Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yom Kippur Traditions, Values and Customs

Age group: 10 - 18
Time: 8.5 hours
Program 1:The Book of the Prophet Jonah - or, What Is Good and What Is Bad?Program 2:The Prayers of the Day of Atonement--Yom Kippur. Past and Present. Program 3:The Five Prohibitions. Why Jews Fast on Yom Kippur. Customs and Traditions.The program is intended to help the participants understand that in daily life each person must be able to distinguish good from bad, good deeds from evil deeds.The Book of the Prophet Jonah helps us understand that someone who breaks the Laws of the Most High cannot escape punishment anywhere. At the same time, self-analysis and repentance lead a person to correction and to amendment of life. In working on the project, we drew on the large body of rabbinical literature and the recommendations of contemporary educational centers on teaching methods, as well as the present-day philosophical concepts of Judaism.
1. To create for the participants a special spiritual atmosphere involving a summing up of the past year, self-analysis, correction of mistakes, and hope for the future.2. To explain to the participants that the first ten days of the year (Tishri 1-10) are known as the Yamim Noraim--the Days of Awe. The tenth of these days is the most crucial day of the Jewish year--Yom Kippur, or the Day of Judgment. According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur, as defined by the Torah, now is also a day of repentance and voluntary asceticism, a day for “humility of spirit.”3. To offer the participants an opportunity to analyze the past year--behavior, opinions, principles of conduct, and social relationships. To show the need to change ourselves for the better through self-improvement, good deeds, and good studies.4. To show that the capability for self-analysis determines a person’s potential for self-improvement and correction.
1. The Book of the Prophet Jonah - or, What Is Good and What Is Bad?
DescriptionThe program is intended to help the participants understand that in daily life each person must be able to distinguish good from bad, good deeds from evil deeds. The Book of the Prophet Jonah helps us understand that someone who breaks the Laws of the Most High cannot escape punishment anywhere. At the same time, self-analysis and repentance lead a person to correction and to amendment of life. The program is part of a project for preparing young people for Yom Kippur. According to Jewish tradition, the Book of Jonah has a historical connection with the holiday of Yom Kippur and is a part of the liturgy for this day. The Book of Jonah is read during Mincha, the afternoon prayer. The program reveals the concept of Teshuva - repentance, directed at the future. In Hebrew, teshuvah means returning, turning around; it is one of the fundamental concepts of Judaism. Our sages have devoted many eulogies to Teshuvah. “The principle of Teshuva is…. for a person to return to himself, to the root of his soul. And then he will immediately return to the Most High. This is true both for an individual and for a nation as a whole, for all of mankind and for the perfection of all existence, for its ways become distorted when it forgets itself.” (Rav Kook, The Lights of Penitence, Chapter 16) Rav Kook (1865-1935) was one of the greatest experts on the Torah, a philosopher, and the chief rabbi of Israel from 1921 to 1935. ObjectivesThe participants should:
acquire skill in working with the text of the historical source - the Book of the Prophet Jonah (analysis, formulation of questions),
think out an answer to the question of how good deeds and thoughts are different from bad ones,
make an effort to analyze their own opinions and actions,
consider ways of correction and self-improvement for each participant.

