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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
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:
Kislev 8, 5768, 11/18/2007
My mother, may she live and be well till 120, is experienced in sitting shiva, the week-long Jewish mourning. Not too many family minhagim, customs have been passed along in our family, but there's one I'm familiar with. During shiva, "we don't serve."
One of the aspects of mourning is not to have to deal with the mundane. People who come to pay condolence calls should help, bring food and serve the mourner, not expect to be fed. The Eidot Mizrach, North African Jews have the custom of having fruit and cake out for the visitors to make a bracha, a blessing on before eating, so blessing will be heard in the house of the mourner. This is simple fare, generally arranged by non-mourning family members and neighbors.
It's customary that family and friends of the mourners arrange their food needs and more. Here in Shiloh, when an entire family is in mourning, neighbors take turns helping in the homes, answering the phones, preparing and serving food to the mourners and doing laundry if there are young children.
That's why I was so shocked when I heard two similar stories which happened in Jewish communities in the states. One friend went back when his last surviving parent was dying. He stayed for the shiva, in his parents' home where he had grown up. The first morning after the funeral, a minyon of men from the neighborhood arrived and dovened. He felt comforted until someone asked:
"Where's the herring?"
"Yes, you can't expect a mourning minyon without providing a breakfast. You know. Herring, bagels, cream cheese, lox. If you don't promise food, we won't be back."
That wasn't anything he had ever heard of in his Israeli community. But not knowing what else to do, he got the number of a caterer and ordered breakfasts until the shiva was over. He was in no state of mind to argue, and he no longer knew enough people there to try to organize another minyon.
I thought that was a shocker, but then another friend told me that she had called her cousin who was sitting shiva for a parent, since there was no way she could travel to the states. Her cousin said that she couldn't talk. She was much too busy. My friend asked her if there were lots of visitors.
"No, I have to cook. The Lebovitch minyon that comes to doven with my brother demands a proper meat dinner every night. There aren't many frum Jews here, and that's the only way to have a minyon. So I'm busy cooking. If we don't serve them, they won't come."
These are neither urban legends nor rumours. I'm certain that there are Jewish communities which care for their mourners without asking anything in return, including daily minyanim for prayers, but unfortunately not every place is as blessed.
Kislev 6, 5768, 11/16/2007
For many people, November 29, 1947 is an important, wonderful day. It's the day the United Nations voted its permission for Jewish state. It's celebrated in the media; the roll call is played and played again.
I think it should be a day of mourning. That's not because I'm against a Jewish State. It's because the Zionist leaders went to the nations of the world for permission.
The United Nations was only a few months old at the time.
The Jewish People have a history of thousands of years.
The United States was less than two hundred years old.
We Jews had kings before there was a single nation in Europe.
Today's Judaism is the same religion worshipped thousands of years ago, long before Jesus and Mohammed.
Every year, as I listen to and read the Megilat (Scroll of) Esther four times on our double Purim, I'm thrilled anew to hear the instructions written all those thousands of years ago on how to commemorate the miracle. That is how we celebrate Purim today.
We are descended from Avraham Avinu, Our Forefather Abraham. Thousands of years ago, Samuel the Prophet, of Shiloh, annointed our first kings, Saul and David. David established Jerusalem as our Capital City. His son Solomon built the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah, The Temple Mount.
We don't need anyone's permission to live here in our Historical Homeland. We don't need anyone's approval to rebuild our nation.
In recent decades our greatest military victories, 1948 and 1967, were the ones when we acted alone, without expecting any help, without asking any other country for advice.
As Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" discovered, the power is within. We have that power. G-d gave it to us. We just have to activate it. Remember that the Hebrew word, "oze" is strength.
Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!
Kislev 3, 5768, 11/13/2007
According to DRC-Dispute Resolution Center, mediation is a process in which a third-party neutral, whether one mediator or more, acts as a facilitator to assist in resolving a dispute between two or more parties. It is a non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution, where the parties generally communicate directly; the role of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the parties, assist them in focusing on the real issues of the dispute, and generate options for settlement.
There won't be any conflict mediation at that Annapolis Conference. There are no "third-party neutral" mediators. U.S.'s Rice and Europe's Blair have very well-defined and well-publicized agendas. Actually they have the same aim. It's not "conflict resolution." It's the establishment of another Arab State in the Land of Israel. Great Britain, Europe, the United States and the rest of the countries in the world have always planned to divide the original British Mandate in three.
