Thursday, January 28, 2010

Staying in the World




Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld


Staying in the World 

Chapter 4, Mishna 28

"Rabbi Elazar HaKappar said: Jealousy, lust and the [pursuit of] honor remove a person from the world."

This mishna bears a strong resemblance to a much earlier one --
www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter2-16.html">Chapter 2, Mishna 16. We learned there: "Rabbi Yehoshua said: An evil eye, the evil inclination, and hatred of others remove a person from the world." Here too, R. Elazar lists three qualities which have the same catastrophic effects on a man's life -- and the qualities map almost precisely to the earlier ones. A person ruled by jealousy has an "evil eye" towards others who are better off, begrudging them their fortune and successes. A lustful person, whether for money or worldly pleasures, becomes slave to his evil inclination. And last, one who craves honor will soon come to actual hatred of others. He will care first and foremost about himself and the recognition he receives. Anyone who has the chutzpah to be worth something on his own and detract from his own ho nor -- which is of course basically everyone -- will earn the honor-seeker's resentment and ultimately hatred.

It seems that our mishna is dealing with underlying character flaws, while the earlier mishna discussed their evil manifestations. Either way, the resultant behavior will be the same:"removing a person from the world."

All of this raises an interesting question. Our mishna is very harsh on such people. The world cannot so much as suffer their existence. And that's far worse than the run-of-the-mill sinner. We all sin, but somehow the world puts up with us. G-d is merciful; He is not so quick to "remove sinners from the world." He gives us a little time to come to our senses and repent.

But these guys are granted no such grace. Their traits are so self-destructive as to actively remove them from this world. And this is interesting: such people are not even really "sinning" per se. Does the Torah ever state "Thou shalt not be jealous" or lustful, or pursue honor?
(It's true that the final of the Ten Commandments is not to desire another's possessions (Exodus 20:14), but the Sages understand this as primarily referring to acting on your desires, such as forcibly taking the other's coveted item, even if you leave money for it.) Are these really actually "sins"? I mean, we are all prone to occasional bouts of jealousy, we all desire honor to a greater or lesser extent, and no son of man is entirely beyond lusting for that which is forbidden?

The answer, in a word, is that it's true -- our mishna is not dealing with "sins". In fact, it does not state that G-d will strike you down if you engage in such behavior. It is dealing with character flaws. And in a way, this makes them less serious: Regardless of what is seething in my mind, I haven't actually *done* anything wrong. And so from a technical standpoint, I deserve no punishment. Outwardly, at least, I'm a perfect saint!

Yet now we arrive at a Jewish fundamental. There is more than one way of measuring sin. We cannot simply gauge deeds according to the punishment that they incur -- or if they're forbidden at all for that matter. It's very possible for a person to obey every jot and tittle of the law (That's actually from Matthew, but who's counting?) but to not really be much of a committed Jew.

The Ramban (Nachmanides, Torah and Talmud commentator of 13th Century Spain) comments on the verse "You shall be holy..." (Leviticus 19:2) that one can observe the letter of the law in its entirety, but still basically be a disgusting human being. Most pleasures are permitted by the Torah -- at least in some form -- and so a person can live for his passions and still live within the parameters of Jewish law. And, continues the Ramban, the Torah never explicitly forbids such things as foul language. And so, a person can live a very coarse and vulgar life, imagining he has done no wrong. Thus, explains the Ramban, the Torah exhorts us to be "holy": not simply to observe the letter of the law, but to go beyond: to truly sanctify ourselves as beings in the image of G-d.

In a similar vein, I once heard R. Berel Wein (
www.rabbiwein.com/">Rabbiwein.com) observe that a person can act out the role perfectly -- wear the right clothes, follow all the stringent customs, hang out with the right crowd -- but not *really* be all that committed. He referred to such a person as a "professional" tsaddik
(righteous person). It's a role he's filling: he's mimicking a tsaddik. But how intensely religious is such a person *really*? On the other hand, we have a person such as King David who really did sin grievously, yet he had the passion, the devotion, the commitment of a truly holy human being. You can be truly righteous even if you slip now and then. But just because your behavior is always prim does not necessarily mean you are a true believer.

Thus, to return to our track (which at least at one point I had), character flaws technically may not be so severe. If I stew in my pettiness or jealousies, I may not have *done* anything wrong. Yet in a sense I am far worse than one who simply transgresses. A person who is always lusting or seeking honor may be distant from G-d in a far more profound sense. As our mishna puts it, he will be removed from this world. He won't even have a life. He will pine away wishing he were someone else or had that which is not meant for him. And in the process he won't even live his own life: He will be unable to enjoy the blessings and talents he does have. The Talmud writes, "Whoever sets his eyes on something inappropriate for him, that which he seeks will not be given to him and that which is his will be taken from him" (Sotah 9a). If a person refuses to accept his own lot in life, he will be unhappy, frustrated and unfulfilled. His faults may not have manifested themselves on the physical plane, yet in a very profound and tragic sense, his life will not be worth living.

To conclude, one the truly profound messages of Judaism is that we cannot judge ourselves according to our deeds alone. It's not enough to do everything right. We must ask ourselves a far more profound question: What am I truly doing for G-d? What kind of relationship do I have with Him? Are my actions a reflection of heartfelt commitment, or are they just thoughtless, habitual actions which happen to be good deeds? Even if I do it all, is it really an indication of passion and commitment, or is it

The Talmud, in its characteristic succinctness, sums it up perfectly: "G-d wants the heart" (Sanhedrin 106b). The commandments of the Torah provide us with the guideposts for true fulfillment, and as we know Judaism is not a religion which simply says "Have a good heart and everything else will
(somehow) follow." It takes a lot of work to develop a truly good heart -- as anyone in the business can tell you. Yet the ultimate factor is not our deeds; it is our hearts. We must begin with deeds, but we most go beyond that. Our actions must serve as indicators that we are truly divine beings, in the image of our Creator. 

