Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Here is Blyk for you and it will be offering free mobile calls on a unified network. This company is the brainchild of former President of Nokia Mr. Pekka Ala-Pietila. The service is aimed at people between the age…

I'm not sure this will take off. I can see calls being placed on hold by the service while the person subscribed has to accept a "word" from the sponsors, or people having to wait for a call to go through while they accept ads. Then there's the issue of what kinds of ads will be displayed. I suppose we'll find out all this once the service goes live, or at least I hope we will. Otherwise, I don't see many parents allowing their teenagers to sign up for this. They might feel that they're better off just continuing to pay the bill.

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Next on the list of goodies offered freely by the Google Empire is Google 411, officially known as Local Voice Search.
still in the experimental phase, Google 411 gets you local business listings for free by making toll-free calls from any phone.
This latest from Google comes just one month after Microsoft acquired TellMe, a voice query software developer.
You might recognize TellMe if you’re in the habbit of dialing for local business listings on your landline.
Residential listings aren’t fre yet, and we’re not sure if advertising is going to be included, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Google doesn’t find a way to tie its several advertising programs in somehow.
You can access the service by dialing 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411).
(Source).

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Yesterday, jury selection began in the trial of the now infamous Mary Winkler, the young minister’s wife accused of shooting her husband to death in their parsonage.
According to her lawyers, the couple were arguing over money after having gotten caught up in the Nigerian email scam, also known as the 419 Fraud.
So she killed him, but it wasn’t her fault.
It was the spammers.
Right.
Since when did stupidity become a defense, and, yes, anyone who gets “caught up” in one of these has failed to use their God-given grayware.
When did stupidity and greed become a defense?
Does that mean that I can go off, so something amazingly idiotic, then commit a crime like murder, and then use the original stupid act as my defense?
And let’s discuss the 419 Fraud in and of itself.
It’s not like this kind of thing is new.
It’s been going on since the 1920’s, but back then it was the Spanish Prisoner scam.
The Nigerians picked it up in the 70’s, and since then have turned it into a technological wonder.
But do people actually have to be instructed not to just fork over their life’s savings just because someone says they’ll give you lots of money in return?
I’ve gotten tons of emails like this, and I have yet to be tempted to just hand over my banking information.
Sure.
I’d love a ton of money.
It would make life easy for a while.
But I’m not gullible enough to think that some anonymous twit who comes begging for my information is going to give me any, and noone else should be either.
And how does murdering anyone solve the problem?
It’s not going to bring the money back, and the woman’s likely going to spend a lot of time in prison for this, away from her kids.
Oh well, I suppose if she’s convicted, she’ll have a lot of time to repent for her crime.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Parshat Shemini, 2nd Portion Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:17-9:23

Text

Chapter 9

17.
And he brought forward the meal offering, filled his palm with it, and caused it to [go up in] smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning burnt offering.
18. And he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the people’s peace offering, and Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, and he dashed it on the altar, around,
19.
and [they also presented] the fats from the ox and from the ram: the tail, the [fatty] covering, the kidneys and the diaphragm with the liver.
20.
And they placed the fats on top of the breasts, and he caused the fats to [go up in] smoke on the altar. 21. And Aaron had [already] waved the breasts and
the right thigh as a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
22.
And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them. He then descended from preparing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace
offering.
23.
And Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.

