Monday, 27 July 2009

A Time for Peace

We are taught that our precious Temple fell due to evil speech and baseless hatred. Here is a beautiful story, adapted in part from the Tales of Tzaddikim by Artscroll ....

The virulent power of evil gossip! What hatred Loshon Hara can sow in people's heart! It was only the venom or malicious talk that led to bad relations between Rav Tzvi, the Admor of Stertin and Rav Meir of Premislan.

A young man, an ardent follower of both great rabbis was very distressed over the controversy that arose between them. He decided to do what he could to resolve the situation.When his wife gave birth to a boy, the chasid invited both Admorim to attend the bris. He decided to make one the Mohel and the other the Sandak, without telling either that the other was invited.

Early on the morning of the bris, the father hired a nice coach and went to fetch Rav Tzvi the Mohel. On the way home he said that he had to collect the Sandak as well. He drove to Rav Meir's home in Premislan and got out of the coach to call him. When he returned with Rav Meir, Rav Tzvi turned his head away, refused to either greet or look at Rav Meir. In the meantime, Rav Meir, known for his generous, forgiving heart, was not insulted. Instead he said:

" Let me tell you a true story. ' This happened during the Spanish Inquisition when Jews were forced to either leave the country of give up their religion. Many of them, the Marranos, renounced their religion but remained Jews in secret.

One time a government minister lay on his deathbed. A 'converted' Jew, he knew that if he did not summon a priest to hear his dying confession and to give him the last rites, he would be endangering his entire family. He allowed a priest to be summoned but when the priest arrived, he pretended to be too weak to talk. The priest asked the doctor if the patient was really so weak. 'No' the doctor replied. 'He is dying, but he is not too feeble to accept the last rites.' When the priest saw that the minister had turned his face to the wall, he guessed that he really did not want to die as a Christian. The priest, who was a Marrano himself, ordered everyone to leave the room, since he must hear the confidential confession of the dying man. When everyone had left the room, he bent over the patient and whispered the shema in his ear. With a smile of relief, the minister turned his face to the priest and together they said the Jewish viduy, before his soul departed. ' "

Rav Meir finished his tale and thrust out his hand in a friendly gesture to Rav Tzvi. "Shalom aleichem, Rav Tzvi!" he said. "Are we not both Jews, both serving one G-d? We have a common goal in life. Why should we not strive towards it together?"

Rav Tzvi smiled, taking Rav Meir's hand in his own. And peace reigned between the two once more.

May all of Am Yisrael merit to have peace amongst us and the coming of our Righteous Redeemer immediately.

Our Mikvah Project - Information and Advice

Over the few months of co-coordinating our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity, some important information has come to light. Before outlining some difficulties, I would like to clarify that I do so only so as to help to strengthen the Jewish women concerned.

The Rambam teaches in his 8 levels of charity that the highest level is to help a Jew to be independent. After much thought, I have decided to mention a few factors, only with a view to outlining potential solutions.

The Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity has been set up to assist women in genuine financial difficulty that they can still fulfill the mitzvah of Family Purity in Dignity. In talking to several Mikvah Ladies, it has become evident that the costs to the Mikvah in addition to immersing at the Mikvah and preparing at the Mikvah, include cost of a towel, shampoo, soap, toothbrush etc. Each of these items costs and the Mikvah has to charge even though a nominal fee.

What is intriguing is that very often those women who can not afford the basic fee to immerse, order all the possible items, therefore running up a bill that someone has to cover. What is the reason to mention this? Purely to advise, if G-d forbid, you find yourself unable to cover the Mikvah Costs, take your own towel from home. Put together your own toiletries from home and this will make sure that you are not left with the debt of these items but rather only of the expenese to prepare at the Mikvah (i.e. use of the bathroom) and immerse at the Mikvah.

Every woman likes to be pampered and to feel she is being given something. However, the Mikvah night is not a time to worry about being pampered but rather about fulfilling your role as a Jewish woman correctly. If you do not have the means to pay for the extra's, take your own and make sure you are being blessed from Above for being honest and responsible.

