Saturday, March 22, 2008


Rabino Shraga Simmons

Amalek, the nation that personified evil, insisted that God was absent in the world and everything happened by chance.

Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt. He happened upon you, and struck the weakest people trailing behind, when you were exhausted. And he did not fear God. (Deut. 25:17-18)
God said to Moses: Write this remembrance in the book... that I will surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. (Exodus 17:14)

At no time of the Jewish year is the synagogue as "wild" as during the Megillah reading: Every time Haman's name is read, the congregation erupts in a deafening chorus of groggers, clanging pots, cap-guns and sirens. Some write Haman's name on the bottom of their shoes and stomp it out. Others write his name in wax and melt it!
Who was Haman, and why the obsession with blotting out his name?
To understand, we have to go back to the time of Jacob our forefather. Jacob had a twin brother Esav, who was a lifelong rival -- so much so that Esav sought to kill Jacob (see Genesis 27:41).
The Midrash says that when Esav was getting old, he called in his grandson Amalek and said: "I tried to kill Jacob but was unable. Now I am entrusting you and your descendents with the important mission of annihilating Jacob's descendents -- the Jewish people. Carry out this deed for me. Be relentless and do not show mercy."
True to his mission, Amalek has historically tried to destroy the Jews. For example, in Exodus 17:8, Amalek attacked the Jews out of pure hatred -- Amalek lived in a distant land and was under no imminent threat.
So what does Amalek have to do with Purim? The Scroll of Esther (3:1) identifies Haman as the descendent of Agag, King of Amalek. Haman's desire to wipe out the Jewish people was an expression of his long-standing national tradition.

This conflict is much deeper than just a "sibling rivalry." Philosophically, Amalek and the Jewish people stand at two opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Talmud explains: What is the meaning of the phrase "[Amalek] happened ("karcha") upon you..." (Deut. 25:18)? The Hebrew word "karcha" literally means coincidence or happenstance. Amalek's entire philosophy is that there is no design or providence in the world. Everything is haphazard, dictated by chance, luck and fate. That's why the verse continues: "And [Amalek] did not fear God."
On the other hand, Jacob and his descendents the Jews represent conscience and morality. The world has purpose and meaning and every individual is created in the image of God. From this foundation, the Jews introduced to the world concepts like monotheism, equality for all people, and universal education. This is the essence of what the prophet describes as being a "light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6).
While Jacob believes that God runs the world and there is an absolute standard of morality, Esav believes that life is random -- and morality is therefore subjective. Esav's hatred for the message of morality actually forms the basis of all anti-Semitism. Just as the Jews stand for the principle of caring for the vulnerable and weak, Amalek is the opposite -- "attacking the weakest people trailing behind" (Deut. 25:18).

The Talmud takes another approach to the language of the verse: "[Amalek] happened ("karcha") upon you..." (Deut. 25:18). The Hebrew word "karcha" is also related to the word "kar," meaning "cold." That is to say: Amalek cooled the Jews off. When the Jews came out of Egypt, on the heels of 10 mighty plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea, all the nations were afraid to challenge the God of the Jews. But Amalek came, did battle, and -- even though they were defeated militarily -- they nevertheless paved the way for others.
By way of analogy, it is as if the Jewish people were a boiling hot bath that nobody was able to enter. Then along came a stranger and jumped in. Even though he suffered bad burns, he cooled it off ("kar") for others to follow.
So why do we have to stomp out Haman? Because we must recognize our enemies and fight them. Not because we enjoy war, but because part of being a "good person" is to actively seek the destruction of evil.
There are evil people actively working to eliminate God consciousness from the world. Know your enemy and fight against it. "Erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens" (Exodus 17:14).
Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf writes:
The gragger in the hand of a child on Purim is there to remind us how to relate to evil. Like Amalek, it must be erased. Not by labeling it as sick and psychoanalyzing it into oblivion, but by calling it what it is -- evil -- and dealing with it as bluntly as it would deal with us.
In our own lives, we can gauge the extent of Amalek's encroachment by measuring our own level of belief in God. To the extent that an individual doubts the existence of God, is the extent that Amalek's philosophy of randomness has become a part of us. One of Amalek's battle tactics is to create doubt about God's presence, in an attempt to confuse and ultimately destroy the Jewish people. Appropriately, the numerical value of "Amalek" -- 240, is the same value as the Hebrew word safek, meaning "doubt."
But after all, what is so insidious about a world without God?
It's simple, says the Talmud: If Torah, the source of universal truths, was eliminated, then the world would revert to emptiness. That is because humanity simply cannot survive without clear moral direction. Morality holds civilizations together; it's absence leads to chaos.
Judaism does not deny the existence of individuals with the most extreme psychological disorders, but it does assert that one need not be "sick" to carry out the most brutal and hideous of crimes. Adolf Hitler, Adolf Eichmann and the thousands of doctors, professors, farmers, teachers, barbers, receptionists, retailers, lawyers, mechanics, entrepreneurs and secretaries who made soap, lamp shades, coat stuffing and ashes out of Jews were not sick! They were just plain evil. By abandoning morality, they were able to rationalize genocide as "noble and good." It is not surprising, therefore, that the Talmud (Megillah 6b) identifies a nation called "Germamia" as the descendents of Amalek.

The Torah says: "Amalek battled Israel in (a place called) Refidim" (Exodus 17:8). The Midrash explains that the name "Refidim" is a contraction of Hebrew words meaning "they loosened their grip on Torah." As long as the Jews were diligent in Torah study, Amalek had no dominion over them. But as soon as Jewish study became lax, they were in danger.
In describing the actual battle with Amalek, the Torah says: "When Moses raised his hand, Israel was stronger. And when Moses lowered his hand, Amalek was stronger" (Exodus 17:11). Moses' raised hands symbolize the Jews raising their eyes heavenward in a commitment to God and Torah. "When Moses' hands are lowered" -- i.e. the Jewish people take a secular approach to life -- then we lose. It is a direct inverse proportion: Turning away from God automatically causes Amalek to rise, and vice-versa.
The way to counteract Amalek's influence is simple: strengthen Torah. We cannot become lax. For as the verse says, the battle with Amalek is "in every generation" (Exodus 17:16). God's presence will not be complete in this world until the name of Amalek is blotted out entirely.
So this Purim, when you hear Haman's name, spin your grogger, howl like a wolf -- and make the commitment to study Torah, as a way to battle the insidiousness of Amalekite ideology.

Castelo de Vide: Sinagoga reabre sábado após dois anos em obras

António Pita

Castelo de Vide, Portalegre, 21 Mar (Lusa) - A Sinagoga de Castelo de Vide reabre sábado depois de obras de requalificação de 270 mil euros, concretizadas nos últimos dois anos, disse hoje à agência Lusa o vice-presidente do município local.

Castelo de Vide, Portalegre, 21 Mar (Lusa) - A Sinagoga de Castelo de Vide reabre sábado depois de obras de requalificação de 270 mil euros, concretizadas nos últimos dois anos, disse hoje à agência Lusa o vice-presidente do município local, António Pita.De acordo com o autarca, a intervenção efectuada no espaço representou um investimento superior a 270 mil euros, financiados por fundos da União Europeia.A data de fundação da Sinagoga de Castelo de Vide, constituída por um só volume com dois pisos, não está definida.No entanto, já no século XIV existia uma judiaria em Castelo de Vide, que era constituída por um conjunto de casas construídas junto à porta principal do castelo."Foi difícil efectuar as obras na Sinagoga, devido à antiguidade do edifício, mas finalmente os turistas podem desfrutar de um dos principais espaços de cultura desta vila", disse António Pita.O autarca garantiu ainda que a autarquia, ao impulsionar a obra, tentou sempre "respeitar a tipologia original do edifício".A Sinagoga, edificada pelos judeus que viveram em Castelo de Vide e que vincaram em cada canto a sua passagem, está localizada na zona histórica da vila alentejana.De acordo com António Pita, a Sinagoga irá transmitir aos seus visitantes "duas mensagens".A primeira consiste em fazer passar para os visitantes aquilo que era a vida quotidiana dos judeus que viviam em Castelo de Vide, os seus cultos e rituais diários ao longo do ano e os utensílios que utilizavam.A segunda mensagem passa por explicar "como eram os judeus de Castelo de Vide, como é que aqui chegaram, para onde é que partiram e qual foi a viagem que eles fizeram".

Friday, March 21, 2008


Rabino Peter Tarlow

La fiesta de Purim es tal vez la fiesta más alegre del año religioso judío. Basada en el Libro de Ester es una fiesta llena de alegría y felicidad. Purim, no obstante, trata de más que meramente carnavales (ad-lo-yada) y ropa cómica, también nos enseña una lección importante acerca de los prejuicios y el odio.La historia de Purim gira alrededor de tres caracteres. Hay, Mordejai, el hombre que representa lo bueno y el hombre de principios, hay la bella Esther, quien se hizo en héroe nacional, y hay el malo, Hamán, el símbolo bíblico del odio por el odio.Las acciones de Hamán nos enseñan mucho acerca de cómo el odio puede transformar la realidad en patas arriba. Puesto que estaba enojado con Mordejai, Hamán decidió destruir el pueblo judío, es decir igual como Hitler, cometer genocidio. El rey, demasiado ocupado con las diversiones de su vida personal y NO pensando en las consecuencias de sus acciones aprobó el plan de Hamán. ¿ El resultado final? la destrucción de Hamán y la muerte de muchos inocentes.

