Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Parasha Vayeshev


Rabino Kalman Packouz

When I was in High School (Beaverton High School), I was placed in an advanced English class. During one of our units studying poetry, I was instructed to take a modern day poem and analyze it. My teacher was infuriated when I explained a rhyming couplet as having no special significance - the poet chose the word because he needed a rhyme (this was in the olden days when poems still rhymed...). He gave me an "F" on the assignment!
___Since I was fortunate enough to have analyzed a poem of a living poet, I wrote the poet to enquire what special meaning was imbued in this particular rhyming couplet. I will never forget the look on my teacher's face when I showed him the poet's response - "I had nothing special in mind with that particular couplet; I just needed a word which would rhyme." (And yes, he did change my grade!) So, in honor of my high school English teacher (as well as a lesson for me ...), I present:

___The Torah tells us that, "... Moses was very humble, more than any person on the face of the earth." The classic question is: Moses wrote down the words of the Torah; how is it possible for him to be humble after the Almighty tells him that he is the most humble man in the world?
___The answer lies in the definition of humility. Humility is not being a nebik - meek, unassertive, pitiful, downcast loser. Humility is knowing exactly what your talents and capabilities are - and recognizing that they and everything else is a gift from the Almighty. Moses understood that he was the only prophet to ever speak "face to face" with the Almighty; he also understood that this level of prophesy was a gift from God. Humility is an inward attitude.
___Humility is a requisite for learning Torah. Torah is compared to water - life-giving wisdom which flows to "low places." If one is humble, there is room for Torah to enter; if one is too full of himself, there is little room for anything else.
___When one realizes his smallness in comparison with the entire universe and the power of the Almighty, one will have humility. When one realizes the vast amount of knowledge that one is missing and the mistakes that one has already made, one will have to have humility. When one realizes the frailty of the human body and how even the strongest person eventually becomes weak and dies, one will have to have humility. The only way to have arrogance is to lack awareness of the total picture of reality. Moses had the highest level of awareness of reality and therefore was the most humble man.
___Why does a person need humility? A person with true humility will learn from others, will ask questions when he has doubts, and will be open to criticism. When one has humility, he does not feel a need to gain power over others or to feel above them by focusing on their faults. He will not act upon slights and escalate quarrels; he will ask for forgiveness and not blame others. He can see the good in others and therefore, love them. (Love is the emotion of pleasure one feels when focusing on the good in others.)
___An arrogant person demands that everything should be exactly as he wishes. He lacks patience and this causes him much frustration and suffering. A person with humility finds it easy to accept things not being the way he would have wished them to be. He focuses on the positive in each situation and circumstance. He has more joy in living.
___The humble man stands up for truth and righteousness, unaffected by the opinion of others. He understands the reality of what is important - God, Torah, truth - and not his ego.

Torah Portion of the WeekVayeshev

___This week's portion includes four stories: (1) The selling of Yosef (Joseph) as a slave by his brothers - which eventually positioned Yosef to be second in command in Egypt and enabled him to save the known world from famine. (2) The indiscretion of Yehuda (Judah) with Tamar (Tamar).... (3) The attempted seduction of Yosef by Potifar's wife, which ends with her framing Yosef and having him imprisoned . (4) Yosef interprets the dreams of his fellow prisoners, the wine steward (who was reinstated and forgot to put in a good word for Yosef) and the baker (who was hanged).
* * *
Dvar Torah based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
___Yosef's brothers were envious of him. The Torah tells us:
"And they hated him and they were not able to speak to him for peace." (Genesis 37:4)

___This is the literal translation. What can we learn from this verse?
___Rabbi Yonoson Eibeshutz commented that it is possible that if the brothers would have spoken the matter over with Yosef they would have been able to make peace. The problem was that they were not talking to each other. This is what frequently happens when people are in the midst of a feud. One does not want to listen to the other. However, when one person tells another that how he perceives that the other person wronged him, the other person might apologize and accept upon himself not to do it again. (This works even better if the one initializing the conversation can apologize for something that he did to the other person.)
___If people involved in a heated dispute will talk things over with each other calmly, they will often see that they have nothing to argue about. Even if they still disagree in the end, the heavy emotionalism will be greatly diminished. When you hear clearly how the other person views the situation, you will see why he thinks as he does and you yourself will look at it differently.
___When you are involved in a dispute with someone else, try to talk things over with him/her in a calm manner. It is important to repeat over the other person's position. Keep asking, "Is this and this what you mean?" By doing this, much harm will be avoided!
* * *
Chanukah Dvar Torah
___Last week I left you with the following question: If enough oil was found to burn in the Temple menorah for one day and the oil lasted for eight days, then the miracle was really only for the seven additional days of lighting. Why then do we celebrate Chanukah for eight days and not seven?
___Here are a few possible answers mentioned in the Book of Our Heritage (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at

The first day commemorates the military victory. The other 7 days are for the miracle of the oil.
· The discovery of the one remaining jar of oil marked with the Cohen Gadol's seal was a miracle. One day is celebrated for this.
· The discovered oil was divided into eight portions to last the eight days required for the production of new oil. Until new oil could be produced, the Menorah would be lit only briefly each night. Miraculously, the small portion of oil burned the entire day. Thus, each of the eight days was a miracle.
· All the oil was emptied into the Menorah, but after the lamps had burned all night, they were found the next morning still filled with oil. Therefore, each day was a miracle.
· The very fact that our ancestors did not despair from lighting the lamps the first day, though they knew that they would not be able to light again until new
pure oil could be produced in 8 days' time, was a great miracle. It is this optimism which enables the Jewish people to endure through all generations and every exile!

Jerusalem 4:00Guatemala 5:13 - Hong Kong 5:20 - Honolulu 5:30J'Burg 6:27 - Porto KOAH 3:38 - Los Angeles 4:26Melbourne 8:07 - Mexico City 5:38 - Miami 5:13New York 4:12 - Singapore 6:37 - Toronto 4:25

Some drink from the fountain of knowledge;others just gargle.

Jew vs. Gentile in the Eyes of the Torah, Part II

Rabino Dovid Rosenfeld

Chapter 1, Mishna 18(b)

"Rabbi Shimon ben (son of) Gamliel said: On three things does the world endure: justice, truth and peace, as the verse states, 'Truth and judgments of peace judge in your gates' (Zechariah 8:16)."

Last week we discussed the difference between this mishna and Chapter 1 Mishna 2. As we saw, this mishna is not discussing the purpose and ultimate goals G-d had in mind in creating the world. Rather, it discusses the necessary prerequisites to allow the world to "endure" -- function smoothly without disintegrating into anarchy. Individuals as well as nations must abide by the dictates of truth, peace and justice in order that societies function and civilizations flourish. With this prerequisite in place, when a spirit of peace and tolerance reigns among men, man will be able to devote himself to more profound religious devotion and spiritual growth. If, however, the world deteriorates into chaos and lawlessness, man will be forced to expend all his energies on his basic survival and making ends meet, and he will have neither time nor composure to focus on matters more lofty.

We then noted that the obligation to create functional societies was not placed on Israel alone but on all mankind. G-d did not entrust the world to Israel alone; He gave it to all of man. And He asked us all to take care of it -- environmentally for starters, as Adam was commanded to both "work" and "protect" the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) (something we're failing in miserably today, for that matter). But even more significantly, G-d instructed man in the Seven Noahide Laws in order that man create just societies -- receptive to the concepts of morality, fair play, and religious commitment. Man was instructed not to become religious ascetics -- the Seven Laws include only the real basics (murder, adultery, theft, etc.) -- but to cultivate within himself and within society a basic appreciation for G-dly values. And by so doing, not only would the societies of man become reflections of the truth of G-d, but they would become places conducive to more serious spiritual an d character development -- the type Israel would then introduce to the world.

The above was a brief synopsis of our discussion last week. We thus observed that G-d both entrusted the nations of the world with stewardship of the planet and gave them their own set of mitzvos (commandments) towards that end. (And as we also pointed out, not only were certain mitzvos made binding upon them, but they were promised a share in the World to Come for their proper observance.) That being said, I'd like to point out a significant difference -- perhaps the key difference -- between the Noahide Laws and the mitzvos placed upon Israel. It is based on a lecture heard from my teacher, R. Yochanan Zweig (

The Midrash (Sifri Deut. 343:2) states as follows: G-d, before offering the Torah to Israel, offered it first to all the nations of the world. The encounter with each nation went roughly as follows: Nation: "What does it say?" G-d: "Thou shalt not kill." Nation: "What?! No wars?! No duels?! No Monday night football?! Nothing doing!" G-d approached the next nation. Nation: "What does it say?" G-d: "Thou shalt not steal." Nation: "What?! Full disclosure to the IRS?! Accurate insurance claims?! No 'sharing' of music and software?! Forget it!" and too responded in the negative. Finally, G-d offered the Torah to Israel. We asked no questions, responded "We will do and we will hear" (Exodus 24:7), and became G-d's chosen nation.

The message, clear enough, is that the other nations of the world had allowed certain negative tendencies and practices to become too ingrained in their natures. They could no longer aspire to the true ideals of the Torah and instead were left to wallow in their immorality. Israel, however, was ready and willing to rise to the challenge.

There is, however, a glaring difficulty with this passage. Murder and robbery are two of the Seven Noahide Laws! These nations were already commanded not to kill and steal! If so, why did these laws scare them off from Torah acceptance? Perhaps they did not like the laws to begin with, but accepting or rejecting the Torah would in no way alter the fact. And so, how could these laws in particular have been their reason for refusing the Torah?

Even beyond this, though, there is no such thing as a civilized society which openly condones murder and robbery -- except ones literally in the process of self-destruction? Could these nations really have intended to reject such basic and rational laws -- clearly necessary for the function of any society?

R. Zweig explained that there is a fundamental difference between the Noahide injunctions not to kill and steal and the Jewish ones. When G-d told the nations of the world not to kill, it meant to refrain from the act of killing. As we have seen, the purpose of the Seven Laws is primarily in order that society not self-destruct. No society can exist in a state of lawlessness. We will learn later, "Pray for the welfare of the government for if not for its fear, a man would swallow his fellow live" (3:2 -- a fairly accurate description of what occurs during a blackout. For even the most violent-prone among us appreciate that man must refrain from overt acts of violence in order to maintain any semblance of law and order.

