Torah and Jewish Idea => Torah and Jewish Idea => Topic started by: Lisa on October 27, 2006, 03:10:13 PM

Title: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: Lisa on October 27, 2006, 03:10:13 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm Jewish but not all that observant.  I posted these questions in the ask JFT section for Chaim.  However I thought I'd post them here as well to get your feedback.

I know that Jews are not supposed to work on the Sabbath.  But with all due respect, I don't understand why that would mean you are not allowed to push a baby stroller or carry an umbrella when you're walking to the synagogue and it's raining outside.  Wouldn't it be more work to carry your small children?  Now granted, many cities and towns have Eruvs put up so that Jews can do what they do at home when they go out.  But in my experience, that never ever mattered to the people running the Orthodox Synagogue my parents used to belong to.  Women were not allowed to carry even small purses, and the strollers were all left by the door.    And mind you, there was definitely an Eruv around the town/synagogue.

Speaking of Orthodox synagogues, why is the use of a microphone prohibited, where as the room has electricity and heat and lighting?

On another note what do you think of the fact that some Jews who observe Yom Kippur and fast will set their VCR's to automatically turn on and off during that night and following day for specific TV shows and movies?  To me, it seems kind of hypocritical because you ARE still watching television or seeing a movie, and being entertained, like you would do any other day of the year.  The only thing is, you didn't press a few buttons.  And isn't the whole point of Yom Kippur to NOT be entertained that day?

Thanks for your time.

Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: Tzvi Ben Roshel1 on October 27, 2006, 04:43:58 PM
first of all I would reccoment you going to an Orthodox Rabbi for your questions. but okay I will tell you a(very) little of the answer, - Melaha doesnt exactly translate into "work" the way we would use it in English.

"Speaking of Orthodox synagogues, why is the use of a microphone prohibited, where as the room has electricity and heat and lighting?"

becuase the heat and lighting are turned on BEFORE Shabb-t, and anything concidered "work" is perfectly allowed before Shabb-t, while once Shabb-t or Yom Tov starts its prohibited. A microphone has a technicall problem in that by some 1 speaking into it, it causes the mic to work directly changing eloctronically inside , ( IOI cant exactly explain the science behind it, but it does exist, ask a Rav he will explain exactly the technicall probriety of a mic, that makes it assur.)  - on a side note new phones came out in Israel , that has eliminted that problem and are allowed to be used on Shabb-t. ( but it depends who you use the phone with , if the person on the other line is Jewish and doesnt have that phone that just came out then it would also be forbidden for you to call him/her.

      "On another note what do you think of the fact that some Jews who observe Yom Kippur and fast will set their VCR's to automatically turn on and off during that night and following day for specific TV shows and movies?  To me, it seems kind of hypocritical because you ARE still watching television or seeing a movie, and being entertained, like you would do any other day of the year.  The only thing is, you didn't press a few buttons.  And isn't the whole point of Yom Kippur to NOT be entertained that day?"

 You are right in that it is a bad thing to do, BUT technically speaking they arent on the same level as some 1 who directly turns on the telivision or doesnt fast. On Yom Kippur what we should do is focus on Spirituality the whole day.
 Think about why you were shown these things by G-d and you will (since it is not constructive criticism completly) then it is becuase G-d is showing You a lack of other people in order and becuase he wants you to see it and change yourself and be keeping Shabb-t.
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: davkakach on October 27, 2006, 06:49:16 PM
On another note what do you think of the fact that some Jews who observe Yom Kippur and fast will set their VCR's to automatically turn on and off during that night and following day for specific TV shows and movies?
As far as I know, Orthodox Jews are not supposed to watch TV at home.

To me, it seems kind of hypocritical because you ARE still watching television or seeing a movie, and being entertained, like you would do any other day of the year.
I share your sentiment.