A beautiful tip given by one Mikvah Lady was that when receiving any money, women should put aside the amount they need for the Mikvah. Keep it in a safe place that can not be used for other purposes. Then when your Mikvah night comes, you will have the money already set aside and ready to take with for your Mikvah expenses. If you need to, put a shekel aside each day for this purpose. Make your own system but stick to it. Remember, your responsibility to fulfill mitzvos comes before any added extras.

A word to the husbands. Someone asked why do the husbands not cover this expense. We have discovered that there are times that the husbands do provide this money, however since the woman has so many expenses with taking care of the children, paying for their various needs for school, food etc, this money might get used up and not arrive at the Mikvah with the woman. We would advise, for those who are in financial difficulty, if the husband is covering the expense of the Mikvah, then it is the expense to go to the Mikvah. Perhaps the husbands can arrange for the money to be given directly to the Mikvah. In addition, each Mikvah must give the women a receipt that they can show their husbands. This helps to maintain Shalom Bayis as the husbands will no longer need to doubt where the money was spent. Many Mikvaot do provide receipts and this is a practice that is advisable for all Mikvaot.

Lastly, there is much work to be done with this beautiful project. Unfortunately we are finding some women already, who wish to rely on this project rather than honouring their mikvah costs. This fund is only for those women who genuinely can not afford the nominal fee to the Mikvah. Should we, G-d forbid, find this beautiful service being mis-used, we might need to institute the women being interviewed by a social worker to verify that they do in deed qualify.

We hope and pray that all the above advise be put into practice. However, in the meantime there are still outstanding debts with many Mikvaot in Israel and there are many women who honestly can not meet the nominal costs of going to the Mikvah each week. Since Tisha B'Av is fast approaching, please help us with this important mitzva.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Do We Know What WE Are MOURNING?

Do we realize or internalize what we are mourning for now, during the 9 days.

The two days prior to Tisha B'Av is the Yartzheit of my father, may his soul rest in peace. In the first years after he died, I really missed him. I was distressed not to have a father. As time has gone by, yes, there are times I would love to ask my father advise or to discuss something with him, but I have gotten used to my relationship with my father being in lighting Yartzheit candles, doing Yizkor, doing mitzvos in his merit, studying Torah in his merit. After 25 years, I hardly remember what it was like to have a father in this world.

The Beis HaMikdash has been gone for far longer than 25 years. Do we remember what we are mourning or have we just gotten used to the fact that our reminder of the Beis haMikdash is the Kotel - a small section of the Western Wall of the Beis HaMikdash.

When we do visit the Kotel, do we stop and cry for the fact we really should be on the other side of it, or have we become accustomed to visiting The Wall.

Pirkei Avos teaches us there were 10 miracles that occurred on account of the Beis HaMikdash . Out of these, since I work with women, the first one really stands out. When we had the Temple, there were no miscarriages on account of the aroma of the meat of the holy sacrifices. Before you feel repulsed, the next miracle is that the meat of the holy sacrifices never became putrid. These two on their own should be enough of a motivator to cry for the Beis haMikdash.

If you are a woman who is of child bearing age and have children or are still waiting for children, surely knowing there is a way to ensure NO miscarriages. No loss of ones very own child. None of that form of deep pain and suffering.

If this is what the Beis HaMikdash achieved, don't we as Jewish women ALL want the Beis haMikdash back again?

If you do, please join us in our Worldwide Women's Tehillim Group. We unite women around the world through reciting Tehillim every Shabbos during daylight hours. We have at present women in Israel, South Africa, USA and Australia, but we only have enough to cover the sefer Tehillim once. Many women do several Tehillim.

As one member sent an email this morning "Many thanks for all your hard organisation - it's such a special and important group!"

Please join us. Help us unite and recite the prayers and praises of Hashem that contain healing abilities beyond our wildest dreams.

We are taught that the Geula (the Final Redemption) will come through the merit of Righteous Women. Come on ladies, we need you.