Israel, however, was not merely commanded to refrain from the acts of killing and stealing. The Torah asks infinitely more of us: that we grow into people who appreciate that such acts are inherently evil. The purpose of the mitzvos is not only to control our behavior. It is to enlighten us, to instruct us in G-d's value system. We are to become people who relate to G-d's values -- and who thereby relate to G-d Himself. We must grow to appreciate the beauty of the mitzvos to the extent that we do not want to behave otherwise. And when we reach this level -- of not wanting to sin -- our souls and bodies unite in wholehearted service of G-d.

This might be considered the single defining principle of Jewish law. And its applications are found practically everywhere. On the crudest level, "thou shalt not kill" refers to physically taking another life. But G-d in truth had far more in mind. "Thou shalt not kill" is a value statement: human life is important. Man is sacred and fashioned in the image of G-d. And if a human being is valuable, his feelings, his well-being, and his quality of life are important as well. The Talmud tells us that one should sacrifice his own life rather than publicly embarrass his fellow (Sotah 10b) -- just as one must sacrifice his own life rather than kill his fellow.

Likewise, not only are we forbidden to steal, but we may not disturb our fellow's sleep -- "stealing" his relaxation time, nor invade and "steal" his privacy. (The Talmud forbids such acts as adding a window to your house which offers you a view of your neighbor's back yard (without explicit permission) -- even to open a second window when a first already exists.) And this is truly the story behind every single mitzvah in the Torah. The Vilna Gaon (18th Century leader of Lithuanian Jewry) wrote that the entire purpose of the commandments is so that we improve our characters. The Talmud expresses it likewise: "G-d wants our hearts" (Sanhedrin 106b). The deeds themselves the Torah instructs us are finite, but the levels of growth and appreciation we must strive towards are unbounded.

And this, according to the Talmud, was what the nations of the world were not ready to accept. To be sure, such a relationship with G-d had hardly been denied them. They too can and should aspire to grow to appreciate G-d's laws and build a relationship with Him. Let me in fact reiterate this so I'm not misunderstood. Isaiah (42:6) writes that Israel is to be a light and example to the nations. We live the relationship with G-d that He truly wants with all His children. As I often write, what Israel has been commanded in, the nations are told to aspire to. Our relationship is special, but it is not exclusive. It is an opening and invitation to all mankind.

Even so, it is important to appreciate the crucial difference between 7 laws and 613. It is hardly a matter of more of the same. The 613 Commandments introduce an entirely new level of closeness to G-d. We are not only to restrain our actions, as all man must. We must grow to appreciate that sinful behavior is inherently wrong -- we must not want to kill, steal or commit adultery. And this was not commanded on the nations of the world. Yet it is the special challenge which G-d has challenged -- and favored -- the Children of Israel.

Postagem: Andre-Moshe Pereira, Pres. Kehillah Or Ahayim

Class 9 - The Eternal Jewish Bride

A Survey of Jewish Marriage Customs

Edited by Elizabeth Fried

In Hebrew, the word for man - "ish" - and the word for woman - "isha" - are each written with three letters. Two of the letters in each word - "aleph" & "shin" - are identical. The remaining two letters "hey" & "yud" - together represent G-d's name. Thus, the Talmud explains that when a man and woman live together harmoniously they invite G-d's presence into their marriage. In Judaism, since marital love is considered holy, a wedding is an occasion of sacred and supreme importance. For this reason, a Jewish marriage ceremony is given the Hebrew name "kiddushin", which means consecration or sanctification.

Throughout Jewish history and in diverse communities around the world to this day, the marriage ceremony plays a unique and revered role in Jewish life. The central image of the marriage ceremony - the Jewish bride - pervades every Jewish community around the world. A bride's appearance under the chupa, physically transformed by the gown she wears and spiritually transformed by the holiness of her marriage, renews our understanding of the beauty that is unique to each Jewish woman. From the Garden of Eden to this day, the bride occupies an eternal moment in Jewish tradition. She remains elegantly poised at the crossroads between fantasy and reality, between past and present, between heaven and earth.

The first Jewish wedding took place in the Garden of Eden, between Adam and Eve. Unlike any ceremony as we know it, this marriage laid the spiritual foundation for Jewish marriages of all time. According to the Torah, Adam felt unfulfilled in Paradise, without a partner to help him accomplish his mission in this world. He asked G-d for a wife and, in response, G-d put Adam to sleep and created Eve from one of Adam's ribs. Adam and Eve, the first bridal couple, were profoundly connected to G-d and to one another. Our sages tell us that Adam and Eve were on such a high spiritual level that, when they looked at each other, they saw only the glow of the other's soul. The depth of their relationship tells us that a Jewish husband and wife have the potential for a meaningful, everlasting partnership. This partnership, nurtured by the wisdom and structure of Torah, remains the foundation for every Jewish marriage.

The first marriage of which there is any record took place between Avraham's son Yitzchok and his bride Rivka. The tradition of the matchmaker originates in this story, with Eleizer, trusted servant of Avraham, who sets out in search of a suitable wife for his master's son. Eliezer journeys to Avraham's homeland and stations himself at the town well, where all of the eligible girls gather daily to draw water. Eliezer asks for Divine assistance in choosing the right woman and, with the help of heaven, he finds Rivka. To this day it is said that all marriages are made in heaven. As a bride, Rivka was an example for all time of feminine modesty. The Torah relates that, upon first meeting Yitzchok in the Israeli dessert, she veiled her face. Rivka's veil would also have served to cover her hair, once she married. The Torah - specifically the Book of Isaiah - discusses women's head coverings. A husband, according to this source, is legally bound to provide his wife with basic necessities such as food, shelter and - believe it or not - a headdress! Today, married Jewish women have found many alternatives to the veil. In fact, some of the most trend-setting hats around are worn with great flair by Jewish women who preserve and update the tradition originated by our Biblical Matriarch, Rivka.

Next to the ancient customs that have been transmitted from the Biblical era, Sephardic wedding rituals are some of the most exotic and ritually fascinating around. The "henna" ceremony, for example, takes place in the home of the bride on the evening before her wedding, as symbolic prevention against the "evil eye". All present on this occasion have their faces, hands and feet stained yellow or reddish-orange. As part of the ritual, a variety of figures are marked out on the skin with a needle, and the henna - which is powdered then mixed with water into a paste - is worked in and brings the design to life. In the Sephardic tradition, the families of the bride and groom exchange henna paste, which is then spread on the ring fingers and feet of the couple to signify their upcoming union and encourage fertility.

Another Sephardic bridal tour de force is the Yemenite wedding gown. It is a striking, almost architectural, example of how bridal costume can express on a physical level, the unique place that marriage holds in the spiritual growth of a Jewish woman. In the Yemenite tradition, marriage was the most important event in a Jewish girl's life, often taking place even before puberty. The gown was put together in pieces, partly furnished by the bride herself and partly by a specialist in the area of bridal dressmaking. A major element of this elaborate ensemble is the coatdress of sumptuous gold brocade. It is worn with trousers of red silk, decorated with embroidered star motifs of a distinctly Jewish pattern. The headwear consists of a tall pearl-embroidered triangle, framed by a garland of fresh flowers and branches of rue, believed to ward off the evil eye. The jewelry includes lavish ear hangings suspended from the headdress and across the chest, which is itself draped wit h necklaces of silver and coral beads, pearls, amulet cases and silver bells. The arms are covered with filagree bracelets lined up in a specific order, while the fingers are covered with rings made by Yemenite silversmiths renowned for their craft.

The Jewish wedding as most of us know it became well defined in fifteenth century Europe, where weddings usually took place in shul on Friday morning, so that on Shabbos the next day everyone would be at leisure to celebrate. The ceremony would begin as the couple proceeded to the chupa, where they would stand under the shelter of G-d's presence and under the symbolic roof of the new home they were to establish. Today, the bride and groom are often escorted to the chupa separately. Then as now, the groom places a ring on the bride's right index finger. Seven bridal blessings are recited over a cup of wine and the couple drinks from the glass as a reminder that, henceforth, they share the same cup in life, whatever it may bring. Finally, the bridegroom breaks the glass underfoot, to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and as a reminder that life in this worldis transitory. The congratulatory "mazel tov" that follows, and the custom of strewing the couple with rice are reminiscent of ancient rituals in which the bride was scattered with grain, nuts and fruits to insure a happy, fertile marriage.

Also in Europe, prior to the twentieth century, Jewish girls rarely left the house before marriage and most well to do parents enlisted a matchmaker to help them find a suitable husband for their daughters. A family sought a groom who was steeped in Torah, as the study of Torah was considered a prized and noble pursuit. The matchmaker often knew of potential candidates who lived beyond the family's circle of acquaintances in the neighborhood. Many marriages were arranged before birth: however, the Jewish woman always had what we might refer to today as a "right of first refusal" or "veto power" upon meeting her intended. The matchmaker's participation in marriage gave rise to a rich body of folklore. One tale tells of a matchmaker who took a young man to visit the family of a prospective bride. On leaving, the matchmaker said, "Didn't I tell you? What a great family! And so wealthy! Did you see the beautiful silverware on the table?" The young man replied, "Maybe they bor rowed it to impress me." "Nonsense," said the matchmaker. "Who would lend those thieves anything!"

On the eve of a new millennium, the Jewish wedding ceremony has been updated in many different ways, yet the heart and soul of its rituals still persist. To this day, each Jewish marriage sanctifies the union of husband and wife, in the same way that the Nation of Israel was consecrated to G-d when they accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai. The bride and groom stand divinely protected under the chupa, as they dedicate their new life together, blessed by their families and friends. The wedding is an acknowledged turning point in their lives, an exciting new beginning, a voyage into the unknown and a time when the present steps aside in deference to the future. The Jewish bride of today reminds us, dressed as she is in pure white, that marriage is about renewal, about the simplicity of true love and about creating more space in our lives for others and for G-d. Every bridal gown is a tapestry of hopes and dreams on the threshold of reality. Each and every bride floats towards the chupa, in an eternal moment embracing all brides that have come and all that are to be.

The bride of 1999 looks different from her predecessors, but she like the others remains an "Aishet Chayil", the eternal woman of valor whose praises are sung every Friday night on Shabbat. The Jewish bride of the nineties is still the inspired matriarch of her home and family - a force for change when need be and a voice of encouragement when change seems impossible. She and future brides, will always proceed to the chupa, dressed like queens, facing eternity and inspiring us to follow.

Andre Moshe-Pereira, Presidente Kehillah Or Ahayim

Parshas Vayeshev 5768

Rabino Berel Wein

There is a difference – to put it mildly – that is outlined clearly between Yosef and his brothers in this week’s parsha. Yosef is the quintessential dreamer, his head in the stars and his youthful exuberance and certainty in the truthful outcome of his dreams becomes very irritating to his brothers.

