By Dr. Isaac Balbin of Melbourne, Australia.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
They died for us...
I know it sounds Christian but that's the fact. They died in service of us. And I don't only mean the Holtzbergs. I believe even the biggest detractors of Chabad would agree that every yid has an achrayus to get up and save other yidden begashmius. Maybe we rely on certain groups to provide the gashmius, and on other groups to provide the ruchnius... Leibish Teitelbaum and Bentzi Kroman died so that you could enjoy mushrooms on your blintzes and crepes, and G-d knows what other delicacies. For a yid like Reb Leibish, growing up in Boro Park to very devout parents and later moving to an even more sheltered environment - marrying into the Toldos Aharon/Avrohom Yitzchok family - it cannot be easy traveling to the Far East and dealing with the filth and dirt, the uncleanliness and the unholiness. Yet he did it loyally to help his father and to provide for his children. Remember that next time you but that stuff. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Yiddishe Parnossoh Kumt Nisht Ohn Gring, and sometimes it may very well kill you.
Friday, November 28, 2008
........מ' נעמט נאר די גוטע
הר' גבריאל נח ומרת רבקה הולצברג הי"ד
I remember when the Holtzbergs arrived in America. Gavriel was an eydeler bochur who I would see when I frequented Crown Heights, and when his name was mentioned in Chabad media and such I would have that mental picture of him a young bochur in 770. We don't need to speak about their mesiras nefesh; things that like are self-understood. There's no "ideology" here other than the fact that they're making the world a better place and helping lost Jews and those there on business and such have a place to call home. One cannot imagine what such a life is like unless part of it. We sit today and mourn these Yidden because they're all our family. The outpouring of worry, support and tehillim that we saw these last 2 days is encouraging. I'm not here to preach love and happiness now; I realize we're all human and how quickly we forget, but if there's one thing we take from this unspeakable tragedy it's that - well, I don't know what it is we learn. I'm speechless. We really should all tear Kriah and sit shiva, but somehow protocol doesn't allow for it. May Hashem comfort their grieving families and may we see the ends that justify all these means already.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
(Reuters Photo - scene of attack in Mumbai, India)
Please say Tehillim for the Shluchim to Mumbai, India, and all involved, Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma Rivkah bas Yehudis and their son Moshe Tzvi Ben Rivkah. There's been no word from them for hours, r"l.
5 Jewish families taken hostage, r"l.
I have also read that the Volover Rov's son, a SIL of the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe, and his fellow mashgiach Reb Bentzion Kruman are also trapped in the Beis Chabad, aka Nariman House.
Monday, November 24, 2008
All by the book, None by the heart
Schneur commenting on Circus Tent 2 worlds mamesh:
Tzig. This has little to do with Chassidim and Misnagdim in a philosophic manner. Today in the US we have a whole range of people under 60, American born, whose knowledge of Judaism is based exclusively on books , and those books are the Shulchan Aruch and Gemora. Most of these people had parents whom I am sure were fine people but left behind the emotional attachment to echte Yiddishkayt in Europe. Here they belonged to Young Israel synagogues and became very acculturated and lost that special hergesh. In America, Judaism was reduced to learning and doing Mitzvos by rote. These people include most MO Jews, the so called Yeshiva community, and even some "Amerikane Chasidim".
On the other side we have people whose view of Judaism was shaped by seeing how their parents acted, felt, laughed, cried, talked and walked. These people tended to have a genuine Mesorah. They saw Judaism as more than just book learning, and the book learning included Midrash, Chassidus, Sifrei Mussar vechulu. This people tend to be Chassidic and a few Misnagdim who come from European homes. And in the background of all of this loomed the Holocaust, not Coney Island! To the first category Rabbonim are "machinove," automated people who act in a mathematical way, and have no emotions.
The second category knows that Judaism is more than the dry letter of the law. The Minchas Elozor was a gadol in book learning, but you can see in his writings the high regard he had for minhogim and the folk. As a rav and rebbe, life was more than "farstein another teysefes." He saw the tzores of Klal Yisroel. He wanted Moshiach more than anything, and like the gedolei hachassidus, he had a vareme hartz even though in klal inyonim he was kashe kebarzel. (see Weingarten's book about the Munkatcher and how he was so different in private). But if we agree to this, then the Lubavitcher Rebbe was just following in the footsteps of another gadol like the Munkatcher (and may I add the Chafetz Chaim too) and the Shinover Rebbe and others.. See Heschel's book on Kotzk in Yiddish where he discussed in detail the "du" familiar relationship that the European Jew enjoyed with G-D. Rebbeim davened with "Zisser Tatte" interspersed into their tefillos. As Heschel so aptly wrote learning is G-d speaking to us, WE talk to G-d when we daven.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
2 worlds mamesh
My friends, there are times when you post something and you think "what could they possibly not like about that?!" A story such as the one we told about the Minchas Elozor seemed to fit that bill. At least when I posted it. Yes, some of you doubt the accuracy of the story, and that's to be understood, but it din't knock any one group and didn't inflate anybody's ego. All it did was tell how a Tzaddik, loved his grandchild, yearned for Moshiach and made use of the story with his grandson to show G-d how he and the Jewish people yearn for the aforementioned redeemer. I know that some have a problem with humans speaking to G-d, "telling" him what to do, but this is beseeching, not telling, so that wouldn't apply here either. Yet there are those that find issues with anything related to Chassidim and Rebbes - and not only Chabad. Here's what a recent discussion on a certain message board looked like: (I assume there's more discussion on the topic by now, this is current as of Wednesday or Thursday.) They bring the story and discuss:
(my comments in italics)
This sounds like Hagshamah. (Ed. They're being megashem the eybershter, says he. It looks like he's very familiar with hagshomoh and immediately recognizes it when he sees it...) Because the Rebbe succumbed to his emotions and committed, out of a lack of self control, what he admits was a sin and transgression, he expects God to do the same? (So Jack Shmoe from Baltimore or the Five Towns decided that he lacked self-control and should be punished for it? Does Jack not expect G-d to forgive HIM every day for his indulgences?! where do these people come off speaking this way?!)
