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The Talmud or Bible? Our Little Secret

The Talmud or Bible? Our Little Secret

A lesson from the Parsha

 
Every so often, we hear about someone who insulted Islam and a resulting uproar. Often, the issue revolves around the koran. There was once a Newsweek article about the US military interrogators throwing a copy of the Koran into the toilet to break the prisoners’ spirits. Do you remember what an uproar it caused in the Muslim world? The demonstrations and riots got so bad that the newspaper even tried retracting its statements. That didn’t help at all.
 
There was once an article in the USA Today by a religion expert who was trying to describe just how terrible defacing the Koran is to Muslims. He explained that the commonly used comparison of the Koran to the Bible is not correct. The Koran is much more revered by the Muslim than the Bible is to the Jew. A more appropriate comparison, he said, would be to the Talmud which the Jews revere even more than the Bible itself!
 
Initially, many people became indignant. How can he say that the Talmud is more important to us than the Bible? But soon after, they realized that sometimes we must learn from our enemies. Numerous times throughout our history the Christians publicly burned the Talmud, not the Bible, for they knew that this would hurt us worst of all.
People always asked why G-d didn’t command us to put the oral law into writing. This would have saved us from countless sorrows. The Sadducees believed only in the written Torah and rejected the Oral Law and later the Karaites behaved similarly.
 
Even today, whenever a fact from the Oral Torah is mentioned, someone will jump all over it, demanding to know where it is written in the real Torah!
 
Not only didn’t G-d command us to write the Oral Law down, G-d actually forbids us to do so! The sages upheld this rule, never publishing a written account of the Oral Law until the strains of exile weakened our minds threatening to cause the Jewish people to forget their learning. Only then, for the sake of preservation, were the Talmud and finally, all of the Oral Law put to print.
 
But why did G-d not want the Oral Law to be recorded in writing when it could have spared us so much grief?
The nature of people is not to share their personal feelings with others. When your buddy comes back from vacation he’ll tell you all about the wonderful time he had and that it was such a wonderful experience. But when he gets home to his wife, he will tell her a whole different story. She will get to hear how he really felt about everything that happened, the good as well as the bad.
He does this, not because he has anything to hide; rather, it is simply human nature to reveal your personal feelings only to the very closest people.
 
The same applies to our relationship with G-d. When we ‘married’ Him at Mt. Sinai on Shavuot, G-d made a public statement for all the nations to hear. This statement was printed and titled “the Bible.” It is now available for purchase at your local bookstore. The rights to this statement have even been claimed by many other peoples, the Christians, the Muslims, etc. The truth is that the message of the public statement was meant for them too. Even the laws of Shabbat, which non-Jews are forbidden to keep, help them remember the Creator of this world and His purpose for it.
But there is more to our relationship than that. There are intimate feelings between us, and this is not for everyone’s ears. It was therefore G-d’s wish that it not be made available to just anyone. It was to remain an Oral Tradition. No one else was supposed to know what we say to each other.
 
The Midrash asks, during the forty days that Moses was up on Mt. Sinai how did he know the difference between day and night? The answer is that during the day G-d would teach him the Written Torah, you know, the stuff that everyone could know about. But at night G-d would teach him the Oral Law, the intimate secrets that nobody else could hear.
 
Another Midrash relates that Moses actually wanted to print the Mishnah, but G-d did not allow it for He knew that pagans would have the Torah translated into Greek and claim to be G-d’s children too. But G-d would tell them, “My children are those who know my secrets,” and those secrets are in the Mishnah.
 
So you see the Talmud (Mishnah included) is a collection of the secrets G-d shares with us, his wife and children. It is the secrets in the Talmud that make our relationship with G-d more special than any other nation. 
 
I’ll take one example from this week’s Parsha. Our Parsha discusses the reward for keeping the mitzvot and the punishment for not following G-d’ will. However, there is no mention of Heaven, Gan Eden, or the resurrection in our Parsha. It is all about physical and monetary reward and punishment, but not a word about the real reward that awaits the truly righteous.
 
