Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Scams...

There's no doubt that most of us would love to be lots more comfortable financially. And we'd love to do it without any effort. That's why so many people fall for scams which can cause them to lose money, or "just" infect their computers/smartphones with viruses. Before they check it out carefully or notice the damage, they've sent it to their groups and mailing lists. Sometimes, the virus even does that chore on its own.

Americans of my generation and older probably remember the very popular 1950s TV show "The Millionaire" which was about people who were suddenly given a million dollars, which bought a lot more than the sum would get you today, by an eccentric multi-millionaire who'd send his assistant off with a check... Not all of the recipients found their lives improved...

life-changing check- picture from Wikipedia

The Millionaire told the stories of Tipton's beneficiaries in flashback, as if from Anthony's case files. Each episode began with Anthony, behind his desk and looking directly into the camera, speaking one or another variation on this theme: 
My name is Michael Anthony, and until his death just a few years ago, I was the executive secretary to the late John Beresford Tipton. John Beresford Tipton, a fabulously wealthy and fascinating man, whose many hobbies included his habit of giving away one million dollars, tax free, each week—to persons he had never even met.  (read more in Wikipedia)

To prevent getting caught up in one of those scams, here are a few suggestions: 

1- businesses send legit messages/sales offers to members, so if you didn't get it directly from the business.... 

2- the first word in the code should be the name of the business and not "lottery," or something similar.

3- important motto: 

"If it sounds too good to be true... it's probably a scam."


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Israel's Coalition: I See Good Things

To be very honest, nothing's perfect, and that includes politicians. Even though the Bennett-Lapid broad coalition doesn't have the exact policies I want, I still consider today's situation superior to the Bibi-chareidi mafia. 

Bibi and his cohorts were sure that they had found a way to stay in power forever. The Likud as the largest political party in the Knesset, along with the chareidim managed to prevent a coalition from wresting the rule from them. They had the country in a stranglehold for a few years. Since Bibi had led the last coalition as Prime Minister, he continued as caretaking or interim PM along with his mafia. Sorry, it may be legal but it's not the sign of a healthy democracy. I also opposed the massive street demonstrations against Bibi prior to the new coalition. That's mob rule, not law.

Then miraculously, Bennett, Lapid, Gantz, Saar and a few disparate parties pulled the rug out from under Bibi and his cronies. They decided to concentrate on what they agreed and formed a coalition. The foulmouthed sore-losers and the political pundits quickly predicted that the new government wouldn't last out the month, but half a year later they seem to be developing strong, stable sea legs...

One of the great standouts as a minister in the coalition is Matan Kahane, Minister of Religion. Way back when in the earlier decades of the State of Israel the NRP National Religious Party held that position. The religious establishment was more mamlachti, Zionist, Bnai Akiva, not chareidi. In more recent years as NRP's younger generation became more ideological and/or open to working with other groups, the party not only lost votes, but it lost its luster, attracting fewer and fewer potential leaders. Every few years the NRP hired a few "front man." Even Naftali Bennett played the role until he got tired of being a "figurehead," 

Today politically ambitious men in crocheted kippot and women in scarves and sleeves can be seen in almost all political parties.  As the NRP got weaker, it lost its leadership in the government's religious bodies, and the chareidim quickly stepped in. The NRP is no longer in the Knesset, and the rabbinate, kashrut and conversion are dominated by the chareidim. 

Matan Kahane in Shiloh, parlor meeting,
March, 2019
Back to Matan Kahane who was new to politics when I heard him at a parlor meeting here in Shiloh, March 2019. I was impressed then, and he hasn't disappointed me yet.

For decades I've been worried about the fact that the "national religious" Jews as a group have been considering themselves "second class," inferior Jews to the chareidim. I don't see chareidi lifestyle and religious "standards" as superior, more genuinely Jewish. And since the chareidim now control the Rabbanit it's only getting worse. 

Conversion to Judaism has become one of the more difficult issues, and I'm glad that Matan Kahane is working on that, plus kashrut.

For those who want to list the "bad" things the present government has done, it's just as easy to find examples of similar and worse done by Bibi. Do you really want Bibi and his mafia back in unlimited power?