Conducting the program Activity 1:The program begins with an introductory conversation about Good and Evil. At this time, establish good contact with the participants by discussing the two following questions: :
Question 1 - How do we know whether we are behaving well or badly?
Possible versions of answers: parents, coordinators say that we mustn’t cheat, act up, hurt anyone’s feelings; there are laws in society; and so forth.
Question 2 - But how do people know in general what is good and what is not?
Discussion … Then the leader sums up the result of the conversation: The Most High gave us the Torah, in which it is written how we must live, how we must behave in various situations in life, and which actions are impermissible. We try to follow the commandments of the Torah, but sometimes we make mistakes. Often, insignificant offenses lead to serious ones. Mistakes can be corrected if we think about our conduct in time, but often there is not enough time. And now the Jewish New Year is coming: the month of Tishri is approaching. We all expect that the New Year will bring us only good things. However, we know that good things have to be deserved. That is when we come to a stop in the race of life and start to recall how we have been living, what we have been doing: a time for self-analysis, for introspection, is beginning. Activity 2: Next, to develop skills of self-analysis we recommend that you do the following exercise. Proceed as follows:
Each participant receives two cards.
The participant writes down, anonymously and only if he/she wishes, on one card an example, drawn from his/her own life, of a good action (visited a sick friend), and on the other card, an example of a bad action (deceived a teacher).
When everyone has finished writing, all the cards are collected in a previously prepared box.
The participants seat themselves around the coordinator and take turns drawing cards with examples of good and bad actions and reading them aloud. The group analyzes the examples.
When the analysis has been completed, the coordinator asks once again, On what basis do we classify some actions as good and others as bad? Next there follows a talk by the leader about the Laws of the Torah. In concluding the discussion, the leader points out that we all have an opportunity to correct or improve our lives. But how? In what way?
Activity 3: Next the leader talks about the Prophet Jonah and his prophecy. We recommend preparing posters ahead of time, illustrating the basic concepts of the Book of Jonah: the sea, the city of Nineveh, the bush, the fish, the ship, Jonah. The leader reads or retells the Book of the Prophet Jonah:
Jonah was a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam II (789-748 BCE). The Most High ordered Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and warn the city’s inhabitants that, if they did not mend their ways, they all would be destroyed on account of their debauchery. This was a difficult mission: first, Jonah feared that he would die at the hands of the city’s inhabitants; second, he did not want to save the city and its inhabitants, who were enemies of Israel. Jonah boards a ship headed for Tarshish (presumably, for the coast of Spain), hoping that the mission given him will be forgotten. A storm arises at sea, and everyone on board starts to pray; only Jonah sleeps soundly below. A sailor, finding Jonah, wakes him and says, “Pray to your G-d, that we perish not!” But Jonah knew that his prayer would not help, because he had not carried out the instructions of the Most High. “Cast me into the sea, this great tempest is upon you for my sake,” he said. But the people on the ship did not want Jonah to die, and they continued to pray. The storm became more and more terrifying… Then the people began calling out to God: “O G-d, we beseech You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood, for You, G-d, have done as it pleased You.” And they cast him into the sea, and the storm ceased its raging at once. As soon as Jonah was in the water, a great fish immediately swam up to him and swallowed him. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. And Jonah prayed to the Lord G-d. G-d commanded the fish to release Jonah. The fish vomited Jonah out, and he found himself on dry land. And again the Lord said to Jonah: “Go to the city of Nineveh.” This time Jonah obeyed. When he reached Nineveh, he began to proclaim the message that G-d had bidden him: “Forty days from now, your city will perish on account of your sins.” The inhabitants heard this and started to pray, stopped breaking the law, and renounced evil and violence. They repented, fasted, and prayed. God took pity on them, he saw that they had changed. He did no evil to them. He did not start to destroy the city of Nineveh. But Jonah was exceedingly vexed and said to G-d: “Therefore I fled from You, for I knew that You are a gracious G-d and merciful, and you will not start to destroy the city.” “Are you really so greatly vexed because of this?” G-d asked. “Yes. It is better for me to die,” Jonah said. He went out of the city, sat on a hill, and waited to see what would become of him. And G-d made a bush grow up, and its branches shaded Jonah from the sun. Jonah was glad that there was a shade over his head. But the next day G-d caused a worm to destroy the bush, and the bush withered. Jonah saw what happened to the bush, and once again he started to ask that he might die. Then G-d said: “You are concerned about the bush, which you did not grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. How is it that you are unwilling for me to take pity on Nineveh, a city in which more than 120,000 persons live?” Note: This is a brief paraphrase of the Book of Jonah, but if there is an opportunity, it is better to read the text of the book aloud. The Book of the Prophet Jonah, which is part of the Tanach, became a distinctive appeal to all people, a command to struggle against faults and to be true to their human destiny. The book is filled with hope for the possibility of every person’s reform. Follow-up:After telling about the Book of Jonah, we suggest that you discuss a few questions with the audience to clarify the causes and consequences of repentance, and also to reinforce the participants’ skill in analyzing the historical source. Sample questions:
What are the causes of Jonah’s repentance, or of that of the inhabitants of Nineveh?
What are the ways of repentance in the Book of Jonah? (prayer, fasting, etc.)
What are the consequences of repentance? (the saving of Jonah, the calming of the storm, the saving of the city and its inhabitants)
It is a good idea to give examples of repentance from everyday life (they need not be based on personal experience).
Activity 4 - Final part of the lesson:The leader sums everything up: Our life consists of a multitude of daily deeds and actions. It is essential to think about them and to be able to analyze them; to be able to correct and improve our lives. The eve of Yom Kippur is a time for awe, repentance, and forgiveness.
Repentance – Teshuva - is one of the foundations of Judaism.
Tishri is the month of repentance. The basic elements of Teshuvah are as follows:
repenting the sin that has been committed
asking for forgiveness (asking the Most High, asking a person)
renouncing evil and pledging not to return to it.
Jewish sages say that the way to Teshuvah is always open. A person who has done Teshuvah is as if created anew. It is considered a great sin to remind someone who has done Teshuvah about his/her past.
The Prophets, Jerusalem 1978
Wouk, Herman: This Is My G-d. The Jewish Way of Life. 1993, Jerusalem, Shamir
Ki Tov, Eliyahu: Kniga nashego naslediya [The Book of Our Heritage], 1991, Jerusalem, Avida
Number of participants: No more than 20 persons Age: 10-18 years of age Lesson length: Three hours Required materials: Blank cards, felt-tip pens, cardboard box, copies of the Book of Jonah, cards with the basic components of the concept of Teshuvah, posters with illustrations for the Book of Jonah.
2. Prayers for Atonement: The Past and the Present
Description Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—has two religious aspects.
The first aspect is kaparah, forgiveness of one who has sinned: “For on this day shall atonement be made for you.” (Torah, Vayikra 16:30). This meaning is reflected in the prayer read by the High Priest in the Holy Temple: “Grant us atonement.”
The second aspect of Yom Kippur is tohorah, purification. As it was said:“For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you… from all your sins before the Lord” (Torah, Vayikra 16:30). The idea of purification is also reflected in the Yom Kippur prayer in the Temple. The High Priest addressed those assembled, saying: “Before G-d you will be cleansed.” These two themes are stated repeatedly in all the prayers uttered on Yom Kippur: “Forgive us…sprinkle upon us the waters of purification.”
The day of Yom Kippur is so different from all other days that in the Talmud it is commonly referred to as “that day,” that is, “Yom.” Prayer is an obligatory part of the Day of Atonement. The service on Yom Kippur includes five main prayers:
evening prayer
morning prayer
afternoon prayer
musaf, that is, the additional prayer, which is read right after morning prayer
neilah, “the locking of the gates of heavenly mercy,” also an additional prayer, read following the afternoon prayer before the conclusion of Yom Kippur.
The program presented here will make it possible to gain an even better understanding of Judaism’s traditional approach to prayer and to examine the key concepts found in the Yom Kippur prayers: kaparah (forgiveness) and tohorah (purification). Objectives
To explore the role of prayer in Judaism, using the example of the Yom Kippur prayers. This class is part of a project devoted to the historical and philosophical significance of Yom Kippur. The program participants should:
study the traditional prayers of the Day of Atonement
suggest ways to perform teshuvah (repentance) in today’s world
Conducting the ProgramActivity 1: We begin the program with an exercise that we call “Associations.” The leader suggests that each program participant write down four words that have to do with the topic “Yom Kippur.” For example: holiday, fast, rabbi, prayers, cantor, synagogue, Kol Nidrei, shofar, forgiveness. The participants read their “Associations” aloud. Then the leader draws general conclusions from the responses, offers additional words and concepts, and gives the necessary explanations. Thus begins familiarization with the section on “Prayer in Judaism.” Activity 2: The program participants break down into groups of three or four. Each group is supplied with the necessary work materials (for example, a felt-tipped pen and sheets of paper in two colors, such as white and yellow). Each group is given an assignment: on the sheets of one color, to write down four reasons why people pray, and on the sheets of the other color, to write down four reasons why people do not pray. Five to seven minutes are sufficient for completing this assignment. Then each group reads aloud and substantiates the reasoning behind the four things that cause people to pray. The responses may differ, including the following, for example: a) People pray because:
they believe in the existence of the Most High
they are continuing the tradition of their parents
it is the tradition of the Jewish people
they have experienced a tragedy
they are convinced that prayers have helped them
they are thankful to G-d
they feel fear, etc.
Then the participants discuss the groups’ arguments. The leader finishes the discussion, draws general conclusions from it, and singles out the main reasons why people pray. b) People do not pray because:
they lack a family tradition
they do not believe in the existence of the Most High
they have no time for prayer
they lack a religious environment
they are afraid their acquaintances will mock them
they do not know the words of the prayers
they are unfamiliar with the procedure and tradition of prayer, etc.
The participants discuss the responses. Then the leader (a) draws general conclusions from the responses on the section being discussed here (b) and notes the prevailing importance of unfamiliarity with the traditions of the Jewish people, its centuries-old history, and its historical mission. Follow-up: Then the leader sums up the result of the discussion with regard to the present exercise, and lists the main arguments advanced by the program participants and their opinions on the reasons why people do not pray.
The leader draws and substantiates the conclusion that faith in the power and necessity of prayer is the natural state of mankind, and that the entire history of the Jewish people corroborates man’s connection with the Most High, to whom all our prayers are addressed and devoted.
From the Torah, we know that the forefathers of the Jewish people addressed their prayers to the Most High, each at a certain time of day:
Avraam (Abraham)—in the morning hours (Bereshith 19:27
Yitzchak (Isaac)—in the afternoon (24:63)
Yaakov (Jacob)—in the evening (28:11)
On that basis, Jewish tradition has adopted three main prayers (for divine service in synagogues or for individual use):
Morning prayer –SHACHARIT
Afternoon prayer—MINCHA
Evening prayer—MAARIV
Activity 3: Further, we suggest that you do one more exercise, which will allow the program participants to get to the heart of the Jewish tradition of prayer in a light-hearted, playful way. For this purpose, the participants are divided into three groups. Each group receives from the leader one of the three portions of the Torah (copies of the text) mentioned above (that is, passages from Bereshith): Chapter 19:27-30, Chapter 24:63-67, Chapter 28:10-13. Each group works with the portion of text it has been given and prepares a brief dramatization based on it. In turn, the program participants act out their portions. From 30 to 45 minutes are allotted for this exercise. Exercise OutcomeBy carrying out this exercise, we achieve two goals:
First, the program participants become aware that the historical roots of the prayers are connected with the forefathers, or “Founding Fathers,” of the Jewish people (the Avot)
Second, the participants become acquainted with the various motivations that lead people to pray.
The leader explains that people turn to prayer in various life situations. Prayer is always addressed to G-d and contains—in accordance with the specific situations—a request, a confession, gratitude, and an expression of adoration. The appeal of the person praying to the Most High is denoted by the word tefilah. Prayer, and tefilah is always a dialogue between a human being and G-d. This dialogue is always individual in nature. The Yom Kippur prayers are an exception, however. On this day all those who pray are united by a single theme—the theme of confession, the acknowledgement of their sins. In Hebrew this prayer is called Vidui, meaning “confession.” The Vidui prayer is read during all five services on Yom Kippur. The special feature of this prayer is the fact that it was written and is delivered on behalf of all those who are praying on this day: “For the mistakes we committed…” and it includes all the possible sins of Israel (the Jewish people as a whole) in alphabetical order. Thus this prayer does not emphasize the personal sins of an individual person—it is a matter of one’s own teshuvah, or repentance, and relationship with G-d and with human society. The Vidui prayer speaks of the sins of the entire Jewish people, for which each separate Jew bears individual responsibility. This defines one of the basic principles of Judaism and of the Jewish interpretation of the world. All Jews--from Avraam, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, from the generation of Moses to our own selves, and then our children and their descendants as well—we all, through our relationship to G-d, constitute a united whole, which is known as “KNESSET ISRAEL,” or the complete assembly of the souls of Israel. Thus the Vidui prayer has enormous significance for understanding the philosophical essence of Judaism and the historical mission of the Jewish people. Yom Kippur in the Days of the Temple This section is included for the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of the roots of the prayers on the day of Yom Kippur. The synagogue service on Yom Kippur has its origin in the service in the Temple. The laws of the Day of Atonement are described in the Torah, in the book Vayikra, Chapters 16-18. In that era every divine service on this day and all the sacrifices were performed exclusively by the high priest, who did not sleep all night, as the service began after midnight and continued all day. Let us recall that 15 sacrifices, or offerings, were made on this day. Long before dawn the court of the Temple was filled with people. On Yom Kippur the high priest recited three confessional prayers. First he confessed his own sins; second, those of all the Cohens, or members of the priestly class; third, he asked forgiveness for the sins of the Jewish people as a whole. The tradition of the scapegoat is connected with the third confessional prayer. This goat, called Azazel, was sent out into the desert “bearing on its head all the sins of the Jewish people.” Azazel was the name of the precipice from which the goat was pushed to its death in the wilderness. According to the Talmud, Azazel symbolizes the cleansing of the sons of Israel of all sin and the destroying of the consequences of their transgressions. Later a prayer took the place of the sacrifice. Activity 4 - Final activity: To complete the program, we suggest that you do the following assignment: Ask each program participant to write his or her confessional prayer for Yom Kippur anonymously on a sheet of paper. The leader will collect all the papers and then redistribute them among the participants. In this way each person gets to know a new prayer. Then the leader should read all the prayers aloud and comment on them.
Leader’s Conclusion Regarding the Program All Jews are like parts of one large organism. When its individual parts are sick, then the entire organism is sick. The sages say that all Jews, as it were, are sitting in a single boat. When one makes a hole in the bottom of the boat, in the spot where he himself is sitting, then the entire boat sinks and all who are in the boat are lost. The Yom Kippur prayers remind us of this once again.
The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Ed. Dr. J.-H. Hertz, CH, late chief rabbi of the British Empire, 1996. Jerusalem: Gesharim, Soncino Press.
Weissman, Moshe. Midrash rasskazyvayet [The Midrash Says]. Vayikra,. Jerusalem: Shvut Ami.
Yom Kippurim. Sudnyy Den’ [Day of Judgement]. Jerusalem: Amana.
Number of Program Participants: No more than 20 persons Age: 13-18 years of age
Class Length: Three hours Materials : Copies of the text of the Vidui prayer and the book of Bereshith. Index cards in two colors, sheets of blank paper, felt-tipped pens.
3. The Five Prohibitions
Description The program acquaints the participants with Halachic laws, concepts, terms, and Jewish traditions and customs. It promotes the formation of ethical standards, principles to live by in light of the concept of the Verbal Torah (Oral Torah) and of traditional Judaism. In the course of the class, the basic significance of Yom Kippur, recognized both by Jews and also by other peoples, is revealed. Jewish Programs suggests that you use the plan given here as a part of the events devoted to Yom Kippur. The traditions of this day are preserved immutably and are practiced in many generations of Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewry. The class described here is part of a project devoted to the moral, ethical, and historical aspects of Yom Kippur. Objectives The program participants should:
think out an answer to this question: How is Yom Kippur different from the other Jewish holidays?
examine the traditions and customs of this day and draw their own conclusion about the possibility of observing them (in full or in part).
Conducting the Program Brief introductory talk by the program leader… Yom Kippur is the most important holiday in the Jewish tradition, a day of fasting, repentance, and forgiveness of sins. The sages of the Talmud call this day the time of reaching a final decision on a person’s fate in the coming year. Preparation for Yom Kippur begins in advance and is linked with numerous customs. Legend tells us that on Rosh Hashanah (the New Year), the Most High opens His books and writes in them “who will live and who will die, who will die at his predestined time and who before his time…” But…the sentence is signed only on the day of Yom Kippur. The time between the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and the conclusion of Yom Kippur is known as the “Ten Days of Awe” or “Ten Days of Repentance.” These days were given to us so that we can reflect on and repent of our actions as we stand at the threshold of Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment. The Rambam (Maimonides) wrote: “Repentance and prayer are effective at any time, but during the ten days from Rosh Hashanah till Yom Kippur they are especially potent, and they are accepted immediately by the Most High.” During the days before the beginning of Yom Kippur and on the day of Yom Kippur itself, it is customary to observe certain traditions and customs.
Activity 1: To study (or review) them, we recommend that you do the following exercise with the class participants. We have provisionally given this exercise the name “Yom Kippur Lotto.” The procedure for conducting the exercise is as follows:
The leader divides the participants into groups of five to seven persons each.
Each group selects a head.
The leader gives each group two sets of index cards: a set of type A cards and a set of type B cards. Examples of the cards of each type and a description of them are presented below.
The group discusses and selects for each A card the B card that corresponds to it.
Discussion in the groups and matching up of card pairs should last for five to seven minutes.
Then the leader begins a general discussion of the exercise.
The head of each group reads aloud the text of the paired A and B cards, and the leader determines the order in which the groups answer and the sequence in which the type A cards are analyzed.
Each group receives points for correctly matching a pair of cards.
The leader gives the necessary explanations, reports each group’s result at the present stage of the exercise, and, on the basis of the total number of points earned, determines the winning group (a prize may be given).
Examples of cards:Below are given examples of sets of cards of type A (these are numbered) and type B (these are not numbered). Let us make it clear that the sets of cards should have been prepared in advance. The leader determines the number of sets and the number of cards of type A, including the basic concepts related to the topic. The A cards each contain one concept related to the topic of Yom Kippur:
1. Kaparot
2. Selichot
3. Seudah ha-mafseket
4. Mikveh
5. Shofar
6. Mincha
7. Neilah
8. Taanit
9. Aron Kodesh
10. Havdalah (Changes and additions may be made.)
The B cards are explanations of the basic concepts, given in the same sequence used in the A cards:
Kaparot, “cleansing”—a ritual performed on the eve of Yom Kippur, when the head of the family takes a rooster or a hen, waves it several times over the head of each family member, and recites this prayer: “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement.” Today this custom is observed by waving money, which is given to charity after the ceremony.
Selichot, “forgiveness.” —prayers that are read during the period of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as on fast days.
Seudah ha-mafseket – meal marking the boundary between periods of eating and fasting; the final meal before the beginning of the fast on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Mikveh –a body of water, immersion in which cleanses one of ritual impurity.
Shofar – ram’s horn, blown in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and at the close of Yom Kippur.
Mincha, “offering, gift.” The prayer after the midday meal, one of three daily prayers.
Neilah, “closing.” The prayer read only at the end of the day of Yom Kippur, when the heavenly gates of mercy close.
Taanit – the fast, the prohibition of eating and drinking.
Aron Kodesh – the cabinet (ark) where the Torah scrolls are kept in the synagogue.
Havdalah , “separation.” The conclusion of the Sabbath or of a holiday. The ritual performed on these days after the evening prayer as a sign of the separation of the holy from the ordinary.
Note: The initial words of the explanatory text (the concepts) do not appear on the type B cards.
Follow-up:Next the leader sums up the result of the discussion of basic concepts and explains that all the rituals performed on Yom Kippur or on the eve of this day can be divided into two categories:
1. prescriptive, that is, obligatory, giving directions:…to recite selichot …to perform kaparot …to go to the mikveh …to ask forgiveness of one’s relatives, friends, etc. …to light candles on the eve of the holiday, etc. 2. prohibitive, that is, forbidding one: ... to eat and drink …to wash one’s hands and face and to bathe …to anoint one’s body …to wear leather shoes …to engage in marital relations
These prohibitions are set forth in greater detail in a treatise of the Talmud (Yoma 8:1). The prohibitions established for Yom Kippur are lifted only if a threat to life exists. And so, let us repeat that Yom Kippur is a Fast Day. On this day it is forbidden to eat, drink, bathe, wear leather shoes, and use cosmetics. All this helps people free themselves from physical needs for a while and think about the spiritual basis of their life and about the necessity of self-improvement. The sages say that the five restrictions are intended to prevent us from using the abilities given us to do harm.
Activity 2: For this section of the class, we recommend that you do an exercise. The leader asks the audience a question: “What is the point of the five prohibitions or restrictions?” (Note: It is a good idea to prepare a poster in advance, listing these prohibitions.) Some possible versions of answers are listed below:
The ban on eating and drinking serves the purpose of correcting faults related to eating. For example, if we have eaten something that is off limits or if we have eaten to excess. This prohibition also relates to work, since the money earned is also used for satisfying our appetites.
When bathing, people experience pleasure. The ban on washing on Yom Kippur warns us not to make excessive efforts to revel in physical pleasures.
The leather shoes symbolize the world of man, as opposed to the world of nature, since only humans consciously use clothing and footwear. The sages suggest that this prohibition serves to remind us that we should not use the achievements of civilization to harm the natural world or ourselves.
Cosmetics embody everything that exceeds a person’s reasonable needs for pleasure and comfort. This prohibition reminds us that we need to limit our liking for all material things.
The ban on physical intimacy on Yom Kippur is intended to improve or correct the relations between the sexes.
Note: For a better understanding of these prohibitions, we recommend dividing the audience into groups, for example, into groups of three. During the next 10 minutes, each group should come up with one example for each of the five prohibitions. Then all the exercise participants should discuss the examples given by each group. The Leader’s Summation Of course, most people live a completely normal life—they don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t lie, and so forth. But sometimes we allow ourselves seemingly small faults that Jewish tradition categorizes as sins. Along with this, people commit a host of petty misdeeds that cannot be called sins, but that must be avoided (for example, wasting time). The days preceding Yom Kippur are a time to engage in analysis and correction, a time to observe prohibitions and control our actions, a time to familiarize ourselves with the centuries-old traditions of the Jewish people. The time has come for all of us to reflect, to analyze the course of our life, and to try to correct whatever is within our power to correct.
Note: According to Jewish law, every girl over the age of 12 and every boy over the age of 13 should fast for 24 hours. Anyone who is capable of observing this fast is obligated to do so. Anyone who is incapable should at least go without food and drink for as long as possible. Anyone for whom fasting would be harmful for medical reasons should not attempt to fast; moreover, in this case, fasting is prohibited.
Siddur, The Gates of Prayer, Ed. P. Polonsky. Jerusalem, 1996.
Kitov, Eliahu, Kniga nashego naslediya [The Book of Our Heritage], Volume 1. Jerusalem, 1991.