The answer is that spiritual reward and punishment are not something that everyone can understand. The spiritual reward is a personal thing between G-d and us. G-d, therefore, did not include it in His public statement. Instead, G-d secretly worked it into the words of the Torah. For example, “Honor your Father and Mother so that your days will be long and it will be good for you.” Our sages told us the secret. “Your days will be long” means you will come to the world where it is always day, where there is no night. “And it will be good for you” means you will come to a world that is entirely good.
 
To the world, it looks like G-d has promised us only physical reward, but the true reward for all of our tzaros will be in a world that is entirely good, where Tzaddikim sit and enjoy G-d’s presence. As King David said, “How great is the goodness that you have hidden for those who fear you.”
 
Now you know the rest of the story – but don’t tell anyone!
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Jewlarious Jokes 5/21/22

Jewlarious Jokes:

To begin Shabbat with a laugh
 
Jewlarious Jokes:
 
Irving, who is a very wealthy businessman, decides to buy an expensive gift for his mother who lives alone in Florida. So he spends $15,000 on a rare exotic parrot that speaks three languages and has it sent to her. A few days later he calls her and asks excitedly, “Mama, how did you like the bird I sent you?” and she gushes “Oy, thank you so much — it was delicious!”
He yells “YOU COOKED AND ATE THE BIRD?? Mama, how could you?!? It was a very rare bird, it cost $15,000, and it spoke three languages!”
“So, nu?” his mother replies… “Then why didn’t it say something?”
 
***
 
An elderly man in Miami calls his son in NY and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother & I are divorcing. 50 years of misery is enough.”
“Pop, what are you talking about?” the son screams. “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the old man says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago & tell her, “and he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who shouts. “I’ll take care of this.” She calls her father immediately & screams at him, “You’re NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling back my brother & we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone & turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says. “They’re coming for Shabbos and paying their own airfares!”
 
***
 
A psychiatrist opens up a practice in Manhattan.
In order to attract patients, he puts up ads all over and outside the building. The signs read: “Special Offer First Consultation: $1.000.00
Second Appointment: Free of Charge”
He opens for business at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning. At 9:01 a.m. a Jewish guy walks through the door and says: “Hello again!” 
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How Rabbis Emerge from their “Rabbi-Cave”

How Rabbis Emerge from their “Rabbi-Cave”

A lesson from the Parsha

 
With the holiday of Lag Ba’omer coming up, preparations across the world have already begun. On Lag Ba’omer it is an age-old custom to make large bonfires. What is the reason for this?
 
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was once having a discussion with fellow students of Rabbi Akiva when one of them commented how great the Romans were – exclaiming how they built bridges. Rabbi Shimon argued that the Roman Empire’s motive here was not “Tikun Olam,” improving the world and making life better for everyone. Instead, they merely cared just for themselves: The bridges were just to make money, like today’s toll roads, and the same thing with the bathhouses and so on. 
 
Word got back to the Romans and they were out to kill Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who went into hiding with his son – first to a house of learning and soon after a cave. 
 
In the cave, a miracle happened and an entire carob tree sprouted up to give them fruit to eat, and a freshwater wall sprung up so they would have water to drink. 
 
And so they lived in the cave, studying Torah and praying every day—for 12 straight years. 
(There is a legend that they kept small fires burning in the cave to keep themselves warm, which is one reason why we have the custom of lighting bonfires on Lag B’Omer.) 
But hiding in a cave for well over an entire decade, in complete isolation and suffering, left them very far from material matters and worldly concerns. They became extremely spiritual human beings—to them, it no longer mattered what kind of car you drove or how your house or clothes looked. The entire physical plane was of no concern to them. 
 
Their spiritual state was so high when they left the cave after the Roman Caesar died, that the Talmud tells us that when they saw people plowing and sowing their fields, they said, “These people are putting aside eternal life and busying themselves with temporary life!” 
 
They simply could not understand how people could waste their time on small and unimportant things instead of studying Torah, which is true eternal life. 
 
Not only that, but the Talmud tells us that “every place upon which they set their eyes was immediately incinerated; a Heavenly Voice came forth and said, ‘To destroy My world you came out?! Go back to your cave!’ And so they went back to the cave for another year.” 
 
When they emerged once again, Rabbi Shimon said to his son, “For the world, you and I are enough”—meaning, there is enough spiritual power between the two of us to really change things. And so, instead of overpowering the world with their awesome spiritual powers, they worked to improve the world, helping people live normal and down-to-earth lives. 
 
