Sunday, December 28, 2014

Yair (ben Menashe) ben Yosef - Parshat Vayechi

The gemara in Baba Basra 121b discusses that there is a chain of seven people whose lifespans overlapped to collectively cover the entirety of world history:
  1. Adam Harishon lived 930 years
  2. Mesushelach was alive to see Adam Harishon
  3. Shem ben Noach was alive to see Mesushelach
  4. Yaakov was alive to see Shem
  5. Amram was alive to see Yaakov
  6. Achiya Hashiloni was alive to see Amram
  7. Eliyahu Hanavi was alive to see Achiya Hashiloni
And our tradition is that Eliyahu Hanavi is still alive.
In some cases the overlap is explicitly stated in the pasukim but in other cases it is attributed to "gemara" which means oral tradition (Rashbam ibid).
Further on, the gemara notes that Yair ben Menashe, the grandson of Yosef, was alive to see Yaakov Avinu. Here, as well there is no conclusive proof from the Torah itself and, as such, Rashbam explains that this is likewise "gemara" – a tradition.
Comes Rabbi Mordechai Aronovsky in his work Niflaos M'Torasecha and he points out that although there is no explicit source for this assertion about Yair ben Menashe, there is a fascinating remez (hint) to this claim.
He says that in all of the five books of Torah there is only one sequence of words where the Roshei Teivos spell out the word "Yair" and it is in this pasuk (Breishis 48:11):
ויאמר ישראל אל יוסף ראה פניך לא פללתי והנה הראה אותי אלקים גם את זרעך.

Yaakov says to Yosef in jubilation: I did not aspire to see your face (again) and behold, G-d has shown me even your offspring.  Meshech Chochma points out that the added word גם (even) is intended to extend this phenomenon to include "even" the next generation – i.e. Yair ben Menashe. And, sure enough, we see the name "Yair" encoded in this very pasuk, the only such Roshei Teivos in all of the five books!

One minor question may cross our minds. If Yaakov is applauding his good fortune and the graciousness of HKBH for allowing him this unforeseen delight, why does he allude to G-d with the term "Elokim" which typically implies harshness and midas hadin? He should have used the four letter name that implies benevolence, kindness, and midas harachamim?

Well, my 16 year old Mendy is very tuned to current events. And he is suggesting that there may be a dark side to this remez as it can be applied to our generation as well.

You see, Tommy Lapid, who was no friend to the chareidim l’dvar Hashem, was really Yosef Lapid. Last decade, he had a brief, yet turbulent, stint as a policy maker in the Israeli political arena. He came in with a platform of "saving" the nation from the "parasitic" chareidim and at the same time he didn’t even claim to have anything to offer or contribute to society in general. Since he had no success in his exclusive anti-chareidi agenda, he petered out accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Now, just when we thought we could say Baruch She’p’tarani on his anti-chareidi-and-nothing-else agenda, we get his offspring Yair to come in on an identical platform. Yair ben Yosef may have been slightly more effective in making life more challenging for the chareidi tzibur, but in the larger picture, he has produced nothing positive for any member of Israeli society.

And thus there may be a second, more contemporary, application of the remez of this pasuk:

ויאמר ישראל אל יוסף >  and the nation of Israel says to Yosef (Tommy) Lapid

ראה פניך לא פללתי> to see your face in the Knesset is something we would never aspire to

והנה הראה אותי אלקים גם את זרעך > and, behold, to our great consternation, Elokim (midas hadin) has decreed upon us to see your offspring as well.


Woe is to us!

וליכא מידי דלא רמיזי באורייתא

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Har Nof Massacre I - Where was I When the Lights Went Out?

