Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Rafael Seligmann, writer and journalist | Talking Germany

Rafael Seligmann does not shy away from controversy. In his novels, newspaper articles and other non-fiction publications, the 66-year-old has called for a normalization of German-Jewish relations.

Rafael Seligmann, Autor & Publizist | Typisch deutsch

Rafael Seligmann ist ein streitbarer Geist. In Romanen, Sachbüchern und Zeitungsartikeln setzt der 66-Jährige sich für die Normalisierung deutsch-jüdischer Verhältnisse ein. Seine Eltern flohen als Juden vor den Nazis nach Tel Aviv, kehrten aber 1957 mit ihrem Sohn nach Deutschland zurück. Bei „Typisch deutsch” spricht er auch über die Zeitschrift „Jewish Voice From Germany”, die er 2012 gründete. Rafael Seligmann ist gut vernetzt in Politik, Wirtschaft und Medien und er versteht es, für seine Sache zu werben. Mehr unter: http://www.dw.de/rafael-seligmann-aut…

Germany lauds Jewish-German paper: Berlin’s new ‘Jewish Voice’ praised by FM Guido Westerwelle

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle took part in the launch a “Jewish Voice from Germany,” a new Jewish newspaper in Berlin. He said, “The ‘Jewish Voice from Germany’ reflects what has been impossible for a long time after the civilisation-break of the Shoah. Jewish life is an integral part of our society in Germany, and this is not only a reason to be glad, but also to be thankful.”

The newspaper consists of quarterly reports about Germany’s Jewish community and will have a circulation of 30,000 copies worldwide. Publisher and editor Rafael Seligmann was very proud and talked about the important re-engagement of German Jews with Jewish society and their Jewish identity. He said the feedback was overwhelming.

Berlin’s Jewish community was decimated by the Holocaust when the number of Jewish residents dropped to 8,000 from 160,000. But since the German reunification in 1990, thousands of Jews have moved back. Seligmann said he hopes his newspaper will raise awareness and help rebuild the Jewish community.

Jewish Voice From Germany

A Mentsh: Wolfgang Clement

‎14 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎10:26:03 | DHJZum vollständigen Artikel wechseln

It is over ten years now since the Agenda 2010 reform program was announced. These social and labor market reforms established the basis for Germany’s current stability. Yet any architect who designs a house needs an engineer to draw up and concretize plans, to carry out structural analyses and to deliver the finished building at the agreed price. Wolfgang Clement, the then Federal Minister for Economy and Labor, was the engineer in the SPD/Green coalition government at the time. If he felt something was necessary or correct, it had to be done. Tactical maneuvering was never Wolfgang Clement’s thing.

The huge challenges of the time and the courageous implementation of essential reforms did not win him many friends. Yet Wolfgang Clement’s experiences from his political days did not sully his basic optimistic outlook on life or his belief that politics has to address the issues that arise with change.

Force of modernization

Clement, who was born in Bochum in 1940, made his name as a non-conformist who always stood for social responsibility which, as he saw it, needed to be earned. Wolfgang Clement became a force of modernization in areas of sociopolitical and structural policy, something he had already demonstrated from 1998–2002 as Minister President for North Rhine-Westphalia.

Clement has been accused of concentrating on political and social issues. Yet he also helped create the ‘Ruhrtriennale’, a festival of the arts which is the cultural trademark of the newly branded Ruhr Valley and is without match in Europe.

He was also able to unite his ethical position with more pragmatic considerations during the stem cell research debate a decade ago. The main thrust of his argument was that if stem cell research was not permitted in Germany then it would simply happen elsewhere in the world and without any regulations. In the end, stem cell research under certain conditions was authorized and Germany’s reputation as a home for research was strengthened. This all happened with the cooperation of scientists in Israel.

Unshakeable tenacity

As any group of people who have ever experienced Clement at a negotiating table will tell you, his persistence and impatience have become legendary – a Wolfgang Clement never gives up. This was especially true during coalition negotiations between the Social Democrats and the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia and it was also true when it came to saving a corporation from collapse. His tactic: Nobody leaves the room until a common position is accepted by all parties. This streak of unshakeable tenacity won him the reputation of a macher.

But Clement the macher also has a more caring side as his ‘Ausbildungskonsens’ program which was initiated to help young people find vocational training opportunities shows. His motto at the time: Any teenager looking for a place on a training program will be offered one. What he promised came to be. This was duly recognized when he was nominated to the Federal Government as Minister of Economy and Labor, where he made a lasting contribution to social harmony in Germany.

A strong people focus

What cannot go unmentioned is Wolfgang Clement’s belief that dialogue with the churches, and in particular with the Jewish community, is an important obligation for all politicians. Brave, challenging, consistent, and with a strong people-focus – Wolfgang Clement is a Mentsh.

Georg Wilhelm Adamowitsch served as State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and as Head of the State Chancellery in North Rhine-Westphalia

A Source of Inspiration

‎14 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎09:56:49 | DHJZum vollständigen Artikel wechseln

Kurhaus Baden-Baden

“Roulette until six in the evening. Lost everything”, notes Leo Tolstoy on July 14, 1857. He did not pen these words in Moscow or St Petersburg. It was in Baden-Baden that Tolstoy closed his diary with a sigh that night.

In the 19th and early 20th century, two places tucked away deep in the southwest of Germany attracted the rich and famous from all over Europe like magnets. Crowned heads and musicians, philosophers and writers – among them the crème de la crème of Russian literati: Baden-Baden, the famous spa and gambling capital, and Badenweiler, its little sister.

Europe’s summer capital

The mild climate and the salutary benefits of the hot springs which had already been enjoyed by Romans suffering from rheumatism, the gentle air, and lush green forests all made Baden-Baden the place to be. The elegant exclusivity, the town’s opulence, its cosmopolitan feel, the hub of the upper crust, was unequalled by any other German city. To this day, Baden-Baden attracts large numbers of visitors. When wandering along the Corinthian columns of the Trinkhalle, the pump room, or strolling through the lush gardens and parks of Lichtentaler Allee you can sense it – that very special Baden-Baden feeling, making you yearn for a time when clothes were sumptuous, manners polished, architecture a feat for the senses. In short, when Baden-Baden had been declared “The Summer Capital of Europe”. Ever since the Tsar married a princess from Baden in the late 18th century, her former home became all the craze in Russia. “The skies are high here and the Tsar is far away…” was a popular saying amongst Russians in Baden-Baden. And then there was the casino …

Tolstoy was not the only literary genius to have travelled thousands of miles from Russia to take the waters and enjoy the thrill at the roulette tables… and to leave with empty pockets. They all flocked here: the great realist Ivan Goncharov and the enthusiastic young ballad rhymer Vasili Zhukovsky. Nikolai Gogol came too and observed that “nobody here is seriously ill. They only come to amuse themselves.”

Matters of principle

Then, on July 10, 1867, two giants of Russian literature met in the now famed city: Fjodor Dostoyevsky and Ivan Turgenev. They took an instant dislike to one another. Both as artists and as individuals. Here was Turgenjev, polished, well-mannered, a man of means. Turgenjev had been living in Baden-Baden since 1863: “I no longer see myself as a Russian but as a German and I am proud of it!”

Fyodor Dostoeyevsky

All this must have incensed his visitor. Fjodor Dostoyevsky had spent four years in Siberia, in chains. Hot-tempered, he cultivated the rough, unkempt, passionate genius that he was. Penniless he was too. Down on his luck again and again at the roulette wheel. “He pawned his wedding ring … but won nothing … later he went to play roulette taking my wedding ring to pawn as well …,” writes Madame Anna Dostoyevskaya in her diary. As if their marriage had not already been stormy enough…

Money was not the only issue Turgenjev and Dostoyevsky argued about. They disagreed over principles. Turgenjev was in favor of Russia orienting itself towards Western Europe, while Dostoyevsky maintained that only the true Slavic spirit would bring the desired renewal. They parted as enemies – henceforth harbouring nothing but bitterness and ill-feeling for each other.

Human nature

To be sure, both men knew of the darker sides of human nature. Even in the wonderful city of Baden-Baden. Turgenjev’s novella Smoke is set here, describing the stifling ennui, the avarice and scheming of the wealthy good-for-nothings hanging out there, whilst Dostoyevsky created in a slim volume the most haunting description of an addiction to this day. The Gambler is a powerful rendering of man’s self deception, deceit of others, greed, and unscrupulousness: “Tomorrow, tomorrow – all will be different,” exclaims the gambler at the end of the story – knowing full well that nothing will be different and that he is lost. Dostoyevsky was no theoretician – he had sat at gambling tables all over Europe – especially those of Baden-Baden which may well have served as the town “Roulettenburg” in The Gambler.

Life’s last page

Baden-Baden Casino

When Anton Chekhov left Moscow in May 1904, he confided to a friend: “I am travelling to die.” The great author and humanist, probably the acutest psychologist of Classic Russian literature, had been suffering from tuberculosis since the age of 24. Chekhov and his wife, the famous actress Olga Knipper – “the last page of my life”, as Chekhov called her – decided to set up house in Badenweiler. “It is a very original place, to be sure,” the skeptic Chekhov reports in a letter. “Quite what makes its originality I have not yet been able to fathom.” He liked Badenweiler nonetheless. “If only you knew what the sun here is like. It doesn’t burn, it caresses you,” he reports to his sister Masha. As a physician, Chekhov knew that his end was nigh. Nonetheless, as always, he took it upon himself to entertain his wife with his fine and good natured humor.