Dia de Memória do Holocausto


Grémio Hebraico 28/1 às 9:25 Responder
A Assembleia da República consagra o dia 27 de Janeiro como dia de Memória do Holocausto. Assista hoje (28-Janeiro) entre as 18h00 e as 20 na Assembleia da República a cerimónia de consagração do Projecto de Resolução nº 62/XI. A SUA PRESENÇA É MUITO IMPORTANTE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UM POVO JUDEU - ASHER BEN-SHLOMO, DIRETAMENTE DE ISRAEL

UM POVO JUDEU - ASHER BEN-SHLOMO, DIRETAMENTE DE ISRAEL 





Diretor e editor do Site Jornalístico Haleom www.haleom.com, foi eleito membro efetivo Partido Político Hatikva, representado na Knesset, o Parlamento de Israel, pelo General da Reserva, o deputado e prof. Ariê Eldad, ex-comandante geral do setor de medicina do Exército de Israel, e atua como Chefe do Comitê Diretivo do SICA - Sindicato Israelita das Comunidades Anoussitas, sediado em Israel, o qual congrega brasileiros descendentes dos judeus perseguidos pela inquisição, entre os séculos XV e XVIII, no Brasil e em Portugal, os quais lograram fazer aliah e receber a cidadania israelita





A atual legislação do Estado de Israel define duas distintas identidades nacionais : a identidade nacional judaica exilica ou extra-estatal, e a identidade judaica estatal.
A identidade judaica extra-estatal corresponde a uma identidade universalista, que independe do vínculo civil com o estado judeu . Esta identidade corresponde ao judeu da galut (exílio), o qual desconsidera Israel como sendo sua pátria ancestral, e desmerece qualquer obrigação civil ou militar em relação ao estado judeu. A referida identidade judaica exilica encontra-se definida nos termos da conceituação de "Quem é judeu", na Lei do Retorno, de 1950.
Por sua vez, a identidade nacional judaica estatal, a qual corresponde a identidade israelita ou israelense, abrange em Israel uma maioria judaica secular, cerca de 75% da população judaica do Estado de Israel. São judeus que vivem em Israel, e entretanto não seguem o estilo de vista estabelecido pela halachá (jurisprudência rabínica).
Devemos ressaltar o fato de que Israel constitui-se num estado secular. Inexiste em Israel qualquer lei que imponha o judaismo a todos os judeus do país. Desta forma, a maioria dos judeus em Israel não é religiosa. Entretanto, de acordo com a Lei da Cidadania, de 1952, , estes mesmos cidadões israelitas são considerados judeus do ponto de vista civil, ainda que, do ponto de vista religioso, "judeu é todo aquele nascido de mãe judia ou que "nitgaier" (se tornou residente estrangeiro) e não pertence a outra religião", conforme estabelecido na Lei do Retorno de 1950. Após passar por algumas modifições legais, aprovadas pela Knesset (parlamento de Israel), a Lei do Retorno confere o direito de "aliah" (emigração para Israel), não apenas para judeus, mas também para descendentes de judeus até a terceira geração .
Desta forma, filhos e netos de pai judeu ou de mãe judia possuem o direito de fazer "aliah", e receber o status de oleh, ainda que não sejam considerados judeus. Por outro lado, a Lei da Cidadania define, em parâmetros gerais, o "israeli" (israelita ou israelense) nos seguintes têrmos : "Israelita é todo aquele nascido de pai israelita ou de mãe israelita, ou que "nitazrear" ( tornou-se cidadão, nos termos da lei). Convém ressaltar o fato de que, embora no Brasil o termo "israeli" seja traduzido para "israelense", em Portugal prefere-se o uso do termo "israelita" para caracterizar o cidadão de Estado judeu, tomado-se o Estado de Israel enquanto continuidade histórica do Reino bíblico de Israel, no qual, à época dos reinados de David e de Salomão, todos os judeus, membros da tribo de Judá, eram considerados cidadãos israelitas de nascimento.
No livro de Levítico, Capítulo 24, Versículo 10, em sua versão original em hebraico, encontraremos o termo "israeli" traduzido em português para "israelita", ou seja, "membro do povo de Israel". Este principio propiciou a aliah de centenas de milhares de descendentes de judeus, da extinta Uniao Sovietica, os quais lograram receber a cidadania israelita, sem entretanto serem considerados membros do povo judeu exilico. Como inexiste em Israel o estatuto do casamento civil, cerca de meio milhão de cidadãos israelitas encontram-se impossibilitados de contrair matrimônio em Israel, uma vez que inexiste em Israel qualquer lei que regulamente o casamento civil.
Embora estes cidadãos não sejam reconhecidos como judeus, em base a definição de "Quem é judeu", na Lei do Retorno, eles se sentem judeus, e portanto se recusam a se casar dentro de outra religião. São cidadãos israelitas que possuem sobrenomes judaicos, que foram discriminados como judeus pelo antissemitismo nos países da extinta União Soviética e que foram registrados civilmente como cidadãos soviéticos, de nacionalidade judaica, em base à ascendência paterna. Fazem uso em Israel do direito de viverem de acordo com os moldes do secularismo judaico, e não sentem-se obrigados à conversão religiosa.
A Torah de Israel define dois status sociais, o de "guer" (residente estrangeiro) e o do "ezrah" (cidadão). O "guer"(residente estrangeiro), corresponde ao membro de povo de outro Estado, cuja origem nacional difere a do Estado no qual se encontra, no caso, Israel. Os filhos de Israel foram "guerim" (residentes estrangeiros) no Egito, antes do êxodo liderado por Moisés, pois não pertenciam ao povo egipcio. O "ezrah"(cidadão), ao contrário do "guer" (residente estrangeiro), corresponde ao "membro do Estado".
Nos livros de Ezrah e Nehemias encontraremos referências aos judeus enquanto "bnei hamedina" (membros do Estado), em relação ao antigo Estado da Judeia. A Torah estabeleceu o principio de que "um mesmo direito deve haver para o "guer" (residente estrangeiro) e para o "ezrah" (cidadão). Este principio visa garantir a igualdade de todos os habitantes do país perante a lei, visando , desta forma, a concretização de uma sociedade justa.
De acordo com a moderna Teoria Geral do Estado, o "povo" é definido enquanto "conjunto dos cidadãos do Estado". Pergunta-se: esta definição é cabivel atualmente ao povo judeu?
A resposta a esta pergunta depende da definição juridica de "quem é judeu".
Conforme acima elucidado, o direito vigente, no Estado de Israel, estabelece duas identidades judaicas distintas: uma religiosa (exilica) e outra laica ( (estatal). A primeira, calcada na Lei do Retorno, de 1950, e a segunda, calcada na Lei da Cidadania, de 1952. Enquanto a Lei do Retorno define "quem é judeu" em base ao princípio da "guerut" (residência estrangeira), considerando Israel parte do exilio do povo judeu, e desta forma, impondo ao povo judeu a condição de povo exílico, a Lei da Cidadania, por sua vez, define "quem é judeu" em base ao principio da "ezrahut" (cidadania), considerando Israel a pátria histórica do povo judeu e consolidando o povo judeu enquanto povo estatal.
O famoso Dicionário Ariel, da Lingua Hebraica, publicado em Israel, conceitua o "Israeli" como "israelita", ao estabelecer sociologicamente que "israeli" correponde ao judeu, hebreu, membro do povo de Israel, cidadão do Estado de Israel". Esta conceituação de judeu em base ao vinculo de "ezrahut" (cidadania) com o Estado de Israel, foi estabelecida pela própria Torah, no livro Levitico, capítulo 24 , versiculo 10. Desta forma, podemos considerar, sociologicamente, a existência de dois povos judeus, o primeiro em base a Lei do Retorno, e o segundo em base a Lei da Cidadania, conforme acima relacionadas.
Percebemos, desta forma, que a Lei do Retorno desconhece o Estado de Israel enquanto personalidade politica do povo judeu, enquanto a Lei da Cidadania reconhece o Estado de Israel enquanto personalidade política do povo israelita. A explicação deste fato reside no fator histórico de que a definição de "Quem é judeu", conforme apresentada na Lei do Retorno, ter sido baseada na halacha elaborada pela autoridade rabínica, após a desintegração do antigo Estado da Judeia, em decorrência da conquista do país pelo império romano, transformando os judeus, de cidadãos do extinto Estado da Judeia, em residentes estrangeiros na própria Judeia, transformada em parte do território imperial romano.


