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Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Cheshvan 4, 5771, 10/12/2010
There's always more to read on my other blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander. Me-ander is hosting a contest promoting Suzy Fishbein's new book Kosher by Design Teens 20-Somethings: cooking for the next generation , which includes a free book for the contest winner. And the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival was posted on Sunday.
I wasn't in Shiloh during yesterday's fire at Tel Shiloh, but I may have stumbled on another news item.
The past few nights I've been returning home to Shiloh after dark. I took these two pictures, which you see twice, since I tried lightening them. There are Arab trucks bringing all sorts of suspicious things to wherever every night. I'm not patrolling, just riding a bus, so you shouldn't think that I'm looking for these trucks. But I did see them both nights. Yes, covered trucks, hiding something.
They make me very suspicious.
PS The pictures were taken north of Jerusalem on the way to Shiloh. I'm pretty sure I took these between the "Maavar Michmas-Psagot" turn-off and the "T Junction" to Beit El.
Tishrei 30, 5771, 10/8/2010
One Wednesday evening, after an inspiring morning in Matan, I traveled with neighbors to nearby Eli for a shiur by Miram Wolf, which was in memory of a friend's mother. When Miriam had lived in Eli, she gave us classes in TaNaCh, Bible, and we were very excited to have the opportunity to hear her again.
This time she took a mishne from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, V, 20.
כ. יהודה בן תימא אומר: הוי עז כנמר; וקל כנשר; ורץ כצבי; וגבור כארילעשות רצון אביך שבשמים. הוא היה אומר: עז פנים לגיהנם; ובושת פנים לגן עדן. יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך. 20. Judah the son of Teima would say: Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, fleeting as a deer and mighty as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven. He would also say: The brazen--to purgatory; the bashful*--to paradise. May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.
We spent the evening trying to define the terms. The question concerned the word עז, oz, strength/daring which is used in contrasting positive and negative instructions.
We are told to be as עז, oz, strength/daring as a leopard, but the phrase עז פנים oz-pannim, brazen is negative, leading to hell. The opposite is ובושת פנים boshet-pannim which they translate as "bashful," which we translated/explained as "humble before G-d."
And that is supposed to be the way to Heaven. What is this עז oz? What is the message here? I'm a political commentator, observer of people and events. I also believe very strongly in G-d and the Jewish religion.
I think that this mishne, law, summarizes very well what I've been trying to say on Shiloh Musings for a long time. In order for us to be redeemed:
יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך. May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.
In order for this to happen, we must stand up strong, fearless and daring, like a mother lion protecting her cubs, to defend our Land and our People and our rights. But at the same time we must be humble before G-d and not rewrite His Laws, nor may we adopt foreign and perverse moralities and ideologies.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!
Tishrei 25, 5771, 10/3/2010
It's the new Jewish year, and in a few days it'll already be the second month of the year. Ladies, Rosh Chodesh, the Holiday of the New Month, is traditonally a special Women's Holiday. Jewish tradition doesn't give us one mostly commercial "Mother's Day." We have a dozen women's holidays a year! I've been celebrating them at Tel Shiloh praying and enjoying the sights and site.
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Friday, October 8, 2010
ראש חודש חשון תפילת נשים בתל שילה
יום ו', 8/10 9:30
Will Jonathan Pollard be released from American prison this year and allowed to make aliyah to Israel? Here's my take on the very difficult subject:
I can't see Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu giving the United States anything for the release of Jewish prisoner Jonathan Jay Pollard. It's not that any truly moral human being thinks that he should still be in prison, it's just that Bibi does not want to embolden the Pollard protest movement which is extremely Right wing Israeli and uncompromising. And they're angry, not only angry with the United States for its totally out of proportion and unprecedented punishment of Pollard for giving information to an ally, but they're furious with the Israeli governments and Intelligence establishment for abandoning Pollard for decades.
Jonathan and Esther Pollard are a couple of loose cannons, and there's no doubt in my mind that at this point in time the Israeli government is terrified of what they would say unmuzzled.So, to whoever had that idea of bribing Bibi to continue the Jewish YESHA building freeze in exchange for Pollard, you're barking up the wrong tree!
Tishrei 20, 5771, 9/28/2010
Our three week marathon of Jewish Holidays has almost ended. Soon it will quiet down. When I was an English Teacher, this was the most serious part of the school year, until Chanukah. G-d willing, we'll be blessed with rain, whether we deserve it or not. I write much more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander; please visit. You may find those blogs more enjoyable and entertaining than this one. And check out the comments which are very different from the ones here.
I just came back from a lovely few hours at Tel Shiloh. There were totally peaceful and enjoyable activities for the entire family. You wouldn't have believed that international politicians, diplomats and the media are raising a storm about our living in our historic and holy Land. It sure seemed quiet and relaxing here.
All this talk about "the talks" is just causing the Arabs to feel that it's in their best interest to attack Jewish Israelis. That's because they're afraid that if Israel hands their home to Arab rule, G-d forbid, they'll be in trouble if they don't have proof that they didn't cooperate with Israel. And the best method for guaranteeing their "life insurance" is to attack innocent Israeli Jews.
Life was a lot more peaceful prior to all these peace talks. "Peace" is very dangerous to our health and survival. That's because the stuff that's being marketed to us isn't real peace. It's a dangerous placebo.
Tishrei 16, 5771, 9/24/2010
It's the Succot holiday, and there has been lots of building here in Judea, Samaria and the entire Jewish World.
I took these photos in my neighborhood. When I walked around a few minutes ago, many more succot were up, and many already had the s'chach (ritual succah roofing) on top. Succot is one of those great holidays for photographers, much more so than Passover. Of course, there have been years when I've found what to photograph when cleaning for Passover. Davka on Rosh Hashannah we had neighbors over to eat one of the festive holiday meals. They're pretty new to Shiloh and hadn't been our guests before. They surprised us by saying that they first heard of Shiloh when google recommended my blogs. And then the wife entered my kitchen: Wow!
"I've seen your kitchen before." My head was spinning. How could she have seen my kitchen? She had never been in the house. "You posted pictures on your blog showing it all covered for Pesach."None of the succot here are mine.
It's amazing how quickly some people seem to be ready to live in their new rooms. Will the Appease Now activists come and volunteer to help us take apart our succot after the holiday and put the
I've always loved that quirky Jewish Israeli, especially in cities like Jerusalem, architecture where מרפסות mirpessot, balconies, terraces are specially designed and placed according to Halacha, Jewish Law to enable the building of kosher succot for each apartment.
In more frugal (and less egalitarian) times there was barely enough space for one person, the male head of the household, to have a strictly kosher succah seat. A friend of mine who grew up in Jerusalem's Bayit V'Gan neighborhood in an apartment like that once told me that every year her father would call on the local rabbi, HaRav Min HaHar, to pay a "house call" and inspect the succah to make sure it had enough space for him to sit, eat and say the appropriate prayers.
Today's Torah observant Jewish families have larger succot, and frequently there are two, one for sleeping and one for eating, even in the cities. And it's the norm for Jerusalem's commercial streets to have succot on the sidewalks next to restaurants.
I've always enjoyed listening to neighbors singing holiday songs in their succot.
Chag Succot Sameach
Have a Truly Joyous Holiday!