Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Frank Sinatra - His Attitude on Jewish Affairs

Francis Albert Sinatra (1915-1998) may have been one of America's most famous Italian Catholics, but he kept the Jewish people and the State of Israel close to his heart, manifesting life-long commitments to fighting anti-Semitism and to activism on behalf of Israel .

Sinatra stepped forward in the early 1940s, when big names were needed to rouse America into saving Europe's remaining Jews, and he sang at an "Action for Palestine" rally (1947). He sat on the board of trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and he donated over $1 million to Jerusalem's Hebrew University, which honored him by dedicating the Frank Sinatra International Student Center. (The Center made heartbreaking headlines when terrorists bombed it in 2002, killing nine people.)

As the result of his support for the Jewish State, his movies and records were banned in some Arab countries. Sinatra helped Teddy Kollek, later the long-serving mayor of Jerusalem but then a member of the Haganah, by serving as a $1 million money-runner that helped Israel win the war. The Copacabana Club, which was very much run and controlled by the same Luciano-related New York mafia crowd with whom Sinatra had become enmeshed, happened to be next door to the hotel out of which Haganah members were operating. In his autobiography, Kollek relates how, trying in March 1948 to circumvent an arms boycott imposed by President Harry Truman on the Jewish fighters in Eretz Yisroel, he needed to smuggle about $1 million in cash to an Irish ship captain docked in the Port of New York. The young Kollek spotted Sinatra at the bar and, afraid of being intercepted by federal agents, asked for help. In the early hours of the morning, the singer went out the back door with the money in a paper bag and successfully delivered it to the pier.

The origins of Sinatra's love affair with the Jewish people are not clear but, for years, the Hollywood icon wore a small mezuzah around his neck, a gift from Mrs. Golden, an elderly Jewish neighbor who cared for him during his boyhood in Hoboken, N.J. (years later, he honored her by purchasing a quarter million dollars' worth of Israel bonds).

He protected his Jewish friends, once responding to an anti-Semitic remark at a party by simply punching the offender. Time magazine reported that Sinatra walked out on the christening of his own son when the priest refused to allow a Jewish friend to be the godfather. As late as 1979, he raged over the fact that a Palm Springs cemetery official in California declared that he could not arrange the burial of a deceased Jewish friend over the Thanksgiving holiday; Sinatra, again -- threatened to punch him in the nose.

Sinatra famously played the role of a Jewish pilot in Cast a Giant Shadow, the 1966 film filmed in Israel and starring friend Kirk Douglas as Mickey Marcus, the Jewish-American colonel who fought and died in Israel's war for independence (Sinatra dive-bombs Egyptian tanks with seltzer bottles!) He donated his salary for the part to the Arab-Israeli Youth Center in Nazareth, and he also made a significant contribution to the making of Genocide, a film about the Holocaust, and helped raise funds for the film. Less known is Sinatra in Israel (1962), a short 45-minute featurette he made in which he sang In the Still of the Night and Without a Song. He also starred in The House I Live In (1945), a ten-minute short film made to oppose anti-Semitism at the end of World War II, which received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Historical Watershed - Revisited

The last of the 42 camps set up during the Jews' 40-year trek in the desert - goes by two names. At the end of the 4th book of the Pentateuch it's called "The Plains of Moav". At the beginning of the 5th book (Deuteronomy), it's called "The Bank of the Jordan [River]". Why should the same camp have two names?

The end of the 4th book, "Numbers", brings to its end a narrative of events that took place in the desert. The last camp's name, therefore, still bears this aspect of their journey; Moav, after all, relates to a physical place they interacted with in their path.

The 5th book, written by Moses without G-d's dictation, relates to the preparation of this new generation for entry into The Holy Land. The previous generation, which experienced the exodus from Egypt and spent their lives in the desert - died in the desert. It's the new, young generation to whom Moses addresses his words. When referring to the camp they were at, he uses a name that signifies the future, for they will be crossing from "The Bank of the Jordan". He thereby keeps focus on the forthcoming era, which will happen as soon as they cross the Jordan into The Holy Land.

One name associates with the past. The other name associates with the future.

When The Rebbe delivered his first address to his Chassidim in 1951, thereby accepting his mantle of leadership, he gave his generation two names; He called it "The last generation of the exile era and the first generation of the redemption era". We are that bipolar generation. Where we now stand marks a watershed between two eras. It's a historical milestone for the people of the world. Events today are rapidly unfolding and soon, very soon, the one, last prophecy of The Rebbe that remains to materialize, will materialize - as sure as every other prophecy of The Rebbe never failed to transpire.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

G-d is Everywhere - by Gutman Locks

I'd also like to recommend Answers to a Pastor,
as well as Pray for Family. They're short & sweet.