Purim nos recuerda que en cada generación hay los que odian y los que sufren de la enfermedad de prejuicio. El atentado reciente contra la escuela (Yeshivá: Mercaz Harav) en Jerusalén era espantosa, pero quizás aún peor es el hecho que en una encuesta/sondeo llevado a cabo después del atentado , unos 84% de los palestinos respondieron que aprobaron el ataque y estuvieron de acuerdo que asesinar a los alumnos jóvenes judíos es legítimo.

Purim nos recuerda que el asesino y el odio puro nunca es justificado. Esta cifra trágica nos recuerda de una de las lecciones centrales de Purim, que cuando la gente buena se calla o ocupados solamente con sus propios asuntos, el resultado puede ser lo malo. Esta fiesta nos da optimismo eterno enseñándonos que en un mundo donde hay odio todos necesitamos ser un poco más cariñoso con nuestro prójimo, todos deberíamos apreciar y disfrutar la vida, y todos deberíamos esforzarnos a crear un poco más alegría en el mundo. ¿Cómo la van a realizar Uds.? ¡Jag Sameaj/Feliz Purim!

Rav Peter Tarlow es el rabino de la Casa Hillel de la Universidad de Texas (EEUU) y rabino de Oneg Shabat

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

O E.Mail do Compadre

– engenheiro, administrador, escritor

Nosso cenário é o interior do Rio Grande do Sul.Sete horas da manhã de um belo dia de verão.

Dois amigos saboreando o chimarrão conversam:
E aí compadre? Como vão as coisas?
Olha tchê, não vão bem... Mas existem muitas novidades por aí.
Novidades? Vivente, quais são? Estou curioso para saber...
Olha, eu ontem resolvi comprar um computador. Sabes o que é isso?
Não, não sei.
Bem, vou te explicar. Computador é uma máquina maravilhosa. Só falta falar... Apesar de que o dono da loja me disse que logo, logo eles estarão falando com a gente... Eu não estou acreditando muito, mas... São as modernidades.
Computador! Máquina! Falando com a gente! Explica-me melhor... Estou muito interessado em saber.
Olha, computador é uma máquina que a gente vê o que escreve e recebe notícias de todo o mundo, até dos amigos que moram longe da gente.
Falaste em receber notícias? Isto aí é jornal? É correio? Pergunto assim, pois eu estou acostumado ler as notícias no jornal, inclusive hoje já li as últimas notícias sobre política. E as cartas dos amigos eu recebo sempre pelo carteiro. Espero ele todas as tardes e pergunto se chegou alguma correspondência para mim. Fico sempre ansioso para receber notícias dos amigos. Como é bom a gente abrir os envelopes...
Com o computador a gente fica ligado com o mundo através da internet. É uma rede mundial onde todos os usuários de computador podem se comunicar através de e-mail.
Que é isso? E-mail. Nunca ouvi essa palavra. O que é isso?
É o correio eletrônico. Ao invés de a gente remeter pelo correio normal as cartas e esperar alguns dias pelo carteiro, a gente recebe na hora, ou quase na hora, pois às vezes demora alguns minutos... Não importa o lugar onde a gente se encontra.
Que legal! Coisas do outro mundo! Acho que eu também vou comprar uma máquina destas. Computador!
Vais gostar. Mas não esqueça de pedir também uma ligação com a internet.
Não vou esquecer não! Muito obrigado pela “dica”. Amigos são para essas coisas...
Passados algumas semanas os dois companheiros de “mate” se encontram novamente. Também pela manhã. Também na hora do chimarão. Também num dia ensolarado.
Bom dia. E aí, compraste o computador?
Nem vou te contar. Está espetacular! Estou escrevendo bastante. Lendo as notícias “fresquinhas”. Na hora que estão acontecendo... E não no outro dia. Estou remetendo e recebendo muitos E-MAILS. É “bárbaro”.
Então estás gostando da novidade?
Sim, apesar de que eu estou um pouco triste.
Ué, porque essa tristeza?
Recebi ontem um e-mail me dizendo que hoje à noite acabará o mundo. Dizia que devo arrumar todas as minhas coisas. Comer bastante rapadura., tomar chimarrão e me aprontar, pois a partir das 23horas e 47 minutos acabará o mundo.
Verdade? Quem te mandou?
Na realidade e falando sério eu não sei quem remeteu, mas só disse que eu me prepare – “ o mundo irá se acabar” -.
Será que não é brincadeira? Estão acontecendo muitos trotes pela internet. Estão remetendo e-mail com inverdades, e também estão infestando a rede com vírus.
Não acredito. Sempre recebi cartas pelo correio e nunca me mandaram trotes. Não pode ser verdadeira esta afirmação tua. Tu deves estar completamente enganado. Ninguém brinca que o mundo vai acabar. Isso é um assunto muito sério... Deve ser gente que sabe mais do que eu, mais do que nós. Estou preocupado! O que será que devemos fazer?
Espera um pouco. Deixa-me tomar meu mate e aí eu vou pensar... Olha! Ainda estou acreditando que o e-mail recebido por ti é um trote e talvez até infestado com vírus.
Vírus? É a segunda vez que falas nesta palavra. O que é isso?
São “bichinhos” que alguns malvados colocam no computador e estragam as nossas máquinas.
De novo! Estou preocupado! Será que o mundo vai realmente acabar hoje? Será que colocaram estes “bichinhos” na minha máquina, no meu computador novo? Em todo o caso eu vou me aprontar. Vou arrumar minhas roupas. Comida e mate eu tenho. A erva eu já comprei no supermercado.
As horas foram passando. Chegou à noite. 23 horas e 48 minutos e nada do mundo acabar.Passaram mais alguns minutos e o personagem preocupado vai ao computador. Abre a internet. Abre o dito e-mail e responde:
E aí pessoal? O mundo não acabou...
Vem a resposta:Veja se você consegue abrir outros E-MAILS Olha no calendário e vê que dia é hoje.
Primeiro de abril.
Primeiro de abril é o dia dos bobos... Ah! Ah! Ah! – É o vírus dos bobos... Você é muito inocente... O mundo não acabará tão cedo. Ainda teremos muitos obstáculos à frente e juntos teremos que suplantá-los... Ah! Ah! Ah!
Realmente fui enganado pelo e-mail do computador. É o correio da modernidade! Pelo outro eu tenho certeza que não fariam isso comigo. É o sinal dos tempos. Vou contar a todos os meus amigos. E agora? Por e-mail ou por carta entregue pelo carteiro? Não sei. Vou pensar...

Solomon Nunes Carvalho

Uno de los primeros fotógrafos del Lejano Oeste. EE.UU.

Orgulloso descendiente de una familia judía sefaradí, de orígenes hispano-portugueses, Solomon Nunes Carvalho había nacido en Charleston y ejerció un fuerte liderazgo dentro de la comunidad judía. En 1844, cuando trabajaba en una organización que creó la primera escuela judía dominical, trató de inculcar en las mentes de los jóvenes los verdaderos principios del judaísmo. Cuando se mudó a las Indias Occidentales, se hizo miembro de la Congregación Nidhe Israel de Bridgetown, en Barbados. También enviaba sus trabajos como dibujante a publicaciones como la Voice of Jacob. en Londres, donde escribía, era pintor y fotógrafo y otra de Filadelfia.
Durante el invierno de 1853-54. acompañó al explorador John C. Frémont a través de los territorios de Kansas, Colorado, y Utah buscando una ruta para la construcción del ferrocarril al Pacífico. Los daguerrotipos que Carvalho tomó en la expedición desaparecieron hace mucho tiempo. Sin embargo se cree que la copia en daguerrotipo de una aldea indígena fue tomada de uno de los originales que el retrató. Fue un excelente pintor, reprodujo de memoria el interior de la Sinagoga Beth Elohim, de Charleston, a la que representó de acuerdo a la tradición sefaradí, con los hombres sentados en el piso de abajo, frente a la Tevah que se halla en el centro de la sinagoga y los lugares de las mujeres en la galería superior. El Judaísmo Reformista remonta sus orígenes a la congregación Beth Elohim , donde un grupo de miembros de la sinagoga se pasaron el judaísmo reformado en 1825 y crearon allí la Sociedad de los Israelitas Reformados, que sobrevivió cerca de treinta años.En un libro llamado Incidentes y Aventuras en el viaje a través del Far West, está el relato de toda la historia de esa expedición a la cual Nunes Carvalho se unió en un impulso que lo llevó a participar en ella con sus daguerrotipos para documentar toda esa travesía a través de los desiertos, los paisajes y los cambios climáticos extremos que podían esperarse por esos tiempos y con las condiciones existentes.Cuando llegó a Los Angeles visitó la sinagoga local donde instó a la comunidad a crear una sociedad de benevolencia como eran llamadas por esa época. Como pintor es el autor de un famoso cuadro con la imagen de Abraham Lincoln y se descubrió que el retrato de Judah Touro fue también pintado por él.

