Lag Ba’Omer, From The Top


La Ba’Omer is the best. I will explain this holiday to you. But it is a long story.

In the Beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

Why he would do this is mysterious, and the matter cannot be easily adjudicated in a humble space like this. The best way to put it is that He desired to be in a new way. As He is unto Himself, but in Another place. He wished to demonstrate, to Himself, that He was as True in a false place or that all places were false in light of His truth or something. It took Him six days, and the sixth of these was Friday, and we call it the first of Tishrei, Rosh Hashana, head of the year. (We celebrate the sixth day because that is when man was created, and despite what anyone may tell you, the universe was created for him.)

However, some opinions say that man was, or could have been, or will be created on the First of Nissan — a spring month, halfway across the year from Tishrei, a time of rebirth and sprouting rather than withering and in-gathering. That the world could have been created on either says something about the world.

In any case, these two months have since then ever competed for the main focus of Jewish life. The fall season also includes Yom Kippur,

The fall season also includes Yom Kippur, day of atonement, and Sukkot, the festival of ingathering and joy, and Simchat Torah, when the yearly Torah cycle ends and begins again, for all eternity. The fall season is one half of the dance between man and G-d. It is the part when man tallies his deeds, considers his distance from the Creator, and attempts to make amends. Our motion toward the creator takes the shape, like all things born, of a pregnancy. The relationship is established on Rosh Hashana, when we convince G-d the project of creation is worth continuing. The consummation is on Yom Kippur, when we are as angels in a moment of sublime unity with the creator. The child grows through its time in the Sukkot booth, the seed becoming differentiated and fully-formed, and its birth-culmination is on Simchat Torah.



Haifa fires die down, many others break out – #Israelfires

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The devastating wildfires in Haifa appear to have died down, and now one can see the level of damage caused to the city:

However other fires were still smouldering when Shabbat began, and over Shabbat more destructive fires broke out or were deliberately set, particularly in the towns of Bet Meir and Neveh Tzuf-Halamish.

Firefighters tackle the ferocious blaze at Nataf in the Judean Hills Firefighters tackle the ferocious blaze at Nataf in the Jerusalem Hills

According to security forces, after the initial fires, arsonists “jumped on the bandwagon“:

Amid signs that the wave of wildfires that have blight Israel since Tuesday was being brought under control, Israeli security officials on Saturday night gave preliminary indications that weather was the prime cause of the initial blazes but that arsonists jumped on the bandwagon increasingly from Wednesday and into the weekend.

Israeli security forces have arrested…

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International Correspondent Melissa Bell Joins CNN — CNN Press Room

CNN is expanding its presence in France with the hiring of Melissa Bell, who leaves France 24 to become the network’s Paris Correspondent. Bell will join CNN’s longtime Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann in early October, it was announced today by Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of CNN International. Bell most recently…

via International Correspondent Melissa Bell Joins CNN — CNN Press Room

The children of Manmasseh are still alive | The Canadian Jewish News

The children of Manmasseh are still alive | The Canadian Jewish News.


The children of Manmasseh are still alive

Tags: Israel Bomb Shelter Selfies Facebook Operation Protective Edge

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Stephen Epstein with his wife Alison and their daughters.

On the first night of the attacks from Gaza, we heard our first siren in Rehovot. There was a surreal split second when I wondered, is this really happening? Could it be an ambulance or fire truck? Or the TV?

The blaring wail brought me back, and my mind and body switched to automatic: Put shoes on – is anyone in the shower? Is the stove turned off? Grab a phone. Lock the door. Switch the staircase lights on. Ring neighbours’ doorbells on the way down the five flights of stairs.

The siren seemed louder by the time we reached the bomb shelter on the ground floor of our building. The shelter started to fill with other residents. We soon heard the telltale sign of the Iron Dome – a loud boom, then silence. The Iron Dome had successfully intercepted the rocket.

Relieved to be OK, I took a “selfie” photo to let friends and family know that we were safe and sound. In subsequent rocket attacks since that first one, I kept taking pictures and sharing them.

There is a curious custom among the Bnei Menashe (known as Manmasseh), one of the 10 lost tribes that are now returning to Israel. After the conquest of the Kingdom of Israel, they were exiled and moved eastward, and found themselves in the hills of northeast India. After a life-threatening event such as an earthquake, they would run from their homes and shout at the top of their lungs, “The children of Manmasseh are still alive!” It was a declaration of survival, of resilience and of faith that despite what was thrown at them, the tribe lived on.

And from this universal need to say, “We are still alive,” my wife Alison started a Facebook group on the night of that first rocket to Rehovot. It’s called “Bomb Shelter Selfies,” ( The group invites Israelis to “send us your selfies taken in the bomb shelter. Make the best of a bad situation. Upload your photos to show the world that we’re strong and hanging in.”

To date, more than 1,600 people have joined the group, with hundreds of comments and images posted.