Since his head is in the clouds in a world of Eisav and Shechem the brothers feel it to be the height of impracticality, if not even irresponsibility. to be a dreamer. The brothers have their feet firmly implanted on the ground, in the reality of the world in which they exist, with clear recognition of the inherent dangers and threats inherent.

Yosef feels the brothers have been unjust for rejecting his dreams immediately and they in turn are convinced that he and his dreaming constitute a veritable danger to the unity and survival of Yaakov’s family. It is not only the contents of Yosef’s dreams – that he will dominate the family – that disturb the brothers. It is the very fact that he is dreaming that raises their suspicions and fuels their enmity towards him.

In the struggle between Yosef and the brothers, the conflict is between the lofty and inspirational theory of Judaism and its sometime mundane practice of hope and actual reality - of what can be achieved even though it is not exactly what one dreamt of achieving. The conflict between Yosef and his brothers is never really ended. It is compromised by both sides recognizing the validity of the position of the other and living with that reality.

The Jewish people in its long and difficult history have somehow been able to combine the spirit and dreams of Yosef with the hardheaded realism of his brothers. Both traits are necessary for our survival and accomplishments, both as individuals and as a nation. Someone without dreams and ambition, who refuses to reach heavenward and conquer the stars, will never be a truly creative or original person.

But if this drive is not tempered by a realistic sense of the situation and the society that surrounds us, then all dreams are doomed to eventually disappoint. Yosef’s dreams are realized only after he has been severely chastened by his brothers’ enmity, slavery and imprisonment in Egypt. Even after he seemingly has them in his grasp, it is still a contest of wills.

Again, Yosef’s dreams are finally realized but only after he has been subjected to many hard years of unpleasant reality. The brothers, realists to the end, are shocked to see that the dreamer has emerged triumphant.

The dreamer saves the world from famine while the realists end up being its customers. Thus the Torah teaches us that we need both dreamers and realists within our ranks. A nation built exclusively on dreams, without practical reality intruding, will find that reality rising to foil the realization of the dream.

A nation that ceases to dream of reaching greater heights will stagnate and not survive. So, both the brothers and Yosef are “right” in their pursuit of building a nation and of spiritual growth. We need a healthy dose of both values and views in our Jewish world today as well.

Shabat shalom.

Parashat Vayeshev: Génesis 37:1-40:23

Los sueños: utopía, profecía y realidad

Por: Rab. Eliahu Birenbaum

(Postagem: Andre-Moshe Pereira

Kehillah Or Ahayim)

Luego de las parashot Veyetzé y Vayshlaj, que se referían a nuestro patriarca Yaacov, continuamos con el estudio de las características y la importancia que el libro Bereshit adjudica al mundo de los sueños: fenómenos que se repite en los libros siguientes de la Torá. Los sueños del Jumash que analizamos son sumamente significativos, tanto cuando estos sueños representan al presente, como cuando constituyen la cause que explica ciertos sucesos que habrán de acaecer en el futuro.

Todos los personajes del libro de Génesis sueñan: Abraham lleva a cabo el pacto después de haber caído en una somnolencia; Yaacov, nuestro patriarca, con su sueño acerca de la gran escalera, y el descifrador de sueños, Yosef.

Todas las parashot referidas a nuestros patriarcas están caracterizadas por una sorprendente mezcla de sueños y realidad. Por un lado, se nos describen las preocupaciones diarias con respecto al sustento, al pan para comer y la vestimenta para cubrirse; la lucha por la supervivencia frente a la amenaza de los enemigos; la rutina del hogar y del campo. Como contraparte, se nos relata acerca de apariciones, ángeles, sueños con respecto a cosas que no son de este mundo, promesas futuras, nombres simbólicos; todo está entremezclado de modo tal que no podemos distinguir entre sueño y realidad, entre personas y ángeles o entre el pasado y el futuro.

Parecería que la experiencia se produce alternativamente en dos niveles que a veces se unen y otras vuelven a separarse, alejándose uno del otro. El nivel de realidad se caracteriza por su materialismo y por la descripción de deseos e instintos humanos y, por encima de ellos, está el nivel celestial, que a veces parecería carecer de toda relación con lo que ocurre en la tierra. El tejido de las historias de la Torá emplea estos dos elementos.

Desprovista de los sueños y las profecías, la realidad parece débil, pobre, reducida a apenas un grano pequeño de polvo, la ilusión de un instante; quimera sin sentido, al punto de que nuestros sabios afirman: “Todo aquel que transcurre siete días sin experimentar un sueño es malo”. La realidad sin sueños es una mala realidad.

Lo típico del sueño es que el soñador ve en él aquellas cosas que son imposibles en la realidad material. A veces, por ejemplo, el soñador presencia, durante los escasos minutos en que se produce el sueño, el desarrollo completo de procesos complicados, que deberían suceder durante el período de muchos años, y otra puede contemplar sucesos extraordinarios, como gavillas del campo arrodillándose frente a otra gavilla, o ve cómo el sol, la luna y las estrellas se prosternan ante él.

Yaacov, el padre, se siente muy cerca de su hijo Yosef. El padre sueña y el hijo sueña. Los sueños de ambos son totalmente diferentes, pero ambos sueñan, existe una continuidad entre los sueños del padre y los del hijo. Yaacov, había soñado con una escalera apoyada en la tierra, cuyo extremo superior llegaba hasta el cielo. Yosef complementa este sueño con uno relativo a la tierra, que constituye el camino hacia ese mundo maravilloso que el hombre necesita.

Pero, por otro lado, el soñador generalmente no es aceptado en el marco de la sociedad. Dado que la sociedad está adherida a las normas, las leyes y los marcos, y el sueño traspasa esas normas, el soñador queda situado fuera de esas normas. La sociedad, en última instancia, no es capaz de incluir en sus sueños a los seres excepcionales, cuyo sueño no se refiere sólo a un individuo, sino a toda la sociedad.

El Rav Kuk, en su lenguaje poético, nos explica la importancia del sueño y la necesidad de los sueños: “Los grandes sueños constituyen el fundamento del mundo. Los escalones son diferentes. Los soñadores son profetas que hablan mediante su sueño. Los soñadores son los poetas del futuro. Los grandes pensamientos de los soñadores vienen a redimir el mundo. Todos soñamos que Dios vuelve a Sión”.

Yosef fue perseguido por sus hermanos no sólo por causa de la hermosa túnica que le había obsequiado su padre. Los hermanos no eran ya niños pequeños y podían comprarse vestimentas por sí mismos. La razón es que ellos habían detectado en Yosef la imagen del revolucionario, aquel que no vive encerrado dentro del marco reducido de la vida diaria, sino que es capaz de provocar cambios. Los hermanos comprenden esto, con base en los sueños de Yosef, y por es se le oponen.

Yosef considera que sus sueños son proféticos y se los relata a sus hermanos para explicarles cómo habrán de suceder las cosas en el futuro. Esta actitud es característica del soñador, que considera que su sueño representa la realidad objetiva. En cambio, la sociedad y, en este caso los hermanos de Yosef, se relacionan con el sueño como expresión subjetiva, carente de toda capacidad para describir el presente o anticipar el futuro.

¿De dónde proviene la fuerza del sueño? Si nos referimos a los sueños proféticos, es su origen divino el que les otorga su autoridad predictiva. También, si explicamos el sueño como producto de la imaginación y la expectativa, entonces su futuro se deriva de la voluntad que existe en el soñador de hacer realidad su sueño.


November 27, 2007

The Annapolis conference has just about come and gone. Will it be remembered as the beginning of a breakthrough toward Israeli-Palestinian peace or will it be condemned as falsely raising expectations and leading to a resurgence of violence? Or will it simply be forgotten?

The answer lies in whether the Palestinians have undergone true change. Despite the complexities of Israeli politics, there is little doubt that Israel will support significant concessions on the core issues if they come to believe that the Palestinians - this time around - are serious about peace and reconciliation.

Israeli cynicism about this would be understandable. Let's remember that the Oslo Accords, the Camp David and Taba negotiations in 2000, the Road Map, and the Israeli disengagement from Gaza were all previous occasions where the Palestinians were given direct opportunities to show they were interested in living in peace with Israel. On each occasion, Palestinian unwillingness to take the necessary steps for peaceful coexistence undermined these efforts.

Why think the current effort will lead to a different result? Maybe because current Palestinian leaders Mohammad Abbas and Salam Fayyad are realistic moderates who genuinely seek reconciliation. Maybe because the Arab states, fearful of Iran and other Islamic extremists, know that they must be newly open to Israel, their true ally in the struggle against terrorists. Maybe because the international community understands that Palestinian accommodation is critical to achieve an agreement that can help the West in the struggle against the terror network.

These, however, are all maybes and probably long-shot maybes.

The process articulated by President Bush and by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders must be given a chance. If all parties recognize and act on the proposition that it can only work if there is true Palestinian change, then there is hope that Annapolis will be remembered as a milestone toward peace. If not, then the region will remain mired in the quicksand that has consumed it for decades.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis tem potencial para mudar a actual dinâmica

Sr. Embaixador Aaron Ram, Israel


Sessenta anos após as Nações Unidas terem decidido, sem sucesso, resolver o conflito israelo-árabe através da criação de duas pátrias para dois povos, este fracasso levou a décadas de sofrimento para ambos. No entanto, a justeza desta ideia e solução mantém-se válida. Este é, de facto, o melhor caminho para que Israelitas e Palestinianos alcancem a paz e a segurança mútuas. O objectivo da Conferência de Annapolis é exactamente reavivar o esforço de paz.

Em Annapolis, não são esperadas negociações de assuntos fulcrais nem de prazos, espera-se sim o restabelecimento do compromisso fundamental para alcançar uma solução pacífica. A conferência deverá ser seguida de uma negociação contínua acerca de todas as questões de fundo, com o objectivo de colocar um ponto final no sofrimento mútuo e construir uma nova era. Não é de mais lembrar a visão de "dois Estados para dois povos" - uma nova realidade israelo-palestiniana de acordo com a qual dois Estados-nações coexistirão, vivendo lado a lado em paz e segurança. Tal como Israel é a pátria do povo judeu, também a Palestina será a materialização das aspirações nacionais do povo palestiniano - onde quer que estejam.

