Friday, November 30, 2012

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Negrin

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

thIn Bat Yam, Israel, a poor southern suburb of Tel Aviv, lies a set of Lime Green and Bright Yellow buildings.  These buildings hold a most unusual Israeli export – a fashion jewelry empire and factory.

The visitors center tells the story of a poor kibbutz girl with an original taste for jewelry design.  While she started selling in the local shuk (flea market or swap meet), demand for her designs exploded and she grew her business to an international fashion company.

In Bat Yam she employs 400, who carefully construct her jewelry, household and clothing designs.  Many are poor immigrants who were trained in jewelry production and now make a stable living in the factory.

One of the special things about Michal Negrin products is the price.  She constructs her products from bronze and swarovski crystals, resulting in beautiful jewelry enjoyed by many women (including my wife) at prices even a modest wallet can handle.  Her products are additionally unusual for a lifetime guarantee and free repair of any problems.

A favorite among my daughters and wife, and a very nice factory tour…

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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A Huge Mistake!

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     This question was sent to a rabbi in Dallas, Texas. It was published on the internet. His answer is totally wrong! When you make a mistake in private, it is easily corrected. But when you publicize incorrect information, and you have a rabbinical position, you are poisoning the well that the public drinks from.

Here is the question and part of his answer:

“I recently took a class in Tai Chi, which focused a lot on an unseen force flowing in the universe and through the body they call “Chi,” which can be focused for health and self-defense. Is this concept consistent with Judaism? Is there any analogous concept in Judaism?”

The Dallas Rabbi replies:

     “This concept is not inconsistent with mainstream Jewish ideology, as long as one believes that this force, like all forces in the universe, is created and controlled by G-d. I personally have been practicing Tai Chi for a couple years, and have experienced the sensation of the energy you describe.

My personal theory is that the word “Chi” is derived from the Hebrew word “Chai” which means life, or life force. … The Torah says that Abraham, at the end of his life, had many children to whom he gave gifts, then sent them away from his home, as only Isaac would be the father of the Jewish people. The Torah says he sent them eastward, to the land of the East (Genesis 25:6). The “gifts” Abraham endowed them, were certain spiritual secrets of the universe (see Rashi, ad loc).

     This is the early source of many of the concepts which later formed the Eastern philosophies and religions. It is therefore not surprising to me that much of Eastern meditation, medicine and thought, revolves around the concept of Chi, based upon Chai.

    I don't mean to say that one fulfills practicing Judaism by practicing Tai Chi, but I see no contradiction. This is, provided that no bowing or worshipping to, or worshipping any forces, images, or the room, etc. takes place, which would come under the prohibition of idol worship, completely prohibited by Judaism.

Gutman’s comments:

    Searching on the internet, various Tai Chi sites state; “The foundation concepts of tai chi, come from, and are based on Taoism and Confucianism. Taoist beliefs include teachings based on revelations from various sources. Nevertheless, there are certain core beliefs that nearly all the sects share.”

    “Popular Taoism typically presents the Jade Emperor as the official head deity. Intellectual ("elite") Taoists, such as the Celestial Masters sect, usually present Laozi (Laojun, "Lord Lao") and the Three Pure Ones at the top of the pantheon of deities.”

     Obviously, none of this is for Jews, even if you do not bow down to them.

     As for the rabbi saying that the source of much of these Eastern philosophies and religions is from Abraham; the rabbi did not quote Rashi completely. Rashi tells us that those gifts that Abraham gave to those sons were “shem tumot” (unclean names) [powers]. A Jew is not only not allowed to deal with such things, but should run from them as if he were running away from infectious diseases.

     There are plenty of non spiritual sources for healthy dance type movement exercise. Why be involved with something attributed to “deities” and unclean powers?

     The very day after I wrote the above article, I read an article by the well known Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh on the same subject. Here are the most pertinent parts of his article.

Q: Are Tai Chi or Rai Kei permissible practices? What about yoga?

A: The Chinese symbols in rei kai are definitely tools of avodah zarah (idol worship), and should not be used. It is permissible to use the aleph bet (in the intentions of one’s prayer to heal). However under no circumstances should this form of healing be given a foreign name, such as (Jewish) rei kei, G-d forbid. Regarding tai chi, it is forbidden. These exercises draw down energy from impure sources.

    Yoga has negative energy which is connected to avodah zarah, and is thus unacceptable, even if the person practicing does not have these negative thoughts.

     The “claim” that these methods of healing are part of the ancient teachings that Abraham sent east with his sons is not serious. Were it serious, it would be even worse, for the ‘gifts’ that Abraham sent east with his non-Jewish, idolatrous sons (of his maid-servant Ketura) were in fact “impure names [mantras]” i.e., names and practices for the spiritually impure. They are certainly not for Jews, the descendants of Isaac and Jacob. Abraham sent his foreign sons away to prevent them from mixing with Isaac.

     The very usage of the name “yoga, tai chi, etc.” whether prefaced with the word “Jewish or not, does not allow for true clarification. In fact, the juxtaposition of the two terms “Jewish yoga” is shatneiz, (an improper mixture).

     The Gai Einai Institute in Israel is developing Jewish healing exercises based on Kabbalah.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Accusation

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

lhLashon HaRa, literally evil speech.  More practically, speaking ill about another.

We are taught that Lashon HaRa damages 3 people: the speaker, the listener, and the one who is being spoken about.  Spiritually we can understand this – ALL parties have to be hauled into the Heavenly court.  The one spoken about to judge the truth of the statements.  The one speaking to judge if they’re speaking appropriately or malgining another.  And the one listening to see if they’re accepting what’s being said and judging another.

And ANYTIME you’ll hauled into court, ALL pending accusations are on the table.

Yesterday evening an acquaintance called my wife.  The call apparently started as a discussion about troubles of a mutual friend.  But then this personal literally said, “Did you hear about the accusations about him?  They’re saying he’s a polygamist, a pedophile, he stole a large sum of money, and he’s gathering women around him in a class for inappropriate purposes.”

th2It was literally the worst dump of lashon hara I’ve ever heard of in my life!  It caught my wife unawares, it was on her before she even realized what was happening.

Even beyond the spiritual judgment of such speech, in today’s society speaking of someone this way is just EVIL.  In tight knit religious communities even more so.  How does one disprove such accusations?  This is exactly why Lashon HaRa is considered so terrible.

I actually had heard a rumor that someone was spreading rumors, and I refused to listen to it or believe it!  Oy!

One might say, if such accusations G-d forbid have any hint of truth, why aren’t you running to the police instead of whispering them in my wife’s ear?  I should further mention I know the person who was spoken about and KNOW for certain that these accusations are completely false – besides being logically contradictory.

I remain astounded that such Lashon HaRa mongering is actually real.  If you dump a feather pillow into the wind, how do you collect all the feathers back?  Hashem Yishmor.