Please also join us in increasing our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity. We have thus far assisted to pay off the Mikvah Debts of 4 women and are raising funds for a 5th. We have helped over 40 women to ease their Mikvah Expenses.

Of those Mikvaot that we know of thus far, there is a need for at least US$1515 between them to help cover the Mikvah Costs of those women who can not pay. Even if the Mikvaot permit theese women to come in for free, there is still the cost to the Mikvah for the water, electricity, towels, soap, shampoo etc etc.

Please make your contribution to assist these important projects.

Join us in working to hasten the coming of our Righteous Redeemer and the Building of our Holy Temple

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Please Assist a Young Jewish Mother

Someone contacted me recently asking if we could assist her friend through our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity. Her friend is a young mother from Jerusalem who is having a very hard time. She had a complicated and traumatic delivery of her baby which ended in her having a certain infection. She has tried various treatments from regular allopathic doctors without success.

In desperation she began turning to alternative therapies and still has had no relief. More and more this young mother finds her self needing to sleep yet grappling with how to complete her list of things to do in caring for a young baby and running her house.

Some months after the birth of her baby, the Kollel her husband was learning in went into difficulty and for several months were unable to pay their Avreichim.

What could they do, life had to continue but life had come a long hard struggle for which they don't see a light at the end of their tunnel.

When it came time to begin going to the Mikvah again, this young mother had no choice but to tell the kind Mikvah lady that she would pay when they had money once more. Now she finds that several months have gone by and still their finances have not improved. Having thought it would just be a month or two, this young mother now owes the Mikvah $150.

We did manage to get a few sessions with Shoshanah sponsored and there is some progress. However she needs more treatments in order to return to being a functioning mother rather than a young Jewish woman who sleeps all day.

The Kollel is, thank G-d paying her husband once more, however, in the interim there is $150 debt to the Mikvah. Even though the Mikvah Ladies have been very kind in permitting her to use the Mikvah, she feels the need to honour this debt.

She would also dearly love to continue treatment sessions so as to fulfill her role as wife and mother and perhaps begin bringing in some parnassa working from home.

As we approach the 9 Days leading up to Tisha B'Av, we appeal to you to have mercy on this young Jewish mother and help her to regain her independence.

Thank you for your kindness. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. Remember by saving one person you save a whole world. By enabling this mother to be strong, healthy and independent, you are also helping her baby and any future children.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Searching for Your Zivug (Soulmate)

Navigating the winding and often complex path of Shidduchim is hard for many singles. To ease this process, many of the thoughts of advise and Eitza written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe have been compiled into a book on Shidduchim and Marriage.

When one plays the role of Shadchan, it is necessary to refresh one's memory of important points and concepts on this topic. One idea that was expressed in a number of excerpts that I read over Shabbos was as follows:

The Rebbe reminds men that they are to search for their zivug like one would search for a lost object and perhaps even more so. "(ie to invest even more energy in seeking a shidduch than one seeking a lost object).

Needless to say, this quest should be carried out in accordance with 'the path of the Torah' and with 'fear of Heaven' and with energetic input on the part of friends and relatives.

With regard to that which you write that you would like to know from the outset who is your intendend life partner - according to the guidelines and directives of the holy Torah, the Torah of life, it is important to follow the order of nature, (ie one's future is not foretold and is not for us to know)" Igros Kodesh Vol XIV p 23

The above guidance of the Rebbe offers some insight into the difficulty many potential new members of our Shidduch database pose. Often they ask why should we fill out so many answers and we want a guarantee that you already have our zivug on your database.

As the Rebbe outlines, we are not in the business of foretelling the future. We would love if your zivug is already on our database but it does happen that perhaps you join first and later your zivug. The important thing is to follow the ways of nature. Fill out the form, put in your effort to daven, keep in contact and work with us to help ease your path to Chuppah.

May it be G-d's will that the shidduch be in a good and auspicious hour.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Spotlight on Lena Kotliarker

The Autumn Wind by Lena Kotliarker

Our next spotlight on Israeli Artists is the talented Lena Kotliarker's. Lena has many beautiful paintings in her Etsy Store, each offering inspiration and delight to the viewer.