Most of you know that Tuesday was a dark day in the Jewish world. There was a horrific terror attack in Har Nof at Kehilat Bnei Torah. Four Korbanos Oleh (הי"ד) and another four Korbanos Shlomim (may they have a refuah shleima b’karov). And you can bet there will be many Korbanos Todah.
Kehilat Bnei Torah is located at Agassi 5 in Har Nof. I live at Agassi 8. The doorway of my apartment building is directly opposite the doorway of the shul.
Talk about this one hitting “close to home”.
Where was I?
My routine is to leave the house to daven a little before 7:00 am. Most mornings I go straight to shul. That would typically be Kehilat Bnei Torah for the second minyan – 7:00. I am usually a bit ahead of 7:00. That would put me inside the building before all the action. However, once or twice a week, aside from Fridays, I go to the mikva first. I still leave the house about 7:00 but I go to one of the shuls that have a mikva and wind up davening around 7:30. There’s no rule for this, it could be any weekday morning – and so it was on Black Tuesday.
And so, now it is about 7:00 on Tuesday morning and I have reached the doorway of our building with the intention to go to Imrei Shefer on foot. But there in the lobby I meet Meir, a 12 year live-wire kind of kid from the ground floor. He is screaming that there is a piguah (attack) right here on the street. As I peer out the doorway I see the front end of the carnage. There, outside the shul, under the pashkevillim is sitting R’ Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila, in his tallis and tefillin. The top half of his shirt was saturated in blood. Dr. Heshing and a few others were attending to him. Dr. Heshing did not notice that he himself was wounded until two hours later. The emergency services and SWAT team were just beginning to arrive.
Although according to all accounts there were gunshots going off at the time, somehow I was oblivious to them. I merely made a mental assessment of the situation and determined that young Meir was not exaggerating.  I knew that I had nothing of substance to contribute to the situation and I certainly did not want to be on the donor list. While hopeful that I was looking at the sole casualty, I could wait for later  to find out what really happened. There was no point for me to stick around.
So I made a quick adjustment and decided that instead of going to Imrei Shefer on foot, it would be better to go to Vizhnitz by car. I hopped into the car, picked up an eager neighbor, and off I went.  
After I reached the shul, parked and finally entered the foyer to the mikva, it dawned on me that my wife was not updated on my plans and it would be a good idea to call her and let her know that I am outside of the battle zone. It took me a number of minutes to find somebody with a cell phone (I don’t bring mine to shul in the morning) so by the time I called it was more than 10 minutes since I left. They must have been the hardest 10 minutes she ever went through but, when my call finally came, it was a geulah.  She did not tell me in that short conversation that she and half the kids were watching out the kitchen window to see the tail end of the event. The part where the two Arab reptiles tried to bolt from the shul and were gunned down on the front steps.
Back at Vizhnitz, I carried on with a normal routine of “mikva-ing” and then preparing to daven. Casualty reports were flying around which consisted of numbers (often conflicting) but not yet any names. Needless to say, I was gravely concerned about my peers back at Kehillat Bnei Torah, but on a personal note there was no need to worry about my immediate family. None of the younger kids need to leave the house before 8:00, two older boys are away in Yeshiva and my 16 year old is never in a hurry to get out of bed. All cool.
Birchas hashachar, korbanos, Boruch She’amar…wait a minute… Just a second…oh, my goodness…
Yaakov, my oldest son, still lives at home. He is in school two days a week and works in Ramat Gan two days a week – Mondays and Tuesdays. On work days he needs to be up and out bright and early and prefers the convenient early minyan at Kehilat Bnei Torah. Was he there?
I frantically searched out another cell phone and called home. Good news. He hadn't left the house.

Yaakov had set his alarm clock to dutifully attend the early minyan but he wasn’t fully devoted. He decided to snooze it out till the second minyan. As he was getting dressed he heard the gunshots loud and clear. His bedroom window (just above the kitchen window) directly overlooks the shul. One look was all he needed to catch on that the 7:00 minyan wasn’t a good idea either. He scooted downstairs and alerted my wife that a piguah is in progress and asked her if she knew where I am. Hence the frantic ten minutes until I called the first time.
Our phone didn’t stop ringing until way after the bullets did. Thank G-d, we were fortunate enough to reassure those who called that we are OK. Not every family could say the same.

I might have been there and my Yaakov had planned to be there. This was "close to home". Very close!

I do have some good news to report. In my previous post from three months back I noted that three of my children are involved in shidduchim. Well, one of the three (the female one) is engaged and scheduled to get married within a month, IY”H. The bad news is that ,with an anguished heart, we have had to scratch a few names off of our invitation list. Another two names we thankfully don’t need to scratch off, but still we won’t be expecting them.
We pray that, b’ezras Hashem, our daughter’s upcoming wedding will proceed as scheduled and be a joyous event. Yet, we will have to grieve for several empty seats. 

ומחה ה' דמעה מעל כל פנים.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Shidduchim VI - Change? Yes we Cam!

Many moons ago, I announced on this blog that I intend to write another post about the Shidduch crisis. Thus far, I have not delivered.

