Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bicycle Bolts Bedeck Brooklyn

Recently, the neighborhoods in Brooklyn have been the recipient of some new-fangled apparatus to lock one's bicycle. Very modern in look, one would confuse them at first for some new-age art.

I imagine that the city is thinking to the future, when the current meters, which are now used to lock bicycles, become extinct. Muni Meters are gradually replacing the old meters, which were perfect for attaching one's bike.

Trees are also "growing" in Brooklyn. The city is filling the sidewalks with young, sturdy saplings, hopefully to provide shade and fresh air to a city that has less and less greenery as time goes on.

Kudos to Mayor Mike.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CubAN, CoreAN CANs CANned - Coca-Cola CompANy

This interesting tidbit was recently newsworthy.

Coca-Cola Announces  it Will Return to Myanmar After 60 Years...

Coca-Cola has grown from selling nine drinks a day in a single country in 1886 to distributing 1.8 billion beverages in more than 200 nations, according to data posted on its website. Myanmar, Cuba and North Korea are the only countries where Coca- Cola doesn’t operate, the company said yesterday. Coca-Cola says the 1971-vintage advertisement entitled “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” remains one of its most popular.

It seems that there are only 2 places left in the world where one can not enjoy a coke.  This reminds me of the oft repeated joke that one fellow travelled the world  and always found 2 things: Chabad and Coke.

It is interesting that Castro's Cuba and Korea's Kim are the last holdouts against the pervasive monopolizing "Capitalist Conglomerates".

Yet this is one case in particular where their ignoble intention nevertheless benefits their Complying Citizens. Giving them a healthier, Clearer Complexion.

Elsewhere in the news, Mayor Michael is looking to ban Coke's Calories.  Coffee's Caffeine may be next.

Monday, June 18, 2012

BSD. Blogger Bites Bullet (Hareidi and Proud)

UPDATED 2:30PM. I have removed some of the more macabre references. I think it may be somewhat creepy for live (former) bloggers to read of their "demise". Apologies if anyone was offended.

After 3 months of intense blogging, Chareidi and Proud has hung up his cleats. I am sorry to see him go. I have long advocated for Agudah or some other organization to hire a full time blogger to counter the negative blogs that attack them on a daily basis.

Such a job is not without pitfalls. When one grapples in the mud, one gets dirty. Fellow blogger BOF has made a career of debating the Bear in his own den. Yet no one knows whether exposing oneself to foreign ideas - what affect it has on one's soul.

Inevitably, the Agudah will one day have their own website, their own blog and their own bloggers. I am told the printing press was not received favorably, as it made it easy to publish Kefirah and disseminate it. Nor was the telephone or automobile received with open arms. Chadash Asur Min HaTorah!

Yes, each new technology has its challenges, and we must learn to channel them favorably.

HAP burst onto the blogging scene with a mission to counteract the daily venom spewed by various bloggers. I must say he admirably did a fine job. I did not necessarily agree with some of his "tone", yet he did not act alone, claiming his Rav supported him fully.

Yet after the Asifa, it became increasingly difficult to defend his Internet activity. It took great resolve nonetheless, to listen to his mentor and cease blogging cold turkey.

Whereas NotBrisk quit and was never heard from again, my dear friend BOF has retired several times and yet we were able to make the Brocha of Mechayeh HaMeisim on his return.

My solution for HAP is to have an organization hire him as their PR man. He can then blog using the Hetter of Parnassah.

Then I will be happy to make the Brocha Mechayeh "Hameisim" with Kavannah. Please come back!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No! Noch Nisht! Nevermore!

Recently, one of the most intriguing bloggers posted a rendition of Poe's "The Raven" in Yiddish.

I posted the following comment there, but since OTML has moved on with a new post about Rav Yaakov Yosef ZTL, I'm afraid the comment will get buried and never see the light of day. For those who have had some smattering of a secular education, I share the following:


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many an online hebrewbooks volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, trying to stay up, suddenly there came a popup, vying for my inattentive Kup, promising not to bore. `'Tis not a virus,' I muttered, `wondering what it's for- Only this, and nothing more.'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, `Google,' said I, `or IE, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was learning, and so gently you came whirling, And so faintly you came hurling, redirecting me to Bloggers store, That I scarce was sure I saw you' - here I clicked-could not ignore; - Darkness then, and nothing more!

Deep into that black screen peering, long I sat there wondering, fearing, Doubting, feeling fears no mortal ever dared to feel before; 'Cuz now my PC was broken, and the darkness gave no token, Now I was fully woken, How would I learn for evermore? This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, Al Gore! Merely this and nothing more.

Then I recalled that Al had created, the superhighway and even paved it, With routers and relays for my information to flow o'er; While jetting the world, using fuel, he made me feel like a fool, For using electricity for my tool - instead of having saved it. These thoughts crossed my mind as I set my computer on the floor. You shall be revived! and serve once more!