I do not condemn the Rebbe, as I daresay that any of us might have done the same, (how understanding of Mr. Shmoe!) and the restraint of many who would not would be more indicative of self-righteousness and their lack of empathy and compassion rather than their iron discipline, but transforming transgression into a virtue seems dangerously Sabbatean. (Here we go again: I thought only the hard-core Snags were the Sabbatean alarmists, but it seems like the "rationalists" are on that bandwagon too. Since when did the ME ask that G-d turn his transgression into virtue/ he asked G-d's forgiveness, as far as I can see, but he also asked that G-d forgive his children! Are Snags that cold and that they can't see the beauty of the story and the connection and love that Jews have for Hashem and vice versa?!)
One people, two worlds." Hasidim (ya gotta love the Hasidim with the C...) and Kabbalists really do think differently from rationalists and Litvaks. (Amen, Mr. Shmoe, Amen, brother. The question is which world you're in, it sure don't sound like the Jewish one.)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
א גרוס פון תשכ"ד
L-R: Rav EE HaCohen Yolles, Rav Mordechai Mentlik, Rabbeinu, Rav Shmuel HaLevi Levitin, Rav MDB Rivkin, Rav Shlomo Aron Kazarnovsky, Zichronom LiVrochoh.
Read This FIRST!
(From a commenter on VIN's story that SM Rubashkin is to remain in prison until his trial on January 20th. The Judge says he's a flight risk...)
..With liberty and JUSTICE for ALL. For all.
People, its time to wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
This man was NO flight risk. No Passport. A GPS monitoring device.
If he would have planned to run, he had 6 months. He didn't.
This is a scandal of the highest proportions. This is beyond a witchhunt.
This is a lynching! Only this time, it ain't no negro, just a kike jew boy.
We believe in the Flag of the United States of America
and in the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
While the The corporate heads of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, GM, and AIG are ripping off the US Govt. and the American people of over a trillion dollars,
While twenty five people offered their primary residence as bail bond,
While over 600 letters from Jews all over the United States testified to the exemplary qualities of the defendant,
While OJ walks free for the murder of his wife,
While unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers roams free, having never served time,
While the big 3 drive their business into the ground and DEMAND bailouts, Rubashkin sits.
While we stupid fools still believe this is the land of the liberty and justice for all,
Rubashkin sits. He hasn't been convicted of anything yet, but he sits.
To quote the judge: "They cannot reasonably assure the safety of the community" if Sholom M Rubashkin is released.
They cannot reasonably assure the safety of the community?
They cannot reasonably assure the safety of the community??!!
Ah, yes, he is a very scary man...oh yes.....
Wake up - Time to speak out against this HORRENDOUS TRANSPARENT TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE.
It is a mockery of everything America stands for.
It is a mockery of the Justice System.
It is a mockery of the flag.
It is a mockery of our democracy.
It is a mockery of our freedom.
It is a sham. A kangaroo court who have already made their final decision, long before the trial has even begun.
Speak up! Let your congressman know how you feel. Let the judge know how you feel. Let the Governor of Iowa know how you feel. Let them know that you see the farce. Speak up.
That's the American way.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
ואני אנה אני בא
I'll admit this is a strange story, but hey, I need conversation pieces and this fits the bill...
דברים מדהימים נשמעו מפי הרה"צ ר' יורם אברג'ל, בשיעורו הקבוע מידי יום שישי בשעה 8:00, בכולל הגדול "קול רינה" בעיר נתיבות. עשרות אברכים שומעים מידי יום שישי את השיעור העמוק של הגר"י אברג'ל, העוסק בנושאים רבים. הגר"י מדבר בשטף בבקיאות עצומה, ומזכיר עשרות מקורות כהרף עין. לעיתים קרובות השומעים לא מצליחים 'להחזיק ראש' לאורך כל השיעור המעמיק.