In truth, I did draft a partial post long ago but I have neglected to follow through and complete it. Many other topics have taken front page headlines of late. No need to drag out a dead horse.

Nevertheless, over the weekend I was inspired to make one more attempt to publish this evasive post in honor of two things:

1.      We are at the eve of Tu B’Av – the traditional day of Shidduchim in our culture.

2.      The most recent issue of Mishpacha magazine is running a feature about a devoted askan from California – one Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz – who is trying to lend a helping hand.

It seems from the article that R’ Shlomo Yehuda understands the crux of the problem: the natural age gap between when girls enter the shidduch market to when boys enter the shidduch market ensures that, on a yearly basis, more girls enter than do boys. As long as this trend continues, there will always be a shortfall of boys. In conjunction, for boys that linger a bit, with each passing year they have the option to check out the younger inventory and overlook the veterans from the girls’ side. Unfair, but such is life.

This is a vexing problem and there is no true solution for it. Nothing can fix this in the short term. I wrote about this at length in previous posts (see HERE).

Unfortunately, the best that R’ Shlomo Yehuda does to help out is to advocate a remedy that is neither original nor a true solution. Though it may reduce some of the symptoms, it won’t cure the disease. He proposes to narrow the gap by encouraging boys to enter the shidduch market close to the same age that girls do. This is prevalent in Chassidic circles and, to a lesser extent, even in “Litvish” circles in Eretz Yisroel.

The theory is that if boys enter the market at about the age of 20, there will be more boys around to capture the young girls and less unmarried girls will pass the “23” year mark. As an added bonus, it will reduce the market of younger girls for older boys who will then be more amenable toward more mature prospects. 

This is bound to be an uphill battle. And here is why:

·         First and foremost, as I said, this is not a short term solution. Even if it were to be implemented tomorrow it will only help מכאן ולהבא – from now on. It will do absolutely nothing to help the thousands of past due young women who are stranded in limbo. If it becomes a new trend, perhaps it will help the next generation after the current dor hamidbar passes on.

·         In terms of the age gap and what it causes, this plan – if successful – would only narrow it to some degree but not eliminate it entirely.

·         Moreover, I think that even R’ Shlomo Yehuda recognizes that the chances of this becoming a new norm are extremely daunting. The article discusses the great challenges to learning development that must be overcome. It totally makes no mention about the financial challenges that must be overcome. Every young family needs income to exist. More income than single people need. And young families quickly grow. The sooner they start out, the sooner they grow. This income must come either from the couple themselves or from their parents. My assumption is that neither one is going to be in a big hurry take on this financial responsibility. More so in this current beleaguered economy.

·         Further, as a trained Shalom Bayit counselor, I have enough insight to know encouraging boys to marry when they otherwise would not is playing with fire. Yes, the article very optimistically states that young people can mature quickly when they have to, but they don’t always do. And when they don’t, it’s a recipe for disaster.

·         Not to mention that most girls are not so comfortable with younger boys. While those unfortunates in the 24+ category may be flexible out of necessity, the younger 19-21 year olds who are not yet hard pressed will still seek out older fellows.

·         And my last point is that this plan would only work if the 20 year old boys actually marry – like the Chassidim do. If they only use it as an early starting point for dating but don’t “hit it off” quickly and linger around, there is nothing accomplished.

All told, IMHO, this plan has too many limitations to be truly effective although it may help reduce the extent of the catastrophe to some degree.  Of course, I think that any remedy, even if it only helps a little, is worth trying out for the sake of those that it may help.

That said, I want to expand on the idea of modifying current trends to help alleviate the Shidduch catastrophe (albeit not solving it) by implementing a new trend that I have been advocating for over 5 years. This is to make the shidduch process easier, faster and cheaper – and therefore more efficient – by encouraging young singles to start the dating process using web cams and online video such as Skype. I railed at length about the advantages of this idea in THIS POST.

Now, I wasn’t the only person to come up with such an idea. A fellow named R’ Jeff Cohn who started Make-a-Shidduch Foundation also saw the benefits of web cam dating. But since he didn’t think he would get adequate Rabbinic support for a cost efficient Internet based system, he invested a lot of time, money and energy in a very clumsy, costly, and inefficient Point-to-point cable system. I recognized up front that this PTP cable system cannot be workable and I wrote a post devoted to explaining why (see HERE). I knew it would bomb but I gave it a chance.

