” just once a day over the course of our lifetime – that would be approximately 28,480 additional opportunities to speak aloud our belief in G-d, the power of which we cannot begin to fathom. So the next time you overhear a brachah, take the extra second to focus and respond, “Amen.” That one little word that has more power than you think.

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

The airplane I am on taxis along the Newark Liberty Airport runway. Rain washes the windows and I think to myself, “That’s the last rain I’ll be seeing for a while. Where I am headed, the sun shines strongly all day.” I lift a newspaper, scan the headlines, and a line pops out at me: “…Hamas, which the US and Israel consider a terrorist group.” I wonder: What does the rest of the world consider animals who kill men, women and children with no compunction? What do Germany and England consider them? Do they not read? Do they have no knowledge at all? Yet, the nations and media of the West are upset that Israel defended itself against thousands of people determined to crash its border and kill Jews. Have they no shame? Is their anti-Semitism so strong that it overweighs simple common sense? Is everything permissible when the target is a Jew, or President Trump, with bonus points when with one statement you can condemn both? Having seen enough, I put away the paper and settled in for the flight to Eretz Yisroel for the Yom Tov of Kabbolas HaTorah. We finally arrive in Yerushalayim, put our stuff down, and immediately feel at home. Erev Yom Tov, we walk through Meah Shearim and Geulah, watching multitudes of people of all ages prepare for Yom Tov. They dart from store to store, making sure that they will have all they need for the “two-day” Yom Tov of Shabbos and Sunday. People select flowers from sidewalk vendors as though they are choosing an esrog, making sure that they are getting the nicest bunch of flowers available to adorn the Yom Tov. There is a happiness and seriousness involved in ensuring that Yom Tov will be observed as best as possible. Every day in Yerushalayim is special, Shabbos even more so, with Yom Tov taking on its own special glow. Despite the

intense heat, thousands made their way to the Kosel on Shavuos morning, rivers of people converging on the holy site from all over the city, the sounds of the tefillos rising on high at the place from where the Shechinah has never departed. During the day of Yom Tov, you see families walking across town, just as you are, to spend time with family and friends, ignoring the heat and oppressive sun. I’d rather be in Yerushalayim drenched from sweat than back in New York soaked from incessant rain. Adorable children without a care in the world take over the streets, playing a variety of games and taking their riding toys for spins up and down the hills

ing their loads at a reinforced underground wall under construction, designed to deter Hamas tunnels. We see the barbed wire fences and fields burnt and destroyed by Hamas Molotov kites and thank Hashem that the damage isn’t more severe. We enter Sderot. The last time I was there was a few years ago, when it was under rocket bombardment. Then the citizens were fearful, waiting for the barrages to end. Today, the rockets seem to be a distant memory. We visit religious sites and then look for some food. We find a “Mehadrin” bakery and ask them about local kosher eateries. They tell us about a chumus/techinah store around

There is sanctity in the way they choose peaches, tomatoes and a watermelon for Shabbos. of the holy city. Following Yom Tov, we try something different and head south towards the Gaza border with my friend, Meir Eiseman, to see for ourselves what is going on there. We visited small border towns as well, including the one-makolet-town of Yated. Not much was going on there. Maybe it was the 100-degree heat. More likely, nothing much happens there at any time. We found the border basically deserted, with a few hidden tanks here and there and some bored soldiers seemingly just hanging around. Nobody stopped us or asked any questions as we drove around. Truck traffic is quite brisk at the Kerem Shalom crossing point into Gaza, with massive tractor trailer trucks bringing in all sorts of supplies, despite reports to the contrary. Cement trucks are busily empty-

the corner. We had passed it and it didn’t seem too kosher, so we ask them about its kosher status. The proprietor responds, “Maybe they got a rabbi to give them a petek [certifying that the store is kosher], maybe they didn’t, but you should go there, the chumus is really excellent.” A sad commentary on the way so many people view religion. We drive some more and come across a food store with a big “Mehadrin” sign. We park and enter, but it’s already 4:00 and the owner wants to go home. “Ani holeich habayta,” he says with no feeling. We say shalom, buy some water, and are back on the road again. We continue on to Yerushalayim via Kfar Etzion, stopping to take selfies at the new American embassy and to the nearby Tayelet, for gorgeous views of the city.