A responsabilidade de resolver a questão israelo-palestiniana recai nas partes envolvidas, e os compromissos que deverão ser assumidos nessa negociação serão difíceis e desafiantes. Ao mesmo tempo, não deve ser ignorada a situação no terreno. Por esta razão, para que a implementação da solução de dois Estados seja efectivada, deverá primeiro ser cumprido o Roteiro, já aceite por ambas as partes. Na primeira fase deste documento, a Autoridade Palestiniana (AP) aceitou pôr fim a qualquer forma de terrorismo contra israelitas, onde quer que se encontrem. O mundo não precisa de outro Estado terrorista. Assim, os compromissos assumidos pela AP no contexto do Roteiro deverão ser implementados antes do estabelecimento de um Estado palestiniano - especialmente aqueles relacionados com segurança.

Israel, por seu lado, tem-se mostrado preparado para cumprir as suas obrigações no contexto do Roteiro, e tem implementado algumas medidas: para além de suspender a construção de colonatos e de remover alguns postos ilegais, Israel libertou quase 800 prisioneiros palestinianos envolvidos em terrorismo, amnistiou 170 terroristas da Fatah que renunciaram à violência, removeu 25 postos de controlo na Cisjordânia, transferiu para a AP 250 milhões de dólares provenientes da receita de impostos e integrou projectos internacionais que visam promover planos de desenvolvimento das infra- -estruturas palestinianas, assim como reactivou algumas comissões bilaterais previstas nos Acordos de Oslo. Todas estas medidas visam colmatar as actuais necessidades da AP.A reunião de Annapolis deverá ser secundada por um esforço internacional de proporcionar um ambiente de apoio a ambos para que cheguem a acordo. Por exemplo, a próxima Conferência Internacional de Dadores, em Dezembro, será a oportunidade para que esses Estados ajudem a AP a avançar neste processo. A comunidade internacional tem um papel importante a desempenhar ajudando a melhorar as condições económicas dos palestinianos e o funcionamento geral da AP. Tal é crucial para obter o apoio da população, que precisa de ver alguns resultados práticos das negociações mesmo antes de terminadas.
O papel dos Estados árabes e muçulmanos moderados é fundamental, especialmente no confronto aos extremistas, determinados a impedir qualquer sucesso. À medida que os progressos positivos forem surgindo, deverá ocorrer uma normalização das relações entre o Mundo Árabe e Israel. Com o apoio dos moderados da região, o diálogo israelo-palestiniano deverá gerar laços e uma cooperação reforçada em todo o Médio Oriente.

Enquanto que, para os judeus e árabes que pensam da mesma forma, Annapolis representa a esperança, Gaza representa um pesadelo. Actualmente, numa Gaza controlada pelo Hamas, a população palestiniana é sujeita a uma opressão religiosa tirânica; as minorias e os opositores políticos e ideológicos são agredidos e assassinados. Desde que o Hamas assumiu o controlo da Faixa de Gaza, em Junho último, mais de 350 mísseis e 500 morteiros foram disparados contra civis israelitas a partir daquele território, causando feridos, destruição e uma atmosfera de constante terror. Enquanto mantém o compromisso de promover a paz, Israel tem também a responsabilidade de defender os seus cidadãos de ataques terroristas. Infelizmente, os extremistas farão tudo ao seu alcance para tentarem pôr fim ao processo de paz.

A reunião de Annapolis tem potencial para levar as partes a retomar o processo e mudar a actual dinâmica do Médio Oriente. Israel espera que todas as partes envolvidas aproveitem esta oportunidade e façam os possíveis para abrir caminho para a paz. Embaixador de Israel

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Os Dualismos e o perigoso Pós-modernismo

André Moshe Pereira

A Y. Ben Abraham

Os melhores conhecidos e mais influentes discursos pós-modernos são muito marcados pela perda metafórica e pelo empobrecimento, de tal forma que como relata Santner a teoria crítica torna-se em larga medida uma elaboração continuada duma série sem fim de não ulteriores possíveis. De forma não totalmente surpreendente tem sido em torno do Holocausto que estas meditações se têm realizado e que permitem a observação de Blanchot de que “o desastre arruina tudo” - M. Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995). É a cesura ou ruptura que deslegitima os nomes e narrativas e cuja “inefabilidade” deixa a literatura e a filosofia em busca do que se podem caracterizar pelos idiomas do irrepresentável. Outra manifestação destes idiomas de perda e empobrecimento representam o Holocausto como o resultado lógico da razão metafísica. Em Vida em Fragmentos: Ensaios na Modernidade Pós-Moderna, Zigmunt Bauman escreve “ O sonho moderno de felicidade da Razão legiferante trouxe frutos amargos. Os maiores crimes contra a humanidade… foram perpetrados em nome de uma regra racional, de melhor ordem e de maior felicidade….O romance moderno com a razão universal e perfeição provou ser uma coisa cara; também provou ser abortivo, como a grande fábrica da ordem continuou a produzir mais desordem.

Tanto Derrida como Foucault enfatizaram a seu tempo que a importância da manutenção da fé na razão iluminada para pensar nos temas epistemológicos. Foi uma tendência desde Heidegger “para iniciar um discurso especial que clama operar de fora do horizonte da razão”.

As discussões filosóficas que rejeitam o irracionalismo, que de uma forma certa ou errada, estão o mais das vezes ligadas ao pós-modernismo, têm sido desapreciadas pelos académicos. Na Europa Jürgen Habermas tem tomado a defesa da razão arguindo que a sua crítica radical esquece as suas conotações positivas e que tal crítica só pode acabar em desilusão e conservadorismo. A visão alternativa de Habermas de “razão comunicacional” busca manter a esperança que o conhecimento possa ainda, sem levantar expectativas ingénuas, promover a justiça e mesmo a felicidade humanas.
Autores há como Gillian Rose que se contam como as mais extremistas pensadoras contra o fenómeno pós-moderno caracterizando-o como “desesperante racionalismo sem razão”, e argúi estridentemente e de forma recidiva pelo zelo do pós-modernismo na desqualificação das noções universais de justiça, de liberdade e do bem… assim o pós-modernismo não tem imaginação para a sua implicação no solo da justiça, da liberdade e da verdade. A ênfase num “processo sem fim de lamento que, ironicamente, as deploradas firmezas dos pós-modernismo nunca aceitaram como tal, nem permitiram qualquer evasão. A evocação da dor, tensão e espera apática, foi substituída pelo compromisso activo na Polis e pela busca da Justiça.”

Recuperar o fundo perdido da razão pós-modernista tem sido reclamado pelo mundo pós-Holocausto. Isto está a ser obtido pela viragem que se afasta do caminho lógico dos dualismos e das falsas oposições articuladas em obras de escritores como Maurice Blanchot e Emmanuel Levinas a respeito do “equívoco” que a Razão hegeliana tornou possível. Tal razão é capaz de decompor e analisar a variância entre objectivos e os resultados que Bauman tem referido em algumas das suas obras; ela pode provocar a revisão, pode permitir o movimento de afastamento de outros resultados discordantes. É portanto, sempre provisório e preliminar e pode ser sempre redireccionado; o seu poder assimilativo pode admitir surpresas e antecipar acontecimentos e, assim sendo, pode “redescobrir nas suas fronteiras moventes” deixar o passado para trás, esquecido. Esta perspectiva proximal de pensar aceita a ansiedade e a ambivalência do poder, mas a história, em contraste com a conclusão de Blanchot, é re-investida com o significado e a significância. Rose foi clara, todavia, que pela razão ao ser restaurada, pela “alma” ao ser renovada e revigorada, o próprio processo de lamento se tornou necessário: o trauma do Holocausto, tem que ser lavrado através da Razão; se completado, a dificuldade política insurge-se como dificuldade por excelência… a aporia, a dificuldade da relação entre o universal, o particular e a sua distribuição singular teria que ser reconfigurada.
A aceitação via processo de lamento da inexorabilidade da razão efectuaria uma assimilação do Holocausto que não envolveria a condenação ao silêncio… à inefabilidade, à não representabilidade, … a algo que enfim não pudéssemos entender” G. Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). J.-F. Lyotard in Heidegger and the ’Jews’ (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1990), 44.

Outro tema que nos agradaria expor é a vantagem clara do testemunho com que um actor como Kirk Douglas (KD) cujo nome autêntico é Issur Danielovitz Demsky, filho de um imigrante judeu da Rússia, que se tornou uma lenda em Hollywood por mais de quatro décadas expõe alguns dos seus pensamentos; é autor de sete livros que incluem a sua autobiografia "Ragman's Son" e "Climbing The Mountain" sobre o seu regresso ao judaísmo.
Evoca ele: como sobrevivemos, perdidos em diferentes partes do mundo, dentro de culturas estranhas e constantemente perseguidos? Os nossos inimigos levantaram-se e caíram e nós aqui estamos. Os Babilónios, os Persas, os Gregos os Romanos [Lembram-se da Haggadah?], todos estão fora da imagem, mas nós permanecemos. E aí… diz Issur Demsky, aliás, KD, dei-me conta de que devemos agradecer a esses judeus piedosos de barba e chapéu negro por ajudar a manter o judaísmo vivo por tanto tempo. Eles entenderam algo muito profundo que nós, os seculares, nunca entendemos. D-us deu-nos a Torah e fez que sejamos a consciência do mundo. As ideias de amor, compaixão, amabilidade aos outros e aos pobres, as ideias de santidade, do propósito humano, a reverência pela vida e disciplina pessoal, todas provêm da Torah. Inclusive, nós, os judeus, se nos esquecermos, os nossos perseguidores, nos recordam disso. Assim como disse Hitler no seu momento: “ é verdade que nós os alemães sejamos bárbaros, esse é um título de honra para nós. Eu liberto a humanidade da alma: do sofrimento degradante causado pela falsa visão chamada consciência, ética. Os judeus infligiram duas feridas à humanidade: a circuncisão nos seus corpos e a consciência na sua alma. Esses são os inventos judeus, a guerra pelo domínio do mundo, esta sendo disputada somente por estes dois campos entre os alemães e os judeus. Tudo o resto é pura decepção”. Hitler tinha razão, continua KD. Tudo é batalha entre o mal e o bem. Só me estou dando conta do que significa para nós os judeus, e dá-me medo, pois isto faz-nos ter uma responsabilidade enorme. Não há que surpreendermo-nos disso porque muitos judeus trataram pela segurança da assimilação, porém essa segurança ao final resulta num logro.