Good humor was precisely what the Chekhovs needed. They had booked into the famous Hotel Römerbad only to discover their hosts did not want a guest on their books suffering from consumption – however discreetly Chekhov used his spittoon, as an eyewitness reported. The Chekhovs in turn declared that the hotel was too crowded and too pompous for their taste anyway.

Eventually they settled at Hotel Sommer. When Chekhov felt his last hour was near, in a final futile act of defiance against death, he and his wife indulged in a glass of champagne. Chekhov died on July 15, 1904. Four years later a bust in his honor – the first worldwide – was unveiled in the presence of Olga Knipper. On July 15, 1914 a service commemorating the 10th anniversary of Chekhov’s death was held. Once more his widow was present. Only a fortnight later, tragedy struck – WWI begun. Chekhov’s bust was melted down for arms.

Memory and departure

It took a while for the good people of Badenweiler to make peace with the fact that the great writer had come there to die. But once they had accepted it, they began to appreciate and celebrate their great guest. After all, Chekhov is still among the most frequently performed dramatists in German theaters. In Badenweiler, a Chekhov archive was founded. The local Chekhov society is doing remarkable work to this day. And, in the middle of the Cold War, Badenweiler became the meeting place for East and West. Then German chancellor Ludwig Erhard (1963–1966) invited journalists from the Soviet Union for the first time to present the “new” Germany. And, when the Iron Curtain finally fell, Badenweiler received a new Chekhov memorial, too. It had travelled a long way – from the island of Sakhalin in the Pacific to Badenweiler. After a visit to Sakhalin in 1890, Chekhov, the doctor and philanthropist, forever seeking to better the lot of his fellow men, pleaded for a reform of the inhuman Russian prison system. A hundred years later, the people of Sakhalin found a way to pay their respect to Chekhov. In Badenweiler, of course.

Erase Our Sins in Your Great Mercy But Not in Punishment

‎13 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎11:00:20 | DHJZum vollständigen Artikel wechseln

Jonah and the Whale, from the Kennicott Bible (1476). One of the highlights of the Yom Kippur liturgy is
the reading of the Book of Jonah, a story that teaches us how no one is beyond the reach of God’s hand

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Confronting our shortcomings may be central to the religious temperament. One wonders in fact why atheistic attacks on religion do not credit religion at least for this, since all the great religions, it would seem, have at least some mechanism by which adherents are urged to take moral inventory of their faults. Judaism certainly does, and it calls those faults sins, thereby indicating that they are more than just issues of defective calculation or wrongheaded planning. They run counter to the actual will of God; they are not the way human beings are supposed to live. People have problems with the word “sin” these days, but for purposes of this overview, we can use the traditional term, noting simply that Judaism has resolutely insisted on the reality of God, the ubiquity of sin, and the necessity for human beings to atone for sin by one means or another.

With the rise of Rabbinic Judaism, prayer replaced personal sacrifice, and the “offerings of our lips” took the place of grains and animals that had once been offered on an actual altar. One form of verbal sacrifice was confession, the Hebrew term for which is vidui.

We think of confession as an annual exercise for Yom Kippur, but the Rabbis did not limit it to that occasion. Without necessarily believing that human beings are innately evil (in the sense of suffering from original sin) they did believe that sin is elemental – it is sufficiently part of our nature for us to confess it regularly. Our first comprehensive Jewish prayer book, Seder Rav Amram (from about 860 CE) draws upon the Talmud to make room for a confession every single day. As its author, Rav Amram puts it: “If a person wants to say a confession after completing the daily Amidah, it is permissible to do so.”

God wants us to live

The daily prayer of confession ended with the plea, “Insofar as I have sinned, erase it in your great mercy, but not by punishment,” the assumption being that as the supreme Judge of a universe that ought to operate with moral culpability, God has the power to reward and to punish. A sure sign of heresy, in fact, was the notion that the universe was “without justice or judge”, as if the need for morality was somehow not part of the very fabric of being.

God, then, is the judge before whom one stands on the High Holy Days; but not a “hanging judge”, a judge intent solely on punishing offenders, a judge for whom the letter of the law is all that matters. We may be sinners, but we are also made in God’s image – both are equal aspects of simply being human. The Rabbis’ picture of God, therefore, was indeed a God of justice but also a God of mercy. It was said, in fact, that God would overlook one’s first sin of the year, as if to say that no one can be expected to attain perfection. At the end of Yom Kippur, just as the gates close and the N’ilah service turns to the final confession of the day, the liturgy insists that God does not want the death as sinners; God wants us, rather, to live. The significance of this point of view should not be minimized. It is all too easy for modern men and women to dispense with language discussing the nature of God by saying that they either do not believe in God at all, or that the God in whom they do believe is more akin to an impersonal force than to a human being, so that discussion of God reaching out to bring us in, or preferring pardon over punishment, makes little sense. I too agree that God cannot be fruitfully imagined as human in nature.

Maimonides disabused us of that notion almost 1,000 years ago. But God cannot altogether be likened to anything else either. Even if God were said to be an impersonal force, it would hardly be appropriate to say that God was simply like gravity or electromagnetism. “God as a force” is no less metaphoric than “God as a person”. Language simply fails to come to terms with God except metaphorically, so we borrow those metaphors that work best, the metaphors that say something about the way the universe works, the ways human beings are constructed, the relationships and values that matter most, and the way things ought to be for human beings who are granted life and want to know how the life they are granted may have purpose and destiny.

We matter as human beings

Saying that God wants us to live not die and that repentance has the power to erase sin and guilt establishes a society rooted in compassion, care, and hope rather than punishment, vengeance, and despair. It provides models for human beings who, as we said, are made in God’s image (another metaphor, by the way) and expected to act as God does. It establishes the conviction, internally, in each and every one of us, that we matter as individual human beings, because no matter how we may have erred, we have the power and the right to reestablish ourselves anew as the good and worthwhile creatures we know ourselves to be when we are at our best.

Unfortunately, we are not always at our best, and that is where sin comes in – the moments when we fall seriously short of the ideal. The liturgy struggles, therefore, with the extent to which we should confess our wrong against the degree to which we should emphasize our basic goodness. This issue of human nature, the balance between innate goodness on one hand and proclivity to evil on the other, is what we call religious anthropology. Suffice it to say that the wording of our prayers has varied over time, depending upon which of the two poles of human nature we wish to emphasize.

Maimonides holds that “whoever goes on at some length in making confession is considered praiseworthy”. Our liturgical confessions, then, are an exercise in such praiseworthy activity, not the essence of the thing but a ritual extension of that essence in the presence of community. We are, after all, communal beings, and our confessions say a good deal about the kind of community we want to be. We can be a community that learns to hurt and to hate or to love and to pardon.

However much confession may be intended for God on high, one cannot help but observe the extent to which its impact is felt by us down here on earth. It proclaims our ideals, reminds us that we often fail to live up to those ideals, and establishes a community that stands for all that is good, compassionate and hopeful in the human enterprise.

A new piety

Back in 1899, Rabbi Kaufman Kohler defined sin as “the power of evil dwelling in no other being but man”. Nobility is its opposite, for, as Salomon tells us, nobility too is distinctively human. Admission of one entails admission of the other. Our culture of expressive individualism and therapeutic care admits no sin, but then must also do without nobility. Jewish tradition has overwhelmingly urged us to take cognizance of both. Even in the days of penitential piety, our sin, though elemental, was not original. The Bible taught the doctrine of a covenant with God – yes, God, no less, who, the Rabbis argued, wanted us to be a partner in creation.

No matter how far we have fallen short of God’s expectations, no matter how much our sin weighed us down or kept us in debt, we were always to remember that we were made in God’s image, little lower than the angels, and able to effect great change by the abundance of good deeds of which, at our best, we are capable. Perhaps we are on our way to a new piety: the possibility of sin but the parallel possibility of nobility.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD is the Friedman professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual at Hebrew Union College in New York and a visiting professor at Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam. He is the author of some 40 books.

Jom Kippur: Ringen um Versöhnung und Frieden

Als wir Anfang September das jüdische Neujahr feierten, war das kein Fest ausgelassener Freude. Rosch Haschana ist eine Zeit des Insichgehens; wenn Juden sich in den zehn Tagen zwischen Neujahr und dem Versöhnungstag Jom Kippur treffen, grüßen sie sich mit den Worten „zu einem guten Jahr mögest du eingeschrieben und besiegelt werden“. Diese Grußformel geht auf ein Gebet zurück: „Gedenke unser zum Leben, König, der Du am Leben Wohlgefallen hast; und schreibe uns ein in das Buch des Lebens, um Deinetwillen, Gott des Lebens“.

Unser Leben und unsere Zukunft haben mit der großen Chance der Umkehr zu tun. Sie besagt, dass der Mensch an sich arbeiten kann. Rosch Haschana ist ein Anlass, das eigene Leben zu bedenken und daraus für sich Konsequenzen zu ziehen. Jom Kippur, der Versöhnungstag, beschließt die zehn Tage der Selbstbesinnung und Umkehr: Das göttliche Urteil über uns wird besiegelt. Mit der christlichen Vorstellung des Jüngsten Gerichts hat das wenig zu tun. Es geht um die Versöhnung mit Gott, hier und jetzt, zu der wir nur dann imstande sind, wenn wir uns mit den Menschen um uns herum ausgesöhnt haben. Dabei suchen wir die Verantwortung für menschliches Versagen nicht bei anderen, sondern zuerst bei uns selbst: Wegen unserer Schuld. Jom Kippur mahnt uns so an die ethischen Werte des Judentums. „Sehnsucht und Gebot werden eins“, schrieb Rabbbiner Leo Baeck zur Ehrfurcht vor Gott und den Menschen. Für uns kann dies heute auch ein Appell für mehr sozialen Frieden sein.