Then it’s time for Mincha. Wednesday, we stayed in Yerushalayim. We started our “tourist” day at the Kosel, davening for family and friends and simply basking in the experience of being there, watching all types of Jews interact with the Creator. For many years, remembering the fierce protests that took place over archeological practices at the site, I couldn’t bring myself to visit Ihr Dovid. Some thirty years have passed since then and it was time to see what is there. We learn Nach and are familiar with some of the places referred to there, but aino domeh shmiah l’re’iyah. When you see remains of buildings dating back to the periods before and after the Bais Hamikdosh, your heart beats differently. The trek makes history come alive. Walking on the same stone road that was trod upon by the Tanno’im and hundreds of thousands of people going to be oleh regel tingles your essence. You look at the stones and feel them, as if some kedusha can transfer from them. You see the existing walls of small stores that lined the way, selling supplies for the olei regel and perhaps small animals to use for korbanos. And it all becomes real. You imagine it all taking place and are overcome by the scene playing in your head. You look around and see giant rocks that the Romans knocked off from the top of the Kosel as they were laying waste to everything holy. The rocks sit there, frozen in time. We walk some more. As we come to the steps which lead to Shaar Chulda, through which most people would enter the Har Habayis, we see an area full of mikvaos, dating back to the time when people would purify themselves before climbing the steps to enter the Bais Hamikdosh. Some of those very steps are still there, allowing us to climb and imagine what was and what will be. All this right in the shadow of the Kosel. So many of us have passed by much of this and not known what we are missing out on, as we just walk by and look down at the excavations. We see words inscribed on one of the stones of the Kosel down at its southern end. With some help, we make out a prophecy of the novi Yeshayahu scratched into the ancient stone by a pilgrim like us, no doubt, who couldn’t contain his exuberance at witnessing the hallowed remainder of the Bais Hamikosh. The anonymous person wrote, “Ure’isem v’sos libchem, v’atzmoseichem kadeshe tifrachnah - You will see it and your heart will be overcome with joy and your bones

Living with the Times The Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

will grow as grass,” apparently based on the posuk in Yeshayahu (66:14). Interestingly, the Malbim explains the posuk to mean that until now, you believed that the hopes for the future would be realized, but now, as you see it for yourself, your hearts will be so full of joy that it will spread to your weary, withered bones, which will be restored to live like luscious grass. We have not yet merited the geulah which we await, but being able to feel our history come alive and stand at the makom haMikdosh brings us all a measure of joy and vitality as we await the final and complete redemption, when that place will once again be filled with life and be a center of kedusha. We return to the Kosel plaza to daven Mincha, infused with much kavonah, fueled by recharged emunah and bitachon in our past, future and present. In the taxi on the way back, we hear an interview with one of the American astronauts, as he reflects on his experiences in outer space. He said that as he looked at the perfect order of the universe from on high, he realized that “all this could not have come about from two pieces of dust bumping into each other. Anyone who sees what I saw must conclude that there is a Creator.” Not that we need his testimony, but it was yet another reminder on a day that served to reinforce so much of what we know. I visit Rav Dovid Cohen, the rosh yeshiva of Chevron, with whom I have become close. We speak of messages necessary for today’s generation. He reinforces the need to learn source seforim on emunah and bitachon, as well as the Slabodka dictum of gadlus ha’odom, reminding people that everyone, not only the brilliant and gifted, can reach spiritual heights. Too many give up on themselves needlessly and enter a downward spiral. He was happy to hear that these are topics we regularly address in the paper. Thursday, I visited some others and traveled to Rechovot to see the Torah and kiruv empire built and maintained by an unassuming tzaddik, Rav Tzvi Shvartz, under the flag of Lev L’Achim. Most tourists don’t venture there, though it is not far from Yerushalayim, Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak and other religious centers, but spending time with Rav Shvartz is always invigorating and refreshing. His energy, optimism and the many hundreds of baalei teshuvah families he has brought to Torah and mitzvos inspire all who visit. He is a fountain of dynamism, wisdom and sto-