למרות שהגר"י אברג'ל אינו מחסידי חב"ד, הוא מקורב לחב"ד ומלמד כל יום שיעור ב'תניא', לאחר תפילת שחרית. יחסו לחב"ד ולחסידות בכלל הוא חם, והוא מדבר תמיד בשבח החסידות, למרות שהוא לא נוהג במנהגי חב"ד. גם הספר "ליקוטי מוהר"ן" מוזכר בשיעוריו פעמים רבות, למרות שהוא אינו בעד הנסיעה לאומן בראש השנה. לחסיד ברסלב אחד הוא אמר "אני חסיד של רבי נחמן יותר ממך, ואני אומר לך שיותר חשוב להיות עם האשה והילדים בראש השנה". פעמים רבות אמר הגר"י אברג'ל דברים מדהימים ומפליאים במהלך שיעורו, אך הפעם דומה שזהו הדבר המפליא ביותר. רוח הקודש של הגר"י אברג'ל היא מן המפורסמות, וחסידיו הרבים יכולים לספר על כך סיפורים רבים שבדידם הוה עובדה. לרגל היארצייט של הגרא"מ שך זצ"ל, שחל ביום שישי האחרון, אמר הגר"י אברג'ל בסוף שיעורו קטע מ'אבי עזרי', חיבורו הגדול של הגרא"מ ש"ך על הרמב"ם, וביאר אותו באר היטב. לאחר מכן הוא דיבר על גדלותו וצדקותו של הרב שך, וסיפר על עמלו בתורה לאורך שנים רבות, מה שהביא אותו להיות גדול הדור וראש ישיבת פוניבז' (של אז).
וכאן בא הקטע המדהים. הגר"י אמר כי לאור התנגדותו של הגרא"מ שך לחב"ד, ומלחמתו ברבי מליובאוויטש, לא זכה הגרא"מ שך להיכנס לגן עדן, למרות שכמובן זכה בדין והיה צדיק גמור, וכוונתו היתה טהורה ולשם שמים. הגרא"מ שך נותר נבוך מחוץ לגן עדן, כולו מלא צער. לאחר מכן יצא אליו הרבי מליובאוויטש ופגש בו, ושאל אותו "מדוע אתה בחוץ"? (סיפורים מעין אלה הובאו גם בגמרא). הרב שך אמר לו "לא ידעתי עד כמה אתה חשוב בשמים, לו הייתי יודע לא הייתי מתנגד כל כך". הם דיברו ביניהם עוד והרבי מליובאוויטש אמר לו "לא יתכן שהרב ישאר בחוץ". הוא משך אותו והכניס אותו בעצמו לגן עדן, עד כאן דברי הגר"י אברג'ל. ת"ח חשוב ממשתתפי השיעור מסר לנו את הדברים המדהימים ששמע במו אזניו, כשתהיה לנו האפשרות להביא את ההקלטה של דברי השיעור, נפרסם אותה כאן כמובן. הגר"י אברג'ל הוסיף ואמר כי כל מי שמשאיר בעולם הזה בן המתנגד לחסידות, סובל צער רב בשמים.
א שיינע מעשה
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Lies, Lists and the People who "make" them
Scott (Shmarya) Rosenberg
Truth be told, were it not for Lubavitch's infatuation with being recognized for their work I never would've heard of the "Forward 50." It's supposed to be a list of 50 of the most influential or news-making Rabbis, politicians, "activists" and what-nots of the year. The fact that Yudel Krinsky would usually make the list got some people very excited, so they would publish the fact every year. This year Rabbi Krinsky didn't make the list, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky did, so the fact that a Lubavitcher made it was again trumpeted on all Chabad websites. Well, now, what they didn't tell you was who else made the list, and this year - if the regular Rubashkin-bashing in the guise of muckraking wasn't enough - it was anybody - and I mean ANYBODY - who said anything negative about Rubashkin and Agri. You could've been a 20 year old with jock-itch who had too much time on his hands who said something to say about the "terrible conditions" at Agri and you were on. Oh, that and anything related to BHO, but that's beside the point. I guess the Forward is trying to return its Socialist roots...
When we speak of Scott Rosenberg of failedmessiah the word "obsessed" comes to mind. Here's a man who sits in his underwear in frigid Minnesota and does nothing but update his blog with anti-Orthodox, mostly anti-Rubashkin stories. How do I know this? I just do. TRUST me. Even I get tired of bashing misnagdim after a while and need long breaks. You might wonder how and why a man like that comes to be obsessed with one man and his family to that extent. Now it's easy for any wannabe 'activist" to gang up on Rubashkin, but what prompted Scotty to do that years ago? The answer is LUBAVITCH. Rubashkin represents Lubavitch to ol' Scott, and he's angry with Lubavitch. Something about the Rebbe not heeding Scotty's call to save Ethiopian Falashas. I guess he saved them all by himself, without the Rebbe's help... Scotty, like some others, is a 50-something bachelor who has lots of time on his hands. Not that it's his fault, but the fact remains that he has plenty of free time to dig up dirt. Sort of like "alternative-lifestyle" activists; they have no families so they have plenty of time to demonstrate and boycott, something REGULAR people have no time for, since they have families and real worries. Scotty made the vaunted Forward 50. Yipee!
Here's what they say about him. The fact that any so-called respectable newspaper would give the time of day to a blo-gger is a chiddush onto itself. But in this case the Forward has some loser in Minnesota doing their dirty work for them, so they rubbed his back and put him on the "list." Young, inexperienced readers of his blog are shocked and dismayed at what he writes there, and it often takes them a while to recover from the aforementioned shock. Sometimes it'll even place doubt into some of Rubashkin's greatest supporters, but those of you who are concerned needn't worry. They may never climb out of the financial and legal mess they're in, but you needn't worry about Scotty. I have it on good authority that even the Rubashkin family itself is very hurt by davka what Scotty writes. Not because of what he writes, but, rather, who it is that's doing the writing. You see my friends, Scotty LIVED IN THEIR HOUSE FOR THREE YEARS. THAT'S RIGHT, THE SCUM HAD THREE YEARS OF FREE ROOM AND BOARD AT THE RUBASHKIN'S EXPENSE. HE ATE THEIR FOOD, WASHED HIS SORRY BEHIND IN THEIR BATHROOMS, AND THEY CHANGED HIS SOILED BED EVERY SINGLE DAY, NEVER ASKING ANYTHING IN RETURN, DOING IT BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO; HELP A DISTRAUGHT YOUNG FELLOW IN AN UNFAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT.