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Jews Are Like This

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     The yeshiva student just announced that he is a ‘chatan (bridegroom). “Mazal tov, mazal tov!”

     The Israeli standing next to him had just taken off the tefillin. When he heard the student’s announcement he leaned over and most sincerely said, “I have had so many problems in my life… I don’t want to bore you with them… but, if you would, please remember my name under the ‘chupa (marriage canopy).

     When a Jewish couple stands under their marriage canopy it is a most special time in their lives. Not only are their friends and rabbis all looking at them and wishing them well, but we are told that G-d is also looking at them, and wishing them well! It is called a “time of favor.” This means that G-d is listening to their prayers, and is looking most favorably upon them. Because of this, often friends and family will ask the bride or groom to remember them while they stand under their ‘chupa.

     This student did not know that Israeli from Adam. He never saw him before, and most likely, he will never see him again. The wedding is months away, and surely the student has tons of more important things to worry about. So when the Israeli told the student his name and his mother’s name, I thought that he would say something like, “alright,” but then go back to all of the more important things that were flying into his head.

     Instead, he said, “Wait… do you have a piece of paper?”

     He wrote the Israeli’s name on the small piece of paper and put it in his pocket so he wouldn’t forget it. Such is the heart of the Jewish people. As busy as the boy was, he wouldn’t think of turning down a fellow Jew’s request for prayers.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

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“Do You Remember Me?”

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     The taller boy was very happy to see me. He had already put on tefillin, but he wanted to know if I remembered him.

     “I was here last year on a Birthright trip and you asked me who was going to wear the pants in my family. When I said that I was, you said, then who was going to wear the earrings? I got the message, and see,” he pointed to his ears, “I took them out.”

     It’s nice to see the fruits of your efforts.

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Above

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

in Jerusalem…

Fluffy Pink Clouds…       above…

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Military Helicopter…      above…

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Moon in the afternoon…        above…

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G-d…

hashem1

…is EVERYWHERE.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

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Until 120

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     This old Israeli insisted on putting on tefillin by himself. He was so old, and his hands were shaking so much, I was amazed that he could do it. I asked him how old he was. He answered, “When I get to be 120 I’ll tell you.”

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

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Here’s Why

by Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     Do you remember the story about the elementary teacher from Brooklyn who woke up after being in a coma for five days? He lost the use of both of his arms, but still, he sincerely thanks G-d every morning for waking him up.

    There were two general responses to the article. The first came from a reader who wrote:

     “I relate in a big way to Mr. Brooklyn. My left arm and hand do not yet have any function. In my case, my right arm and hand take the place of both arms, (well, that is along with my mouth and teeth when needed). I cannot fathom how he manages. Thank you very, very much for accentuating how lucky I am. If you ever communicate with him, please let him know how his picture inspired me to become even stronger and better.”

And there were those who scoffed at him saying, “The guy is brainwashed. He lost the use of both of his arms, and he is thanking G-d for that? What is he, nuts? Why should he thank G-d?”

     The answer to those who asked why he should thank G-d is pictured here. Yitzchak is from France. He came up to me the other day and asked if I would help him to put on tefillin. He was born without arms. He can tell you why you should thank G-d.

     Whenever you wonder why you should be thankful, just look around a little. You’ll see how well off you really are.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

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Perspective

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

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Terror is…terrifying.  (duh)  With a whole single day of hindsight, it’s worth a bit of intellectual examination of my emotional perspective.

Over 1,200 missiles were fired at Israel over 8 days, with over 4 million people targeted.  The missiles where specifically, deliberately and EXCLUSIVELY fired at 100% civilian areas.  NOT at military bases.  NOT at industrial areas (most Israeli industry is clustered in industrial parks).  Directly and specifically at the civilians…

…and (almost) no one died (3 civilian, 2 military deaths)

- 0.4% of the missiles were effective AGAINST the Jews.

- 0.0001% of the targeted Jews were killed.

- 0.003% of the targeted Jews were injured.

- 10 times the number of Gaza Arabs were killed BY THEIR OWN missiles falling short as were Israeli Jews.

- During the war you were much more likely to be killed in a car accident than being killed by a missile or by a bombing.

…The statistics of injuries and deaths from missiles falling short directly show that these missiles can be effective in sowing death and injury.  BUT WHEN FIRED AT ISRAEL, they weren’t.

r8It remains a clear statistical fact that I was much more likely to be affected by a violent crime in the U.S. than to be injured or killed in Israel, EVEN in the middle of a missile war.

Israel is SAFER than the United States.  Occasionally terrifying, yes.  But safer, without statistical doubt.

That doesn’t make logical sense.  And it’s certainly not what you see on the news.  BUT IT IS A MEASURABLE STATISTICAL FACT.

I wonder…how can that be?

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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Life Blogging in Israel during War – Day 8

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos) -- Day 5 (Work Week)Days 6 & 7

Life Blogging – Blogging about my family life events during Gaza Conflict XXXIV in Israel.  This is not a live blog of war events (though some are mixed in), it’s a blog of my life in Israel with jets buzzing by and missiles incoming.

It’s just a regular work day, sunny but chilly with a chance of missiles.  My daughter manages to miss her bus to school again, still avoiding school due to scary missile drills.  I’ve got a business presentation with some individuals from a government ministry, then a meeting with a vendor’s top tech representative.

My wife heads out the door early, she’s involved in an elderly care program today.  How do you get 30 elderly, some with walkers, canes or wheelchairs, to a bomb shelter in 90 seconds?

Traffic to Jerusalem is very light again, some people are clearly staying home with their children.

In the midst of my morning business presentation I get a ping from an older daughter, “Tatti (Daddy), there’s a SIREN (missile alert) at HOME right NOW!”  I’M IN A CONFERENCE ROOM AT WORK AND THE GAZA ARABS ARE TRYING TO KILL MY CHILDREN!

I excuse myself from the presentation and try to call my wife.  I can’t get through, but this isn’t unusual as her work location has poor cell reception.  My daughter’s on the other side of town, she tells me she heard a BOOM. 

I mention what’s going on to a co-worker, “there’s an alert at my house, I’ve got children at home!” He comes over and claps me on the back, “now you’re a real Israeli (???), go call and check on them like everyone else.”

After a few calls I get through to my children at home, they didn’t know there was an alert – they had the windows closed and a video playing loud.  Further, the sirens didn’t go off on our side of town.  It’s unclear if this was a failure or intentional, as the missile strike was outside of town next to a nearby moshav (village), in a field.

I return to my presentation, I tell them there was an alert at home.  They nod their heads with a  “been there done that” expression.

I’m scared, and ANGRY.  I alert my other children, in school in Jerusalem.  They’re shaken also.  One wants to know if I can give a ride over to the soldier’s funeral, which is taking place at Har HaMenuchos cemetery (the main modern Jerusalem cemetery).  I can’t, work calls in the midst of a world gone insane.