Oliveira Salazar

The memory of the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar survives in his birthplace, Santa Comba Dão, where a statue of him once stood. Shown here in a 1973 photo, it was blown up in the 1974 revolution.
Published: July 25, 2007

SANTA COMBA DÃO, Portugal — When Portuguese television viewers recently voted the former dictator António de Oliveira Salazar "the greatest Portuguese who ever lived" — passing over the most celebrated kings, poets and explorers in the nation's thousand-year history — the broadcaster RTP braced itself for a strong reaction. But what ensued resembled a national identity crisis.
First the left howled in protest, demanding to know how a man who had sent his enemies to concentration camps in Africa could be revered by a modern European nation. Then the Socialist government spun into denial, saying the vote was unrepresentative because viewers could vote multiple times from different phone lines — as many did.
One irate viewer wrote to the channel's Web site, saying, "Only masochists, imbeciles or the insane could have voted for this executioner." Others said the tally was a fitting rebuke from a country lagging behind the rest of the continent.
The show "Great Portuguese," in which Salazar received 41 percent of the 159,245 votes cast, was based on the BBC show "Great Britons," which has spawned imitators around the world. Churchill won on the British version of the show, while in the United States, Reagan edged out Lincoln.
But no country experienced the frenzy of recrimination that engulfed Portugal, where Salazar beat nine finalists, including the explorer Vasco da Gama, who discovered the sea route to India, and Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during World War II.
Salazar's prospects may have been helped by RTP's initially having omitted his name from the contest, a move that provoked a massive pro-Salazar campaign in the blogosphere.
Whatever the intrigue behind the voting, Fernando Dacosta, a biographer of Salazar, calls his victory the "Portuguese revenge" for disillusionment with the revolution of April 25, 1974, which overthrew the dictatorship but failed to deliver on its own promises. Today, Portugal is the poorest country in Western Europe, and its recent history is marred by corruption scandals.
"The Portuguese don't want to have Salazar back from the dead," said Mr. Dacosta, who was jailed several times as a student during the Salazar dictatorship. "But they miss the dream they had in the past about a future that never came."
He said nostalgia for Salazar also reflected the "saudade," or longing, of the Portuguese soul, a melancholy, he noted, that is present in most things Portuguese like the existential angst of fado music.
Salazar's ghost is everywhere here in the dictator's birthplace, a dusty agricultural town about 125 miles north of Lisbon, though there are few visible signs of the town's most famous son.
The modest house where he lived sits crumbling and empty, with a tiny plaque on the facade saying, "A gentle man who governed and never robbed."
"It is shame that such a great man is treated like this," Idalina Da Conceicão, 75, shouted down from her window next to Salazar's home. "If Salazar was bad, the people who run the country today are even worse."
Miguel Arriaga, 17, an engineering student, said he voted twice for Salazar because today's Portugal was "godless" and bereft of values and purpose.
The television contest may help Salazar's birthplace to resurrect him from the shadows of history, in addition to providing a commercial opportunity.
For 30 years, a bust of Salazar has been hidden away in the city hall's attic after the rest of the statue was blown up during the revolution. Now the mayor wants to resurrect the statue, next to a planned Salazar museum. Plans also are in the works for a gift shop, T-shirts and commemorative figurines.
"Whatever you think of Salazar, he ran the country for nearly 40 years, during which we were treated like children," said the mayor, João Lourenço, a conservative. "Now, we Portuguese have finally grown up and we need to confront our past."
In a potent sign that a historical reckoning is finally taking place, a new satirical play — "Salazar, the Musical" — is drawing large crowds on a Lisbon stage.
On a recent night, the audience howled with laughter as the pious Salazar, who never married and was staunchly Catholic, was depicted as an ineffectual and lecherous womanizer who kills his mother, gropes dancing nuns and leaves the running of the country to his famously powerful secretary and housekeeper, Doña María.
José Pedro Vasconcelos, 29, and Miguel Melo, 40, the two actors who play Salazar and who co-wrote the play, say they felt compelled to stage the musical because Salazar was the last sacred cow in Portugal. He added: "
Abortion is no longer a taboo. Homosexuality is no longer a taboo. Dope is not a taboo. Yet Salazar still gives us goose bumps."
Some say the vote for Salazar was a backlash against the government of Prime Minister José Sócrates, 52, a Socialist, who has recently pushed through painful economic reforms. But in an interview, Mr. Sócrates blamed the vote on the mobilization of a small fringe group of rightists.
"We are a modern European country," he said. "We voted 59 percent in favor of liberalizing abortion."
Salazar came to power in a coup that overthrew an elected government in 1926. His New State initially brought economic stability and social order to Portugal. Many Portuguese still revere him for keeping the country out of World War II.
But his dark record includes the creation of a secret police force that tortured opponents, and widespread censorship that stifled cultural expression. He is also criticized for clinging to a crumbling empire.
Sociologists here say Salazar's popularity may also be part of a global trend in which economic insecurity and fears of international terrorism have created nostalgia for the authoritarianism of the past.
Adriano Moreira, 86, a minister for overseas affairs under Salazar, argues that if today's Portuguese idealize Salazar, it is because he was not a fascist dictator, but rather a "soft authoritarian" and father figure who gave the country a strong sense of national identity. Independent historians say only 60 people died in jails for political reasons during Salazar's nearly 40-year rule.
Whatever the explanations for the late dictator's grip on the Portuguese psyche, Mr. Dacosta, his biographer, argues that both the young and older generations need to confront his ghost.
"Salazar is not an extraterrestrial who just landed here," he said. "He is part of the Portuguese soul. Until we come to terms with Salazar, we Portuguese will never be who we really are."

