Feb 23, 2017

LttE: Greek Culture

this "Letter to the Editor" is awesome..




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Picture of the Day


VP Mike Pence helps clean a vandalized Jewish cemetery in Missouri..


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Feb 22, 2017

“Were We Like Dreamers?” From Six Days to Fifty Years (video)



Yossi Klein Halevi, award-winning author and Shalom Hartman Institute senior fellow, did a live broadcast on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, and what it has meant for Israeli and Jewish society worldwide. Yossi answered questions during the program. The program was part of the Hartman Institute David Hartman Annual Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel.





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CNN hosts panels on anti-semitism (video)


CNN has hosted a number of panels on anti-semitism and Trump's dealings with it.. one of those panels included Jake Turx.

it is finally a focus of discussion..










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The Solomon Brothers: We are Not Angels (video)







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Feb 21, 2017

The Hagbah Institute

I love this.. kudos to the person who thought of it..





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Palestinians: Who do you support in the Syrian conflict? (video)






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Is Trump the world's least anti-Semitic person? (video)

this guy seems so angry all the time...





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"Self-Ish" with Yishai Lapidot and Baruch Marzel (video)




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Why do good things happen to bad people? (video)








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Synagogues of Virginia (video)








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Feb 20, 2017

Interesting Psak: using a blech

What makes this "psak" particularly interesting is that it does not come from a rabbi (though maybe some rabbis are now issuing piskei halacha based on this, in one way or another). Rather, ti comes from the fire and rescue services.

This past Shabbos the fire and rescue services of Jerusalem were called into action to put out a fire in a yeshiva. The fire had originated from the sue of some sort of ad hoc "blech" - a metal sheet placed over a fire. Pots had been placed atop the blech to keep the food hot for the upcoming meals, and draped over the pots were towels, to keep the heat in.

The towels caught fire and it quickly spread. The firemen put the fire out relatively quickly, but much damage had already been done.

The fire and rescue services then issued a statement to the public saying that using an electric hotplate to heat up food for Shabbos is definitively prohibited, but using a blech is 7 times worse and 7 times more dangerous. The chance for a fire catching on the towels and spreading is extremely high and the chances are high for a fatal fire to spread. Many fires and much damage is caused regularly by using such hotplates and blechs, even proper ones, and covering the food.
source: Behadrei

I am pretty sure we hear even more frequently about fires that started from electric hotplates that shorted out or something else happened to that caused an electrical fire.

I'd say to only use hotplates made by reputable companies and to be careful to cover your food without letting towels touch the surfaces of the hot plate or blech, but the rescue services are saying that even that is not good enough and no such method should be used as they are all too dangerous. Unfortunately such a warning in basically a waste of time, as how do they expect anybody to heat up food for Shabbos, if neither a blech nor a hot plate is acceptable? If they really want people to listen and heed their warnings, they should figure out what the safe way is for keeping food hot on Shabbos and letting the public know what is acceptable, and not just what is not. As of right now, people will nto listen with every method they are familiar with being condemned and no alternative being offered.






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Facebook Status of the Day




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but they seemed so normal!


There was some horrible case in Modiin Ilit of serious child abuse that led to the parents being arrested on Shabbos. After a doctor suspected abuse and reported it to the police, an investigation discovered, including supposedly catching serious abuse on camera form both the father and the mother, the abuse and led to arrests. They'll get their day in court, the legal process will move as normal, and they'll get their chance to argue their case and they'll either be guilty or innocent.

Among the articles I read about this, one of them quoted neighbors that are in shock about this and said things such as "we never suspected" and "they seemed like normal parents, we saw no indication of this", and the like.

There often is no clear indication. Abusers often look just like normal people, until they are behind closed doors with the people they abuse. It is the same shock people express when someone they know and never suspected is arrested for fraud, or for sexual abuse or being a pedophile or whatnot. They look like anybody else and often act like anybody else in public. If you do see or suspect something, it is important to check it out or report it to people who can, because it can go unnoticed for so long...



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when a cultural difference says you can ignore psak

the gedolim of Eretz Yisrael have come out many times with statements that concerts and the like are prohibited, even with separate seating and even if the event is only for men.

Kikar reports about a "dinner" on behalf of the Gerrer institutions of Eretz Yisrael set to take place in the USA next week with the main attraction being a performance by Mordechai Ben David, along with some other performers.

Now, they could have explained it away saying that the Gerrer Rebbe never signed on any ban or prohibition but that would not be true as he did sign on such a ban a number of years ago...