You bet I'm angry. You'd be angry too if that was how your kindness was repaid, and that why it hurts so bad. The loser would never tell you that, and I'm sure his buddies at that Socialist rag don't know it either. None of those JewNazis at the Forward would have him over for a store-bought dinner, let alone allow him near their sorry children. Scum of the earth is an understatement. This isn't about whether or not they were right in hiring young Paluans or Mexicans and paying them 7 dollars an hour or moving money around. It's about common decency and gratitude. The fact is that these people, who helped hundreds and hundreds of people survive with dignity, fed them, clothed them and paid their tuition, are now destitute. They didn't stash money in Swiss bank accounts. Money is being collected as we speak for that once-proud family, and for those who are stuck there with their livelihoods on the line. My heart aches as I write these words; it aches also because of the self-righteous morons who know NOTHING about these noble people, and who choose to shoot their mouths off. Zol der eybershter rachmones hobben of Mishpachas Rubashkin, and may we hear good news.
I apologize for the uncouth language...
Friday, November 14, 2008
belated yet timely
(RBR of Munkacs farhering the Bachurim on Motzoei Shabbos - photo by R Vishniac)
A heartwarming yet chilling story told by Rav Baruch Rabinovitch of Munkacs, son in law of the Minchas Elozor and father of the present Munkacser Rebbe about his late shver, zt"l, and his great Ahavas Yisroel despite his reputation as a "firebrand."
Reb Baruch had a son named Tzvi Nosson Dovid, the Minchas Elozor would call him Tzvi, whereas his father would call him "Dov'che." Tzvi after the Minchas Elozor's father and Nosson Dovid after Reb Baruch's father. For a long period of time Reb Baruch was separated from his wife and lived in Warsaw, the reason being arguments with the shvigger over some matter, and the wife - of course - sided with her mother, so the two split up... The Minchas Elozor finally sent his daughter to go live with her husband in Warsaw, far from the shvigger, but after 3 months fell ill with yenne machla and begged them to come back - which they did. Reb Boruch would say that his shver loved his dear grandchild in an "exaggerated way," being that his daughter waited for along time to have that first child. He would play with and spoil the child, and Hershelle would sit on his zeide's lap at the tish.
Yidden in Munkacs
In the final year of his life the Minchas Elozor took the shofar on Rosh Chodesh Elul and tried the horn to see if it was in OK condition. Hershelle was in the room then and was very visibly excited with the shofar and its sounds; he asked his zeide for "noch ein blooz," one more blast, which his zeide gladly obliged. From then on, for the next month, this became a ritual; the Rov blowing once for little Hershelle. On Erev Rosh Hashonoh Hershelle was there awaiting his daily blast, but he was disappointed. "Haynt iz Erev Rosh Hashoone, Haynt bloozt men nisht, morgen vet men bloozen asach mool in shil," his zeide told him. The child knew no Chochmes. He kicked and screamed, telling his zeide "Nor Ein Blooz! Nor Ein Blooz!" After a while his zeide had rachmones on his favorite eynikel and took the shofar and blew one blooz.
More Yidden in Munkacs...
On Rosh Hashoneh before Tekios the minhag in Munkacs was that the Rov spoke. That year the Rov went up before the aron kodesh, opened the ark and said: "Ribono Shel Olam, Ich darf tshiveh tuhn, ich hub over geven af an halochoh. It's written that on ERH one mustn't blow shofar, yet I did. He began to sob uncontrollably and called out: Ribono shel olam, do you know why I transgressed that halochoh? it was because my young (grand)child lay on the floor and begged me and cried that I should only blow one blooz for him. My heart melted, I couldn't bear to watch him cry like that, so I blew once for him, despite the fact that I shouldn't have. Tatte, how can you stand by and see how millions of your children are down on the floor and cry out to you, Tatte eyn blooz - TeKa BeShofar Godol LeChayruseynu, Even if the time is not right for it yet, the time for Moshiach has yet to arrive, but your children cry out to you, how can you stand idly by?!"
When Reb Baruch told the story he cried, and recounted how at that time the crowd cried along with the Rov, the Tekios were delayed, and for a long time they could not "come to themselves, loud wailing was heard throughout the shul." (Such stories can always be told, and one can always learn from them.)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Got 2 Days to Spare? See Historic Buffalo, NY!