História da Rainha Esther em Literatura de Cordel

David Salgado
Shavei Israel

Quem poderia imaginar a história de Purim contada em prosa poética na literatura de cordel do nordeste brasileiro? Essa realmente me pegou de surpresa.
Mas o que é em realidade a literatura de cordel. O velho Aurélio diz o seguinte: "Romanceiro popular nordestino, em grande parte contido em folhetos pobremente impressos e expostos à venda pendurados em cordel, nas feiras e mercados". (Dicionário Aurélio Buarque de Holanda).
Trazida pelos portugueses que aportavam por volta de 1850 em terras tropicais, com o passar dos anos, essa literatura foi aos poucos se afirmando especialmente pelo seu baixo custo e hoje é encontrada praticamente em estados do nordeste como Pernambuco, Ceará, Alagoas, Paraíba e Bahia.
Muitas vezes repleta de um belo tom humorístico e também por retratar fatos da vida cotidiana da cidade ou da região, a literatura dos livretos pendurados em cordas tipo barbante, daí o nome Literatura de Cordel, contagia a população nordestina e principalmente os turistas que por ali andam. Os principais assuntos retratados nos livretos são: festas, política, secas, disputas, brigas, milagres, vida dos cangaceiros, atos de heroísmo, milagres, morte de personalidades, etc.
Pensando melhor, se formos parar pra pensar realmente, a história da Rainha Esther é sem dúvida um belo tema para um bom poeta da literatura de cordel desenvolver. Ela foi uma heroína do povo judeu, com coragem e muita determinação enfrentou a possível morte ao apresentar-se diante do Rei sem ter sido autorizada com o único intuito de salvar o seu povo do decreto perverso do ministro Haman.
Acrescentaria ainda um outro ponto importante. Talvez por sua conotação de salvação e pela facilidade de identificação com os exilados que viviam na antiga Pérsia, Purim e sobretudo o jejum de Esther, foram enormemente populares entre os Bnei Anussim. Não há dúvida que os conversos ibéricos viram Esther como a salvadora do povo judeu. Vale lembrar que a rainha Esther conseguiu ajudar seu povo justamente quando este se encontrava na clasdestinidade, ocultando sua própria identidade judaica. O que em outros contextos poderia apresentar um desafio à normatividade judaica, exatamente o fato de sua clandestinidade é que despertou nos Bnei Anussim, um alto grau de identificação com esta Festa.
No Ha-Lapid número 109 de 1942, o jornal organizado e elaborado pelo idealizador da Obra do Resgate, Capitão Arthur Carlos de Barros Basto, para os então descobertos criptojudeus nas montanhas do norte de Portugal encontramos um artigo de autoria de José A. Pereira Gabriel no qual ele escreve: “Sejamos como Mordechai; não tenhamos receio de nos dizermos judeus, pois a nossa lei, o nosso ideal, é de todos o mais perfeito, e o que moralmente a todos se impõe. Não tenhamos receio de divulgar a nossa (melhor que todas as outras) crença religiosa... isto é admirável!”.
Exatamente por isso a Festa de Purim é sem dúvida uma das festas do calendário israelita mais conhecidas e preservadas pelos Bnei Anussim no decorres dos últimos cinco séculos.
Mas o que faria um poeta de literatura de cordel se interessar por essa história e como ele a conhecia?
O despertar dos Bnei Anussim pelo mundo é um fato consumado hoje em dia. No Brasil, e principalmente no nordeste, historiadores e pesquisadores afirmam que a presença de seus descentes é numerosa já que um percentual respeitável dos brancos portugueses que vieram para colonizar o país eram cristãos-novos que escondiam sua verdadeira fé, eram portanto, criptojudeus. Seus descendentes estão por aí, e com certeza, muitos deles enraizados como trovadores, compositores e poetas da literatura de cordel. Assim, já estou mais tranqüilo e na verdade não tão surpreso de encontrar a História da Rainha Esther em Literatura de Cordel.
E com vocês... a “História da Rainha Ester” do Poeta da Academia Brasileira de Literatura de Cordel, Arievaldo Viana Lima.

Supremo Ser Incriado
Santo Deus Onipotente
Manda teus raios de luz
Ilumina a minha mente
Para transformar em versos
Uma história comovente
Falo da vida de Ester
Que na Bíblia está descrita
Era uma judia virtuosa
E extremamente bonita
Por obra e graça divina
Teve venturosa dita
Foi durante o cativeiro
Do grande povo Judeu
Um rei chamado Assuero
Naqueles tempos viveu
E com o nome de Xerxes
Na História apareceu.
O rei Assuero tinha
Pelo costume pagão
Um harém com muitas musas
As mais belas da nação
Mas era a rainha Vasti
Dona do seu coração.
Porém a rainha Vasti
Caiu no seu desagrado
Pois embora fosse bela
Não cumpriu um seu mandado
Vasti, durante um banquete
Não quis ficar a seu lado.
Com isto o Rei Assuero
Bastante se enfureceu
Mandou buscar outras moças
E por fim ele escolheu
Ester, a bela judia
Sobrinha de Mardoqueu.
Porque os seus conselheiros
Consideraram uma ofensa
A bela rainha Vasti
Não vir a sua presença
Perdeu a rainha o posto
Foi esta a dura sentença.
Ester era flor mais bela
Filha do povo judeu
Porém perdeu os seus pais
Logo depois que nasceu
Foi viver na companhia
De seu tio Mardoqueu.
Dentre as mulheres mais belas
Ester foi a escolhida
Pra ser a nova Rainha
Pelo rei foi preferida
Mardoqueu disse à sobrinha:
- Não revele a sua vida!
- Pois nosso povo é cativo
E vive na opressão
Talvez o rei não a queira
Vendo a sua condição
É melhor guardar segredo
Sobre seu povo e nação.
Não pretendo alongar-me,
Porém vos digo o que sei:
Mardoqueu era versado
Na ciência e na Lei
Trabalhava no palácio
Era empregado do rei.
Mardoqueu um dia soube
Que dois guardas do portão
Tramavam secretamente
Perversa conspiração
Eram Bagatã e Tares
Homens de mau coração.
Tramavam matar o rei
E Mardoqueu descobriu
A conversa dos dois homens
Ele sem querer ouviu
Foi avisar a Ester
E ela ao rei preveniu.
Assuero indignado
Com esta conspiração
Mandou ligeiro prender
Os dois guardas do portão
Eles descobriram tudo
Quando os pôs em confissão.
Os dois guardas receberam
Um castigo exemplar
Provada a sua traição
O rei os manda enforcar
Depois mandou os escribas
Em seus anais registrar.
Mardoqueu perante o rei
Subiu muito de conceito
Deu-lhe o rei um alto posto
Por ser honrado e direito
Por isso era invejado
Por Aman, um mau sujeito.
Este Aman de quem vos falo
Era o Primeiro Ministro
Um dos homens mais perversos
De quem se teve registro
Tramava contra os judeus
Um plano mau e sinistro.
Por força de um decreto
Queria que o povo inteiro
Se ajoelhasse a seus pés
Sendo ele um embusteiro
Queria ser adorado
Igual ao Deus Verdadeiro.
Isso era um grande martírio
Para a raça dos judeus
Porque só dobram os joelhos
Em adoração a Deus
Fato que desperta a ira
Dos pagãos e dos ateus.
O Ministro indignou-se
Com todo o povo judeu
Porque não obedeciam
Aquele decreto seu
Pensava em aniquilar
A raça de Mardoqueu.
Mandou baixar um Edito
Marcando a hora e o dia
Para o povo ajoelhar-se
Porém Aman não sabia
Que a bela rainha Ester
Era uma princesa judia.
Mardoqueu leu o decreto
Gelou de medo e pavor
Comunicou a Ester
Que Aman, em seu furor
Queria exterminar
A raça do Redentor.
- Querida Ester, disse ele
Venho triste lhe contar
Que o Primeiro Ministro
Jura por Marduk e Isthar
Que o nosso povo judeu
Decidiu eliminar.
- Esse Decreto já foi
Pelo rei sancionado
Armou para nós a forca
O dia já está marcado
Matará todo judeu
Que não ver ajoelhado.
- Meu tio, responde Ester
Eu nada posso evitar
Pois quem se apresenta ao rei
Sem ele próprio chamar
Por um decreto real
Manda na hora enforcar.
Deixemos aqui Ester
Lamentando pesarosa
Vamos tratar de Aman
Criatura orgulhosa
E saber o que tramava
Esta cobra venenosa.
Disse ele a Assuero:
- Há um povo no reinado
Que tem um costume estranho
Não cumpre nenhum mandado
Que fira algum mandamento
Por seu Deus determinado.
- Constitui um mau exemplo
Para outros povos e assim
Considero que este povo
Viver conosco é ruim
Eu quero a tua licença
Porque quer dar-lhes fim.
Lavrou-se então o decreto
Do extermínio judeu
Aman pegou uma cópia
E em praça pública leu
Somente por ter inveja
Da glória de Mardoqueu.
Naquela noite Assuero
Não podendo dormir mais
Mandou chamar seus escribas
Para lerem os editais
Entre estes documentos
Encontravam-se os Anais.
O leitor sabe que o rei
Foi salvo de um atentado
Por dois porteiros teria
Sido ele assassinado
Se não fosse Mardoqueu
Ter o caso desvendado.
Pergunta então Assuero
Depois que o escriba leu
Os anais onde constavam
Os feitos de Mardoqueu:
- Me diga qual foi o prêmio
Que este homem recebeu?
- Nenhum prêmio, majestade...
Responde o escriba ao rei
Então Assuero disse:
- Agora compensarei
O grande favor prestado,
Gratidão é uma lei!
No outro dia Aman
Foi ao Palácio enredar
Quando Assuero o viu
Tratou de lhe perguntar:
- Que deve ser feito ao homem
Que o rei pretende honrar?
Pensando que era pra si
Aquela grande honraria
Aman disse: - Majestade
Eis então o que eu faria
Com minhas roupas reais
Este homem eu vestiria.
Depois o faria montar
Um cavalo ajaezado
Com os arreios de ouro
E o brasão do reinado
Por alguém muito importante
Ele seria puxado.
E nas ruas da cidade
O guia deve bradar
Assim o rei Assuero
Manda agora publicar:
- Este é um homem de bem
Que o rei pretende honrar!
- Muito bem, diz Assuero
Bonito plano, este seu
Mande selar meu cavalo
Da forma que concebeu
E nele faça montar
Nosso amigo Mardoqueu.
Aman ficou constrangido
Mas resolveu perguntar
Qual o homem, majestade
Que o cavalo irá guiar
Disse o rei: - És tu, Aman
Quem o deve anunciar.
Aman saiu se mordendo
Foi o cavalo arrear
Depois mandou Mardoqueu
Sobre o mesmo se montar
Mas intimamente dizia
Em breve irei me vingar.
E pelas ruas de Susa
Foi Mardoqueu aclamado
Vestindo as roupas reais
Num bom cavalo montado
E pelo ministro Aman
O ginete era puxado.
O leitor deve lembrar
Que Ester, a bela rainha
Já sabia do decreto
E qual a sorte mesquinha
Destinada a seu povo
Porém o medo a detinha.
Há dias que ela esperava
Uma oportunidade
Para falar com o rei
Contar-lhe toda a verdade
E, em favor de seu povo
Implorar-lhe a piedade.
Mas o tempo ia passando
Como o rei não a chamou
A dura pena de morte
Decidida ela enfrentou
Foi à presença do rei
Lá chegando se curvou.
Disse o rei: - Minha querida
A lei não é para ti
Não temas, pois não pretendo
Fazer qualquer mal a si
Diga-me logo o que queres
Porque tu vieste aqui?
Disse ela: - Majestade
Viva em paz, a governar
O motivo que me trouxe
É que vim te convidar
Para um singelo banquete
Que pretendo preparar.
Este banquete eu vou dar
Na noite de amanhã
Quero apenas que convides
O nosso ministro Aman
Espero que não me faltes
Espero com grande afã.
Disse o rei: - Vá sossegada
Por certo, não faltarei
Ao banquete que darás
Como sem falta eu irei
E o Primeiro Ministro
Em breve convidarei.
Ester não disse mais nada
Tratou de se retirar
Chamou as suas criadas
Foi depressa preparar
O banquete que em breve
Ela haveria de dar.
No outro dia Aman
Pelo rei foi convidado
Porém, como ignorava
O que estava preparado
Compareceu orgulhoso
Bastante lisonjeado.
Na presença do ministro
Assuero perguntou
Diz-me agora, ó rainha
Por que razão me chamou?
Então Ester decidida
Por esta forma falou:
- Majestade eu tenho a honra
De ser a tua consorte
Porém a mão do destino
Quer turvar a minha sorte
Porque o meu próprio povo
Está condenado à morte!
Diz o rei: - Quem concebeu
Este plano tão malvado?
Por que motivo o teu povo
À morte foi condenado?
Disse ela: Foi Aman
Ele é o grande culpado!
Pois este homem se julga
Acima do próprio Deus
Quer que todos se ajoelhem
E cumpram os desígnios seus
Por isso ele planeja
Exterminar os judeus.
Quando ela disse aquilo
Aman não pôde falar
Tremia ali de pavor
Sem puder se explicar
E o rei indignado
O mandou encarcerar.
No outro dia Aman
À morte foi condenado
Na forca que ele havia
Pra Mardoqueu preparado
Por um capricho da sorte
Foi nela própria enforcado.