Angela Merkel: The Interview

‎13 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎10:58:37 | DHJZum vollständigen Artikel wechseln

Angel Merkel is celebrating a resounding victory at the polls for her Christian Democratic party (CDU). Shortly before the election, and in the middle of campaigning, Dr. Merkel took the time to speak with our editors about the economy, her election campaign and her commitment to Israel’s security.

Lesen Sie dieses Interview auf Deutsch

“We Will Never Be Neutral. Israel Can Be Sure of Our Support”

What is the main thrust of your election campaign strategy? What are your priorities?

I’d like to continue the CDU-FDP coalition. When I became Federal Chancellor in 2005, there were more than five million people unemployed in Germany. Now, by contrast, there are less than three million. But, of course that’s still far too many and we’re determined to get even more people back into employment. We’ve halved youth unemployment, and we’ve made huge investments in education and research. The approach Germany chose has been successful, despite the major financial and economic crisis. I’ll call for this successful approach to be continued, for we can’t rest on our laurels.

How does Germany intend to hold its own internationally in light of the Energiewende, the transformation of its natural energy system? In the U.S., the gas price is a third of that in Germany, in Europe?

I’m convinced that by pushing ahead with the development of renewable energies Germany is investing in its future. That will provide us, a country of industry and engineers, with great opportunities. I don’t deny that in the coming years we will still have some problems to solve along the way. Ensuring that energy prices are affordable for both private households and companies is one of them. At present, the price of gas is much lower in the U.S. than in Europe because shale gas production has given rise to a new situation. We have to react to this by increasing energy efficiency and most definitely also by making renewable energies marketable even more quickly. That’ll give us strategic advantages in the long term.

President Obama has just been to Germany. How can we further intensify relations with the United States?

The transatlantic partnership provided a foundation on which the Federal Republic of Germany, and after 1990 reunited Germany, could prosper following the Second World War. Luckily for us, President George Bush senior supported German unity from the outset. Now that the Cold War is over, we have other challenges to master, but they too will be tackled together with our partners in Europe and the U.S. I’m therefore very pleased, for example, that we’re due to start negotiating a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States this summer. I’ve long since been an advocate of this idea. Our friendship is strong and close. What’s more, Germany and the U.S. are strategic partners. We are partners both in the spheres of security and economic policy – and both areas should and could be further expanded in the coming years.

How can a free trade zone work if it didn’t even work with chicken drumsticks? 

Chickens have indeed been an ongoing problem whenever Europe and the United States have talked about free trade. That began back in the early sixties. This issue is just one example which demonstrates the broad and diverse spectrum of the agricultural sector and of the agricultural protection zones which both the U.S. and Europe have demanded every time they have talks about free trade.

I believe that the new trade partnership will bring huge opportunities for both sides, especially if there is closer cooperation in the regulatory field. We should take advantage of this potential.

There are concerns about France’s competitiveness … How can Berlin encourage Paris in this direction without the French losing face?

Together we – the French and Germans – are working to ensure at both national and European level that everything is geared toward fostering competitiveness and lasting growth.

With its cuts and fiscal consolidation policy, Germany is now in a minority position?

Our position is reflected in the Stability and Growth Pact, which all member states support. In a currency union, every country has an obligation to ensure that we really do adhere to the fundamental principles under which this currency was established. Many European countries, including Germany, will undergo considerable demographic change in the next few decades. I believe it’s vital that we stop running up ever more debts, thus jeopardizing the future of our children and grandchildren. To me, consolidating the budget means taking responsibility for the future, learning to manage our finances in a way that leaves future generations the leeway to make the investments which are important to them. Europe needs the right mixture of solid budget management and structural reforms. This can generate sustainable growth and new employment opportunities for millions of people.

How is the German Government promoting the German-Jewish renaissance?

We’ve achieved so much in the last few years. We’ve signed an agreement with the Central Council of Jews in Germany, mirroring the agreement with the churches, and increased the Government’s payments from initially three million Euros to ten million Euros per year. We’re also supporting the great efforts undertaken by the Jewish communities to integrate Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. I had the privilege of being the first Federal Chancellor to take part in the Central Council’s annual conference and to address its members. By passing the act on circumcision we demonstrated our will to reconcile religious freedom with children’s welfare and thus protect both fundamental rights.

How do you rate German-Israeli relations?

The heinous crime committed by Germany against the Jews, the betrayal of all civilized values that was the Shoah, will always be present, and we can shape the future of the resulting special relations between Germany and Israel in awareness of that. Our relations are very good. For instance, some years ago we initiated German-Israeli intergovernmental consultations, underscoring the great political, economic and scientific importance we attach to relations between our countries in the age of globalization. Israel is still the only true democracy in the Middle East. We want to work together as closely as possible in all spheres and can be proud of our cooperation in culture, science or environmental protection. In development policy, we’re carrying out very successful trilateral projects together, for example in Ethiopia. Another priority is youth exchange. So you can see that our cooperation is rich and diverse. That brings people in the two countries together and makes them colleagues and friends. That’s at least as important as good cooperation between our governments.

You said before the Knesset that Israel’s security is non-negotiable for Germany. What does that mean in concrete terms in the event of a crisis, for example Iranian nuclear weapons?

That means that we’ll never be neutral and that Israel can be sure of our support when it comes to ensuring its security. That’s why I also said that Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’etre.

Do Israeli settlements serve a meaningful purpose?

I’ve often made critical comments about settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and my position hasn’t changed. At the same time, it’s equally important to me that the two sides, both Israel and the Palestinians, work towards a durable peace settlement, that’s to say a viable two-state solution. And I will support every step taken by an Israeli Government to make such talks possible.

Is anti-Zionism legitimate?

No, not in my opinion. For those who share my view that the Jews as a people have a right to self-determination, Zionism as a national movement of the Jewish people is the embodiment of this very right which its opponents want to deny.

The Turkish Prime Minister called Zionism a crime against humanity…

I’ve spoken several times with Prime Minister Erdogan about relations between Turkey and Israel. I’m pleased that following the President Obama’s visit to Israel, talks between Israel and Turkey are again taking place and hope that relations between them will further improve in the interest of both countries.

Is it conceivable that a country that partially occupies or blocks an E.U. country – I’m talking about Turkey’s actions vis-à-vis Cyprus – that has the position on Israel I’ve just described, will become a member of the European Union?

We’ve stated very clearly that no negotiating chapters between the European Union and Turkey will be concluded before the Ankara Protocol is complied with, that’s to say before Turkey grants all E.U. member states, including Cyprus, access to its ports. That hasn’t happened as yet and it’s therefore a major obstacle for the continuation of accession negotiations between the E.U. and Turkey.

Angela Merkel spoke with JVG editors Rafael Seligmann and Elisabeth Neu at her office in the Federal Chancellery, Berlin

Angela Merkel über Wahlkampf, Energiewende, transatlantische Beziehungen und Nahost

Was ist die größte Genugtuung Ihres Amtes?

Ich empfinde heute genau wie zu Beginn meiner Amtszeit einfach Freude darüber, dass ich, selbstverständlich mit anderen zusammen, politisch gestalten und den Menschen dienen kann.

Ich kann Entscheidungen treffen oder auf sie Einfluss nehmen, die das Leben der Bürger und unseres Landes betreffen: ob es um innere Sicherheit geht, um Außenpolitik oder darum, wie wir die Arbeitslosigkeit weiter abbauen und unsere sozialen Sicherungssysteme für die Zukunft stärken.

Empfinden Sie Freude dabei, dass Sie als Physikerin aus Templin, in Hamburg geboren, höher gestiegen sind als altgediente Parteifunktionäre?

So denke ich nicht. Freude verbinde ich heute wie damals mit der deutschen Einheit. Es war ein Glück, dabei zu sein, als diese Einheit politisch gestaltet wurde – und es war ein Glück für mich persönlich, denn so eröffneten sich für mich Möglichkeiten, mit denen ich nicht gerechnet hatte. Aus diesem Geschenk der Geschichte hat sich mein politischer Werdegang ergeben und, ich sage es noch einmal, die Chance gestalten zu können.

Was ist Ihre grundsätzliche Wahlkampfstrategie? Wo sind die Schwerpunkte?

Ich möchte gerne mit der FDP zusammen die christlich-liberale Koalition fortsetzen. Als ich 2005 Bundeskanzlerin wurde, waren über fünf Millionen Menschen arbeitslos. Jetzt dagegen sind es weniger als drei Millionen – auch wenn das immer noch zu viele sind und wir noch mehr Menschen aus der Arbeitslosigkeit holen wollen. Wir haben die Jugendarbeitslosigkeit halbiert, wir haben enorme Investitionen in Bildung und Forschung vorgenommen. Deutschlands Weg ist ein erfolgreicher, trotz der großen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise. Ich werde dafür werben, diesen erfolgreichen Weg fortzusetzen, denn wir können uns auf dem Erreichten nicht ausruhen.