As someone who is gradually doing Teshuva, I can tell you that the most important, most basic, and most difficult commandment in the entire Torah is "Kabbalat Ol Malchut Shama'im"---the acceptance of the Yoke of Heaven.  Performing a Mitzva not because it makes sense to you, but because you were commanded to do it by Him who created this world.  This is something that even the greatest rabbis, not to mention the miserable ones of our generation (with very few exceptions, most notable one being Rav Meir Kahane HY"D) have difficulty with.  Lighting up your stove at home on Shabbat is wrong, but it is NOTHING compared to the criminal abominations and desecration of G-d's name committed by phony "rabbis" in Israel and especially in the U.S.  There are very few Jewish religious or secular leaders you can look up to, and the mere fact of your interest in authentic Judaism and your interest in minute details of Halacha are commendable.  However, without a firm foundation in understanding the authentic Jewish Idea, I'm afraid that any initiative on your part to be more observant will be very short-lived.  I speak from exprience.  I know that for you and for me, there will come a time when we regard keeping Shabbat not as a burden but as a blessed privilege that we look forward to during the week, and this spiritual stage can be reached naturally if you follow a careful regimen.

My advice is that before you concern yourself with details of the various Mitzvot, lay down a firm foundation by reading as many of Rav Kahane's books as possible to understand the authentic Jewish Idea, which lay dormant for 2000 years because of our accursed exile (and despised status among the nations), and was revived by the Rav.  I read lots of Judaism-related books written by great sages, but only Rav Kahane's books instill in me pride in being Jewish, and the willingness to accept upon myself the Yoke of Heaven.  Although the ideal is that each Jew be a complete Tzadik and fulfill all 613 commandments perfectly with complete devotion and intention, you can still be a VERY GOOD Jew and bring tremendous honor to our people and consecrate G-d's name even if you don't fufill some commandments.  Some prominent scriptural figures led imperfect lives, yet they are considered Tzadikim by our sages.  And, as you know (if you managed to listen to one of Chaim's recent shows), Rav Kahane was elected to the Knesset in '84 thanks to a timely donation of funds by a secular Jew who was a self-professed atheist, and who remained an atheist until the day he died.

I highly recommend that you study Hebrew, if only to be able to read Rav Kahane's incredible book, Ohr HaRa'ayon.  This remarkable book should be the foundation for all subsequent study of the Scriptures.  And, of course, once you know Hebrew, you will be able to immerse yourself in the vast sea of wisdom of the Torah and Oral Tradition.  The more I study it, the more I appreciate it, and the more I am convinced it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  For example, today, on the way to work, I was reading a Jewish Ethics book (Sefer Musar) called "Sefer Hamidot" (by Magid of Duvna), and I came across a passage that reminded me a lot of the Taoist philosophy of yin-yang (with the exception that we, Jews, don't believe in a void, that somethingness spontaneously came out of nothingness; rather, we believe in G-d, and that G-d created this world).  Here is my informal translation (page 183):

"... Evil is the root of Good in this world, and mourning --- the root of happiness.  Because just as the root precedes the fruit, and the soil precedes the tree, so the soil is more abundant than the tree and inferior to the tree, and the tree is larger and inferior in quality to the fruit it bears, and so that which is lacking and inferior exceeds that which is complete."

This describes in general terms the spiritual evolutionary process of a society, and of mankind in general.  And it is just a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of the vast sea wisdom of our Scriptures and our sages' commentary on them, that even a lifetime of study is not sufficient to master.  There is no reason for a Jew to look for "meaning" elsewhere---all the meaning that we will ever need is right here, in our remarkable faith, and we are so lucky to be Jewish, thank G-d!

Shabbat Shalom.
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: Alex on October 28, 2006, 12:16:50 AM
Beautiful words.
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: jdl4ever on October 29, 2006, 02:08:48 PM
Davkakach's comments were beautiful.  All I would like to add is that anyone who sets their TV on a timer to go off on the Sabbath or Yom Kippur is angering G-d immensely for the whole purpose of these holidays is for you to set asside your daily activites and become close to G-d.  While technically they are not doing any work since the timer was set before hand, it is still wrong to do and G-d will punish those who knowingly do evil even if it doesn't directly violate a commandment (see the last prophet, Malachi where G-d was extremely angered over those who keep the Sabbath but who spend the whole day engaging in business talk and said if the Jews want to do G-d's will they will call the Sabbath a delight to G-d). 