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Save The Date: Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Rain or shine we do our best to get to Shiloh Hakeduma Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.


Shiloh is one of the rare Biblical sites which isn't debated. Today's Shiloh is the site location of the ancient one where the Holy Mishkan Tabernacle was located for almost four hundred years. The Mishkan predated the Holy Temple as the location for Jewish Prayer. And Shiloh predated Jerusalem as our holiest city as center for prayer. 
Chana's prayers for a son took place in Shiloh in the area where we pray. Her much awaited and prayed for son, Shmuel, was brought to Shiloh after being weaned. In Shiloh he was taught by the Priests and later became the transitional leader of the Jewish tribal nation.

Today the area of Ancient Biblical Shiloh is a wonderful archeological park with activities and exhibits for all ages. You can contact them for more information. 025789111, visit@telshilo.org.il Public transportation, any bus that stops at the Shiloh Junction and then a few minutes' walk.

Rosh Chodesh Shevat Women's Prayers
Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh
Monday 3/01/2022 8:30am, 1st of Shevat 5782
Everyone's Invited

ראש חודש שבט תפילת נשים
בשילה הקדומה
יום שני א' שבט תשפ"ב
3/01/2022 8:30 בבוקר
כולן מוזמנות



Saturday, December 4, 2021

Parshat Shavua: Did Reuven Know What Happened to Yosef?

Last week after reading in Parshat Vayeshev I wondered if anyone ever told Reuven, Yaakov's first born son, what had happened to his young annoying brother Yosef. 

Yaakov, their father, had sent Yosef to visit with his older brothers, which didn't make them very happy. In reaction, Reuven tried to get him out of the way, to safety in his mind, by putting him in a waterless pit. Soon after Reuven had to leave the group for a short time. While he was away, at the instigation of Yehuda, they sold Yosef to passing merchants. When Reuven returned he was horrified to discover Yosef's disappearance, and then the other brothers quickly covered his special coat with blood to make it appear that he had been taken by a violent animal. Nothing is said to Reuven about what had really been done to Yosef. I began asking Tanach teachers if I had missed something. The only response:

 "Good question."

This Shabbat I very carefully read Parshat Mikeitz hoping for enlightenment. I found two verses in Chapter 42:



At this point, Yosef, disguised as an Egyptian, had insisted that if the brothers want to buy more necessary food in Egypt, they must return with their youngest brother, Binyamin. The brothers know that after the loss of Yosef, their father would never agree. In Bereishit 43:22 Reuven says that they're in this situation because of the blood of Yosef, whom he still thinks is dead: 

22: And Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen? Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!" כב: וַיַּ֩עַן֩ רְאוּבֵ֨ן אֹתָ֜ם לֵאמֹ֗ר הֲלוֹא֩ אָמַ֨רְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶ֧ם | לֵאמֹ֛ר אַל־תֶּֽחֶטְא֥וּ בַיֶּ֖לֶד וְלֹ֣א שְׁמַעְתֶּ֑ם וְגַם־דָּמ֖וֹ הִנֵּ֥ה נִדְרָֽשׁ:

Reuven's conviction that Yosef had been killed is most probably behind his incomprehensible "pledge" to his father when trying to get permission to bring Binyamin to Egypt: 

37: And Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "You may put my two sons to death if I don't bring him (Benjamin) to you. Put him into my hand[s] and I will return him to you." לז: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל־אָבִ֣יו לֵאמֹ֔ר אֶת־שְׁנֵ֤י בָנַי֙ תָּמִ֔ית אִם־לֹ֥א אֲבִיאֶ֖נּוּ אֵלֶ֑יךָ תְּנָ֤ה אֹתוֹ֙ עַל־יָדִ֔י וַֽאֲנִ֖י אֲשִׁיבֶ֥נּוּ אֵלֶֽיךָ:

Reuven's offer to lose two sons was to parallel his father's loss. Obviously, Yaakov didn't accept the offer. What father/grandfather would. Afterwards he did accept Yehuda's pledge, though neither he nor Reuven had a clue that it was Yehuda who was the cause of Yosef's disappearance.