So, with the Gerrer Rebbe against such performances (arvei Shira and the like), why is it ok for the Gur institutions to hold such an event with such a performance?

The answer given by the relevant askanim is that the culture in the USA is different so it is ok (even though it is on behalf of the Israeli institutions.

Sounds good to me. Whenever there is a self-defined cultural difference we are now able to ignore the psak of the gedolim and even our own rebbe... many people have said similarly in the past - that a given psak isn't relevant because of x, y or z differences - but now the response has the hechsher of one of the gedolim saying my psak can be ignored for those reasons.






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Rubio questions David Friedman at ambassador to Israel hearing (video)

that's an awfully short answer for an awfully long question





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Knesset is celebrating its 68th birthday - how well do the MKs know it? (video)

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) is the subject here..






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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - Feb. 16, 2017 (video)







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Arab Israeli warns of 'dangerous' regression (video)








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Elokim by David hababou - official clip (video)







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Feb 19, 2017

a spirit of stupidity entered him

the following sign was posted in buildings in the Ezras Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem:

the sign call son local residents to be aware of someone living in a certain building who complained to the police about an avreich who "a spirit of stupidity entered him" and dealt a bit with children. and now, because he was ratted out to the police hsi life has been destroyed and has ever since bee in deep depression. Instead of going to speak with rabbonim he chose to snitch to the police. The author of the sign then calls out the "impure chardak" to leave the neighborhood and says he has no portion in the world to come and should not defile the neighborhood with his presence.

Very strange sign. his "dealing with kids" was just a moment of stupidity and no word about the lives of those kids being possibly ruined and the depression or other troubles they very well might soon find themselves in. The poor avreich who was busy with kids however is now depressed because his life was ruined over one stupid mistake. The kids aren't important, but the avreich perp is.

Also interesting to me is the use of the term "chardak". Until now that term has only been used in reference to Haredi soldiers in the IDF. there is no other indication in the letter that this person is a soldier, though it is possible - but if not, it is interesting they call him a chardak because he went to the police. So now anybody they don't like who doesn't toe the line is a chardak, and not just soldiers...


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Sean Hannity Full Interview With Benjamin Netanyahu 2/16/17 (video)








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the first exposure of the new Zehut platform (video)








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TurxGate makes waves from Trump Press Conference (video)


TurxGate started off with President Trump misunderstanding a question asked by Jake Turx in his press conference..


Turx himself had an interesting take on the incident..


and then Turx made the prime time.. on the Daily Show and on the James COrden show (and maybe others that I have not seen yet)




I wonder if Ami Magazine subscription numbers have shot up since the press conference..






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We should kiss more often (video)







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Klezmer Concert: Daniel Kahn (video)



Singer/Songwriter Daniel Kahn (Painted Bird), a leading figure in the Klezmer revival movement, performs Yiddish songs, cabaret, and punk folk music. With Jake Shulman-Ment and Psoy Korolenko, a program of KulturfestNYC 2015 from Joe’s Pub in NYC.





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Feb 16, 2017

Cofix raising prices

Cofix has announced they can no longer hold back from raising the prices of items in their shops from 5nis to 6nis.

That is a dramatic increase of 20%. Cofix says they delayed as long as they could but with minimum wage having been increased, along with real estate rental prices and other cost of living expenses increasing in price, they cannot continue to sell their coffee and other items at 5nis. 6nis is where it is at today.

That is a major increase in price. 20%. And they made a big deal about selling everything for just 5nis. But let's not forget that it is now just 6nis instead of 17nis or 20nis that the regular coffee shops are selling their coffee at. It will be just 6nis for a croissant or ice coffee or bowl of cholent compared to the 15nis or 12nis or whatever in the other shops, so people are still getting a great deal.

Better they should raise the price a bit and let the consumer still pay a fraction of what it costs elsewhere than go out of business and then the consumer would have to go back to having no choice but paying the high prices of the mainstream coffee shops...


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Proposed Law: Marriage 101

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) has proposed a law, that has the support of MKs from both sides of the benches,

Glick has proposed that tax breaks be offered to young couples that take a course to prepare them for marriage. The course would be designed to give a newly married couple the tools with which to cope as a couple and family in modern times and to help prevent violence within the family unit. The courses would give tools for communication and problem solving.

The Ministry of Social Welfare will certify various institutions to provide these courses. Participating couples will receive a voucher which will be worth half a point in the tax credit system. Participating couples will also be exempt from the marriage registration fee and would get the cost of the course reimbursed.