Wie will Deutschland mit der Energiewende international bestehen? In den USA beträgt der Gaspreis ein Drittel des deutschen, des europäischen…

Ich bin überzeugt: Mit dem konsequenten Ausbau der erneuerbaren Energien investiert Deutschland in seine Zukunft, das wird uns als Land der Industrie und der Ingenieure große Chancen bieten. Ich verhehle nicht, dass wir auf diesem Weg in den nächsten Jahren noch einige Aufgaben lösen müssen. Die Energiepreise sowohl für die Haushalte als auch für die Unternehmen vertretbar zu halten, ist eine davon. Die USA haben jetzt einen spürbar niedrigeren Gaspreis als Europa, weil dort durch die Förderung des Schiefergases eine neue Situation entstanden ist. Wir müssen darauf durch mehr Energieeffizienz reagieren und sicherlich auch, indem wir die erneuerbaren Energien noch schneller marktfähig machen. Dann werden wir langfristig strategische Vorteile haben.

US-Präsident Barack Obama besuchte kürzlich Deutschland. Wie können wir grundsätzlich die Beziehung zu den Vereinigten Staaten noch ausbauen?

Die transatlantische Partnerschaft war das Fundament, auf dem nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg die Bundesrepublik und nach 1990 das wiedervereinte Deutschland eine glückliche Entwicklung nehmen konnten. George Bush senior war ein US-Präsident, der sich zu unserem Glück von Anfang an für die deutsche Einheit eingesetzt hat. Jetzt, nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges, haben wir andere Herausforderungen zu meistern, aber auch diese meistern wir zusammen mit unseren Partnern in Europa und den USA. Daher begrüße ich es zum Beispiel sehr, dass wir im Sommer begonnen haben, ein Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika zu verhandeln. Ich werbe für diese Idee schon seit Jahren. Unsere Freundschaft ist fest und eng, Deutschland und die USA sind darüber hinaus strategische Partner. Das meine ich ebenso sicherheitspolitisch wie wirtschaftlich – und beides sollten und können wir in den nächsten Jahren noch ausbauen.

Wie kann eine Freihandelszone funktionieren, wenn es noch nicht einmal bei Hühnerschenkeln funktioniert hat…

Die Hühnchen sind in der Tat ein Dauerthema, wann immer Europa und die Vereinigten Staaten über Freihandel gesprochen haben. Das begann schon Anfang der 60er Jahre. Dieses Thema zeigt exemplarisch die ganze Bandbreite des landwirtschaftlichen Bereiches und der Agrarschutzzonen, die sowohl die USA als auch Europa in Gesprächen über den Freihandel jedes Mal einfordern. Ich glaube, dass die neue Handelspartnerschaft vor allem bei einer engeren Zu-sammenarbeit im Regulierungsbereich beiden Seiten enorme Chancen bringt. Dieses Potenzial sollten wir nutzen.

Es bestehen Sorgen um Frankreichs Wettbewerbsfähigkeit … Wie kann Berlin Paris in dieser Richtung ermutigen, ohne dass die Franzosen das Gesicht verlieren?

Gemeinsam arbeiten wir, Deutsche und Franzosen, daran, dass national wie auch auf europäischer Ebene alle Weichen auf Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und dauerhaftes Wachstum gestellt werden.

Deutschland gerät mit seiner Spar- und Konsolidierungspolitik international in eine Minderheitenposition …

Unsere Position zeigt sich im Stabilitäts- und Wachstumspakt, den alle Mitgliedsstaaten unterstützen. In einer Währungsunion haben alle die Verpflichtung, darauf zu achten, dass wir die Grundlagen, auf denen diese Währung eingeführt wurde, auch tatsächlich einhalten. Viele Länder Europas erleben in den nächsten Jahrzehnten große demografische Veränderungen, das gilt auch für Deutschland. Ich halte es für geboten aufzuhören, mit immer höherer Verschuldung auf Kosten der Zukunft unserer Kinder und Enkel zu leben. Haushaltskonsolidierung heißt für mich, Verantwortung für die Zukunft zu übernehmen, zu lernen, mit unseren Finanzen so auszukommen, dass auch künftige Generationen Spielraum für die Investitionen haben, die ihnen wichtig sind. Europa braucht die richtige Mischung aus solider Haushaltsführung und Strukturreformen. Daraus kann sich nachhaltiges Wachstum ergeben und eine neue Chance für Arbeit für Millionen Menschen.

Wie fördert die Bundesregierung die deutsch-jüdische Renaissance?

Hier haben wir in den letzten Jahren sehr viel erreicht. Wir haben den Staatsvertrag mit dem Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, analog zu dem Staatsvertrag mit den Kirchen, unterzeichnet und die Zahlungen des Bundes von anfangs € 3 Mio. pro Jahr auf € 10 Mio. pro Jahr aufgestockt. Wir unterstützen auch die große Integrationsleistung, die die jüdischen Gemeinden erbringen, wenn sie Juden aus Mittel- und Osteuropa willkommen heißen. Ich durfte als erste Bundeskanzlerin an der Jahresversammlung des Zentralrats teilnehmen und dort zu den Anwesenden sprechen. Mit dem Beschneidungsgesetz haben wir gezeigt, wie wir die freie Religionsausübung mit dem Schutz des Kindeswohls in Einklang bringen und so beide Grundrechte schützen können.

Wie beurteilen Sie die deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen?

Der von Deutschland an den Juden begangene Zivilisationsbruch der Schoa wird immer gegenwärtig sein, und im Bewusstsein der daraus resultierenden besonderen Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Israel können wir die Zukunft gestalten. Unsere Beziehungen sind sehr gut. So haben wir vor einigen Jahren deutsch-israelische Regierungskonsultationen eingeführt, mit denen beide Regierungen unterstreichen, welch große Bedeutung politisch, ökologisch und wirtschaftlich die Beziehungen unserer beiden Länder in Zeiten der Globalisierung haben. Israel ist immer noch die einzige wirkliche Demokratie im Nahen Osten. Wir wollen auf allen Gebieten so eng wie möglich zusammenarbeiten und können auf unsere Kooperation in der Kultur, in Wissenschaft oder im Umweltschutz stolz sein. In der Entwicklungspolitik führen wir mit Drittstaaten wie beispielsweise Äthiopien sehr erfolgreich gemeinsame trilaterale Projekte durch. Ein weiterer Schwerpunkt ist der Jugendaustausch. Sie sehen, es gibt eine reiche Zusammenarbeit, die die Menschen beider Länder zusammenführt, sie zu Kollegen und Freunden macht. Das ist mindestens ebenso wichtig wie eine gute Zusammenarbeit der Regierungen.

Sie sagten vor der Knesset, dass Israels Sicherheit für Deutschland nicht ver-handelbar ist. Was heißt das konkret im Krisenfall, beispielsweise iranische Kernwaffen…

Das heißt, dass wir nie neutral sind, sondern dass Israel sich unserer Unterstützung für seine Sicherheit sicher sein kann. Deshalb habe ich auch gesagt, das Eintreten für Israels Sicherheit ist Teil unserer Staatsraison.

Sind Israels Siedlungen zielführend?

Ich habe mich zur Frage des Siedlungsbaus im besetzten Westjordanland und in Ost-Jerusalem schon häufiger kritisch geäußert, und meine Haltung dazu ist unverändert. Mir ist gleichzeitig wichtig, dass beide Seiten, sowohl Israel als auch die Palästinenser, auf eine dauerhafte Friedenslösung hinarbeiten, das heißt auf eine tragfähige Zweistaatenlösung. Und ich werde jeden Schritt einer israelischen Regierung unterstützen, der solche Gespräche möglich macht.

Ist Antizionismus legitim?

Für mich nicht, denn für diejenigen, die wie ich der Auffassung sind, dass die Juden als Volk ein Recht auf Selbstbestimmung haben, ist der Zionismus als nationale Bewegung des jüdischen Volkes Ausdruck genau dieses Rechts, das ihm von seinen Gegnern abgesprochen wird.

Der türkische Ministerpräsident hat Zionismus als Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit bezeichnet…

Ich habe mit Premierminister Erdogan mehrfach über das Verhältnis der Türkei zu Israel gesprochen. Ich bin froh, dass nach dem Besuch von Barack Obama in Israel jetzt wieder Gespräche zwischen Israel und der Türkei stattfinden, und hoffe, dass sich das Verhältnis zwischen Israel und der Türkei im Interesse beider Staaten weiter verbessert.

Ist es denkbar, dass ein Land, das ein anderes EU-Land teilweise besetzt, blockiert, ich spreche von Zypern durch die Türkei, das eine eben angesprochene Haltung zu Israel einnimmt, Mitglied der Europäischen Union wird?

Wir haben sehr klar gesagt, dass kein Verhandlungskapitel der Europäischen Union mit der Türkei abgeschlossen wird, bevor nicht das Ankara-Protokoll erfüllt wird, das heißt, bevor nicht auch die Türkei allen EU-Mitgliedsstaaten, also auch Zypern, Zugang zu ihren Häfen ermöglicht. Das ist bis jetzt nicht erfolgt und deshalb ein schweres Hindernis für den Fortgang der Beitrittsverhandlungen zwischen der EU und der Türkei.

The Prime Minister and theTerrorist

‎13 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎10:56:29 | DHJZum vollständigen Artikel wechseln

Lesen Sie diesen Artikel auf Deutsch

Right now, Israel needs a statesman like Menachem Begin and Palestine needs an Anwar Sadat.

