Saturday, December 31, 2005

Shvantz Of The Week

This week's award goes to one of my favorites, the one and only Billy Graham. He didn't do anything this week, he just had it coming. I always suspected that he was a Jew hater, and this was confirmed for me when Newsweek published transcripts of the Nixon white house tapes a while ago. He said some very ugly things about our people to the president when he did not know he was being recorded. This comes as no surprise to me since the founder of the Protestant church, Martin Luther was a virulent Jew-hater.

PS. To see Martin Luther's work of christian love entitled "On the Jews and their Lies" click

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hertzl vs The Chofetz Chaim - An Answer

To me Hertzl is the obvious winner. No disrespect to the Chofetz Chaim, a great Jewish leader, and teacher of my great-uncle (see my post "One In Six Million"), but we already had many codes of Jewish law by that time, and there has never been a shortage of people willing to take on that task when needed. As for the whole loshon horo thing, I really could live without all those bumper stickers.
Hertzl on the other hand, created a singularly important event for the Jewish people. If only we had his courage and foresight sooner, great tragedy could have been avoided.
Theodore Hertzl was born Jewish, and raised with little or no Jewish heritage. He was a journalist by trade, and was greatly affected by the Dreyfus affair. He suddenly realized the precarious situation of his people, and dedicated the remainder of his short life to helping his fellow Jew. His actions and opinions were not popular, not within the circle of his professional contemporaries, the "intelligensia", and not even among his fellow Jews. This did not deter him at all - he had tremendous vision, knew what was right, and acted on it. Hertzl sacrificed his career, family life and friends for his people. His ahavas yisroel (love for his fellow Jew) was unrivaled.
The Agudas yisroel version of history demonizes Hertzl, calling him anti-religious, mocking the Uganda idea, and trivializing his accomplishments . Perhaps they are jealous that a "Hertzl" did not emerge from their ranks. Perhaps they can not admit to any greatness outside of the" daled amos" of halachah. But we must remember the words of Chazal about Charvonah in Megilas Esther. They call him "Charvonah of blessed memory" because he simply told the king about Haman's gallows. If we can venerate a gentile for a simple action can't we recognize a Jew for a lifetime of sacrifice for his people? The Agudas yisroel and the charedi world should not be so haughty as to think they understand all of G-d's plans. After all, didn't Mordechai ask: "Who knows? Perhaps this is precisely why G-d placed us in this very situation?"
Who knows? Maybe G-d is thinking "You were in exile, oppressed by cruel people in strange lands. You prayed for help, and I sent it to you, and you don't even recognize it or thank me for it."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Shvantz Of The Week

This week's (belated) award goes to Bill O'Reilly and anyone else at Fox news who is responsible for inventing the ridiculous, so-called "war on christmas". That anyone could think christians are persecuted in this country makes me laugh out loud. Attn: any christians who think they are persecuted - please pick up a history book and learn the true meaning of persecution (and not a history book from the christian book store).

Happy Festivus

I would like to wish everyone a belated happy Festivus, especially to all the fine Jews listed in the sidebar, and of course to BT, without whom there is no reason to celebrate. I know that the holiday was on Friday, but I had no time to post before shabbos, and this blog is shomer shabbos.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Today's Question: Hertzl vs The Chofetz Chaim

A Question for today:

Who did more for the Jewish people, Theodore Hertzl, or the Chofetz Chaim?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Attention Brooklyn Frummies:

Attention Brooklyn Frummies:
You were born in America. Your parents were born in America. Why do you speak with an accent?
It's not even an accent that occurs naturally anywhere in the world. It is like you are enunciating every syllable as if you are saying krias shema. Does G-d love you more if you talk like that?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Shvantz Of The Week

This week's award goes to none other than Steven Spielberg for pushing his distorted " moral equivalence " interpretation of the middle east conflict in his new major motion picture - "Munich".

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dennis Prager and Christianity

Last week a fine Jew wrote a piece on Dennis Prager and his warm feelings for Christianity. This reminded me of something that has been bothering me for a long time. Now I like Dennis Prager, he is well meaning and has a yiddishe kup, but there are some things that he is absolutely wrong about.
Dennis Prager in his defense of religion in general, and specifically of christianity, admits that religious (christian) countries in the past have commited atrocities - even in the name of God. This however is all whitewashed, because he states that it happened long ago and christians do not behave that way in the modern era.
Here comes the best part: He states that the the two most evil regimes of modern times - Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union were secular, anti-religious countries. As part of his broader attack on secularism, he blames the evil actions of these countries specifically on their secularist philosophies.
This is where Mr. Prager is dead wrong. Nazi Germany may have been a secular, anti-religious government, but the vast majority of Germans were Lutherans. You can not erase centuries of religious culture with a new government. This has been demonstrated time and time again. Martin Luther himself was a virulent jew hater (for a sample of his anti-semitic writings please click on my link to outreach judaism), and his influence in that culture was manifest long after he was dead and buried. What I'm saying is: the atrocities of Nazi Germany did not happen in spite of Germany being a christian country, it happened precisely because it was a christian country. The Nazi regime could not have existed without the support of the christian Germans.
Obviously, The same case can be made for the Stalinist regime. The Catholic or Russian Orthodox people of that regime tolerated and carried out evil acts against their own people (not to mention what they did to the jews). Did they suddenly give up their religion and culture because Stalin said so? I don't think so! They were christians before Stalin came along and remained christians after he was gone, and history tells us that christians torture and kill other people when they have the means and opportunity.
As a matter of fact, it would seem that the more secular the culture, the less atrocities will be commited by that culture and the more fundamentalist the culture, the more atrocities will be commited by that culture (ie. Muslim cultures).
So you see Mr. Prager, even though you dislike liberals, you can not blame the world's evil on secularism. What you must do is ask your fair-weather christian friends some very uncomfortable questions.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Questions That Rabbis Don't Like

Why don't we eat chicken during the nine days?