ries, which he never tires of sharing. I sit with my dear friend, Rav Eliezer Sorotzkin of Lev L’Achim and Chinuch Atzmai and his father-in-law, former Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, the greatest living symbol of the Holocaust. With great pain, he speaks of the masses of Jews being lost to the spiritual holocaust of assimilation. He cites a study conducted by two Hebrew University professors, who proved that the Jewish population in the United States today would have been 35 million based on normal birth rates. Instead, only 3-1/2 million people in this country self-identify as Jews. While the numbers of Jews remaining loyal to their faith are markedly better in Israel, once a secular Israeli leaves Israel for the golah, the chances of his children marrying within the faith are almost zero. I listen to him and wonder why it is that we aren’t more active here in introducing lost brothers and sisters to their heritage, instead of watching millions of them slip away from Yiddishkeit forever. I’ve asked many people and have never received a satisfactory answer. On Friday, I go the Machaneh Yehuda shuk, where I am enthralled by the sights, sounds and smells. Masses of people, religious and not, fill the outdoor market, buying fruits and vegetables, meat and chicken, fresh spices, olives, pickles, baklava, challah, cake and everything in-between for Shabbos. There is an energy and a verve as people go about their shopping, making sure to buy the best for Shabbos. Jews from around the world come to watch the organized chaos and be touched by all of it. No matter how they look and dress, they are Jews thinking about and preparing for Shabbos. There is hope for the future. There is sanctity in the way they choose

peaches, tomatoes and a watermelon for Shabbos. Witnessing it restores faith that all is not lost and there is a real chance to bring them back. I am lost in my thoughts when a few boys brought to Israel by Birthright interrupt to ask a few questions and to take a selfie. They felt a connection. It may even last. I spend Shabbos with my children in Kiryat Sanz, Yerushalayim, along with hundreds of others whose dedication to Torah and mitzvos knows no bounds, davening in shuls with standing room only and walking on streets packed with gleeful children. There is no better feeling in the world. It all comes to an end when the taxi arrives and beeps its horn, beckoning us to load up the vehicle for our ride to the airport and flight home. The driver regales us with his tips on life and tells us how he

brings his children to Rechov Sorotzkin on Chol Hamoed. He shows them how the children there behave and care for each other, and he hopes they absorb the message. Shavuos reminds us of the arvus that exists between Jews. That we are responsible for one another. It is one of the basics of the Torah, which was accepted k’ish echod b’lev echod, in binding unity. As we move on from the Yom Tov, let us work on restoring that brotherhood, on doing things that will have a permanent effect, bringing people together, making the world a better place, and bringing the geulah closer, so that very soon, we will all be walking along the road of our forefathers and up the steps to the Har Habayis, bimeheirah beyomeinu. Amein.



The Week In News Torah

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf What Appears Redundant In The Torah’s Discussion Of A Tamei Person Eating Sacred Food Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of

We explored this issue on 43b-44a in the Daf this week. On 43b, Rava gives quite the endorsement to the amora, Zeiri: “Any bereisa that hasn’t been explained by Zeiri, hasn’t been explained.” As evidence of Zeiri’s proficiency in interpreting bereisa, the Gemara quotes an exceedingly opaque bereisa that Zeiri was able to decipher. The bereisa discusses the passage in Parshas Emor that lays down the prohibitions against eating sacred foods while tamei (in a state of ritual impurity). The passage distinguishes between different types of sacred food: If a tamei person consumes maaser sheini (the second tithe) he is liable to lashes; if he ate teruma (the portion for the kohein) or kodshim (a sacrificial portion) he is liable to death from heaven. The passage also goes out of its way to inform us that these punishments apply whether the transgressor had been tamei with corpse-tumah or the

relatively lenient sheretz (dead creeping animal)-tumah. The bereisa seeks to clarify why the Torah had to spell out these different scenarios. To this end the bereisa articulates the information we would lack had the Torah only informed us of one scenario or the other. Had the Torah only taught this halachah in the “lenient” scenario and not the “stringent” scenario (the exact scenarios being referred to will be the big question), I would have presumed that in the stringent scenario the stricter punishment of death from heaven would apply. Therefore, the Torah presented the stringent case too to teach us that in fact it also is only punishable by lashes. On the other hand, had the Torah only presented the stringent scenario, I would have mistakenly thought that in the lenient scenario, there’s no punishment whatsoever. But what are these “lenient” and “strin-

