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Monday, April 23

Annual Pilgrimage in Karlsruhe

London, 02/05/2012

Preparations are in place for the yearly visit to Karlsruhe, to hold a special Yahrzeit.

This is the final resting place (see picture below) of the "Korban Nesanel" - the revered Rabbi Nesanel Weil ZT"L, who served as Chief Rabbi of the town and the Baden region, during the 18th century.

In the past decade, more people became interested and awareness has grown around this site.  People travelling to Michelstadt, Worms and other ancient Jewish communities try to make a stopover in Karlsruhe, for the sole purpose of praying at this holy men's grave.

A Minyan, headed by Rabbi Dovid Scharf (1937-2015), will depart on Sunday 13th of Iyar from Antwerp in Belgium.  They will be arriving late afternoon around 4:00PM local time, to hold a memorial service and pray for heavenly salvation on behalf of the sick, the poor and the whole of the Jewish people.

Tombstone on the grave of Rabbi Weil ZT"L
The Kehillo in Karlsruhe, presided over by Mr David Seldner also meets at the cemetery in a coordinated fashion, to perpetuate the memory of this revered Rabbi, whom they hold in very high esteem.  Official invitations are sent out the world over, to descendants of the Rabbi, to local dignitaries as well as people who have historical connections to Karlsruhe.  However, as there is a mystery surrounding the actual day when the Rabbi's soul departed from this material world, the local congregation holds the Azkarah two weeks prior, which usually falls at the beginning of Iyar.  

Local and international interest in this historic place ensures that it is well preserved.  Reverend Moshe Chayun, the Chazzan ( = cantor) of the local synagogue, is also acting as a tour guide.  He will show you around the cemetery and other places of significance in and around Karlsruhe.  These tours are by prior appointment only: tourists are advised to plan their visit to the Kever prior to their departure, as access is restricted to specific times.  Police patrols drive by on a regular basis, to check that no one enters the site without prior permission.  

For more details, reply to this message or contact the Jüdischen Kultusgemeinde Karlsruhe.

03/05/2012 J.Duschinsky says: we checked it and the yohrtzeit was 30 Nissan and was then on a Friday!! 
David Seldner 03/05/2012 says: Regarding the “mystery” concerning the date of the departing of the Korban Netanel’s soul has been clarified. All original sources say it was Rosh Chodesh Iyar (or May 7th, 1769), a Sunday. The book Zichron Tzaddikim by R. Pinchas Selig Schwatz, Klausenberg 1923, seems to be the first who mistakenly mentions the 15th of Iyyar. Since then, many books, including the well known Melitzei Eish, simply copied the error. Best wishes. David