Begin was the commander of the Irgun. The underground Nationalist Army Organization fought for an independent Jewish state across the entire territory of Palestine. Among other acts, the Irgun were responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in which Arab and Jewish civilians as well as British soldiers died. The British persecuted Begin, the “terrorist”.

Sadat was an Egyptian nationalist and officer. As a young man he had conspired with Nazi spies against his own government and its British allies. He was arrested and imprisoned as a conspirator. As Egyptian president, Sadat launched the Yom Kippur War of 1973 against Zion. Four years later, however, he took the initiative and paid a visit to Israel. Later, Begin and Sadat agreed the terms of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in Camp David, a treaty which remains in force today. As part of the deal for peace, Israel left the occupied Sinai Peninsula. Sadat and Begin were honored with the Nobel Peace prize in 1978.

Gaza’s Islamist Hamas is as fanatic and inflexible as its mentor the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Their aim is to destroy the Jewish state. They refuse to accept a peaceful solution with Israel. Palestinian President Abbas is too old, too weak, and has too little standing to convince his compatriots to cease viewing Israel as part of Palestine. A tougher and more courageous personality will be required for this. The man for the job is sitting in an Israeli prison: Marwan Barghouti.

The French considered Ahmed Ben Bella to be the chief Algerian terrorist. They nevertheless had to deal with him during the move to independence in 1962. The Israelis will have to talk to Palestinians of Barghouti’s ilk if they are to secure peace. Barghouti is a convicted murderer, but he is neither religiously nor ideologically dogmatic. He is a political realist. Only a person with a biography like his can win the kind of popular Palestinian support required to relinquish certain claims, a pre-condition for any compromise. For example, the Palestinians will have to give up claims to land behind the Israeli armistice line confirmed in 1949 and the entire Jewish sector of Jerusalem’s Old City. They will also have to de-facto renounce the right of return for the great majority of Palestinian refugees and agree to an extensive demilitarization of the Palestinian territories. Israel for its part will have to give up most of its settlements in the occupied territories as they already did in Sinai. Any conceivable compromise will result in both sides being unhappy. That is why the process needs strong charismatic leaders who are convinced of the need to agree, yet simultaneously possess the power to force acceptance of an agreement within their own nations.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PLO-figure Marwan Barghouti could be these men. But even if they succeed – as Israel’s founder David Ben-Gurion once said, anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist – this will not automatically lead to a completely peaceful Middle East. But at least the adherents of realpolitik will have presented a successful pilot project and profit from the dividends of conflict resolution. The radicals and hawks on the other hand will lose the Palestinian cause as an excuse for violence and war.

Israel and Palestine need to use the current window of opportunity afforded by Iran and Hezbollah’s involvement in the civil war in neighboring Syria and the dwindling support for Hamas from Tehran and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to finally end the permanent state of confrontation and seek a compromise. This peace will not be amicable, the wounds must first heal and scar. But even a cold peace can develop a dynamic of its own over time. The killing will stop, normality and prosperity will return to Palestine and Israel. Peace is urgently needed as the merciless war with weapons of mass destruction in Syria shows. A large stake of political capital and risk will need to be invested if we are to reap the dividends of peace.

Benjamin Netanyahu sees Menachem Begin as his political role model. He should have the courage to follow his example and take risks and give up land in order to secure the peace. Barghouti should act like a patriot and follow the examples of Sadat and Ben Bella.

Netanjahu und Barghuthi könnten Frieden schließen

Israel braucht heute einen Staatsmann wie Menachem Begin und Palästina einen wie Anwar al-Sadat.

1978 vereinbarten Begin und Sadat in Camp David den ägyptisch-israelischen Friedensvertrag, der bis heute Gültigkeit besitzt. Im Gegenzug für den Frieden räumte Israel die besetzte ägyptische Sinai-Halbinsel. Die israelischen Siedlungen wurden aufgegeben. Begin und Sadat wurden dafür mit dem Friedensnobelpreis geehrt.

Beide begannen ihre Karrieren nicht als Staatsmänner. Begin war Kommandeur der Irgun. Die „Nationale Militärorganisation“ wollte mit Waffengewalt die Unabhängigkeit des jüdischen Staates erzwingen. Die Irgun war unter anderem für die Sprengung des King David-Hotels in Jerusalem verantwortlich, wo auch der britische Generalstab untergebracht war. Bei dem Anschlag kamen neben britischen Soldaten auch arabische und jüdische Zivilisten um. Die britische Mandatsmacht fahndete nach dem „Terroristen“ Begin.

Als junger Offizier konspirierte Sadat mit Spionen Nazi-Deutschlands gegen die eigene Regierung und ihre britischen Verbündeten. Er wurde als Verschwörer verurteilt. 1973 befahl Präsident Sadat im Oktoberkrieg den Angriff auf Israel. Vier Jahre später aber ergriff Sadat die Initiative und besuchte auf Einladung Begins Jerusalem. Nach Terror und Krieg begriffen beide, dass ihre Völker keine Alternative zum Frieden besaßen.

Israels Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu hat bereits 2009 prinzipiell einen Staat Palästina an der Seite seines Landes gut geheißen. Dazu braucht Zion einen Partner, der Israels Sicherheit garantiert und friedliche Beziehungen mit Jerusalem pflegt.

Die islamistische Hamas im Gazastreifen ist so unflexibel wie ihre Mentoren, die Moslembrüder in Ägypten. Hamas verweigert dem jüdischen Staat eine Existenzberechtigung, geschweige einen friedlichen Ausgleich. PLO-Präsident Abbas wiederum ist zu alt, zu schwach, zu mutlos und besitzt zu wenig Prestige, um einen Kompromissfrieden mit Israel bei seinen Landsleuten durchzusetzen, bei dem die Palästinenser von ihren Positionen abrücken müssten. Da braucht es einen härteren, wagemutigen Politiker. Diesen gibt es: Marwan Barghuthi. Wegen Mordes verurteilt, sitzt er in einem israelischen Gefängnis.

Um Aussicht auf einen stabilen Frieden zu haben, werden sich die Israelis mit einem Palästinenser vom Schlage Barghuthis einigen müssen. Barghuthi ist weder ein religiöser noch ein ideologischer Dogmatiker. Er ist ein politischer Realist. Nur eine Persönlichkeit mit seiner Biografie besäße den nötigen Rückhalt bei der palästinensischen Bevölkerung, um die notwendigen Verzichtsmaßnahmen durchzusetzen, die Voraussetzungen für einen Kompromiss sind. Beispielsweise die Aufgabe des Gebietes von Israel in den Grenzen von 1967, ein weitgehender Verzicht auf das Rückkehrrecht der palästinensischen Flüchtlinge, die Demilitarisierung der Palästinensergebiete, der Verzicht auf den jüdischen Teil der Altstadt Jerusalems samt der Klagemauer.

Israel wiederum wird die meisten seiner Siedlungen in den besetzten Gebieten aufgeben müssen – wie bereits im Sinai und im Gazastreifen geschehen.

Ein stabiler Kompromiss bedeutet, dass beide Seiten unzufrieden sind, weil sie von ihren Maximalforderungen, die sie als legal empfinden, abgerückt sind. Daher braucht es Führungspersönlichkeiten, die von der Notwendigkeit der Einigung überzeugt sind und die Macht und Entschlossenheit besitzen, die Vereinbarung kraftvoll in ihren Nationen durchzusetzen. Benjamin Netanjahu und Marwan Barghuthi könnten diese Männer sein. Wenn sie wunderbarer Weise Erfolg haben sollten – wer nicht an Wunder glaubt, ist kein Realist, wusste Israels Staatsgründer David Ben-Gurion – wird keineswegs Frieden in Nahost einkehren. Doch immerhin würde den Friedensbereiten ein gelungenes Modell einer Konfliktlösung demons-triert. Zudem würden die Radikalen die ungelöste Palästina-Frage als Alibi für Gewalt und Krieg verlieren.

Israel und Palästina müssen das Zeitfenster des nachlassenden externen Drucks nutzen. Es öffnete sich aufgrund der Verstrickung Irans und der Hizbollah im syrischen Bürgerkrieg sowie der nachlassenden Hilfe Teherans und der ägyptischen Moslembrüder für die radikale Hamas. Jetzt gilt es rasch den permanenten Kriegszustand zu beenden und eine Einigung zu erzielen. Dieser Friede wird nicht warm sein, es dauert, bis die Wunden vernarbt sind. Doch selbst ein kalter Friede entfaltet mit der Zeit eine Eigendynamik. Das Töten wird aufhören, Normalität und Wohlstand werden in Palästina einkehren und in Israel zunehmen. Für diese Friedensdividende muss jetzt politisches Risikokapital investiert werden.

Menachem Begin ist ein politisches Vorbild Benjamin Netanjahus. Der Premier sollte den Mut haben, dessen Beispiel zu folgen und Risiken für den Frieden eingehen.

 24JEWISH ALERTS videos and feeds Jewish News חדשות יהודיות

TJC’s Jewish News Week in Review: November 8, 2013

http://newsdesk.tjctv.com The U.S. agenda for Israeli-Palestinian peace; Comic artist Art Spiegelman (“Maus”) gets a retrospective at The Jewish Museum; Dr. Ruth Westheimer vistis TJC’s “The Salon”; the editors of “Kaddish: Women’s Voices” share their experiences; and more.

Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ say Europe’s Jews

 By Bethany BellBBC News

Many Jews in Europe say anti-Semitism is increasing, particularly on the internet, according to a survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). read more…

Kristallnacht 75 years on: How strong is anti-Semitism in Germany?