There are those that have made it their life's work to travel around the US and Canada and visit the final resting places of righteous men that have long been forgotten and that have no lineage to speak of. Reb Yonah Landau is one such character. Despite the fact that he apparently visits Montefiore Cemetery in Queens and doesn't visit the 2 Rebbes buried there... One such forgotten Tzaddik is interred in Buffalo, NY and promised that anybody that would come to his Tziyun on his yahrtzeit - the 13th of Cheshvan - and present a request would have that wish granted within a year! Reb Eliyahu Yosef ben Reb Gedalia Aron was a ben-achar-ben of the Holy Baal Shem Tov and arrived on these shores waaaay back in 1897, thereby earning the title of "First Rebbe buried in America." The gentleman who took the pictures seems to have an ample amount of time to spare for such trips. I can only say "Ich bin ehm Mekane."
Looks like they figured for a Kleine Rebbe is genug a kleine ohel...
Very imaginative sign nusach composers...
Attention! אין means "in," און means "and." Don't they teach that in Cheder?!
Like I said, they weren't very gracious with the bricks back then...
Business is hopping!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A Once-Proud Tribe....
(By Achas L'maala V'Sheva L'Matta)
Long ago, before the Europeans reached the New World, in what is now central New Jersey, lived a great tribe of Indians. These were the Govoha Indians. The Govohas were a very proud tribe and considered themselves the highest tribe upon the continent. Legend has it that the Govohas grew out of a very small tribe that was exiled from the White Plains. The Govohas were not a homogeneous nation. They would accept young braves from other tribes as long as these tribes were descendants of an ancient sect of Native Americans known as the Litwaukee Indians. Many came from the long beaches of Nassau, from Ramapo and the Spring Valley, the Phila delta where the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers meet, from the Scranton tribe on the banks of the Lackawanna, from Chesapeake Bay, from the Cuyahoga plains, and even some from the Great Lakes region and the Western territories in the Colorado Rockies. Though they were a very friendly tribe, the Govohas kept to themselves. They would have nothing to do with the Irigoys whom they considered to be of anothercreed.
Even from among their creed they also had some rivals with which they were
constantly at war. Among their opponents were the members of the loathed Mizrache tribes. Another opponent was the Lupapache Tribe that originated at the crowning Heights of the Eastern Darkway and, from there, spread to the West, East, North, and South. Their leader was the revered Chief Son of Daughter-In-Law who they referred to as Chief Oil on Head the Immortal Savior. He was renowned as a master of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. He would sit at large gatherings and hand out fire water and green tobacco leaves that would be valued today at around one dollar. His spirit is long departed but there remain many legends. Even after he had not been seen for many, many rains, some Lupapache elders claimed that his body and spirit still walk. This group would imbibe on peace pipes and fire water. Many Govohas shun them as they do the Irigoys.
Their most fiercest opponent were the M.O.hicans whose empire stretched from the lower Hudson Valley near Fort Washington and Fort Lee, all the way North to Plymouth Rock and Massachusetts Bay where the great warrior Chief Jay Bear of the Solapachik tribe once reigned. After Chief Jay Bear's spirit departed, his brother, Arrow Horn, former chief of the Skokies, was summoned from the Blackhawk lands on the shores of Lake Michigan to lead the tribe. Though claiming to be a true M.O.hican, Arrow Horn of the Solapachiks was noted to display tendencies that mirrored the Govohas such as prohibiting the November Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock because the grains of the new harvest cannot be eaten until the following spring and opposing the ancient Indian custom of surrounding the villages with totem poles joined by thin ropes to unite all the teepees as one. As such, Chief Arrow Horn was not accepted by all. In fact, since the death of Chief Jay Bear, the tribe has never been able to produce a warrior capable of filling his moccasins and so he is known as "the last ofthe great M.O.hicans."
The Govohas were a relatively primitive people who shunned ideas and philosophies that were foreign to their ancient lifestyle. They would spend most of their time discussing the origins of their tribe and their ways. How to practice their rituals, how to settle disputes, and the Laws of the Squaws. Of major concern was how to deal with the crazy ideas and newfangled devices that many of the rival tribes were picking up from the abominable white man. Often these discussions would escalate into fiery debates and trigger one of their frequent pow-wows. The Govohas were great hunters and traders. They fished in the lakes and hunted in the woods. One of their rituals was to dip all their arrows, hunting knives and tomahawks in Lake Carasaljo before initiating their use. The most precious commodities were the scalps of their enemies and dark hats made of rabbit and beaver furs. The scalps would adorn the heads of their wives and many competed to obtain the fairest scalps. No price was too high. The Govohas would often travel up the trade routes to do business with the white men in New Amsterdam. Early attempts to establish trade routes met with failure, but they had great success on the 9th attempt - and so, for many generations, they traveled mainly on trade route number 9.
Of great interest is the family lives and mating rituals of the Govohas. There were actually two classes within the Govohas. One who had not yet taken a wife was a brave and one who had a wife was a worrier. The braves lived in large caves full of bats, foxes, raccoons, and other loathsome creatures. The worriers lived with their wives and children in individual tepees in colonies. Typically the openings of each tepee faced another teepee so everybody could know what's going on in everyone else's tepee. Some of the worriers were in a Golden state but most weren't. The Govohas were generally a monogamous tribe. Only the great Chief Milky Eel was allowed two wives (this, by a special counsel of 100 elders). In a bit of historical irony, his first wife was descended from the same Solapachik tribe as was Chief Jay Bear.