So we have something interesting happening here. 
The first time Rabbi Shimon and son left the cave after 12 years, they failed to understand how no one was like them—kind of like a person starting the latest fad diet and not understanding how other people can actually not get that this is the greatest diet in the world. 
 
And so, they were not ready to allow for the existence of people who did things differently—they “incinerated” them. No one could meet their criteria. 
 
And so, they went back to the cave for another year—and this time, they internalized that not everyone could live the way they lived, and that this way of life was only for them. Regular people, for their part, would need to continue living normal lives—and that’s what G-d expected of them. 
What essentially happened that in the course of that last year, they became Chasidim. 
My friends, we see this phenomenon today when it comes to religion. It often happens that a religious person cannot understand how the other is not religious like him, especially if the religious person only recently discovered Judaism himself. 
 
The newly religious person may think, “This is the best way of life there is, and if so, how can it be that someone doesn’t live this way?” And so he tries to “convince” everyone of the truth of his new way of life. He debates, brings proofs, and tries to cram it down everyone’s throat. 
Such a person may need to go “live in a cave.”  
 
The lesson here, my friends, is that we need to act like Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai after he left his cave for the second time. For yourself, you may be as religious and strict as you like—but don’t force other people to behave like you! 
 
A Chasid is someone who is rigid with himself—but flexible with others.  
Let us remember that the purpose of the ultimate fad, our own religion, is not to overpower the world or run away from it, but to grapple and interact and improve it—to work with it from inside it, and to make it the home that G-d wants it to be.
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Jewlarious Jokes 5/12/22

Jewlarious Jokes:

To begin Shabbat with a laugh
 
Jewlarious Jokes:
 
Three Jewish Mothers were sitting around comparing notes on their exemplary offsprings. “There never was a daughter more devoted than my Judy,” said Mrs. Levine with a sniff. “Every summer she takes me to the Catskills for a week, and every winter we spend a week at Delray Beach.”
“That’s nothing compared to what my Lois does for me,” declared Mrs. Stein proudly. “Every winter she treats me to two weeks in Miami, and in the summer two weeks in the Hamptons, in my own private guest house.” Mrs. Lipkin sat back with a proud smile. “Nobody loves her mother like my Patty does, nobody.” So what does she do?” asked the two women, turning to her.
“Three times a week she gets into a cab, goes to the best psychiatrist in the city, and pays him a hundred and fifty dollars an hour—just to talk about me.”
 
***
 
Mrs. Goldberg went to the emergency room, where she was seen by a young new doctor. After about 3 minutes in the examination room, the doctor told her she was pregnant.
She burst out of the room and ran down the corridor screaming.
An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was; after listening to her story, he calmed her down and sat her in another room.
Then the doctor marched down the hallway to the first doctor’s room.
“What’s wrong with you?” he demanded. This woman is 63 years old, she has two grown children and several grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?!!”
The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said:
“Does she still have the hiccups?”
 
***
 
A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for a dollar each. Every day a young man would leave his office building at lunchtime and as he passed the pretzel stand he would leave her a dollar, but never take a pretzel.
This offering went on for more than 3 years. The two of them never spoke. One day as the young man passed the old lady’s stand and left his dollar as usual, the pretzel lady spoke to him for the first time in over 3 years. Without blinking an eye she said: “They’re a dollar and a quarter now”
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Upping Israel’s Birthrate

Upping Israel’s Birthrate

A lesson from the Parsha

 
This week, statistics were published about the citizens of the state of Israel. To date, 9.5 million people live in Israel, of whom about 7 million are Jews. More than twenty percent of the population is under the age of twenty. 
 
Israel has the highest birth rate among developed nations.
But this was not always the case. In 1948, some 600,000 Jews lived in Israel, and the birth rate was lower than it is today. To rectify the issue, then Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, launched a special campaign in which every mother who gave birth to ten children received a one-time grant of 100 Israeli lirot. To put into perspective, a piece of land in Ramat Gan at the time cost 250 Lirot.
 