A Few Days Ago at The Western Wall
A Jew Reaches Out

Got this email from the rabbi, after I asked permission of him to print a story a friend had emailed me earlier.

The story was my experience at the Kotel a few days ago and you are welcome to post it. You might also like to look at Gutman Locks videos YouTube. Be well, Gutman

Seventy-Two Years Ago

Last week at the Kotel, I asked an elderly man to put on tefillin. He strongly refused.

I asked him, “When was the last time you put on tefillin?”

He smiled and proudly said, “72 years ago!” pushing aside any possibility of him putting them on again. He held out his arm to show me the fading numbers tattooed there. “1938,” he said. “It was the day of Kristallnacht. Do you know what Kristallnacht is?”

“Of course I do,” I told him.

“267 synagogues were burned down in one night. They burned down our synagogue, too. My tefillin were burnt up, and I have never put them on again.” He said, telling me in no uncertain terms why he was not going to put them on.

“I have a friend who was in the camps, too,” I quickly said, “and he not only puts on tefillin today, but he even put them on others inside the camp!” I was trying to show him that he did not have to reject tefillin because of what those evil people did. “Do you want hear how he got the tefillin into the camp?”

“Yeah,” he said, strongly, “How did he get them in there?”

“His name is Laibel. Whenever he comes to Israel, he joins our sunrise minyan. He also has numbers tattooed on his arm. “When we first met, he asked me, ‘What do you do around here?’

“Wanting to say something exciting, I said, ‘I put tefillin on people here at the Kotel.’

“‘Oh yeah?’ he said, ‘Well, I put tefillin on people in the death camp.’

“I stared at him; there was nothing I could say. I was dumbfounded. I asked him, ‘How did you get the tefillin into there?’

“He looked me in the eye and said they came to the ghetto and grabbed 137 young boys. He told me only 5 of them got out of there alive, only 5.

“He was thirteen-and-a half years old. When they grabbed him, he was wearing the high boots his father had bought for him. He showed me with his hand that the boots came up almost to his knees. When he saw them coming, he stuffed his tefillin in the top of one boot and his prayer book in the other.

“They pushed the boys into a cattle car and drove them to the death camp. It was not far from the ghetto. When the train stopped, they slid open the side of the cattle car and immediately began pushing them toward the open door of the oven. The boys were frightened and crying out. They asked Laibel, ‘What should we do?’ He told them, ‘I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to stand in rows five across and we’re going to march right into that oven singing “ani ma’amin . . . “(I believe in G-d). And they did just that. They stood in rows five across and started singing and marching right into the oven.

“The guards became so confused they did not know what to do. They screamed, ‘You can’t do that! No one has ever done such a thing before. Stop it! Stop it at once! Here! Go over there to the showers instead.’

“They pushed them over to the showers. They made them take off all of their clothing and throw them into a pile in the middle of the floor. They made them empty out their shoes and the tefillin and prayer book fell out onto the pile.

“After the shower, when they were dressed in camp clothes and were being pushed back past the pile of their clothes, he saw his tefillin and prayer book lying there. He wanted so badly to run over and pick them up, but there were terrifying guards standing right there so he couldn’t. He said to the boys, ‘Okay, I did something for you, so now you do something for me.’

“‘Whatever you want,’ they said. ‘You saved our lives.’

“He said, ‘When I give the signal, make a big fight with each other and start screaming out loud. Okay . . . Now!’ He whipped his arm in the air as if he was back at the camp giving them the signal. The boys started to fight and scream. The guards ran over and tried to pull them apart, but they wouldn’t stop fighting. In the confusion, he ran over and grabbed his tefillin and prayer book and hid them under his arms.

“He was in the barracks and he wanted to put on the tefillin. He was able to put the arm piece on without anyone seeing by pulling his sleeve over it, but how could he put on the head piece? There were evil guards all over the place. He opened the window and stuck his head outside so he could put on the head piece. A guard came by and screamed at him, ‘Who said you could open that window?’ He told him he was sick and throwing up, and if he made him close the window he would throw up inside, too. The guard left him there.

And he looked me in the eye and said, ‘And I put tefillin on other men like that there, too.’