Lena is a full time artist who became interested in painting through symbolism and flowers. She obtains inspiration for her paintings from "The splendor of the Jewish history". Lena's main medium has been acylic, however she has started to paint in silk, with hot batik and in oil.

Lena was born in Kiev in the Ukraine and discovered her passion for painting in her early childhood. She was a pupil at the Art studio and completed her studies in the Spiritual Art Academy of Kiev Ukraine in 1993. She came to Israel in 1996.

Lena's paintings have been exhibited in the following exhibitions:
- Kiev Culture Center in 1996.
- Mikola's House in Kiev in 1996.
- Kiriat Ono Culture Center in 2003.
- Haifa Culture Union Center (Castro) in 2007.
- The group exhibition in Qiryat Ono "Koter Pais" Culture Center in February 2008.
- The group exhibition "Imagination Israeli Art Exhibition", Bank Hapoalim (Tel Aviv,
Israel) 2008 and 2009
- The group exhibition "In a far far away Kingdom", Skizza Club Gallery (Jerusalem, Israel)
- The group exhibition in Archeological Museum, Jaffo 2009
- Very Excitingly a Solo exposition in the First International Bank under patronage of the
"Shorashim" gallery (Tel-Aviv, Israel) 2009

Lena's paintings were also ublished in "Israeli artists", second book 2009

As you will see from the above painting, and others in her store, Lena's paintings are full of colour. The colours are applied with lots of movement in an abstract whirl, intertwining the various colours of the spectrum. Within the colours one can find various symbols such us, butterflies, flowers, birds, fish and various symbols of Judaica.

To see more of Lena's paintings, to place an order or to purchase one of her beautiful images, please visit her online Etsy store.

Enjoy these beautiful paintings and do send us some feedback. We would love to hear if you did in fact visit her store, or enjoyed this post or any other comments you might have.

Certified Infant Massage Instructor - Realization of a Dream

When I was 16 years old, towards the end of my high school career, I spent some time working as a "Sunshine Lady" in the main Teaching Hospital in Cape Town. The end of my shift was my favorite. For the last hour or hour and half I had the joy of feeding the premature babies. Amongst the instructions we were given was that should a baby fall asleep prior to completing the allocated fluid (either water or expressed milk or formula), we were to flick his/her foot to wake the baby and encourage him/her to complete their feed.

Fairly quickly I discovered that the foot could be flicked to wake the baby but when massage helped to calm him / her. Rubbing the back also seemed to be beneficial both in the baby releasing wind and in settling to go to sleep.

After High School I spent a year in London working as an Au Pair. The family I worked for had a nearly 4 year old and a baby born 6 weeks after I arrived. Usually when one works as an Au Pair, certain hours are free for the Au Pair to learn the language of the country. Since English is my mother tongue, I spent this time doing various courses, one of them being a course in massage.

The massage I learned was taught on adults, however, shortly after doing the course, I discovered an invaluable use for this skill. The little baby I was taking care of had developed colic and was not responding to gripe water. Instinctively I began massaging his tummy and found it helped. Another wonderful tool was to consciously relax and do some deep breathing while walking around with him or rocking him. It was wonderful to find how the more relaxed and confident I was with him, the more he settled down. When, on the other hand, I got flustered by his crying for close to an hour, his crying continued. It felt so wonderful to help a baby in such an easy manner.

A few years later, as a qualified occupational therapist, I again found the invaluable benefit of massage and touch with a number of blind and hearing impaired children I worked with. When one sense is not working to its optimum, the other senses become more heightened and fine tuned. Appropriate and caring touch certainly showed to make a world of difference, especially in building trust between the therapist and child.

During this time, I worked with a woman who was having difficulties with her new born. The difficulties were most pronounced during feeding times and nursing. After an initial interview, it became evident that one difficulty was that the mother had expected her baby to be a certain gender and when it was born as the opposite, she went into a mourning period. Where was the baby she thought she was having? Two invaluable tools used where guided visualization and encouraging her to touch and look at her baby when nursing. It was wonderful to watch how the baby began to progress and develop facial expression in place of a blank glazed look.

