Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wedding in Meah Sharim

Some time ago I posted about the book Coming Up to Yerushalyaim with Chana Pappenheim which tells the story of a family of German Jews who settled in Meah Sharim, Jerusalem. I was at a wedding this week that I am told was held in a hall built by that family. It was an old Yishuv style wedding and very impressive for being so low key. The chuppah was held outside and it was very humble. The civudim were simple. No big announcements followed by the long march up to the chupah. All the men who had anything to do with the kiddushin were already standing there. The women were so modest and maybe 30 meters away, davening. There was no photographer that I saw and certainly no photography umbrellas or flashing lights. Interestingly, the smashing of the cup came before the sheva brachos. The kallah was completely covered. I couldn't see her face. When it was all done, a man said, mazel tov, mazel tov. And the chason and kallah walked off, not to raucous singing and jumping. We then went to the hall and the first thing I saw was a table for the poor. Then a room of only men. I believe the women were in another room entirely. The music consisted only of drums and singers. It was not loud. You could hear yourself think. They started serving some food. The whole experience was very positive and absent of so much of what at least I find distasteful in weddings today - the noise, the flashing cameras, the over-the-top wild dancing, immodesty, and materialism.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Judaism is not an appurtenance to life


"Judaism is not an appurtenance to life, and to be a Jew is not part of the mission of life. Judaism encompasses life in its entirety. To be a Jew is a sum of our life's mission-in synagogue and in kitchen; in field and in counting-house; in the office and on the speaker's platform; like father, like mother, like son, like daughter; like servant, like master; as man, as citizen, in thought and in feeling, in word and in deed, in times of pleasure, in hours of abstinence; with needle as with chisel or with pen. To be a Jew--in a life which in its totality is borne on the word of the Lord and is perfected in harmony with the will of God-this is the scope and goal of Judaism. Since Judaism encompasses the whole of man and in keeping with its explicit mission, proclaims the happiness of the whole of mankind, it is improper to confine its teachings within the "four ells" of the house of study or of the home of the Jew. Insofar as the Jew is a Jew, his views and objectives become universal. He will not be a stranger to anything which is good, true and beautiful in art and in science, in civilization and in learning. He will greet with blessing and joy everything of truth, justice, peace, and the ennobling of man, wherever it be revealed He will hold firmly to this breadth of view in order to fulfill his mission as a Jew and to live up to the function of his Judaism in areas never imagined by his father. He shall dedicate himself with joy to every true advance in civilization and enlightenment. But all this on condition that he be never obliged to sacrifice his Judaism at any new level but rather fulfill it with even greater perfection."

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, 1854
Quoted in Guardians of Our Heritage, p. 290

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wisdom from the Gentiles: Mark Twain

Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.

- Mark Twain

So for Torah Jews this means within Torah bounds each man must apply his mind to the course he will take.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Secular Studies - The Tanya

Following what seem like disparaging remarks on secular studies, we see this:

"Unless he employs [these sciences] as a useful instrument, viz., as a means of a more affluent livelihood to be able to serve G‑d, or knows how to apply them in the service of G‑d and His Torah. This is the reason why Maimonides and Nachmanides, of blessed memory, and their adherents, engaged in them."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

German Orthodox Style Chazzanut in Beit Shemesh

This Shabbos, beshalach in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph at the ULAM sport center, sorek 12, 5 pm friday, 7:45 saturday, the Halelu Choir will conduct services. This is very much in the German Orthodox style and is quite moving. For men and women.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ad for These and These

"On p.31 of the January 1967 issue of 'The Jewish Observer' of Agudath Israel of America."

These and Those advertisement2.PNG

Thanks to anonymous reader