Thursday, April 19

Kabdehu, Kabdehu Vechashdehu

There I was, holding my suitcase in one hand and my Tallis bag in the other, waiting to embark onto the JetFoil. 
We were queuing slowly towards the front desk, where a lady in uniform was checking the boarding cards.  By now, I was already familiar with the ins and outs of getting the most out of this time saving service.  Back in the nineties, when this was the fastest way to cross the channel, we used to travel with this now-defunct vessel.
I presented my boarding card to the stewardess who stamped my loyalty card and wrote “A’pen” next to the stamp, meaning that my destination is Antwerp (us Antwerpenaren didn’t like this abbreviated form, as it also means “monkeys” in Flemish…).
We all entered the waiting hall and watched as the vessel inched its way towards us, finally docking and letting its London-bound passengers off.  We then proceeded to board the hydrofoil, which was slowly but surely filling up with travellers.  I found my seat at the rear of the cabin, in a row of double seats, with a window view overlooking the sea.  Behind me I noticed two Bochurim, in their mid-teens, who busied themselves with their luggage, familiarising themselves with their new surroundings.  The seat next to me was occupied by an older person, of nondescript appearance.  He wore a cap and a jacket, both of which looked as if they came straight from a second hand shop.  I noticed that he is one of those passengers with whom one could hardly lead a lengthy conversation with.  I decided to keep to myself, leaving him to his own devices – not before giving him an obligatory nod as a sign of greeting. 
The boat started shuddering as the whirring of the main propeller started up, making itself heard over the collective din of travellers’ voices, the captain’s welcome broadcast over the tannoy and other noises emanating from the docks.  Finally, we were seaborne and making good progress towards Oostende, from where I was to catch a connecting train to Antwerp.  The reading material came out – if I remember correctly, it was a computer magazine, which I kept for just such an occasion – and I settled down to spend the rest of the 100 minutes (the amount of time advertised that this journey would take) busy reading.  The guy next to me was looking out through the window, apparently admiring the seagulls arching their way through the sky.  The two Heimishe boys behind were rummaging through their bags rather noisily, making themselves stand out even more than their peculiar appearance. 
No sooner did I make this mental observation, when I felt a jab in my back.  I spun around and saw the younger of the two boys with a pack of nosh in his hand, holding it in front of me.  He offered it to me, as I was ‘one of theirs’ so to speak.  I accepted the candy and then politely pointed out to the man sitting next to me, advising them to also share with him.  The older Bochur piped up: “for this Nazi, why should I bother?!”  I kept my composure and explained to them that they should never make assumptions and regardless of what they think about him, they should offer him the same as they did with me, so as not to upset our fellow passenger.  Accepting my rebuke, they grudgingly offered him a candy, which he declined with a wave of his hand.  However before he returned his gaze to the window, he made a statement which made us three frummers startle as if hit with a broom stick. He told me - in a spicy Yiddish - “zog zay az zey zollen nisht fargessen tzu machen a broche”*.  We were so dumbstruck, that we couldn’t utter a word.  I turned round and gave the two boys a nod, as if to say “it’s damage-control time”.  The older one recovered first, stretching out his hand with a candy towards my neighbour.  He declined, waving away the gesture and returned to his pensive state.  After a couple of minutes I started up a conversation with him, which I managed to turn into a real schmooze.  Turns out that he lives in Brussels, attends Shul on a daily basis and – as it is when two Jews meet – even knows my wife’s Zeide.  This connection went back some decades, from the time when he used to peddle his merchandise to mineworkers.   My mother in law filled me in with some details, explaining that the Belgian mine labourers spent their days underground in the mines.  When they finished their shift they would emerge from the shafts completely covered in soot.  It was a luxury to encounter a refreshing smell of soap and clean towels, for which they paid handsomely.  This gave them an opportunity to clean themselves and come back to civilisation in a more respectable state.  Zeidy would be on the ready with his wares - soap and haberdashery - which earned him barely enough to put bread on the table.  This was at a time before he had the shop in Schulen - a small hamlet in the Belgian province of Limburg.  My new friend then proceeded to explain how he ended up in Belgium, after spending the war in a forced labour camp, barely making it out alive.  And these boys called him a Nazi!  I was ashamed beyond belief but could only apologise, that their family must also have endured the same hell as he and therefore these boys didn’t know any better: whenever a person didn’t fit their liking, they labelled him as such, without realising the irony of it.  Indeed, when I arrived home (to Antwerp that is) my father confirmed my theory, by filling me in on the background of these youngsters.  It appears that their father married very late in life, having suffered in the war he didn’t feel like starting a family until a Rebbe advised him to stop worrying and to start Shepping Naches.  These two sons of him were born to him when he was already in his fifties, which ensured that their upbringing was full of grandfatherly love and without lacking anything.  Whilst this suited them fine, there may have been some other people who had to suffer the consequences of such a laissez faire Chinuch – our travelling companion being a prime example. 
Moral of the story: kabdehu, kabdehu vechashdehu – in this order.  Respect him, share with him, and be on your guard nonetheless.  If we instil such behaviour in our offspring, we will surely merit that our children will be Ahuvim lemato and nechmodim lemato amen.

*Tell them not to forget to make a blessing

Wednesday, April 18

Historia de Riti Hebraici. Vita e osservanze degli Hebrei di questi tempi

Historia de Riti Hebraici. Vita e osservanze degli Hebrei di questi tempi


In VENETIA 1618 appresso G. Calleoni.