comunicado de agai no dia da shoa


Comunicado de AGAI no Día da Shoá


Desde a Asociación Galega de Amizade con Israel (AGAI) queremos sumar a nosa voz e a nosa razón neste día de lembranza, de dor e de condena. Porque un 27 de xaneiro de 1945, hai agora 65 anos, era liberado Auschwitz-Birkenau. Demasiado tarde para millón e medio de seres humanos transformados en cinza. Auschwitz-Birkeanu, a fábrica do horror sen nome máis perversa e brutal que teña coñecido a Humanidade.

Un primeiro de novembro de 2005, Nacións Unidas tomou a decisión de designar a data do 27 de xaneiro como recordatorio anual das atrocidades dunha traxedia que nunca máis debera suceder no mundo.

O lema aprobado daquela por Nacións Unidas no ano 2005 “Lembremos por hoxe e por sempre” manifesta con nidia claridade o obxectivo que desde todo tipo de institucións e organismos internacionais se deben marcar na xornada.

Parlamento Europeo, Goberno de España, Parlamentos autonómicos… seguiron a senda marcada por NNUU e fixeron oficial cadanseu no seu espazo e competencia territorial esta mesma data como xornada de conmemoraxción oficial.

A condena e repulsión mundial ao xenocidio sistemático e industrializado que acabou coa vida de millóns de seres humanos, xitanos, disidentes politicos, homosexuais, deficientes físicos e a seis millós de xudeus debemos lembrar que foi con certeza no seu momento, unha das razóns principais que motivaron o nacemento da propia Declaración Universal dos Dereitos do Home.

Desde a 
Asociación Galega de Amizade con Israel, queremos e debemos, neste 27 de xaneiro de 2010, lembrar o Holocausto, a Shoáh na milenaria lingua Hebrea, e lembralo con vergonza e con horror desde Galicia e como galegos e europeos que defendemos e militamos con paixón na nosa condición humana, porque só así, non esquecendo o que hai agora 65 anos sucedeu nos campos de Europa, da nosa civilizada Europa, podemos honrar ás vítimas como estas merecen e estar así en condicións de evitar por sempre que as ideoloxías criminais que levaron a un pobo europeo e culto a desatar a barbarie absoluta na procura de aniquilar a outro pobo polo simple feito de seren xudeus, volvan a rexurdir.

E hoxe, 65 anos despois, non esquecer debe ser tamén, unha vacina para o noso futuro, para que nunca máis os nosos campos de Europa e do Mundo vexan agromar a perversión inhumana e asasina que significaron as fábricas de morte e de exterminio de Treblinka, Sobibor, Mauthausen, Majdanec, Dachau, Auschwitz…

E desde a 
Asociación Galega de Amizade con Israel queremos ter hoxe un recordatorio especial polo seu profundo simbolismo, do falecemento o pasaso 19 de Maio de Marcelino Pardal Pouso. O derradeiro sobrevivinte galego do campo de concentración de Mauthausen.
"Sei que a miña voz se perde no devastador ruído do tempo, agardo que as xeneracións vindeiras non nos esquezan" Violeta Friedman, sobrevivinte do Holocausto.


Apartado de Correos 730
Teléfono: +34 610 424174
36200 Vigo - GALICIA

Alba de mi corazon - la javurah

---Tienda: Cosas para tu consideración....
1
) Me quedan unos ejemplares de cada uno de los títulos a continuación (todos los precios son para los no-afiliados a La Javurá; siempre hay un discuento para los afiliados):
    =>Tanaj (Biblia) hebreo/español de Katznelson. 50euros
    =>Jumash (Torá comentada, 5 tomos) hebreo/español de Edery. 100euros
    =>Hebreo con Placer: Sin ayuda de maestro  Edna Dadmán y Java Farstey, Ediciones Zack, pp380. 18euros
    =>Diccionario esp/heb//Heb/esp 
Ediciones Zack, pp360//381. 17euros
    
=>
Con las manos atadas: El liderazgo sionista y el Holocausto 1949-1945  Dina Porat, Yad Vashem, 2008. isbn 978-965-90691-1-8. pp421. 20euros
    =>Miloní (Mi diccionario, heb/esp) ilustrado, para niños 
La Semana Publicaciones, pp206. 17 euros (agotado, he pedido más...)
    =>Miloní (sólo en hebreo
ilustrado para niños  La Semana Publicaciones, pp176.  18euros
    =>Shoá: Enciclopedia del Holocausto. Con ensayos: de Guy Miron, Shumel Spector, DanielFraenkel, Aharón Weiss, Robert RozettDavid Silberklang , Haim AvniDavid Cesarani. Yad Vashem, E.D.Z. Nativ Ediciones, 2004, pp572. 55euros
    =>Enciclopedia de la Historia y La Cultura del Pueblo Judío. Nativ Ediciones, 1998. Pp 467. 30euros
2) ...cosas casi regaladas,  a un precio muy muy muy accesible al que se acoplará todos los presupuestos (garantizado, palabra de honor)
    =>Matsá Rosinski 900g (2009-10)
    =>Harina de matsá Rosinsky 500g  (2009-10)

Auschwitz-Birkenau


show details 12:14 PM (8 hours ago) 

Auschwitz-Birkenau é o nome de um grupo de campos de concentração localizados no sul da Polônia, símbolos do Holocausto perpetrado pelo nazismo. A partir de 1940  Adolf Hitler construiu vários campos de concentração e um campo de extermínio nesta área, então na Polônia ocupada. Houve três campos principais e trinta e nove campos auxiliares.
PSRebelo

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day



    This message asks you to do one small act to remember the six million (6,000,000) Jewish lives that were lost during the Holocaust.
 

    Send this message to everyone you know who is Jewish.


    If we reach the goal of reaching six million e-mail names before May 2, we will fulfill and give back to G-d what He gave to us:


         6 million Jews who are alive today who remember those who perished.




    Please send this message to as many Jews as you know. 


    Ask them to also forward it to others.  




    Thank you.






  
Prenez 20 secondes avant de refermer cet e-mail.




  Ce message vous demande de faire un petit geste pour le souvenir des six millions  (6.000.000) de vies juives qui ont disparu pendant la 
Shoah.


  Envoyez ce message א chaque juif que vous connaissez.


  Si nous rיussissons א atteindre six millions d'adresses e-mail avant le 2 mai, nous aurons accompli notre tךche et rendu א D.ieu ce qu'Il nous a donnי:


      6 millions de Juifs en vie א ce jour qui se souviennent de ceux qui ont pיri.




  Merci d'envoyer ce message א autant de Juifs que vous en connaissez.


  Demandez leur de l'adresser א d'autres.




  Merci



Monica Pinto Mendes

Holocaust Era


Israel satisfied with outcome of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference
June 30, 2009

Communicated by MFA Spokesman's Bureau

The Holocaust Era Assets Conference, which convened in Prague on June 26-30, held its final session at the Terezin concentration camp. There, on Tuesday morning, June 30, the Terezin Declaration was presented.

The Israeli delegation expressed satisfaction with the results of the conference and the concluding statement, which summed up the various working group discussions held during the conference.

The declaration established norms for the restoration of private and communal property and mentioned for the first time the need to deal with property without heirs, tying this to the need to look out for the welfare of surviving Holocaust victims.

At the conference it was decided that a new institute – the European Shoah Legacy Institute – would be set up in Terezin by the Czech government, outgoing President of the European Union, under the auspices of the EU. The new institute will be assisted by the European community and other states, with the US and Israel playing a major role. The institute will follow up on activities relating to Holocaust assets, education and the fight against antisemitism.

Five Holocaust survivors, who formed the central component of the Israeli delegation, participated in the discussions and featured prominently in the working groups. One of the objectives presented by the acting head of the delegation, former director general of the Foreign Ministry Reuven Merhav, was to boost the status of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), headed by David Peleg as director general. Peleg, who until recently was Israel's ambassador to Poland, presented a working plan at the conference in which the organization plays a major role in the process of property restitution.

The head of the Israeli delegation, Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who was the first delegation head to speak at the plenary session, was received warmly by the large audience. In his address, Minister Edelstein stressed the moral obligation of the 46 states that signed the Terezin Declaration. He noted that, at this late stage, it is important to move quickly. The minister expressed commitment, on behalf of the Government of Israel, to participate and support the Terezin Institute.




1.07.2009

Para não esquecer o Holocausto

Digitalizar0001.jpg

HOMENAGEM ÀS VÍTIMAS DO HOLOCAUSTO EM RECIFE

FIQUE POR DENTRO

HOMENAGEM ÀS VÍTIMAS DO HOLOCAUSTO EM RECIFE

A Confederação Israelita do Brasil e a Federação Israelita de Pernambuco vão realizar no dia 27 de janeiro cerimônia em Recife para marcar o Dia Internacional em Memória das Vítimas do Holocausto. O evento contará com a presença do presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva e será realizado na Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel, a primeira das Américas, fundada no século 17.
Em 2005, a ONU instituiu o Dia Internacional em Memória das Vítimas do Holocausto, homenagem a ser realizada na data em que tropas soviéticas entraram no campo de extermínio de Auschwitz, na Polônia, em 1945.
O presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva vai comparecer pelo quinto ano consecutivo à cerimônia de 27 de janeiro. Autoridades políticas, sociais e religiosas, de diferentes tendências, também estarão presentes.
Realizada em anos anteriores em São Paulo e no Rio de Janeiro, a cerimônia vai ocorrer na Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel, que hoje abriga um centro cultural e se transformou num dos principais pontos de visitação da capital pernambucana.
A sinagoga, cujo nome significa Comunidade Rochedo de Israel, funcionou no século 17, durante a ocupação holandesa em Pernambuco, e seu prédio foi recuperado há cerca de oito anos, a partir de uma parceria entre a Fundação Safra, Ministério da Cultura, Prefeitura do Recife, Federação Israelita de Pernambuco e Confederação Israelita do Brasil.
CONIB CONVIDA JAQUES WAGNER
PARA CERIMÔNIA EM RECIFE

NOTA: O presidente Moshe Prera e a comunidade Or ahayim  celebram em comunidade o dia do Holocausto em memória das vítimas judias e outras do odioso regime nazista.

Bem hajam e a todas as comunidades judias do mundo.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart


Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart



Section 3, Chapter 10

1.

Enveloped as we are by the sure veneer of our bodies and forever swayed by everything else covered-over, we’re blinded to much of the truth. We see this, that, and another thing but we never catch sight of the thread running through them all -- which is G-d’s will.

Fortunately then we’re assured here that despite our doubts and misgivings the truth is that all pieces of the “great and mighty clock” of the universe fit within G-d’s will for the cosmos without exception. And it’s our souls -- connected as they are to all the celestial phenomena that also go into it -- that will activate all that and contribute to the slow, steady, single-minded uplifting of the universe. When it’s no longer encumbered by the shielding though enveloping body, that is.

Included in all those things, though, is all the wrong, injustice and evil in this world. For it too is part of the plan.

2.

All of it, the good and the bad, plays a vital role in the eventual revelation of G-d’s Yichud -- of His full and overarching sovereignty [1]. For as a consequence of all of it, “light will be disclosed within the darkness”, and the hiddeness of G-d that we experience now along with everything that comes about because of it will be reversed.

For G-d wants His sovereignty to be fully manifest in the world, as we’d said before; and it will be, through all the mechanisms G-d has set in place to do just that -- all so that we can fully know that “I (G-d) am He; before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be. I (alone) I am the L-rd, and aside from Me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10-11), and that “I am He! There is no G-d with me! I alone bring on death and bring on life; I alone wound and heal“(Deuteronomy 32:39) [2].

Once His Yichud is manifest, we’re assured, we’ll “cling onto and grasp His being …, luxuriate in His perfection that would have become revealed to us, bask in the light of His presence, and we’ll fully and always comprehend all the profound things (that had alluded us) …, forever and unto eternity”. As our sages illustrated it, “the righteous will sit with crowns upon their heads and bask in the glow of the Divine presence” (Berachot 17a) [3].

The truth be told, despite these depictions and citations, we really can’t grasp that phenomenon at this point in our experience. To begin with, there’ll be many, many particulars we can’t now fathom [4]. We know about pleasure, of course, and about craving other sorts of pleasures that we don’t now enjoy in our day to day life, so we might be able to extrapolate the sorts of pleasures we’ll enjoy then from what we know of now. But there’s really no comparison, since the sorts of experiences we’re promised in the future will be wholly spiritual and abstract delights [5].

3.

We thus find that there are two distinct epochs in which G-d interacts with us. The second one will come into play after He will have revealed His sovereignty to us, and we will have fully ingested it. And it’s within that epoch that the whole phenomenon of ultimate reward we’d cited above will come into play.

The first epoch, though, is the one we’re in now, in which the revelation of G-d’s sovereignty is still in process and hasn’t yet come full flower -- which is to last from the beginning of time until the ultimate redemption. It’s the one in which all pieces of the great “clock” -- wrong and injustice included -- contribute to the give and take of this world.

Wrong and injustice are of course negative elements of the mix, to be sure; but while all the good in the world contributes to our service to G-d and plays a role in our reward [6], wrong and injustice will fall aside after they will have served their ends, like marks we might leave behind on a path not to lose our way which we’d easily do away with once we’d arrived.

Notes:
[1] We’ve discussed this theme a number of times until now. See for example Part 3 of the Prologue, notes 2 and 4 to Ramchal’s Introduction, as well as the first section’s Chapters 4-11, 14, and 18.

See R’ Friedlander’s cogent remarks (in his note 233) about the two sorts of clock-mechanisms there are at play at one and the same time. There are the gears that move the hands forward, and the sort of gears that act as a resistance to the former which contribute to the mechanism just as well. His point is that while the former, like all the goodness and righteousness in the world, are certainly necessary, the latter which are like all the wrongfulness and injustice are equally necessary.

See R’ Goldblatt’s kabbalistic insights in his notes 12-13, 15 here, as well as his notes 51-54 on p. 483 of his edition; and see R’ Shriki’s note 79 (both for its kabbalistic and important non-kabbalistic insights).

[2] These two verses are cited in 1:4:2 as well, along with: “I am the first and I am the last; there is no G-d beside Me“(Isaiah 44:6); “Know … that there is none beside Me. I am G-d, no one else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I G-d do all these things“(Isaiah 45:6-7); “G-d alone will be exalted on that day“(Isaiah 2:11); “G-d will (prove to) be king over all the earth. And ... G-d and His name will be one and the same“(Zechariah 14:9); and “Hear O Israel! G-d our L-rd is the L-rd (i.e., His reign is sovereign) (Deuteronomy 6:4).

[3] See note 9 to 1:6.

[4] Most especially, how we ourselves will experience that. Some for example, might imagine themselves being off-put by such an experience because they don’t tend toward spirituality here in life.

[5] This is like the difference between love and the idea of love. While the latter is less delightful than the former, abstract love is still and all endless, total, and perfect in effect.

[6] Since we are the great initiator as well as the greatest beneficiary of all that happens here. 

Abe Foxman

Dear Andre Moshè Pereira,

Anti-Semitism has moved from the fringe to the mainstream.

This year, violent actions and vicious words added fuel to the explosion of anti-Semitism worldwide. The ugliness has even spread to home, where we’ve seen the horror of the shooting at a Holocaust museum, the murder of a Jewish college student and a thwarted plot to bomb synagogues. All of these acts shared the same goal to harm and kill the Jewish people.

Very few years have presented the challenges of 2009, across Europe, the Middle East and even in the United States. In fact, Abe Foxman calls 2009 arguably, the worst year for global anti-Semitism in his tenure with the ADL.

Yet, each day the Anti-Defamation League was there to protect the Jewish people. We fight those who question Israel’s legitimacy. We combat the rise of age-old stereotypes about Jews and money that have resurfaced in the wake of the financial crisis. And we recognize the power and the danger of the internet, by working with social networking sites to prevent anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers from recruiting impressionable young people.

2010 will present its own challenges. Whether it's the explosion of global anti-Semitism, the growing move to delegitimize Israel, the Iranian nuclear threat, or the emergence of cyberhate and cyberbullying,ADL must be prepared to battle on all fronts.

In short, our job is to defend the Jewish people against the wave of hate that threatens the security of all Jewish people.

The Path of the Just



 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Chapter 15 (Part 2)

Let’s touch on something we’re drawn to day after day which often presents a spiritual challenge: food. Assuming the food in front of us is kosher, that it hadn’t been stolen, that we aren’t responsible for doing something else at the time, and given that today isn’t a fast-day, we’re encouraged and even obliged to eat if we’re hungry.

But the soul striving for piety would want to make do with the simplest of foods, he or she wouldn’t want to fuss with it and would only want to eat and go on serving G-d other ways. The rest of us, though, would spend more time choosing what we’d eat and would fuss with it. Let’s see how Ramchal would convince us that it’s just not worth the bother.

He underscores just how short-lived the pleasure we’d get from eating something good-tasting is -- it only lasts from the time it takes to pass “the length of your gullet … (then go to) your stomach” when “it’s completely forgotten”.

Given that, he goes on, doesn’t it stand to reason that “you’d be just as full eating stuffed swan as you would be eating coarse bread?” So why bother making the extra effort and taking the time and energy away from doing more important and holy things?

Then consider the more serious risks. Just think of all “the diseases you could expose yourself to by your diet”, or of “the feeling of heaviness or dull-mindedness” that comes from eating too much rich food. All that being true, aren’t the “disadvantages real”, “serious and long-lasting”, and aren’t “the apparent benefits a sham” and “short-lived” at best? So, how could any “intelligent person endanger himself for the minute benefits that might accrue … through (eating) them”?

Take this all to heart, be honest with yourself and “free yourself from the entrapment of all the foolishness” that comes from caring too much about food, and “you’ll no longer be seduced by its so-called pleasures”. Do that on a regular basis and you’ll eventually train yourself to only “take from the world what you absolutely must” and no more. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parshas Bo



Rabbi Aron Tendler


Parshas Bo

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 Aliyot: Moshe and Aharon forewarned Pharaoh about the Locust. His advisors begged Pharaoh to consider Moshe's request, and Pharaoh attempted to negotiate with Moshe and Aharon that the children should stay behind. When his offer was refused, all negotiations broke down and Pharaoh chased Moshe and Aharon away. The Locust swallowed up Mitzrayim (Egypt), but Pharaoh still refused to send away the Jews.

3rd Aliya: Darkness enveloped Egypt for three days. Pharaoh told Moshe that he could take out his people, but he had to leave the cattle behind. Moshe refused and Pharaoh forewarned Moshe that he could not come to him again. In truth, the next time they saw each other would be after the Death of the First Born, when Pharaoh went to Moshe.

4th Aliya: Moshe forewarned the Egyptians about the Death of the First Born. In 12:2 Hashem (G-d) commanded Moshe and Aharon with the very first Mitzvah to be given to the Nation. The very first Korban Pesach was described along with the Mitzvos of Matzoh, Chametz, and Pesach.

5th Aliya: The Bnai Yisroel were commanded to mark the inside of their doors with the blood of the Korban Pesach.

6th Aliya: The plague of the Death of the First Born left Mitzrayim in mourning. Pharaoh and the Egyptians hurried the Jews out of Mitzrayim. Approximately 600,000 men besides women, children, and the elderly (3,000,000 total) as well as about 1,000,000 non-Jews (the Eruv Rav) left Mitzrayim during the Exodus. It was the year 2448, and the Pasuk says that the Jews had been in Mitzrayim for 430 years. (exactly 430 years from the Bris Bain Habisarim - The Covenant Between the Halves) The laws of the Korban Pesach were reviewed

7th Aliya: The Parsha concludes with a review of the laws of Pesach as well as introducing the Mitzvos of Pehter Chamor - the commandment to exchange all first born, male donkeys for a sheep; Pidyon Haben - redeeming the first born male child; and the Mitzvah of Tefillin.




Summary of The Haftorah:
Haftorah Bo
Yirmiyah 46:13

This week's Haftorah is from Yirmiyah 46:13. The rise of Nevuchadnetzar and Babylon to world dominance heralded the destruction of Mitzrayim (Egypt) eight centuries after the time of the Exodus. Mitzrayim had been a dominant power in the region for many centuries and saw the decline of Israel as an opportunity to gain even greater power. Israel, concerned about her own fate in the face of Babylon's onslaught, turned to Egypt for help. Yirmiyahu had already predicted in last week's Haftorah that Bavel would turn its fury and strength against Egypt, conquering her and dispersing her inhabitants. This would force Israel to stand-alone and meet her destiny. Israel's only option for salvation would have to come from Hashem (G-d) and Hashem alone. In this week's Haftorah Yirmiyahu continues his prophecy of the destruction of Mitzrayim. This is the obvious connection to our Parsha in which the proud and arrogant Pharaoh is bought to his knees by the awesome hand of Hashem. So to o, Bavel, acting as Hashem's agent, would punish Mitzrayim for her continued arrogance and pride.

The Bnai Yisroel (Jewish nation) would be directly impacted by Mitzrayim's destruction; however, they are reassured that Hashem will ultimately deliver them, so long as they keep their faith and trust in Hashem's promise.

Jordania: Irán ordena el ataque contra el embajador israelí en Amman

Fonte: Aurora Israel

Jordania: Irán ordena el ataque contra el embajador israelí en Amman Intento terrorista fallido de la semana pasada contra las vidas de los diplomáticos israelíes en Jordania fue aparentemente llevado a cabo por instrucciones de Teherán, revelaron fuentes cercanas al Departamento de Inteligencia General de Jordania.



Las fuentes dijeron que el GID estaba investigando la posibilidad que los explosivos utilizados en el ataque fueron introducidos de contrabando en el reino por los diplomáticos iraníes.

El ataque en sí fue aparentemente llevado a cabo por una red local de Al-Qaeda que recibió dinero y explosivos procedentes de Irán, dijeron las fuentes.

Medios jordanos informaron que un taxista de Ammán fue arrestado bajo sospecha de participación en el atentado.

Según las fuentes, el GID considera que el ataque se produjo en respuesta a la muerte del científico iraní Massoud Ali Muhammadi en Teherán la semana pasada. Muhammadi Ali fue asesinado por una bomba a control remoto colocada en una motocicleta.

El ministro de Interior iraní, Mostafa Mohamed Najjar, prometió vengarse de Israel por el asesinato del científico nuclear.

El presidente, Mahmud Ahmadinejad (foto), acusó al gobierno israelí de estar detrás del asesinato, que dijo que había llevado a cabo en el "estilo sionista".



"Podemos ver las huellas dactilares de Irán sobre la bomba en la carretera", dijeron las fuentes, añadiendo "la investigación continúa en varias direcciones."

 
Los funcionarios de seguridad también están considerando la posibilidad que el ataque pudo haber sido llevado a cabo por un grupo terrorista palestino.

Kehillah Or Ahayim, Moshe Prera, Rosh HaKehillah

Reciting the Shema - Kerias Shema

Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld


Reciting the Shema - Kerias Shema




B. Love - Ahavah






"In the second book I will include all the commandments that apply constantly and that we were commanded to observe in order to love G-d and remember Him always, such as the reading of the shema, prayer, phylacteries, and the priests' blessing; circumcision is included since it is a sign in our flesh to remind us always, at times when there are no phylacteries or fringes or the like. And I have called this book the Book of Love."




Twice each day one must recite the shema, which consists of three sections of the Torah: "Hear, O Israel...",[1] "If you listen to my commandments...",[2] and "...They shall make fringes...".[3] The first of these proclaims the unity of Ha-Shem and our love for Him; the second, our acceptance of all the commandments; and the third also tells us to remember all the commandments [as it says "And you shall see them (i.e., the fringes) and remember all My commandments and perform them"].[4] In addition, the third section contains a reminder of the exodus from Egypt, as it says "I am Ha-Shem your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt",[5] which we are commanded to remember, as it says "In order that you remember the day of your departure from the l and of Egypt all the days of your life".[6,a] A man may recite the shema in any language that he understands.[b]






We recite the shema every evening and morning at the time that people lie down and at the time that they get up, as it says "And you shall speak about them... when you lie down and when you get up".[7,c] Specifically, we recite it in the evening between the time the stars come out and dawn (before midnight if possible) and in the morning between dawn and the end of the first quarter of the day (but preferably just before sunrise).[d] We recite two benedictions before it and one after it in the daytime; two before it and two after it at night.[e]






1. Deut. 6:4-9


2. Deut. 11:13-21


3. Num. 15:37-41


4. Num. 15:39


5. Num. 15:41


6. Deut. 16:3


7. Deut. 6:7 a. 1:2-3


b. 2:10


c. 1:1


d. 1:9-11


e. 1:5

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tu Bishvat

El domingo 31 de enero 2010
 a las 12h de la mañana en punto 

Disfruta con nosotros la bondad 
que nos brinda cada minuto los árboles 
mientras paseamos entre los frutales 
por debajo de las copas de los árboles monumentales con
Fruta  Alabanzas a los árboles   PoesíaZumo de uvas, y... 

AGAI


Presentación en Ourense


Presentación en Ourense do libro Judios e Inquisición en Ribadavia. De Gloria de Antonioeditado polo Concello de Ribadavia, Casa Sefarad-Israel e Red de Juderías de España (2009)
Terá lugar o vindeiro día 29 de Xaneiro, venres, ás 19:30 horas no Liceo Recreo de Ourense, rúa das Lamas Carvajal, 5.
A presentación do libro dará o peche a presenza en Ourense da exposición "Testemuñas do Holocausto" organizada por AGAI con motivo da conmemoración do Día Internacional de Recordo das Vítimas do Holocausto que ten lugar todos os anos o 27 de Xaneiro, en data instaurada por Nacións Unidas. A Exposición estará aberta ao público desde o 16 ate o 29 de Xaneiro nos salóns do Liceo de Ourense.
Presenta: Afonso Vázquez-Monxardín. Escritor e socio de AGAI
Intervén: Gloria de Antonio Rubio. Doutora en Historia Medieval (UNED, 2002) coa tese "Comunidades judias en Galicia (siglos XI — XV)", dirixida polo Doutor Enrique Cantera Montenegro. Posteriormente, no ano 2006, foi publicada pola Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, dentro da colección Galicia Histórica, co título "Los judíos en Galicia (1044-1492)". Esta obra foi galardonada en Israel co Premio Samuel Toledano (Jerusalén, 2008). Gloria de Antonio é tamén autora de numerosos capítulos de libros e artígos publicados en diversas revistas de ámbito nacional e internacional, así como de varias monografías de carácter xeral. Cabe mencionar, entre elas, "Os xudeos de Galicia" (Santiago, 2002). Forma parte desde o ano 2000 dos equipos de investigación do Instituto de Estudos Galegos "Padre Sarmiento" (CSIC-Xunta de Galicia), participando específicamente nos traballos vinculados ao Dicionario Biográfico da Galicia dos Trastámara (1469-1480), proxecto financiado pola Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza. Achegamos de seguido algunhas das colaboracións da Profesora Gloria de Antonio no semanario israelí AURORA PICAR AQUI




Thursday, January 14, 2010

Educação e Holocausto

fly-web2.jpgOR AHAYIM - BE PORTO - MOSHE PRERA

Parshas Va'eyra


Rabbi Frand on Parshas Va'eyra

These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 665, Checking Out Families for Shidduchim. Good Shabbos!

Pharaoh Underestimated Moshe's Empathy For His Brethren

The parshiyos at the beginning of the book of Shmos all recount the terrible enslavement the Jewish people endured in Egypt. The enslavement was so intense that even when Moshe came to Klal Yisrael to announce their impending redemption, the pasuk [verse] informs us that "They were unable to listen to him out of shortness of spirit and hard work." [Shmos 6:9]

Andre Moshe Prera, President Kehillah Or Ahayim

Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz [Tiferes Yonasan] asks why Pharaoh excused the entire Tribe of Levy from servitude. It seems uncharacteristic of the ruthless ruler to give such a dispensation. Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz answers that Pharaoh saw through his astrologers that the eventual redeemer of Israel would come from this tribe. Pharaoh reasoned that a person who was not part of the pain and suffering of the people would never be able to redeem them. Simply, he would not be able politically to rally the people behind him. The masses would discount his ability to lead them by virtue of the fact that he was not one with them during their time of suffering.

This indeed is how Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz interprets the above referenced pasuk. The people were not able to listen to Moshe because of the fact that they had experienced shortness of spirit and hard work - and he never had. Moshe lived in the lap of luxury. They were not ready to listen to him or to let him become their redeemer!

Pharaoh's logic seemed very reasonable. So where did he go wrong? His error was that he underestimated what the Torah highlights as the most prominent character trait of Moshe Rabbeinu. If we look back in Parshas Shmos, we notice that there is very little we are told about Moshe Rabbeinu before he became the leader. We are told "Vayigdal Moshe" [Moshe grew up], which Rashi says means he became prominent in Pharaoh's household - he became a prince. He could have stayed in the luxury of the palace and sufficed with saying a few chapters of Tehillim for his brethren. But Moshe Rabbeinu went out. He wen t out to see what was happening with his brothers and he saw their suffering. He risked his life by killing the Egyptian, thereby takimg part in the misery and the drama of his brethren's enslavement. He identified not only with the "macro" suffering of his brothers, but with that of each individual, as indicated by his rescue of the unfortunate Jew being beaten by the Egyptian. Even when two Jews were fighting, he came to the rescue of the victim, again demonstrating his attribute of empathy and association for the burden of his fellow man (noseh b'ol chaveiro). In Midyan, he again came to the rescue of Yisro's daughters because his personality could not tolerate oppression. Finally, we are told that he watered the flocks.