Along with the money, the couple would receive a letter signed by the Prime Minister, which stated: “The Government of Israel hereby sends you a check for a sum of one hundred lirot, as a sign of appreciation and encouragement to a mother in Israel who gave birth to and raised ten children. May you raise them to Torah, service, and good deeds for the sake of our homeland and our nation. May your hands be strengthened.”
 
A few weeks after the dramatic announcement, the newspaper reported that the award had been ceremoniously given to nine Jerusalem women: five of them were mothers of ten children, three were mothers to eleven, and the last gave birth to no less than thirteen descendants. The winners’ photos did not appear in the report, nor were any personal details published. “The women asked not to publish their names in the press, for fear of an evil eye,” the newspaper reported, adding that another 190 applications had been submitted for the prize.
 
A similar ceremony was held in Haifa.
The prizes were distributed en masse. Some were handed out by Ben-Gurion himself, who began spending more time at brisses and baby namings than at the Knesset. It seemed as if there was a new level of awareness about the importance of having children.
 
Still, the “Birth Award Law” gave rise to problems and complaints. One Bedouin, a father of seven, asked to receive the prize “on credit,” promising to bring a tenth child in due time. Another father, this one of ten, waited a full year and four months for his award to process through the Israeli bureaucracy.
 
One enterprising fellow, a new immigrant from Yemen who resided in Rosh HaAyin, heard a rumor that in Eilat, the prize was 1,000 lirot, and he decided to immediately move his family’s residence to the small southern settlement. He contacted the Jewish agency officials, updated them regarding the planned move, and was sent home to await a reply.
As time passed, he began to worry that his wife would decide to give birth before the transfer, and then his tenth son would cause him a very significant loss of 900 pounds. Worried, he turned to the local police and asked them to intervene on his behalf, but he was informed that they were not responsible for the matter. He looked up at the heavens and said, “Well, we will pray for G-d’s mercy that we receive the answer in time.”
 
In another instance, shortly before Passover in 1955, a baby boy was born to one of the residents of the Herzliya transit camp. The father’s joy knew no bounds — and not only thanks to the new baby joining the family. It was the tenth child in the family, and the excited father expected to receive 100 Israeli lirot for the occasion, a handsome sum by all accounts. Indeed, every day, smiling families were seen on the pages of the newspapers, photographed next to the check known as the “Birth Award.” This Herzliya fellow, in light of his “windfall,” decided to invite all the local dignitaries to the bris. 
 
The big day arrived, and the head of the council and the local rabbi arrived along with a photographer hired to commemorate the event. The crowd gathered, the bris was carried out, the name was given, a sumptuous meal was served, and the ceremony was over. But a week passed, and another week passed, and the long-awaited gift didn’t arrive. 
 
One day, a registered envelope addressed to the father arrived at the transit camp. The father let out a sigh of relief and opened the envelope in anticipation, but instead of the coveted check, he found a detailed letter explaining why he was not eligible for the award: his ten children were not from the same mother: some were born to him in a previous marriage — so he did not meet the criteria.
 
At first, the grant was only given to Jews, but that created a controversy and the government decided to give it to all parents, regardless of religion or origin. Also, experts claimed that all families should be encouraged to give birth to several children, instead of encouraging a small number of women to give birth to ten, because that creates an economic crisis for the families who lose the ability to raise healthy children. Therefore, it was better to create a small grant for every child born, especially from the fourth child onwards.
In the end, in 1960, the “Birth Award” was abolished.
 
Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the United States. You might say it has become the most sacred day on the calendar, when everyone, without fail, pays homage to their mother, the mother of their children, future mothers of children, and so on and on.
 
It just so happened that in this week’s parsha, right at the beginning, in the second verse, it states, “A man should fear his mother and his father, and observe my Sabbaths, I am the L-rd your G-d.” 
 
But why is this commandment necessary? Weren’t we already told in the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother”? What does the Torah add here? Rashi answers, “There is a difference between honor and fear.” 
 
“What is honor? Feeding them and dressing them, bringing them in and taking them out.” We all know that caring for older parents can be a challenge so the Torah commands us to “honor” our parents — meaning, to care for them, day in and day out.
“And what is fear? Don’t sit in his place, don’t speak in his turn, and don’t contradict his words.” You can’t tell your parent, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” even if that’s actually the case.
 