gent” scenarios that the bereisa refers to? The bereisa cannot be referring to maaser sheini and teruma/kodshim respectively for two reasons: 1) The bereisa concludes that in the stringent case it’s also only punishable by lashes, yet the Torah states plainly that if a tamei person eats teruma/kodshim, it’s punishable by death from Heaven. 2) The bereisa’s statement that had the Torah only taught that the lenient case is punishable by lashes, we would have concluded that by the stringent case one is punished with death from heaven has no basis given the rule of “dayo” that says you cannot use logic to extrapolate a stringency to your target case that doesn’t exist in your source case. So what does the bereisa mean? The only other alternative that we appear to have is that the bereisa is referring to the two levels of tumah: “Lenient” refers to where the person contracted sheretz-tumah, and “stringent” refers to corpse-tumah. But this reading is equally untenable. For if we assume that the tamei person ate teruma/kodshim then the bereisa’s statement that the more lenient case is punishable by lashes would be false, since in reality eating teruma – even with sheretz-tumah – is punishable with death from heaven (in addition, the bereisa’s conclusion that even in the more stringent case the punishment is lashes would be false). And if we were to assume that the bereisa is referring to a case where the tamei person ate maaser-sheini (so at least the bereisa’s conclusion that the punishment is always lashes would be true), the bereisa’s suggestion that had the Torah only taught the lenient case (i.e. sheretz-tumah), we would have assigned death by heaven to the stringent case (i.e. corpse-tumah) would still con-

stitute a violation of the “dayo” principle mentioned above. When I read this question in the Gemara, I thought to myself, “How in the world is the Gemara going to resolve this?” Indeed, Zeiri’s brilliance becomes evident with the beautiful reading of the bereisa that he offers. Zeiri explains: By “lenient” the bereisa means to refer to sheretz-tumah, and by “stringent” the bereisa intends corpse-tumah. Moreover, the bereisa is making the following argument: Let’s consider what information we would possess had the Torah only discussed sheretz-tumah. We would know that if a person with sheretz-tumah eats maaser-sheini the punishment is lashes, and if he eats teruma, the punishment is death from heaven. What is the Torah basically saying? That when there is one stringent element (i.e. that he’s eating the holier food of teruma) the appropriate punishment is death from heaven. So we would have assumed that where the person contracted the more stringent corpse-tumah – even if he only eats maaser-sheini – and that the punishment is death from heaven (due to the stringent element of corpse-tumah). Therefore, the Torah had to teach us that in fact the punishment for consumption of maaser-sheini while tamei is always lashes – even where he contracted corpse-tumah. This argument is perfectly logical and doesn’t violate the dayo rules, and the conclusion after the Torah addresses this argument is in line with the actual halachah. “If a bereisa hasn’t been explained by Zeiri, it hasn’t been explained.”

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home


An Apology to My Fellow Artists

The Week In News


Rebecca Klempner

A holy Tana. A renowned segula. With the zchus of nightlong Torah. All year long.

Counting from the first time I sold a piece of my writing, I’ve been a professional writer for 13 years. And I have something to confess. Since I’m rather smart when it comes to dishing out advice and very stupid about taking it, I tend to write the worst-paid writing there is: children’s fiction, poetry, personal essays. I do not write clever, bestselling novels for adults (or, at least, I haven’t yet published any) or technical writing that caters to business or industry. On a good year, I cover day school tuition for one kid. (We have four, bli ayin hara.) To make my dumb choice of profession even dumber, I did not marry a doctor, lawyer, or software engineer who would neatly offset my idealism and fiscal cluelessness. I married a teacher – a good teacher with a great sense of humor, stellar middos, and a tolerance for a crazy wife. (My husband insists that I should admit that my description is very biased – but it’s my description of him, and I’m sticking to it.) Teaching remains an extremely underpaid job. Need I remind you that we live in Los Angeles, home of outrageous rents and skyrocketing home prices? This long stream of fiscally nutty decisions means I am forced to disappoint people a lot. When you are a writer, you have colleagues and friends who are also artists – not just writers, but dancers, musicians, and painters. Many of them have supported my creative endeavors over the years, offering advice, buying my books, and cheerleading for me whenever I get discouraged. Some of these friends have produced albums I’ve never bought. Some of these friends have written