Dear Andre Moshè Pereira,

As southern Israel was under rocket assault from Hamas-controlled Gaza, the Arab print media chose to publish some of the most hateful and incendiary anti-Semitic cartoons we have ever seen. These cartoons have one purpose - to stir up hatred of Jews and Israel. This must be stopped now.
ADL is sending a
message of outrage to the ambassadors of the Arab countries whose newspapers publish these cartoons, letting them know we will not tolerate such hateful material. Add your signature to our letter and let your voice be heard.
In ADL's decades of monitoring anti-Jewish editorial caricatures in the Arab press, we have seldom seen such a barrage of such staggeringly hateful,
anti-Semitic and anti-Israel images. These outrageous cartoons vilify Israel and portray the Jewish state as an aggressor with genocidal ambitions - again and again, making an obscene and defamatory comparison between Israel's defensive military action to protect its people, and the killing of European Jews during the Holocaust.
Help us continue the fight against this dangerous incitement. Thank you in advance for your support on this important issue.


por rav Peter Tarlow

La parashá para esta semana se llama "tzav". Casi se puede verla como una continuación de la de la semana pasada. Encontrada en el Libro de Levítico 6:1-8:36, también trata de los código de sacrificios.
Como hemos visto antes, encontramos muchas indirectas acerca del significado de la parashá en su nombre. Tzav significa "mande" u "ordene". El uso del imperativo nos presenta varias preguntas. Por ejemplo; ¿hasta que punto podemos controlar las emociones ajenas? ¿Es posible controlar otra persona o incluso podemos controlarnos a nosotros mismos?
El sacrificio principal mencionado en esta parashá es lo que en hebreo se llama"Zevaj ha'Shelamin" o el sacrificio/oferta de paz y gratitud." La palabra"shelemim" es el plural de la palabra shalom, muchas veces mal traducida como la paz. Shalom en hebreo tiene muchas más acepciones que la palabra "paz" en castellano.
En español se define la paz como la ausencia de la guerra. Eh hebreo la guerra es la ausencia de shalom. Esta diferencia es mucho más profunda que nos aparezca. Por ejemplo, puede ser que dos personas no luchan pero esto no significa que disfrutan de un estado de shalom. Derivamos la palabra shalom de la raíz verbal "sh.l.m" que significa "cerrar el círculo, o estar satisfecho." Así shalom implica: "el acto de apreciar la belleza de la vida, la voluntad de estar agradecido por lo que uno tenga en vez de sufrir de la envida."
Sentir shalom es estar "completo" consigo mismo y con D'ós. Todá/agradecimiento es una parte de shalom. Estar agradecido es darse cuenta de que el mundo no nos debe nada, de que no gira alrededor de nosotros, y de que cada día es un regalo de D'ós/Si volvemos a leer el texto nos preguntemos si alguien puede exigir la gratitud o si la paz verdadera solo acontezca cuando aprendemos a apreciar la vida más que la muerte y cuando se da cuenta que la envidia nos destruye.

Rav Peter Tarlow es el rabino de Oneg Shabat, y director de la casa de Hillel de la Universidad de Texas A&M

Reflexión diaria

Oneg Shabat

Yehudah Ben Abraham

Cuando tu mano toca una olla caliente, ¿te enfadas con tus dedos?
Es la misma cosa que con amigos y amantes. Cuando existe algo doloroso en la unión que tenemos con otra persona, podemos enfadarnos con esa persona o ser responsables y preguntarnos a nosotros mismos qué es lo que estamos haciendo para crear esta separación.
Hoy, observa las áreas en tu vida donde estás experimentando una distancia entre tú y otra persona. Si la persona es alguien por quien vale la pena luchar, entonces mira dentro de ti y observa de dónde te tiene bien sujeto el ego.


Com o objectivo de incentivar as relações comerciais entre Portugal e Israel, contamos consigo para mais um almoço/palestra organizado pela Câmara de Comércio Luso-Israel, no dia 27 de Março, que terá lugar:

Hotel Sheraton na Rua Tenente Valadim, 146, Porto
Welcome drink pelas 12:30H Almoço/palestra pelas 13:00H

No almoço, estarão presentes como oradores principais:

Dr.Rafael Eidreich
Representante dos assuntos Económicos
Embaixada de Israel, Lisboa
Com o tema:
´´ Economia e perspectiva do mercado actual de Israel ´´
Dr. Luís Feijó, Shamir Portugal

e Dr. Tito Cunha, Shamir Israel
Administradores da Shamir Optical Industry

A Shamir Optical Industry Ltd. é uma das empresas líder a nível mundial, na Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento de lentes oftálmicas Progressivas, é uma empresa global, com sede em Israel e subsidiárias nos Estados Unidos e na Europa,
Com o tema:
“Visão económica e perspective da indústria médica”
Os meus cumprimentos,
Maria Martins
(Presidente CCL-I)

O valor do almoço é de 37,00€ para associados,
e 42,00€ para não – associados.

Israel e Vizinhos

André Moshe Pereira
Presidente Comunidade Judia Or Ahayim

O papel de Israel no contexto do Médio Oriente é vital.
Por ocasião do quinto aniversário da Presença no Iraque das forças multinacionais e especialmente das americanas e britânicas tem-se questionado o que originaria a má informação ou desinformação da detenção de armas de destruição maciça por parte dos iraquianos.

Tal não foi efectivamente demonstrado.

No entanto muitas coisas têm acarretado em termos de opinião pública a presença das forças estratégicas e de segurança norte-americanas no Iraque. Especialmente se o contexto duma violenta tirania for pensada como o ponto de partida para a reflexão sobre a mudança estrutural na esfera pública iraquiana.

Formação, revitalização dos sectores privados, queda e extermínio da ditadura, julgamento dos actos genocidários da comandita saddamista e retempero de forças no tabuleiro de forças sunitas e xiitas no interior da sociedade iraquiana.
A posição europeia especialmente a Mitteleurope é em geral profundamente avessa às iniciativas geoestratégicas do eixo atlântico. Compreendem-se genética e historicamente esses anticorpos.
No entanto, a sociedade encontra-se mais violenta mas mais consciente e determinada do caminho a seguir. Há efectivamente uma contra-identidade entre o Iraque e o Irão maioritariamente xiita embora do ponto de vista da política externa a lógica pan-arabista seja especiosamente anti-israelita. E é efectivamente este ponto que nos preocupa.
Abraham Joshua Heschel escreveu que ser ou não ser não era somente a questão mas como ser e como não ser é que é a questão essencial.
A questão de ser ou não ser é essencial e desse ponto de vista meramente ôntico revela-se um interesse político não despiciendo. Israel não tem a possibilidade de deixar correr para lá das vertentes de críticas de alguns países do Ocidente ou dos países árabes em particular, o conceito de denegação da sua existência. Mas mais ainda: não somente o mero conceito mas a possibilidade de submergirem a terra de Israel numa Guerra NBQ. Por isso tem o direito de tutelar face ao direito internacional e à sua mesma determinação e total soberania a legítima autodefesa.