Through my many years working in occupational therapy and alternative therapy I found tremendous satisfaction from teaching preventative health techniques, strategies and lifestyle. Amongst this, a few years ago, I worked on developing a program to combat Post Natal Depression and whilst doing so, was repeatedly asked if I could teach the Mom's to massage their babies. Since I had adapted the massage I had learned for adults on babies and used a lot of intuition, together with professional knowledge, I did not feel equipped to teach a specific sequence of massage to the mothers.

When I was back in South Africa to get married, my mother showed me an advert. "Learn how to teach infant massage with an instructor through an Internationally Recognized Organization". As things turned out, the next course was starting just as I returned to Israel. However, the course found it's way back to me.

I am delighted to say that I am now a Certified Infant Massage Instructor through the International Association of Infant Massage. Yes, I completed my course in Israel all in Hebrew.

I have already taught a number of mother's the course and the more I work with it the more the original joy and magic of this gift comes alive. Massaging ones own baby is the greatest gift a parent (both Moms and Dads) can give to their child. The benefits are clearly visible fairly quickly.

There is no sound more precious than the total silence of 5 or 6 babies completely content as their mommies learn the massage strokes, practicing on them of course. There is no greater satisfaction than hearing that an 8 week old baby who had not managed to sleep more than 5 minutes at a time and begun to sleep for 20 minutes then 3/4 hour then an hour and 20 minutes and finally was in a good sleep rhythm. All from being massaged by his parent.

It is wonderful to hear a new Mom relaxed and calm as she shares that her "hyperactive, super sensitive baby" is now an absolute bundle of joy.

Whether the baby is born premature or full term. Whether the baby is born healthy or with special needs. All babies benefit from Infant Massage. Yes there are a few precautions and yes there are certain guidelines. Hence the course that teaches mothers the dos and donts, the hows and whys.

If you have a baby, whether your first or your 8th or more, come on the Infant Massage Course. The course is only 5 sessions and the results will last a lifetime and even to the next generation.

For more details or to sign up for a class, please email Shoshanah.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Learning from Hillel the Sage

It is human nature to judge the value of a person by his bank account. Did you know that the great Hillel, one of our Sages who was also the leader of his generation, the Nasi, was once very poor? We are taught that he used to divide everything he earned into two parts. One part he used to buy bread for his wife and children and the other part he used to pay the watchmen of the Beis Midrash to allow him to enter and study Torah from the great teachers Shemaya and Avtalyon.

Once Hillel was unable to find any work and did not earn enough money. It was Friday, Erev Shabbos. Hillel was unable to buy candles, wine and flour for challos in honour of Shabbos. Greater than his distress at not having these necessities for Shabbos, was his inability to pay the watchmen of the Beis Midrash so as to learn Torah from the great teachers.

Hillel passed by the Beis Midrash and yearned to be inside learning. As he thought of how he longed to be inside learning, Hillel had an idea. He climbed up to the roof and lay down on the skylight. From here he was able to hear the sweet sound of the Torah learning from the mouths of Shemaya and Avtalyon. In addition he was able to see their faces as they were sitting in the room, next to the stove.

He lay in this way, all day, listening intently. This incident took place during the month of Teves which falls in the middle of winter. Hillel was so engrossed in listening to the Torah learning that he did not notice the cold or that night had begun. Hillel lost consciousness due to the cold. Snow began to fall and gradually covered Hillel.

In the meantime, inside the Beis Midrash, the rabbis ushered in Shabbos with joy. They made kiddush, ate their meal and continued with their Torah learning until morning. As the day began, it became clear that inside was dark, something was obscuring the light from coming through the skylight. They looked up and saw a face staring down at them from the skylight.

The talmidim rushed up to the roof. They removed the snow until they found the man who had been lying across the skylight. They looked at his face and recognized their friend Hillel.

