(video source Jewishfan100)

Tu B’Shvat (or the 15th day of the month of Shvat) is a Jewish holiday also known as the new year of the trees. It is celebrated in Israel by planting trees, and this significance is stronger this year in the aftermath of the ecological disaster that destroyed part of the forests in the Carmel areas.

(video source rachaelscentre)

Here is a more detailed explanation of the holiday. This presentation is made by Dr. Rachael Turkienicz. From her youTube channel I learn that Rachael’s Centre in Toronto and http://www.rachaelscentre.org/ are pluralistic, community based, unaffiliated and open to people of all backgrounds. The core of the Centre and its programs is the wisdom of Jewish text presented through a female lens. Rachael’s Centre also offers programs and courses on the interior moral and life systems of Mussar (Jewish ethics).

(video source zakattaq13)

Some celebrate it on the rhythms of rap music.

(video source GHcool)

Other travel in the future on this occasion.

(video source VillageIsrael)

This is how Tu B’Shevat is welcome in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehudah market.

Wherever you are ‘Happy Tu B’Shvat!’ – ‘Tu B’Shvat Sameah!’ Plant a tree if you can, and think about the world we all live in – not only today but in every day of the year.

I found this story this morning told by one of my colleagues on a Romanian language Internet group. He heard it at a conference at the Bible Land Museum in Jerusalem , so the origin may be in the Jewish rabbinic folklore, but I think that it is true for any people or for any human being. I liked it and asked for his permission to take it to this blog.

Am citit in dimineata acesta aceasta pilda povestita de unul dintre colegii mei pe o lista internetica de limba romana, El insusi o auzise la o conferinta la Muzeul Tarilor Bibliei din Ierusalim, asa incat banuiala mea este ca sursa ar putea fi folclorul rabinic evreiesc, desi cred ca se potriveste oricarui popor si oricarei fiinte omenesti. Mi-a placut si i-am cerut permisiunea de a o prelua pe acest blog.

source sodahead.com

Cica un baietzel din diverse motive pleaca de acasa.
Vrand sa ajunga intr-un loc plin de promisiuni, din cate aflase el.
Si mergand el ,nu dupa putzina vreme ajunge la o mare intersectzie de drumuri.
Spre nenorocul lui, tabla indicatoare a drumurilor era cazuta asa ca
baiatul nu avea habar in ce directzie trebuie sa mearga.
Si cum statea el necajit acolo la intersectzia drumurilor,
se apropie de el un batran, intreband-ul dece e necajit.
Copilul ii spune ca nu stie in ce directie sa o ia deoarece
stalpul cu tablele de indicatii a cazut.
Atuncea batranul il intreaba :
- De unde vi?
- Pai uite vin de pe drumul acesta.
- Si cum se numeste localitatea de unde vi?
- Se numeste…… si ii spune numele.
Atuncea batranul ia stalpul si il aranjeaza in asa fel
ca numele localitatzii de un unde vine copilul sa coincida
cu drumul pe care venise.
Astfel indicatoarele de drum aratau exact fiecare drum unde duce.

source http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com

The story says that a young boy for reasons known to him leaves his home,
willing to get to a place full of promises, as he had heard.
He walked and walked and after a while he reach a big crossroad.
To his distress, the crossroads indicators has fallen down so
the boy had no clue which way he had to head.
As he was standing upset at the crossroads,
an old man comes by asking him what is the reason of his distress.
The boy answers that he does not know which way to head because
the crossroads indicator has fallen down.
Then the old man asks:
- Where are you coming from?
- Well, I came this way.
- And what is the name of the place you come from?
- It’s called … and he speaks the name.
Then the old man takes the crossroads indicator and arranges it so that
the name of the place the kid came from
coincides with the road he came on.
Now the indicators were showing exactly where each one of the roads was going.

(video source gdashdcast)

Tomorrow night, on the 15th day and on the first full moon night of the Jewish year starts Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles. An agricultural festival at origin, as similar holidays of other peoples celebrating the crops and coming of the autumn, Sukkot received a special meaning in the Jewish religion. During the week the holiday lasts the families are supposed to live and eat in the sukkot (open roof booths, tabernacles) as a reminder of the 40 years wandering of the nation in desert after the Exodus and before reaching the Promised Land.