You absolutely must listen to Rav Kahane's speaches and read his books and then you will uncover the truth.  We don't observe G-d's commandments because we understand them, we observe them because G-d commanded us to do so and they must be correct.  The Torah's purpose is for us love G-d by emulating him. This is done by observing his commandments and studying the Torah.  Just as G-d is incomprehensible to mere mortals so to are many of the commandments.  First we observe them and then we try our best to find out the reason for them. Some we are not on the cognitive level to figure out.  Pushing a baby stroller and carrying an umbrella are considered carrying and are forbidden on Shabbat without an Eruv because carrying is a type of work.  This is very logical just like lighting a small fire is considered work.  Talking on a microphone is forbidden because it MAY directly or indirectly involve lighting a fire since it may have small lights going off in the indicator equipment, and electrical sparks going off in the transformers or circuiry.  While there are microphones where such things do not occur, the orthodox community bans all electrical devices since it is very probable that many of them do involve lighting a fire and this is a big sin so we are stringent.  For example, most electrical motors involve the brush design.  This design ignites thousands of tiny electrical sparks every second (if you don't believe me turn on an electrical drill in the dark).  Turning on a light bulb is the same as lighting a fire.  Due to most electrical devices being forbidden, it is a better idea to ban all of them since if we make one permitted than the public will be lenient and start using forbidden devices.  Even if an electrical devise might seem to be permitted, you have no clue what kind of stuff is going on in the power stations, the base stations, the underground transformer and indicator equipment.  Most probably, any device used has some effect on hundreds of indicators and pieces of equipment at the power station level and involves some form lighting a fire. 
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: Lisa on October 29, 2006, 05:12:01 PM
Thanks guys. 

Which of Rabbi Kahane's books do you think is best to start with?  I have "On Jews and Judaism" and "Listen World Listen Jew."  I might have read the second one quickly a while back but I don't remember. 

Where's a good place to buy these books online?

Thanks again.
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: MassuhDGoodName on October 29, 2006, 06:13:51 PM
"...Which of Rabbi Kahane's books do you think is best to start with?.."

I started with Never Again!; this was my initial exposure to Rabbi Kahane; unless memory fails me it was first published in the late 1960's.  It set forth the basic principles of the original Jewish Defense League, as well as the socio-economic, political, and historical reasons which all demanded such an organization should come into existance.

Several years later, I was perusing a 2nd hand book store, when one book said "...here I am...take me off the shelf...open my cover, and you will not be able to stop reading me!...".  The title was Time To Go Home; in which our Rabbi presented the whole, ugly, unvarnished Truth regarding the coming End of American Jewry's "Golden Age", and begged and pleaded all Jews who heeded his message to immediately make Aliyah to the Land Of Israel.  I have read as many of the other books and writings of Rabbi Kahane, but in my humble opinion,  Time To Go Home (originally published by Nash Publishing Co.) remains both my favorite of his books and also the most important and urgent of his writings.  In it, he plays "Devil's Advocate" contra his own logic and arguments, concluding with inarguable precision the pressing need for every Jew in Exile to Return Home to Israel as the only chance to avoid the "soon to come" ( and today; 40 yrs after its writing, currently ongoing) Final Holocaust...this time on the soil of America.  Please find this book, read it, pass it on.
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: kahaneloyalist on October 29, 2006, 09:40:24 PM
you can get the Rav's books from here http://www.kahane.org/order_form.htm
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here
Post by: davkakach on October 30, 2006, 03:38:29 PM
Other sources:


The three most important books that a secular Jew should have read are

(http://www.kahanebooks.com/images/Uncomfortable%20Questions%20for%20Comfortable%20Jews.JPG) (http://www.hameir.org/books/kahanebooks/Kahanebooks_com%20-%20Rabbi%20Meir%20and%20Binyamin%20Zeev%20Kahane%20books_files/ftp11%281%29.tmp) (http://www.kahanebooks.com/images/The%20Jewish%20Idea%20by%20rabbi%20Meir%20Kahane.jpg)

I have a "Uncomfortable Questions" and Ben Hecht's "Perfidy" in e-book form.  PM me if you're interested and I'll post copies on the forum.