Commentary

17. and he filled his palm. I.e., the ???????? [i.e., the “fistful,” namely, scooping out three fingers-full of the meal offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 9:11]
in addition to the morning burnt offering. All these sacrifices [Aaron] offered up [only] after [he had offered up the morning] continual burnt offering.
19. and the [fatty] covering. [I.e.,] the fat that covers the innards.
20. And they placed the [sacrificial] fats on top of the breasts. After the waving, the kohen who performed the waving gives [the portions] to another kohen
to make them go up in smoke. The result is that [the portions] that were on the top are now on the bottom [due to the kohen’s inverting the portions to
place them into the receiving hands of the next kohen. See Rashi on Lev. 7:30 for further explanation]. — [Men. 62a]
22. and blessed them. with the blessing of the kohanim [see Num. 6:2227]: ????????? -“May the Lord bless you”… ????? -“May the Lord make His face shine”…
???????? -“May the Lord lift His face….”- [Torath Kohanim 10:22] He then descended. from the altar.
23. And Moses and Aaron went into [the Tent of Meeting]. Why did they enter [the Tent of Meeting]? In the section of the investitures, I found a baraitha
added to our version of Torath Kohanim [which states the following]: Why did Moses enter with Aaron? To teach him about the procedure of [burning] the
incense. Or did he perhaps enter only for another purpose? I can make a deduction: Descending [from the altar (verse 22)] and entering [the Tent of Meeting
(this verse) both] required blessing [the people]. Just as descending [from the altar] is related to the service, so is entering [the Tent of Meeting]
related to the service. Hence, you learn from here why Moses entered with Aaron, [namely] to teach him about the procedure of [burning] the incense [which
is related to the service]. Another explanation [of why Moses entered with Aaron is]: When Aaron saw that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the
procedures had been performed, and yet the Shechinah had not descended for Israel, he was distressed. He said, “I know that the Holy One, blessed is He,
is angry with me, and on my account the Shechinah has not descended for Israel.” So he said to Moses, “My brother Moses, is this what you have done to
me, that I have entered and been put to shame?” At once, Moses entered [the Tent of Meeting] with him, and they prayed for mercy. Then the Shechinah came
down for Israel. — [Torath Kohanim 9:16] Then they came out and blessed the people. They said: “May the pleasantness of the Lord, our God, be upon us (Ps.
90:17); May it be God’s will that the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.” [And why did they choose this particular blessing?] Because throughout
all seven days of the investitures, when Moses erected the Mishkan, performed the service in it, and then dismantled it daily, the Shechinah did not rest
in it. The Israelites were humiliated, and they said to Moses, “Moses, our teacher, all the efforts we have taken were so that the Shechinah should dwell
among us, so that we would know that we have been forgiven for the sin of the [golden] calf!” Therefore, Moses answered them (verse 6), “This is the thing
the Lord has commanded; do [it], and the glory of the Lord will appear to you. My brother Aaron is more worthy and important than I, insofar as through
his offerings and his service the Shechinah will dwell among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent has chosen him.”

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The Religion News Blog reports that researcher James Kugel has found that the descriptions of God employed in the early books of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) might not be metaphorical after all.
He believes that, when the text says “God walked in the Garden,” (see Genesis 3:8), it means he literally walked.
In other words, the God we have come to know as omnipresent and incorporeal is really a mere physical being, just like us.
The most obvious question raised by this is “What’s the point?”
It seems to me that James Kugel spent some time giving the text a cursory reading, which led him to his conclusion.
Does it really take long hours of research to come up with this?
Secondly, I don’t see how this argues against the idea of the anthropomorphic descriptions of God in Tanach being metaphorical.
How else are we supposed to understand a being that is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, if we don’t use the language we’re familiar with, (I.E., descriptions of physical attributes)?
More to the point, what’s the use of worshipping, obeying or fearing a God who is little better than we are?
And that may be what Mr. Kugel is driving at.
Maybe he’s looking for the perfect justification to use in order to make himself feel more comfortable with discarding his belief in God.
Admittedly, this is merely speculation on my part.
But I can’t see any other reason for advancing a view like this, unless you’re looking for an escape hatch, and the time honored ones just won’t do.
Finally, I’m amazed that anyone, especially a rabbi who seems to be traditional at the very least, can honestly say that he’s shaken by this.
As a rabbi, I’m sure Yosel Rosenzweig has studied the works of the Rambam, which deal with the idea of God being described as a physical being in detail (see Moreh Nevuchim, chapter 26, where it says that we describe God using attributes that the masses would consider perfect in relation to themselves).
If all it takes to shake one’s faith and cause one to struggle greatly is for another to suggest that God might have physical characteristics because the text of the Tanach seems to say as much on its surface, then there must not have been much faith there to start with.
Mr. Kugel says he’s not sure what effects his observations might have on contemporary Jews and their religious practices, and I submit that his research won’t effect contemporary Jewish religious practice in the slightest, unless you count collectively yawning.
Those who are faithful won’t care, and those who don’t see any point in engaging in Jewish religious practice will most likely do the same, if not for the same reason.