La Historia fu composta su richiesta di Sir Henry Wotton, ambasciatore a Venezia, per re Giacomo I e fu stampata in Francia da Giacomo Gaffarel, più di vent'anni dopo (1637). L'edizione fece temere al Modena che vi fossero state lasciate “cose che non sarebbero state gradite all'Inquisizione”, perciò, prima di procedere all’edizione veneziana del 1638, presso Calleoni, il rabbino si presentò preventivamente all'Inquisitore, che, esaminato il testo, lo rassicurò. Quando il Modena ebbe infatti in mano l'edizione francese, vide che il Gaffarel era intervenuto attentamente sul testo, eliminando proprio quelle “quattro o cinque cose” che avrebbero creato problemi con la censura. Da allora la Historia ebbe molte edizioni e traduzioni.

“Ho tutte l’osservanze de gl’Hebrei d’oggi descritte in brevissimo compendio…L’ho in cinque parti diviso a corrispondenza delli cinque Libri della Legge scritta da Mosè”:
I parte:     vari riti, le abitazioni, le benedizioni, le orazioni, la carità, i sacerdoti…
II parte:   lingua e studi, i rabbini, attività commerciale, voti e giuramenti, alimentazione…
III parte:  le feste ù ebraiche e i loro riti
IV parte:  matrimonio e divorzio, circoncisione, riscatto del primogenito, educazione…
V parte:   confessione e penitenza, morte, oltre la morte.

Il testo rispecchia soprattutto gli usi e i costumi degli ebrei veneziani del tempo, mettendo in evidenza le differenze tra le varie nazioni nel modo di pregare, di vestire e di rispettare le usanze tupiche dei vari paesi di provenienza. 

Evita tuttavia di soffermarsi su alcune tradizioni che, ad occhi esterni, potrebbero sembrare semplici superstizioni, ma è attento anche a evitare argomenti che avrebbero potuto determinare interventi censori da parte dell’Inquisizione: così non parla esplicitamente dei 13 articoli di fede di Maimonide, fondamentali per il mondo ebraico, ma non accettabili dal punto di vista cristiano e accenna solo in chiusura dell’ultima parte alla visione dell’aldilà:

Resta da dire per fine che tengono che vi sia il Paradiso per l’anima de buoni qual chiamano Gan Heden, che beatificati ivi stiano fruendo la gloria solo con la vision divina.

Similmente l’Inferno, che chiamano Gheinam, per gli empij dove l’anime lor siano tprmentate con fuoco e altre pene. Ma qui alcuni siano dannati in perpetuo a penar in quella maniera, ne mai siano per uscirne, altri vi stiano solamente per certo tempo prefisso, e questo dicono esser Purgatorio, non distinguendosi per luogo ma per tempo.

La ressurrettion de morti è uno de 13 articoli del loro credere. E così aspettano che seguir debba al fine de giorni che siano tutti i morti per sciuscitar e esser da Iddio giudicate l’anime e corpi nel giorno dell’universal Giuditio.


Tuesday, April 17

יוסף משיתא

"ויגש וישק לו וירח את ריח בגדיו ויברכהו"(*)

כגון יוסף משיתא(**)
יוסף משיתא, בשעה שבקשו שונאים להכנס להר הבית אמרו: יכנס מהם ובהם תחלה,

אמרין ליה: "עול ומה דאת מפיק דידך",
נכנס והוציא מנורה של זהב,

אמרו לו: "אין דרכו של הדיוט להשתמש בזו, אלא עול זמן תנינות ומה דאת מפיק דידך"

ולא קיבל עליו,

אמר רבי פנחס: נתנו לו מכס שלש שנים

ולא קיבל עליו,

אמר: "לא דיי שהכעסתי לא-ל-הי פעם אחת אלא שאכעיסנו פעם שניה?!"

מה עשו לו?
Shaving Horse
נתנו אותו בחמור של חרשים(***) והיו מנסרים בו,
היה מצווח ואומר: "ווי אוי אוי שהכעסתי לבוראי"(****)

לעניות דעתי השם "משיתא" נתנה לו מאז שנהרג על קדוש השם, ואולי זה גם מקור הכינוי של יקום "איש צרורות" שהכין אבנים (צרורות) שיפלו עליו כחלק מהד' מיתות בית דין.