This brings us to the next question: Why, in the Ten Commandments, did a father precede a mother, “honor your father” and only then, “and your mother,” while here, it mentions the mother before the father? Rashi says: “Because it is clear that a son fears his father more than his mother,” and might not treat his mother with the proper “fear,” so the Torah preceded the mother to emphasize that she is no less important than the father in this regard.
 
And why in the Ten Commandments, when it comes to honoring parents, does the father precede the mother? Rashi says: “Because it is clear that the son honors his mother more than his father, because she coaxes him”
 
The Midrash gives a different answer to the same question: 
The Midrash asks, “Why, at Sinai, did a father precede a mother, and in the Tabernacle, a mother was mentioned first?” Why the differences between the two gatherings?
 
At Sinai, because the nations of the world heard the words, a father preceded the mother, and in the Tabernacle, where only Israel heard, the mother came first.
 
The Ten Commandments were heard by all the people of the world. It was meant for them as well. As we see today, almost all the inhabitants of the world accept the Ten Commandments
 
That is why the father preceded the mother — because for gentiles, nationhood is determined by the father. As the Talmud says, “For nations of the world, follow the male”
 
But Parshas Kedoshim was said only to the people of Israel, and for us, nationhood is determined by the mother. Therefore, the Torah precedes the mother to the father. 
 
My friends, in the world, Mother’s Day is once a year, but for Jews, Mother’s Day is every day. Let me give you an idea of how we should treat our mothers: 
 
A few years after the Rebbe emigrated to the United States from Europe, his mother left Russia and came to France. The Rebbe traveled to France and stayed there until he managed to arrange all the paperwork for an entry visa to the United States, and then accompanied her here.
 
From then on, from 1947 to 1964, the Rebbe would visit his mother every single day! No matter how busy he was, he would drop everything and walk to his mother’s house. He kept a key in his pocket so she would not have to get up and open the door for him. He would pour her a cup of tea, and sit with her for fifteen minutes. And he didn’t do this once a year. He did it every day!
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Jewlarious Jokes 5/6/22

Jewlarious Jokes:

To begin Shabbat with a laugh
 
Jewlarious Jokes:
 
One day, Joshua the scientist announces to his colleagues, “I don’t think we need God anymore. Science has finally discovered how to create life out of nothing. We can now do what God did ‘in the beginning’.”
As everyone starts to shake Joshua’s hand, the voice of God is clearly heard.
“Oh, is that so, Joshua?” says God. “Please do tell me all about creating life.”
“Blessed art thou O Lord,” says Joshua. “I can take soil and form it into the likeness of You, and then breathe life into it creating man.”
“Well Joshua, that’s very interesting,” says God. “Show me how it’s done.”
So Joshua and his colleagues go outside. Joshua then bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil.
“Oh no, Joshua,” interrupts God, “please use your own soil.” 
 
***
 
A nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn wants to be an actor, much to his Mother’s chagrin. He heads out to LA and after years of auditions and waiting tables, he lands an acting gig.
He calls up his mother and tells her he’s gotten a great part in a movie. She asks him what the part is and he tells her he’s going to play the role of a Jewish husband.
Her response:
“Oy vei, you couldn’t get a speaking part?”
 
***
 
A young Jewish Frenchman brought his trousers to a tailor to have them altered. But by the next day, France was occupied and it was too dangerous for Jews to appear in public. He hid underground. Soon enough he got involved in the Resistance.
He eventually found his way to a boat and managed to escape the death camps of Europe. He settled in Israel. Ten years later he returned to France. While dressing, he reached into his jacket pocket and found the tailor’s receipt for his trousers. He went to look for the tailor’s shop and, amazingly, it was still there. He handed the tailor the receipt and asked, ‘Are my trousers here?’ ‘Yes, of course,’ said the tailor. ‘Be ready next Tuesday.’
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Why such a big deal about Rabbi Akiva’s students?

Why such a big deal about Rabbi Akiva’s students?

A lesson from the Parsha

 
We are now at the beginning of the days of the Omer. According to Jewish law, one needs to count every night, and if one forgot, he can count during the following day without a blessing and then continue that night with a blessing. However, if one completely forgot to count one day, he still needs to continue counting but without a blessing, because he is lacking the required 50 complete days. 
 