We don't eat meat during the nine days because meat (red meat) is considered simcha ( joy).

Chicken is considered meat by the rabbis only because they wanted to prevent confusion over eating meat and milk together. Lest someone get confused and say that meat and milk is permissable because chicken and meat is permissable, they put chicken in the same category as meat in regards to the eating of meat and milk together.

However, the aspect of meat that makes it prohibited during the nine days is simcha, a quality that chicken does not posess. Therefore it makes no sense that chicken should be prohibited during the nine days.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Shvantz Of The Week

This week's award goes to my Jewish neighbor. He leaves his house every weekday morning between 6:00 and 6:30am, piles his 18 or so kids into a huge white van and makes sure that he and his litter make absolutely as much noise as possible. I don't hear it because he lives around the corner from me, but it makes me cringe to think what our gentile neighbors are thinking.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shvantz Of The Week

This week's Shvantz of the week award goes to John Kerry! In response to Bush's speech at the Naval Academy, he put together the stupidest collection of words ever uttered in public. Way to go Lurch! - JF

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One Out of Six Million

Hello everyone!
This feels good. The Jewish Freak has a lot to say.
For my first post I submit the story of my great-uncle. It was written in Hebrew by my maternal grandmother's sister who moved to Israel before WWII. The imperfect translation is my own.

In order to understand the magnitude of the holocaust, I ask the reader to remember that this is only one story of one person out of six million murdered.

by B.B.

Regarding my brother Dovid, there is so much to write about. Who in our town was not familiar with Dovid? Who in all the surrounding area did not hear of his righteousness and good deeds? He was so great a tzadik (righteous person) that few were on par with him, even in those days. When he was still a young boy, he was already spending his days and nights in the Beis Midrash (study hall) concerning himself with Torah and Avodah (service). His mother would beg and plead with him to come home to eat because there were times that he forgot he even needed to eat.
While still in his youth he was ordained as a Rabbi (teacher). The study of Torah literally was never absent from his lips. He kept with him at all times the book "Chofeytz Chayim" ("He who desires life" written by one of the greatest rabbis of his generation) and would constantly be studying from it. He also travelled to the town of Radin - hundreds of kilometers from Tarnobjek (his home town) in order to visit with the famous Chofeytz Chayim (the famous rabbi named for the book he penned).
Not only did Dovid distinguish himself in the study of torah, but also and perhaps even more so did he distinguish himself with his acts of charity and piety. All poor people when feeling downtrodden and bitter in spirit would turn to him - and he would help them all! Between mincha and maariv (afternoon and evening prayers) he would make the rounds in the beis midrash to collect funds for the poor. Similarly, he would concern himself with all of the poor people who came from outside of the town and would invite them to the beis midrash to feed them and also to give them money. He organized a system of written obligations for all of the heads of housholds in order to obligate them to feed the poor once a week or at least once every two weeks. In this manner did every poor person who came to our town receive a proper meal with dignity in an efficient and organized way.
On Friday evenings he did not return home from prayers until he had arranged for all of the needy who were strangers in town, a place to eat the Sabbath meal. Any remaining poor who were not set up for a meal with any of the townspeople - and most of these remainders were among the poorest of the poor, ragged and worn - Dovid would bring these people home with him! When mother would ask why he couldn't bring home a better class of poor, he replied: "And who will take in these poor? Should I have left them with no place to eat for the sabbath"?
Dovid married a woman from the town of Madin(?) and settled there. There too he continued to grow and strengthen his service of G-d. He was dilligent in his Torah and Avodah and he involved himself in acts of charity and good deeds. The townspeople who had already heard of him before his arrival, recognized his greatness even more now, seeing his precious righteousness and good deeds. After only a short time had passed, he was accepted as an authority and Dayan (judge in the jewish court). He was one who observed the edict "Do not fear any person" in his legal decisions. He would not superficially flatter the townspeople. On the contrary, he would chastize them, and was insistent on the correctness of every detail. They all extended honor to him, feared him, and tried to improve their ways.
His greatness and righteousness can not be described in words. This became apparent to those who were with him at the time of his greatest challenge, when the evil ones took him to be killed. It was told to me that when the jews of Poland learned of their bitter fate, and the deportation of the jews to their destruction had begun, the parrish priest upon hearing of Dovid's righteousness, offered to save him from the Nazi's claws and to hide him in safety. But he refused saying: "If you can not save all the jews of the town, then my fate shall be with them".
On the day of the deportation, he removed the Torah scrolls from the Ark and said to the people of the town: "Don your talleisim (prayer shawls) and we will go with joy to give our lives in sanctification of G-d's exalted name"! He donned his white robe and tallis, purified and sanctified himself, took a Torah scroll in hand and began to dance with great enthusiasm. With a fiery expression born of joyfulness and holiness he went to meet his death. He was lost together with his wife and children. May G-d avenge his blood, and may the righteous be remembered for a blessing. - B.B.

My grandmother's gravesite bears the names of her parents and five of her siblings mercilessly taken from her before their time.
May their nazi murderers pay the price of the jewish lives they took. - JF

A personal note:
Rav Dovid - I have undertaken that you should not be forgotten. I have named my oldest son after you. The memory of you and your deeds are an inspiration and a blessing to all jews for all times. - Your admiring great nephew (Soroh's grandson).