The Govohas had some unique mating rituals. One was that they would store up snow and ice from the harsh winters. When a new brave was accepted into the tribe, he would be packed into the ice for a period of four months or until the first signs of spring in the middle of the month of Shawatte. Only after this ritual was he allowed to unfreeze and search for a squaw. The motto was, "No squaw until after the thaw!" To thaw them out, they would need large doses of fire water. So they would head northward up the trade routes to the area near Fort Hamilton or the Great Spring Valley where there were plenty of maidens. Indian maidens from every corner of the continent would congregate there for it was a great privilege to be chosen as a squaw for one of the Govohas. They would choose a maiden and bring them to the Island of Manhattan. (The name Manhattan is derived from the word manahachtanienk which in the Munsee dialect of Lenape means: "place of general inebriation" - Wikipedia). There they would drink much fire water to thaw themselves out and to win over the heart and the gold of the maiden.
The Govohas also had a belief that a mouse is impure. And as such, anyone or anything that is attached to a mouse is impure. Even touching a live mouse would make the one who touches it impure. To rid themselves of these mice, they would try to trap them in nets. Of course this would immediately render the Net impure. When they did trap a mouse in the Net, they were required to inform a special band of witch doctors that "I have a mouse In the Net!" and the witch doctors would use special incantations and spells to rid the Worrier of his impurity. The Worrier would be required to detach himself from the mouse and the Net. If he was unable to do so, he would have to dwell outside of the village until he could be free of the Net. In extreme cases, his children would not be allowed to the village schools until he expunged the mouse and the Net. Such were the ways of the Govohas. All this was before the White man came and drove the Indians out. The Govoha tribe is now extinct. But what a proud nation they were. There is a memorial to the Govohas between the Forest and Private Way close to where Squankum Trail meets the old trade Route number 9. Some of the white men still have the rabbit fur hats and adorn their wives with thoseprized scalps. And so, their legacy lives on.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The annointed one...
I sort of promised no more politics, but I had to post this. It's a little self-deprecating humor rolled into the politics, so I get a pass. If you follow the above link you'll see a "roasting" of Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel by PE BHO back in 2005. Kudos to the artist for seeing this for what it is, a bunch of so-called intellectuals voting in a man of whom they know nothing about, and proclaiming him as THE ONE. The more I think of it the more I laugh at the ones who call US mindless for not voting for him. At least there was SOMETHING we liked in McCain; his national service, experience - there was a record there. With BHO it's all fluff. Nu, Vos darf men rayden fun a dovor haMetza'er, May we hear only good news from now on. btw, I already ordered a whole new library of seforim based on the refundable tax credits I'm about to get next year!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Breslov, Lubavitch and the Politics of Ownership
Rav Luzer Kenig of Tzfas
Word in the online forums is that the old guard of Breslov has called on its adherents not to participate in the Jerusalem municipal elections about to take place. The elections featuring Meir Porush running for mayor. Why, you ask? simple. They belong to the Kanoim faction that is part of the Edah HaCharedis and the Yishuv HaYoshon; that membership bars anyone from participating in any election in the State of Israel, even municipal ones. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point the Breslover Manhigim like Reb Yankev Meir Schechter and others decided that Breslov and Kanoyus are one, and that they need to adhere to the laws of the Kano'im in Israel. I don't think Breslov has been organized in Israel as long as some other groups like Chabad, Slonim and Karlin have been, so it's difficult to put a time on that "transformation," if you will. You also don't have that tendency to zealousness like you do with the Hungarians and the Talmidei HaGro, so I don't know how they picked it up even after living in Meah Shearim for all those years.
Reb Yisroel Dov Odesser
Others like Rav Lazer Berland from the far-right Shuvu Bonim, whose HQ is deep in the so-called Muslim Quarter of Yerushalayim, have encouraged their ever-growing group of followers to vote, I believe, for Meir Porush. The point is that whom to vote for is irrelevant, the mere fact that they split with the old guard in Breslov says volumes about the current state of the famed Chassidus. The old-timers believe that for some reason they're the ones who know how Reb Nachman would dictate policy regarding the State, and that what they're doing follows in the footsteps of their Rebbe 200 years after his passing. The same goes for other issues; many in Breslov have decided that Kiruv is not their thing, that despite the great amounts of Baalei Tshuvah you see in Breslov that they'd like to stick to themselves just like other groups. We discussed this away back in 5766, back when the "Anti"in Anti-Tzemach still meant something. The other manhigim like Berland, Liebermansh, Kenig and Arush beg to differ, and claim to understand Reb Nachman just as much as Schechter does. Needless to say that they don't get along very well with the Old Guard...
In Lubavitch too there are young people that claim to understand what the Rebbe said just as much as the old Mashpi'im. Despite not having learned in Tomchei Tmimim they open the seforim and claim to understand just as well as the ones who've been studying the Rebbe's works for over close to 60 years. They claim that nobody is Baal HaBoss of Lubavitch but the Rebbe, and that they can just as well speak on behalf of Lubavitch as the old folks. Within both groups things have gotten totally out of hand, with splinters and offshoots ruining good names for the others, despite all the damage control efforts. Breslov proves to Lubavitch's adversaries that it's not the "Moshiach Issue" that drives the splinter groups, and Lubavitch can learn a lesson from Breslov as to how a group can both grow and fester all kinds of unwanted elements 200 years after the Rebbe's passing. Breslov has also shown how little they are able to do about all those weird groups that claim to represent Breslov; no matter how much you protest, once they put on the garb and learn the seforim and travel to Uman they're in. No amount of closing the barn door after the fact will keep the horse from running.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Remember what we have here...