By Stephen EvansBBC News, Berlin

It’s 75 years since the pogroms that became known as Kristallnacht – the night of broken glass. It was the outbreak of mass violence against Jews which was to end in their mass murder. As the anniversary is marked, how strong – or weak – is anti-Semitism in Germany today? read more…

Israel: Jewish and Democratic | Jewish NewsJewishNews

Long confined to the extreme margins, but, in recent times, beginning to seep into mainstream discourse, is the odious position that challenges Israel’s 
Jewish News

Talk of closing Israeli consulate mere ‘speculation’thejewishchronicle.net

 a news report that Israel is considering closing one of its diplomatic missions  Many PittsburghJewish leaders reached by the Chronicle were reluctant to 
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Stop playing ends against middleCleveland Jewish News

They must show their unequivocal commitment to living in peace with the Jewish state of Israel, and we in turn must show our commitment to creation of a 
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Israel BondsCleveland Jewish News

Adrienne and Harvey Siegel were honored by Israel Bonds at a dessert reception held at Park Synagogue East and chaired by Linda and Clifford Wolf.
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GW Bush Fundraising for Proselytizers of Jews in America and IsraelThe Jewish Press

At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Glenn Beck received a “Defender of Israel” award. On his now defunct FOX News show, Beck once said: “One of the reasons why I 
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Fears raise over Israel possibly closing its Phila. consulatePhilly.com

That suggestion was reportedly made last month by an Israeli deputy foreign minister, and the news has local politicians and Jewish leaders around 
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Yad L’Achim Helps Woman Nab Phony Arab BoyfriendArutz Sheva

Yad L’achim recently helped a Jewish woman identify an Arab who tried to  by the leftist Meretz party that all students in Israeli schools would be required to 
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Hungary Jews struggle with rising anti-SemitismGlobalPost

Older people really don’t feel at ease,” Janos Gado, an editor with Hungarian Jewish newspaper Szombat, told AFP. Applications at the local branch of Israel’s 
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Hall of Famer Spevack no longer needs to Vi for attention
Violet Spevack thinks she’s been honored enough. Not that she won’t attend The Press Club of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Thursday, Nov. 14, but she’s already been celebrated quite a bit. (full story)Federation: Hard to compare Jewish studies
The Pew Research Center’s “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” survey has stirred much debate within the U.S. Jewish community since its Oct. 1 release. (full story)Lecture revisits Cleveland’s garment industry
While few vestiges of the once-giant industry remain today, Cleveland’s garment production was booming a century ago. (full story)Player of the Week: Evan Jaffe
Senior Evan Jaffe was a four-year starter on the boy’s soccer team at Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood, but this season was his best by far. (full story)

To be considered for the High School Player of the Week, coaches and parents should email Ed Wittenberg at ewittenberg@cjn.org by noon on Sunday. Provide the player’s name and statistics for the week and a contact telephone number and email.


Weekend’s Best Bet
The Fabulous Food Show, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., I-X Center, 1 I-X Center Drive, Cleve. Tickets: $15-$250. Thru Nov. 10. www.fabulousfoodshow.com
This Day in History
2012: A well dating from 8,500 years ago, with the bones of two prehistoric people inside, was uncovered during recent excavations in the Jezreel Valley, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported today.

Section WHY ? Q & A 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Jewish Burial – Why Don’t Jews Get Buried in Caskets? – Ask the Rabbi Live with Rabbi Mintz

Oorah’s founder, Rabbi Chaim Mintz, giving his weekly Tuesday night class at Oorah’s Torah Spot in Staten Island. The class is streamed live at http://www.oorah.org/rabbimintzlive each Tuesday night at 8:30.
“Ask the Rabbi” session begins at 9:00. Send your question to be answered by Rabbi Mintz to asktherabbi@oorah.org
ALL QUESTIONS ARE WELCOME!

Section Shiurim Daf Yomi tractate Shekalim: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Talmud Daf Yomi tractate Shekalim page Gemarrah Rabbi Weisblum ף יומי תלמוד גמרא שקלים תרומדה כ”א

Tractate Shekalim is the fourth Tractate in Seder Moed, which is the name given to the second ‘Order’ of the Babylonian Talmud. It deals with the ‘appointed seasons’, the feasts and fasts and holy days of the calendar, which have always constituted a highly distinctive feature of Jewish life. It has 8 chapters which deal with the laws of Shekalim, (The mitzvah of Machatzit Hashekel meaning a half of a shekel i.e.when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, every Jewish man over the age of twenty (according to other Halachic authorities, from the age of thirteen) was annually required to donate half a silver Shekel to the Temple coffers. “Shekel” is the name of the currency which circulated in Israel during Biblical times.) as well as the laws regarding the treasurers of the holy Temple. Shekalim is the only tractate which is included in the Jerusalem Talmud, though it is not in the Babylonian Talmud, it is still studied in the daf Yomi since it was printed in the Vilna printing.

Please join and subscribe to our daily Talmud page (Daf Yomi) online with Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum, PhD. We hope you enjoy it:)

מסכת שקלים היא המסכת הרביעית בסדר מועד, במסכת זו שמונה פרקים, אשר עוסקים בפרטי ההלכות של השקלים (במצוות מחצית השקל) ובדינים הקשורים לגזברי בית המקדש.
מסכת זו היא היחידה בסדר מועד שיש עליה תלמוד ירושלמי ואין עליה תלמוד בבלי. אף-על-פי כן, בדפוס וילנה של התלמוד הבבלי, היא נדפסת אחרי מסכת פסחים. כמו כן (ואולי בשל כך), המסכת נלמדת במסגרת הדף היומי. בדפוס וילנה המסכת מונה 22 דפים.
!הצטרפו לחוג מנויי הדף היומי באינטרנט של הרב ד”ר משה פינחס ויסבלום. מקווים שתהנו

Section This Day, In Jewish History : 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection in each section

A History of the Williams Jewish Experience

On Oct. 5, 2013, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft, author of “Jews at Williams: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Class at a New England Liberal Arts College,” joined a panel discussion with Jewish chaplain Robert Scherr and Francis Oakley, Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus; President, Emeritus; and Senior Oakley Fellow. Learn more http://bit.ly/1enZSkb

This day in Jewish history / Father of Russian bomb diesHaaretz

This day in Jewish history / Father of Russian bomb dies. Ironically, the hydrogen bomb that could potentially kill millions saved Vitaly Ginzburg, whom had 
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This Day, November 8, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. LevinCleveland Jewish News (blog)

30: Birthdate of Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the Roman Emperor who changed the way in which the special tax on Jews was collected so that would not be the 

 

 

Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Chabad.org
Kislev 4, 5774 · November 7, 2013
General Overview:
In this week’s reading, Vayeitzei, Jacob travels to his uncle Laban. En route he stops at the Temple Mount where G‑d appears and assures him that he will return safely to the Land of Canaan. Jacob stays for twenty years in Charan before returning to Canaan. During his stay he shepherds Laban’s sheep, and survives and prospers despite all his uncle’s attempted deceptions. He marries Leah and Rachel, and the first eleven tribes are born.
This Week’s Features Printable Parshah Magazine

By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
PARSHAH

Genesis 28:10–32:3

Jacob rests on his way to Charan and dreams of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying his daughter Leah. A week later, Jacob also marries Rachel. He works for Laban for 14 years, then escapes with his wives and children.

COLUMNISTS
Laban begins by seeming like a friend. He offers Jacob refuge when he is in flight from Esau who has vowed to kill him. Yet it turns out that his behaviour is less generous than self-interested and calculating.

By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Parshat Vayeitzei

What is the mystery of the spiritual qualities represented by these two sisters? What was the secret cosmic schism that would span centuries of history?

By Chana Weisberg
The dream of the ladder in our Parshah is something that has captivated people’s imaginations for thousands of years . . .

By Tali Loewenthal
VIDEO

Letters and Numbers of Torah—Vayeitzei

Jacob’s seventh son is Gad, a name that means “good luck” (Genesis 30:11). But do Jews really believe in luck?

Aaron L. Raskin
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A Taste of Text—Vayeitzei

There are some moments in our lives when we are at peace with our inner, spiritual selves. The majority of our experiences are strenuous, often painful, and challenge us to overcome the negative urges of our psyche.

By Chana Weisberg
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How to Study Torah – Vayeitzei

Jacob has a vision which encapsulates the future of the Jewish people and climaxes with the promise of “Ufarazta” — the power to spread forth, transcending all limitations.

By Mendel Kaplan
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AUDIO
The roots of Jewish anxiety. Look into your life and find the parsha therein.

By Shimon Posner
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A five minute weekly Torah insight based on the wellsprings of Torah and Chassidut

By J. Immanuel Schochet
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Chabad.org
Kislev 4, 5774 · November 7, 2013
This Week’s Features

By Joseph Lieberman

Parsha Vayeitzei

Aaron L. Raskin
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The Jews in Exile

By Mendel Dubov
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The simplest explanation is most likely to be correct

By Richard Swinburne
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How to Study Torah – Vayeitzei

By Mendel Kaplan
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Concealment and Revelation

By Shimona Tzukernik
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By Elimelech Silberberg
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Chabad.org
Kislev 5, 5774 · 11/08/2013
“Today’s Day”
Thursday Kislev 5 5704
Torah lessons: Chumash: Vayeitsei, Chamishi with Rashi.
Tehillim: 29-34.
Tanya: Here we speak (p. 607)…within those worlds. (p. 607).