Postagem: Andre-Moshe Pereira, Presidente Kehillah Or Ahayim
Director Ceimom Porto_GAIA

Monday, November 19, 2007

Parasha Vayishlach

Rabino Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Hanukah is coming soon - the first night is Friday, December 4th. It's a wonderful family holiday. After we light the candles, we sing Maoz Tzur, eat jelly donuts, tell stories, have quizzes about Hanukah - all in the light of the Hanukah candles. Memories are made up of a collection of precious moments. Hanukah can provide you with many wonderful memories!
___There are two ways which our enemies have historically sought to destroy us. The first is by physical annihilation; the most recent attempt being the Holocaust. The second is through cultural assimilation. Purim is the annual celebration of our physical survival. Hanukah is the annual celebration of our spiritual survival over the many who would have liked to destroy us through cultural assimilation.
___In 167 BCE the Syrian-Greek emperor, Antiochus, set out to destroy Judaism by imposing a ban on three mitzvot: The Shabbat, The Sanctifying of the New Month (establishing the first day of the month by testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon) and Brit Mila (entering the Covenant of Abraham through Torah-ordained circumcision). The Shabbat signifies that God is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and that His Torah is the blueprint of creation, meaning and values. Sanctifying the New Month determines the day of the Jewish holidays. Without it there would be chaos. For example, if Succot is the 15th of Tishrei, the day it occurs depends upon which day is declared the first of Tishrei. Brit Mila is a sign of our special covenant with the Almighty. All three maintain our cultural integrity and were thus threats to the Greek culture.
___Matityahu and his 5 sons, known as the Maccabees, started a revolt and three years later succeeded in evicting the oppressors. The victory was a miracle - on the scale of Israel defeating the combined super-powers of today. Having regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem, they wanted to immediately rededicate it. They needed ritually pure olive oil to re-light the Menorah in the Temple. Only a single cruse of oil was found; enough to burn for just one day. However, they needed oil for eight days until new ritually pure olive oil could be produced. A miracle occurred and the oil burned for eight days.
___Therefore, we light Hanukah candles (or better yet, lamps with olive oil) for eight days. One the first day, two the second and so forth. The first candle is placed to the far right of the menorah with each additional night's candle being placed to the immediate left. One says three blessings the first night (two blessings each subsequent night) and then lights the candles, starting with the furthermost candle to the left. The menorah should have all candles in a straight line and at the same height. Ashkenazi tradition has each person of the household lighting his own menorah. Sefardi tradition has just one menorah lit per family. The blessings can be found on the back of the Hanukah candle box or in a Siddur, prayer book. The candles may be lit inside the home. It is preferable to light where passersby in the street can see them - to publicize the miracle of Hanukah. In Israel, people light outside in special glass boxes built for a menorah or little glasses with olive oil and wicks.
___The tradition to eat latkes, potato pancakes, is in memory of the miracle of the oil (latkes are fried in oil). In Israel, the tradition is to eat sufganiot, deep-fried jelly donuts. The traditional game of Hanukah uses a dreidel, a four-sided top with the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Shin (the first letters of "Nes Gadol Haya Sham - A Great Miracle Happened There." In Israel, the last letter is a Pay - for "here.") In times of persecution when learning Torah was forbidden, Jews would learn anyway. When the soldiers would investigate, they would pull out the dreidel and pretend that they were gambling. The rules for playing dreidel: Nun - no one wins; Gimmel - spinner takes the pot; Hey - spinner get half the pot; Shin/Pay - spinner matches the pot!
___Here's a question to think about: If enough oil was found to burn in the Temple menorah for one day and the oil lasted for eight days, then the miracle was really only for the seven additional days of lighting. Why then do we celebrate Hanukah for eight days and not seven?
___For more on Hanukah, including animated instructions on how to light the candles, go to:


Torah Portion of the Week
___On the trip back to Canaan, Jacob meets his brother Esau; Jacob wrestles with the angel. Then they arrive in Shechem; Shechem, the son of Chamor the Hivite, (heir to the town of Shechem) rapes Jacob's daughter, Dina; Dina's brothers, Shimon and Levy, massacre the men of Shechem; Rebecca (Rivka) dies; God gives Jacob an additional name, "Israel," and reaffirms the blessing to Avraham that the land of Canaan (Israel) will be given to his descendants; Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin (Binyomin); Jacob's 12 sons are listed; Isaac dies; Esau's lineage is recorded as is that of Seir the Horite; and lastly ... the succession of the Kings of Edom is chronicled.
* * *
Dvar Torah

based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___Before Jacob's confrontation with his brother, Esau, he made preparations to ensure the safety of his family and his possessions. Following this, the Torah relates:
"And Jacob remained alone..." (Genesis 32:25)
___How are we to understand the significance of his remaining "alone"?
___The Midrash (Beraishis Rabbah 77:1) states that 'just as the Almighty is alone, so too Jacob was alone.' We see from this that the Sages understand that the word "alone" is a positive attribute and a form of emulating the Almighty. "Alone" means that you have an independent attitude and perspective.
___The Mishna (a teaching) in Pirke Avot 4:1 (Chapters of the Fathers - a compilation of Jewish wisdom) defines four key terms: "Who is the wise man? The one who learns from everyone. Who is the strong person? The one who conquers his negative impulses. Who is the wealthy person? The one who is happy with his portion. Who is the honorable person? The one who honors others."
___Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, of blessed memory, explained the Mishna in light of the positive attribute of being alone - that every person can only obtain the most important things in life independently of anyone else. The important things depend on your attitude and perspective.
___Wisdom is an approach to life, not a comparative contest. The wise man is the individual who does not compare his wisdom to that of others, but because of his love for wisdom he chooses to learn from everyone, for each person has wisdom to share. True strength is having the ability to overcome your negative tendencies and impulses. If it were dependent upon being victorious over others, as soon as someone else is stronger, you are no longer the strong man. True strength is only dependent upon yourself. Wealth is not dependent on how much money you have or the number of your possessions. If it were, then you could lose your entire wealth overnight. Rather, true wealth is feeling joy for what you do have. If honor were dependent on how others treat you, what are you supposed to do if others decide not to honor you? Woe to a person whose honor is dependent on the whim of others. True honor is up to you. You are honorable if you honor others regardless of how others treat you.


Jerusalem 4:02Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:20 - Honolulu 5:30J'Burg 6:22 - Porto KOAH 3:44 - Los Angeles 4:28Melbourne 8:00 - Mexico City 5:38 - Miami 5:13New York 4:15 - Singapore 6:35 - Toronto 4:28

Persistence makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite!

With Tremendous Appreciation toMy Family & Vivian Rubenfor their love, help and kindnessduring my recent illness. Thank you!-- Sheldon Becher

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Seminario de Torá. Durante dos encuentros, los domingos 11 y 18 de noviembre, tiene lugar en el Centro Espai Ciemen (c/ Rocafort, 242 bis – Barcelona) un seminario de Torá a cargo del rabino Daniel ben Itzjak, titulado “El misterio del Árbol del Conocimiento”. Ben Itzjak dirige el grupo Álef Jojmá, que actualmente realiza la traducción al castellano del Talmud para Editorial Edaf, dirige la Universidad Virtual de Judaísmo y es traductor de más de 40 obras de filosofía. En los días intermedios entre los dos encuentros del Seminario, los participantes tienen la posibilidad de concertar una cita individual de una hora con el Rabino Daniel ben Itzjak, lo cual contribuirá a profundizar en lo aprendido, y dará la posibilidad de preguntar y consultar acerca de lo estudiado y analizar el modo de aplicarlo en la vida personal. El coste del seminario por un día es de 60€, y de 100€ las dos jornadas. El seminario está patrocinado por Ediciones Obelisco. Información y reservas: tel. 933 098 525, extensión 6 (Montse).

Música electrónica israelí en el No-Logic Festival. Los días 23 y 24 de noviembre se celebrará en Barcelona el “No Logic Festival”, organizado por la asociación cultural “La Olla Expréss”. Este festival combina un encuentro internacional de sellos independientes y un festival de música alternativa. En la edición de este año está prevista la participación, entre otros, del sello israelí Ak-Duck Records. Creado en 2002, en Jerusalén, por Itamar Weiner, Harel Schreiber y Ariel Tagar, nació con el propósito de promover artistas electrónicos israelíes con el fin de situarlos a nivel internacional, propiciando la colaboración y el diálogo con artistas de otros países de características similares. El sello también organiza acontecimientos musicales cada cuatro meses invitando a artistas y otros sellos, en unos conciertos en los que se combinan actuaciones musicales en vivo con sesiones de DJ e instalaciones visuales. Es también el distribuidor israelí de varios sellos de discos de Alemania, Inglaterra, Canadá y Francia. Casa Sefarad-Israel patrocina este proyecto por su contribución a la difusión en España de las corrientes artísticas israelíes de vanguardia. El 24 de noviembre, a partir de las 22h, se podrá escuchar a Rockstar Wannabe y Nico Teen (Israel) y al DJ Spark O (Israel).

Presentan el tercer volumen de ‘El Zohar’. Rabí Daniel ben Itzjak, director de la Colección Alef-Jojmá, presentará el Vol. III del libro El Zohar. El libro del esplendor. Será el jueves 15 de noviembre a las 20.15h en Excellence. Espai Cultural, Rambla de Catalunya 25, con degustación comentada del vino kósher Peraj Ha'Bib de la Bodega de Capçanes. Entrada libre. El Zohar es, sin duda alguna, la obra más famosa del pensamiento místico universal, y de la Cábala en particular. Se trata del tercer volumen de un proyecto de gran envergadura: la primera traducción completa de El Zohar en español directamente del original arameo, revisada y comentada por un equipo de rabinos y especialistas de Israel. El conjunto de esta obra enciclopédica, la más importante después de la Biblia y el Talmud, que se publicará con una periodicidad cuatrimestral, abarca unos 30 volúmenes. El Volumen III incluye un estudio sobre el concepto de Teshuvá ­el retorno espiritual, la reconciliación con el Creador y el arrepentimiento­. A su vez, cada volumen contiene un glosario y un índice detallado de citas bíblicas.

Un paseo por el Call. Urban Cultours os propone un paseo por el Call de Barcelona de la mano de Dominique Tomasov, una de las personas más activas en la defensa del patrimonio judío. En esta ocasión será precisamente en la mitad plenilunio de kislev, tercer mes del calendario lunar hebreo. Durante un par de horas hablaréis de la historia pasada y presente y de la actualidad, habrá sitio para preguntas y para un enriquecedor intercambio de ideas. Domingo 25 de Noviembre (15 de Kislev) - 11:00 horas. Información e inscripciones:
Rosa Zaragoza presenta su nuevo CD. El 15 de noviembre, en el Auditori de Barcelona, Sala Tete Montoliu, a las 22h., la cantante de música sefardí Rosa Zaragoza presentará su nuevo CD “Terra de jueus”.