An hour later and I see Tel Aviv alerts going up on Twitter (I’m on Twitter here.)  More info coming up, bus bombing, probable suicide bombing (it wasn’t), injuries, no deaths mentioned.  Then it starts to get crazy, they’re locking down various major areas (nearby mall, business buildings, stock market, diamond market) and seem to be chasing possible terrorists around town.  Now it’s my co-worker’s chance to freak out, he’s got a sister working in the building by the bus, other family members around the nearby area.  He talks to his sister, she’s afraid to go home by public transport.  He says he’s starting to wear his gun as of tomorrow – I’ll be glad to have him doing so.

Vendor meeting is delayed an hour, one of the vendor’s representatives was near the bombing in Tel Aviv – he’s caught in the area lock down.  I’ve never had a meeting delayed due to terror lockdown before.

I see a report of a stabbing in Jerusalem, I ping my children in school in Jerusalem.  One calls me back quickly, he’s out of school now ON THE STREET IN JERUSALEM and wants to understand exactly what and where.  I can’t get any real information and tell him to be careful, and worry.

Later in the day my co-worker tells me a story…

Gulfwar_1991_in_Israeli_shelter“I was 14 during the first Gulf War, living with my family in South Tel Aviv.  South Tel Aviv is an older poorer area, most of the buildings don’t have protected defensive rooms.  The newer ones have small bomb shelters in the basement, the older ones rely on a neighborhood shelter.  Nicer areas may turn such shelters into a community center or synagogue, adding air conditioning and so forth.  Ours were just kept locked up to keep the kids out.

It was the Gulf War, Israel was under Scud Missile thread from Iraq.  We were ordered to the bomb shelter and ordered to protect ourselves from gas, meaning put on our gas masks.  (The shelters of that age did not have air tight seals as the new ones do.)

My father was not there, he’d been called up to emergency army reserve duty.  My mother, sisters and I sat huddled, in the dirty cold bomb shelter.  But we where sweating.  We were absolutely convinced we’d soon be dying, together with our neighbors, of poison gas from Iraq.  We knew, the pundits were telling us on the radio, the impact of a chemical attack (which was being threatened by Iraq).  We were going to be gassed like our elderly neighbor’s family had been in the Holocaust.

I had sweat dripping down my face for hours but was too terrified to break the seal on the gas mask to wipe it or scratch an itch.

That’s being afraid in war.  I will never forget it.”

They’re chasing the terrorist(s) around the country!!!  Everyone in the office is freaking out, they’re closing major roads with police checkpoints to get the bad guy before he gets away to an Arab area.  Route 443 from Jerusalem to Modi’in is shut down, then Highway 1 is.  Everyone’s worried about getting home (except for those who live in Jerusalem), looking at literally hours and hours of traffic.  And of course nobody wants to be in the middle of a firefight between police and terrorists.

I’m starting to get terror whiplash.   It feels like everything is spiraling out of control (perhaps because it is?)  I’m basically trapped in my office, I’ve got a child on the streets of Jerusalem with terror attacks in progress, children at home alone with missile attacks in progress.  Oh, and my boss wants that document completed – hey, it’s a workday after all!

r1Suddenly they’re talking about a ceasefire.  We then get reports that the terrorist was caught (or got away?), the road blocks have been removed.

I drive home listening to all the talk about a cease fire.  BUT THE ISRAELIS ARE ANGRY.  Nobody understands, why a cease fire, why now?

Traffic is light, I keep the radio on in case of missile alerts.

The cease fire goes into affect.  It’s all been a bad dream.

MISSILE ALERT – Be’er Sheva

MISSILE ALERT – Ashdod

MISSILE ALERT – Kiryat Mordechai

MISSILE ALERT – Ashdod

MISSILE ALERT – S’Derot

MISSILE ALERT – Be’er Sheva

Cease fire?????????

…One reader wrote me about a common blog topic, but then wrote another note “sorry, I know you’re at war right now”.  Well, yes, but only now and then.  The rest of the day is quite normal.  Kind of.  Or not.

…Several worried family members sent me notes from the States.  I want to write them that everything’s basically normal – and technically we’ve got about 10,000 times more chance of being in a car accident or being a victim of violent crime in the U.S. than being hurt by a missile in Israel, but this is TERROR and it is emotionally wearing.

…One person sent on Facebook “don’t be afraid”, quoting the pasuk that I’ve quoted from the end of davening.  Thanks, that helped (not).  Oh, I’ve got my emunah that Hashem is doing everything for the best and (G-d willing) bringing us to the moment of Geulah.  But that’s not the response in the heat of the moment, nor should it be.  That nervousness is the drive to take actions that may make a difference at that time.  For those watching from afar, just a bit of concern, compassion or empathy is appropriate.

…Moshiach.  Geulah.  We’ve been writing on those topics for 8 years.  Signs?  Events aligning?  A LIKELY STRONG YES.  More time to think it through is necessary, but it’s very VERY likely we’re getting to the point where hitting the key pointers is going to be OBVIOUS (to any who are looking).

I’m drained.  Over and out.  From where will my help come? …

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A Little Protective Gematria

by Reb Nesanel Levi at Mystical Paths

 
Here is something very interesting. The sum total of the numbers of chapters of Tehillim (Psalms) in Tikun HaKlali (Rebbi Nachman of Breslev's General Spiritual Repair, a particular set of 10 Psalms in a particular order) are the words "Iron Dome" (in Hebrew "kipa barzel").
 
This is inclusive repair or if you will total spiritual repair given to us by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. They are the following perakim of Tehillim, verses of Psalms 16+32+ 41+ 42+ 59+ 77+ 90+ 105+ 137+ 150= 749.

Which equals 749, the sum total gematria of the words "kipa barzel" exactly!  Our Iron Dome is total Ruchniut! It is totally spiritual! For the true weapons of the Jewish people are not physical.

This is our protection! Please say them for Am Yisrael now!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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Life Blogging in Israel during War – Days 6 & 7

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos) -- Day 5 (Work Week)

Life Blogging – Blogging about my family life events during Gaza Conflict XXXIV in Israel.  This is not a live blog of war events (though some are mixed in), it’s a blog of my life in Israel with jets buzzing by and missiles incoming.

q17:30 AM Monday – One of my younger children hems and haws, delaying long enough to miss her bus to school.  They had 3 missile drills yesterday and she’s nervous.  Even more so because her school building is older and was divided into 2 schools. The bomb shelter is on the other side, her school has no direct access.  So they run downstairs and stand in a hallway with doors and windows at the end.  She doesn’t feel safe…smart.  But things seem to be pretty much limited to the south, I’ll drive her to school myself.  (What’s worse, war or the children home from school?  We’re still answer the latter.)