The pictures offer a glimpse into the lives of Israelis who try and carry on living while a storm of rockets rains down on the country. The parks are empty as parents keep children close to home. Some restaurant and bars are nearing bankruptcy as patrons avoid public places and hover closer to bomb shelters and protected rooms.

The tension is palpable and the rockets and the Iron Dome are the subject of conversation when people meet. One of the ways people have of communicating and expressing what’s going on is through social media and the images they share.

The attacks come without warning and without a pattern. One day we had three attacks, none the next and three within an hour the next day.

Everything becomes a calculation: I know how long it takes to get to the shelter. Can I take a shower? Is there enough time to rinse out the shampoo, put on clothes or just a robe or towel, and get down five flights of stairs? Even walking down the street to the grocery store involves calculations. I scan the street for possible buildings to run to should an attack happen.

Every area of the country is divided into zones, and each zone has a time for a rocket to reach from Gaza. We’re lucky. We have 90 seconds to take cover. Residents of southern communities have 30 seconds or less, barely enough time to rouse children or turn off the oven. They just run.

All these moments have been shared on Facebook since the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge started. The group is a way for Israelis to capture and share what happened when the siren started and how everyday life is interrupted while we all dive for safety.

A quick scan of the group shows posts and pictures describing everyday events that have been interrupted by the rocket attacks:

• While shopping at IKEA, shoppers quickly learned the location of the closest shelter.

• An attack occurred during a college final exam. Ironically, the essay question was about tensions between Gaza and Israel.

• A family paying a shivah call and having to run to the shelter shows that even the mourning still have to worry about the living.

• A young man, calling on his date at her home for the first time, forced to share moments together in a safe room in a way that was not planned.

• Driving on the highway and hearing that there is an attack forces drivers to the curb, abandoning their cars, while diving for cover and assuming the well-known position of lying on the ground with hands covering the head to protect against shrapnel.

• A woman who decided to pamper herself with a facial mask was caught in a raid and had to face the lens of an amused family member.

• Families that thought they could escape the tension of the conflict by attending a movie had to flee the theatre to find shelter. (The theatre operators rewound part of the movie after they were given the all-clear.)

• A mother and her son running to a shelter at the swimming pool. They were there for his first swimming lesson.

The pictures show children – lots of children in pajamas, smiling, and ones who had to be woken from their peaceful sleep to be carried to safety by their parents.

Each rocket attack is like an earthquake, and we run to our bomb shelters, safe rooms and stairwells. When it’s all over, we take our pictures and post them for the world to see, our declaration of survival, resilience and faith that despite what’s being thrown at us, our tribe lives on and we declare: “The Children of Israel are still alive!”

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Three Seconds to Shoot Down a Missile and Save Hundreds of Lives

Three Seconds to Shoot Down a Missile and Save Hundreds of Lives

Published on: October 27, 2013

In the face of the constant threat of rockets and missiles, the IDF has been at the forefront of developing and operating air defense systems. What does it take to be an officer in this crucial field?

Imagine what an attack against Israel might look like in the not-too-distant future. In the opening salvo, a missile hits the heart of Tel Aviv, followed by precise rocket strikes on Israel from the Galilee to Eilat. Think this is an impossibility? Think again. Hezbollah alone has thousands of missiles aimed at major Israeli population centers. Their missiles can reach every single part of the country.
2013/10/27/three-seconds-shoot-missile-save-hundreds-lives/#.Um1LR50VSWM.wordpress’>Three Seconds to Shoot Down a Missile and Save Hundreds of Lives.

Beis Moshiach Magazine – Recent Articles – WHAT YUD-ALEF NISSAN MEANS 

Beis Moshiach Magazine – Recent Articles – WHAT YUD-ALEF NISSAN MEANS 


It is not for naught that the HaYom Yom of Yud-Alef Nissan is about making a cheshbon ha’nefesh, about rectifying those areas in our life that need to be rectified. For in order to feel and to identify with what Yud-Alef Nissan is all about, “Ich vill mer nit az dich alein” – all we need to do is to ensure that our own reception is static-free.

The following story was shared with me by Rabbi Dovid Sholom Pape:……………

IAF Targets Terrorist Operatives in the Gaza Strip • IDF Blog | The Official Blog of the Israel Defense Forces

IAF Targets Terrorist Operatives in the Gaza Strip


In a joint IDF- ISA operation, IAF targeted Tala’at Halil Muhammad Jarbi (b. 1989), a Global Jihad operative from Rafah, and Abdullah Muhammad Hassan Maqawai (b. 1988), a member of the Ashora Council of the Martyrs of Jerusalem, a Gaza-based Global Jihad affiliate. For many years Tala’at was involved in extensive terrorist activity, targeting Israeli civilian and security forces, including rocket firing, weapon manufacturing, and other terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip. He was a senior operative involved in the planning and execution of an attack along the security fence on 18.6.12, during which an Israeli civilian was killed. He had also been planning an complex attack intended to take place along the Sinai border.

The IDF will not tolerate any attempt by terrorist groups to target Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate against those who use terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.