Outra questão que se levanta é a questão da dúbia aventura de George W. Bush no Iraque. Cremos que a intenção subjacente a esta crítica revela dos oponentes, esp. dos Democratas, do presidente americano em gerir a sua força interna e em definir outro enquadramento da política americana global até certo ponto “desligada” dos interesses estratégicos e do acesso a matérias-primas vitais ao Ocidente no ponto de vista da economia. Será assim? A questão posterior é a quem aproveitaria esse laxismo.
Se esta penetração e permanência dos EUA no Iraque vieram garantir um novo médio Oriente com uma ordem mais estável, não é líquido, mas todavia não podemos aceitar que a ordem do regime medieval sunita anterior fosse melhor.

Israel não pode ter acções débeis na consumação da sua defesa independentemente do desenrolar da questão da presença aliada no Iraque. Temos a prova do que aconteceu no falhanço das IDF na Campanha do Líbano e como isso beneficiou o crescimento das forças inimigas de Israel sustentadas pela Síria e pelo Irão: o Hezbollah em termos de influência e poder. A guerra e as consequências inesperadas foram extra exacerbadas pela resposta americana ou pela falta dela.

Tem que haver, pensamos, uma advocacia pela tolerância religiosa, pela implantação de regimes democráticos no Médio Oriente segundo regras funcionais e adaptativas e pela preservação de custos humanos na implementação duma ordem pacífica e de coexistência e reconhecimento mútuo como as teses desenvolvidas historicamente por Louis Brandeis, e os Rabinos Abba Hillel Silver e Stephen Wise a respeito do fundamento cultural histórico judaico e do mesmo Ocidente na região: Israel. E isso impõe a preservação da herança cultural judaica e das outras que cremos os EUA não tem dissolvido mas assegurado ao contrário do que fez Saddam com os Curdos e xiitas e outras minorias e dissidências políticas.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Gateway to Judaism" PURIM

Rabino Mordechai Becher

Excerpt from "Gateway to Judaism" - The What, How, and Why of Jewish Life(ArtScroll)
The Purim story begins about 900 years after the Exodus from Egypt. The Jews had been living in Israel continually, since they first entered with Joshua. For 410 years, King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem had been the focal point of Jewish spiritual and national life in Israel. The first major tragedy that the Jews of this era experienced was the division of the country into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judea. The northern kingdom was populated by ten of the twelve tribes. It was eventually invaded by the Assyrians under Sennacherib, who exiled the Jews. Sennacherib's policy of forced exile and assimilation directly caused the loss of the ten tribes to the Jewish people.
Less than a hundred years later, the Jews were dealt another terrible blow. This time, the Babylonian Empire under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel, destroyed the Temple1 and exiled almost all the remaining tribes (Judah, Benjamin, the Priests and the Levites) to Babylon (modern day Iraq -- two weeks by camel, seven minutes by Scud).
Jeremiah the prophet had warned the Jewish people that there would be destruction and exile,2 but he also predicted that the Jews would return to Israel and rebuild the Temple and their homeland. Jeremiah even put a date on the return, declaring that the Temple would be rebuilt 70 years after its destruction.3 Nevertheless, there were many who did not believe that they would ever return to Israel, and felt that this exile signified the end of the special relationship between God and the Jewish people.4 The Jews quickly became acclimated to the condition of exile and built a well organized Jewish community in Babylon and neighboring Persia (modern day Iran).
Persian Nights
The Persian Empire eventually took over Babylon, and a military leader by the name of Achashverosh5 usurped the throne and became the supreme ruler of the Persian Empire.6 Based on a miscalculation, he believed that the 70-year deadline of Jeremiah's prediction had already passed, and that the Jews must therefore be doomed to remain in exile.7 Since the Jews had outlived all previous empires (Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians and Babylonians) except his own, he became convinced that his was the eternal empire. In his mind, the permanent exile of the Jews was an indication of his empire's immortality.8
To celebrate this permanent victory, he threw a colossal party in classic sultanate style, using the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Temple in Jerusalem.9 Even more tragic than the party itself, was the fact that the Jews in the capital city, Shushan, also participated in Achashverosh's celebration, over the strong objections of their religious leadership. The Talmud states that it was this sin that caused the subsequent, nearly fatal, threat to the Jewish people.10
Haman's Final Solution
One of the most ancient and persistent enemies of the Jewish people was the nation of Amalek,11 the first enemy to attack the Jews after the Exodus from Egypt. A descendant of the Amalekites, Haman, had ascended to the position of "prime minister" of the Persian Empire.12 This rabid anti-Semite planned an empire-wide pogrom to eliminate the Jewish people. He chose the date for this mass murder by casting lots. In Persian, the word for lot is pur. The plural form is Purim, hence the name of the holiday.
The heroine of the Purim story is Esther, a devout Jewish woman who was forcibly taken as a wife for Achashverosh. She and her uncle Mordechai, one of the religious leaders of that generation, were instrumental in saving the Jewish people from annihilation. After uniting the Jewish nation in repentance and prayer, they set about exposing Haman's plot to the king. Haman and his equally wicked sons were executed when Achashverosh learned that he had planned to kill Queen Esther's nation. The Jews were permitted to defend themselves against their enemies on the appointed day for annihilation, and were totally victorious. Mordechai and Esther recorded the events of Purim in the prophetically inspired Megillat Esther (literally, Scroll of Esther).13 The Megillah is read publicly on the night and day of the Purim festival.
Three years after the events of Purim, King Darius, the son of Esther and Achashverosh, allowed the Jewish people to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple.14 The Temple was rebuilt exactly 70 years after its destruction, as predicted by Jeremiah.
The Hidden Hand
On Purim we celebrate the fact that the hand of God guides us, even at times when we do not see open miracles or obvious Divine intervention.
Although it became part of the Bible, known in English as the Book of Esther, the account never mentions the name of God, though there are veiled allusions. This surprising omission actually reflects a central theme of this holiday. On Purim we celebrate the fact that the hand of God guides us, even at times when we do not see open miracles or obvious Divine intervention. When we read the Megillah, we are not awestruck by dramatic changes in the laws of nature, but by a series of seemingly disconnected events that ultimately resulted in the salvation of the Jewish people. Achashverosh executed his first wife and chose the beautiful Esther as his new queen. These are not miracles, but behavior to be expected from a despotic king. Nor was it a miracle that Mordechai once saved the king from an assassination plot, thereby earning his gratitude. Each event, in and of itself, was not miraculous or even exceptional. When seen in retrospect however, the series of events is seen as engineered from Above for the purpose of evoking repentance from the Jewish people and then saving them from danger.
This theme of allusion may also be the reason behind the custom of wearing costumes on Purim.15 The masks and costumes show that truth always lies beneath the surface, that the physical world conceals the true spiritual reality.
Anyone who is familiar with Jewish history can see the Purim pattern repeated over and over again. The fact that Judaism and the Jewish people have survived for 3,300 years is, in and of itself, not miraculous. More significantly, our survival was not merely physical, but cultural as well. We still use the Hebrew language, we read and study the Torah, we immerse in the same type of mikvah (ritual pool), as that used at Masada 2,000 years ago.16 We put on the same type of tefillin (phylacteries) that were worn in Qumran 1,700 years ago.17
Anti-Semites have attempted to eradicate us physically and culturally, missionaries have tried to convert us, while others have tried to tempt us into assimilation, but we still exist as a distinct group. We do not look different from the surrounding populations and we have not been geographically isolated, yet we stand apart. Twice in history, we were brutally exiled from our Land and we returned twice: once after the Babylonian Exile and once in contemporary times with the establishment of the State of Israel and the incredible ingathering of Jews from all over the world to our Land.
Purim, therefore, is the prototype for Jewish survival during exile.
If all this is not sufficient evidence of Divine Providence, consider the fact that all of these events were predicted by the Torah over 3,000 years ago: the destruction of Israel and the return to Israel, the worldwide exile, anti-Semitism and the eternity of the Torah are described in the following passages.
...I will make the land desolate; and your foes who dwell upon it will be desolate.18...I will scatter you among the nations, I will unsheath the sword after you; your land will be desolate and your cities will be in ruin. ...You will call forth amazement, reproach and scorn from all the nations to which God leads you.19...Indeed it is a nation that dwells alone, and is not counted among the nations.20...And the Lord your God shall return you from your captivity and have compassion upon you; and He shall return and gather you from among all the nations to which the Lord your God has scattered you. ... And the Lord your God shall bring you into the Land that your fathers inherited.21...And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles have befallen them, that this song [the Torah] shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten in the mouths of their children.22
Purim, therefore, is the prototype for Jewish survival during exile. The Divine Providence hidden in apparently random events has ensured that we have survived, and even thrived, in the face of continual threats to our existence. Purim demonstrates the fulfillment of God's promise to the Jewish people that:
...despite all this, while they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not despise them nor will I reject them to obliterate them, to annul My Covenant with them -- for I am the Lord, their God.23
Eat, Drink and Be Merry -- We Almost Died
While the events of Chanukah were principally a threat to our spiritual survival, Purim recalls a threat to the physical existence of the Jewish people. Haman attempted to physically destroy every Jewish man, woman and child. We celebrate our deliverance from this threat with mitzvoth that focus on the physical.24 We give money to the poor and gifts of food to our friends; we eat a festive meal and drink wine.25
Giving gifts to one another also promotes unity among the Jewish people. When first proposing his evil plot to Achashverosh, Haman described the Jewish people as a "scattered and dispersed nation."26 He did not mean only that we were geographically dispersed, but that we were not unified, and thus would be easy prey for our enemies.27 (On a spiritual level, we also understand this to mean that when the Jewish people are disunited, God does not protect them fully. National unity brings about spiritual wholeness and closeness to God.) To counteract this situation, the Sages decreed that we must be concerned with the welfare and friendship of our fellow Jews. We strengthen Jewish unity by giving gifts to the poor, food to our friends, and by celebrating together with festive meals.28
Celebrating Under the Influence
One of the most peculiar laws of Purim is the obligation to drink wine, and even become intoxicated. As the Talmud states, "A person is obligated to become inebriated on Purim, until he does not know the difference between 'Blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman.'"29 Excessive drinking is frowned upon by Jewish law,30 yet here it appears that the law specifically advocates drinking! Clearly, a person may not become so drunk that he loses control of himself and acts or speaks inappropriately;31 nevertheless, he is obligated to become slightly intoxicated.32
Some commentaries explain that the purpose of the drinking is to remind us that the Purim miracles happened as a result of intoxication -- Achashverosh became drunk at the feast, which resulted in the execution of Vashti, his queen. Esther invited Achashverosh and Haman to a drinking party, which resulted in the hanging of Haman and the salvation of the Jewish people.33 Since drinking also has the effect of dulling the intellectual and emphasizing the physical aspects of an individual, it is a fitting way to show that the physical component, rather than the intellectual or spiritual, of the Jewish nation was threatened by its enemies on Purim.34
Consuming alcohol mirrors the events of Purim in another way as well. Drinking lowers one's inhibitions and amplifies emotions. Intoxication causes a person to reveal elements of his inner self that are usually hidden.35 What transpired on Purim revealed the love of God for the Jewish people and His Divine Providence, both of which had been concealed during the time of the Persian Exile.
Yom Kippur -- A Day Like Purim?
One of the greatest of Jewish mystics, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria,36 points out that the Biblical term for the Day of Atonement, Yom Kipurim,37 can also be read as Yom KePurim, meaning "a day like Purim." On the surface this seems illogical -- there are no two days that appear less similar than the solemn fast of Yom Kippur and the boisterous, joyful celebrations of Purim! Moreover, the implication of this statement is that Purim is the greater of the two days. Yom Kippur is compared to Purim, as if Yom Kippur were but a lesser example of the Purim archetype.38
A deeper look at the purpose of these two holidays will help us understand their relationship to each other. There are two ways to become close to God: the path of awe and fear, and the path of love and joy. Both are necessary and both play important roles in Judaism. Generally, the various prohibitions in the Torah reflect the relationship of awe and reticence, while the positive obligations reflect the relationship of love and reaching out to God.39
Yom Kippur, with its prohibitions against eating, drinking and other physical pleasures, represents the path of awe and fear of God.40 An individual stops his life, completely ignores the physical side of his being and focuses only on the spiritual. One can achieve clarity of perception on Yom Kippur by subduing the interference and static of the physical world.
Purim, on the other hand, provides a path to God through love and joy. Purim teaches us that one can achieve an even higher level of connection to God and clarity of perception through the feelings of love than through feelings of fear and awe. Thus, Yom Kippur is like Purim, but not quite Purim, because the love of God is more powerful than the fear of God.41
Excerpt from "
Gateway to Judaism" -- The What, How, and Why of Jewish Life (ArtScroll)
References to books of the Talmud refer to the Babylonian Talmud unless otherwise noted.1. Circa 422 B.C.E. or 3338 in the Jewish calendar.2. Jeremiah 7:32-34, chaps. 8-9.3. Jeremiah 25:11-13; 29:10.4. Isaiah 49:14; 50:1.5. Achashverosh II was king of Media and Persia. He became emperor after the death of Cyrus, although he was not of royal descent.6. Rashi, Book of Esther, 1:1.7. Megillah 11b.8. Ibid. 19a.9. Ibid.10. Ibid. 12a.11. Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19.12. Book of Esther 3:1.13.Megillah 7a.14. Ibid. 12a.15. Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 695:8, Ramah.16. Yigal Yadin, Masada, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1966, pp. 164-167.17. Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem.18. Leviticus 26:32 -33.19. Deuteronomy 28:37.20. Numbers 23:9.21. Deuteronomy 30:3-5.22. Ibid. 31:21; Rashi ad loc.; Shabbat 138b.23. Leviticus 26:44; Megillah 11a.24. Levush Malchut, Orach Chaim, 670.25. Book of Esther 9:22.26. Ibid. 3:8.27. Midrash Rabbahh, Vayikra 26:2; Midrash Tanchuma, Bamidbar, Parshat Chukat 4.28. Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz, Shnei Luchot Habrit, Parshat Tetzaveh, Drush 4.29. Megillah 7b.30. Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah, Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Sanhedrin 70a, 71b, 72a.31. Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim, 695:2, Biur Halachah ad loc.32. Ibid. Ramah and Mishnah Berurah ad loc.33. Ibid.34. Maharal, Ohr Chadash, Introduction.35. Eruvin 65a; Sanhedrin 38a; Eruvin 65b.36. Known as the AriZ"al. Lived in Safed, Israel, in the 17th century.37. Leviticus 23:28.38. Ta’anit 7a.39. Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah, Exodus 20:8.40. Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz, Shnei Luchot Habrit, Masechet Rosh Hashanah, Torah Ohr (14).41. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Michtav M’Eliyahu, Vol. 2 pp. 123-125; Nachmanides, ibid.