Andre Moshe Pereira , Presidente Kehillah Or ahayim,

Director Ceimom

"Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith"

Chapter Two: The Spiritual World (Part 4)
Rabino Yaakov Feldman

Let's dwell upon the makeup and function of the Transcendent Forces first.
We're told that they're utterly supernatural entities that are removed from all physicality and beyond our experience, and they're said to be merged with G-d's own being. Ramchal depicts them as being "closest to G-d Presence" over which He "manifests Himself all the time". He points out that depending on their context they're sometimes termed "Wheels of the (Divine) Throne" (to indicate the central role they play in G-d's interactions with the world), "Ophanim" (a type of Archangel like Cherubim and Seraphim), or the like.
(They're also known as the "Sephirot" in Kabbalistic literature, and subsequently as "Partzufim", "Olamot" and more, but Ramchal doesn't use those terms or any other such expressions in this work because Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith isn't intended for experts so much as for the rest of us. He terms them "transcendent" to express their complete otherworldliness, and "forces" to underscore the fact that they're what G-d uses to empower everything.)
We'd tend to think the Transcendent Forces have no connection with this world as a result, but in fact they do and could be said to be the points at which heaven and earth meet. They're sort of like the soul of the physical universe, for like souls they too are removed from all physicality yet they're connected to it by virtue of the fact that they're manifest here.
In truth, the idea of things being flanked by both heaven and earth plays itself out in various ways in the Jewish Faith. We're taught that only G-d Almighty is pure and simple, wholly Himself and nothing else. Everything else is a mix of this and that, a marriage of heaven and earth. For even "pure" evil isn't entirely so, since it's animated by G-d's will and thus tinged with the smallest amount of goodness.
It's that perspective, by the way, that has us accord the human body its due respect and to not despise it as others do. For it too straddles heaven and earth. Understand of course that all things vary in their particular permutation of heaven and earth, with some nearly one hundred percent "heaven" and others nearly one hundred percent "earth", but the point is that everything other than G-d Himself is alloyed to some degree.

Postagem: Andre Moshe Pereira, Presidente Kehillah or Ahayim
Director CEIMOM

How Supreme is Iran’s Supreme Leader?

By Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji

July 20, 2007Reports that Ayatollah Ali Meshkini has either died or is on the brink of death shed light on the nature of power in Iran. Meshkini is speaker of the Assembly of Experts -- a body that, despite its traditionally minor role in Iranian politics, is constitutionally empowered to not only elect a new Supreme Leader if the post becomes vacant, but also to dismiss a sitting leader. Current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei cannot be pleased that this body may now be headed by deputy speaker Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, a former president known to be a wily comeback artist. Although Khamenei has taken full advantage of the constitution to make the Supreme Leader the ultimate arbiter of Iranian politics, that could change depending on his health and Rafsanjani's scheming.

Khamenei as Supreme Leader

When revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died in 1989, a backroom deal brokered by Rafsanjani put then-president Khamenei in his place. Khamenei's religious credentials were widely ridiculed at the time. He was remarkably weak in his early years; real power was in the hands of new president Rafsanjani, to Khamenei's disgust.
But by the mid-1990s, Khamenei had consolidated control. His strength grew over the years to match the broad reach given to his office by the constitution. Today, appointed prayer leaders in each city and representatives in each major government office give him eyes and ears everywhere. He selects the members of the Guardian Council, which must approve all legislation passed by the parliament, or Majlis. He closely controls the country's radio and television networks, whose director he appoints. He also appoints the heads of the clerical court and the regular judiciary, who in turn appoint the nation's other judges. And he is head of the seminary system (rais-e howzeh).

In addition, Khamenei controls the key instruments of national and regime security: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the politically active Basij paramilitary, and the KGB-like Ministry of Intelligence and Security (charged with security operations both at home and abroad). Nuclear negotiations with the West are conducted by his representative with little or no input from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Khamenei is widely thought to be in poor health, though it is not clear whether he has any life-threatening conditions. He was badly injured in a 1980 assassination attempt in which he lost use of his left arm. He sometimes disappears from public view for long periods, fueling rumors that he suffers from depression. It should also be noted that one stereotype of traditional clerics is that some use opium.

The Assembly of Experts

The U.S. government describes the Supreme Leader as an unelected position. This contention, while incorrect in theory, is true in practice. The constitution empowers the Assembly of Experts to choose the Supreme Leader for a seven-year term. Yet, according to prominent dissident Mohsen Sazegara, "members of the Assembly must pass muster with the Guardian Council, whose members were appointed by the leader. That explains why no member of the Assembly has ever said anything critical of the leader in public session" (see "
'Lawful Crimes' in Iran," PolicyWatch no. 999, June 1, 2005).

Article 111 of the constitution empowers the assembly to dismiss the Supreme Leader whenever he "should become incapable [of] fulfilling his constitutional duties . . . or if any time it should be known that he did not meet some of the qualifications mentioned." The assembly even has a committee for this purpose -- according to Towhid Moharami, writing in the assembly's quarterly journal Hukumat-e Islami (Islamic government), this body was reorganized as the "Constitutional Article 111 Investigation (tahqiq) Committee" in 2004, with seven members chosen by the assembly (the names are not announced, but cannot include leaders such as the speaker or his deputy). According to Guardian Council member Mohsen Esmaeili, the committee meets every two weeks. This suggests a rather active body. Even if the seven clerics only discuss the weather, the fact that they meet biweekly reminds Khamenei of the check on his power.

For years, this check has seemed only theoretical. But the Rafsanjani factor may change that. Although Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad handily defeated him in the June 2005 presidential elections, Rafsanjani was unbowed as he ran for election to the assembly in 2006. In a long interview with Hukumat-e Islami that summer, he violated a taboo by implicitly criticizing Khamenei: "It is not obvious that the most appropriate person is always elected [as Supreme Leader]. It is possible that in the election a mistake could be made." Then, during the December election, he received the most votes -- a result widely seen as a slap to the hardliners (Ahmadinezhad's Tehran slate performed miserably in the concurrent municipal elections). Rafsanjani was then elected deputy speaker while the top spot was held by the politically inactive and often ill Meshkini.

Rafsanjani excels at turning obscure posts into power centers. As Majlis speaker in the 1980s, he became a central powerbroker between the feuding president (Khamenei) and prime minister (a post since abolished). Ayatollah Khomeini subsequently created the Expediency Council to resolve differences between the many power centers in Iran's complicated government structure, later enshrined in the constitution. Although the council was initially weak, it acquired a large, active staff and a new headquarters next to the Supreme Leader's offices once Rafsanjani stepped down as president in 1997 and was appointed council chair. Intriguingly, the council has the main say in what happens while the Supreme Leader's post is vacant, at least until the Assembly of Experts elects a new leader.

Rafsanjani took full advantage of his success in the December 2006 assembly election to assert himself on the national stage. In early 2007 -- a period when Ahmadinezhad was being criticized in the conservative press for endangering Iran's national unity and security by acting too combatively, and when reports were circulating of Khamenei's ill health (e.g., Fars News Agency stated that he was hospitalized briefly) -- Rafsanjani began acting as if he were the real powerbroker. In February, he made a widely publicized round of visits to top ayatollahs in Qom. Rumors flew that, in addition to seeking their general support, he was sounding them out about reducing Khamenei's power. Then, at the first meeting of the new assembly, he stated, "The Fourth Assembly of Experts could exercise its supervisory powers more than before."
Khamenei came roaring back, however, with several fire-breathing major addresses around the Nowruz spring equinox holidays. The Supreme Leader reaffirmed the hardline stance on the nuclear program and asserted that any talks with the West had to be conducted under his strict control.