Sure enough - it bombed! Although there was a highly celebrated launch with the blessings of several American Gedolim and some prominent shadchanim including the renowned Rabbi Shlomo Lewenstein from Lakewood, it never took off. And all the time, energy, and money was lost.

Well, if the Rabbanim thought it was a good idea and the shadchanim thought it was a good idea, how about doing it right – so that it works? Sure, it won’t solve the Shidduch catastrophe but shouldn’t we do anything sensible that can alleviate it to some extent?

And now I want to get a bit more personal.

Currently, I have three children on the auction block (all available to the highest bidder), two of whom are of the male persuasion and one is female.

The first of the three is my oldest boy Yaakov who has made a few appearances in my posts. Yaakov turned 25 in March. He is pursuing a Masters degree at Bar Ilan U. As you can surmise, he is more of a Torah Im Derech Eretz advocate(chareidi-lite) and he is searching for his barshert in those circles.

The third of the 3 is my 21 year old daughter – the only female in this bunch. She is now 3 years post high school and is facing the same trials and tribulations as everyone else. On the plus side (for us, at least), it does not seem to me that this crisis is as acute in Eretz Yisroel as it is in America. Perhaps we have a bit of an advantage because American born FFB girls who are proficient in English are at a premium here. So we get many suggestions. On the flip-side, there is a dearth of American born FFB guys who are proficient in English, so many of the suggestions are non-starters.

The one I want to focus on in this post is my 23 year old full blown hard core black and white Yeshiva bochur who I will call “Yossi”. He’s a serious, down-to-earth, genuine article type of guy (tall, slim, dark blond and blue-eyed, too, in case that means anything to anyone…) As you can imagine, we get a ton of suggestions for him. Never a dry moment. He probably would have been long gone except that he’s a bit fussy on three things: Location, location, location.

“Yossi” was born in the US of A and was about 6.5 years old when we moved to the Holy land.  Although he attended mainstream Israeli Yeshivas in his formative years, he hasn’t been interested in dropping the “Red’ from the Red, white and blue. Incidentally, in his mainstream “Israeli” cheder, there were so many Anglo parents at every parents meeting that I thought the Hebrew speaking parents must feel like foreigners. After he completed his “Brisker” Yeshiva ketana, he immediately set out for the Anglo Yeshiva gedolahs. And so, he spent 5 years in Yeshivas Birkas Mordechai (under R’ Yaakov Friedman son-in-law of R’ Yosef Tendler Z”L of Baltimore) and then Yeshivas Yagdil Torah (R’ Avrohom Teichman from Long Beach), and, finally, he pitched his tent (almost literally) in the almighty Mir of Jerusalem by R’ Nissan Kaplan, Shlita. For the summer, he is a learning rebbe at Camp Adirim.

He walks American, talks American, learns and socializes with the Americans, and…he wants an American girl.

To be sure, there are numerous American families just like ours living here in EY. Accordingly, we’ve gotten many suggestions from the progeny of these families and, some of which developed into actual shidduch “parshas”. So far nothing clicked for him and in some cases, despite the young lady’s RW&B pedigree, he still felt that they were “too Israeli”. Call it a mishugoss (I do), but his first preference is a girl who actually currently resides in the USA.

The problem is: we live here. And these kinds of girls are very scarce on this side of the ocean (because they live there). Most American seminary girls are not dating (rightly so). The exceptions are the second-year sem girls or those that just happen to be visiting. Not a very large pool.

So if the most suitable prospects for my “Yossi” are oceans away how do we bridge this gap?

One obvious solution is simply to send him to learn in the US. A plausible solution, but rather a bit too costly for my meager finances. We need “the next best thing to being there”.

Enter Skype. Yep, for the cost of a doughnut hole, my Yossi could date any prospect anywhere in the US or Canada without missing a shiur. Of course, if something really looks promising, we may need to dip into the meager finances and ship him overseas but the foundation will already be dug out.

Interestingly enough, my Yossi has personally met the renowned Shlomo Lewenstein (yes, the one mentioned on page 69 of the Mishpacha issue) and, upon my instruction, told him point blank that he prefers a true American girl and is willing to Skype for it. I believe he mentioned it to some others as well. Among other pluses, this would be a great opportunity to pioneer an unused method and open up a new frontier for North American girls who are open to living in Eretz Yisroel.

Yet, to date, we have gotten no response from the American officials. Not a nibble. Can it be that the seminary graduates of today are so overwhelmed with Shidduch proposals cramming their email boxes that they have no forbearance for a long distance b’show a la Skype?