I drive her to school, which includes a trip through a corner of the West Bank.  Traffic is light and there’s no army presence in sight, there’s been no reports of troubles.

11:00 AM Monday – I’m working in an office in Jerusalem.  Various co-workers are following the news, occasional announcements of missile barrages are mentioned. 

One co-worker from the Tel Aviv area mentioned his wife is suffering panic attacks, particularly when their children are in school and there is an alert.  Yeah, I can relate.

1:00 PM Monday – I feel like I’m in a comedian's skit.  Some co-workers are telling me “what are you worried about?  This isn’t a war, it’s a pitzy little thing we have to go through to get things under control.”  I say, what about for the people in the south, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva?  He says, “not even for them, it’s just annoying as long as everyone reacts properly.”  Another co-worker tells me, “the Gulf War, that was scary.  Those missile hits took out whole buildings.”

I walk away shaking my head.  How do people get like this?  How can they go through a regular workday like this?

q22:00 PM Monday – I’m trying to contact my boss about an issue but can’t get through.  I contact the secretary, the boss is not available – he’s been called up to emergency Army Reserve duty.  I’m also have a problem with my office email, can’t get the support tech – he’s on emergency Army Reserve duty also.

3:00 PM Monday – This is getting ridiculous, I can’t get any work done.  WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP TRYING TO KILL ME SO I CAN GET MY WORK DONE! 

I shut down my news monitors and radio alerts so I can pay attention to my work.

5:45 PM Monday – We have a Maariv minyan (evening prayers) minyan (prayer quorum) in our office.  Following regular prayers someone adds a series of Psalms, said in a soul searching style.

8:00 PM Monday – No surprise all the children are hyped on war.  Everyone has some information to share, rumors to share, etc.  We try to calm the family down and get everyone headed to bed, it takes HOURS longer than usual.

12:00 AM Tuesday - I decide I’m absolutely overloaded on this thing already.  I’m done life blogging it, monitoring the radio, talking about it.  (So why are you reading this?  Find out below.)  I close the shades and metal windows covers (an Israeli thing), I’m shutting out the world and collapsing.

10:00 AM Tuesday – I crawl out of my room and daven Shacharis (morning prayers), having missed synagogue. 

My daughter’s home, she again dawdled until she avoided going to school in Jerusalem.  Her brother is still home from Kiryat Malachi, and the next brother ALSO “missed” his bus to school in Jerusalem.  This is becoming a pattern.  I throw up my hands and head to work in Jerusalem.  Hopefully “was afraid of getting killed by missiles from Gaza” works as an excuse note.

11:30 AM Tuesday – The traffic to Jerusalem is very light, some people must be staying home.  I don’t listen to Israeli radio, no more ALERT’s for me.  I’m going to my quiet office in Jerusalem to focus on my work.  My biggest problem is my parking lot tag has expired.  I think I can handle it.

q32:15 PM Tuesday – A crowd is in the hallway, something’s going on.  The office guard runs by,  ALERT ALERT ALERT – NOW NOW NOW, run to the shelter! 

We’re in an office building, we can’t HEAR the siren and apparently the guard and building is NOT tied into any external alert system (great to find out NOW).  Someone was outside smoking and ran in to tell the guard there’s an alert, and it’s already been a minute. IF A MISSILE IS HEADED TOWARDS US, WE’VE GOT 50 SECONDS TO GET 120 PEOPLE INTO OUR PROTECTED ROOM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOR BEFORE WE’RE DEAD.

People walk, a few run.  The guard looks like she’s losing it.  Most gather in the room IN FRONT OF the protected room and mill.  A co-worker of mine runs by….out the front door TO TAKE PICTURES (idiot, and I yet that at him as I see where he’s headed).  We hear the siren as he pushes the main door open.

I push my way through the crowd and get in the protected room.  We’re on the top floor, I push a few of my co-workers to get in also.

The office on the other side of the floor (another company) has arrived also.  There’s room in the shelter for about 150 people, if we stand body to body like in a bus or train during a busy commute.  About 50 people get into the shelter (including me), the rest mill about in the unprotected room in front of the shelter.

We’re all on our smart phones, some are trying to call family, others are messaging, I’m among a few who are trying to find out what the situation is. 

I tweet about the alert, 30 seconds later a co-worker from the other side of the building arrives.  “Thanks Akiva”.  For what I ask.  “That you tweeted, we didn’t hear about the alert, I only knew from your tweet.”  Apparently the guard didn’t go down that hallway (as if there’s time to go down all the hallways – there isn’t).

I read that a missile hit, we can leave the shelter.  It struck not too far from my younger daughter’s school, the one who dawdled this morning and I didn’t take to school.  Nobody was hurt but I’m sure she would be a basket case, if she had been there.

Another daughter of mine is at her school in Jerusalem, we text back and forth to make sure we’re both ok.  We already know that the impact wasn’t in our areas, but we’re looking for that connection and reassurance.

q44:00 PM Tuesday – I have a chat with the office manager and guard.  The manager is putting up signs pointing to the shelter.  We did have a practice 3 months ago (and an earthquake practice a month ago), but still nobody was doing the right things.  Further, there’s no alert system IN THE OFFICE.

We set the guard station PC up on an Israeli streaming radio station that has missile alerts.  He’s got an iPhone and I mention that there’s a missile alert app for the iPhone, easy and simply way to monitor.  He responds “I’m not installing that on my personal iPhone, not my job.”  Oh my G-d.

I’ve been a manager and done fire drills and earthquake drills, but missile drills where you’ve got 2 minutes to live or die, terrifying.

But the truth is this really us just a TERROR weapon.  Yes, these missiles can and have killed.  But their real impact is they stop life and cause a whole city to run for it’s life.

How can anyone who supports civilization side with Hamas?

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Oh No!

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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      This is the first time he put on tefillin. When I put the head piece on I saw that he was wearing a cross! “Oh No! What are you wearing that for? You’re a Jew.”

     He wanted to run away, but I held him there long enough for him to hear why he should not follow that religion. “G-d is infinite, everywhere.” I got him to agree to that. “But it says in that book that goes with that cross that the guy who was crucified 2,000 years ago was not in his grave…that he ‘rose up to heaven’” 

    He said, “That’s right.”

     “If he’s not in the grave, then, he is not everywhere. Don’t worship him!”

     The information is in his head. The problem is that usually, ch-ristans do not let the truth upset their belief.

G-d help him!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

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Shalom

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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    Shalom is from San Diego California. He is 69 years old, and this is the first time he has ever put on tefillin. He has been in the insurance business most of his life. He is wearing a Vietnam veteran’s hat from when he served in the US Navy.