What to Expect Next, and Implications for the West

If permitted to remain at the head of the Assembly of Experts, Rafsanjani would pose a persistent and open challenge to Khamenei. Accordingly, the assembly will likely meet soon to place a politically inactive senior cleric atop the assembly, such as Mohammad Imam-e Kashani, the Tehran Friday prayer leader. Even in that case, however, Rafsanjani's twin posts at the assembly and the Expediency Council give him a power base from which he can maneuver to limit or replace Khamenei.

In the event that Khamenei dies, the new Supreme Leader would most likely be a compromise candidate rather than either of the two polarizing figures said to want the post: Rafsanjani, a technocrat, and Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, an extreme hardliner openly dismissive of democracy. The senior clerics, the Majlis, the technocracy, and the revolutionary power structure (i.e., the IRGC, Basij, and the foundations that control the economy) all share a common interest in a weak leader with limited ability to check them.

For the West, there are many advantages if Iran's leadership is weakened by internal disputes. Such an Iran would be busier domestically and therefore less able to concentrate on foreign adventures. It would also be more aware of its weaknesses and therefore more likely to compromise. To be sure, a weak Supreme Leader would presumably have less authority to impose difficult compromises on objecting factions. That, however, seems like a price worth paying in order to see a less powerful revolutionary leadership.

(Disclaimers: In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted that coauthor Mehdi Khalaji has been a frequent contributor to the Assembly of Experts journal Hukumat-e Islami. In addition, assembly speaker Meshkini is a longtime friend of the Khalaji family.) Patrick Clawson is deputy director for research at The Washington Institute. Mehdi Khalaji, a Shiite theologian by training, is the Institute's Next Generation fellow.
Postagem: Andre Moshe Pereira, Presidente Kehillah or Ahayim, PORTO
Director CEIMOM


TEL-AVIV E ROMA, 3 AGO (ANSA) - Um investigador israelense negou hoje que o revolucionário argentino Ernesto 'Che' Guevara e o ex-premier israelense Ariel Sharon, em coma há 18 meses, eram primos e se encontravam em segredo. O investigador Efraim Davidi, autor de uma biografia de Che, declarou hoje à ANSA que se trata de uma notícia sem fundamentos. Segundo o texto, publicado hoje pelo jornal israelense Maariv, que o põe em destaque, a mãe de Guevara, Célia de la Serna, era "na realidade uma judia russa fugitiva dos pogroms". "Tinha o sobrenome Sheinerman e era irmã menor de Shmuel Scheinerman, o pai de Sharon emigrado para a Palestina no começo do século XX para trabalhar como agricultor", afirma o texto. Maariv acrescentou, citando o texto controvertido, que apenas em 1965 Celia, a ponto de morrer, revelou a Che seu parentesco com o general Sharon. Segundo o texto, Guevara foi então para Israel com uma falsa identidade, reuniu-se com Sharon e seguiu aulas em um colégio rabínico de Jerusalém. A conclusão implícita do texto é que Guevara, enquanto "filho de judia", deveria ser considerado judeu. No entanto, Davidi excluiu que o texto tenha fundamento. A mãe, segundo consta, não tinha raízes russas além da espanhola católica. Nos anos 1960, acrescentou o investigador, Guevara visitou em duas ocasiões (com o consentimento do presidente egípcio Gamal Abdel Nasse) os campos de refugiados palestinos de Gaza, suscitando enorme entusiasmo, no entanto não entrou em Israel. Nem tampouco fez parte, segundo Davidi, das delegações oficiais cubanas que nos anos seguintes visitaram o estado de Israel. O investigador israelense considerou possível que o texto tenha sido divulgado por ambientes nacionalistas russos, determinados em demonstrar vínculos entre o "judaísmo internacional" e os movimentos revolucionários. (ANSA)
Postagem: Andre Moshe Pereira, Presidente Kehillah or Ahayim, PORTO
Director CEIMOM


The World Union's Anita Saltz International Education Center recently held a 10-day Summer Institute on Prayer and Spirituality in conjunction with Kol HaNeshama, a congregation in Jerusalem affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, a recognized authority on Jewish spirituality, led many of the sessions.
The participants explored prayer, its origin, melodies and tradition through experiential and traditional learning. The focus of the seminar was on prayer and individual renewal; text, music, silence and meditation; and Shabbat as a community experience. Participants also went on study tours throughout Jerusalem, visited the Western Wall, hiked and prayed in the desert and visited mosques and churches.
The Saltz Education Center offers a wide choice of seminars and programs in Israel as well as abroad. It has now added two activities geared primarily to tourists already in Israel: the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar and Sunday night Jewish studies.
"We have found that Shabbat is the perfect niche for Reform groups here on an organized tour," the Saltz Center director, Rabbi Rich Kirschen, said of the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar. Recent participants have come from Solel Congregation of Mississauga, Ontario (Rabbi Larry Englander); Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (Rabbi Laura Geller); Temple Gates of Prayerin Metairie, Louisiana (Rabbi Bob Lowey); and Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, New York (Rabbi Matt Cuttler). The Sunday night study sessions, Kirschen says, are designed for tourists already in Jerusalem seeking to study Jewish texts “from a Progressive perspective with local rabbis, educators and personalities.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Means to an end

Rabino Shimon Leiberman

We have until now dealt with the first two groups of sefirot:
the conceptual or "rational" sefirot, composed of chochmah, binah and daat, and
the active sefirot, composed of chesed, gevurah and tiferet.
We will now describe the third group of sefirot which we will call the "tactical" sefirot; they are netzach, "victory," and hod, "awe."
When we call these sefirot "tactical," we mean that their purpose is not inherent in themselves, but rather as a means for something else.
For example, if I wish for my son, whom I love with all my heart, to make something of himself, I may have to be strict and stern with him in order to teach him discipline or insure that he applies himself to his studies, etc. The "strictness and sternness" is tactical -- that is, it is the means by which I endow the child with the benefits that I want him to have. But my intrinsic intent is that of kindness -- of giving him an education and teaching him values.
In another instance, I may use the tactic of kindness, though my intent may be antagonistic. I could lure an enemy into a trap by inviting him with a smile and a pleasant demeanor. The exterior façade of the act is pleasantness, its interior is punitive.


Understanding these two attributes of netzach and hod gives us a new perspective into understanding what is happening in the world. No longer do we merely look at an act at face value, and attempt to understand it as such, but we must look at it also in terms of "a means to an end."
We cannot look at the acts of God merely at face value.
The Kabbalah teaches that the questions of Job ("why do the righteous that suffer?") and of King David ("why do the wicked prosper?") find an answer in the attributes of netzach and hod.
For instance, the suffering of the righteous may be a test in order to heighten their reward, or a way to cleanse them in this world of their few sins so that they are pure and perfect in the World to Come. The wicked may be prospering in order that their feeling of complacency forestalls their repentance or in order that they should receive their entire reward on earth so their later destruction can be total.
There are other possibilities too; the main point is that there is more to God's actions than what appears to be happening at surface level.
Netzach refers to actions of God that are chesed, "kindness," in essence, but are presented through a prelude of harshness. hod refers specifically to those events where the "wicked prosper." It is retribution -- gevurah, "strength/restraint," in essence, but presented by a prelude of pleasantness.
These sefirot mark a turning point. Whereas the first two groups of sefirot deal with God's intrinsic will, and what it is that He desires to bestow upon man, these sefirot are focused on man: What is the most appropriate way for man to receive God's message? How can God's will be implemented most effectively?


All the sefirot are likened to different parts of a body, and netzach and hod are likened to the two feet of a person: right foot and left foot.
Why feet?
Feet are usually only the means for a person's activity. The hands are the main instrument of action and the feet are simply a vehicle to bring the person to the place in which he wishes to execute that action.
Secondly, the distinction between right and left foot is nowhere as pronounced as the distinction between the left and right hands. Similarly, while the distinction between chesed and gevurah is sharp, the distinction between netzach and hod is less sharp. Both are a mixture of chesed and gevurah and therefore the distinction is blurred.
The hands are the main instrument of action; the feet are simply a vehicle, a means of getting there.
This is the reason why we have a harder time discovering the motive for God's actions. For instance, God has sent a plentiful harvest. If we only had chesed-gevurah as perspectives, we would say that this is a reward for good deeds. But now that we have hod to take into account, we must ask ourselves: Is it really a reward? Or perhaps it is a repayment for some good while the full punishment waits in the wings?


There is a deeper purpose to these two sefirot, and that is an accentuation of the Divine truth. When one perceives the attribute of netzach and later the good bestowed upon the righteous, one realizes how well deserved it is.
Humans tend to be sloppy; a person who is generally good is forgiven minor errors etc. This means that the benefits received are not totally earned. But God's netzach -- i.e. the total retribution for the faults of the righteous -- sharpens incredibly the sense of deserving every bit of good that one obtains.
The same is true of the hod facet. The punishment of the wicked, when taken in perspective together with the good that was paid to them, can be perceived not as a mean act of vengeance, but rather as a justly deserved retribution.
This explanation allows us to understand the literal terms netzach and hod.
netzach is an act of God that seems to vanquish. It is an overt act of conquest. It appears to be the finished product of gevurah. gevurah is the strength, i.e. the potential to win, whereas netzach is the actual victory, attained through the strength.
But hod is much deeper. Fear is the feeling that we attain when confronting an overt threat, a man with a gun menacing us. But awe is the reaction to a person or item that seems to have a hidden strength or power. One is awestruck when meeting a powerful leader. Not because he is physically powerful or has a gun, but rather because of the power imminent in the person. A great person leaves us in awe because of the immense spiritual might that we perceive inherent in his humility and modesty.
So too with God, when in retrospect we see that within the leeway given to the wicked, a great storm was waiting to be unleashed against them.

