Writing a note to place between the stones of the Kotel: in the simplest way, the young boy asks Hashem for the things that are the most important to him. We can learn a lot about prayer and Hashem from the children.
Beit Gvurin is an ancient underground town in Southern Israel. Above ground are some structures, but underground is what’s practically a full ancient mall!
Going down, first floor, second…third?
Some is water storage, but some is underground room after room.
Overall very impressive, and a massive amount of underground walking.
If you’re visiting Israel, check it out!
Maybe this is the right time to bring up this issue. Obviously, for most of us it is not a problem, but that doesn't mean that we should not be aware of the terrible frustration that others might be going through. Maybe the Supreme Court can rule in favor of my friend Charley (not his real name). He is really a nice guy.
Charley is in what is called "a relationship". That means that he has a female live-in companion. They really love each other, but they are not married. He knows that this is not moral, and he wants to upgrade his relationship and marry Becky (also not her real name) but the States will not allow them to marry -- total frustration for Charley. He feels, and maybe some of the readers might side with him -- that he should be allowed to upgrade his relationship. After all, it is a mature relationship, neither one is underage, they both agree, so why shouldn't they be allowed to marry? Since now boys can legally marry boys, and girls can legally marry girls, he feels that the Government should step in and support his cause.
What do you think? Should there be parades to help Charley and Becky get married or not? Vote here: yes or no
Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you. Charlie is an adult man and Becky is a Labrador Retriever. Shall we support Charlie and Becky and go to the Supreme Court with this or not?
Reb Akiva's response:
I think the space is a minefield. The same gender community has spent a decade of media indoctrination to change understanding of relationships - that their way is not only ok but PREFERRED.
People will respond to the above that you're being ridiculous, but multi-partner people are clamoring for legality, those attracted to children are doing the same. And frankly, regular marriages are failing. Right now 52% of children are born to UNMARRIED parents in the US (and in the African American community that number is 80%).
So regular relationship people aren't getting married, while alternative relationship people are. It's the end of Western society, as without the basic functional structures society will crumble. Oh, birth rates in ALL of Western society have fallen below replacement levels (it's so low in Japan that their population will fall by 40% over the next 50 years).
The only Western country in the world with birth rates over replacement level and births to married parents over 60% is ISRAEL. (Though there's problems in Tel Aviv.)
Given the barbarians are literally at the gates, an opinion from the WSJ that said "it's hard to get marital rights when you're dead" seems to apply.
The Jordan Valley down by the Dead Sea is incredibly stark. Absolutely dead desert…except for springs and farm areas that create lush spots in the midst of the lowest desert valley in the world…
At the gas station, local Arabs await with the dreaded Tourist Camels! Get pictures on a camel, NIS 10.
That’s the Dead Sea and Jordan in the distance. Years ago this was a closely guarded border. Now there are tourist hotels on both sides. Peace is kitsch.
Freshwater streams flow out of the valley walls in a few places, creating lush spots in the midst of the desert valley…
The fresh water dries out, the Dead Sea in the distance, Jordan on the other side…
But back towards the fresh spring, greener with the valley wall mountain in the distance.
The desert has a beauty all it’s own. In the Holy Land, the Land of Israel, G-d’s gift to the Jewish people.
We’ve been experimenting with Meerkat, a new live streaming app & web stream, showing sites and life in the Holy Land of Israel. We’ve shared Kever Shmuel HaNavi, scenes from the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and the Mediterranean.
These are live streams, and currently no replay is offered (a future feature they say)… so catch a stream when it’s live. And the app or page offers the ability to interact and share, so be sure to do both.
We hope you like it.
1. Like any streaming or video service, or TV itself, not everything in their catalog is kosher.
2. While they actively filter and remove adult themed content, they don’t currently have the ability to select an individual channel or topic – so use of the App can result in seeing inappropriate options in the “current streams” list. Consider carefully if viewing such a catalog is appropriate for your personal situation (the catalog is not the stream, but is an introductory image or an introductory few seconds of video.)
3. App requires iOS 8 or Android 4.4 or later to use. In some cases earlier versions may use a more limited “viewing” app.
I have been asked to respond to the recent US Supreme Court decision.
For good reason Hashem calls homosexual relations an abomination. "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination."[i]
The intense sexual desire that comes upon males with puberty is actually for the good. Hashem puts it there for a very holy purpose. He wants His World to be filled with healthy families. Without that strong sexual desire very few men would marry and go through all of the struggles that married life brings.
When Hashem first created Adam he saw that it was not good for man to be alone so He created Eve, the first woman. Remember, the Torah is not only a history book but a guide for each of us in every generation. Eve was taken from Adam's body instead of being created a separate being. But, why? Hashem could just as easily have created her from the earth as He did Adam.
As soon as Adam saw Eve he knew that she was his. He said of her that she was the bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. The Torah says of this; "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh."[ii]
A marriage is not the coming together of two equal partners. A marriage is the coming together of two halves to make a complete one.
The perverting of the sexual desire does not produce a family. A perverted relationship comes merely to satisfy lusts. The Torah tells us not to follow our hearts and our eyes as they will lead us astray. Our intellect must rule our heart.
The US Supreme Court's decision comes to satisfy the hearts of a very small twisted minority. But the real problem is that their immoral decision has spread to the entire nation. The law-abiding children in America will be raised believing that homosexuality is normal! This is a huge error.
The fact is, as all will see in the end, the US Supreme Court is not really the Supreme Court. On the day of our true judgment we will stand before the Supreme Judge. And guess what? He is going to judge us according to His Torah and not according to the US Supreme Court's perverted ruling.
The gemora says that this long, terrible exile has been caused by Jews hating Jews without reason. Some great rabbis add that it stands to reason that the way to end it is for Jews to love Jews without reason. This means that we show Jews love without expecting them to give us anything in return. Let's see if these rabbis are right.
Thanks to the internet, several thousand Jews are going to read this suggestion. What if we say? "I'm going to test these rabbis. I'm going to go out of my way and show extra love to ten Jews, totally without reason, and I'm going to see if there is any change." It doesn't have to be a major thing. You don't have to buy him a new car, or pay for a vacation in Israel. Sometimes just giving someone an extra smile will pick him up from the lowest places.
Jews, being like we are, when someone gives us love we become even more loving. This means that we are going to give more love than we would have, so the love that you are going to start is going to increase and spread.
I bet you a buck those rabbis are right. I bet if we go out and even if for only one day, increase the love that we already have for each other, and we manifest that love in some way that the other Jews see that we are loving them, I bet that we will read in the News that some wonderful thing miraculously happened to some Jews somewhere in the world.
Let's try. What do we have to lose? When you give love you feel more loving, so no matter what happens things will get better, if not for everyone, at the very least just for you.
Are you looking for a (Orthodox Religious) Girls School (grades 7-12) in Israel for your daughter’s who need a bit of special attention and care? Have a daughter that the traditional Jewish religious school system isn’t working for?
Check out Machon Menucha! A new school in Jerusalem, Israel…
Moshe's father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) is praised even more than the Jewish people for having blessed Hashem when he heard how Hashem saved Israel from Pharaoh.[i] The gemora points out that the Jews sang and danced and praised Hashem when He saved them, so why does the gemora praise Yitro above the Jews. It is explained that blessings are even greater than praises.
King Dovid gave us specific instructions how to increase our daily spiritual awareness; "…serve Hashem with gladness… come before Him with joyful song… enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise …."[ii]
Although the Psalm seems to be speaking only of entering the Temple in Jerusalem it is also instructing us how we are to proceed in our individual search for Hashem. Hashem is equally everywhere at all times, but He is hiding. Our spiritual work is to reveal His glorious Presence.
First, King Dovid told us to be glad that we are able to serve our Creator and to sing joyfully when we wish to approach Him. Then to come closer, we can enter the outer gates by thanking Him over and over again for all the good that He is doing for us.
Once we are through the outer gates we want to continue closer. Deeper inside, past the gates of the Temple, was the Courtyard. To enter the Courtyard we have to do more than simply thank Hashem, we have to recall some of His greatness. "How great You are Hashem. You fill and surround all. You are without beginning or end. You always have been, and You always will be. You are the very purpose of life…." Praise is higher than thanksgiving so it brings us even closer to the treasured goal of actually revealing Hashem's Presence.
But now what? The closer we get to our goal the more we thirst, but what more can we do than praise G-d? The gemora explains that blessings are even greater than praise.
When we say a blessing we move into a realm that is not found when reciting thanks or praise. We say G-d's Name and we elevate our thoughts into the realm of holiness. If we pay deep attention to the words of the blessing we will reap even more. For those moments we will actually dwell in holiness. This is why we are commanded to say blessings. G-d wants us to be holy.
Thanksgiving comes from our emotions. Praise comes from our intellect. Blessings come from our spiritual heart.
Enter the outer gate, from there move into the courtyard… then proceed into the Holy area, and ultimately when we cleave to the blessing, we will move into the Holy of Holies.
Two brothers from America; the one on the left had never put on tefillin before. He could not read any of the prayers in Hebrew. Although his first wife was Jewish, his current wife is not. The other brother could read the prayers in Hebrew, albeit very slowly and broken. He had put on tefillin before and he was very proud to tell me that his children went to Jewish day schools. I asked him why he had so much more Jewish education than his brother.
He answered; "When I was here before I was married, Meir somebody picked me up at the Kotel and took me to Aish." (A local yeshiva) He pointed to the Aish building. He studied at Aish for a few months before returning to America. It was not the most intense Jewish education you could get, but it was enough for him to know to marry a Jewish girl and to give his children a Jewish education.
The "Meir somebody" was Meir Shuster, OB'M who used to stand at the Kotel almost all day long for many years looking for young Jewish tourists. He would take them to his hostel, Heritage House, for a few weeks free of charge and he would try to place them in yeshivas.
What do you think happened to Meir's neshama (soul) when that brother remembered him fondly at the Kotel saying that he went to the yeshiva and gave his children some Jewish education because of him? I'll tell you exactly what happened to it. Although Reb Meir is gone, his work is not over. Every time someone he helped does a Jewish deed because of him, Meir's soul goes up a little higher.
This is the deeper meaning of, "Her lamp does not go out at night."[i] Even in the darkest night of all, death, a righteous person's deeds continue to lighten their soul, bringing it higher and higher, closer and closer to the brilliant Light of Hashem.
[i] "A woman of valor" Proverbs 31:17
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