A Hashemite sheik was given the section east of the Jordan River, which is now called Jordan. Then, although originally it was thought that the Jews would get the remainder, the countries of the world then decided to divide that land west of the Jordan into two countries, one they would call Palestine and the bit remaining would be given to the Jews. They had a plan to divide Jerusalem or have it united under international rule. Their proposal was to give the Jews bits of land so indefensible that the country would be destroyed soon after its establishment.
Considering that there never was a "Palestinian People," and there never was any unity, tradition, army etc., Hashemite Jordan had no problems taking over most of that territory in the Arab war against the newly re-established Jewish Nation called The State of Israel. That's how it stood post 1948. Only two countries in the entire world recognized Hashemite Jordan's sovereignty over the "west bank" and eastern Jerusalem. They were Great Britain and Pakistan.
Blair and Rice are trying to "re"establish that country which had never existed, since there never was a national entity in the Land of Israel, other than a Jewish one. The Hashemites aren't native to the area of the Jordan River. Great Britain supported it, and the world has accepted it.
The Pseudistinians are just a bunch of anti-Jewish Arab terrorists. That is the unifying factor. They don't want peace with us. They just want us dead and destroyed.
Blair, Rice, Bush and the rest of the Annapolis organizers have one aim. That aim is to establish a Pseudistinian State at the expense of the State of Israel. They don't care what happens to us here. They are racists demanding that Our Land be judenrein, cleansed of Jews.
Olmert, with all of his legal problems, is looking for a refuge and world praise. There's something very sick in the Israeli psyche. I guess that it's the modern version of the need to wander forty years. It's a long "forty years," but it will be much longer if this Annapolis Conference takes place.
Olmert's Government and the Israeli Left are lying to the Israeli People. They're trying to promote this Annapolis Conference as some sort of "peace conference," but it isn't. The reason why the borders and the division of Jerusalem are the central theme and in the news all the time is because its aim is the establishment of an Arab terror state in the Land of Israel, G-d forbid, but we humans have to stop it!
The United States' Condelezza Rice has a dream. Her dream is to be the mother or midwife to a Pseudisitinian State at the expense of our State of Israel. The Israeli Left thinks that its support for such a state would make it immune to terror, but nobody is immune to terror. Terror must be eradicated at its source!
Rice, Blair and Bush are endangering world peace. If they, G-d forbid, succeed in their aim, history will judge them harshly. And history will also condemn all the Leftists who support the terrorist state and all those who remain silent, even more than the post-World War II historians condemn the Germans who "obeyed orders" and murdered six million Jews and millions of other innocents.
Cheshvan 28, 5768, 11/9/2007
It's going to be hard to get into the beauty and spirit of Shabbat after reading this headline and its short article:
I don't want a "breakthough" unless it's a total breakdown! Our country is being led by a very dangerous man.
Would You Trust a Thief With Your Family's Jewel's?
Or would you deposit your money in a bank you know isn't trustworthy?
Now, more than half the Israelis polled think Olmert the most corrupt Israeli politician.
Cheshvan 26, 5768, 11/7/2007
There were two funerals here in Shiloh, just a few days apart. Two very different neighbors died.
On Shabbat, Zachariya, the Yemenite carpenter, who perfected his craft building furnishings for the Eidot Mizrach Synagogue here in Shiloh, died unexpectedly.
And two days later, Mr. Katz HaKohen, The Priest, who had come from Germany via Kansas to Shiloh to spend his final days, passed away. G-d was generous to him and gave him a year. He was "zocheh," privileged to celebrate every Jewish Holiday with his many, bli eyin haraa, descendants.
These deaths were a day and three days after Rachella Druk's Yartzeit.
No doubt that G-d has His reasons and needs them urgently to prepare for the Moshiach and the Third Beit HaMikdash, The Holy Temple.
Considering the insane, self-destructive policies of our Israeli politicians, we pray b'emunah shleimah, with complete faith, that G-d will be sending us the Moshiach bimhaira biyamainu, speedily in our days. We know that Shiloh, where the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, rested for 369 years, is the site where we prepared for the Beit HaMikdash, our Holy Temple. And, so too today, it is in Shiloh where we prepare ourselves again.
That must be the reason why these two holy Jews were called by HaKodesh Baruch Hu, The Holy One Blessed Be He, just days apart.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet