Parshat Nitzavim - You Can Do It!
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...NBN’s stated goal is not only to facilitate migration from North America, but to significantly increase it. So far, that seems out of reach.And they're still waiting. Just check the numbers.
Proportionately, immigration to Israel from North America remains little more than a trickle. Of the approximately six million Jews in North America...only about 3,512 people, or 0.06%, made aliya in 2011. In comparison, some 0.35% of Jews in France made aliya in 2010 – 1,775 of about 500,000 in the country. Percentages are even higher for places such as Ukraine and Russia.
For all of the innovation introduced by NBN, the number of North American olim has not come close to breaking the 1970 record, when 7,130 people from the US and Canada moved to the Jewish state, basking in the glory of its victory in the Six Day War. It is also far from hitting the target of 10,000 olim a year by 2015 set by Oberman in a 2010 interview with the Post.
Nonetheless, Oberman, who made aliya from Australia in the 1970s, has still not given up on reaching that ambitious goal.
“That figure is still feasible,” he said on Thursday.
He said that while NBN is not satisfied with the number of olim coming from North America, he is confident the figures will grow due to a “snowball effect.”
“Many of those coming now are friends and family of those who already came, so we are looking for higher numbers in the near future,” he said.
וְשָׁב ה' אֱלֹקיךָ אֶת-שְׁבוּתְךָ, וְרִחֲמֶךָ; וְשָׁב, וְקִבֶּצְךָ מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר הֱפִיצְךָ ה' אֱלֹקיךָ, שָׁמָּה.
that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.Rashi and the Midrash wonder: היה לו לכתוב והשיב את שבותך - "It should have written "and [God will] bring back [those in] captivity..." Instead the verse seems to imply that God Himself will return with us from the exile to the Promised Land. God doesn't exist in physical space, and if He did, would it not make sense to assume that even though we were exiled, God remained in the Holy Land?
רבותינו למדו מכאן שהשכינה כביכול שרויה עם ישראל בצרת גלותם, וכשנגאלין הכתיב גאולה לעצמו, שהוא ישוב עימהם.
From here our Sages derived that it is as if the Shechinah dwells with Israel in the anguish of their exile. And when they are redeemed, God wrote in redemption for Himself, for He dwells with them...Rashi's first answer conveys the beautiful notion that when God exiled us from His Land, he exiled Himself as well. It is as if God's presence in the Land of Israel cannot be complete and whole without His chosen nation dwelling in the Land together with him.
ועוד יש לומר, שגדול יום קבוץ גליות ובקושי, כאלו הוא עצמו צריך להיות אוחז בידיו ממש איש איש ממקומו, כענין שנאמר (ישעיה כז, יב) ואתם תלקטו לאחד אחד בני ישראל
One can also answer, that great is the day of the ingathering of the exiles - and difficult, as if God Himself must literally hold the hand of each individual person in his place, as it is written, "And you will gather one by one the Children of Israel."Rereading Rashi's comments, it dawned on me: There's no one big "day of the ingathering of the exiles." It doesn't happen as a group on one day. Each individual person has his day.
|Was the mission |
If you are anything like me, the worst thing about 3-day yomtov is the shower situation.. The next worst thing is probably the food preparation - heating, reheating, cooking, leaving fires on, using timers, etc...I emailed him wondering why he doesn't shower over Yom Tov, something that I've been doing for a few years now. Truth be told, this isn't a halachah blog, but I feel compelled to write about this, if only to make your Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat Shuvah bearable - at least if you live in Israel. (Yet another reason to make Aliyah!)
Showering and bathing on Yom Tov remains forbidden except for exceptional circumstances.Fair enough. Except that it's important to note that the matter is subject to significant debate, and while he is stringent, there are more lenient views - which he himself notes.
מפני חששות שונים המלווים את הרחיצה, רבים נוהגים שלא להתרחץ ביום טוב. אבל בשעת הצורך, מותר להתרחץ במים חמים שהתחממו בערב יום טוב, או במים חמים שהתחממו ביום טוב על ידי דוד שמש או שעון שבת. וזה ההבדל שבין שבת ליום טוב, שבשבת מותר לרחוץ במים פושרים אבל לא חמים, ואילו ביום טוב מותר לרחוץ במים חמים.ויש מחמירים וסוברים שדין יום טוב כדין שבת, ואסור לרחוץ ביום טוב במים חמים אלא רק בפושרים. ויש מחמירים וסוברים שאסור מדברי חכמים לרחוץ בשבת ויום טוב אף במים פושרים. וכך נוהגים חלק מיוצאי אשכנז. אולם למעשה, העיקר כדעת רוב הפוסקים, שמקילים לרחוץ ביום טוב במים חמים. וכאשר הדבר גורם צער, כגון בראש השנה שנמשך יומיים, או ביום טוב שסמוך לשבת, ראוי לנהוג כמקילים, כדי לכבד את החג ולהתענג בו.
Due to numerous concerns associated with washing, many have the custom not to bathe on Yom Tov. But in a time of need, one is permitted to bathe in hot water that was warmed before Yom Tov, or in hot water that was heated on Yom Tov with a "dud shemesh" or a Shabbat timer. This is a difference between Shabbat and Yom Tov: for on Shabbat one may wash in lukewarm water, but not in hot water, but on Yom Tov one may bathe in hot water.If that's true for a two-day holiday (remember that Rosh Hashanah is the only two-day holiday of the year here in Israel), it's especially true for a three-day Yom Tov.
Some are strict and hold that the ruling of Yom Tov also applies on Shabbat, and one is forbidden to bathe on Yom Tov in hot water, and [may only do so] in lukewarm water. Some are strict and hold that one is rabinically prohibited from bathing on Shabbat and Yom Tov in either hot or lukewarm water. This is the custom of some Ashkenazim. But in practice, the essential [halachah] follows the opinion of the majority of the poskim who are lenient and allow bathing in hot water on Yom Tov. And, when this issue [of not bathing] causes pain, like on a two day holiday like Rosh Hashanah, or on a Yom Tov adjacent to Shabbat, it is appropriate to follow those who are lenient, in order to honor the holiday and enjoy it.
|The cover story on texting|
|The Responses of Rabbis Goodman and Rosen|
In truth, as the head of Machon Zomet, which develops "gimmicks" to circumvent the prohibitions of Shabbat, mainly in the areas of electricity and electronics in the areas of medicine, security and similar fields, I ask myself many times if we are not legitimizing disrespect for the laws of Shabbat, specifically with regard to technology. Do we not bear some of the responsibility for the drift towards the slippery slope of tradition of "rounding of corners" in the words of the interviewees in the article?It's a great question. Why specifically are we seeing this trend of corner-cutting specifically in the area of technology? Why aren't people cutting corners in the laws of Borer, or carrying outside an eiruv, or any other area of the Laws of Shabbat? Might people think to themselves, even subconsciously, "Well, if a doctor can make a call on his cellphone; if he can type on his nifty computer - then it can't really be that big of a deal, can it?" Sadly, Rav Rosen clears himself of all responsibility.
My answer is that exact opposite is true. The gimmicks of Machon Zomet, limited specifically to cases of great need, testify like a hundred witnesses to the vitality of halachah, which includes allowances to account for necessary circumstances, even if there is no danger of loss of life. The solutions of Zomet do not negate the Halachah. Rather, they highlight the imminent possibilities hidden within it, which say: Up to this point is forbidden, but from this point forward is permitted. Openings such as these are the foundations of the unfrozen Jewish Halachah, a guiding light for legitimate Poskim. However, these boundaries are not given into the hands of each and every individual, but instead [only] to those rabbis and their students spread and involved across the chain of the halachic generations. For the development of Halachah is one of the foundations of our faith.Read what he wrote again, because it's certainly a mouthful. First and foremost, Rav Rosen's Hebrew is rich and difficult. And I also agree with his underlying conclusion: Halachah isn't static; it does adjust to the needs and developments of time. It's easy to say no, and much, much more difficult to find creative halachic solutions to challenging problems.
As we entered the museum, I described to my sons what they were about to see, and even mentioned the famous quote from Supreme Court Justice Stewart Potter about the difference between art and pornography. Still, while Judge Potter might distinguish between the two, I doubt that the Shulchan Aruch makes any such distinction.צורות שעשו אותן גויים לנואי, מותרין בהנאה; וצורות שעשו אותן לעבודה זרה, אסורין.One may benefit from images that the nations made for beauty; Yet images made for the purpose of idolatry are prohibited.... (Laws of Idolatry 7:8)