In all these descriptions, the Torah emphasizes over and over again that Moshe demonstrated the character trait that Pharoah thought he would never have - the attribute of empathy for the suffering of others. Logically, Pharaoh was right, but he un derestimated Moshe's strength of character that despite the fact that he was not part of the enslavement, he did feel the pain as acutely as anyone who experienced it personally.

Giving Pharaoh His Due Respect

The pasuk says, "And Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon and commanded them regarding the Children of Israel and regarding Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to take the Children of Israel out of Egypt" [Shmos 6:13]. Rashi comments that Moshe was commanded to deal respectfully with Pharaoh, by virtue of his role as King. We derive from here that we are obligated to give honor to monarchy (malchus). Even though Moshe was called upon to warn, threaten, and rebuke Pharaoh, he was commanded to deliver all of these messages with respect and honor.

There are some pasukim at the end of the parsha that seem very strange. At the conclusion of the plague of hail, Moshe tells Pharaoh, "When I leave the city, I shall spread out my hands to Hashem, the thunder will cease and the hail will no longer be, so that you shall know that the earth is Hashem's..." [Shmos 9:29]. Then the Torah says, "The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was ripe and the flax was in its stalk. And the wheat and the spelt were not struck; for they ripen later. (They were softer and did not break from the force of the hail's impact.)" [Shmos 9: 31-32]

The insertion of these pesukim ia quite strange. In the middle of the dialogue between Moshe Rabbeinu and Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, "Stop this. I can't take it." Moshe agrees and tells Pharaoh what he would have to do to stop the plague. The narration should have continued directly with pasuk 33 - "And Moshe went out from Pharaoh, from the city, and he stretched out his hands to Hashem, the thunder and hail ceased and rain did not reach the earth." At this point, when the plague was over, perhaps it would be appropriate to give us the damage assessment documenting the fact that the barley and flax were damaged and the wheat and spelt were not. Why, however, is this damage assessment stuck right in the middle of the dialogue between Moshe and Pharaoh, regarding cessation of the plague?

The Ramban asks this qu estion. The Ramban quotes an answer in the name of Rav Sadiah Gaon that pasukim 31-32 are in fact not the Torah's narrative of damage assessment, but are a continuation of Moshe's words to Pharaoh. Rav Sadiah explains that Moshe was informing Pharaoh that although he would be able to stop the plague, he was not able to undo the damage that was already done. Moshe told Pharaoh that it was too late to do anything about the ruined barley and flax crops, but that he could still salvage the wheat and spelt crops.

The Ramban is not satisfied with Rav Saidah Gaon's interpretation. The Ramban gives his own interpretation. However, I saw a very interesting interpretation in the Sefer Kometz HaMincha from Rav Chanoch Ehrentroy. Pasukim 31-32 are indeed the words of Moshe Rabbeinu and part of the dialog with Pharaoh. But, unlike the approach of Rav Sadiah Gaon, they are not meant as a "damage report". Moshe was sending Pharaoh a message.

The Gemara says [Tanis 20a]: A per son should rather be soft like a reed than stiff like a cedar tree. In terms of personality and behavior, a person should be flexible, bendable like the reed. He should not be inflexible like the cedar. Why? When there is a windstorm with hail and driving winds, a reed that is flexible will bend and survive. The cedar will either stand up to the wind or will break in half.

Moshe could have been rude and told the King of Egypt: "Wake up and smell the coffee, Pharaoh. You are doomed! Look where your obstinacy has gotten you. You have ruined the country. Everyone is suffering because of you. Don't be such a stubborn idiot! Listen to Hashem already!"

That is how he could have talked to Pharaoh. However, mindful of G-d's exhortation regarding Kavod Malchus [honor due the King], Moshe delivered his message in a much more gentle fashion. Moshe politely told Pharaoh to look out his window and consider how the respective crops fared during the storm of hail. The flax an d barley were broken because they were too inflexible. That is what happens when something is inflexible. The wheat and spelt on the other hand were flexible and they survived. The message was the same, but it was delivered in a more subtle fashion, out of respect for the monarchy. V'hamayven yavin. [And the one who understands will understand.] 

The Path of the Just - Or ahayim


The Path of the Just




Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Chapter 15 (Part 1)

It’s one thing understanding that we’d all need to abstain from something or another if we’re to grow in our being, especially if we hope to be pious. But it’s quite another thing knowing how to actually do it. We always want more and more (especially in our age, when so much is within reach and so many things seem to call out to us), so what practical advice can Ramchal offer?

“The best way to acquire abstinence” he says, is to “realize the crassness of the pleasures of the world and their inherent inferiority, as well as the great harm that can so easily result from them.” That’s to say that we’re to reformulate our attitudes and priorities. If we’d only realize just how crass some of our desires are -- how beneath us, how soiled and unsavory they are and how harmful, he asserts, we’d surely come to our senses.

Now, many have tried things just like that, the truth be known, and have failed. What then is the shadowy, veiled mechanism in the mind that allows it to be fooled like that? “The seductive powers” of the things we crave, Ramchal declares. Things side up to us, if you will, whisper in our ears and charm us into hearing them out, and we succumb.

In fact, it’s a primal problem that goes back to Adam and Eve (see 2:1-2 above for a lengthy discussion of that; also see Da’at Tevunot 40). “Seduction is in fact what caused the first sin to be committed” Ramchal reminds us; for as the Torah attests, "The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and that it was pleasing to the eyes ... (so) she took from its fruit and ate from it" (Genesis 3:6). (Ramchal offers several fascinating Kabbalistic insights in Adir Bamarom pp. 177, 273, and 309 into the unique role that eyes play in being tempted.)

He seems to offer that we’re to actually picture ourselves as being attracted to something or another that we should avoid (when he says that the object at hand is to become “clear to you”, that is, in your mind). Do that, he offers, and you’ll see the foolishness of your attraction to it from what’s termed a critical-distance and that will convince you of just “you how utterly false, unreal and ephemeral its pleasures are, yet how real and immanent the harm that will come from them is to you”.

You’ll get to the point, he says, where you’ll “certainly be disgusted” and off-put by your cravings. And you’ll find it far easier to abstain from them.