I'm sorry to bore you guys with all this political talk, but I promise to be done with this very, very soon. Arthur sent in this comment:
David Letterman wrote this:
'As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.' 'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President.. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'
A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?
B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?
C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?
D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?
E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.
F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?
G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.
H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.
I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.
K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.
L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.
M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?
Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.
Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here. I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?
Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.
So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!
Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Kiruv Rabbi Wants You To Go Home...
An email circulated by Rabbi Steve Eisenberg of Aish: (CAPS and ..... in the original)
"Tonite , I traveled to Yale University where I give my once a semester
Torah class to Maimonides students. BH the class went well.. I then left the
building with the Maimonides Rabbis.. We saw and heard the revelry of the
students celebrating the Obama victory. with their generous cups of beer in
hand... We looked at one another.. and shrugged.. I proceeded to the New Haven
train station to go back to NYC.. taking the 11:30 P.M train... tired and
trying to discern what the victory meant for the Jewish people, the
country and the world... I heard the conductor, passengers and crew laughing
celebrating the victory... none of which surprised me... and then 4 exuberant
young people said to me: "you must be upset." I asked why?" they responded
"because Obama has won." again " I asked why should I be upset?" " because you
are Jewish," they answered... I answered , "did you know that polls have said
that approximately 80% of Jews most likely voted for Obama?" they
replied: "but you are religious!" I replied with disbelief: "what?" They
responded "the majority of religious JEWS were supporting McCain." I
asked, "how do u know that? "everyone knows that" they said."." Religious Jews
know that the day of their power and their ruination of WALL STREET IS OVER....
CHANGE IS COMING.... OBAMA HAS PROMISED THIS." They walked away...
I felt sick and thought, wow! so maybe this is how the chapter for American Jews
is ending... The cell phone rang and it is was my friend Rabbi Jonathan
Shippell.. We spoke of the election results and he asked me "DO YOU KNOW
WHAT TONIGHT IS?" "No" I answered. He said..." TONIGHT is the anniversary
of KRISTALLNACHT." MY ALREADY DISTRAUGHT HEART SIGHED... I then remembered... the crying of Rebbetzin Esther Yungreis. the night of the Democratic National Convention. 4 years ago... She asked... "what is going on in that room?" she asked me... "what danger is taking place?" " look at our history!... as she cried further.. THAT OF COURSE WAS THE NIGHT WE WERE ALL INTRODUCED TO President elect Obama... HASHEM YIRACHEM.. zchor yemot olam.. says the pasuk. .It is 3:24 A.M.. I just walked in to my apartment... I think it is time to GO HOME.
Wow! Ain't that something! I'm surprised an Aish Rabbi would say that knowing that Jews are so overwhelmingly liberal and voted for BHO. I guess he really feels like the danger is palpable.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
הנה יום הדין
(AP Photo) Twin brothers Moshe, right, and Shaya Ztironenbaum, vote in their first presidential election as they check in with poll workers at PS 223 in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York
This has never happened in my lifetime. I never sat and worried about the outcome of an election like this one. There were times that I was concerned, like in 2000 with Hillary and President Bush, and again in 2004. There was also that day in 1998 where I hoped that Al D'Amato could somehow beat Chuck, but that didn't happen either. Leave it up to Jews in New York to kick a friend like Al to the curb like unwanted trash.. Today is different, we're not talking swiftboat veterans against Kerry here, or that Hillary and Bill were 60's radicals, we're talking dangerous. I know, I know I'm being a reactionary, I don't see the HOPE that is BHO, but what can I say? I look at his friends and es vert mir shvartz far di eygen, no pun intended. I look at the glorious ideas he's come up with and I shudder.I guess some of you may have expected me to go with the anti-establishment Jewish flow and vote for BHO, just to show you all how cool and with it I am. Sorry to disappoint you; I'm as uncool as they come when it comes to politics.
G-d protect us....
Monday, November 3, 2008
?צי דערלאזט תורה זיין א סאציאליסט
An excerpt of a letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy"A, to a writer in the Yiddish Forverts in Nisan of 5723/1963:
מען האָט געצויגן מיין אויפמערקזאַמקייט אויף אייער אַרטיקל וואָס איז אויך איבערגעדרוקט געוואָרן אין דער ארץישראל'דיקער פּרעסע, און דעם אָפּקלאַנג וואָס דער אַרטיקל האָט אַרויסגערופן באַ אַ טייל לייענער.
איך בין זיכער, אַז איר נעמט זיך ניט צום האַרצן דעם נייען אופן פון רעליגיעזער פאַרפאָלגונג, אָדער ריכטיקער, אַנטירעליגיעזע רעאַקציע. אָבער אַזוי ווי אומדירעקט בין איך אין דעם אויך פאַרמישט, דערמאָן איך עס אין דעם בריוו. דער עיקר אָבער וויל איך ניט באַהאַלטן מיין האָפנונג, אַז דער דערמאָנטער אַרטיקל, ווי אויך האָפנטלעך די צוקינפטיקע, וועלן דערמוטיקן די גאָר פילע מיטגלידער פון די "פאָרווערטס" קרייזן אַרויסצואווייזן, אָפן און אויסדריקלעך, די טיפע ענדערונג וואָס ס'איז פאָרגעקומען באַ זיי אין די לעצטע יאָרן אין צוזאַמענהאַנג מיט זייער שטעלונג צו די אידישע מקורות און טראַדיציעס. און באַ אַ טייל פון זיי איז דאָס אפשר גאָר קיין ענדערונג ניט, ווייל זיי האָבן שטענדיק געהאַט אַ פּאָזיטיווע שטעלונג צו די פראַגען.