He is most proud of helping to found a holocaust memorial museum.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

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Life Blogging in Israel during War – Day 5 – Work Week

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos)

Life Blogging – Blogging about my family life events during Gaza Conflict XXXIV in Israel.  This is not a live blog of war events (though some are mixed in), it’s a live blog of my life in Israel with jets down the road and missiles overhead.

h16:00 AM – It’s a new work week (the normal work week runs Sunday – Thursday in Israel).  I’m off to work and the children are off to school.  We check the weather, “cool and sunny with a chance of missiles”.

Since each family member is headed off a different direction, we have to check each member’s destination for risk and protection…

Elementary School Children – school is local and a new building (it has close reinforced protective rooms in case of missile alerts).  The administration practices emergency drills every month.  The maximum risk is that our children walk to school, a 10 minute walk.  We explain what to do if a missile alert happens on the way and pray they understand, sending them on their way.

Middle School and High School Children – schools are in Jerusalem in older buildings, bomb shelters are in the basement.  Administration of one school has emailed us saying they feel prepared, but my child learns on the 5th floor and the stairwells are on the outer wall.  Getting to the bomb shelter in the 2 minutes available would be…a challenge.  But the likelihood of strikes targeting their area seems low, off they go.

I’m headed to a day of business meetings in South Tel Aviv, an area that has been specifically targeted.  I check my email to see if the meetings have been canceled, they haven’t.  Israeli’s are incredibly stoic, they’ve “been through war before” and keep on going.  I’m not, and not used to going to work where people are trying to kill me with ballistic missiles.  But I’m in Israel now, and apparently people trying to kill me “because I’m a Jew” is part of the experience.

h39:00 AM – We have an educational meeting for one of my children, the one who learns in Kiryat Malachi (which has been hard hit with missiles), locally.  I’m not a fan of Israeli “system” officials, the fact that Israeli agencies get anything done is a clear sign of Divine Assistance, because there’s no way these organizations could actually function otherwise.

His school counselor from Kiryat Malachi comes to the meeting.  He mentions the family killed in Kiryat Malachi was 100 meters from my son’s school.  They closed school prior to this event, and it remains closed until the war ends.  (If, G-d forbid, it goes on for an extended time, they may work on trying to co-locate with another school in the North of Israel, out of harms way.)

h410:00 AM – I’m on my way to my business meetings in South Tel Aviv.  I’m listening to Radio Kol Chai (the Voice of Life) [live link, click to listen], a Jewish religious radio station out of Bnei Brak, Israel in Hebrew.  I don’t normally listen to Israeli radio, not even the Jewish religious radio stations.  I don’t particularly like their music selections (it’s not to my American Jewish tastes), and the fast paced Hebrew talk, often with strong sephardi accents, is a little above my Hebrew skill level.

BUT this religious Jewish station is on the national alert system, meaning every time there is a launch alert there is an automated announcement.  I’m listening to make sure I HEAR if there is a missile alert along my route or WHERE I AM.  In the car I might miss it.

10:30 AM – There’s some announcements of alerts on the radio…

ALERT, ALERT, ALERT… I’m paying attention to my driving and don’t quite catch the alert locations as I drive through 2 highway circular exits/entrances (clover leafs).  I’ve entered South Tel Aviv, now I have to work my way through the city streets to where I’m going.  But the roads and traffic is tricky, keeping me focused on getting to my destination in time.

11:00 AM – I’ve arrived and struggled to find parking.  I rush to the building and meeting.  As I enter I ask the guard if they’re having frequent alerts.  He says they just had one 20 minutes ago, multiple missiles fired at Tel Aviv.  I must have just been outside the area when it happened (I didn’t see anyone pulling over), I’m a bit freaked out.

This day is absolutely surreal.  I’m sitting and giving a business presentation in a glass conference room, while listening for anything that may sound like an alert siren and worrying what would happen to us in a glass conference room if a missile hit.

h512:15 PM - After the presentation I have a meeting together with a co-worker with another person in the office.  He says to my co-worker, “he looks a little jumpy”, my co-worker responds “it’s his first war.”  How do Israelis get like this???  A moment later a building alarm goes off, we sit there wondering what it is (it’s not a missile siren sound) and I’m trying to look calm and be stoic when the office manager runs by, “it’s a missile alert, GET TO THE PROTECTED ROOM!!!”. 

We’ve wasted 30 seconds, if the missile is headed towards us we’ve got 30 seconds to live. 

I had looked for the protected room when I entered, it’s on the same floor and doubling as the lunch room.  I’m there in a brisk 10 second walk.  A few people are sitting eating lunch, “welcome guests” they say to break the tension.

A few moments later we hear “sorry folks, this was a test due to a problem with the system on a particular floor.  No alert, you may return to your regular activities.”  I feel strangely disappointed, then I wonder what’s wrong with me for feeling that way.

1:30 PM – We continue our meetings.  We hear an occasional sound from outside the building that might be the start of the siren.  I see my co-worker straining to listen.  He may not be jumpy but he’s on edge as well, we all are.

I’m paying attention to events via my phone.  Ashdod, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT.  They’re really getting hit.  Awaiting United Nations condemnation of the war crime of barraging a civilian city with missiles.  Think it will be a long wait?

3:30 PM – We finish our meetings and head out to our cars.  I have paperwork, including reimbursement for expenses, that needs to be dropped off at our main office.  But this morning I received an intra-office e-memo…

“Dear Home Office Employees,

Protective Hardened Shelter Rooms have been opened on every floor in case of missile alert.  If you are out of range of the rooms, the building stairwells are reinforced as additional protective spaces.

Please note the underground parking lot also qualifies as a protected space. 

Please read the attached document from Home Front Command regarding response times to get to a protective space. 

For your safety, take all alert sirens or building sirens with all seriousness.

Sincerely,

HR Director”

I think I’ll save my paperwork and expense reports for later and head back towards Jerusalem.  I prefer not to have to run for my life if I don’t have to.

4:30 PM – I’m traveling towards Jerusalem, or so I think.  My GPS is taking me south on Highway 4.  I see signs for Holon, they had missile debris fall on them and explode a car.  Then I see signs for Rishon L’Tzion, they had a missile hit them yesterday.  I’m getting worried my GPS is taking me into the war zone when I see the signs for Jerusalem.  Whew.

I stop at a gas station along the way, still in medium missile range.  But I’m taking a back road and it’s passing through farm country.  It’s sunset, and the gas station has a lovely little picnic area with a baby date palm tree lit up by the sunset, with green farm fields in the background.

I think, “what a lovely calm place…that probably won’t explode.”

calm

5:00 PM – I’m home early.  One daughter is jumping and shouting, “did you hear … and about …  Missiles here, people hurt there, the IDF got a bad guy there.  She’s wired on war.

Another daughter comes to tell me the rumors via the SMS network.  “They’re deploying this, they’re going there…”  She’s calm but seriously worried.  “This is absolutely crazy, the world has gone absolutely crazy.”  Basically my daughter, yes.