The days of the Omer are also thought of amongst the Jewish nation as days of mourning; we don’t celebrate weddings, cut our hair or play musical instruments during these days. The reason for the mourning? The Talmud relates that Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students and all of them died between Pesach and Shavuot because they didn’t treat each other with proper respect. 
 
What did Rabbi Akiva’s students do to merit having the whole Jewish nation mourn for them for seven weeks, every year, in every generation? There have been many Jews killed throughout the generations and not even a single day is set aside to mourn for them! In addition to this, even for the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, which was a tragedy for the whole nation, we mourn only three weeks, so what is it about Rabbi Akiva’s students that all Jews throughout all generations mourn for seven weeks? Also, what was so terrible about the behavior of Rabbi Akiva’s students that they deserved such a harsh punishment? 
 
Perhaps it’s possible to solve this mystery through a story that is told in the Talmud: It happened once that one of Rabbi Akiva’s students was ill and none of his colleagues came to visit him. However, Rabbi Akiva himself came to visit, and the student felt that he had been given new life. He said to Rabbi Akiva, “Teacher, you have revived me!” Rabbi Akiva left this visit and taught that one who does not fulfill the mitzvah of visiting a sick person is considered to have spilled his blood. 
 
From this story it would seem that the attitude between Rabbi Akiva’s students was a little more severe than just not respecting one another. They didn’t care for each other, to the point that when one was lying sick, no one went to visit and tend to him. They felt it was beneath their dignity to involve themselves in such matters, until Rabbi Akiva himself needed to go and tend to him. 
But this still needs clarification.
 
There are those historians who attribute the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students to the war waged by Bar Kochba. Rabbi Akiva lived in the era after the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash. The Jewish people intended to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash immediately, just as 70 years after the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash the second was rebuilt. Fifty years after the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash, Bar Kochba started a rebellion against the ruling Romans who were preventing the Reconstruction of the Temple. 
 
At first, he was very successful and Rabbi Akiva himself was would carry Bar Kochba’s weapons, proclaiming him to be the Moshiach! Thus it seems that Rabbi Akiva was the first to support this war. Therefore, it’s understandable that many of his students would have enlisted in Bar Kochba’s army and been killed in the war. In the end, when Bar Kochba changed his colors and spoke against G-d, the scholars of Israel removed their support of him, he was killed and the Jews suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of the Romans. 
 
Though this is a nice explanation, there is no Talmudic or historical evidence that ties the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students to the Bar Kochba uprising. There are, however, ancient, reliable sources that testify to the connection between the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the spiritual struggle that he organized against the Romans. 
 
In that era, the Romans forbade the study of Torah and decreed that anyone caught teaching Torah would be killed. It is well known that a Jew named Popus Ben Yehuda, an informant for the Romans, once approached Rabbi Akiva. “Why do you risk your life just to teach Torah?” Rabbi Akiva replied that he wasn’t sure he’d get caught but he was sure that life without Torah is no life at all. 
Indeed, Rabbi Akiva was found teaching Torah and was arrested and executed. He is one of the famous Ten Martyrs. 
 
In a letter written by Rav Shrirah Gaon, who was among the greats of Bavel and lived more than 1,000 years ago, we find the following: “Rabbi Akiva gave himself to die, and they executed Rabbi Chanina Ben Tradyon. Thus the knowledge of Torah diminished after them. Rabbi Akiva had established many students and they all perished between Pesach and Shavout.” 
 
From his words it seems that they didn’t die from an epidemic or plague but that they followed in their teacher’s ways. After seeing Rabbi Akiva sacrifice his life in order to teach Torah, they did the same and sacrificed their lives in order to learn and teach Torah and were eventually killed by the Romans. 
 
Similarly, the Chabad followers in Russia risked their lives following the Previous Rebbe’s example. Indeed many of them were killed in unusual ways in the dungeons of the KGB because they secretly taught Torah and circumcised Jewish babies. So too, with the students of Rabbi Akiva; they followed their teacher through fire and water and so were also killed.
Perhaps this is the reason that Jews mourn their deaths for seven weeks every year. They were killed for spreading Torah and strengthening Judaism, so we mourn them as recognition for the kindness they did us. 
 