Now that I had time to waken, I tried a path that few had taken, The road less travelled seemed to beckon, my spirit began to soar; For I remembered Rabbi Reisman, lecturing as a Technical Wise-man, Flash drive booting is an option, when your computer works no more. Quick as a flash I ubuntued it, and it began to purr. Hebrewbooks shall rule once more!

And until this day I'm sitting, e-learning which is fitting. For a generation that is glued to gadgets and the itunes store. But on occasion, when I'm weak, I'll even sneak a little peak, At the best blogs of the week, posted by Rafi - just can't ignore. OnTheMainLine ranks up there, with the best there ever were. All must thank VP Al Gore.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mostly Music's Meritorious Message

Mishpacha Magazine noted this past week that following the Asifa, Mostly Music has decided to remove their Facebook page.

It has been debated elsewhere if one really needs Facebook for their business.

I would say that I am so impressed with their Moral Machoa, that I would Davka buy My Music from them.

Many Mentions have been made over the years how those who observe Shabbos, not only do they not lose Money, but actually gain more in the long run.

May Many others follow suit!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fifteenhundred Flatbushers Fight Foe - Flatbush Asifa

I just returned from a very inspiring gathering which took place at Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin.

Several Flatbush Rabbonim got together to speak about the dangers of the Internet and what we can do about it.

This gathering was very different from the one 3 weeks ago at Citifield, in that the participants and speakers were on the same page. The speakers were noted Rabbonim from local Shuls in the community(aside from RMS); so aside from addressing the crowd in English, the Rabbonim were very aware of the local needs and challenges.

Women were invited, and overflowing attendance showed that this Asifa was warranted. No one was forced to buy a ticket (in fact the event was free), yet over 1,500 strong (I asked an officer outside how many people were there and he said "not less than 1,500") came to be inspired. And inspired we were.

I came early, approximately 30 minutes before the proceedings began and was surprised to see that almost all the seats in the Bais Medrash were filled. There was additional seating elsewhere in the building, in addition to many standees.

I was impressed that the program began within 5 minutes of the starting time, with several chapters of Tehillim read responsively.

Rabbi Avrohom Schorr, spoke about the auspicious date that was picked, Chaf Sivan, as that day is noted by Chazal as the start of preparations for Yom Kippur. RAS compared the fight against the Internet to the Milchama against Amalek. He said if people would understand that this Milchama is our Nisayon, they would attack it differently (i.e. they would be more forceful in ridding it from our midst). He cited 3 main problems with the Internet. Shmutz, Social issues and Waste of time. He told a story about Rabbi Uri Zohar who once took a 6 hour flight yet had no book or electronic gadget with him. This required him to think. This was the impetus for him to do Teshuva. RAS said that the Yetzer Hara wants us to be busy, so we don't have time to think and change our ways. RAS quoted a statistic that 80% of divorces now quote Facebook in the proceedings. He emphatically stated that Social Networking sites have no place in a Yiddish home.

I thought that RAS would be more fire and brimstone, but his heart to heart talk seemed to be devoured and appreciated by the participants.

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman spoke about the Leitzanim, and the naysayers. He noted that Daniel was 12 years old when he went into Golus, yet he and his friends made Takanos not to eat Bishul Akum, not to drink Goyishe keep their children from marrying Goyishe daughters. The Leitzanim and naysayers laughed at this, yet it was the L&N's that 60 years later went to Achashveiros's party...He noted that 2 twelve year old boys came to him and told him how easy it is to bypass their father's security (Update: in fact, it was these 2 twelve year old boys that inspired this Asifa). RYR then gave very practical instructions for the layman in how to secure the BIOS bootup, how to use secure passwords etc. He jokingly said not to use your own last name as a PW, but rather to use his! So apparently Reisman will now be the dafault PW on many Flatbush computers.

He then pointed out that we speak about filtering for our "kids", but kids is just a code-word for us, as everyone has a Yetzer Hara. He then suggested putting a screensaver with the words Shivisi Hashem LeNegdi Tamid - and said that the Shem Hashem should be spelled out.

Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff spoke about Browsing. He said that no one would pass by a Cathedral or an Ashram and say "I'm just going in to browse". He said that WiFi would be more aptly called Wireless INfidelity. He said over a nice Drosho (from Rav Yonoson Eybeschutz) as to why it says "Asher Bachar Banu" when actually WE chose Hashem. He said over a Drosho from the Chasam Sofer how the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah were Mevatel the YHR for Avoda Zara, and blackened the eye of Arayos. Seems that AZ was done in groups and Tefillah was done then only Beyichidus. Forming a gathering for Tefillah was the only way to combat the YHR for AZ. Yet empty Tefillah causes the YHR to regain power.

He asked an interesting question, why we say Lo Sasuru Acharei Levavchem Vacharei Eynaychem...seems that the eye sees first, then the heart desires...He explained that 4 people could read the same newspaper, yet each person notices what interests him and is oblivious to the rest; one sees the sports, one sees the news, etc. so it is really the Lev that comes first, as the heart "sees" whatever it wants to see...