Speedily they took Hillel down from the roof and brought him into the Beis Midrash. Despite being Shabbos, they did what was necessary to revive Hillel and placed him next to the warm fire. Shemaya and Avtalyon stated that it is permissible to desecrate Shabbos to save a human life and even more so for Hillel who had been dangerously sick from exposure to the cold and snow.

From this time on, Hillel studied together with these great sages until he too became one of our leaders. (Talmud, tractate Yoma 35b)

While it is true that money should not be an obstacle to studying Torah and Hillel clearly demonstrated. Nevertheless it is rare to find someone of the stature of Hillel in today's generation - a weakened generation. This story about Hillel shows us the potential that someone can have if given the right opportunity. There are many Jews who find themselves wanting to learn but are unable to dedicate the time to learning as they are caught up in financial matters. In addition, those who could benefit from their learning and teaching, miss out as the person is unable to pursue his true path.

Become a financial partner with our Yeshiva and assist in enabling Torah scholars to realize their potential. For more information either visit our website or be in touch with Rabbi Eliyahu Shear directly.

Building In The Place of Destruction

The Torah, Am Yisrael (symbolized by the rose) and Hashem (symbolized by the Kotel) are ONE, indivisible, existing for and with the other.
The image by Shear Success Photographers is one of a series of 4 Fridge Magnets available for sale through the Yeshiva and through our online store

Today is the 17th of Tamuz, one of the "minor" fast days for the Jewish Nation. I say minor as the reason for the fast to me is quite serious. On the 17th of Tamuz, 5 calamities took place, one of them being the burning of the sefer Torah in the time of the second Temple.

To me, this one is horrific. The thought of a sefer Torah burning cuts to the bone. The Jewish Nation was freed from slavery in Egypt through open miracles by our Living G-d in order for us to receive the Torah at Sinai. How can it be that a sefer Torah was burnt?

The destruction of both Temples are quite a mystery and the only consolation is the knowledge that Hashem promised us that He will build a third and final Beis haMikdash.

If you have been following or reading this blog and its twin
Dwelling Place Below I hope it is becoming clear that we are working towards developing a Yeshiva whose focus is learning how to live in this world, so as to make this world fitting for G-d to live amongst us.

As has been mentioned in other posts, the Torah response to tragedy, other than fasting is to increase our efforts of returning to the ways of Hashem. What better opposite of the burning of a sefer Torah would there be than the restoring of one. Please do visit our website regarding our Healing Sefer Torah.

Make your contribution today and become a part of restoring a 150 year old Sefer Torah to be used for the Minyan of our Yeshiva.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity !

Monday, 6 July 2009

Please, Think of Others Throughout Your Shidduchim

When setting up our Shidduch Service, one of the first tasks we carried out was to compile a comprehensive questionnaire that would enable us to get to know our clients and also for them to know themselves better. As with anything different to the norm, we get many complaints. Why is your questionnaire long or longer than usual? How can you expect us to take time to fill out all that? Why so many questions?

Over the past few weeks we learned an important lesson that turned these questions around. We began to realize that even with the thoroughness we try to go to, still we are not obtaining enough information. In the space of a few weeks, some recent Shidduchim we had arranged each took a similar turn. The reason being that one of the parties involved suddenly threw in information that they had previously withheld from us.

One went so far as to be uspet that we would set up a Shidduch that did not meet x criteria. We scoured the questionnaire, and that information was not present. We searched through our notes and that information was not present. At no time had this single or the others with the same problem notified us of certain factors that were important to them.

In order not to come up with this kind of problem, we wish to highlight to any Jewish singles wanting to work with us or with any other Shadchan. Most Shadchanim do not have Ruach HaKodesh or read minds. It is therefore the responsibility of the Jewish single to inform the Shadchan of all their needs and requirements. If something is important enough to turn down an otherwise good shidduch, then please, you need to admit that and inform your Shadchan in advance. Failing to do so not only wastes your time and upsets the Shadchan but could hurt or embarrass a fellow Jew (G-d forbid).