“A ladder was standing on the ground.1 Prayer is the ladder that connects souls and G-dhood. And although it stands “…on the ground,” the start of davening being no more than acknowledgement, yet “its top2 reaches the Heavens”3 – a state of totalbitul, self-nullification. But one reaches this level through the prior attainment of comprehension and understanding4 inherent in p’sukei d’zimra,5 in the b’rachot ofsh’ma and in sh’ma proper.

FOOTNOTES
1. Bereishit 28:12, Yaakov’s dream.
2. I.e. the “peak” of davening, which is the silent devotional amida (or shemona essrei).
3. This is the concluding phrase of the verse “A ladder etc…”.
4. Of G-dliness.
5. “Verses of praise,” second section of Shacharit. Siddur pp. 30-42.
Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan   More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Compiled and arranged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 5703 (1943) from the talks and letters of the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory.
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3 Kislev 5774

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The prophet bemoans that Jerusalem lacks people who are interested and inquire after her welfare. In a general sense that is the case regarding the State of Israel and Jerusalem today. There is a lot of interest in the world today regarding the Palestinians and their cause, of ending the existence of the Jewish state, one way or another. The presentation of the historic and justified counter-claim of the over six million Jews who live in their homeland and to Israel’s right to exist is given short-shrift in the world, if not even ignored completely. The bias against Israel and the Jewish people in the media such as CNN, BBC, the New York Times and the other major media outlets is…

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Our father Yaakov leaves his home, he who is accustomed to study, tranquility, and to “dwelling in tents,” and immediately finds himself alone and endangered in a hostile world. A rock is his pillow and he must erect barriers at night to protect himself from wild animals (both four and two footed) as he sleeps on the ground. Though he is reassured by Heaven and by his grand dream and vision it is clear to him that his future is still uncertain and fraught with dangers, peril and challenges. When he finally arrives close to his destination he encounters the neighbors and daughters of Lavan who are unable to water their flocks because of the great rock that seals the opening to the…

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Lessons in Tanya -02-05-2011 – Part 1- Rabbi Aron Wolf

Breslov – Rabbi Maimon

Unbelievable insights, explanations and advice, through the wonderful Torah teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. On this night many of our questions were answered. Rabbi Maimon is a key mentor and teacher in the Jewish world. We were blessed to have him give a class in Great Neck, NY. March 2011. Ashreinu!

Rambam’s Ruling’s on Moshiach

 

Chabad.org
Kislev 5, 5774 · November 8, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4

מה שאין כן בסדר ההשתלשלות

It does not apply to [the study of] the order of Hishtalshelut, the chainlike stages of progressive self-screening whereby the Divine light descends from level to level until ultimately this corporeal world is created:

אף אם משיג המציאות

Even if one does comprehend the external aspect of the existence of theSefirot and spiritual levels involved,

לא עדיף מצד עצמו כלימוד המצות, שמשיג ותופס המהות

this is not intrinsically as worthy as the study of the laws of the mitzvot, where one comprehends and grasps their essence.

Knowledge of the various spiritual levels may indeed be superior for an unrelated reason, namely, that it leads to a “complete heart” (lev shalem), a wholehearted awe of G‑d — and this, as the Alter Rebbe will later say, is the purpose of all the mitzvot. Intrinsically, however, gaining this knowledge is not superior to studying the laws governing the performance of the mitzvot, whose essence he can understand.

ומעלה עליו כאילו קיים בפועל ממש

Moreover, this [study] is considered [in certain cases] the equivalent of actual performance,

כמו שכתוב: זאת התורה כו׳

as it is written,1 “This is the law [of the burnt offering and the meal offering…].”

The Gemara comments on this,2 “He who occupies himself with these laws is considered as if he had actually offered a burnt offering and a meal offering.”

Mastering the revealed laws of the commandments is thus in one sense superior to delving into the innermost dimension (the pnimiyut) of the Torah, on esoteric subjects such as the order of Hishtalshelut. For the study of the laws relates to the essence of the subject at hand, such as the physical objects with which the commandments are performed.

G‑d’s wisdom, moreover, which is inherent in these laws, descends and permeates the physical objects around which the laws revolve. It is thus the essence of G‑d’s wisdom that the student comprehends, and thereby he becomes involved in the “wondrous union” described in ch. 5 of Tanya, whereby his mortal intellect simultaneously “encompasses and is encompassed by” the Divine wisdom embodied in the Torah which he is studying. This intellectual union in turn unites his soul (which transcends his intellect) with the infinite light that is vested in the wisdom of the Torah.

The above is true only when he understands the essence of his subject. This is the case when he studies (for example) the laws regulating the observance of the commandments. If, by contrast, his subject is the hierarchies of angels in the Worlds ofBeriahYetzirah and Asiyah, or, yet higher, the configurations of Sefirot within the World of Atzilut, then his grasp is no more than external: he may indeed be aware of his subject’s existence, but he will be unable to know its essence.

* * *

And now, all the above notwithstanding, the Alter Rebbe is about to point out the superior aspect of the study of Hishtalshelut.

אלא שידיעת המציאות מההשתלשלות היא גם כן מצוה רמה ונשאה, ואדרבה, עולה על כולנה

However, the knowledge of the existence of the Hishtalshelut is also a lofty and exalted mitzvah.3 Indeed, it outweighs them all, all of the mitzvot and the study of the laws of the Torah.

כמו שכתוב: וידעת היום כו׳

Thus it is written,4 “Know this day […that the L‑rd is G‑d],”

דע את אלקי אביך כו׳

and5 “Know the G‑d of your father…”; i.e., there is an obligation to attain a knowledge or apprehension of Divinity.

ומביאה ללב שלם כו׳

Moreover, this leads to a “whole heart,” for the latter verse concludes, “and serve Him with a whole heart”; i.e., a knowledge of G‑d leads one to serve Him with one’s entire being.

As explained in Likkutei Torah, in the discourse beginning VeLo Tashbit, this refers to serving G‑d with awe — and this is the ultimate intent of all the mitzvot, as the Torah states,6 “G‑d has commanded us to perform all these statutes so that we may fear the L‑rd our G‑d.” And it is the study of the innermost dimensions of the Torah and a knowledge of the various spiritual levels which comprise the order of Hishtalshelut that enable one to fulfill the mitzvah of “knowing G‑d,” which leads in turn to the “whole heart” of “fearing Him.” Thus the Alter Rebbe concludes:

שהוא העיקר

And this is the essential thing: the wholehearted awe of G‑d is the ultimate purpose of all the commandments.

As mentioned above, one can attain this state only through a knowledge of the order of Hishtalshelut, even though this knowledge is merely an awareness of its existence and not a grasp of its essence.

והשגת המציאות הוא להפשיט מגשמיות כו׳

The comprehension of existence entails divesting [this subject] of any physicality….

In other words, one should endeavor to picture its spirituality. Hence, as the Rebbe has often stressed, one should study the innermost and mystical dimension of the Torah in such a way that one7 “derives sustenance from it” (יתפרנסון מיניה) — viz., the “sustenance” derived from comprehension. And soundly-based comprehension can be secured only when this dimension of the Torah is studied with the intellectual elucidation afforded by the teachings of Chabad.

רק שזו היא מצוה אחת מתרי״ג

However, this mitzvah (of knowing G‑d and apprehending Divinity) is but onemitzvah of the 613,

והאדם צריך לקיים כל תרי״ג

and a man must fulfill all 613,

לפי שהן השתלשלות המהות דחיצוניות דכלים דאצילות

for they descend from the essence of the external aspect of the vessels ofAtzilut, a source whose standing was explained above.

לכך צריך להרבות בלימוד כל התרי״ג, וקיומן בפועל ממש, במחשבה דבור ומעשה, שהן בריאה, יצירה, עשיה

Hence, one must extensively study all 613 mitzvot, and [hence] fulfill them in actual practice in thought, speech and deed — which parallelBeriahYetzirah and Asiyah respectively —

לברר בירורין אשר שם

in order to purify whatever needs purification (beirur) there.

As previously explained, the extraction and elevation of the sparks exiled in the various worlds is the ultimate purpose of creation.

FOOTNOTES
1. Vayikra 7:37.
2. Menachot 110a.
3. Current Hebrew editions of Tanya read, “a great (רבה) and exalted mitzvah,” which the Rebbe amends to read (as above) “a lofty (רמה) and exalted mitzvah.” This is how the phrase is quoted (and explained) in Likkutei Torah on Vayikra, in the discourse entitled VeLo Tashbit.
4. Devarim 4:39.
5. I Divrei HaYamim 28:9.
6. Devarim 6:24.
7. Tikkunei Zohar, end of Tikkun 6; discussed in Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XV, p. 42ff. et al.
By Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of Chabad Chassidism (Free Translation)    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg. Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.
Chabad.org
Kislev 5, 5774 · November 8, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4

The performance of mitzvot, however, as the Alter Rebbe will now explain, connects a Jew with the essence of Divinity. When he holds an etrog together with the other three kinds of vegetation and fulfills the mitzvah of the “Four Species” on Sukkot, he is holding on to the essence of Divinity. And so too with regard to all the practical mitzvot.