(*) בראשית פרק כ"ז [פסוק כ"ז]
(**) (לפי גרסה אחרת: משיתה) = Machete
(***) ספסל - דף עבה שמגררים בו הנסרים (רש"י)

(****) בראשית רבה - פרשת תולדות - פרשה ס"ה


Friday, March 16

Travel advice


The Heathrow Express runs between Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3 to Paddington Station, which is about half an hour away from Euston Train station by tube (London underground) or by London bus number 205.

Check out this link -

Euston to Stamford Hill
From Euston -> Victoria line to Finsbury park (3 stops)
From Finsbury Park -> Bus #106 for 20 minutes, which stops outside Fountayne Road

He needs to buy a Day Travel Card as the buses don’t take money at all

For kosher food:
Sandwiches: Tuv Taam - available in Kosher shops
See also:

Tuesday, March 13

Amazing Kiddush Hashem

This story was posted around May 2015, I thought I’d share something nice for once ;-)

Amazing Kiddush Hashem this week:

Two boys were in Newcastle Station trying to retrieve their tickets they booked via credit card in the ticket machine. With a few minutes to spare until the train was to depart, they started getting a little nervous as the credit card wasn't working. 

A non-Jewish lady standing nearby overheard them getting a little nervous due to their situation. She walked over to them and asked what the problem was. After explaining their dilemma to her and saying they needed £170 for two new tickets and just didn't know what to do, she responded, "No problem, I'll lend you the money and you can pay me upon your return."

When the ticket officer, who was standing in the information desk nearby heard her offer he asked her how she ever planned on getting back that sum of money from two strangers who she never knew. 

By now there was a little commotion in the station and people who were watching awaited her response, and this is what she said:
A few years ago I worked in the Gateshead community for Mr C. L. Gluck and I can tell you first-hand, that Jews are the most honest and reliable people to deal with. I have no doubt that these boys will return the money to me and I'm more than happy to help them out.

The people were amazed as she handed over the money and walked off.

Mi K'amcho Yisroel!