A link to various Divrei Torah and miscellaneous writings:


Another one of my favorite sources of Kahanist writings:


Here's a taste of what awaits you:


On Iraq and the Gulf Crisis Pt. 1 - Politics?
By Rabbi Meir Kahane
September - October, 1990
Kahane Magazine

In days gone by when Jews were the people of an Almighty in whom they truly believed; in years long since gone when Jews were tied to their Father in Heaven with an awe and love and spiritual intoxication that made Him a permanent part of every thought and deed and sinew, they understood and knew that all that occurs on earth is because of Him and tied to the deeds of Israel. That reward and punishment are not things for esoteric afternoons when a lesson in Ethics of the Fathers is given to an entertained Sabbath audience or for the 15 minutes set aside in the yeshiva for mediation in a Mussar Sefer, to be admired and mused over in theory, distinct theory.

In times of yore when Jews truly believed that the Almighty rules and directs the world and punishes for sins; in generations of true piety when people knew that they did indeed sin and wept and anguished over it, in fear that there would be punishment for those sins - any threat and danger that would arise for the Jew led, instinctively, naturally, automatically, to the raising of one's eyes to Heaven and both a search for Jewish sins that might be the cause of the danger as well as a plea to the Almighty to have mercy on His people Israel, to forgive them and help them deal with their enemies and the dangers they posed.

In eras when Jews were truly religious, as opposed to practitioners of ritual and comfortable denizens of comfortable mitzvot, they felt G-d, they touched Him and were constantly touched by Him. They loved Him as a real being and they feared Him because He was so real. In times when the Jew knew that G-d had made him and not that Man had thought Him, the Jew knew that no one hurt his finger in this world unless it was ordained from above. How much more so was it axiomatic that great events in the world, wars and threats and dangers and clashes between nations, were part of G-d's design and plan.

And so, quite naturally, every time that danger and suffering loomed, the Jew turned, not to the political commentator and political science professor, and not to analysts and "experts", but to the source of what will be - His Father in Heaven. For the Jew of authenticity, and before the humiliation of Torah by Jews corrupted and spiritually assimilated by an exile into which they entered before it entered them, there was never any such concept as "politics". There was no separation of one part of life from another part. The Jew knew that life was created by G-d, given to us by G-d, commanded to us by G-d, and that that life was a unitary, indivisible unit governed by Torah laws that covered every aspect and every centimeter.

Life for the Jew was an "orach chayim", a way of life, a total way of life. It never even entered his mind that life was made up of separate "religious" and "secular" areas. To speak of "politics" was a totally foreign thing to a Jew who never heard of and never would have accepted the pernicious, gentilized and Hellenized concept of "separation of church and state." Such were the days of old, when chassidim rishonim, the pious of former times, would sit a full hour before praying, to contemplate and immerse themselves in the awe and joy of entering the presence of a Divine and real G-d.

Alas, for that which once was and is gone...

There is no clearer proof of the perversion of Torah in our times than the glaring separation of Torah and "politics", both among the Jews of non-observance as well as those who are pious practitioners of Jewish ritual. The former, of course, for whom G-d is, at best, a socio-cultural concept with little if any relevance to reality and the affairs of this world, private or public, not surprisingly never bring G-d into a discussion of "politics". To them, events of the world, what will be, are matters to be decided and discussed in political, economic, social and military terms. For them, Man is the great and ultimate decider of destiny, with G-d having a most limited place in the world, one that does not impinge on the important areas of Man's life.