Opponents to the proposal say that married life is private and among different families and couples there are different methodologies employed and it is not the business of the State to get involved in such private matters.
source: Kipa

Is this a good idea or not? My only thought is that with divorce rates so high, perhaps today's young couple are somehow less equipped to deal with differences and change than couples in previous generations were. If the courses are designed properly, maybe ti can be a good thing and something that strengthens the family.








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Shas opposes law meant to protect sefardim

MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) tried to get a law passed that would take away funding from educational institutions that are guilty of rejecting potential students based on their ethnic origin.

Cohen "expected" to at least get the support of Shas for the bill, if not also the support of UTJ. After all, the Haredi school system is among the worst offenders in this issue and many sefardi families in the Haredi community suffer from such discrimination and every year we hear the heartbreaking numbers of kids who have no school to go to simply because they are sefardi.

UTJ was not really expected to support the bill, as they do not fight for the little people. They tend to represent those who hold the power - the administrators of the institutions who are also usually the askanim of the community. UTJ has never fought against them, no matter how much they go against the instructions of the gedolim - any time the issue has come to the Knesset to possibly put an end to it, the UTJ MKs have not supported the victims.

Shas, on the other hand, does at least claim to fight for the weak, and at times they do. Their entire campaign for the last elections was predicated on that - their work on behalf of the "shkufim" - the transparent people, the little people - the people nobody else stands up for. Shas was expected to not oppose such a bill that was meant to protect the natural voters of Shas.

But they did.

Both UTJ and Shas opposed it, and not because it was a bad proposal, but because it was proposed by Yesh Atid. Shas was not going to oppose it but instead just leave the plenum and not be present for the voting. They were called back in when it seemed like the coalition might not have a majority without them, so they returned and voted against. MK Yigal Guetta even said afterwards that he voted against the bill but is embarrassed by it.

Not only that but UTJ is now threatening to "punish" Shas for considering not voting against the bill. UTJ is going to "reevaluate" its working relationship with Shas because of how Shas almost did not oppose the bill.

If only the people in charge would look out for, and work for, the people they are meant to be working for... that is, the people. not their honor, not their friends, but the people... if only..





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Quote of the Day

One-State solution? I will run for the post of Prime Minister and I assure you I will beat Bibi Netanyahu

  -- MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL)


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Israelis: What words in Yiddish do you know? (video)







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Gideon Saar at the Basheva Jerusalem conference (video)







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PM Netanyahu and President Trump Hold Joint Press Conference (video)

for better or for worse...





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MK Dr. Anat Berko reveals the Palestine lie about two states solution (video)








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Ahron Razel - our job, dealing in torah (audio)






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Feb 15, 2017

Picture of the Day



beautiful rainbow over Bet Shemesh (as seen from RBS B) with a perfectly placed rainbow umbrella beneath it...


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Interesting Psak: what percentage can a shnorrer take of his collections?

There is always a debate, and a concern among people donating money to organizations, as to what is a legitimate percentage for the collector/meshulach/shnorrer to take as compensation from the monies he raised on their behalf. People want to know that the money they are donating is going to the organization, but it costs money to hire a fundraiser and they deserve a salary for their work and efforts. They surely deserve to earn a salary or commission - the question is simply how much is reasonable.

Rav Doni Schwartz of Machon Hatorah vHaaretz has written a detailed psak on the matter in which he says paying to the collector anything beyond 50% is unreasonable and is considered theft. He says that organizations should give a lot less than 50% but he leaves it open saying that it also depends on the amount of work the collector has to put into the job.

Rav Schwartz brings from Rav Shternbuch that a colelctor is allowed to take a portion of the money because otherwise nobody would be willing to fundraise for the organizations, so like the halacha by poor people that nobody will look out for them if they did not earn some of the money, that applies to these organizations as well.

Rav Schwartz also brings from Rav Zilbershtein that it is still considered tzedaka for the donors and giving some of the money to the fundraiser is nto considered going against the wishes of the donor who wants his money to go to tzedaka. Rav Zilbershtein explains that the fundraiser works on their behalf and deserves to get paid and this is like any other expense or salary the yeshiva has to pay.

So, a yeshiva could designate a portion of the money raised for the collector and it is not considered theft from the poor for whom the money was designated. The recipients are "moichel" the reasonable percentage so that someone will be willing to do the work to raise a lot more money for them than he otherwise would.

However, Rav Schwartz makes the point that giving anything beyond 50% is already too much and nobody donating money agrees to the majority of his money going to pay for the collector. So anything beyond that is unreasonable and would be considered theft. The exact amount he receives should be base don a combination of factors such as how much work and effort he must put in, the value of the "brand" for which he is collecting, with an upward limit of 50%.