(video source maozisrael)

It’s a family holiday which has a special flavor in Israel. Sukkot show up near almost any house in the country. Some of the other traditions related to the holiday are described in the video above.

(video source Peres)

Sukkot is one of the holidays when the house of the President in Jerusalem opens for the citizens. Above you can see one of these opportunities filmed in one of the previous years, with president Shimon Peres receiving and being honored by his guests. He shook the hands of 8000 people that day.

(video source infolivetvenglish)

Jerusalem has a special place in the traditions of Sukkot. In the old times the holiday was one of the three occasions each year when the people of Israel came in pilgrimage to the Temple. Today the temple is no more, but parades and music in the streets entertain the many visitors of the city during these days. The prophet Zechariah predicted that when the days of Messiah will come all nations will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate together the holiday.

Hag Sukkot Sameah!

Tomorrow at sunset Yom Kippur begins. The service in the synagogues opens with Kol Nidre. Here is what wikipedia tels about this dramatic opening of the Day of Atonement:

Before sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”), the congregation gathers in the synagogue. The Ark is opened and two people take from it two Torah scrolls. Then they take their places, one on each side of the cantor, and the three (symbolizing a Beth Din or rabbinical court.) recite:

In the tribunal of Heaven and the tribunal of earth, by the permission of God — praised be He — and by the permission of this holy congregation, we hold it lawful to pray with transgressors.”

The cantor then chants the passage beginning with the words Kol Nidrei with its touching melodic phrases, and, in varying intensities from pianissimo (quiet) to fortissimo (loud), repeats twice (for a total of three iterations) (lest a latecomer not hear them) the following words (Nusach Ashkenaz):

“All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.”

The leader and the congregation then say together three times “May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault.” The Torah scrolls are then replaced, and the customary evening service begins.

(source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kol_Nidre)

(video source KlezmerGuy)

Beautiful music accompanies the declaration. Here is one variant filmed in a Reform synagogue in Texas, the name of the cantor is Stephen Saxon.


(video source fivnten)

Here we have the variant sung by the famous cantor Moishe Oysher in the 1939 Yiddish film “Overture To Glory”

(video source mariadelamor21)

The most famous instrumental variant belongs to Max Bruch – a cello composition here in the interpretation of Jacqueline du Pres.

(video source MooliX)

For folks who may bot know how Yom Kippur is celebrated in Israel, here is a fast-forward version of a crowded street corner in this unique day of the year. The whole life of the country stops, no planes come in or out, no cars (excepting emergency services) can be seen in the Jewish areas of the country.

Gmar Hatima Tova – May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good

Rosh HaShana – the Jewish New Year is celebrated starting with this Wednesday evening.

(video source TheSpeedyMedia)

First, here are some basics about the holiday…


(video source birthrightisrael)

… and a less conventional way to celebrate using animation and rap music …

(video source itaihermelin)

… and the shofar blown in an unexpected place …


(video source fivnten)

… and in more traditional one, in one of the few Yiddish films ever made, staring the great cantor Moyshe Oysher …

(video source uscompass)

… and for the end – apples and honey for a traditional wish for a sweet New Year!

SHANA TOVA – A Happy New Year, with Peace for Israel and for the whole world, with good health, friendship and joy for everybody!

Am placerea de a reproduce cu permisiunea autorului un fragment dintr-o interventie a prietenului meu dr. Francis Mantel intr-o discutie de pe o lista internetica. Subiectul este telul iudaismului.


Iudaismul este un subiect vast, enorm si grandios.

In mesajul meu anterior, la care te referi, eu ma refeream doar la noi, muritorii, la palavragii  care ne descretim fruntile in timpul nostru liber conversand pe romaneste, ca indivizi. Facusem o aluzie la tzelurile noastre potentiale, avizand relatia noastra cu iudaismul (luat ca obiect de imbratisat (sau nu), nu ca subiect de discutat).

In ochii mei, studiul iudaismului este un pas foarte important.

Din pacate, ignoranta este un dusman care ne rapeste libertatea de alegere.

Parerea mea (despre importanta studiului in conceptia iudaica) nu este nici originala, nici extravaganta si nici excentrica.