Monday, March 12

מתפללים סביב השליח ציבור ובימת קריאת התורה

מאת עמנואל ראב"ד
שירה חדשה...  "יחד כולם"! (שחרית לפני תפילת 18)."כתר יתנו... "יחד כולם"! (קדושת מוסף, נוסח ספרד). שירה... קדושה...  ממלכה... וכד' דורשים: "יחד כולם"!
המקור: א. "סביב המשכן יחנו"! (במדבר א:נ, ב:ב). ב. "גובה קול הש"ץ בברכת "מודים": שלפחות 10 מתפללים העומדים "לידו וסביבו" ישמעו גם אם/וכאשר הוא אומר את ברכת "מודים" קצת בלחש"! ג. בימת קריאת התורה, באמצע בית הכנסת, ולפחות 1-2  ספסלי ישיבה בין הבימה והארון! כדי שהקהל יהיה "סביב" הבימה לפחות בזמן קריאת התורה. כבוד ארון הקודש, הבימה, הרב והחזן במשך התפילה דורשים זאת. (או"ח קכ"ד, מ"ב ס"ק מ"א).
הבעיה: כאשר החזן בודד במזרח והקהל במרחק המערב. גם כאשר המניין כשר, חוסר ה"יחד כולם"! זועק לשמים.
סיבת הבעיה:
א. מתפללים המעדיפים לשבת מאחור, בגלל היכולת להשקיף ולראות הכל, למרות שאין בזה כל תועלת.
ב. הרוצים להתפלל במקומם הקבוע, גם כאשר בבית הכנסת  בעל עשרות או מאות מקומות ישיבה, מתפללים כעת רק מניין מצומצם, בגלל המאמר: "הקובע מקום לתפילתו, אלוקי אברהם בעזרו"!
פתרון הבעיה: מבצע לא קל לשכנע לפחות 10 מתפללים, להתקדם לעבר השליח-ציבור ולעמוד קרוב אליו וסביבו. המסר אודות הקשר בין הראש והפדר. מסביר את השכר הגדול המעונק לאלו המוכנים לעבור למשך התפילה ממקומם הקבוע אל המקום שצריכים אותם!
ה"פדר": מהו? מקומו, תפקידו, הקרבתו והמסר?! הפדר הוא אבר קטן, הקיים בכל בעלי החיים ממחלקת היונקים, בעל תפקיד פיזיולוגי בלתי מוגדר, ולכן רוב בני אדם לא שמעו אודותיו ולא מכירים אותו.  
תיאור מיקום ותפקיד ה"פדר" =  אומענטום Omentum - בלועזית.
גוף היונקים מחולק על ידי הסרעפת = שריר גדול ורחב, המבדיל בין חלל הבטן, בו נמצאים הקיבה, המעיים, הכבד, הכליות וכד',  וחלל החזה, בו נמצאים הלב והריאות. הסרעפת מסייעת לנשימה, מעבר לצלעות החזה. כאשר היא נמשכת למטה נכנס אויר לריאות בנשימה, וכאשר היא עולה למעלה היא דוחפת ומכווצת את הריאות ועוזרת ליציאת האויר בנשיפה.
זפק = Peritoneum, מכסה את כל האברים של חלל הבטן.
פדר, (ויקרא א:ח) -Pader = Omentum אבר בצורת סינור או וילון, הקשור רק בצדו העליון לזפק ולסרעפת, וביכולתו לנדוד בחלל הבטן למקום שצריכים אותו בגלל סיבות בריאותיות. מוצאים אותו בכל מקום שיש בו דלקת או כל בעיה בריאותית, לשם הוא נודד כדי להגן ולתמוך בכל אבר הזקוק לו.
בהקרבת הקרבנות, כתוב בתורה:
1. והפשיט את עור הקרבן,
2. וניתח את הקרבן לנתחים: חלוקת הקרבן לאברים. נותנים כבוד לכל אבר בהקרבתו שלם. את האברים העלו להקרבה על המזבח לפי סדר מתוכנן. האבר החשוב ביותר מובן שיעלה ראשון, וגם ברור שהראש הוא האבר החשוב ביותר לכל יצור. אבל מי הוא האבר השני בחשיבותו, שיעלה להקרבה על המזבח? הלב? הריאות? הכליות? ... מפליא, שהאבר השני שעולה להקרבה, וביחד עם הראש, הוא הפדר! איבר קטן שאין לו מקום או תפקיד מוגדר ורוב בני אדם אינם מודעים לקיומו  וחשיבותו. ומדוע זכה לעלות שני וביחד עם הקרבת הראש? כנראה, בגלל שהוא מוכן לנדוד לכל מקום שזקוקים לו להגנה ותמיכה!!
המסר: חשוב להתפלל במקום הקבוע, כל זמן שאין זקוקים לך במקום אחר. אך כאשר זקוקים לך - ראוי וכדאי לך להיות מעשרה ראשונים ליד וסביב השליח ציבור. ברור, שגם לך כמו לפדר, יעניקו מן השמים כבוד וייקר, ברכה והצלחה על נכונתך זו
שתי דוגמאות של הבעיה:
1.      בית כנסת, במערב מנהטן העליון, שהפך ממרכז יהודי שוקק – לאזור נטוש. 2500 מקומות ישיבה לגברים, 1000 בעזרת-נשים. בקבלת שבת נכחו רק 27 מתפללים כולל הרב והחזן, שהתפרסו במקומות הרחוקים. קשה היה לראות או לשמוע אותם. החזן, בודד במזרח, הרב בודד בדרום-מזרח, ורוב השאר בשורה האחרונה של המערב הרחוק וליד הדלת האחורית.  מבחינה הלכתית המניין כשר, אך חוסר ה"יחד-כולם" היה זועק!

2.      בית כנסת פעיל בבני-ברק. 350 מקומות לגברים, ב-25 שורות. למניין שני בבוקר או למנחה, לפעמים רק: 10-15 מתפללים המתפרסים ברובם ליד הדלת הרחוקה במערב. הש"ץ בודד במזרח, וחוסר ה"יחד-כולם" משווע!
מאת עמנואל ראב"ד © ט' סיון תשע"ו – (15.6.016) ©