Postagem: Andre-Moshe Pereira, Presidente Kehillah Or Ahayim
Director Ceimom Porto_GAIA

Pensando em Vós e no que somos

André Moshe Pereira
Presidente Kehillah Or Ahayim

Eli Eliahu anvi ar’ena Eli Eliahu por estas casas vengas
Bo irdom ikhvod, Nefech yétivo, Lo chahav libo, Gam lo raa chéna

Ao contrário da maior parte dos filósofos do Ocidente a filosofia levinasiana diverge, dos termos fundamento e origem que estão associados e constituíram uma espécie de prisão. O pensamento cárcere que existe na linguagem do ser e do conhecimento; um discurso dos entes que os mostra como presentes, e um discurso do que é e pode ser conhecido acerca deles. Não despreza tal discurso, considera-o mesmo indispensável à justiça mas considera-o inadequado à tarefa de desvelar o momento da ética. O momento ético, escreve Levinas, “não está fundado na estrutura preliminar do pensamento teorético, na linguagem ou em qualquer linguagem particular” (Levinas 1996:148). Como ele mesmo reconhece, Levinas deve muito ao pensamento da juventude de Heidegger, especialmente Ser e Tempo que Levinas considera um dos maiores livros da história da Filosofia (1988:225). Mas como sabemos quer Heidegger que os outros filósofos da ontologia privilegiam a unificação do fundamento sobre todas as diferenças que não só persistem sem síntese, mas também repelem a redução a uma origem comum. Esta maneira de descrever o ser humano privilegia o Mesmo sobre o Outro e assim o Dasein de Heidegger deixa o escaninho da ética tal qual Levinas o concebe. Isto aparece presente no Conceito de Tempo (1992) em Heidegger e noutras obras suas sobre: A fenomenologia hegeliana do espírito (1988), no Tratado de Schelling sobre a essência da Liberdade Humana (1985), N’Os fundamentos metafísicos da Lógica (1984), n’A Questão a respeito da tecnologia e outros ensaios, em No caminho para a linguagem (1971), em O que se chama pensar? (1968), Sobre Tempo e Ser (1972), no Seminário de Heraclito (1993), no Parménides (1992), na Ontologia – a Hermenêutica da Facticidade (1999), etc.

Para o que aqui interessa Heidegger caracteriza o ser do ser humano em termos de cuidado (Sorge) o que é em si e que sempre retorna a si. Mesmo a interpretação heideggeriana da socialidade como ser-com-a-outra-pessoa (Miteinandersein) permanece ultimamente sobre o cuidado do Dasein sobre o si-mesmo. “Somente porque o Dasein é primariamente determinado pela egoidade (Egoität]”, diz Heidegger, “pode facticamente existir como um Tu e para o outro Dasein”. Ora o termo egoidade não é mesmo que egoísmo. Significa no espírito de Heidegger uma base ontológica de ambos (altruísmo e egoísmo). Ora essa base de egoidade parece adoptar uma diferença chocante para as implicações éticas das várias vias que o Dasein pode comprtar em si mesmo a respeito dos outros. Para ser claro e preciso: ficamos com a impressão que a selvajaria e a amabilidade estão num igual pé para Heidegger. Levinas alude sucintamente a esta sua diferença face a Heidegger em que traça o seu rumo em muitas entrevistas: “ eu não suponho que ele pense que dar, alimentar os que têm fome, vestir os desnudados seja o significado do ser ou que esteja sobre a tarefa do ser”(1998:116).

Procura assim Levinas exibir como ética, o fenómeno do cuidar da outra pessoa que ultrapassa o ser e a unidade extática do Dasein por ele mesmo, que é “ser de outramente”, num modo que é mais radical do que o platónico epekeina tés ousias (Levinas 1996: 114-15). Mais tarde Platão no livro VI da República designa o bem como aquilo que transcende [ousias (o ser)] em dignidade e em poder definitivo. (Platão: The Collected Dialogues, PUP, 1961:744). A metáfora do Sol brilhante em Platão é uma dilucidação do significado do bem e indica de potência que garante aos humanos a possibilidade de ver e conhecer o que é, que Platão interpreta como a presença estável daquilo que revela em si mesmo a razão da ideia dentre o fluxo de não-ser que continuamente bombardeia os sentidos.

Essa é a grande responsabilidade da ética. Não somente somos afectados na nossa mesma vida, mas as nossas acções e palavras tocam a vida dos outros. Há um dito de B. Shem Tov que refere que nem um floco de neve na avalanche se sente responsável. A K. urge que cada um seja o primeiro se necessário. Asseguremo-nos mais nos seguirão. BST enuncia: “Quando as pessoas vêem ou fazem mal, elas devem saber e entender, sem sombra de dúvida, que elas têm algo da natureza má dentro de si. Em ordem a que a pessoa que cometeu a má acção se corrija a si, a pessoa que testemunhou o seu mau comportamento ou rumor deve primeiramente fazer a sua correcção”. Tudo isso entre a atzilut (emanação) e a chessed (bondade, amor), entre a chochma (dom, conhecimento cognitivo) e a binah, (o entendimento intuitivo)…isso é o Homem. Desvelemos muito levemente a Chochmah: uma das características das sefirot intelectuais, próximo da fonte do puro ein sof, muitas vezes aludido por filósofos judeus Y Luria, Y L’Aveugle, Yeshayia Horowitz, J. Frank, Pereira S. (Bruno), Rabi, N. HaKna, J. Caro, E. Levinas, etc... Os humanos são feitos à imagem humana, assim cada aspecto do Divino está também espelhado em cada aspecto da nossa sensividade espiritual. Como pela via sensível evidenciamos e percebemos a canção ou o louvor neste Tsur Mishelo: …pensando na rosa que enflorece hoje no mês de Maio/ a minha alma se escurece como trespassada por uma espada…


Nosso querido assistente

Recebi um email do presidente de uma sinagoga que estava chateado por que um generoso doador do último Yom Kipur ficou ofendido por não lhe terem agradecido. Desabafou o presidente: "A caridade não é feita em antecipação por agradecimentos e reconhecimento".
Gostaria de compartilhar com vocês, queridos leitores, minha resposta a este presidente e também algumas considerações sobre dar dinheiro para caridade .
Existem diferentes níveis de caridade e diferentes motivações Tanto o doador como o(s) recebedor(es) tem obrigações e oportunidades. Sim, se fôssemos todos perfeitos, daríamos anonimamente para as causas mais importantes, sem a necessidade de ninguém ficar sabendo ou vir nos agradecer. Entretanto, mesmo que este doador já tenha chegado a este alto nível de espiritualidade, isto não isenta o recipiente de sua obrigação de ser grato e expressar sua gratidão ao seu benfeitor.

O PRESIDENTE: "Se dermos um agradecimento especial a este homem, como será com o pobre congregante que juntou até o seu último centavo para fazer uma doação de dez reais?"
Ele também deve receber um agradecimento. Talvez o senhor esteja querendo dizer que devido ao grande sacrifício daquele congregante pobre para doar, ele mereça um agradecimento ainda maior. Pode ser que o senhor esteja certo. Porém, deixemos para o Todo-Poderoso saber o que se passa nos corações das pessoas e por que elas fazem o que fazem. Em relação a nós, é nossa incumbência expressar gratidão a todos os que nos beneficiam, intencionalmente ou não. No final das contas, é ao Todo-Poderoso que devemos agradecer e reconhecer Sua grande bondade. Se ainda não reconhecemos o bem que os outros nos fazem, então tenho grandes suspeitas de que estamos em falta em nossa apreciação pelas bondades que o Criador nos faz, também.

O PRESIDENTE: "A verdadeira forma de Tsedacá é dar anonimamente. Estamos errados em não agradecer a cada membro da sinagoga que contribuiu em Yom Kipur ?"
Creio que todos merecem um agradecimento, pois também estão ajudando. Também penso que aqueles que não agradecem então perdendo uma oportunidade, da mesma forma que aqueles que podem dar e não o fazem então perdendo uma grande oportunidade.
Num mundo ideal, talvez a pessoa rica não precisasse ser agradecida. Entretanto, ao necessitar de suas doações, talvez o senhor deva reconsiderar sua estratégia de arrecadação... (final de minha resposta).

Alguns pontos adicionais sobre Tsedacá:
A palavra hebraica 'Tsedacá’ é comumente traduzida como 'caridade’ ou 'dízimo’, porém é uma definição equivocada. 'Caridade’ implica que o nosso coração nos motiva a irmos além do que o dever nos exige. 'Tsedacá’, entretanto, literalmente significa 'justiça’, fazer a coisa certa. Um 'Tsadic’, da mesma forma, é uma pessoa íntegra, que cumpre todas as suas obrigações, independente de seu humor naquele momento.
A Torá nos traz o seguinte versículo (Devarim (Deuteronômio) 16:20): "Justiça, justiça, vocês devem almejar". Existe uma responsabilidade humana básica de estendermos a mão aos demais. Dar de nosso tempo ou dinheiro é uma declaração de que 'Farei o que for possível para ajudar!’. Este é o conceito Judaico de Tikun Olam - ajudar a reparar e melhorar o mundo em que vivemos.
A Torá recomenda darmos 10 por cento de nossos rendimentos (daí a popular expressão 'dizimo’, significando 'um décimo’). A fonte original está em Deuteronômio (Devarim) 14:22 e a Torá está repleta de exemplos. Eis alguns: nosso patriarca Avraham deu um décimo de suas posses ao sacerdote Malkitsedek (Gênesis (Bereshit) 14:20) e o mandamento de se dar dízimos para sustentar os Levitas (Números (Bamidbar) 18:21-24) e os carentes (Deuteronômio (Devarim) 26:12).

Postagem: Andre Moshe Pereira, Koah

Hamaayan / The Torah Spring

Shlomo Katz


Volume 22, No. 7

7 Kislev 5768

November 17, 2007

Sponsored by
Robert and Hannah Klein
on the yahrzeit of mother
Dorothy J. Klein (Devorah bat Avraham a"h)

Today's Learning:
Shevuot 1:2-3
O.C. 45:1-46:1
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Ketubot 77
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Ta'anit 12

In this week's parashah, Yaakov leaves home in search of a wife. R' David Cohen z"l (known as the Nazir; leading student of R' Kook) notes that Yaakov struggled to find the right wife, unlike his father Yitzchak, whose match was made with no effort on his part. The fact that some people find their matches easily while others do not is a pattern that has repeated itself throughout history.

R' Cohen adds that we commonly hear of the concept of "bashert" / one's destined spouse. This concept, in fact, has a source in the Gemara. However, Rambam z"l rejected that passage in the Gemara as a minority view. He asks in his work Shemoneh Perakim (Ch.8): How can man's spouse be predestined when the very act of marrying is (or is connected with) a mitzvah? G-d does not decree whether man will or will not perform mitzvot! Rather, Rambam maintains, man's free will regarding marriage is unfettered.