In Tora Orala, in Mishna Pirkei Avot, Etica Strabunilor, se cantaresc diferitele mitzvot (comenzi sau dispozitii ale religiei) date evreilor in Tora, cele 613 porunci enumerate toate de catre Ramba”m, rabi Moshe ben Maimon, zis Maimonide, care a trait cu peste opt sute de ani in urma. In Pirkei Avot, se face afirmatia ca studiul iudaismului este o mitzva atat de centrala, incat ea e socotita a fi echivalenta cu toate celelalte mitzvot puse laolalta. Expresia originala este: “Talmud Tora kÄ neghed kulam“. Tora ne indruma si ne recomanda sa: “likboa itim la-Tora”, adica, sa ne alocam timp fixat si pus deoparte pentru sesiuni ordonate devotate studiului Torei, scrierilor iudaismului.

Bineinteles ca religia iudaica il obliga pe evreu nu numai sa studieze Tora. Ci la mult mai mult: “Lilmod u-laasot”. Sa invete si sa practice. Caci religia iudaica nu este o simpla credinta, ci e o prescriptie amanuntita care defineste un mod de viata.

Invatatul il consider esential. Acceptarea axiomelor – dogme care sunt la baza constructiei unuei religii, sau neacceptarea acestor dogme, practica ritualurilor si dispozitiilor religiei organizate, sau ne-practicarea acestor comenzi si ordonante, sunt decizia individuala a fiecaruia om.

Sta scris in Tora Orala, in Talmudul Babilonian, volumul Brahot, foaia 33, pagina bet, randul opt din josul paginii: “Ve-amar rabi Hanina: hacol bidei shamaiim, hutz mi-iirat shamaiim“. Si a spus rabinul amora Hanina bar Hama, fiul lui Hama (si student al lui Iehuda Ha-Nasi, rabinul tanait care a editat Mishna): “Totul este in mana cerurilor, inafara de frica de Dumnezeu”. Credinta sau lipsa ei, sunt in mana fiecarui muritor.

In adevar, referinta talmudica nu e la frica de Dumnezeu, per se, nici la teama omului de pedeapsa divina pentru infractiuni si transgresii pacatoase, frica estimata ca naturala, care amoraimilor li se parea ca ceva natural, ci ei se refereau la “iirat shamaiim” de un nivel elevat si sofisticat, la contemplarea meditativa si la admiratia intelectuala a grozaviei Creatorului universului.

Eu prefer interpretarea simpla si directa, in acest caz.

Frica cerurilor, sau lipsa acesteia, este in mana omului.

(Explicatie de terminologie: Talmudul babilonian este format din doua parti, care apar inserate, intercalate. Prima parte, un fel de concentrat sau rezumat de idei principale, este Mishna. Dupa fiecare propozitie de Mishna, care puncteaza idei principale, urmeaza o dezvoltare, un comentariu si o explicatie a ideilor mishnaice, sub forma de dispute logice si de dezbateri si conversatii uneori in contradictoriu, de interpretari ale ideilor Mishnei, intre rabini. Aceasta parte de comentariu se numeste Ghemara. Ghemara pe marginea unei singure propozitii din Mishna poate ocupa cateva pagini de argumente. Pe marginea din interiorul paginii de Talmud, apoar comentariile lui Rashi din Franta (mort in urma cu circa 900 de ani), iar pe marginea din exteriorul paginii apar comentarii la comentariile lui Rashi, unele scrise de nepotii sai, precum rabenu Tam, si altii. Pe pagina de Talmud, mai apar si alti comentatori, printre care rabeinu Ghershom, rabenu Hananiel, mai recent rabeinu Malbi”m (din urma cu circa un ecol si jumatate, care a fost o perioada de timp rabin la Bucuresti, prin secolul XIX), rabinul Maharsh’a, comentariile caruia apar la finalul fiecarui volum de Talmud, etc., etc..

In fine, rabinii amintiti in Mishna se numesc tana-imi.

Rabinii amintiti in Ghemara se numesc amora-imi.)

Asadar, acest rabi Hanina ben Hama a fost o prima generatie de amora-imi, dar el fu discipolul unui mare rabin tana-it, rabi Iehuda HaNasi. Omul acesta Hanina bar Hama (a se distinge de Hanina ben Dosa, alt rabin important) este considerat o mare autoritate.

Deci, rabinul amora Hanina ben Hama insusi ne spune clar si explicit, si nu ordinarul de Tzutzu, cum ca tot omul are libertatea de a isi defini independent, de buna voie si nesilit de nimeni, atitudinea sa personala fata de religie si fata de preceptele religiei.