A younger child comes over. “Daddy, I’m worried.”  We all are, but we plan, prepare and pray.  The rest is in G-d’s hands (good), our soldiers hands (they’ll fight hard and smart, they’re literally fighting for the safety of their families), and our politicians (OH G-D HELP US). 

There are clear and obvious miracles to be seen, if you’re looking for them.  It helps to know the Guardian of Israel neither Slumbers nor Sleeps.  Here’s one example…

A few hours before missiles were shot at Jerusalem, a strong erratic desert wind started blowing into Israel.  A very strong wind.  It’s impossible to properly target a ballistic missile through changing strong winds over a long distance – the winds blow it off course. 

Further, this war is beginning to align with a number of prophetic statements.  More has to happen, but we may be almost there.  More on that later.

Just another day in the Holy Land.

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos)

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Emergency Action Required-Help!

by Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     We are under attack. Rockets are coming in on us. We hear the sirens and run for cover. Innocent Jews are being murdered. What can we do?

You, who are reading these words, have to help!

    Here is what you must do. Every single one of us has to pick up his or her weapons and go out onto the front line. Do not delay.

     Why does G-d send us these merciless enemies? What does He want from us? Whenever an enemy attacks the Jews, we see that we come together with love and care for each other. This is what G-d wants. If we will do this first, He will not need to send this evil people against us.

     Pick up your weapons, your tefillin, your tzedakah (charity), your guests on Shabbos, your concern for your fellow Jew. Go out on the street if you have to and look for him or her to help. Give him love… even a handshake, but mostly Jewish love, Torah and mitzvahs. Increase your concern for your fellow Jew. This will put a holy shield around us.

     You have to help. Do not delay. Pick up the phone, write an email, reach out and help.

Do your share, or the evil will spread, even to your city, too. G-d forbid.

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Why Today?

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     Shmuli put tefillin on this Jew from Norway for the first time in his life. He is 66 years old. Besides the obvious question, “Why hadn’t he put them on before?” You could ask why did he finally do it today? Surely Shmuli had everything to do with it, but still, you could ask, “Why today?”

     I know why. Well, at least I know one of the probably many reasons why he put them on today. It was because of my finger. You see, for the past few months one of my fingers on my right hand has been hurting me. It only hurts when I shake hands with some big friendly guy who thinks that he has to really squeeze my hand to show that he loves me.

     I was told to soak it in warm salt water for some 20 minutes a day, which I have been doing. But it didn’t seem to help. Just today I was thinking that I should ask a doctor if I have to keep doing it because it is not helping.

     Now back to our Norwegian Jew. After Shmuli finished helping him I started talking to him. “What do you do?” …Turns out that he is a doctor. “What is your specialty?” Geriatrics (old folks) Hey, that’s me. Well that’s what they say I am, even though I still feel like a 40-year-old. I asked him about soaking my finger. He said that soaking it wouldn’t help, but to move it a lot will help.

     “Hey, thank you doctor, and thank you Hashem for sending me the messenger I was looking for, and so quick, too.”

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

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Life Blogging in Israel during War – Day 4 – Shabbos

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos) -- Day 5 (Work Week)

Life Blogging – Blogging about my family life events during Gaza Conflict XXXIV in Israel.  This is not a live blog of war events (though some are mixed in), it’s a live blog of my life in Israel with jets down the road and missiles overhead.

3:30 PM Friday – Preparing for the holy Shabbat (the sabbath).  As I take a shower there’s no hot water.  I start to get upset (that my children have used up all the hot water) but then catch myself.  I’m worried about hot water???  People 15 miles down the road are worried about being killed by missile fire!

j14:20 PM Friday – The holy Shabbat enters (the sabbath).  A time of peace, to be with family and loved ones, to go to synagogue and pray with the community…  Be’er Sheva, MISSILE ALERT!  Mevetzeret Tyion, ALERT!  JERUSALEM, ALERT!  Oh my G-d!

We’re listening to the “silent radio”, only announcements of missile alerts (in case you don’t hear your local siren).  No news, no details, but one alert per missile.  Tens of thousands of religious Jews are walking to synagogue.  We don’t know what happened, we won’t know until the end of Shabbos (the sabbath), Saturday after sundown.

My hometown is BEFORE Jerusalem, meaning those missiles PAST OVER OUR HEADS.  We’re in range, they just haven’t chosen to target us yet.

4:25 PM Friday – My younger daughters are scared for me to go to synagogue.  The walk to synagogue is under 5 minutes, what happens if there’s an alert and I’m not under cover?  I have responsibilities as part of our congregation, off I go.

4:30 PM Friday – Our synagogue is a shared facility.  During the week it functions as a pre-school.  I check the “protected room” – a heavily reinforced mini-bomb shelter required in all new construction in Israel – does it have the capacity for our congregation if we have to run for our lives?  It has the capacity, but the protective steel window covers are open AND it’s overloaded with school supplies.  I start hauling boxes and shoving things out of the way to make room for enough adults if we have to run.  The pre-school teacher is going to kill me on Sunday (though why she didn’t do it for her charges on Thursday or Friday, I don’t know – probably because it’s thought we were out of range), but that’s a figure of speech.  The Arabs of Gaza may try to kill me and my congregation literally tonight or tomorrow.

5:15 PM Friday – I make an announcement during Friday Night Shabbos Services, one I never thought to hear in my life…

“Dear friends, silent radio reported missile alerts for Jerusalem and Mevetzeret Tzion a short time ago.  Both are past us, meaning missiles past over our town.  G-d forbid, should we need it the protected room is located down the hallway next to the kitchen, the door is open.  We’ll have 45-90 seconds to get in if there is an alert.  Please take this with all seriousness.

For new immigrants in our congregation, here’s some additional instructions.  If you’re on the street and an alert happens, run to the nearest building stairwell.  I’ve been asked about gas masks (Israel distributes gas masks to all it’s citizens due to the threat of chemical attack in the past), we have not been told by Home Front Command to do anything with them.  Do not open the boxes or put them on unless we hear otherwise, as far as we know there’s no threat of chemical attack.

Following services and the Shabbos meal, we’ll be returning to synagogue to say Tehillim (Psalms).  Tehillim neged Tilim.  (A play on words in Hebrew, “Psalms to counter Missiles”.)

5:35 PM Friday – I’m standing in the front of the synagogue praying.  I hear a screeching sound, like the start of an air raid siren.  I start to jump, adrenalin shoots through my body.  Then I realize it’s some of the children of the congregations running around and yelling behind the building.  Just a child, not a missile.  I’m sick to my stomach.

We finish services, singing loudly and enthusiastically to overcome our nervousness. 