I wonder who is considered stealing in such a case where the fundraiser takes more than 50%. A case could be made that he isn't stealing anything as he is working for an organization and whatever they negotiated is fair for him to take. Maybe the yeshiva or organization agreeing to use the collected money to pay more than 50% to the fundraiser is the one stealing, but the money is there to be used for their expenses, and this is an expense. It seems the donor is being deceived and the yeshiva/poor people are being stolen from, but I am not sure who guilty of the theft. Maybe the two together - the collector and the yeshiva administrator.






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Murex Trunculus snail found in Har Habayit sifting project

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, where they sift through the dirt and rubble removed from Temple Mount by the Arabs from their construction projects, has posted on its website the discovery of a number of shells of the Murex Trunculus snail.

Being that such snails are generally found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and not inland, they suspect there might have been a dye producing "factory" on site or very nearby for the purpose of producing the argaman (purplish hue) and tekhelet (sky blue hue) dyes for the various needs of the Temple, as these two color dyes are both produced from the Murex snail.

It is not a great proof that the murex is the true source of the tekhelet, as perhaps it was only used for the argaman and not the tekhelet, but this discovery can definitely be added to the long list compiled by the Ptil Tekhelet organization as strong indicators of being the true source.




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Israelis: Where do you get your news? (video)







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Israel's Knesset Tour with Dov Lipman and Tova Knecht (video)







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The Truth About Jerusalem (video)



Danny Ayalon, Founder of the "Truth About Israel", Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the United States explains the facts about Jerusalem and the Jewish People. Ayalon explains why President Trump's promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's Capital, is firmly based on the ongoing historical, religious, cultural and physical connection of the Jews to their holy capital. Ayalon explains that in the last 2000 years empires came and left, conquered colonized and occupied Jerusalem - but they have never turned it into their capital. And while Jerusalem is holy also to Muslims, it's importance is secondary, and even when praying on Temple Mount they turn their backs to the Dome of the Rock and face Mecca.





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Synagogues of Virginia (video)









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Yesh Tikvah Jewish Music Videos (video)







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Feb 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

The Ministry of Defense is not transferring the money for the treatment of the Syrian refugees, despite its commitment to do so.  This is increasing the deficit if the hospitals in the north... if payment will not be arranged, retroactive as well, I will prohibit hospitals from accepting new refugee patients. I'll go crazy. Don't be a bleeding heart on my back.

  -- Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, commenting on the 300 million nis costs involved until now in treating wounded Syrian refugees.

There is a humanitarian crisis in Syria, and whatever help can be offered should be offered, but someone has to pay for it. While sick/injured Syrians get free and immediate health care in Israel, many Israelis are destitute and sick and for them there is no money available from the government. It is important to help the Syrian victims, but if that much money is being spent on them then there should be more money available to help needy Israelis..



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Picture of the Day




this is a picture of the "mitzva tanse" of the rebbe of Kretchnif Siget with a kalla - the kalla of his son. This is form the last night of sheva brachos - in Kretchnif SIget their custom is that the rebbe does his mitzva tanse at both the wedding and at the last night of sheva brachos. Due to a shortage of space available in the beis medrash, the mitzva tanse was performed long distance via an extra long gartel or rope, with the kalla in the ezras nashim.
source: Behadrei

I've never seen that before...



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Husan and Beitar residents upset regarding closure of village

According to a report on Kikar, the people of the Arab village of Husan, along with some people from the neighboring Jewish town of  Beitar, are upset that the army has decided to try to put an end to the recent increase in stone throwing incidents from Husan on cars passing on the road below the village (375). To that end the IDF has now prohibited the entry of Jews into Husan, and IDF tractors blocked the egress from Husan to the road forcing locals to use an alternate bypass road.

The Husan people are upset that they are now losing all the Jewish business [mostly] from Beitar, and say it will have the opposite effect from the desired effect. They say it is kids doing the stone throwing, urged by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and they have no control over this no matter how much the IDF punishes them. The say the IDF knows who is responsible and can punish those families alone and not everyone collectively, but they prefer to have the village leaders do the dirty work, though it will be ineffective.

The Beitar people are upset that now they will have to pay more for construction materials and for getting cars repaired because they cannot go to Husan to take advantage of the cheaper prices.

1. they basically support and confirm the concept of economic peace that many, including Bibi, have spoken about. Meaning, as long as they are making a decent living, they won't want to get involved in all that fighting that often hurts them economically. The people of Husan are saying exactly that. It i sjust kids. We just want to make a living. Hurting our bottom line by banning the Jews will just radicalize more people.