El 15 de Av - "La gran festividad"

Tziviá Kusminsky

No hubo fechas más importantes para Israel que el 15 de Av y Iom Kipur. En esos días, las hijas de Jerusalem salían con vestimentas blancas las cuales pedían prestadas para no avergonzar a quienes no tenían y danzaban en los viñedos...¿Y que decían? “Joven hombre, levanta tus ojos y ve que es lo que eliges para ti...”

Y así está escrito, “salgan y vean, hijas de Tzión, al Rey Shlomó y la corona que le ha dado su madre en el día de su casamiento y en el día del regocijo de su corazón (Cantar de los cantares 3:11). “El día de su casamiento” - es el día en que la Torá fue entregada, “el día de su regocijo”- el día en que el Sagrado Templo fue construido, y que será reconstruido pronto en nuestros días. (Tratado de Taanit, 26b)

Cinco eventos principales sucedieron en esta fecha:

- La generación del desierto dejó de morir: luego del incidente de los espías, los hombres de la generación fueron decretados que morirían en el desierto y no entrarían a la Tierra Prometida, solo sus hijos lo harían. El 9 de Av del año 40, tal como lo hacían todos los 9 de Av, cada uno entró a la tumba que había excavado, pero para su sorpresa todos despertaron con vida. Pensando que habían calculado mal la fecha, volvieron a repetir el procedimiento día tras día, hasta que el 15 de Av se dieron cuenta de que el castigo había llegado a su fin.

- Las tribus de Israel fueron permitidas casarse unas con las otras: luego del reclamo de las hijas de Tzelofjad, y para garantizar que el reparto de la tierra no sea dañado, dos personas que heredan tierra de sus ancestros no se pueden casar entre si. El 15 de Av, el decreto fue anulado.

- Le fue permitido a la tribu de Biñamín el entrar en la comunidad: la tribu que había sido excomulgada luego del incidente de “la concubina en el monte”, fue recibida nuevamente en la congregación de Israel el 15 de Av.

- Hoshea ben Eilah reabrió los caminos hacia Jerusalem: luego de la división de la tierra en dos reinados, el rey de Israel Yerobam ben Nebat bloqueó los caminos que dirigían a Jerusalem, capital del reino de Yehudá, prohibiendo de esta forma la peregrinación a la ciudad en las tres festividades. El 15 de Av, los caminos fueron reabiertos por Hosea ben Elilah, el último rey de Israel.

- Los muertos de Beitar fueron enterrados: la fortaleza de Beitar fue la última en caer luego de la revuelta de Bar Kojbá. La misma, cayó el 9 de Av, pero los romanos no permitieron enterrar a los caídos. El 15 de Av se obtuvo permiso.

Esta festividad, es indudablemente extraña. Por un lado, figura en el Talmud como la más importante junto con Iom Kipur, pero por el otro, en el Shuljan Aruj, libro de halachá (ley), tan solo figura que en este día no se dice tajanún (confesión de pecados) ni porciones similares.

Como explica la Guemará en el Tratado de Taanit, la festividad del 15 de Av, es “la fiesta del amor” en la tradición judía, todo soltero de Israel salían a los viñedos en esa fecha. El Rab de Lubavitch dice que no es coincidencia que Iom Kipur y el 15 de Av sean ocasiones para “shiduchim” (casamentar), dado que los mismos son los días de compromiso y de casamiento entre Dios y el pueblo de Israel. Iom Kipur, el día en que las segundas tablas fueron entregadas a Moshé, marcan el cumplimiento del pacto realizado en el Monte Sinaí, el día del compromiso con el Kadosh Barujú. El 15 de Av, representa el renacimiento luego de la destrucción del Templo el 9 de Av, celebra la consumación del matrimonio con la final redención del Mesías.

De acuerdo al Talmud. Las mujeres de Jerusalem, salían, danzaban y exclamaban:

¿Qué decían las mujeres bellas? “Fíjate en la belleza, pues la mujer es para la belleza”

¿Qué decían las que tenían un linaje prestigioso? “Fíjate en la familia, pues la mujer es para tener niños”

¿Qué decían las feas? “Has tu adquisición por el amor de Dios, siempre y cuando nos decores con joyas” (Tratado de Taanit, 31a)

El Rebe de Lubavitch explica que el casamiento entre Dios y el pueblo judío también incluye estos tres tipos de “novias”. Las almas de Israel, incluyen almas “bellas”, almas “con linaje prestigioso” y almas “feas”, cada una contribuye a una dimensión única de nuestra relación con Dios.

El Rab, nos brinda una más profunda explicación acerca de lo descrito en el Talmud. Las bellas almas, han logrado lo mejor de la perfección de ambos mundos con respecto a su amor al todopoderoso. El mismo, es un amor apasionado, auto-generado e inmutable. “La mujer es para la belleza” dicen estas almas, piden que Dios las tome como novias y será recompensado por el placer que se deriva cuando sus creaciones logran la perfección potencial que El les ha investido.

Las almas con “linaje prestigioso”, dicen que no pueden brindar la perfección que ofrecen sus hermanas, pero si dar el amor hereditario que El les ha implantado. “La mujer es para tener niños” dicen estas almas, nuestra relación, le dicen al Kadosh Barujú puede no producir belleza, pero dará frutos, las mitzvot generadas por nuestro amor natural.

Por último, las almas feas, aquellas que no han despertado sus mentes y corazones para desear al creador así como su lealtad hereditaria, dicen “has Tú adquisición por amor a Dios”, “hazlo por Ti y no por nosotras”, tómanos porque tan solo Tú sabes que hay más allá de la apariencia, y tan solo Tú sabes lo que puedes inspirarnos. Tú sabes que nuestra fealdad no es nuestra verdadera esencia, sino que ha sido impuesta por la pobreza espiritual generada en tantos años de diáspora.

Las mismas continúan, si hemos fallado y no nos hemos dado cuenta acerca de nuestra belleza y nuestra capacidad de dar frutos, tan solo Te queda “decorarnos con joyas”, limpiarnos con los regalos que despertarán nuestro vínculo por excelencia y traerá luz a nuestra innata perfección.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Israel aceitará casamento no civil

18/07 - 19:39 - AFP

Israel vai instaurar o casamento no civil em seu território, anunciaram nesta quarta-feira à noite em nota conjunta o ministro da Justiça, Daniel Friedman, e o Grande Rabino sefardim Shlomo Amar.
Segundo um acordo fechado entre o ministro e o rabino, uma lei permitirá aos judeus, que não são reconhecidos como tais pelo Grande Rabinato de Israel, a contrair matrimônio perante uma jurisdição civil competente em matéria de divórcio.
Em virtude desse acerto, o Grande Rabinato consegue, como contrapartida, a possibilidade de estabelecer tribunais rabínicos com poder para se pronunciar sobre as conversões ao judaísmo.
Em Israel, considera-se que uma pessoa é judia se tiver mãe judia ou se tiver se convertido ao judaísmo, conforme estipula a Halacha, a estrita tradição religiosa ortodoxa.
Nos últimos 15 anos, mais de um milhão de imigrantes chegaram a Israel procedentes da ex-União Soviética, dos quais 270.000 não são judeus, nem professam outra religião.
Para celebrar uma boda civil, os israelenses eram obrigados, até hoje, a viajar para o exterior, freqüentemente o Chipre, e depois revalidar sua união diante do Ministério do Interior.


"O meu partido é Lisboa"?

Esther Mucznik

A votação relativamente expressiva nos "independentes" exprime a vontade de castigar os partidos

Face aos resultados das eleições intercalares em Lisboa, temos duas opções: ou transformamos Portugal numa província espanhola, como propõe José Saramago - e não teremos mais que nos preocupar, Zapatero velará por nós e por uma Lisboa reduzida a uma pitoresca capital regional; ou nos esforçamos por reflectir e tirar lições dos resultados eleitorais. Como desconfio de que o que move o Nobel é o ressentimento em relação à sua pátria anterior - e a vontade de ser o último a apagar a luz -, prefiro a segunda solução.

Assim, aqui vão alguns pontos que, em minha opinião, decorrem do acto eleitoral em Lisboa:Em primeiro lugar, a dimensão da abstenção. É difícil não ver que ela é o espelho da composição majoritária da população que ainda mora na capital: de um lado, uma população envelhecida, menos predisposta a uma intervenção cívica e com as dificuldades naturais da idade; do outro, uma população pobre, e por vezes marginal, moradora nos bairros populares ou sociais, normalmente descrente, desinteressada, sem cultura de participação. Estes dois tipos de população são os mais permeáveis à abstenção. Normalmente, fala-se dos lisboetas de uma forma abstracta, mas a realidade é bem concreta: falta, em Lisboa, o elemento mais dinâmico, quer do ponto de vista político, quer económico e cultural - a classe média. Assim, a primeira preocupação do executivo camarário deveria ser como incentivar a classe média jovem a habitar em Lisboa, nomeadamente tomando medidas sobre o mercado do arrendamento.

Em segundo lugar, e em conformidade com a generalidade das análises, a votação exprime a descrença nos partidos, cada vez menos representativos das populações e mais permeáveis às pressões dos diversos lobbies e à pequena e grande corrupção que corrói o sistema partidário. No entanto, e se bem que o voto seja o menos exigente dos deveres democráticos, é também um dos elementos básicos da cidadania numa democracia liberal. Seria bom que cada abstencionista, em vez de passar o tempo a lamentar-se e a atirar as culpas todas aos partidos, pensasse que o voto é não só um direito, mas também um dever de todo o cidadão, nem que seja para exprimir a sua rejeição ou protesto através de um voto em branco.