Not from what I just read in Mishpacha magazine.

I don’t know if the resistance to a new method is due to ignorance or apathy (I don’t know and I don’t care), but if currently available low cost web cam dating is something people won’t want to experiment with, how would we expect a more monumental change like getting serious boys to want to marry en masse at substantially younger ages?

Kol haKavod and hatzlacha rabba to R’ Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz but I don’t see this Shidduch crisis catastrophe getting better any time soon.
Post script – Although it may not look this way, the purpose of this post is NOT to market “Yossi”. It is to market web cam dating. My “Yossi” does not need marketing and currently we are blessed with numerous prospects from the local talent, B”H. That said, if any reader is seriously interested in Yossi or in our other two children who are currently in the Parsha, feel free to email me at:

Related posts:

Original Achas L'Maala post describing the severity of the Shidduch crisis catastrophe in mathematical terms (Oct.1, 2009):
Original Achas L'Maala post promoting Web Cam dating (Nov. 26, 2008):
Original Achas L'Maala post examining ShidduchVision (Jan. 28, 2009): 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parah Adumas - New and Old

The Temple Institute of Jerusalem seems to be making a big fuss over a potential Parah Adumah that was discovered in the United States. Assuming that it is a kosher Parah Adumah – and it very well may be - it is definitely something worth watching.

The YouTube video that shows it is embedded here.  (If you receive my emails and the video is not embedded – HERE is the link.)

The interesting thing is that if you are as old as I am, this may not the first time you have heard about a real live Parah Adumah. In the late 70s, as I recall, there was an announcement of one being born at Moshav Komimius in E”Y.  Some time later I asked somebody whatever became of it and I was told that it “turned black”.

I heard about another one in E”Y about the time I made Aliyah in the late 90s.

The obvious conclusion is that just like every generation has its “Moshiach” and Eliyahu HaNavi on “standby”, there is also a Parah Adumah hanging around somewhere on standby.

Yet it makes quite an impression to know where it’s hanging around. Hey, from all of the reported Parah Adumahs of the past, this is definitely the first one to make it onto YouTube!

I just want to focus a bit on what I just wrote that there is a Parah Adumah in every generation. I mean that in more ways than one. This is because there are two kinds of Parah Adumahs.

The real one has four legs, a tail, a head and an udder and a pure reddish brown coat. It is all but impossible to find.

The philosophical one has many blurry lines and is everywhere we look. It is all but impossible to avoid.

Both are metaher temayim and metamei tehorim and both are here in every generation.

Please see my post on this from September, 2008 – HERE.

We truly need both Parah Adumas. Only the real one can purify us from tumas meiss. But only the philosophical one can help us understand the world we live in.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Upon 3 Things the World Stands...

על שלשה דברים העולם עומד, על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות חסדים

A still life photo by my son Nesanel Dov - 10 yrs old.

Note - The photo may not be visible to those who view this post in their email. Click HERE to view.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Emes V’Emunah Blames G-d

I have seen no shortage of posts from the mighty pen keyboard of Rabbi Harry Maryles that I would deem despicable. One of his most recent ones is a contender for the all-time (so far) trophy!

The post was posted on May 4, 2014 and is titled: Who is to Blame for the Divisiveness? He goes on to lead his post with: The chareidim are at fault.

For the record, let me first say that I wouldn’t mind taking the blame. I am more honored than insulted. And I will explain myself presently. What is truly despicable is not only Harry Maryles’s obsessively jaundiced view of chareidim, but also his poisonous approach to sociology and Judaism.

Why does anybody have to be “at fault”???

The minute there are multiple viewpoints on any given construct, those who maintain one viewpoint will preach and behave accordingly and those who have a differing viewpoint will preach and behave accordingly. The differing viewpoints are due to nature and nurture, indoctrination and education. It goes without saying that when the various viewpoints conflict, there will be inevitable divisiveness.  So be it. That’s how the world turns. This is why the Rambam felt that Hilchos Deyos (Laws of Personality Divergence) is the second most important topic to cover in Mishna Torah. Diferent people think differently.

So, why does a self-righteous preacher like Rabbi Harry Maryles need to keep some kind of a scorecard and apportion blame to anybody??

Utterly despicable.

But once he broached the subject, it calls for a bit of discussion.