2. weird how despite the regular terror inflicted on the Jews, both local and others just passing through, [some of] the people of Beitar are still upset at the thought of having to go somewhere else and pay more money to fix their cars and buy goods. They'd prefer to support the people throwing stones on them then to pay extra elsewhere.

3. they all claim to know better than the IDF what security measures will and will not work.

4. Maybe Israel should just build a wall around Husan.



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According to a report on INN, a group of left-wingers' are planning on joining the Likud in order to influence the direction of the party to lean more leftward, despite not having any intention of actually voting for the party in future general elections.

a. they will never get enough people to join the Likud to do anything significant.
b. even if they tried, the Likud could technically reject their membership, citing the clear lack of identification with, and actual opposition to, Likud policy. Labor just did that when Amir Chetzroni tried to join their party. Likud did it when Hatzel joined. It happens all the time, and would surely happen if the Likud leadership caught wind of an attempt at a hostile takeover.
c. Moshe Feiglin tried this from the other side, going more right-wing. After 15 years of trying, see where it got him and how he changed the Likud. He gave up.
d. it should be fun to watch




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news report on how the arrest of one Haredi deserter turned into violent protests around the country (video)

this is a very interesting report... especially the discussion after the report....






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Israelis: Would you visit Palestine? (video)







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UN to Israel: Give Land to ISIS! (video)

is this really true?






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Marc Zell on the upcoming Netanyahu-Trump meetings (video)

I hope it goes even half as well as Zell thinks it will...





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The Solomon Brothers shemesh (video)






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Feb 13, 2017

your day in court might cost you double

I think this is unreasonable.

In an attempt to lighten the loads from the traffic courts, and in general to make the traffic laws bear harsher punishments, a proposal has been out forward by which a driver who appeals a fine to the courts and loses that appeal would have his fine doubled automatically.

About 30% of cases in the traffic courts are of people appealing their fines. Of those, the vast majority end up admitting guilt. This unnecessary tie-up of the courts would be relieved by the doubling of the fines - drivers will consider the situation carefully before appealing.
source: TheMarker

Everybody is entitled to their day in court. Threatening with the doubling of the fine to prevent people from going to court is taking away that basic right.





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Interesting Psak: buying "black" tefillin

Machon Keter - an organization that studies and encourages finances according to a torah approach - has published an interesting psak regarding the purchase of tefillin.

The question they dealt with was how to relate to holy objects - tefillin and mezuza - that was purchased from someone who does not pay his taxes. Is such a person - a sofer who does not pay taxes - passul or lose his status of being a trustworthy and reliable person (from a halachic standpoint)? Are using such objects considered performing a mitzva via an aveira? can you make a bracha on such tefillin?

Their conclusions were that:
1. a sofer who evades taxes or steals from other people is not passul from writing holy objects like tefilllin and mezuza and his status as trustworthy and reliable remains.

2. somebody who buys tefillin "black" cannot make a bracha on the tefillin he acquired through an aveira. By buying "black" he is assisting in an aveira, and cannot make a bracha, and therefor eit is also prohibited to purchase tefillin like that.  However, if the person already wore the tefillin, bdieved he fulfilled his obligation - the tefillin themselves do not become passul.

If the buyer truly does not know what the seller does regarding the paying of the required taxes, despite being negligent in not clarifying before purchasing, he can make a bracha on his tefillin. And, this is dependent on his knowledge at the time of purchase - even if he finds out later that the seller did not pay his taxes, he can continue putting on his tefillin.
source: Kipa

I am pretty sure that at least 99 times out of 100 a buyer will have no idea if the seller is paying taxes or not and won't even think of asking. It might even be rude to ask, as if you are saying you suspect that he is doing something illegal. The relevant situation might be where you ask for a discount of the taxes for paying cash.



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Palestinian and Israeli jokes #1 (video)






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Sivan Rahav Meir interviews Rabbi Marvin Hier (video)




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Ari Shamai went to Shuk HaCarmel to see what people know about Tu B'Shvat (video)







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The bad news... and the good news...(video)







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Tzel Etz Tamar I Uziya Tzadok I Live (video)







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Feb 12, 2017

Imam prays for annihilation of Jews

CIJ News, an online Candian publication that focuses on anti-semitism, points to an Imam in Canada who has publicly prayed for the annihilation of the Jews.