“Do not fear sudden terror nor the destruction of the wicked when it comes.  Contrive a scheme but it will be foiled, conspire a plot but it will not materialize, for G-d is with us…”  That’s the ending prayer of services (not in all Jewish prayer books, but in ours).  I try to hold it in mind.

j26:30 PM Friday – I sit with my family for the Friday night Shabbos meal.  We sing, we invite the angles in.  Nachal Oz, ALERT!  Yad Mordechai, ALERT!  Ashkelon, ALERT!  How many families are dropping their forks and running for their lives???

Tens or hundreds of missiles are being fired at civilians, children.  People want to pretend there’s a political cause of this???  They’re firing to KILL CHILDREN, not for military effect.  This is the pure desire for BLOOD, Jewish blood.  This is pure evil.

People want to say that these missiles don’t kill??? Tell that to the dead family, a rabbi and his pregnant wife, from Friday morning.

We eat our traditional soup and chicken, trying to sing songs and stay upbeat about the holy Shabbos.  Announcements of town after town being hit by missile after missile drone on in the background, we pause at each announcement to make sure it’s not for our town (meaning we would need to run for cover), they’re not.

I struggle to maintain a calm and brave face for my children.

7:30 PM Friday – We finish our family meal and say blessings after the meal. 

Our town has a raging (religious) teen social scene on Friday nights.  Young men and ladies meet up with groups of friends and do whatever groups of teens do.  (Talk about this and that, laugh and joke with friends, walk around and see and be seen.) 

My teens go to head out, I start to try to stop them.  They give me a bit of a look (you parents know the one that says you’re uncool and babying them) and say “we know, we know what to do if there is an alert, bye”.  Ah, bye.  How do you deal with teens in a missile alert zone?  I have no idea.

I hear the normal teen noises from the streets, guess I’m in the parenting majority (letting them go).

8:30 PM Friday – Nervousness, adrenalin, calming down, it’s taken all my energy out of me.  I collapse in bed, dead to the world.  Wait, bad expression at such a time.

j35:00 AM Saturday – I hear missile alerts from the silent radio in the living room, I rush out of my bedroom.  Netivot, ALERT!  Kvutzat Yavne, ALERT!  Yad Binyamin, ALERT! 

Yad Binyamin is a community that’s over 50% U.S. Jewish immigrants to Israel, a pretty suburban town of individual homes, parks and synagogues.  We have several friends from New Jersey who live there, and one of my boys has a classmate from there.  I pray they are safe.

6:00 AM Saturday – Everyone’s awake, we’re never all awake at 6am.  We hear jets overhead, wishing them success in stopping these murderous attacks.  We sit quietly and say our morning blessings.  We get some hot drinks and try to learn and say some words of Torah, to think of G-d on the holy Shabbos.  Nachal Oz, ALERT!  Be’er Sheva, ALERT!  Be’er Tuvia, ALERT!  It’s not easy to stay calm, keeping the silent radio on may have been a mistake.

9:00 AM Saturday – Synagogue, morning services.  I’m worried that we shouldn’t get a crowd, with the pre-school supplies in the protected room I’m afraid I won’t be able to fit more than 20 people in there if there’s a missile alert.

One of my friends arrives, his brother in law is with him.  Their family evacuated from Kiryat Gat (in much closer missile range and a frequent target area).  My friend has a big family and his brother in law has a big family, must be 15 children in his apartment.  For now it’s an adventure.

Synagogue fills up.  Many guests, probably refugees from southern towns under frequent missile attack.  A few regulars ask me to give a synagogue honor to their guests which I’m glad to do.

10:30 AM Saturday – Synagogue is crowded and a number of people have brought their young children who are playing around the building and on the grounds.  I’m seriously worried, if there’s an alert we’ll be hard pressed to get everyone under cover and there’s no way a parent with 2 or 3 little children running around the yard is going to get them and get back under cover in 45-90 seconds.

Torah reading.  I call up several of the guests for an honor.  After they finish I give them and all the honorees a full “Mi Shebarach” blessing…

May He who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless … because he has come up for the honor of G-d, for the honor of the Torah and for the honor of the Shabbat.  In this merit may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, PROTECT and DELIVER him from all trouble and distress, from all affliction and illness, and may He send blessing and success to all his endeavors together with all Israel his brethren, and let us say Amein.

I start to choke up as I say PROTECT and DELIVER him and success to all his endeavors together with all Israel.  I have to take a deep breath and compose myself.  We’re always in need of G-d’s protection and blessings, but today we realize it directly.

11:30 AM Saturday – Services finish, no alerts for us (thank G-d).  We follow up with a farbrengen, a chassidic gathering.  We wish each other blessings, wish the soldiers blessings and success, share stories of the Rebbe and other tzaddikim and words of the holy Torah, and share a few small l’chaim’s (a bit of vodka in this case).  Nobody takes more than a touch of l’chaim, everyone wants their full wits about them in case of emergency.

One of the men starts speaking quietly, his son is part of Home Front Command.  He was part of the response team to the Jewish family murdered by missile on Friday.  Oh my G-d.

j411:45 AM Saturday – Some of the children run in to tell us an army transport has pulled up in front of a local synagogue!  Apparently they’ve called up reserves, and since there’s no public transport on Shabbos (sabbath / Friday night through Saturday night), they’ve sent an army transport to pick up the local men who’ve been called into emergency army reserve service. 

A group of men, wearing their Shabbos best, board the bus.  A few protest they can’t board on Shabbos, a very respected local (charedi) rabbi is called over who says “it’s clearly pikuach nefesh, risk to life, and the need overrides the restrictions of Shabbos (restrictions such as not working, not traveling, etc), any actions needed by the army in this situation are permitted”.  The men board, wearing their long black coats and black hats, a few even wearing shtreimals (fur hats).

 

 

DSC0042812:30 PM Saturday – We invite a guest home from synagogue.  We sit down for the daytime Shabbos meal with the family and guest.  We make the blessing over wine and sit down for some of my wife’s excellent challah (home made bread, Jewish style).  This week she made it with whole spelt flour, and dusted it with zatar.  Yum.

My wife is an excellent cook and she didn’t let the pressure of a war deter her from preparing a meal worthy of the holy Shabbos.  We enjoy a traditional cholent, a hot thick meat stew slow cooked from before Shabbos (Friday afternoon) until now.  Double yum.

Eshkol, ALERT!  S’derot, ALERT!  Sha’ar HaNegev, ALERT!

1:30 PM Saturday – We continue our meal, pausing as alerts go out every 10 minutes or so.  Air Force Daughter (my older daughter who served in the IDF air force) talks army service with our guest, an American immigrant to Israel who pushed his way into IDF army service (completed a year ago).  Pushed in because they generally don’t want anyone over 25, and he arrived older than that.

We normally talk about Torah topics, what the children are learning in school (what Torah they’re learning), and topics about the Torah portion of the week.  My little girl runs over, “the neighbor (children) say they’re going into Gaza, did the army go in yet?”  I don’t know, and we don’t worry about such things on Shabbos.  We worry about Torah and G-d… and where to run in case of a missile alert?  I’ve never had a Shabbos like this before… and we (thank G-d) haven’t had an alert!