Harry is basing his post on a recent feature article in Mishpacha magazine which did an analysis on what “They” - the secular/traditional world - think of “us”. Harry says that "anybody who read the article would come to the same conclusion."

Well, I read the article and I did not come to the same conclusion. (Hattip Rambam – Hilchos Deyos!)

You see, the article was missing a number of things that would enable somebody to make such a conclusion. Primarily – while the article displayed figures about what percentages of secular/traditional people have positive opinions or are more accepting of chareidim, it does not display any figures on what the chareidim think they think of us. In other words, it does not tell us if these numbers are higher or lower than what we expected the numbers to be.

Now, many of us, and certainly Rabbi Harry, would assume that most chareidim would expect much more negative results and  so we ought to be surprised. But, who is to say that if the analysis included our expectations, the numbers won’t reflect a more optimistic mindset in the chareidi camp itself? Hey, if we found a pleasant “chiddush” in one area, who says there won’t be a pleasant chiddush in another area?? Thus, how can this assumption be justified?

The second issue is: aside from a lack of data on how we think they think of us, if you want to play a “blame game”, there needs to be a mirror study done about what we think of them.  Perhaps our numbers of being positive or accepting of the secular/traditional chevra will top their numbers of acceptance of us? And, if so, the inevitable conclusion would be that they are to blame!!

So, in addition to the fact that it is pointless folly to blame anybody, we anyway do not have the necessary data to make a scientific conclusion at all.

That’s 2 strikes on Harry for being despicable.

But here comes my final pitch.

Rabbi Harry is shooting the messenger.  If you need to blame Somebody for “divisiveness” at least Harry should be man enough to cut out the middleman and go straight to the Source.

You see, we chareidim are chareidim l’dvar Hashem. We are following a script. The script is clearly written in Parshat Bechukosai (just one more week to go). In this Parsha, HKB”H himself sets up 2 camps and draws line. One is Im Bechukosai Telechu – the One Above camp. The second is V’Im Bechukosai Timasu – the Seven Below camp.

G-d made this division – not any “chareidim”. G-d told every Jew which camp to stand in (Devarim 30:19). The chareidim obey because G-d said so. The non-chareidim do not obey.  I wrote this all very clearly on page 228 of the book that most non-chareidim and especially Rabbi Harry Maryles, would not dare to read. And this is exactly what I wrote:

It is not my desire or intention to make distinctions or categories within observant Judaism. We are all the children of G‑d the Father. He says so Himself, “Sons are you to Hashem your G‑d; you are not to make leagues…” [1] This can be understood not as two distinct statements but as one relational statement - because we are all equally the sons of G‑d the Father, we, therefore, have no business dividing ourselves into separate “leagues”.

But G‑d does designate two camps. He says Im b’chukotai telechu which He calls “et haChaim v’et haTov[2] (the source of life and all that is good) and he says V’im b’chukotai timasu which He calls “et haMavet v’et haRah[3] (the source of death and all that is evil) and he tells us, all of us, where to stand – “u’bechartem b’Chaim![4] (And you shall choose life!) He does not make distinctions between His children, but by our choosing to stand in different places, we segregate ourselves.

The chareidim are not divisive. We do our best to follow G-d’s script and we encourage all other Jews to do the same. We distance ourselves from those who refuse to follow the script because G-d tells us to.

Case in point, observe the ludicrous nonsense in this “Emes V’Emuna” post (edited for brevity):

MK Yaakov Asher says pretty much the same thing. For Charedim, the isolationism is intentional, he says. Charedim dare not be exposed to what he calls ‘ the defilement of Israeli society’! 
The secular interviewees are on the exact opposite track. They want to integrate Charedim into their world and value their contributions. They point to Charedim who have made the jump into the workplace and note that they are among the most reliable and ethical workers and have a very strong work ethic.
So there you have it. I wish it weren’t so.

What Orthodox Rabbi Harry Maryles is doing is bemoaning that chareidim refuse to expose themselves to a Seven Below (V’Im Bechukosai Timasu) lifestyle –despite the fact that the Torah tells us to and admonishes us that we should be ashamed of ourselves owing to the fact that some “secular” (i.e., mechalelei Shabbos and tznius) Jews are actually willing to expose themselves to One Above (Im Bechukosai Telechu).

And this man (Harry Maryles) calls himself a Rabbi and a Torah Jew!!