I started to cry and I kissed him on his yarmulke.

“The next day there was a soldier at the Kotel who wouldn’t put on tefillin. No matter what I said, he simply refused. Then I told him Laibel’s story, and he quickly said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’

“And you can do it, too” I said, as I gently slid the tefillin I was holding on his arm.

He said the blessing and started to cry. We said the Shema, and he prayed for his family. He began to smile even while the tears were streaming down his face. A crowd gathered around all congratulating him on his overcoming all those years of rejection.

You do not always succeed, but you always have to try.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mirror Image - by Divine Delivery
The Psychology of Observation

If you see a fellow Jew doing something wrong, there are two ways you can look at him. You can see him in a positive light, or, you can see him projecting negatively.

You can see, in the whole picture, a good person, plus a misdeed you'd want for him to correct. Or, you see the person as having a blemished personality for which his transgression is evidence.

The difference is not insignificant. In fact, it's rather astounding. But first let's take a concrete example.

Suppose you see a Jew stealing in a store. You might think to yourself, "this guy is a lowlife." This would be seeing him in a negative light. On the other hand, you might view this as an opportunity to tell the person that The One Above is watching and perhaps returning the item is in order.

The difference is much more than just your attitude. Because the negative perspective, where you indict the personality of your subject - really means you're seeing the miscreant behavior in yourself.

In fact, this is one of G-d's ways to tell you of the problems you are having! Nothing in this world happens by mere coincidence. That which has been planted before your for you to see - is for you to see and learn from. It is from here where you can correct your personality.

The "dirt" you see in your subject reflects the "dirt" in yourself you have to clean up. If you saw a "lowlife" stealing, you most probably have that same stealing issue with yourself.

Had you wanted to correct only his behavior, and had still regarded him highly, you could not be implicated with any fault of personality, just as you saw no defect in that of your subject.

This is one lesson of the verse (Vayikra 19, 17), "Do not hate your brother in your heart; You must admonish your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him."

Notice that you have love of fellow man and admonition of his misdeeds - both in the same verse - to teach you they are related. You must fulfill the first command as a prerequisite before you admonish him, because then your admonition relates, not to his personality, only to his misdeed. Otherwise, were you to admonish him while seeing his personality in a negative light, why then you'd only make matters worse; Not only would you not correct his behavior, you may well distance him further, and thus, "bear sin because of" disliking "him."

So the next time a Jew triggers within you a dislike of some sort, here's the gist of it: Know - you're looking into a mirror! You'll then know what about your own personality you have to correct.

Otherwise, simply love the person, and go over to him and tell him how he can correct his behavior or reverse his transgression - for then you'll certainly be effective.


Here's an essay by Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson on this very subject:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Psychology of Homosexuality

We must show mercy on homosexuals. Usually, they started their perversion quite innocently. It could have been in a boys' school where boys romp free in shower stalls. It could have been a roomate's sideswipe. It could have been virtually any inadvertent behavior that built on itself. The most common way, however, is being duped into the indulgence by an older pervert.

The inveterate, established perverts, often "liberal" in persuasion, will defend their habit by asserting their purity - claiming "it's innate".

This would be a good argument, were it true. But the truth is quite different. It is a learned behavior. And, to repeat, it's often "taught" by older people preying on young, innocent victims. A recent example is the case of a New York "gay parade" for these people. This was a march of adults. But who did they stand in as the "leader" of the parade? A 10-year old boy (see picture). The poor kid probably believed by being "the grand marshal" he achieved something big. The adult organizers wanted other children to see and learn. What could be more loathesome than to see people dragging civilization down with public displays of perversion?

Perverts, naturally insecure with their lust, need to enlist many more into their ranks, as if the increase in their numbers could paint over their perversion as normality.

They refer to themselves by the euphemism "Gay". Really they're sad and pathetic, because what they do is unnatural, so what better artificial prop to keep them gay than by adopting this label to depict themselves. Their twisted mentality easily can extend itself into pornography, pedophilia, sadism or bestiality.

Their argument of innateness is ridiculous. G-d created every species with the ability to procreate. Homosexuality therefore defies nature. Were such behavior innate, the species would cease to exist. If that weren't enough, this disgusting act takes the orifice of excrement as a replacement for the corridor of birth. That's like making a sanctuary of prayer in a sewage dump because you happen to like the smell.