A votação relativamente expressiva nos "independentes" exprime essa vontade de castigar os partidos. Mas é preciso ir mais além: o eng.º Carmona Rodrigues fez uma campanha baseada na vitimização e na irresponsabilidade. Independentemente de todas as razões de queixa que possa ter, para um homem que assumiu um papel decisivo na Câmara Municipal de Lisboa ao longo dos últimos seis anos, primeiro como "vice" de Santana Lopes e desde há dois anos como presidente, essa vitimização seria apenas patética, se não fosse imoral. Mas a verdade é que tal atitude, combinada com uma campanha popularucha e antipartidos - "a minha canção é o fado, o meu partido é Lisboa" -, forneceu a receita do sucesso. Espantoso? Não, apenas mais um sinal de que vivemos um tempo em que as vítimas são os novos heróis. Podem cometer todos os erros, todos os crimes até, mas, se vestirem a pele do cordeiro ameaçado pelo lobo mau, têm o perdão garantido. E o lobo neste caso concreto era Marques Mendes e o PSD. Um PSD que foi castigado, pelo menos parcialmente, por uma atitude de decência em relação a um executivo paralisado por sucessivas demissões e sobre o qual recaíam suspeitas de envolvimento de alguns dos seus membros em actos de corrupção.

É evidente que o PSD não foi penalizado apenas por isso: numa autarquia como Lisboa, ninguém vota abstraindo-se completamente da atitude geral do partido em questão. E a verdade é que, desde a eleição de José Sócrates, o PSD desapareceu: face a um executivo socialista que, ao contrário do PS francês, entendeu a necessidade de pôr em prática reformas normalmente conotadas com a direita, tudo se passa como se os partidos que se reivindicam da direita ou centro-direita ficassem esvaziados de política própria, reduzidos a uma oposição-reacção pontual e feita essencialmente de denúncia, muitas vezes até pela esquerda.

É verdade que as sociedades actuais são extremamente complexas e, provavelmente, as tradicionais divisões esquerda/direita já não constituem referências suficientes para a formulação de políticas adequadas, mas sem uma demarcação política e ideológica clara não há oposição credível. E uma boa oposição é sempre necessária a uma democracia saudável. Assim, mais do que um simples rolar de cabeças - caminho que, ao que tudo indica, já irrompeu pelo menos no PSD - é cada vez mais necessária uma reflexão de fundo sobre o papel dos partidos, o poder e a oposição.

Finalmente, e contrariamente a algumas opiniões, a vitória do PS em Lisboa é uma vitória significativa, pelo menos tão significativa como a derrota do PSD, dada a dispersão dos votos pelos numerosos candidatos, nomeadamente uma candidatura no seu próprio campo, a de Helena Roseta. Para um partido que está no governo e cujo estado de graça já passou há muito, é um bom resultado.

Mas o que é importante é o que fará António Costa da presidência da câmara. Entre todos os candidatos, é, sem dúvida, o mais preparado e com maior solidez política. As suas "dez medidas imediatas" podem ter na opinião pública um efeito estimulante. Mas o que se exige do governo da cidade é um plano integrado a médio e a longo prazo, muito para além dos dois anos que nos separam do fim do mandato. Lisboa não é apenas a soma da cultura, habitação e urbanismo, trânsito, segurança e policiamento. Qualquer plano tem de obedecer a uma visão global do que é uma capital europeia no séc. XXI e partir da análise dos problemas reais de Lisboa, para definir uma política global.

Há dois factores que, em minha opinião, condicionam tudo o resto: o primeiro é a necessidade de destruição do monstro burocrático que hoje é a máquina camarária, obstáculo a qualquer iniciativa cívica e privada e a qualquer alteração de fundo; a segunda é a urgência de repovoar a cidade, nomeadamente através da mudança do mercado de arrendamento, porque sem o elemento humano nenhuma mudança é possível. Nada disto se obtém de um momento para o outro. São ambos objectivos de longo fôlego que exigem um corredor de fundo. Será António Costa o homem?

Investigadora em assuntos judaicos

Reunião de hoje do Quarteto com iniciativa de Bush na agenda

Maria João Guimarães

Condoleezza Rice, Ban Ki-moon, Serguei Lavrov e Tony Blair em Lisboa para discutir o processo de paz israelo-palestiniano

O Quarteto, entidade responsável pelo processo de paz israelo-palestiniano, reúne-se hoje em Lisboa com esperanças de um relançamento de negociações, mas com a cautela ditada pela actual situação no terreno. Entre os factores de optimismo está o novo empenho americano, um encontro recente entre israelitas e palestinianos e um novo enviado do Quarteto com um peso maior do que os seus antecessores.
A reunião de hoje é marcada por duas novidades: é o primeiro encontro do Quarteto (EUA, Rússia, UE e ONU) desde que os palestinianos se dividiram em duas entidades, o Hamas a comandar Gaza e a Fatah na Cisjordânia, e será também a estreia de Tony Blair, o novo enviado especial do grupo, que segue na segunda--feira para a região.
Ontem, em Lisboa, num encontro com o seu homólogo português, Luís Amado, o ministro egípcio dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Ahmed Abu Gheit, manifestou esperanças de que sejam lançadas negociações. "Se adiarmos, poremos em risco tudo o que conseguimos na última década", disse. Mas, sublinhou, "é importante que as negociações tenham como objectivo chegar a um acordo final". Até agora as questões espinhosas - estatuto de Jerusalém, fronteiras dos dois estados e o que fazer com os refugiados palestinianos - têm sido evitadas.
Gheit afirmou ainda estar "encorajado" pelo discurso de segunda-feira do Presidente norte-americano, George W. Bush, que pretendeu revitalizar os esforços diplomáticos mencionando uma conferência internacional no Outono. Em Ramallah, o chefe da política externa da UE, Javier Solana, disse que este encontro deverá ser "um passo importante", cita a Reuters.
A Administração Bush quer um sucesso em política externa e por isso há quem admita um empenho renovado neste processo. A agenda da conferência e os participantes ainda não são conhecidos - os olhos estão postos nomeadamente na Arábia Saudita, cuja participação tornaria este encontro mais significativo.
Mas há também quem, como o importante comentador israelita Nahum Barnea, ache que Bush "está cheio de boas intenções, mas que não têm significado".

Actores frágeis

A fragilidade dos principais actores é apontada pelos mais cépticos - o primeiro-ministro israelita, Ehud Olmert, continua a ser visto como o líder que falhou a vitória na guerra do Líbano, e o presidente palestiniano, Mahmoud Abbas, não tem todo o apoio na frente doméstica, agora dividida entre dois pólos de poder.
A estratégia ocidental é apoiar Abbas em oposição ao Hamas, mas esta linha de acção não é consensual: ainda na terça-feira, o ministro italiano dos Negócios Estrangeiros Massimo d"Alema alertou para o facto de o Hamas ser "parte significativa e substancial" do povo palestiniano, criticando a posição da UE em relação ao movimento islamista: "não reconhecer um governo eleito democraticamente não é exactamente uma lição em democracia". Questionado sobre que acção tomar em relação ao Hamas, o ministro egípcio afirmou que "se não se conseguir reconciliar as diferenças, a solução é relançar as negociações entre israelitas e palestinianos e fazer depois um referendo". Luís Amado reiterou "o comentário pertinente" de Gheit em relação ao Hamas, recusando que as declarações de D"Alema significassem uma cisão. A UE fica muitas vezes dividida quando o assunto é o Médio Oriente, com países como Espanha ou França a proporem medidas avulsas ou um alto representante que vai visitando a região sem grandes consequências. Outra questão muito discutida, e que estará hoje na agenda do encontro do Quarteto, tem sido o mandato de Tony Blair enquanto enviado especial - para já, restrito à ajuda à reforma das instituições palestinianas e ao desenvolvimento económico. A Europa gostaria de ver Blair mais en-volvido em negociações de paz, Washington quer ter esse papel desempenhado por Condoleezza Rice. "Há sentimentos contraditórios na Administração Bush sobre quanta liberdade deve ter Blair", afirmou à Reuters o antigo analista da CIA Bruce Riedel.
Ontem, Luís Amado afirmou que "o mandato [de Blair] será desenvolvido conforme os desenvolvimentos do próprio processo".
Em declarações ao PÚBLICO, o coordenador da presidência portuguesa para o processo de paz no Médio Oriente, Luís de Almeida Sampaio, sublinhou a existência de um sentimento de "janela de oportunidade" para um avanço no processo. Almeida Sampaio destaca a importância da iniciativa árabe, em que os estados árabes propõem a paz com Israel em troca da devolução do território que o estado hebraico ocupou após 1967. Este envolvimento dos estados árabes marca uma grande diferença em relação aos processos de paz anteriores. Rice vem a Lisboa defender a proposta do Presidente Bush de realizar uma conferência para o Médio Oriente no Outono.

Tisha B’Av 5767

Rabino Label Lam

(Nosso Assistente)

Learning to Love What Is!Moshiach is born on Tisha B’Av (Talmud)Any generation in which the Temple was not built in (with) its days is considered as if it was destroyed in (with) its days. (Talmud)There is no light like the light that emanates from darkness. (Zohar)

The 9th of Av is one of those days in which we allow ourselves to wallow in the misery of a brutal history and indulge in thoughts of the extended exile and our many sufferings. Admittedly, it seems ultra heavy and it is an ominous reality to meet face to face. What benefit do we have from this exercise? Why follow the black and hurtful lines of history when there are so many brighter and rosier points to visit?

I hope the situation never comes your way. It happened to me once and although I was woefully unprepared things happily turned out alright. What do you say to someone who is seriously contemplating ending it all?Here’s a scenario I heard about from a very clever individual: Imagine that you are sitting in a reception area in a fancy office on the 77th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly the elevator opens and a gentleman with a disheveled appearance walks over to the window which he throws wide open. He backs up like he’s readying himself to take a running leap and before he does so you are able to halt him temporarily.You ask him, “Why are you about to do such a crazy and foolish thing?” He shows you a piece of paper with a list of 49 items that he begins to recite aloud; 1) Lost my job 2) Wife left me 3) Broke 4) Hungry 5) Dog died 6) Chronic incurable diseases 7) Homeless etc. That’s just the beginning of the list and any single item would be enough to drive the average man over the top. He’s got the worst situation you ever heard of or imagined. You’re ready to agree with his morbid conclusion. What can you say to him?