According to CIJ, "Quebec Imam Sayed AlGhitawi (سيد الغتاوي) recited supplications to Allah to support the mujahideen (Muslims who engage in jihad) in Palestine and to inflict total destruction on the Jews."

I don't care about this guy's prayer. What he davens for does not interest or bother me in the least. As long as he is not inciting others to violence or acting out on his wishes, just prayers alone don't bother me. The problem is that as an Imam with such a public prayer, chances are he is, at minimum, inciting to violence... that being the case, Canada needs to put an end to these types of things...




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Headline of the Day

Food trucks get green light to roll into Jerusalem


-- Times of Israel

Food trucks can be great for city neighborhoods and provide awesome food options. They are known to have problems and many cities ban them or tightly regulate them regarding health and hygienic standards, so this will have to be administered and supervised carefully before we end up with problems.

I wonder how this would affect Shabbos and chilul shabbos in the city. A restaurant deciding to open on Shabbos is always a big deal. it becomes public knowledge very quickly. There are hechsher issues. There might be protests, though even if not they could be a target of attempts at legislation or public awareness campaigns... with a food truck it seems like it might be much easier for a restaurant to operate on Shabbos via the food truck, even if the owner keeps the actual restaurant closed on Shabbos, and it might be easier for them to get away with it, due to its size and mobility.... I don't know if there will be Shabbos restrictions on these food trucks getting licensed but if not I can see this becoming a serious breach in the ability to fight the ever-expanding amount of chilul shabbos in Jerusalem.




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Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef says Rav Vaye got his bug issue wrong

There are some people who think that only Rav Vaye (expert rabbi in bug infestations in fruits and vegetables) have the right to have an opinion/stance on such matters, and nobody else, no matter how learned that person might be or how involved and knowledgeable in kashut matters that person might be, if this person's opinion is any different than Rav Vaye's, it is to be discounted and rejected. Rav Vaye is the expert and nobody else can have an opinion or psak. When I asked such a person about kashrut organizations that pasken differently than Rav Vaye, such as regarding how to deal with strawberries, the response was that he is the expert, Rav Elyashiv said so, and therefore they are not experts and do not know what they are talking about - only Rav Vaye and the people he himself has trained, have the right to pasken on such matters.

I have no problem with people wanting to follow the psak of Rav Vaye. If they want to check certain fruits or greens a certain way, or stay away from others, because of what Rav Vaye paskened about those items, labriyut, as they say. Eat, don't eat - it is your business, and I don't really care.

What does get to me is the rejection of any other opinion as illegitimate.

Besides for having heard many times from other rabbonim and kashrus organizations how to  check strawberries and corn on the cob, for example, in order to properly eat them, the Chief Rabbi  himself, in a recent shiur about eating Tu B'Shvat fruits, discussed the matter as well.

Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef said that Rav Vaye has done great work raising the awareness of bugs and infestations, thus making people knowledgeable regarding the need to check for bugs. But his approach is wrong. Rav Vaye says you are not allowed to eat strawberries, corn, figs, sunflower seeds... but according to the halacha only when there is a significant minority of infested fruit does one have to check it. Rav Yosef testifies about his father, Rav Ovadia, that he himself would open figs to check them and then give them out to the others to eat. Strawberries, you just need to cut off the top, split them in half, and then eat it.

Rav Yosef describes having bought campers fresh corn on the cob and when one asked about bugs he offered to pay $1 per bug found. He says all 100 students looked very carefully but not one bug was found.

Rav Yosef says about sunflower seeds that Rav Vaye found a bug in one and photographed it, magnified the picture and says they are infested and you can't eat them unless you check every single seed. That is bittul torah, Rav Yosef says! According to halacha [Rav Vaye] is wrong - this is not a significant minority of infested produce - a few bugs in a pack of sunflower seeds? People need to know that not everything is prohibited.

I fully support what Rav Yosef said, as if he needs my support. He is saying exactly what I heard form many other rabbonim. If you want to follow Rav Vaye and avoid corn and avoid strawberries and avoid other fruits, go ahead, but he is not the only voice out there.

and you can hear Rav Yosef say it himself...






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Facebook Status of the Day




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Trumpyahu: The perfect couple (video)

this is from Haaretz...





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Should the ultra-Orthodox serve in the IDF? (video)



Former Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman debates this issue with an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who is against IDF service - on I24 News - February 8, 2017





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Native American ambassadors to Israel (video)

Are there remnants of the lost tribes of Israel among the First Nations? • Did native Americans have contact with ancient Hebrews? • Steve Ganot speaks with Chief Joseph and Dr. Laralyn RiverWind about the relationship between the two peoples.