books I’ve never read. Some of them have acted in plays I haven’t attended. While I often skip performances because of scheduling conflicts or because they take place after 8 p.m. (I’m a morning person), the most common reason I don’t donate to my friends’ crowd-funding campaigns or hang one of their paintings on my wall is because there is L.A. rent to pay and tuition to pay and a car to fuel and children to clothe, and we’ve all got to get fed. Baruch Hashem, we aren’t at the point where I’m standing at the exit to the 10 with a sign, Will write for food, but I don’t have much change to spare. If I have a gift to buy, I’ll often pick out a book by a friend, and a splurge for me is purchasing an album by a Jewish musician, but most of the time, I just hope no one confronts me by asking point blank, “Have you read my latest book yet?” or “Did you come to the play?” And so, I apologize to you if you didn’t see me in the audience the last time you performed. I’m sorry that I checked your book out of the library instead of buying a copy. I know it was kinda stinky of me to forward your GoFundMe campaign but not donate myself. There was this moment a couple week’s back when my husband and I lay side-by-side and fantasized about changing professions. But who would write our books or teach our students? (And don’t say, “Someone who invested in Bitcoin right at the beginning and cashed out the right moment.”)

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Emotional The Week InHealth News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Depth of Disney’s Inside/Out Rabbi Dov Heller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

The Disney animated movie, Inside/ Out, teaches one of the most powerful principles I know for authentic transformation: We experience joy by embracing sadness and other troubling feelings. At first glance it doesn’t make sense – it even appears counter-intuitive. How can a positive emotional state arise by embracing a negative emotional state? Doesn’t Judaism teach us that the path to joy is by thinking positive thoughts and doing good deeds? Shouldn’t we try to push away sadness and other negative feelings and to see them as a ploy of our lower self (yetzer hara) to pull us down and destroy our joy? There is certainly a time and place for positive thinking. But there is also a time and place for allowing oneself to access and embrace one’s uncomfortable feelings. In a society that spends so much time, energy, and resources trying to avoid emotional pain and suffering, the message of Inside/Out is one that needs to be heard.

This principle is well known to Judaism, for it is the underlying concept in the experience of mourning. The Torah requires a person to sit shiva for seven days when a parent dies. The assumption is that the loss of a parent is devastating. The surviving child will be in a somewhat traumatized state. Their way out of the pain and sadness is not by avoiding it, but by feeling it. The mourner is not instructed to think positive thoughts or to see his or her thinking as distorted. Instead, the community comes and sits with the mourner, providing what I call “a relational home” for his/ her feelings. The mourner is invited to talk about his loss and pain, which is why other are not permitted to speak to the mourner unless invited to do so. The visitor’s job is to have total respect for the feelings of the mourner, which is why it is so inappropriate when visitors try to distract the mourner. (Of course, we know that people often do this because they cannot tolerate

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the intense feelings in the room or their own feelings in that setting.) The mourner, by feeling his sadness, slowly reintegrates emotionally, and as he reintegrates, he recovers his feelings of vitality. He comes back to life, so to speak. In Inside/Out, Riley, a pre-teen, experiences a painful loss when her parents decide to move from her home in Minnesota to San Francisco. The movie takes us inside Riley’s mind and her emotional experience of loss. She has lost her friends, her hockey team, her favorite lake (which she skated on with her parents), and the friendly ecology of Minnesota (not present in the dirty city). She’s miserably sad and her parents, who are caught up in their own life drama, fail her by not being there for her and her feelings. We watch how Riley’s feelings of loss and sadness are not permitted to be felt or expressed. Dad has an agenda to make sure his little girl stays happy, while mom is busy trying to cheer her up by showing her the upside of San Francisco. In one scene, Riley expresses her anger only to be sent to her room. The opportunity for emotional attunement and understanding has gone up in smoke. With the dismissal of her feelings of sadness, she becomes an even angrier little girl. Anger often serves a defensive function, especially when our feelings are dismissed and cannot find a safe, relational home for them. Riley’s emotional world begins to crumble, which the movie very graphically depicts, as her “core memories” fall apart right before our eyes. Her once solid emotional foundation fragments. She is left alone with her painful feelings. In desperation she decides to run away and return to Minnesota. People imprisoned by their emotional pain often become desperate. Luckily for Riley, she is able to connect with her deep sadness. The most moving moment of the movie is when “Joy” gives permission to “Sadness” to take over. I am sure there was not a dry eye in the theater at that moment. I believe everyone sensed how right and necessary it was for “Joy” to step out of the way and let Riley take ownership of her sadness. Riley returns home and, in the presence of her parents, breaks down in a flood of tears. She is able to express her sadness. Instead of dismissing her feelings, this time, her parents embrace Riley and her feelings. The Talmud says, “The prisoner cannot free himself from the prison.” Riley’s sadness has found a relational home. The