Of course, you acknowledge his pain but you might challenge him with the following question: What if on top of all the 49 things there was also a 50th and that is that you were also completely blind? Today you tapped your way over, pressed the 77th floor button, before tapping your way to the window and as you are about to leap, lo and behold the lights go on and you are granted vision. You can see! Would you choose to jump at that moment? For sure the fellow will say, “NO!” “Why not?”, you would have to challenge him. He would probably answer, “I’d go around and check it all out!” So then you tell him, “You aren’t blind! You can see! Use those eyes to find goodness!”The ravages of long exile tend to rob us of our sense of purpose and direction. We become easily distracted by the small and silly. Eventually we are living so small, we are at constant risk of losing our very identities. We don’t see. The suicide is not dramatic but incremental and accumulative, as moment after moment is deadened, by the activity of killing of time. How true what Warren Buffet had said, “Habits are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to break.”Being in exile is like living at the airport. I was once stuck at JFK for 24 hours due to a snow storm. There was seemingly no way out.

Every “courtesy desk” employee was as frustrated, lost and discourteous as we were. One disoriented oriental gent on his cell phone was heard venting, “I don’t know where I am! I don’t know who I am! I don’t know why I am!” I realized I should just make good use of the many Holy Books inmy bag. The Chofetz Chaim teaches that we are currently rebuilding the Temple if not “in our days” but at least “with our days.” By indulging our imaginations for one day in things oy vay we can build it all back by learning to love what is!

Postagem AV, Andre Moshe Pereira, Koah President

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tisha b'Av


Tisha b'Av o Tish'ah b'Av (en hebreo: תשעה באב, tish‘āh bə-āḇ) es el principal día de ayuno y abstinencia del judaísmo. Su nombre hace referencia al noveno día (Tisha) del mes hebreo de av, que cae en la canícula. Se le suele llamar el ’’día más triste en la historia judía’’ y conmemora la destrucción del Primer Templo por Nabucodonosor, la destrucción del segundo Templo por Tito, la caída de Betar (y por consiguiente, el colapso en la revuelta de Bar Kojba seguido por la intensa persecución conducida por Adriano), la expulsión de los judíos de Inglaterra por el Rey Eduardo I, la expulsión de los judíos de Francia, el primer transporte a Treblinka en 1942 y el destierro de los judíos de España por el rey Fernando y la reina Isabel en 1492.Las destrucciones El ayuno conmemora los dos eventos más tristes de la historia judía :la destrucción del Primer Templo (construido por el rey Salomón), y la del Segundo Templo. Estos hechos acaecieron en el mismo mes, av, y como tradición en el mismo día nueve, pero trascurrieron 556 años del primero al segundo.En relación con la caída de Jerusalén, existen otros tres días de ayuno que se establecieron a la vez que éste: el diez de tevet, cuando comenzó el asedio; el diecisiete de tamuz, la primera grieta del muro; y el tres de tishrei, conocido como el Ayuno de Guedaliá, día en que Guedaliá fue asesinado (I Reyes 25:25; Jeremías 41:2). De Zacarías 7:5, 8:19, menciona que tras la edificación del Segundo Templo, no se siguió con continuidad la costumbre del ayuno. Tras la destrucción de Jerusalén por los romanos, se volvieron a establecer los 4 días.

Tras el Éxodo

Este día de 1312 antes de Cristo, hacía 16 meses que la generación de judíos que salieron de Egipto liderados por Moisés fueron encomendados a morir en el desierto (midbar) y la entrada a la Tierra de Israel se retrasó cuarenta años hasta que la generación más anciana muriera.Las cinco calamidades.

Según la Mishná (Taanit, 4:6), hay cinco eventos que justifican el ayuno y la abstinencia el 9 de av:Este día, Moisés mandó 12 espías para informarle sobre si en la tierra de Canaán alguna mala noticia hacía que los niños de Israel sollozaran, temieran y se desesperaran por no poder regresar a la Tierra Prometida, día que tendrían que solemnizar las generaciones venideras de los Hijos de Israel (Números ch 13-14)Los babilonios arrasaron el Templo de Salomón (el primero) y toda Judea liderados por Nabucodonosor en el 586 a.C., condenado a la población al exilio de Babilonia.El Segundo Templo fue destruido por el Imperio Romano en el año 70, llevando a los judíos a una diáspora de dos mil años.La revuelta de Simón bar Kojba contra Roma fracasó y Bar Kojba, el Taná Rabí Akiva y miles de sus seguidores fueron asesinados.Tras la caída de Jerusalén en el 70, su resurgimiento un año después.Según el Talmud, la destrucción del Segundo Templo comenzó el 9 y terminó el 10 de av, cuando las llamas acabaron de arrasarlo.Posteriores calamidades del 9 de av.

Urbano II declara las Cruzadas en 1095Quema del Talmud en 1242En 1290, firma del edicto de Eduardo I de Inglaterra expulsando a los judíos de Inglaterra.El Decreto de la Alhambra expulsa a los judíos de España en 1492Primera Guerra Mundial en 1914Campo de exterminio de Treblinka, primeras muertes en 1942Muerte de 86 judíos y más de 120 heridos en el bombardeo de la AMIA (Asociación Mutua Israelita Argentina) por un grupo islámico terrorista el 18 de julio de 1994 en Buenos Aires

Holocausto (Shoah)

Muchos judíos haredi (ultraortodoxos) ven en el 9 de av una forma de rememorar a los seis millones de judíos muertos en el Holocauto. Judíos ortodoxos y no ortodoxos los recuerdan en un día oficial de duelo llamado Yom HaShoah. Líderes rabínicos haredi están en desacuerdo y no celebran ni el Yom Yerushalayim ni el Yom Ha'atzmaut (Día de la Independencia de Israel) , hecho que además afirmaría que para ellos el Estado de Israel carezca de significado religioso.

Prácticas Restricciones

Como en el Yom Kippur, el Tisha B'Av consiste en un día de 25 horas (a veces más según la localización) que empieza al atardecer y dura hasta la noche del día siguiente. Hay seis prohibiciones:No llevar zapatos de piel.Abstenerse de comer y beber (salvo que comprometa la vida)Abstenerse de lavarse o bañarse (en algunos casos, sólo se acepta una mínima higiene)Abstenerse de aplicarse cremas, aceites, desodorantes y maquillajes.Abstenerse de mantener relaciones sexuales, abrazarse, besarse o cualquier otra forma de afecto corporal.Abstenerse de estudiar la Torá, el Libro de las Lamentaciones y el Libro de Job aunque se permiten leer algunas secciones del Libro de Jeremías y secciones del Talmud que versen en las leyes de llorar la muerte de alguien .[1]Aunque llegue la noche, se prohíbe comer carne y beber vino hasta el mediodía del día siguiente, ya que de acuerdo con la tradición el templo ardió todas la noche y parte del día siguiente, el 10 de av.[2]En la sinagoga, y al volver a casa, desde el anochecer al mediodía uno debe sentarse en el suelo o en sillas bajas como durante la shiv'ah (semana de luto tras la muerte de un familiar de primer grado), alguos llegan a dormir sobre el suelo y no se puede felicitar o regalar nada en este día, viejos libros de rezos y torás se suelen enterrar en este día.Las leyes del Tisha B'Av están grabadas en el Shulkhan Arukh ("Código de Ley Judía") Orach Chayim 552-557.


Los cinco pergaminos de Eichah (Lamentaciones) se leen en la sinagoga durante la tarde del servicio. Además, durante el luto se lee la kinoth ("Poesía bíblica"), compuesta por varios poetas (sobre todo rabinos) como Elazar ha-Kalir, Judah ha-Levi, Shimon Schwab, Solomon Halberstam, Bobov Hasidim , sobre todo clásica.

Historia del rito

La literatura talmúdica comenta que la práctica se refleja como un día de congoja y ascetismo. En los últimos años, se observa una disminución de la práctica, en horas y/o prohibiciones.Maimónides (siglo XII), en su Mishneh Torah, proponía que las restricciones de no beber vino ni comer carne debían retraerse a la víspera de Tisha B'AvA fines del siglo II o principios del III, no se practicaba de una manera tan severa y hubo rabinos, como Judah ha-Nasi que abogaron por abolirla o, según otras versiones, aminorar sus severidad cuando se propusiera pasarla del sábado al domingo (Talmud, Tractate Megillah 5b), pero en tiempos postalmúdicos se volvió más restrictiva, sobre todo en los siglos del XV al XVIII, se puede observar de hecho un aumento gradual en las prohibiciones hasta llegar a prohibir matrimonios u otros eventos.Los judíos ortodoxos prefieren no abandonar ninguna práctica al menos hasta el advenimiento del Mesías. Los zionistas propusieron su supresión en un principio. Los masorti, se pronuncian de distintas formas, queriendo suprimirla en todo o en parte o respetarla tal cual.

Otras tradiciones

Las fuentes del judaísmo clásico mantienen que el Mesías Judío nacerá en Tisha B'Av.

Próximas fechas según el calendario gregoriano

2006=3 de agosto2007=24 de julio2008=10 de agosto2009=30 de julio2010=20 de julio


^ Telushkin, J. Jewish Literacy. William Morrow & Co, 2001, p. 656^
Proceedings of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement 1927-1970 - Volume III Ed. David Golinkin, The Rabbinical Assembly, Jerusalem, 1997.
Responsa relating to this topic in this volume include Marriage during the Sefirah 1949; Restraint on Marriages During the Omer Days 1952;
A Dvar Torah Suggested by Lab Baomer 1962;
Weddings During the Three Weeks 1964;
Weddings During the Three Weeks 1968.

Postagem, Andre Moshe Pereira, Pres. Koah
Director, RI, Ceimom