In our generation, when we are lucky enough that there is no place in the world that stops Jews from practicing Judaism or studying Torah, we surely need to emulate Rabbi Akiva and his students and give of our time and will to share whatever Torah knowledge we have with as many Jews as we can! 
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Jewlarious Jokes 4/29/22

Jewlarious Jokes:

To begin Shabbat with a laugh
 
Jewlarious Jokes:
 
One day, Jacob asks his wife Yetta, “You always carry a photo of me in your handbag. What on earth would you want with my photo?”
“Well,” replies Yetta, “whenever I encounter a problem, no matter how impossible it might seem at first, I look at your picture and the problem doesn’t seem a problem any longer – it just melts away.”
Jacob smiles with pride when he hears this. “It doesn’t really surprise me, Yetta,” he says. “Haven’t I always told you how miraculous and powerful I am for you?”
“Yes, I know you have,” replies Yetta, “but the way it works is like this – when I take your photo out of my handbag and look at your face, I say to myself, “What problem can there be that’s greater than this one?”
 
***
Rabbi Epstein was a particularly tenacious clergyman and couldn’t stand seeing Jewish people getting drunk. So one day he went into a particular tavern frequented by Jewish patrons.
Rabbi Epstein walks into the pub and sees Stan from shul. “Stan, do you want to go to heaven?” The man said, “I do Rabbi.”
The Rabbi said, “Then stand over there against the wall.”
Then Rabbi Epstein asked another man he recognized, “Do you want to got to heaven?”
“Certainly, Rabbi,” was the man’s reply.
“Then stand over there against the wall,” said the Rabbi.
Then Rabbi Epstein walked up to Chaim Yankel Rabbinowitz and said, “Do you want to go to heaven?”
Chaim Yankel said, “No, I don’t Rabbi.”
The Rabbi was in disbelief, “You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?”
Chaim Yankel said, “Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.
 
***
 
Dr. Levy was an old man who became bored with retirement and decided to open a medical clinic. He put a sign up on his door that said: “Dr. Levy’s clinic. Get your treatment for $500; if not cured get back $1,000.”
Doctor Young, fresh out of Med School, was positive that this old doctor didn’t know beans about up-to-date medicine, so thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1,000. So he went to the Dr.’s clinic.
Dr. Young: “Dr. I have lost all taste in my mouth. can you please help me ?”
Dr. L: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dr. Young’s mouth.”
Dr. Young: “Aaagh !! — This is gasoline!”
Dr. L: “Congratulations! You’ve got your taste back. That will be $500.”
Dr. Young is annoyed; goes back after a couple of days figuring to recover his money.
Dr. Young: “I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything.”
Dr. L: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient’s mouth.”
Doctor Young: “Oh no you don’t! — that is Gasoline!”
Dr. L: “Congratulations! You’ve got your memory back. That will be $500.”
Dr. Young, having lost $1000, leaves angrily and comes back again after several more days.
Dr. Young: “My eyesight has become weak – I can hardly see!”
Dr. L: “Well, I don’t have any medicine for that so here’s your $1000 back.”
Dr. Young: “But this is only a $10 bill.!”
Dr. L: “Congratulations! You got your vision back! That will be $500.”
...

Cherish The Moment

Cherish The Moment

A lesson from the Parsha

 
We all know the shehecheyanu blessing. We sing it on every happy occasion. 
The shehecheyanu is recited on every Jewish holiday, except for today – the last day of Pesach. 
What most people don’t know is that this blessing is made over a heartfelt joy. That means that any time you feel a real heartfelt joy you can recite the shehecheyanu. 
The interesting thing about the shehecheyanu is that at the happiest moments in our personal lives we actually don’t say the blessing. At a bris, would this not be the most appropriate time to recite the shehecheyanu – on such a happy occasion when a Jewish child merits to be entered into the eternal covenant with G-d? But no, we don’t say it because the child is hurt in the process and our joy cannot be complete when someone else suffers. 
At a Bar mitzvah, when a Jewish boy finally gets to put on Tefillin, a true Jewish milestone, a shehecheyanu would be expected. Yet, we don’t say it because along with the great joy comes a great responsibility of keeping all the Mitzvos. 
 