healing process has begun, and her vitality returns. Not only does it return, it expands in wonderfully new ways, as the “feelings engineer” at “headquarters” says, “Your new expanded console is ready to go.” As the movie ends, we see a vitalized, joyful, and expansive Riley skating like her old self in a hockey game. I believe this message is relevant to so many people seeking to grow spiritually. We cannot grow spiritually if we are not growing emotionally. Emotional pain is not something to be gotten rid of; it is something to be embraced, understood, and integrated, as evidenced by the experience of mourning cited earlier. From this perspective, I believe that it is a good practice is to take one’s emotional temperature every day. Here are some questions to ask: How do I feel in general today? Am I in any kind of pain that feels intolerable? Name the feeling: sadness, fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, emptiness, lonely, confusion, overwhelmed, panic, anger, etc. Why am I feeling this way? Try to track it down. If necessary, speak to someone you trust to process it. How long have I been feeling this way? (Note: any intolerable feeling experienced for two weeks or longer needs serious attention.) How do I feel about my spiritual commitments? How do I feel about specific mitzvos I do, such as prayer, holidays, Shabbat? One other suggestion may also be in order here. There are many people who sincerely desire to grow spiritually and who could benefit greatly from psychotherapy, where they would have an opportunity to acknowledge, explore, and understand their feelings. Sometimes people use spirituality to hide from their feelings or numb them. Spirituality should never be a substitute for emotional honesty and growth. Feelings are vehicles to growth, not obstacles. Feelings are the means by which we become more expansive, deeper, and authentic human beings. This, I believe, is the transformative secret of Disney’s Inside/ Out. Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at You may also visit his website at

The Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Brazil’s Transportation Protests Truck On

truckers, until federal diesel taxes are eliminated and the official gazette of the country publishes the announcement. There are many terrible consequences to the country-wide transportation protest. Lack of animal feed may cause one billion birds and 20 million hogs to die, and more than 150 poultry and pork processing plants have indefinitely suspended production. Brazil’s sugar industry, the world’s largest, is slowly halting cane harvest operations as machines run out of fuel. Auto production, which contributes about a quarter of Brazil’s industrial output, has ground to a halt. Even after the roads are cleared, it will take several days for the country to get back on its feet.

Going the extra mile!

Tour Turns to Tragedy Protesting truckers in Brazil are hurting the available supplies of fuel, food, and medications by blocking key distribution roads with huge parked tractor-trailers. The truckers are protesting diesel fuel prices, and it has come to a point where President Michel Temer has had to order the military to clear the roadways. On Sunday, Temer pleaded with the truckers to end their strikes. “We gave everything they have asked for,” said Temer of the measures, expected to cost Brazilian taxpayers some 10 billion reais ($2.7 billion). A state of emergency has been declared in many major cities in Brazil as gas stations and airports have run out of fuel, supermarket shelves have gone bare, and hospitals say they are running out of supplies. Trash collection and public transportation has been reduced or halted across the country, and the price of food has jumped substantially due to lack of supply. The main entity representing truckers, ABCAM, has said that they will only call off the protests when the federal taxes on diesel are removed. Several of the smaller trucker groups initially agreed to suspend protests when the government promised to subsidize and stabilize diesel prices, which may cost 5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) this year. The government also said the state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA would extend a 10 percent diesel price cut for 30 more days. The protests will continue, say the

A woman from Argentina who was showing Israeli tourists around areas of southwestern Colombia was kidnapped and killed last week. The murder was allegedly carried out by FARC dissidents, according to Colombian authorities. Berenice Blanco was taking two 22-year-old post-IDF tourists on a “Cannabis Tour,” when the three were abducted by armed men who “identified themselves as dissidents from the Sixth Front of the FARC,” prosecutors said. The Israelis were released three days later, but Blanco was kept while a $100,000 ransom was demanded from her family in Argentina. Her body was recovered three days later in Corinto. Omer Yefet and Gal-El Yaakov, both 22, told Israeli news outlets that the guide, whom they referred to as “Monica,” had convinced the kidnappers that they had no money. The cartel chief, according to Yefet, wanted 500 million pesos ($17 million), which he claimed was owed to him by the tour company that employed Blanco. “Monica said it wasn’t even worth offering him the 300 pesos ($85) dollars that we had,” Yefet said. “Monica did everything she could to make sure we were OK and defended us throughout. I don’t know what happened to her, unfortunately. I tried to check with the tour company,” Yefet said. When they were leaving, Blanco told them that she knows “people who can get me out of here; everything is fine.”