Parshas Vayikra

Rabino Aron Tendler

Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading:
Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
1st & 2nd & 3rd Aliyot: The instructions for offering a "Oleh" - burnt offering (fully consumed on the Alter) is detailed. This offering could be brought from a bull, or male sheep or goat. The less expensive "Oleh", using a Turtle Dove or common dove, is described. The Mincha, an offering made from baked, fried, or deep fried matzoh type crackers is detailed.
4th Aliya: The Korban Shlomim - the peace offering, brought from male or female cattle, sheep, and goats is described.
5th Aliya: This aliya describes this Korban Chatas - the sin offering. Three unique sin offerings are described:
1. When the High Priest sinned 2. If the King sinned 3. If the entire nation sinned because of a wrong ruling by the Sanhedrin - Hi gh Court. Note: A Korban Chatas could only be offered if the sin was unintentional.
6th & 7th Aliyot: The Korban Chatas of a commoner is detailed, as well as the specifics of the Korban Asham - the guilt offering. This Korban was offered in instances where intentional wrong doing was implicated; such as not fulfilling an assumed oath, or doing something questionable without first ascertaining the law. Additionally, a type of Asham was offered in instances of dishonesty and swearing falsely.
Summary of The Maftir:Maftir Zachor
This week, in addition to the regular Parsha, we read Parshas Zachor. Parshas Zachor is the 2nd of the four special Shabbosim preceding Pesach when additional portions are read from the Torah. The first special Shabbos was Parshas Shekalim. This week we read Zachor, and in a few weeks we will read Parah and Chodesh. There are set rules which determine when each of these additional Parshios is to be read. Parshas Zachor is always read on the Shabbos before Purim.
On Parshas Zachor, we read the additional Parsha found in Devarim, 25:17. As a nation, we were commanded to destroy the nation of Amalek. This nation came into existence at the same time as we did. Esav's son Elifaz had a son Amalek. Esav and Elifaz's legacy to Amalek was an undying hatred against the children of Yakov.
At the time of the exodus from Egypt, Amalek traveled hundreds of miles to ambush the newly freed nation in the hope of destroying them. We, as a nation, did not pose any threat to their sovereignty. They lived to the east of Canaan and were not among the Seven Nations occupying Eretz Yisroel. Nevertheless, their irrational hatred against Hashem and us compelled them to attack a harmless and seemingly defenseless nation. In the aftermath of their attack we were commanded to always remember the evil that is Amalek. It is the reading of this Parsha that is the fulfillment of this Biblical commandment. This mitzvah, according to most authorities, is not restricted by time and must be fulfilled by men and woman.
The Rabbi's selected the Shabbos before Purim for the fulfillment of this Mitzvah because Haman was a direct descendent of Amalek, and Mordecai was a direct descendent of King Saul. The entire story of Purim is directly linked to this Mitzvah and the missed opportunity of King Saul that we read about in the Haftorah.
Summary of The Haftorah:Haftorah ZachorShmuel I - 15:2
This week's Haftorah takes place 2,873 years ago. In the year 2883 - 878 b.c.e. King Shaul was sent by G-d to destroy the nation of Amalek. Agag was their king, and it was a singular moment in history when every member of Amalek was in one place at the same time. Shaul, as per Shmuel Hanavi's instructions, was successful in destroying Amalek. However, as the Haftorah clearly states, Shaul had mercy and allowed the king, Agag, to remain alive, as well as the captured cattle. The commentaries state that in the interim, Agag was able to impregnate a maidservant, from which the nation of Amalek would survive. Hashem told Shmuel that Shaul's neglect of His command to totally destroy Amalek must result in Shaul loosing the right to be king. Despite Shmuel's prayers for mercy, Hashem didn't relent, and Shmuel went to tell Shaul of G-d's punishment.
The connection to Purim is well documented. Haman is called, "the Agagi". He was a direct descendent of Agag. In ascer taining Hashem's mercy and justice, we are forced to acknowledge our limited understanding. The notion of killing men woman and children is thankfully foreign and abhorrent to us. Nevertheless, Shaul was commanded to eradicate the entire nation.
The Haftorah identifies Shaul's sin in not fulfilling G-d's commandment as misplaced mercy. Had he known that, 521 years later, his merciful act would result in the potential extermination of the entire Jewish people, Shaul would not have had mercy on Agag and the cattle. It is the responsibility of a king to think beyond the immediate and do what has to be done to guarantee the future of his nation. Being that no single human can ever guarantee the future, he has no choice but to listen to Hashem's commandments and do as he is told. That insures the future.
The message of Purim is the story of our Haftorah. Hashem works His miracles through the normal passage of time. Actions done today set in motion ripples in time that radiate far into the future.
May today's celebration of Purim set in motion the redemption of tomorrow!