Iar eu, il respect enorm, si il admir chiar, pe Hanina ben Hama, care a trait in urma cu peste 18 secole. Apropo, se povesteste ca, atunci cand rabinul Iehuda HaNasi, Iehuda “Printul”, conducatorul religios al iudeilor aflati sub ocupatie romana, la peste un secol dupa distrugerea Templului din Ierusalim de paganii romani, si la peste un jumatate de secol dupa inabusirea rascoalei iudeilor de sub conducerea spartacusului iudeu Bar Kohba contra ocupatiei straine pagane romane, cand Iehuda HaNasi, ziceam, voia sa ia legatura cu guvernatorul roman al Iudeii ocupate, cu resedinta la Cesareea, acesta ii trimitea pe cei mai importanti discipoli ai sai ca soli ‘diplomatici’. Se povesteste ca, atunci cand apareau in fata guvernatorului roman, solii lui Iehuda HaNasi, rabinii Iehoshua ben Levi si Hanina bar Hama, guvernatorul ii intampina, ridicandu-se in picioare. Intrebat de ce face acest gest, guvernatorul roman a raspuns: “Acesti oameni au infatisare de ingeri!”. (Badaranul de contemporan al nostru, infectat cu mentalitate stalinista adusa din URSS, d-l ministru Ivet Lieberman si subalternul sau, poate ca nici nu au auzit de guvernatorul roman de la Cesareea si de impresia facuta de evreul rabi Hanina bar Hama asupra guvernatorului roman de catre solul evreu, venit in vizita ca diplomat.)

Cum se obisnuia pe atunci, studiul Torei nu era uzat ca un instrument de parnasa, nici ca o cale de imbogatire, asa ca rabi Hanina bar Hama era si apicultor. Caci, asa ne invata tot Mishna Pirkei Avot: “Iafa Tora im dereh eretz”. Frumoasa este cunoasterea si practicarea Torei cand este insotita de un mestesug. Pentru ca omul sa contribuie la societate prin meseria sa si sa participe la studiu de dragul studiului Torei si a iudaismului.

Hanina bar Hama iubea Shabatul si organiza saptamanal o masa festiva si la incheierea Shabatului, dupa Havdala, un eveniment minunat cu bunatati si cu cantece, numit Melave Malka, adica insotirea reginei Shabat, care este pregatita pe cale sa ne paraseasca pentru o saptamana, pana Shabatul urmator. Rabi Hanina bar Hama a fost un mare invatat, un talmid haham, si un iubitor de oameni si de idishkeit. Ar mai fi multe de povestit despre acest impresionant amora, dar am devagat prea mult.

n concluzie, voiam sa spun ca decizia in legatura cu relatia omului vis-a-vis de iudaism este golita de substanta pentru un nestiutor. De aceea eu incerc sa pun emfaza pe studiul iudaismului. Pentru a lua decizii in cunostinta de cauza si de cunoastere a alternativelor si a optiunilor de ales. Iar noi, generatiile noastre, care suntem cam epigoni, crescuti in conditii vitrege, si angrenati in ideologii aiurite si, din aceasta pricina, destul de straini de iudaism, suntem intr-o situatie destul de grea.

Personal, prefer sa am de a face cu un nepracticant educat, decat cu un habotnic incult.

Cine nu invata, traieste in intuneric, ramane un ignoramus, si este osandit sa-si traiasca viata ca un ’am haaretz’.  Cine invata prea putin, si crede ca stie prea mult, se inseala.

Iar cine crede ca stie ce este iudaismul, dar ramane un kahanist in convingeri, sau se considera un admirator al unui rasist care a stat in fruntea unei organizatii teroriste (in ochii: Israelului, Canadei, a Statelor Unite, si a statelor Uniunii Europene), o rusine a poporului evreu, se inseala amarnic.

Refuz sa accept ca religia iudaica sa fie exploatata pentru propaganda de stil legionar. Caci, dupa parerea mea, kahanismul si iudaismul sunt structuri absolut incompatibile!

Iar mie, personal, kahanismul imi repugna! Profund. Cu kahanisti nu vreau sa discut.

Aceasta e umila mea parere, subiectiva. Nu abrog alte opinii.

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