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Israeli Archaeologist to Start Dig at 'Ark of the Covenant' Site (video)







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SHTAR - 'Overload' - Live Studio Session - Loop Pedal (video)







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Feb 9, 2017

Picture of the Day


caption contest..

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removing IDF deferment benefits from protesting yeshiva students

Once again the "Peleg" faction of the Haredi community is sending its boys out into the streets to protest.. they are right now out on main roads and intersections in various parts of the country blocking traffic and expressing their protest. They are once again protesting the arrest of a young man declared AWOL after failing to appear to sign the paperwork to get his automatic deferment fo service as a yeshiva student. The Peleg people, led by Rav Shmuel Auerbach, do not believe in cooperating with the process and are against any such cooperation with the IDF to the extreme.

In response, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman has instructed his office to look into the possibility of canceling the deferments available to the two yeshivas under the leadership of Rav Auerbach - Maalos Hatorah in Jerusalem and Grodna in Ashdod. As well, to look into the possiblity of canceling all government funding to these yeshivas.
source: Radio Kol Hai news

I think that these people have the right to protest (legal protest, with permits, that is) just like anybody else, and they should not be punished for exercising that right to protest. They should not lose funding because of protests and they should not lose their rights and standing vis-a-vis the army because of protests.

That being said, I don't think it is a bad idea to punish them,, perhaps with these same forms of punishment, but for other reasons. Not for protesting, but for the regular incitement against soldiers in the IDF, especially Haredi soldiers - they have been openly involved in the "Chardakim" campaign against Haredi soldiers, even if they are not the people behind it (I don't know if they are or are not behind it, but they have been involved in it).

Additionally, for a group that uses the claim of the highest level of importance for learning Torah and that it therefore deserves to let them off the hook for many things, they are spending an awful lot of time outside the beis medrash with these protests. While they shouldn't be punished for protesting, they are not fulfilling their obligations to society as they claim to be - defending the nation with their torah learning. a protest every now and again might be ok, but the regularity of their involvement in these things takes serious amounts of time away from their torah learning.






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leaving Jerusalem, coming to Bet Shemesh

Ynet has some interesting stats from the National Bureau of Statistics regarding migration habits of Israelis.

According to the new stats, Jerusalem has the highest level of negative migration of all the cities in Israel. Meaning, more people per year are leaving Jerusalem to live elsewhere than the number of people moving to Jerusalem from other cities.

And Bet Shemesh is the city at the top of the positive migration chart, with more people moving in than moving out.

Out of all the statistics brought in the article, I found one more interesting stat. That is, out of all the people leaving Jerusalem for other cities, the two cities most moved to from Jerusalem are Bet Shemesh first and then Tel Aviv.

I find it difficult to believe that somebody looking to move to a new city is considering his two options of Bet Shemesh or Tel Aviv. Hmmm, should I move to Bet Shemesh - nah, Tel Aviv is better. Should I move to Tel Aviv - nah, Bet Shemesh is for me. The people considering Tel Aviv are not normally considering Bet Shemesh, and those considering Bet Shemesh are not normally considering Tel Aviv. They are very different cities.

It seems to me that Bet Shemesh is the prime location for Haredim, probably mostly young couples, moving out of Jerusalem looking for cheaper housing than what the big city has to offer. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, is likely the prime location for young professionals, secular or moderately religious, looking to leave the religious environment of Jerusalem and instead live in the country's hub of business and recreation...




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messianism from Minister Yisrael Katz

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz met with Temple Mount activists, upon their request, to discuss various issues relating to Har Habayit - including their request that Katz himself ascend Har Habayit..

During the meeting, the Minister expressed the special connection he himself feels with Har Habayit, as he is a kohen. He also revealed plans to extend the new rail lines to Jerusalem to reach a station that will be built just a few meters away from the entrance to Har Habayit despite the engineering complexities involved - the station, Katz said, will be named "The Har Habayit and Kotel Station". Katz said that he believes that making the heart of the country more accessible will strengthen the connection of the Jews to the place of the Temple and will be a step in the geula.
source: Har Habayit News

While I like Minister Katz as a minister and as a Jew, from everything I have read about him and heard from him, he is not the minister I would have expected a dose of messianism from... I think it is a great idea to bring public transportation directly to the are aof Har Habayit and the Kotel and mak eit easier for the masses to visit these places...