A felicidade e o privilégio

Andre Moshe Pereira

Pres. Or Ahayim

Ao Rav Dovid Oppenheimer, Mestre e Guia, Pelo auxílio prestado à Or Ahayim

Hashem reina, Ele está vestido com majestade.

Da psicanálise procuramos o étimo de felicidade.
Se os bens materiais básicos estiverem plenamente satisfeitos seremos felizes?
Os bens materiais podem ser satisfeitos mas o próprio excesso de consumo engendrar a infelicidade.
Alguns autores proclamam a necessidade da experiência da penúria – não há café depois não há peixe, finalmente não há rádio nem televisão.
Essa experiência lembra às pessoas a vontade de poderem sobreviver com o pouco que possuem. A vida continua. A vida é bela. Mas trágica às vezes.
Isso todavia não autoriza a gramática do interior em que cada um se refugia como forma de isolamento.
Tudo o que corre mal é normalmente para as mentes mórbidas imputável ao outro. O que é o outro? O outro é o partido, o marido, a mulher, a empresa, os pais, o cão e o gato, o tempo, a Madonna, a vida, a memória, a lembrança, o rio e o mar, a força e a debilidade, o grego e o troiano, a paz e a guerra, o sentimento e a razão e a nossa própria sombra.
Para a compreensão deste tipo de leitura precisamos de ver o quanto o desejo é de facto a força que obriga as pessoas a irem mais longe: mais longe, pensamos, para chegarem a um sistema onde decididamente a maioria é mais infeliz.
Ora a felicidade segundo SZ e Alain Badiou é uma categoria do ser e dificilmente da verdade. A felicidade é confusa, indeterminada e inconsistente… a felicidade não é um fim em si como procura revelar o cristianismo em geral.
A actividade política – (a política autista e prepotentemente invasora dos direitos sociais e políticos pela ministra da Educação Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues é um sinal de felicidade da ministra – uma espécie de actividade religiosa: crê que pode em nome da decisão pura e “omnipotente”, cindir, desfazer e refazer uma escola pública -- cada vez mais desfasada dos seus fins e competências e genericamente sem qualidade -- sem os protagonistas especializados (os docentes) ou contra eles a favor dos decisores ministeriais burocratas “reconcentracionários” do ministério da justiça e da educação ou da força social local com interesses instrumentais (autarquias) ou genéticos (pais) – essa é pois uma dessas experiências. Este é um princípio de prazer do Estado que só pode ser moderado pelos ajustamentos da acção que contrariem o gospel de felicidade ou o taoísmo acrítico das emendas no sistema de ensino que começam a meio dum ano irénico.

Outra maneira de entender a felicidade é a incapacidade ou indisponibilidade do sujeito de se confrontar plenamente com o seu desejo. Eu posso desejar algo do meu desejo que na realidade não desejo: fico assim entalado na inconsistência do desejo.
Desejamos algo que nos acontece e que nos é doado oficialmente. A felicidade de sonharmos, com dadas coisas, que não desejamos verdadeiramente. A defesa do interesse público das escolas ou da televisão, do pleno emprego etc., nunca serão satisfeitas pelo sistema capitalista: são apenas pedidos endereçados por determinados actores políticos para desmascarar a impotência do Estado. Outro lado da questão não é tanto o pedido da satisfação plena ou da estratégia de resolução dos males societais mas a dúvida sobre a seriedade sobre aqueles que tal exigem, ou seja, a sua fraca vontade de verem esses direitos realizados.

O privilégio de determinados pedidos ou exigências assenta na congruência de eles não serem nunca realizados. O capitalismo é a outra face do radicalismo de esquerda. Se apostarmos desta forma sabemos que a distância entre o que se diz e que se faz pode unicamente ser vencida se o realismo e a impossibilidade se harmonizarem. Ora isso nunca sucede. Dessa forma os mais críticos do sistema capitalista especialmente os universitários de esquerda são os que mais gozam plenamente dos privilégios que o sistema nos oferece.
Entre uma pulsão de saber e a natureza inata da curiosidade humana existe uma natureza espontânea do homem que assenta na resistência humana à vontade de saber mais. O verdadeiro progresso do conhecimento pode elidir a ilusão romântica da felicidade: qualquer verdadeiro progresso no saber e na consciência se obtém pelo combate doloroso contra essa propensão espontânea de resistência. Ou outro de mim assoberba aí a minha condição de assujeitamento do saber e não de vontade em dominar o que se concebe como elo ou correia mecânica.
Edith Wharton no final de A Idade da Inocência explica ZiZek quando intui em Jacques Lacan o saber do saber do Outro e explica como é complexo no meio humano o conhecimento que vem de fora e essa espontânea resistência pelo ocultamento: “o marido, que toda a vida alimentou uma paixão culpada pela condessa Olenska, fica a saber que a sua jovem esposa estava desde o início ao corrente da natureza secretamente apaixonada da sua relação”. As dificuldades de autonomia e responsabilidade são as mais complexas quando heteronomamente implicam o outro de mim. Mesmo que me escorracem do palácio me desterrem da terra me deportem da língua que sempre me acompanhou não me importo; mas quando me separaste de ti, os meus ossos apagaram-se, as chamas vivas abrasam-me: eu estou expulso de mim (Vd. Judah al-Haziri)

Piety or Stupidity? Mishna 10

Chapter 2, Mishnas 10-11(b)
Rabino Dovid Rosenfeld

"Rabban Yochanan ben (son of) Zakkai had five [primary] students. They were: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkenos, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya, Rabbi Yossi the Priest, Rabbi Shimon ben Nesanel, and Rabbi Elazar ben Arach."
Mishna 11
"He used to enumerate their praises: R. Eliezer ben Hurkenos is a cemented pit which never loses a drop; R. Yehoshua ben Chananya - fortunate is she who bore him; R. Yossi the Priest is pious; R. Shimon ben Nesanel fears sin; and R. Elazar ben Arach is as an increasing river."
In the previous class we discussed the trait of R. Yehoshua and the role his mother played in his development. This week we turn to R. Yossi, whom his teacher described as pious.
What does it mean to be "pious" ("chassid" in Hebrew)? (The term is used today to refer to a member of any of the many branches of Chassidus, but the term itself is nondenominational, referring to the trait of piety itself.) I'm actually not sure if a clear picture comes to mind. Certainly piety implies more than just one who observes the mitzvos (commandments) well. Somehow it implies one who goes beyond the basic requirements -- someone in a class of his own, almost untouched by the ordinary and mundane. But a precise definition still does not really emerge. What must one actually do to be branded a chassid? Does the chassid do more mitzvos, extra mitzvos, harder mitzvos?
Before we move on, it is important to establish what chassidus (piety) is *not*. R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto lived in the early 18th Century, shortly before the advent of the Chassidic movement. In his classic ethical work _The Path of the Just_ (Ch 18), he bemoans that many in his day had a very skewed image of chassidus. There were many who took it to mean self- mortification -- fasting, immersing oneself in snow and ice, wailing out loud, and reciting lengthy confessions. Such people, complained R. Luzzatto, not only entirely missed the point themselves, but sullied the image of piety in the eyes of the masses -- causing them to believe piety consists of -- in his words, "empty acts or acts which run contrary to common sense."
Although, continues R. Luzzatto, there is some room within Judaism for some degree of mortification -- for the penitent or those who are attempting to gain control of their passions -- that is at best a small aspect of Judaism and chassidus, and should in no way be confused with the true thing. As we've pointed out many times in the past, Judaism does not see suffering and affliction as ideals. If the Torah way of life is the ideal, it brings fulfillment to the soul and body alike. (What followed from this misconception was the advent of Chassidus and later the Mussar (ethics) Movement in the Lithuanian world to reintroduce Israel to true piety and character development.)
There is an important lesson for us even from this warped view of chassidus. As my teacher R. Yochanan Zweig ( observed, people love doing hard and painful acts. We love sacrificing ourselves and making ourselves suffer for our beliefs; it makes us feel so "pious". You know that great feeling you get after doing painful karate or aerobics stretches? It feels good hurting yourself for good reason (even if only marginally good -- but we become convinced we're doing good if it hurts enough...).
And for better or worse, our souls work in the exact same manner. We love sacrificing ourselves for our religion. We'd far prefer not having to think -- making intelligent choices how to best serve our G-d. We'd rather just give ourselves over to G-d, turn our brains off, and become mindless devotees, doing acts we are told are holy no matter how ludicrous and counterintuitive. Hurting ourselves makes us feel we're doing something great -- it makes no difference if that act makes the slightest bit of sense or not. But a part of us wants to roll in the snow just as the ignoramuses of R. Luzzatto's time. Brainless, content-free piety. I don't want to do the truly hard stuff -- become a thinking, caring human being, who serves his Creator in the most meaningful way possible (this of course requiring a lot of careful planning and responsible decision-making on my part). I just want the easy way out -- empty, slavish self-affliction for my G-d. And if it hurts, it must be piou s.
(I don't mean to belabor the above point, but the suicide bombers of today are only a more extreme version of this same tendency. I want to kill myself for G-d. I don't want the much greater challenge of living for my G-d -- of being responsible for and making the most of my own life, and of making my own decisions in service of my Creator. I want the fast track, the easy way out: destroying myself -- and somehow in the process ending up with a great big harem in the sky.)
Now let us take a few moments to describe piety as the commentators do. It is really the flip-side of the above. Maimonides (elaborated) describes the chassid as one who does not only do good acts, but one who has refined his character to the extent that he does not want to act differently. R. Yonah and many others describe the chassid as one who goes beyond the letter of the law -- in both his dealings with others and with G-d. R. Luzzatto likewise describes the chassid as one whose love for G-d is so great that he does not only do what G-d specifically commands, but anticipates what G-d would want him to do and what would please his G-d -- as well as his fellow man. R. Luzzatto compares it to a devoted spouse or child, who does not only do what his spouse or parent asks, but does any job in the house he knows the other would want done. Maybe my spouse could use some help with the household chores or would appreciate a small gift. Maybe I'll take the extra turn changing the baby's diaper. His love for the other is so strong he looks for ways to serve the other rather than having to be asked -- even once.
Our theme is thus that the chassid is not only one who serves his Creator, but one who wants to serve Him. He has developed himself to the degree that G-d's wants become his own, his life-driving force is making G- d happy. And he will go well beyond the letter of the law and look for any means of making this happen.
Thus far we have provided only the bare-bones definition of chassidus. I'd like to next begin to introduce the entire world that opens up to the person on this level. As we will see G-d willing next week, chassidus is not simply a matter of doing more or better, but introduces an entirely new plane in our service of G-d.

