Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tzomo Lecho Nafshi

Rav Motty Elon, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel, on Yud Tes Kislev

The Satmar Rebbe singing it at a tish

While present day Lubavitch is not accepted in many circles (see previous post for one of the main reasons) there are those who respect and honour previous Rebbeim - especially the Alter Rebbe, the Baal HaTanya and Shulchan Aruch - whose release from Czarist prison is commemorated on 19 Kislev. The significance of this date is that this is when "the wellsprings" of Chassidus started flowing into the world. Chabad Chassidim also call it the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus and greet each other with Good Yom Tov.

In my mind the above videos highlight the importance of this day when Yud Tes Kislev is being commemerated in both the "National Religious" camp and in Satmar.

Good Yom Tov all.

Hat tip to Chabad Mont Pneimios.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lucky Dollar Bill??!!!

Everyone's favourite websites Shturem, and Shmais have all succumbed to the disease of relegating Chabad to some sort of superstitious cult type organisation. They have quoted one sentence from an article in the Australian Jewish News about Malcolm Turnbull. The article states:
Late into the night, Turnbull suggested to Rabbi Feldman that his victory could have been be due to the lucky dollar bill, which once belonged to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that was given to him during his campaign.
Far be it from me to take exception to the veracity of the heiliger Jewish News but that sounds like a misquote to me. What the heck is a "lucky dollar bill"? The Jewish News proves again and again that its journalists know very little about normative Jewish practices and next to nothing about Chassidic groups.

Shmais have also quoted this article as have Shturem who have admittedly toned down the hype since they got a few comments about it.

But what is really annoying is the meshichist site have reported this as Victory Due to Rebbe Dollar - how embarrassing!! This just plays into the hands of those who believe that Chabad is the closest thing to Judaism - to quote an anti-Chabad "joke".

The Rebbe gave out dollar bills in order to achieve two main things as far as I know. One was in order to increase in the giving of Tzedokah - when one received a dollar from the Rebbe the intention was to give that dollar - and preferably more - to charity. Obviously one would want to keep the dollar that the Rebbe actually gave them as a keepsake and substitute that dollar for one of their own to give away. While Chabad does not emphasise the concept of Shirayim (where Chassidim are eager to obtain food that the Rebbe has tasted etc) it is just human nature to want to keep an object from someone who you admire greatly - especially when that person is the Tzadik HaDor.

The other reason for "dollars" was so that the Rebbe could have personal contact with his Chassidim. As he told the woman who asked how he could stand for hours greeting people and giving out dollars: "Every soul is a diamond. Can one grow tired of counting diamonds?".

The Rebbe did not give out these dollars as lucky charms to be used like some magical potion. As far as I know in Chabad we do not go in for this type of Yiddishkeit. Chabad is supposed to emphasise that intellect rules over emotion but it seems that the meshichist element has reinvented this as well as other normative Jewish and Chassidic practices.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kevin 07, 08, 09...

Graphic from The Age

Mazal Tov to Kevin Rudd and the Labour Party on convincingly winning this election. While I believe that the Howard Government has done a fairly good job it was certainly time for a change. The more I see of Kevin Rudd the more he strikes me as having the potential to be a good, strong leader. At the beginning of his acceptance speech he payed tribute to John Howard in a most statesmanlike and gentlemanly way. This mentchlichkeit impresses me and I feel bodes well for the future.

I was pleased to see that Michael Danby retained his seat. He has worked tirelessly for the Jewish Community for all these years and always seems to make a strong stand on any issue which touches on Israel or Jewish people.

Malcolm Turnbull's is another pleasing result. His opponent tried to use the tactic of saying "vote for me I'm Jewish" which, in anyone's language, is no reason to elect a politician. Turnbull has also been an extremely strong supporter of Israel and deserved to win his seat.

I for one am ready and looking forward to this new regime..

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shabbos Robot? Not This Year!

Shabbos Goyim of the future?

COL has presented as fact that a new robot has been developed that will be able to do "forbidden" jobs on Shabbos. They have taken this from an article in Hamishpacha magazine as reported by Ma'ariv newspaper. According to Ma'ariv: This is the latest temptation that has driven the Haredi world mad: the robot that will replace the Shabbos Goy.

The report in Ma'ariv says:
The company’s representative in Israel, Amos Goren, a former GSS bodyguard, explains that the company already has a robot that is capable of carrying out a number of functions. All that needs to be done is to install a unique program that will specify the Sabbath Halacha. He said that scientists from the company have been consulting with Halachic experts and that the new “Shabbos robot” might be put on the market within a number of months.
The robot, which is fitted with a GPS system, will be familiar with the Jewish home. It will turn out the lights late at night, turn on the air conditioner if necessary and will even clear the table after the Sabbath feast is over.
Even the common problem of someone inadvertently turning off the light in the bathroom will be solved. From time to time the robot will make its way to the bathroom to make sure that the light is on. The robot is expected to cost approximately USD 4,000.

According to my brief research there is no such robot in existence as yet. According to the White Box Robotics website - who it is said will make the robot - they do not have anything similar but are developing different types of high functioning robots.

But despite that it seems to me that the way that technology is progressing today it is only a matter of time before such robots are developed. Whether or not you could halachically have a robot perform things on Shabbos that we are forbidden to do is another matter. Is a robot considered the same as a farm animal which also has to rest on Shabbos? Greater minds than mine will have to answer that question.

In any case it is an interesting fantasy but nothing that we should get too excited about.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Musical Aussie in the News

Chanoch Rosenfeld is pictured above at the Annual Dinner for Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim Brunoy in France where he is currently learning. The dinner was held on Rosh Chodesh Kislev according to the article in Chanoch is the son of Yisroel and Sarah Rosenfeld and his musical talents and that of his siblings are well known in Melbourne.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Jews Report

This short video is by Yisrael Campbell who is connected with the Jewlarious web site. It is funny but not as good as his jPhone sendup. Enjoy!

Thanks again to SS.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where is security when you need them?!

I enjoyed this video of the shluchim to Yeshivah Gedolah arriving at Melbourne airport last week. The chayos is great!

Thanks to SS for sending me this.

Kinnus Time (3)

Rabbis Mordechai & Moshe Gutnick

Rabbi Moshe New (L)

Reb Arel Serbryanski

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kinnus Time (2)

Rabbis Sholom & Yossi Blesofsky on the left and Chaim Herzog & ? Feldman on the right

Rabbi Arel Serebryanski

Rabbi Y Lieder (2nd row on the right)

More photos of Aussies spotted at the Kinnus.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kinnus Time

Rabbis Yossi Gordon & Yanki Glasman

R Yitzchok Moully in blue shirt

R Levi Tennenbaum (R)

Rabbi Kantor (Thailand)

Is that R Benyomin Serebryanski on the left?

R Chaim Herzog at back

It is Rosh Chodesh Kislev and the International Kinnus HaShluchim has started in New York. These photos were of Aussies that I spotted on Shmais and COL. Please let me know if I have missed any shluchim.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"What will become of all the memories?"

A poignant video. The singers are Mordechai Ben David and Avrohom Fried.