Yet we do recite shehecheyanu upon the arrival of every holiday. The women say it at candle lighting and the men say it at Kiddush. Even on Yom Kippur, when there is no Kiddush, the men recite the shehecheyanu altogether right after Kol Nidre. 
 
About a hundred years ago two little girls played in the home of their grandfather the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe. One little girl, Chaya Mushka, asked her older sister, “What are the last days of Passover?” Her sister answered that they were a holiday like all others but little Chaya Mushka did not agree. “That can’t be, because we don’t say the shehecheyanu on the last days of Passover.” 
 
The Rebbe, sitting in the adjacent library heard the little girls’ conversation and it reminded him of a similar event from his own childhood. At the holiday meal, the Rebbe related to his family that when he was young, someone raised this same question. Unable to reach a satisfactory answer, they brought the question before their grandfather, the Tzemach Tzedek. The third Lubavitcher Rebbe explained to his grandchildren that the last days of Passover are a continuation of the first days. The first days of Pesach are a celebration of the Exodus from Egypt, our very first redemption at the hands of Moses. The last days of Passover are a celebration of our final redemption that will come speedily at the hands of Moshiach. Since shehecheyanu can only be said on something that already took place and the final redemption has yet to materialize, we cannot recite the shehecheyanu over it. 
 
The Lesson: People never live “in the moment,” as they say. No matter what we are doing, we are always busy remembering what happened or worrying about what is going to happen. At work, we dream about vacation. On vacation, we worry about how much work is piling up back at the office! Enter the shehecheyanu. “Bless You G-d… for bringing me to this moment!” This blessing teaches us to cherish the moment without regurgitating the past or grabbing at the future. 
 
We are about to recite the Yizkor, at that time we will be reunited with our beloved departed. These are precious moments — so let’s try to block out any other thoughts from entering our minds for these few minutes. This is one of the reasons for sending all who don’t have to say Yizkor out of the room — so they shouldn’t disturb those who do say it. This way, they will be able to cherish this experience and carry it with them for the rest of the year.
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Jewlarious Jokes 4/21/22

Jewlarious Jokes:

To begin Shabbat with a laugh
 
Jewlarious Jokes:
 
A Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim, and a Jew
were in a discussion during dinner.
Catholic: “I have a large fortune… I am going to buy Citibank!”
Protestant: “I am very wealthy and will buy General Motors!”
Muslim: “I am a fabulously rich Prince… I intend to purchase Microsoft!”
They then all wait for the Jew to speak… The Jew stirs his coffee, places the spoon neatly on the table, takes a sip of his coffee, looks at them, and casually says:
“I’m not selling”
 
***
A guy is driving around suburban Jerusalem and he sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador retriever sitting there.
“So, you talk?” he asks.
“Yap,” the dog replies.
“So, what’s your story?” asks the man.
The dog looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young and I wanted to help out. So I told the Mossad about my gift, and in no time at all they had me working flat strap, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders and suspected terrorists because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable agents for eight years running. But it was exhausting work and really tired me out. I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a less stressful job at Ben Gurion airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible stuff and was awarded a batch of medals. During that time I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired. And pretty much, that’s it.”
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
“Ten dollars.” The guy says.
“This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”
“Because he’s a liar. He never worked for Mossad!”
 
***
 
The town miser had just built a beautiful house on top of the highest hill in town. Down at the bottom of the hill lived a poor artist who barely eked out a living save but for some local people who needed some of their houses painted.
The miser wanted to impress his other wealthy friends so he decided to have a wall in the foyer painted with a mural. Hearing of the poor painter, he figured he could get him to paint the mural for a cheap price. After considerable haggling, they settled on a price that was one-tenth of what it was worth. The painter went to work and in a day and a half, he was finished.
The miser invited his friends over for the unveiling of the painting. With a great flourish, the curtain was dropped and the crowd stared at a red canvas.
“I ordered a painting of the Red Sea,” bellowed the miser.
“This is the Red Sea,” replied the painter.
“Where are the Israelites,” the miser asked.
“They’ve already crossed,” said the painter.
“Where are the Egyptians,” persisted the mansion’s owner.
“They all drowned.”