Tzipi Livni

Address by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni to a special session of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

12 March 2008

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your warm introduction, and even more for your generous invitation to come to this House, and to address the members of this extraordinary Legislature.

This year we celebrate Israel's sixtieth anniversary, and it is a particular honor for me to mark this important event in this historic chamber, where principles of democracy, freedom and justice play such an important role, and have such a widespread impact.

On the same day Israel was born, we stated in the declaration of independence: "We extend our hands to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The state of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East." These words represent our values, our hopes and our aspirations.

As we chose the path of peace, so we embraced the principles of democracy as our moral compass. I am proud to represent here today, the State of Israel, its values and its achievements.

I know that sometimes, from a distance, there is a gap between the image of Israel and the reality of Israel. I hope that my visit to Boston, will contribute to the understanding of the real Israel and the complex reality that we face.

Mr. Speaker,

Our two nations have so much in common. We share the same commitment for democracy, for pluralism and for tolerance. We share a common devotion to humanity, and to respecting diversity. The commonwealth and Israel have in common our leadership roles in the life sciences, in health care, and in technology.

Like the Pilgrims who traveled here on the deck of the Mayflower, so were the pioneers who came in ships from Europe and other nations to re-establish the Jewish state in the land of Israel. Those pioneers courageously fulfilled the Jewish people's dream of returning to their homeland after thousands of years in exile.

And now, in the 21st century, we both have become important centers of innovation and creativity. Indeed, we have become natural partners in research and development, in clean and renewable energy, and in a wide range of technologies.

We are pleased with the initiative of this Legislature in promoting joint research opportunities and ongoing scientific exchanges between the commonwealth and Israel, and we are grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for your leadership in this regard.

Part of the common bond that joins our two peoples is that we both long for peace. The desire for peace lies at the core of the Jewish tradition, and of our national aspiration. I can assure you that it is the main goal of the Government of Israel, and it is my personal mission as the Foreign Minister of that government and the chief negotiator with the Palestinians, to find a way, somehow, to make that peace a reality.

Painfully, our two nations have also shared the anguish of seeing terror's cruel effects up close and first hand. Many Americans lost family members and friends in the brutal terrorist attack launched against the United States on September 11th. We understand and share the shock, the anger and the grief. In Israel, not a single day goes by without attacks against our civilians. Only last week, eight teenagers who were studying Talmud, were murdered in the heart of Jerusalem.

The same extreme ideology and manipulation of religion that was behind the horrific attacks on the twin towers in New York, also threatens to spoil the peace that Israel, the United States, and many moderates throughout the region, so much desire.

Understanding the nature of the threats we face, is the first step in overcoming them. We should realize that the major players in today's terror arena are no longer small, un-organized militias.

Today we see very structured organizations like Hamas, Hizbullah, and Islamic Jihad, who enjoy the support - in the form of finance, training and equipment - of Iran. These organizations are more than terrorist organizations - they have an extreme religious ideology that they want to spread. These extremists exploit our very own values to promote an agenda of hate. They do not fight for any legitimate right, but to deprive others of their rights.

It is a challenge to all of us, members of the free world. It is about defending our own values. Together with concrete steps that need to be taken, we should present a clear voice of moral standing.

The phrase "One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" is wrong. I believe that terrorism is terrorism is terrorism, and who ever goes intentionally after women and children, is certainly not a freedom fighter. Hamas terrorists deliberately target kindergartens, hospitals and civilians. They use the most inhuman, vicious methods - sending suicide bombers to our schools and shopping malls, and firing dozens of missiles each day into our cities.

The fight against terrorism puts us, both soldiers and decision-makers, in some very complicated dilemmas every day, but first and foremost, it is our responsibility to defend our citizens.

I want to make it absolutely clear; we don't want to punish innocent people. The death of a child - any child, Palestinian or Israeli - is a terrible loss. But there should be a moral distinction between those who conduct suicide missions deliberately against women and children and those who do their best to avoid hurting the innocent, even if sometimes it happens in the midst of the battle. There should be a distinction as well between those who glorify death, Jihad and martyrdom, on one hand, and those who cherish life and humanity, on the other.

While we cannot ignore the terrorism and extremism around us, I believe that we can never abandon the hope for peace. This is our basic obligation to our children and to the people of Israel. We are determined to continue our quest to reach peace with those on the Palestinian side who are committed to dialogue and coexistence and who has embraced - as we have - the vision of two states for two peoples. We are eager to explore opportunities for peace with those who have decided to renounce terror and violence, and truly represent a national aspiration and not an agenda of hatred.

Those who think that the conflict is driven by an Israeli desire to hold onto territories - are totally wrong. This may be a perception that some seek to promote, but it is not the reality. The people of Israel came to terms with the need to compromise for peace. Our aspiration as a nation is to realize its values as a Jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace with its neighbors.

Controlling another people is not our desire, our interest or our policy. On the contrary: We want the Palestinian people to have a viable, secure and prosperous existence in a state of their own. This is not just a Palestinian aspiration - it is an Israeli interest, as long as it doesn't put Israel in danger.

Several times in our short history, we have withdrawn from territories to give a chance for peace. At great pain and great risk, we uprooted families from Gaza in the hope of a new beginning, though unfortunately we received terror in return.
And today, despite all the risks, we remain ready for the historical reconciliation which is based on compromises by both sides. We need to know that our partners are ready for compromises as well. And we need to know that just as a Palestinian state is an Israeli interest, so Israeli security is a Palestinian interest.

Israel made a strategic decision to negotiate with the pragmatic Palestinians for peace. It is not easy to do so under terror that leads people to loss of faith in the process.

Mr. Speaker,

President John F. Kennedy, who was born not far from here, once said, and I quote: "Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures."

For me the true meaning of the peace process is not to have a final decision or judgment between the two historical narratives. It is rather about building a common ground for the future, and reaching an understanding based on the mutual willingness to compromise and to give up on some of both sides' dreams.

Two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security is not a vague slogan, but a real necessity for the stability in the entire region. Each state should provide the solution to the national aspiration of its people: Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, and the creation of a Palestinian state as a fulfillment of their national desire.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are many who would like to see the flames of fire in the Middle East grow higher. When the Iranian regime denies the Holocaust, calls for a destruction of a fellow state, supports terror and violence - while pursuing a nuclear weapon - it must be stopped.

The truth is - no matter how much all of us may want peace and no matter how much we may be willing to sacrifice for it - we will not achieve peace unless we also have the courage to confront its enemies.

There are still many tools in the tool box that the international community has at its disposal. But the clock is ticking. The United Nations and the international community at large have recognized that economic sanctions on Iran, especially on Iran's energy sector, are the best means to persuade Iran to change its dangerous course.

We must increase the pressure on the Iranian leadership now, if we want to avoid difficult dilemmas in the future. And each and every one of us has the responsibility and the capability to do something.

Mr. Speaker and dear friends:

Sixty years after fulfilling our dream of creating a national homeland for the Jewish people, we take pride and satisfaction at what we have accomplished. Israel is a beautiful place to live in. A gathering of different ethnic groups which came from the four corners of the world to create a wonderful human mosaic. It is a tiny place, with no natural resources whatsoever, that has become, thanks to its human capital - a flourishing state which assist and support many developing countries around the globe.

At the same time, we know that our journey is far from complete. Nothing is more fundamental to our success than to live in peace with our neighbors.

We are grateful to you for your role in our achievements and for our work together as innovators and defenders of our common values. Your friendship means more to every Israeli than you can imagine. In the name of the State and the people of Israel - thank you and shalom.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Dov Oppenheimer


Porto, 3 de Março de 2008,

A Or Ahayim
Comunidade judia Or Ahayim

Tem a honra de informar

Seus membros e amigos

Na Fundação para o Desenvolvimento Social do Porto a realização na quarta-feira 5 de Março pelas 21 horas duma reunião em torno da Cultura, Judaísmo e Modernidade na Quinta da Bonjóia com o Rabino Oppenheimer de Illinois, EUA.