מה שאין כן מעשה המצות, מעשה אלקים המה הנה

But as to the performance of mitzvot, these are the works of G‑d, unlike other worldly actions, from which Divinity is utterly concealed. The Alter Rebbe now explains how this comes about:

בדרך השתלשלות מכלים דאצילות לבריאה יצירה עשיה, ממהותן ועצמותן דחיצוניותן

In the process of the chain of descent from the vessels of Atzilut toBeriahYetzirah and Asiyah, for the vessels of Atzilut that descend into these worlds are the Divinity of these worlds, from the very nature and essence of their external aspect —

כמו, על דרך משל, אתרוג ומיניו

as, for example, within the etrog and its “kinds” —

הלביש בהן הקב״ה ממהותן ועצמותן דחסדים [פנימית] [פנימים] דז״א

the Holy One, blessed be He, clothed something of the very nature and essence of the [1internal] attributes of Kindness of Za,

והיינו מבחינת חיצוניותן

meaning from their outward state, from the external aspect of these internal attributes,

כנודע בכל מצות מעשיות

as is known in the case of all mitzvot requiring action.

מה שאין כן האדם

Man, by contrast, who by means of his intellect or spiritual emotions can attain intellectually-generated love and fear,

אפילו יש לו נשמה דאצילות

even if he possesses a soul of Atzilut,

מאחר שמלובשת בגוף

yet since it is clothed in a body,

לא יוכל למצוא בנפשו ולהשיג מהותן ועצמותן של פנימית החסדים דז״א דאצילות

cannot detect and apprehend through2 his soul the nature and essence of the inward attributes of Kindness of Za of Atzilut.

(כי האצילות היא בחינת חיה בכללות העולמות, אצילות בריאה יצירה עשיה

(3For in general terms Atzilut represents the state of Chayah in the Four Worlds of AtzilutBeriahYetzirah and Asiyah,

Specifically, each of the Four Worlds possesses all four soullevels of NefeshRuach,Neshamah and Chayah. In a general sense, however, each of these Four Worlds corresponds to one of these levels. Asiyah corresponds to NefeshYetzirah — toRuachBeriah — to Neshamah; and Atzilut corresponds to Chayah.

שהיא בחינת מקיף מלמעלה, ואינה מתלבשת בכלי כלל)

and [Chayah] denotes encompassing transcendence, not being vested within any vessel whatever.)

Unlike the soul-level in man called Neshamah, which reflects his power of comprehension, or Ruach, which reflects his spiritual emotions, and so on, each of these soul-levels having their specific “location” within the body, Chayah is a transcendent soul-level that encompasses the individual from above.

So, too, with regard to the worlds, Chayah (paralleled by the World of Atzilut) is the spiritual level that encompasses from above and does not vest itself at all within a vessel. Thus, a person living within a body cannot possibly apprehend the essence of an entity at the level of Atzilut.

כי אם מציאותן, על ידי דחילו ורחימו שכליים

[With regard to the internal attributes of Kindness of Za, man is able to apprehend] only their existence, through intellectually-generated awe and love.

ומה שכתוב: וראית את אחורי, הוא בדרך נבואה דוקא

As to the statement,4 “You shall see my hinderpart” — and seeing penetrates to the essence of a matter — this refers only to prophecy.

(שהוא התפשטות הגשמיות, כמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא, פרשת משפטים)

(5For prophecy entails divestment of the physical,6 as explained inRa’aya Mehemna, Parshat Mishpatim.7)

Thus, Moses’ apprehension of the essence of Divinity resulted from a state of prophecy that entails divestment from the physical. Through other, non-prophetic means, it is impossible for the soul to apprehend the essence of any of the levels ofAtzilut.

והטעם, היינו לפי שאי אפשר לנברא להשיג כלום במהות האלקות, שהוא הבורא

This, then, is the reason: No created being is capable of grasping anything whatsoever of the essence of Divinity, the Creator.

ובלי השגה, אין זו הלבשה ותפיסא ודביקות אמיתית

And without comprehension there is no real investiture, or grasping, or cleaving.

Man is thus incapable of truly cleaving to G‑d’s attributes, i.e., the attributes ofAtzilut.

In light of the above it is clear that the love and fear of G‑d that a Jew generates through meditation during prayer, grasps and cleaves to no more than the external aspect of the existence of Divinity, and not His essence.

מה שאין כן האתרוג, על דרך משל, חיותו נמשכה ונשתלשלה ממהות חיצוניות דכלים דנוקבא דז״א דאצילות

However, as to the etrog by way of example, its life is drawn and descends from the very essence of the outer aspect of the vessels of nukva of Za of Atzilut,

שהוא בחינת אלקות

which is truly a state of Divinity,

כמו שכתוב בעץ חיים, שכל הפירות הן באצילות

as stated in Etz Chayim,8 that all the fruits are [rooted] in Atzilut.

כי למ״ד כלים דאצילות ירדו לבריאה יצירה עשיה

For the thirty vessels of Atzilut descended into BeriahYetzirah andAsiyah in order to become the Divinity of those Worlds

(והן יו״ד מאמרות שבהן נברא העולם

(9and these are the Ten Utterances10 by which the world was created

על ידי התלבשות בנוקבא דעשיה, מהות במהות)

through enclothement in nukva of Asiyah, essence in essence).11

The essence of the vessels of Malchut of Atzilut vests itself in the essence ofMalchut of Asiyah, which is the source of all created beings of that world. Included among them are the fruits of that world, such as the etrog.

While the G‑dliness found in other physical matters is concealed, in an object used for a mitzvah it is manifest, as explained in Tanya, ch. 23.

כי הכלים דאצילות נעשו נשמה בעשיה, שהיא בחינת אלקות ממש

For the vessels of Atzilut became the soul of Asiyah, which is actually a state of Divinity.

לפי שבאצילות, איהו וגרמוהי חד, המאציל והנאצל

For in Atzilut12 “He and His vessels are one” — the Emanator (the infinite light) and the emanation (the vessels of Atzilut).

ועל ידי התלבשות מהות הנשמה במהות הכלים דנוקבא דעשיה, נתהוה האתרוג

And through the enclothement of the essence of the soul [of the vessels ofAtzilut] in the essence of the vessels of nukva (i.e., Malchut) of Asiyah, theetrog came into being.

נמצא כשתופס האתרוג ומנענעו כהלכתו

The result is that in holding the etrog and waving it as the law requires,

הרי זה תופס ממש חיותו המלובש בו מנוקבא דאצילות

one is actually holding the life-force which is clothed within it and which derives from the nukva (i.e., Malchut) of Atzilut,

המיוחדת באור אין סוף, המאציל ברוך הוא

and [Malchut] is united with the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, the Emanator ofAtzilut, blessed be He.

But is this not also the case when one holds any other fruit, where no mitzvah is involved?

The answer is, as previously explained, that in other physical objects the G‑dly life-force is concealed, whereas it is revealed in objects used for a mitzvah, for these are the “works of G‑d.”

מה שאין כן בכוונתו

This is not the case concerning one’s intention while performing the mitzvah of the etrog.

אינו משיג ותופס, אף היודע הסוד, אלא מציאותה ולא מהותה

Here, even if he is familiar with the mystical [Kabbalistic and chassidic] meanings involved, he does not grasp and hold on to the essence (ofMalchut of Atzilut, the source of the etrog), but only to the external fact of its mere existence.

This is entirely unlike holding a physical etrog and performing the mitzvah with it, at which time one grasps the essence of the physical etrog together with its source in Divinity.

אך בלימוד הלכות אתרוג, משיג ותופס האתרוג ממש ומצותו כהלכה, בבחינת דבור ומחשבה

However, by studying the laws of the etrog one does attain and grasp theetrog proper and its mitzvah appropriately, by speech and thought.

For here he is articulating or understanding or thinking about the laws of the physical etrog, whose essence he can grasp, and not its spiritual intent in the heavenly realms.

וכל שכן, הלומד הסוד

Even more so, he who studies the esoteric dimension of the mitzvah of theetrog according to the teachings of the Kabbalah and Chassidut.

For here, too, we are speaking of the esoteric dimension of the physical etrog, whose essence he can comprehend, and not of the spiritual intentions of the mitzvah or, yet higher, the relevant configurations of Sefirot in the World of Atzilut.

* * *

אבל דוקא סודות המצוה

This, however, refers only to [the study of] the Kabbalistic mysteries of the mitzvah itself,

דלא גרע מלימוד הלכותיה, ואדרבה כו׳

for this is not inferior to the study of its laws; indeed, quite the contrary…,

אף שאינו משיג המהות

even though he does not apprehend the essence of the spiritual intent of themitzvah as it applies to the visages of Atzilut.

Moreover, his understanding of the essence of the etrog, the object with which themitzvah is observed, grants him some comprehension of the essence of the mystical reaches of the subject at large.

FOOTNOTES
1. The brackets are in the original text.
2. The Rebbe explains that here the prefix ב in בנפשו does not mean “in his soul,” but “through his soul” (as in the verse, ויקח בידו — “He took by means of his hand”).
3. The parentheses are in the original text.
4. Shmot 33:22.
5. The parentheses are in the original text.
6. Note of the Rebbe: “Cf. the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, beginning of sec. 98; Hilchot Talmud Torah 4:9.”
7. Note of the Rebbe: “Possibly the intent is p. 116b ff.”
8. Note of the Rebbe: “At its conclusion. This requires some examination, for there the text makes a point of enumerating seven [species].”
9. The parentheses are in the original text.
10. Avot 5:1.
11. The closing parenthesis has been relocated according to the Table of Glosses and Emendations.
12. See Iggeret HaKodesh, beginning of Epistle 20 (above).
By Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of Chabad Chassidism (Free Translation)    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg. Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.