He mentioned Madison Squre Garden, and joked that that is the former site of the Siyum Hashas...He implored filter use. He said that one can walk 3 miles in the rain and keep dry so long as the umbrella is open, but as soon as you close the umbrella, you get wet.

Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon batted cleanup. He spoke about "Hakhel" how people must gather at times and be taught. He noted that today's gathering is an extension of the Citifield Asifa. He explained that the Posuk says "Kedoshim Tehiyu", not you should be but that you WILL BE. It is therefore a promise. Hashem will lead you where you want to go. Similar to the famous Rambam regarding a recalcitrant husband who doesn't want to give a GET, we force him until he WANTS to, but the point is that he really DOES want to give the GET. He said he is amazed that following the Asifa there are so many people who WANT to do the right thing. He said we should ignore the cynics.

RMTL then went through various guidelines that were printed in the handout.

1. Change our behaviour so that Internet use is limited to uses of practical necessity.

2. Totally avoid Internet for entertainment or social interaction.

3. Cease using Facebook, Twitter and other SN sites.

4. Filter all Internet access and protect filters

5. Filter smartphones.

This was followed with Kabalos Ol Malchus Shamayim and a spontaneous breakout of the song Tehei Hashaa Hazos Shas Rachamim V'Es Ratzon Milfanecha (Rav Meir Shapiro ZTL).

I was very impressed in how the Asifa started and finished on time. The speakers knew the crowd and tailored their speeches accordingly. Rabbi Mehlman from the FJJ was thanked for providing the advertising free in his newspaper. This Asifa was definitely a Kiddush Hashem and was very inspiring.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Six, Five, Sixty Seven (6/5/1967)

Kol Isha Warning: Mute the sound, as the video is worthwhile without sound.

Six days in June changed the Jewish world forever. Whereas in 1948 the Jewish People regained ownership of their former homeland, it wasn't until the capture and unification of Yerushalayim that the body was reunited with its heart.

We live in an amazing era. We can board an airplane in America and touch Israeli soil the same day. Imagine that we lived only 100 years ago. A lengthy boat ride would have taken up our entire vacation and we would not have been able to visit Eretz Yisroel. Yet we are so privileged to live in the age of jumbo jets, cell phones and GPS.

The above video takes one back to 1967, shortly after the Six-day War. The visitor can see the Old-City of Yerushalayim, Shechem, Chevron and Bais Lechem. It is amazing how some 45 years later, some things are still the same and others are so different.

For those who can enjoy the audio, the Yerushalayim Shel Zahav is reminiscent of an age gone by. I remember how people would listen to that song over and over to relish the victory of unification. I remember a similar feeling of jubilation following the Raid On Entebbe in 1976.

Dedi is featured when the video visits Chevron, and Yigal Calek's Kol Beramah is so appropriate for the visit to Kever Rochel in Bais Lechem.

Sometimes we don't realize Miracles because they seem so natural. Yet in my lifetime I was privileged to tour Eretz Yisroel from Aco to Taba in addition to East to the Mediterranean Sea, and everything in between.

May we be Zoche to the true Geula Shlaima B'Mheira.

Hat Tip: LifeInIsrael

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Country Cheers Chess Challenger

This past week, the country of Israel nearly became home to the Chess World Champion. Israeli Boris Abramovich Gelfand fought for the right to become the King of Chess and tied Indian Challenger Viswanathan Anand 6-6 during the regular 12 game chess match.

It was only in the sudden-death tie, where Boris lost in the rapid paced speed games; and with it his hopes of becoming the Chief Chess-master.

There have been many Jewish World Chess Champions, but never did one play for the Israeli flag.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an avid Chess player, as is MK Natan Scharansky.

I am sure that this will boost the popularity of the game of Chess in Israel, somewhat akin to what Bobby Fischer's win did for the USA in 1972.

Chess, like Talmud, sharpens the brain. Many American schools have a "Chess in the Schools" program, whereby they recognize that logical thinking is a trait that can be taught.

Budding Talmudists, who already are sharpening their thinking skills, can no doubt increase their cognitive reasoning by engaging in this noble endeavor in their spare time.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tallis, Tefillin, Tefillah, Tehillim

There are those who mock the actions Chareidim take in the time of need. It is difficult for them to rationalize how spritual prayer can have an affect on the physical body.

Yet not so long ago, there were calls on various news sites to Daven for Rav Eliashiv, Rav Matisyahu Salomon and Rav Y. Belsky.

Rav Eliashiv has been reported to be doing better, Rav Matisyahu's hospital stay was quick, and now Rav Belsky has been released from 3 months of "hospitality".

In addition to the Tallis, Tefillah, Tefillin and Tehillim, I wonder if Rav Belsky was zoche to have his body repaired in the merit of his teaching about Hilchos Treifos for so many years?

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