Two or 3 times Torah refers to homosexuality - in the harshest of tones. "If a man has intercourse with another man in the same way as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination ...." (Vayikra 20, 13). "Do not lie with a male as you would with a woman, since this is an abomination. Do not perform any sexual act with an animal since it will defile you ...." (Vayikra 18, 22-23). The latter contiguity indicates homosexuality and bestiality share the same degeneracy. Will they also claim bestiality is "innate"?

The most powerful argument against its innateness is this: G-d, the ultimate in goodness, would never create us and then ask us to go against our very nature! If the Torah proscibes such behavior, it is telling that person, if he already sunk into this utterly detestable habit, he can and should lift himself out of it. And if he does, his sin is expunged.

UPDATE: July 29/10; A picture taken of a protest against the "gay pride" march in - Jerusalem (The "gays" have no shame. They cannot be satisfied by quietly indulging in their filth. They need to antagonize those that know better.)
One poster reads, "I am a proud beast".

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Uphill Struggle

Last week's portion, called "Journeys", reads, "And they journeyed to … and camped at … journeyed to … and camped at ….".

If they camped in all these locations, why didn't they name the portion - "Camps", instead of "Journeys"; After all, isn't the whole purpose of a journey to get to the camp? And, if there is a reason to stick with "Journeys", all those treks in the desert constituted a single journey, so why is the plural name "Journeys" so appropriate?

Torah, being infinite, eternal and forever relevant, offers us lessons to live by in every generation and for every day. Even habits that relate to Torah that accrue over long periods, such as naming conventions for the weekly portions, also assume significance.

On the surface, the simple text refers to the 42 journeys the Jews took to get to the Holy Land. But on a deeper level, the word "journeys" represents spiritual journeys a Jew must take in striving to get to his own holy station in life. A Jew must always climb from strength to strength to achieve as best he can self-actualization, whether it's improving one's character, increasing Torah learning, reducing idle chatter, guarding the eyes from inviting distraction, eating and drinking in moderation, praying with more fervor, being more benevolent, dealing more honestly, etc.

No matter what level a Jew finds himself, whether he's good or whether he's bad, he can and should garner his resources and progress to higher planes. The evil person must return to the fold incrementally. Even the righteous has room to improve, by teaching others or by refining his good behavior even more.

The point is, we need to continuously be on "journeys". We must not relax and believe we're perfect, with no more to attain; Nor must we feel spent or lose hope and believe we'll never reach the high road. The name "Camps", which connotes a final, stative destination, removes this dynamic aspect, and is therefore inappropriate.

It's like biking uphill; Stop pedaling and - you're going downhill.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The HORRENDOUS Oil-Spill Disaster
in the Gulf of Mexico

To appreciate the horrendous extent of the BP disaster, take 3 minutes to see how "the water is no longer water - it's oil", and, see what the mainstream news channels will never show you (as long as Obuma holds office). This film was captured by taking advantage of hurricane Alex's flight-grounding warnings. This is a must-see.
(Also take note of the previous post's thesis, re: divine providence.)

Divine Providence on
- Israel's 62nd Independence Day

You tell me if you think this was a "coincidence"? (3 min. clip)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A War of Inclinations

During class the teacher asked, "Anybody have a question?"

A girl raised her hand. She asked, "Why, from the moment we wake up until we go to bed, every moment is filled with obligations, like commandments to obey, Torah to learn, prayers to say, deeds to be done; Is this freedom? Can't we be free of obligations to live as free as animals in a forest? These animals are really free!"

The teacher waited a moment and, noticing a guitar sticking out of the student's bag, walked over to the student, took the guitar out and walked back to her desk. The teacher opened her drawer and pulled out a knife. The students looked on in wonder. The teacher moved the knife slowly and positioned it to cut the strings of the guitar.

The student shouted, "Don't you dare!"

"Why," asked the teacher. "The strings are taut; Under a lot of force. Let's free them from their daily tension."

"But then my guitar won't make music," said the student.

"Aha," said the teacher, "with freedom as you defined it, our souls too could make no music."

The holiday of freedom, Pesach (Passover) not only commemorates our release from bondage under Egyptian rule; It mainly symbolizes our freedom from bondage - to our evil inclination (which Egyptian rule symbolizes)! The evil inclination tells you NOT to do what you're supposed to do, or DO what you musn't do.

Unlike an animal that has no inclination for doing counter to what's right, man does have this inclination. It comes with his spiritual anatomy. He also possesses a good inclination, and how his brain governs his behavior after taking both inclinations into consideration determines his personality.