אגב איז די גאַנצע טענה מיר אומפאַרשטענדלעך, וואָרום נאָך אין מיטן ברען פון דער רעוואָלוציע אין רוסלאַנד האָב איך געקענט פּערזענלעך פיל סאָציאַליסטן, און צווישן זיי אויך גאָר ראַדיקאַלע, וועלכע זיינען געווען טיףרעליגיעזע מענטשן שומרי תורה ומצוה, שטאָלצירנדיק דערמיט און גלייכצייטיק פאַרנעמענדיק פירנדע פּאָזיציעס אין דער סאָציאַליסטישער באַוועגונג אין רוסלאַנד. אויב עס זיינען נאָך דאָ אַזעלכע וועלכע זעען דאָ אַ קאָנפליקט פון גרונטאידייען, קומט עס פּשוט פון אומוויסן, אד"ג.
(ממכתב י"ג ניסן, תשכ"ג)
איך באַשטעטיג די ערהאַלטונג פון דעם בוך פון אייער מאַן. . און איך דאַנק אייך פאַר דער אויפמערקזאַמקייט.
The man who sent me the letter is an Obamanite. He wants free healthcare and believes BHO will give it to him were he to - G-d forbid - become President. He also wants the Government to take the money from the rich Jews and give it to the poor, many of whom never worked a day in their lives... He sees this letter as "proof" that Torah and Socialism can go hand in hand, and that his (the man who sent me the letter) beliefs as a Socialist are not contrary to Torah.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Can you say witchhunt?
CBT commenting on the situation in Postville:
This is not in my normal range of issues, but like many people I have been following the Rubashkin story lately, and it's implications are frightening for all Orthodox Jews as well as for Judaism in America. One thing is for sure, it is one of the biggest cases of redifa of yidden in a long time. It is also an updated politically correct case of alilas damim (a literal blood libel), only in the case it is not Beilis who is being falsely accused of killing an innocent Christian boy, but the Rubashkins, and by implication they are implicating all shomrei Torah umitzvos, that now it is the PETA types who are accusing the shochtim and butchers of Rubashkin (all of whom are yerei shomayim and mumchim) of "cruelty" to animals by the way they allegedly mistreat and "kill" them and are shedding the blood of the animals. (Nowadays when Muslims kill Christians like in the Sudan Civil War and Darfur the world does not scream or arrest people).
Then you have the labor union crowd that is acting holier than thou, when everyone knows that unions, especially ones in the meat packing industry, are totally corrupt and completely influenced by the mobs that control them inside out. These people decided to pick on Rubashkin because Rubashkin did not want to hire union workers (is that a "crime"?) and so Rubashkin as Hasidic Orthodox Jews were easy targets to slander, to cite them for violations for hiring and using illegals, when all of America is being serviced and run by illegals. The cops and the feds are free to take a ride down any street in America and stop at any store, gas station, construction site, lawn service, you name it, and you will see all those Hispanics and sometimes Asians (the days of Italian and Greek workers are long, long gone) and you can arrest a few million people in a week. Notice how they did not pick on the agricultural industry in California where the unions actually protect the illegals and try to bring more in from Mexico and central America where millions of them work without any permits and they provide them with benefits too. Then you have the anti-Semites of Iowa and the Midwest who just hate the Jews in their midst and like Nazis would love to make Iowa "Juderein" even if it will hurt them, they will cut of their noses to spite their own faces.
The reported incidents of misbehavior by members of the Chabad communuty in Postville, mostly some unruly youngsters not staff of Rubashkin, did not help matters. Iowa and being out of town is not like hanging out in Crown Heights. But honestly, that is more than off-set by the excellent record of good and harmonious relations with the genral public and with public and government officials on all levels that all Chabad shluchim, their wives and familes have with people in thousands of places in America and the world.
So all in all, it is a big tragedy, that a family business like Rubashkin, that has been providng excellent meat products at very affordable prices should be put through this. The Young Israel and OU sent a rabbinic delegation that found everything to be in order in the kashrus department. Unfortunately, by the time the delegation of rabbis got there and put in their good word it was too late because the conglomeration of anti-Rubashkin (read: anti-Yiddiskeit) had already planned and made their moves and Rubashkin has now been hit from too many direction. People need Rubashkin's meat products, and the competitiveness that it brings to the meat market, more than ever.Let us hope it will have nitzchiyos for all the good it has done for Klal Yisroel and will have techiyas hameisim for every blow that knocked it down, and that they will be able to continue and be of service to all Jews in the ways of chesed that they are famous for.
Hopping in Woodmere
Rabbi Weinberger managed to tap into the pristine source of Chassidus that is Piasecna. Untainted by colorful Bekishes and bleachers he has resurrected Reb Klonimus Kalmish hy"D and kept him alive for generation to come. Circus Tent wishes him much success in his very holy endeavor.
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