Many later commentaries rebutted Rambam's position. Indeed, Rambam's words seem to be at odds with his own teachings about the paradox of man's bechirah / free will and G-d's yediah / knowledge. Since G-d knows what I will choose to do at the next moment, how can it be said that I have free will. In essence, Rambam writes that this question stems from our inability to understand G-d's "knowledge." If we knew more about G-d, we would know that there is no contradiction between yediah and bechirah. (Zachu Shechinah Bay'nayhem p. 95)

Similarly, the commentaries write, G-d's knowledge of who a person is predestined to marry does not affect a person's free will. Indeed, bashert may mean nothing more than this: If a person chooses to fulfill the mitzvah of marrying, this is the person whom he is predestined to marry. Man's free will thus remains intact. (Shemoneh Perakim, with commentary by R' Yosef Jacobs shlita)


"And it was, when Yaakov saw Rachel, daughter of Lavan his mother's brother, and the flock of Lavan his mother's brother, Yaakov came forward and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of Lavan his mother's brother." (29:10)

Why does the Torah reiterate so many times that Lavan was the brother of Yaakov's mother? Rabbeinu Bachya z"l (Spain; 14th century) offers several explanations:

The Torah is informing us that everything Yaakov did for the evil Lavan, he did to honor his own mother.

Alternatively: One might have thought that Yaakov obtained the strength to lift the stone off the well because of a desire to impress Rachel, whom he was seeing for the first time. Therefore the Torah tells us that Yaakov's actions were motivated entirely by his desire to fulfill his mother's command that he travel to Lavan's home. (Commentary on the Torah)

A related halachah: If one needs a favor from another and he knows that the favor will be done for him if he mentions his own father's name – even if he could also obtain the favor in his own merit -- he should say, "Please do this for my father," for this gives honor to his father. (Shulchan Aruch, Y.D. 240:6)


"Complete the week of this one [Leah] and we will give you the other one [Rachel] too . . ." (29:27)

We are taught that the Avot / Patriarchs observed the Torah before it was given. If so, how did Yaakov marry two sisters, which is prohibited by the Torah?

R' Yitzchak Ze'ev Soloveitchik z"l (the Brisker Rav; died 1959) explains that certain mitzvot, by definition, could not have been observed before G-d commanded them. For example, the mitzvah of brit milah requires cutting off a part of the foreskin called the "orlah." What is wrong with having an orlah? Nothing. We cut it off for no other reason than the fact that G-d commanded us to do so. The orlah has no inherent characteristics which distinguish it from the rest of man's flesh. Thus, before G-d designated the orlah as something that should be removed, no "good deed" would have been accomplished by cutting it off. [Ed. note: Our Sages say that the Avot ate matzah on Pesach. Although the mitzvah of matzah did not yet exist, matzah has certain physical or chemical characteristics which distinguish it from chametz. Thus, the concept of eating matzah could exist before the Torah was given.]

Similarly, R' Soloveitchik explains, the prohibition on marrying two sisters could not have been honored before the Torah was given. There is nothing inherently wrong with marrying two sisters, and gentiles are not prohibited from marrying two sisters. Thus, before the concept of a Jewish marriage existed, the prohibition on marrying two sisters could not have existed. And, before the Torah was given, a Jewish marriage could not have been legally effected. Even if the procedures for a Jewish marriage had been followed, the resulting union would not have been a legally correct Jewish marriage since the laws regarding a legally correct Jewish marriage had not yet been "enacted." That would have to await the giving of the Torah. (Chiddushei Ha'Griz)


The Midrash records that when Yaakov was working for Lavan (in exchange for the promise of marrying Rachel), Yaakov used to send presents to his intended bride. However, the presents never reached Rachel, as Lavan diverted them to Leah. The Midrash records that Rachel kept quiet. She reasoned, "If I let Yaakov know, he will not want to marry me [presumably because she spoke lashon hara] and my father will not let me marry him." As a reward for her silence, the Midrash concludes, one of her tribes (Yosef) was divided into two tribes (Menashe and Ephraim).

Why was Rachel rewarded if she acted in her own self-interest? asks R' Simcha Mordechai Ziskind Broide z"l (rosh yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva; died 2000). He answers-applying a theme that he cites repeatedly in his teachings and which has appeared in these pages before: This illustrates the principle that it is not enough to observe the Torah's laws. The Torah's spirit must be adhered to as well. This adherence starts with using one's own common sense (presuming, of course, that what one thinks is common sense does not contradict the Torah). Rachel achieved this great reward for using common sense instead of doing what many people would instinctively do. (Ha'tov Ve'hayashar)



The following are excerpts from an address by R' Kalman Kahana z"l, rabbi of Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim, at a gathering to celebrate the grape harvest on behalf of an otzar bet din during the shemittah year of 5747 / 1986-87. (The otzar bet din concept was discussed in prior issues of Hamaayan.) The address was delivered at Kibbutz Sha'alvim on 15 Av 5747 / 1987.

More than a year ago, when we started to think about this shemittah year, some [kibbutz] members wondered, "How can we strengthen and encourage farmers in advance of the shemittah?" This was not easy. The current shemittah occurs at a time of economic hardship, without the savings or "fat" which we were able to live off of in prior shemittot. The last few years have been difficult ones for agriculture. We knew that much encouragement and strengthening were needed.

I was very worried that, G-d forbid, we would not succeed. But G-d has helped us.

These efforts began in 5698 [1937-38]; I want to emphasize this, and I think it is important to do so. Shemittah [observance] in Eretz Yisrael did not begin in 5712 [1951-52, the first shemittah after independence], but rather in 5698. It continued in 5705 [1944-45], but only in isolated places. One settlement stood out at the front - Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim. That place had been settled only months - it felt like days - before the shemittah. Chafetz Chaim was alone on a hostile front. I remember that the newspapers called for the lands of the kibbutz to be confiscated. But they [the kibbutz members] remained strong. All of this took place under the guidance of the Chazon Ish [R' Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz z"l; died 1953]. It was he who renewed shemittah observance in Eretz Yisrael, and no one else. [Ed. note: R' Kahana refers to shemittah observance as opposed to working the Land after selling it to a non-Jew, relying on the hetter mechirah.]

Thank G-d, in 5712 there were additional shemittah observing settlements belonging to the Poalei Agudat Yisrael movement, namely Yesodot, Sha'alvim and Bnei Re'em. Other settlements from outside of Poalei Agudat Yisrael also could be counted among the shemittah observers, namely Kommemiut and Kfar Chabad. Later, thank G-d, the idea became even more widespread.


This week we return to the basic laws of shemittah, one of which is that planting is prohibited. Does this prohibition include growing vegetables hydroponically, i.e., in water rather than in soil? R' Yechiel Michel Tikochinsy z"l, a leading halachic authority in Eretz Yisrael in the mid-20th century, wrote the following in 1958, when hydroponics was in its infancy. [As always, please do not rely on these short summaries for practical halachic guidance.]

If "planting" is done in water in a pail or in a glass vessel, I do not see any prohibition. This activity does not fall within the scope of the verse (Vayikra 24:4), "Your field you shall not sow . . ." If one engaged in this activity on Shabbat, he would be liable for transgressing the laws of Shabbat. However, whereas on Shabbat, man is commanded to rest, man is not obligated to rest during the Shemittah. Rather, the mitzvah is for the Land to rest, and man is commanded not to do anything that would prevent the Land from resting. (Sefer Ha'shemittah p.97)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Parashá Vayetzei

Rabino Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Mark Twain wrote a fascinating article, "Concerning the Jews," in the Harper's Magazine in 1897. In the epilogue he concludes:

___"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"

___If Mr. Twain had looked in the Torah and the Prophets, he would have found the following prophecies setting forth the covenant between the Almighty and the Jewish people for eternity. Prophecies for eternity backed by the Almighty are the secret of the Jewish people's immortality. Here they are:

"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations, an eternal covenant, to be your God and the God of the descendants after you." (Genesis 17:7)

"Thus, even while they are in the land of their enemies, I will neither reject nor obliterate them, lest I break My covenant with them by destroying them, for I am the Lord their God. I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their original ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, so that I might be their God." (Leviticus 26:44-45)

"Because the mountains may move and the hills may be shaken, but My love shall never move from you, nor My covenant of peace be shaken, said God, Who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10)

"As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says God. My spirit, which rests upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your children's children, says God, from now and forever." (Isaiah 59:21)

"Thus says God, Who establishes the sun to light the day, the laws of the moon and stars to light the night, Who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, Whose name is the Lord of Hosts: 'If these laws of nature would ever give way before Me,' says God, 'only then shall the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me for all time.' " (Jeremiah 31:34-35)

"But fear not, O Jacob My servant, neither be dismayed, O Israel, because I shall redeem you from afar, and your children form the land of their captivity; and Jacob will again be quiet and at ease and none shall make him afraid. Fear not, O Jacob My servant, says God, for I am with you. For I will topple all the nations to which I have driven you. But of you I will not make a full end. I will correct you in just measure, but I will not utterly destroy you." (Jeremiah 46:27-28)

___The story is told of King Louis XIV asking the philosopher Pascal for some proof of a supernatural force in the world. "Why ... the Jews, your majesty," replied Pascal, "the Jews."

Torah Portion of the Week

___This week we have the trials and tribulations of Jacob living with and working for his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob agreed to work as a shepherd 7 years for Rachel only to have Laban switch daughters on him at the marriage ceremony. (This is why we have the bedekin, the lifting of the veil, at traditional weddings - to ensure one is marrying the right bride.)

___As Jacob tries to build his equity, Laban changes their agreement time after time. After 20 years, the Almighty tells Jacob the time has come to return to the land of Canaan. Jacob and his household secretly leave only to be pursued by Laban who has claims to put forth. The story ends with peace and blessings between Jacob and Laban.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___The Almighty told Jacob in a dream:

"And your descendants will be like the dust of the earth." (Genesis 28:16)

___What kind of blessing is this? Everyone tramples upon the dust of the earth!

___The Almighty was foretelling to Jacob the many trials and travails that the Jewish people would face throughout history - the exiles, the persecutions, the confiscations, the pressures to deny our heritage. However, the Almighty was also telling Jacob an important point of consolation - in the end, in the final days of redemption, in the time of the Moshiach (Messiah), the Jewish people will overcome their tormentors and prove victorious, just as at the end of his life, the tormentor is buried and covered by the dust of the earth.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___Laban searched all of Jacob's possessions, but did not find his missing idols. The Torah tells us:

"And Jacob was angry and quarreled with Laban. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, 'What is my trespass? What is my sin that you have pursued after me?' " (Genesis 31:36)

___What lesson for life can we learn from how Jacob responded to Laban?

___The Midrash makes note of Jacob's self-control despite his anger. Laban accused Jacob of stealing his idols. After Laban had inspected all of Jacob's possessions and did not find anything, Jacob felt that Laban had fabricated the entire accusation (Sforno). However, despite his anger, Jacob did not say anything that would antagonize Laban or stir up animosity and rancor. He merely defended himself against the accusation and restated his own innocence.