So we ask, please do take the time to complete the questionnaire as honestly as possible and then read it again and fill in any gaps. The more information you give us, the easier it will be to help you. We do understand that we are all human, and hence, if you forget to notify us of something that is important to you, please just let us know when you remember. If we set up a Shidduch based on all the other information but without that important key that was not given to us, please do forgive us. We can only work on the information that you provide us with. Yes, any additional information provided by your references is factored in, but we prefer to hear important facts directly from you.

We look forward to hearing from all Jewish singles. If you are Jewish, single and serious about getting married, do be in touch.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing good news for all Jewish singles and for Am Yisrael as a whole

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Honouring Our Fellow Jew

The story is told of Rav Chaim of Sanz and his wonderful acts of kindness. He was known to give generously of his own funds and in addition to raise funds from wealthy Jews to help worthy causes. Rav Chaim was careful to always go collecting funds together with another Jew.

On one particular occasion, Rav Chaim learned that a Jew who had been wealthy became bankrupt and so he began collecting sufficient funds to set this man back on his feet. Here ,to begin with, we find tremendous respect for his fellow Jew, that he should be able to continue at the level he was accustomed to.

Rav Chaim arranged for a trustee to go with him to visit another wealthy Jew in order to request a donation of five hundred rubbles for this cause. When they arrived, the wealthy Jew asked Rav Chaim what the worhty cause was and whether the cause was public or private in nature. To this Rav Chaim answered that it was to help a wealthy Jew who had fallen on hard times and needed capital to get back on his feet.

Hearing this, the wealthy man became curious and asked who it was for, to which Rav Chaim insisted that he could not divulge further details, for it would embarrass the Jew involved. Rav Chaim added that the wealthy man would just have to trust him.

The wealthy Jew then stated that he had no doubts that it was for a good cause and was prepared to give several thousand rubbles if necessary, but needed to know who it was for.

The trustee accompanying Rav Chaim tried to persuade him to give in and reveal the identity of the man they were raising funds to help. However, Rav Chaim stood his ground. He would not risk embarrassing another Jew not for any amount of donation offered.

The wealthy Jew's curiosity was further roused and he again tried to press to learn more information and to offer more of a donation. The trustee, thinking revealing more information would lead to a sizable donation, tried again to pursuade Rav Chaim that it was for a good cause. Rav Chaim responded "It is very generous and praiseworthy of you to offer such a large sum, but this other man's honour is worth more to me. Even if you were to give me the entire sum he needs, I would refuse to reveal his identity."

The story continues and has a happy ending, however it is this point that I wish to highlight. As can been seen on our blogs and website we too often put in our efforts to assist various Jews we know of who are in need of assistance for one reason or another. All those that we assist are known to us and have a letter from their rabbi or doctor to verrify their situation. However, this information is known only to us. Like Rav Chaim of Sanz, we make it a policy to respect and honour those who we attempt to assist. We ask then that anyone wishing to make a donation please trust that we do work to help those who genuinely need assistance, as can be seen from a Letter of Approbation by Rav Fishel Jacobs

In the merit of the wonderful example set by Rav Chaim of Sanz, may we master honouring every Jew and remember that their dignity comes before our curiosity.

The Harmful Effects of Cell Phones

As we have learned in other posts on this blog, the Rambam (Maimonedes) one of our great Sages and a doctor, teaches that prevention is better than cure.

When the current recession began a number of months ago, the Gerer Rebbe recommended reducing cell phone usage as it is costly. The truth is that the costs of cell phone usage is far greater than financial.

Have a look at this interview of Dr George Carlo, talking about the effects of cell phones.

As you might have heard, Dr George Carlo explains that thus far in the USA, there are 30 000 - 50 000 cases of brain and eye cancer attributed to cell phone usage. By the year 2010, that is just next year they predict 500 000 cases of brain and eye cancer due to cell phone usage.

In addition, studies show that the effects of radiation are leading to an increase in learning difficulties and autism. While various treatments are available, including my profession of occupational therapy to help with these problems, the better route is prevention.

There are a range of products available that are scientifically tested and can offer protection to a large extent. More information will be posted on this blog. If you are interested in ordering your chip to put into the cell phone so as to protect you, please contact Shoshanah


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