4:00 PM Saturday – Shabbos is coming to an end.  We haven’t heard any alerts (on the silent radio) in 2 hours or so, nor any jets overhead.  Is it over?  Have they made peace?  Or at least a ceasefire?  Did people die in Jerusalem on the Holy Shabbos?

I don’t know, it’s Shabbos.  I’m not listening to the news or touching a computer, not turning anything on – we set ourselves apart from the world for Shabbos, but this week the worries, life and death worries, have intruded again and again. 

5:20 PM Saturday – We complete our end-of-Shabbos prayers.  We normally stay around and chat afterwards, talk about plans for the week.  This time we all run home, to see what’s been and what will be…

6:00 PM Saturday – Missiles at Jerusalem, missiles at Tel Aviv, missiles at Modi’in (that’s the next major town over!!!)  All targeting civilians.

Yet the G-d of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.  Amazingly almost 1,000 missiles have been shot at us and “only” 1 family was directly hit.  Apartments have been hit, cars have been hit, schools have been hit, but thank G-d, injuries have been “not so many” and deaths… “only” 3 (plus an 8 month old unborn child).

It’s an open miracle in front of our faces.  Oh, we can ignore it because of statistics, aiming, interceptor fire, etc.  Yet we see clearly, 1 missile can kill  a family or 1,000 missiles can hurt no one.  It’s all in the hand of Hashem (G-d).

As I write this the Israeli army has doubled their call up of reserves.  Israeli army forces are massing for a ground attack against Hamas in Gaza.  Parts of the world shout about Israel’s actions while the Arabs of Gaza continue to target Jewish civilians every hour.

See on the news.  The reporters who are reporting from Gaza are watching missiles be fired literally from behind them, the next building over, one street away, and continue to report WITHOUT FEAR.  Why?  Because they know the Israeli army TARGETS MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE, not civilians, even successfully doing so – as much as humanly possible – when that military infrastructure has been put in the middle of a civilian neighborhood (another war crime).

These people are literally barbarians violating every international law and civilized norm.  It’s a modern definition of evil and one that has the potential to damage and destroy all of modern civilization.

The Jews are the first target, but never the last.

From the Holy Land under fire…

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos) -- Day 5 (Work Week)

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Friday, November 16, 2012

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Life Blogging in Israel during War – Day 3

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Ongoing Saga…

Day 1  --  Day 2  --  Day 3  --  Day 4 (Shabbos)  --  Day 5 (Work Week)

8:00 PM – Coming home I realize I have to prepare our family bomb shelter.  I’ve never paid much attention to the safety aspects, we use it as a spare room.  Seems the air vent protective covers are missing their large restraining bolts and the battery-backed up light has a dead bulb.  Running out to the hardware stores to prep.

8:30 PM – Most hardware stores are already closed?  I stop at one still open and ask for large bolts for the shelter air vents.  He looks at me and says “what are you worried about?”  I say “a (Chabad ultra-orthodox Jewish) family was brutally slaughtered this morning, we have to do our part to protect ourselves (the rest is up to G-d)”.  He nods and says “yeah, you’re right”.  But he doesn’t have the bolts.  I run over to a second hardware store, he doesn’t have them either.

2:00 AM – I’m obsessing, as if being more informed will make a difference.  I have Israeli radio on, listening to air raid alerts by area.  Nachal Oz, ALERT!  Be’er Sheva, ALERT!  Kfar Maimon, ALERT!  Ashdod, ALERT!  Several of my children wander out of their rooms.  An older daughter brings reports of minor (?) Arab terror attempts in Jerusalem (via the teen word of mouth network).  A younger daughter is just nervous, can’t sleep.  I try to calm her and send her to bed… wait a minute, what am I still doing up?  I send myself to bed.

9:00 AM – Daughter is watching streaming Israeli news and missile alert sounds on the program.  I hear it from another room, jump up to check if we need to run to the bomb shelter.  Thank G-d, it’s not real for us, but is 15 miles south.

9:45 AM – Temporary cease fire announced due to Egyptian presidential visit to Gaza.  15 minutes later missiles are flying again towards Israel.  I guess they interpreted it to mean “you cease, we fire”.  Translation problem?  Or just evil?

10:30 AM – Our town has a history of hosting other Israeli’s who are under threat.  Several charity organizations coordinate with the city administration to turn community centers into reasonably functional refugee compounds, as well as coordinating with many local families who have the space to host families.  This is NOT a government effort but a communal charity effort.  While they started the process, the people under threat aren’t interested in coming here.  The strike on Tel Aviv demonstrated that we’re also in missile range – and they don’t want to go somewhere that might still be at risk.  Our local community is actually disappointed to be unable to help in this way.

11:24 AM – Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said: "We will not endanger the life of the Egyptian prime minister in any way."  THEY’RE FIRING OUTBOUND MISSILES TOWARDS ISRAELI CIVILIANS AROUND HIS HEAD and we’d be endangering his life (trying to stop them)?  Are we living in the time of Goebels? (Nazi, y”s, propaganda minister.)

12:00 PM – Wife returns from a grocery run to Jerusalem.  Feed a cold, starve a fever, stock up for a war.  The grocery store shelves are half empty, so I guess everyone has the same idea.  She reports the road through the West Bank is clear (no Arab protests or attacks) and there is a heavy army presence.

2:00 PM – Another set of missile attacks reported in the Tel Aviv area.  This is followed by a rush of alert reports from many towns and cities.  Kvutaz Yavne (farming town and pickle factory), ALERT!  Ashkelon, ALERT!  Ashdod, ALERT!  Be’er Sheva, ALERT!  Nachal Sorek, ALERT!  That’s 5 km away!!!

2:15 PM – In some less negative news, my wife pulled out this MONSTER ZUCCHINI she picked up at the store for Shabbat.  Had to argue with the checkout clerk over whether it was really a zucchini…

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…now that’s a zucchini!  And here’s the sunset in our area from 2 days ago.  Not quit a pillar of clouds, but a cloud that’s kind of like a pillar…

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2:30 PM – For Shomer Shabbos (Sabbath keepers) in Israel, the emergency services has announced a number of special “silent” radio stations.  No transmissions except for emergency announcements or air raid alerts.  The stations are 92.8 FM, 93.0 FM, 101.5 FM, and 531 AM.  Silent transmission starts today at 3:00 PM and continues until 6:00 PM Saturday night.

2:50 PM – My littlest ran in breathless and said “IS THERE A LAUNCH???”  I freaked out a bit, is there an air raid siren and I’m not hearing it?  Seems she said “is there lunch”.  Whew.  I think I’m obsessing.

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 (Shabbos) -- Day 5 (Work Week)

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