___The Chofetz Chaim taught that from here we learn that a person should avoid becoming involved in a dispute, even when he knows that he is right.


Jerusalem 4:05
Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:22 - Honolulu 5:31
J'Burg 6:16 – Porto KOAH - 3:52 - Los Angeles 4:31
Melbourne 7:52 - Mexico City 5:39 - Miami 5:15
New York 4:20 - Singapore 6:33 - Toronto 4:34


"Luck" is how some people spell God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Minimalistas en la Fundación Juan March. Hasta el 1 de diciembre la Fundación Juan March presenta en Palma de Mallorca Antes y después del minimalismo. Un siglo de tendencias abstractas en la colección DaimlerChrysler, integrada por 64 obras de 41 artistas. La corriente artística denominada “Minimal Art”, y en especial las instalaciones y objetos de los representantes del Minimal “clásico” de la década de los 60 –artistas como el recientemente fallecido Sol LeWitt–, han tenido tal impacto que, con cierta frecuencia, se la percibe como un fenómeno autóctono y puramente norteamericano. Con todo, y más allá de la circunstancia americana de su nacimiento, quizá el minimalismo no consista tanto en una corriente temática como, más bien, en una especie de “método” plural, basado en abstracción, constructivismo y reducción formal. Desde ese argumento, la exposición muestra los planteamientos formalmente “minimizados” y las abstracciones geométricas características de las obras minimalistas en un contexto esencialmente más amplio. Presentando los vínculos entre Europa y los Estados Unidos, se exhibe todo un panorama de artistas europeos y norteamericanos que han trabajado, o trabajan actualmente, desde la gramática de la abstracción, en las diferentes tendencias minimalistas. Destaca la presencia de notables artistas judíos, como: Absalon (Ashod, Israel, 1964 – París, Francia, 1993), Sol LeWitt (Hartford, CT, EEUU, 1924 – Nueva York, NY, EEUU, 2007) o Karl Benjamín (Chicago, IL, EEUU, 1925; vive y trabaja en Claremont, CA, EEUU), o perseguidos por el nazismo, como Oskar Schlemmer (Stuttgart, Alemania, 1888 – Baden-Baden, Alemania, 1943). Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani (Fundación Juan March), c/ Sant Miquel, 11 - Palma de Mallorca. Horario de visita de lunes a viernes: 10-18,30 h. Sábados: 10,30 -14 h. Domingos y festivos: cerrado. Entrada libre.



Noite de Cristal (em alemão Reichskristallnacht ou simplesmente Kristallnacht) é o nome dado aos atos de violência que ocorreram na noite de 9 de novembro de 1938 em diversas partes da Alemanha e da Áustria, então sob o Terceiro Reich. O nome deriva dos cacos de vidro (das vitrinas das lojas, dos vitrais das sinagogas, etc.) resultantes deste episódio de violência racista. Foram chacinados judeus alemães e centenas deles enviados para campos de concentração.
A Noite dos Cristais foi o único pogrom em larga escala ocorrido nas cidades da Alemanha durante todo o Holocausto.
No dia 9 de novembro de 1938 havia duas faixas numa das entradas da Universidade da cidade alemã de Erlangen: a de cima, proibia a entrada de judeus; a de baixo, um apelo ao recrutamento para o partido nazi.Em 7 de Novembro de 1938, um jovem judeu polonês de 17 anos, Herschel Grynszpan, atirou em Ernst von Rath, um funcionário de baixo escalão na embaixada alemã em Paris. Dias antes, Grynszpan havia recebido uma carta de sua irmã contando-lhe que ela, seus pais e milhares de outros judeus poloneses que viviam na Alemanha haviam sido expulsos sem aviso prévio.
Na noite do dia 9 de novembro, Hitler recebeu um telegrama anunciando a morte de Rath. Os nazistas culparam o “Judaísmo Mundial” pelo assassinato e, ostensivamente como represália, desencadearam um pogrom em massa contra os judeus dentro do Terceiro Reich. Hitler pediu a Goebbels, seu chefe de propaganda, que retaliasse com um ataque contra os bens dos judeus. A ordem era clara: os SA (Tropas de assalto) deveriam vestir-se à paisana para que parecesse um movimento espontâneo de uma população em fúria contra os judeus. Por toda a Alemanha e territórios sob ocupação Nazi, cobertos pelas sombras, milhares de judeus foram presos e encaminhados para campos de concentração. O progrom foi especialmente destrutivo em Berlim e Viena. A maioria das sinagogas foi destruída e saqueada. Lojas, sinagogas e lares foram incendiados, à vista dos bombeiros e da população. Vitrines de 7.500 lojas judias foram quebradas e a mercadoria levada. Cemitérios judaicos foram violados. Homens da SA que percorriam as ruas atacando judeus mataram ao redor de 100 pessoas. Não foi ninguém, ninguém viu. Era noite!...
Os incêndios chocaram uma parte da população, mas não o fato de que os judeus tivessem sido atacados fisicamente.
Para culminar o ultraje, a autoridade nazista cobrou uma multa aos judeus de um bilhão de marcos (em torno de 400 milhões de dólares em 1938) pelas desordens e prejuízos dos quais foram eles vítimas.
Nos dias seguintes, muitos judeus abandonaram a Alemanha. Não havia dúvidas, a matança começara. Uma parte dos que conseguiram fugir a tempo foi para a Palestina, território então sob domínio inglês – onde muitos mais já tinham procurado abrigo logo depois de Hitler ter chegado a chanceler, em 1933.
Nas semanas seguintes, o governo alemão promulgou dezenas de leis e decretos com o objetivo de privar os judeus de suas propriedades, dos meios para ganhar a vida e excluí-los de toda participação na vida social pública. Leis foram promulgadas para forçar a transferência a proprietários não judeus de todas as empresas de propriedade judaica, por uma fração de seu valor real. As escolas judaicas foram fechadas, e as crianças judias que freqüentavam as escolas alemãs foram expulsas. Os judeus foram proibidos de exercer a maior parte das profissões. Proibiu-se também que fossem proprietários de automóveis, suas licenças de dirigir foram retiradas e seu acesso aos meios de transporte público foi enormemente limitado. Proibiu-se também que os judeus freqüentassem lugares públicos de lazer, ou assistissem a peças de teatro, cinema ou concertos.
Kristallnacht marcou o começo da erradicação sistemática de um povo que havia chegado à Alemanha na época dos romanos e foi um prenúncio sinistro do Holocausto que se seguiria. Foi mais do que a destruição de sinagogas - foi um divisor de águas, que marcou o momento em que a Alemanha renegou os padrões europeus de comportamento moral aceitáveis.

JANE BICHMACHER DE GLASMAN - Doutora em Língua Hebraica, Literaturas e Cultura Judaica -USP, professora- adjunta, fundadora e ex-diretora do Programa de Estudos Judaicos –UERJ, escritora.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Intimacy: The Jewish Approach

Part 2 of 2

Mrs. Feige Twersky

"Judaism views sexuality in marriage as an expression of the couple's deeper spiritual bond. In the temporary absence of physical relations, a couple is encouraged to focus on and further develop those aspects of the marriage that underlie and give spiritual life to their sexual relationship."

-Tziporah Heller

Our Bodies, Our Souls

Our previous class explored the power of mikvah - and the associated practice of family purity - to bring cohesiveness to a marriage and a sense of monthly renewal to the Jewish woman and her husband. Against today's backdrop of sexual permissiveness, emotional frustration and relationship chaos, mikvah reminds us that love has spiritual underpinnings that are best cultivated with a measure of restraint and the other advantages mikvah offers.

Our current class further explores the benefits that result from the monthly phases of a couple's physical separation and togetherness, following a woman's immersion in the mikvah.

It seems appropriate that mikvah is a woman's privilege, given mikvah's association with the integrity of the household, and the fact that the woman is generally at the center of domestic life. Immersion presents the Jewish woman an opportunity to request God's assistance in her efforts to muster the physical, spiritual and intellectual energy she needs in order to create a wholesome, prosperous environment for herself and others. Mikvah's potential benefits include ongoing marital freshness. Today's divorce rate hints at the problems that arise once the initial excitement of marriage wears off. The Talmud, as if in response to this transition in a marriage, comments that something perpetually available risks eventually losing its initial luster. Thus, over time the accessibility that a married man and woman have to one another may have a negative impact on their relationship. Torah sets forth mikvah as a panacea for this trouble. The period between a couple's monthly sep aration and the woman's mikvah night is approximately two weeks. Because of this regular hiatus, the Talmud tells us, husband and wife become a new bride and groom, again and again.

Another advantage of mikvah is that it teaches us the value of restraint. In a world that asks us to abandon control altogether, husband and wife in a Jewish marriage undergo a regular program of separation. This exercise in restraint becomes a learned response in the outside world, when temptations arise.

The physical separation associated with mikvah provides husband and wife a chance to focus on the individuality that Torah considers a prerequisite for a healthy marriage. The idea that husband and wife should challenge and inspire one another is a major force in the cohesiveness of the ideal Jewish relationship. This dynamic "oneness" that results from reuniting two halves of soul is the spiritual basis of Jewish marriage. The unique identity of each soul is to be further refined by the teamwork that marriage requires, rather than compromised by the challenges marriage presents.

Finally, mikvah provides an opportunity for heightened verbal communication, given that it limits the physical interaction that may from time to time replace substantial conversation. It is widely acknowledged that a couple's ability to communicate has a lot to do with the success of their relationship. Given that effective communication is a learned skill, mikvah offers a couple free monthly practice sessions.

The deeper spiritual benefits of mikvah and family purity are beyond the scope of this class. In simple, effective terms one thing is clear: without serving a higher purpose, our physical intimacy remains just physical. Mikvah has the potential to enrich both the couple and the individuals who comprise the marital unit.

Andre-Moshe Pereira, Pres. Kehillah Or Ahayim
Director Ceimom: Porto_GAIA