So when Rabbi Harry blames us for playing up to Im Bechukosai Telechu and not kowtowing to V’Im Bechukosai Timasu he is really blaming the One who made the rules - not the ones who are playing the game. G-d - not we - calls for divisiveness when some (most?) Jews are not playing His game.

So, intrinsically, it’s G-d’s fault. But we chareidim don’t mind taking the blame. We are really taking the credit. But for Rabbi Harry for whom it is a mitzvah to find blame – he is really blaming the One who drew the line.

That’s 3 strikes on Harry.

Utterly despicable!

[1] Deuteronomy 14:1. This verse is being interpreted in accordance to the exegesis of the Talmud in tractate Yevamot 14a.
[2] Deuteronomy 30:15
[3] Ibid.
[4] Deuteronomy 30:19

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Pnei Hador have told the nation/They won't stand for segregation...

We may think that the three most influential leaders of the State of Israel, the “Pnei Hador” (shown below carrying the whole world on their shoulders) are not looking out for our best interests.

Pnei Hador (from left): Curly Bennet, Larry Lapid, Moe Netanyahu

Our musical spokesman, Asher V’Chaim, knows otherwise.

Who is Asher V’Chaim?

Well, nobody really knows. He has not gone public with his true identity. So he calls himself Asher V’Chaim.


Because in some earlier statement, Yair Lapid used the names “Asher V’Chaim” as a reference to the paradigm chareidi man in the street beis-midrash. (Like we say “John Doe” or “Tom, Dick, and Harry”). So this fellow calls himself "Asher V’Chaim" to be representative of the paradigm chareidi a la Yair Lapid.

He seems to be a young fellow but he is also well acquainted with 1960s antiwar songs. I am duly impressed because I am indeed a child of the 60s and a true red-white-and-blue American and I had never heard the original Tom Paxton anti-Vietnam song that he is parodying. Incidentally, Tom Paxton in his much later years put out a sequel to this song with regard to the second Iraq war.

The Paxton songs are definitely the perfect choice for a source song because they express the exact same sentiment as the new chareidi parody:
The government is enacting compulsory laws to satisfy its own agenda and is justifying it as saving the “victims” from… themselves.

The protesters didn’t buy it then and we don’t buy it now.

In any event, this song is going viral in Chareidi circles here in E”Y. You may not consider 3,800+ hits viral, but considering the fact that it had only 650 hits a mere 2 days ago and the limited market it addresses, it’s pretty active.

For convenience, the lyrics for this parody are readily available on the YouTube post. Unfortunately, they are in Hebrew and the English speaker may not readily grasp the full meaning. So, as one of my many public services, I am presenting a linear translation of the lyrics. The translation is meant to preserve the Hebrew flavor so it may not be conversational English.  I also apologize that I was unable to poeticize it with rhymes and a steady meter (though I tried). 

So, here is the song.


And here are the lyrics.

“In just a short time will arrive the order
that will clarify the situation
that “equality of burden” is already here.
No non-compliance will be forgiven
and to the prisons they will be driven
to be an avreich (kollel fellow) here will be hazardous.”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and there, we will give you a new education.”

“If your name will be left out
to what can you hope to amount?
One who hampers the development will adversely affect the product.
You have not acquired higher education
you do not comprehend economics
the most that you will ever be fit for is…to be Minister of Finance.”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and there, we will arrange for you a new education.”

“You are amazed and ask with urgency
if this “burden” is in truth necessary.
Why do we currently need obligatory enlistment?
Arise from your delusions, and awaken
they have built careers around this “equality” slogan
Why ruin an effective battle-cry?”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
your enlistment is imperative
so that we can give you a new education.”

“If you will shout throughout the kingdom
‘Where are the emperor’s clothes?’
Just look at how silly you are.
If the army would hire and train
only the amount of soldiers that it really needs,
how would this country manage to produce any shesh-besh (backgammon) champions?”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and we will hand you down a new education.”

“Many have already stood against you
[to challenge] your ‘goodly tents’ (of learning and praying)
to uproot Torah learning from the Jews.
They all failed in their endeavors
and did not accomplish their missions
yet we will [succeed to] actualize a first-of-its-kind law!”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for the third time the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and, we will transform you to a new chiloni (secularist).”

“and, we will transform you to a new chiloni (secularist).”

And so... 

The Pnei Hador have told the nation/they won’t stand for segregation…

…and they will fix our education.

פרעה לא גזר אלא על הזכרים – אבל לב"נ ביקש לעקור את הכל.