Man was born into a world that requires obligations of him. He cannot do as he feels without putting his good and bad inclinations on a scale. The animal can, but man cannot. Man's spiritual anatomy, unlike an animal's, is dichotomous.

Man cannot be relieved of his duties to G-d. It's part and parcel with his being. If his evil inclination carries more weight than his good inclination, he makes "bad music". If he follows his good inclination, he makes "good music."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Innate Creativity

In midieval times, a prisoner was sentenced to life in prison. To earn his food, he had to turn a gear's rotating lever, which below the prison floor turned the millstone of a grain mill.

Once, overhearing prison guards, he discovered that in fact there was nothing connected to the lever he used to push round and round every day.

Upon hearing this, the prisoner committed suicide.

But why did he commit suicide? What difference did it make to him if there was a mill attached to his lever or not; It would not have changed anything, as far as he was concerned?

Because even a lowly prisoner wants to believe he does something useful. Take this feeling of usefulness away from him, and he feels empty and worthless.

No doubt, every person has something he has created or wants to create. Even if the person has a job, once the day is done he or she sits down to write a plan, a poem, a book, a business strategy; or builds something, paints, plays (to create a win), sculpts, learns (to create), trains (to become better), … whatever.

The point is that "creation" is an essential part of us. As in the above apocryphal story, removing that ability robs us of our "humanity".

Why would "creation" be a part of humanity? Because it testifies to The Creator that created us. G-d actually leaves His imprint in each of our's essence. He is The Real Creator and engraves into our being the essence that only He really is. The human is branded with creative ability. This is one way of looking at the phrase, "And G-d created man with His image" (Beraishis 1, 27).

Monday, July 05, 2010

One Good Way to Overcome the Depression - Drill!

I got this verifiable email from a friend.
About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes brothers was the guest. The host said to Forbes, "I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; how much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?" Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, "more than all the Middle East put together." Please read below.

The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn't been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana. Check THIS out.

The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska 's Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable - at $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

"When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea," says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature's financial analyst.

"This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years," reports The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It's a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the 'Bakken.' It stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the 'Big Oil' companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken's massive reserves - and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!

That's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn't throw you on the floor, then this next one should - because it's from 2006!

U. S. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World
Stansberry Report Online - 4/20/2006

Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling?

They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates:
- 8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
- 18 times as much oil as Iraq
- 21 times as much oil as Kuwait
- 22 times as much oil as Iran
- 500 times as much oil as Yemen
- and it's all right here in the Western United States.

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy. WHY?

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East - more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That's more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price - even with this find? Think again! It's all about the competitive marketplace - it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?

Got your attention yet? Now, while you're thinking about it, do this:

Pass this along. If you don't take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you complain about gas prices - by doing NOTHING, you forfeit your right to complain.
Google it, or follow this link. It will blow your mind.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Life in a Pressure Cooker

We read 2 weeks ago in the Torah portion a prophetic reference to the Jewish nation, (Numbers 23, 9): "… And that nation shall dwell by itself …".

No matter how hard Israel tries to appease nations, just so they could leave her alone, just so they remove constant focus from her - it just doesn't help.

Take the Iranian squirt, who boasts he'll wipe Israel off the map. As if there was so much to wipe off in the first place. Then the Muslim-in-Chief at the White House becomes disturbed because Israel allows Jews to build homes in their capital city. As if it's anybody's business how a foreign government handles its construction permits. But the weak-kneed Israeli leftist government capitulates and applies a construction freeze in Jerusalem. They figured they could spare further criticism thereby. So along comes a little flotilla and again the entire world tunes in to watch the fireworks. Here again Netanyahu's knees buckle and he orders a "commission of investigation", as if the IDF may in fact have been guilty of something. Maybe he figured people will now turn the channel. But only for a few days at best, because then the long-standing friendship with Turkey begins to quickly unravel. Then Europe joins the fracas when England begins a new round of censures.

One punch after another, from one continent and then another. A constant pressure cooker. As if that miniscule country, a drop in the bucket, could made so much a difference. Can you doubt the Torah's divine prophecy of this nation - that it's bound to remain solitary?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Highest Office in the Land

Scratching his head with his middle finger. There will be those who think he's just scratching. What they don't quite get is this guy is a treacherous Muslim - if he breathes, he lies. He's already quite accustomed to the teleprompter, because it's part of the act. He's on stage. He's reading someone else's script. So how does he express his own sentiments? The man child shows us here (at Weasel Zippers).