As for the practitioner of Jewish ritual, it would appear that this is not so. On the surface, to such a Jew, the Almighty plays a most relevant role that fills much of his life. But, again, only on the surface. While ritual fills a very great part of the life of the Jew of ritual, whole areas of that life are compartmentalized, with two very broad categories emerging, i.e. "religious" and "secular" affairs.

And as part of the latter, the "secular" part of life, one finds an extraordinary amount of vital areas of human existence, not the least of which is the area known as "politics". Thus, one hears over and over again the concept of "we don't allow politics in the synagogue", in reference to a "controversial" speaker. But worse, far worse, is the rise of a phenomenon that sees events of monumental importance such as Israel, the Arab issue, the Territories and Jew-hatred in exile, become "politics", hence outside the realm of real Torah life, as opposed to "authentic" Torah issues such as the "eruv", glatt kosher, and the size of the "etrog".

We have before us, once again, the pernicious results of a "galut", an exile, that has warped, perverted and twisted the original concept of Torah. What we see daily is the separation of Torah and state, Torah and "politics", Torah and "secular world". That is perversion.

Torah Judaism, as given by the Almighty at Sinai, was a Judaism that set down a cardinal rule: The Almighty, G-d of Israel, is King of kings, who created a world with paths and laws and commandments that cover every single aspect of life. History exists only within the context of His will and direction. There is no separation of any area of life from that. There is no Jewish concept of separation of religion and "politics". There is no such thing in Judaism as "politics". There are laws of government as set down in the Talmud and codified by the Rambam. There are the laws of war. There are laws of faith. There are the laws of the gentiles. There are countless Torah laws that deal with what the Jew of ritual and gentilization - the Jew of "shatnez" - today dubs "politics".


(http://geostasto.eco.uniroma1.it/tedesco/Images/Meir_Kahane.jpg) (http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/exodus/images/rashi.gif) (http://www.lookstein.org/russian/viktorina/rambam/rambam.jpg)

(http://www.zionism-israel.com/n042p05b.jpg) (http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g18/Kahanechai/Avraham_Stern.jpg) (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1978/begin.gif) (http://www.jr.co.il/pictures/israel/people/jril0245.jpg) (http://www.geocities.com/alabasters_archive/images/goren.jpg) (http://www.jr.co.il/pictures/israel/people/jrilp095.jpg) (http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g18/Kahanechai/14083.jpg)
Title: Re: Question For Religious Jews Here/answers in part right back at ya...
Post by: nikmatdam on November 01, 2006, 03:13:04 PM
it is not "work" per say which is forbidden... while you cannot carry so much as a feather in public without an eruv on shabat you can technically move around all your furniture in your house all day long on shabat and not break any torah laws... it is not in the spirit of the day and is an activity which is a weekday endeavor so the rabbis forbade it... but you are not doing that which is forbidden which is... "melechet machshevet" translated to be "constructive or creative labor" which means energy invested by us to demonstrate our control and mastery over creation as we transform one thing into something else... like taking wood and building something... it is the "mind over matter" which we are supposed to relinquish on this day so as to show fealty to Hashem who commanded us to cease our creative labors and thus by keeping shabat properly we demonstrate that we know that this is G-d's world and not ours and therefore and thereby we are mikadesh shem shamayim... we sanctify G-d's name (kiddush Hashem)...

now carrying something is another matter... we are not transforming anything here but by transporting it it falls within the social or business frame of mind of mankind and as such was forbidden as well by G-d as this too constitutes creative labor and our mastery over our environment... an umbrella is asur because it is a form of boneh (building) or ohel (tenting) which the rabbis saw as too close for comfort lest someone see someone using one on shabat and think to themselves that ergo building or tenting is not forbidden on the shabat... and so for this reason they banned its use on shabat...

you should check out rabbi dayan gruenfeld's perush on rav samson raphael hirsch's pamphlet on shabat (if it is still available)... he does a great job explaining the fundamental underpinnings and the foundational roots of keeping shabat... nik. out...