The Week In News Blanco worked for a company called “Cannabis Tour,” which offers visitors a tour of the narco-crop cultivation fields in the Cauca area. FARC dissidents as well as members of the Gulf Clan drug trafficking operation are known to frequent the area.

New Italian PM is Virtual Unknown The top position in Rome is being occupied by a law professor that never held a political office. Giuseppe Conte, 53, who is unaffiliated with any political party, is to be the new prime minister of Italy. He was thrust into the spotlight when the Eurosceptic 5-Star Movement Party and the anti-immigrant League announced him as the compromise candidate to lead their coalition government. “Outside here there is a country that needs answers,” Conte said after President Sergio Mattarella asked him to try to form a government. “I will be the defense lawyer of the Italian people.” Italy is the Eurozone’s third largest economy and is not in great shape. His task is great as financial markets have heavily sold-off Italian stocks and government bonds at the prospect of an inexperienced government. The new prime minister has had a controversial month as media outlets put a magnifying glass on his resume and found some inconsistencies. Conte said he had

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home

“perfected his judicial studies” at numerous foreign institutions, including Cambridge University, New York University and the Sorbonne in Paris. However, most of the universities say they do not have him in any of their databases as having ever attended. Conte responded that he had attended these universities in an informal capacity to use their facilities and meet colleagues and had made no false claims. Both 5-Star and the League have stuck with their pick. They spent weeks trying to find a compromise and put pressure on President Mattarella to accept their recommendation. In Italy, the president needs to officially nominate the prime minister. Conte teaches at Florence University and is known for wearing waistcoats, cufflinks and a white handkerchief poking out of his breast pocket. He promised to implement the government program that the 5-Star and League leadership agreed to. Their main goals are to implement an immigration crackdown and budget-busting measures to help ordinary Italians.

Lessons from Richard Branson Americans love a good story and multi-billionaire Richard Branson has as excellent one. “I was seen as the dumbest person at school,” the founder and CEO of Virgin

Group recently told CNNMoney. “The idea that I could be successful didn’t dawn on me.” As a child, Branson struggled with dyslexia which made it difficult to keep up with his class. “What’s interesting about people who are dyslexic is that they can often excel at things that they love and have a passion for,” he said. “And I have a passion for quite a lot of things.” His first ever business opportunity came in the form of a magazine for young people called Student. He was 15 when he started it and dropped out of school to talk to people around the world and learn about what was happening. “I felt that I could get out and start creating things that would make a difference in the world,” he said. In order to support his new project, Branson started selling records by mail. Ultimately, the magazine failed. But the mail-order record business turned into something huge: Virgin Records. After mailing records and opening a store, Branson started a label to help support an artist he believed in, Mike Oldfield. “I went to seven record companies, and none of them would put [his song] out. So I formed a little record company on my own,” Branson said. The risks paid off. “It sold millions and millions of albums,” Branson recalled. After Oldfield, Branson kept signing “bands that nobody else would sign,” including some wildly successful ones. After over a decade in the record in-

dustry, Branson launched the airline Virgin Atlantic. “Nobody thought we would survive,” Branson said. But Virgin was good enough to win customers over. “We created an airline that people loved to fly in a marketplace where other airlines were dreadful,” he said. “People went out of their way to fly us.” Over the years, the Virgin travel family expanded globally to include Virgin America and Virgin Australia. Its newest division is Virgin Galactic, which involves commercial space travel. Branson is eager to compete with his space travel rival, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. “Right now, there’s about 700 engineers who are beavering away to make sure that Elon’s little car in space does not stay lonely too long,” he said, referring to the Tesla roadster that Musk sent into space as part of the maiden launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. “I feel quite soon that little car might have another friend or two out there.” He mused, “Failure is a wonderful way of learning.” As “an entrepreneur, if you’re not taking risks, you’re not going to achieve anything... I’ve learned the hard way sometimes.” He’d rather give something a shot than not try at all. “If you give something a go and it doesn’t work out, you certainly haven’t failed,” he said. “You just learned.”

The Week In News

MAY 31, 2018 | The Jewish Home


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