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Hamas music video: "Zionists, Die in Gaza" (video)

The Hamas propaganda division has produced a new music video, in Hebrew, using animation.. this is sure to become a hit, like some previous music videos they released, despite the graphic imagery and violent lyrics





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MK Yehuda Glick on Today Tonight with Guri Alfi (video)








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Trump asks if walls work "Just ask Israel" (video)

I guess Trump noticed that tweet...





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PM Netanyahu Meets Chuck Norris (video)


Bibi is pretty funny...


and a friend of mine met Chuck Norris on the Golan Heights..



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Hanan Ben Ari: Thanks that you (video)







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Feb 8, 2017

no dried fruit for Tu bShvat

Tu B'Shvat is coming (this Shabbos, which also happens to be Shabbos Shira), and the stores are busy selling all sorts of dried fruits that people, for whatever reason, love to consume on this holiday. I never really understood what's so great about dried fruits, as the fresh ones taste so much better. Some fruits just aren't accessible fresh, and some might taste better dried, so I get eating those dried - but most fruits are better fresh. I also don't get what dried fruit has to do with Tu B'Shvat. Just because 150 years ago in cold Europe they could only get dried fruit doesn't seem to be a good enough reason, to me, to rpefer it for Tu bShvat today when we have an abundance of fresh fruit available.

Anyways, there are some people who prefer you don't eat the dried fruit, or not much of it, at least. The classic reason some people oppose most of the dried fruit is due to infestation of bugs in many of the various types of dried fruit. Some you can check for and consume, but some are just too infested or too difficult to check and they say you cannot eat these types of dried fruits.

The Ministry of Agriculture is now calling on the public to avoid dried fruits, but for a different reason. The MoA is saying that the dried fruits in the market have less nutrition than fresh fruit and contain artificial food colorings, sugar and empty calories.  

The MoA is saying that instead of eating dried fruits for Tu bShvat, you should be eating fresh fruits.  source: Globes


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interesting psak: violent behavior does not indicate actual violent behavior

A Jerusalem beis din recently paskened that a husband beating his wife is not grounds for divorce. Specifically in this case, that is, because he beat her after she insisted on a divorce and refused to attend "shalom bayis" meetings with him for conciliation.

In 2014 the wife filed for divorce claiming that during their 24 years of marriage he had abused her physically, sexually, and mentally. While the divorce filing was active, her husband was arrested and convicted for physically abusing her and threatening to kill her, and there was even a restraining order out on him to keep his distance from her.

Despite his tendencies to violence, the beis din decided that his violence is not grounds for "forcing" a divorce - i.e. for accepting her demand for a divorce. They suspect that she really wants a divorce because of a budding relationship with someone else (her employer), as the husband claimed, and his violent behavior was never proven.

She appealed to the Higher Beis Din, who sent it back down for re-evaluation by the original beis din, considering his recent conviction. Despite 3 convictions for violence, the beis din, upon reevaluation, decided that the violence against her was only a one-time incident and not a trend of behavior and after the husband admitted to his actions, they believe he won't resort to violence again. The said that they believe that had she been open to fixing the relationship and repairing the marriage,, even this one-time incident would have never happened.
source: Ynet
psak of the beis din can be seen here

Meaning, as long as he refuses to grant her a divorce, she has no recourse, despite the violence against her. If she somehow persuades him to divorce her, obviously that would work - but beis din won't force the issue.

All I can think of to say is that when he one day kills her, chas v'shalom, or leaves her unconscious or suicidal, the "elders of the city" will not be able to say "ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה" - our hands did not spill this blood..






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Eugene Kontorovich: Jewish Settlements & International Law (video)

very interesting. I never even heard of much of this before hearing this talk...



Northwestern University Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich makes the case that Israeli settlements are not illegal under international law. A program of Zionist Organization of America.





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In The News: Settlements-Yossi Klein Halevi (video)

very interesting discussion, and I agree with most, if not all, of what Klein Halevy says... I would have expected some follow-up questions trying to clarify more how he differentiates between Jerusalem and Samaria, but I guess they ran out of time..





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Throwing a Super Bowl Party for the Homeless (video)






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Synagogues of Minnesota (video)









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The Mir Niggun of 200 Years - Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim (video)








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pleasant 10

10km on a beautiful morning with pleasant weather. great run.. across Kishon, up Hayarqon and Hayarden, around Dolev and then back home...


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Feb 7, 2017

Picture of the Day



defacing an advertising sign because it has a picture of a woman.

I am surprised he didn't bring a ladder or stepstool but just jumps with he paintbrush. And speaking of that - he gets up there pretty high. That is an impressive jump. He should be playing basketball. Maybe he could even go pro!

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