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This is a very sad situation, and I suspect that a survey like this in the
US would bear similar results.
Not that I’m advocating that blind people not look for jobs.
Everyone has to do their part, and our part is doing the looking, or
sticking with a job you don’t like, or even can’t stand, just to make sure
your bills are paid and that you’re doing your best to be a productive part
of society.
Besides that, you’ll start running out of creative things to do with Ramen
noodles.

ABC News,
Australia

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last Update: Tuesday, March 27, 2007. 7:20am (AEST)

A new survey has revealed a huge level of despair among Australia’s blind
and vision impaired job seekers.

Almost 2,000 blind and vision impaired people have been surveyed by Vision
Australia.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent said they had given up the hunt for work.

Michael Simpson from Vision Australia says one of the key challenges is to
break down employer perceptions.

“Employers don’t see how simple and easy it is in many instances to make the
workplace accessible using the adaptive technology that’s now available [to]
many people who are blind or vision impaired,” he said.

“Particularly using the schemes like the workplace modification scheme
funded by the Commonwealth Government.”

Mr Simpson says there are many barriers for people who have low vision.

“We found that many people are very enthusiastic and can be quite skilled
coming out of universities and then through experience putting in hundreds
of applications and going for dozens of interviews, their motivation gets
knocked about and after a while they become very discouraged,” he said.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I found this surprising.

By Yoav Stern
Haaretz 6 April 2007

The first swallow of spring is usually found in the heaps of Matza boxes
that fill supermarket aisles all over Israel. It certainly applies to
supermarkets in the Jewish towns and cities, and apparently is also true in
Arab communities.

Gadaban Supermarket, located at the entrance to Umm al-Fahm, generally
stocks up on Matza for Passover. Moreover, the supermarket has to replenish
its stock before the end of the holiday, due to keen demand by locals.
Apparently, the Arab public regularly consumes large quantities of Matza.

Iyad Sharbaji, the manager of Gadaban, told Haaretz yesterday that his Matza
is consumed entirely by local Arabs. “The Jews passing by here already have
enough Matza. The customers are all from the local Arab community,” he said.

His competitor down the road, The Market, opened this year. The demand for
Matza therefore caught the store by surprise. “People told us ahead of time
that they wanted Matza, so we bought five crates. Now we have only two
left,” he said.

It turns out the avid consumption of Matza is not a new trend in Arab towns
and villages, whose inhabitants view the traditional Jewish food as a
welcome and refreshing change in the menu. “It’s not a religious issue, and
certainly not a political one,” Sharbaji explains.

A journalist associated with the Islamic Movement in Israel told Haaretz
that he also bought Matza. “The kids can’t get enough of it,” he gleefully
reported. “They eat it like crackers. But it also represents a sense of
folklore for us. Maybe we like it more than Jews do because no one’s forcing
us to eat nothing but Matza all day long,” he said in explanation.

Another happy customer from Baka al-Garbiyeh said his children and wife were
“packing the Matza away,” adding that they preferred to eat their Matza with
a spread of jam or chocolate.

In fact, it seems Matza is particularly popular with Arab children, and most
consumers report their sons and daughters especially relish the seasonal
offering.

Since the demand for Matza in the Arab public is naturally unconnected to
Passover, the residents of towns like Baka al-Garbiyeh begin consuming it
well before the holiday.

Meanwhile, bakeries in Arab towns have reported a substantial increase in
sales during Passover, as Jewish customers stock up on bread and pita, which
are hard to find in Jewish towns over the holiday.

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I definitely agree with this.
I’m not condoning software piracy, especially not your OS, but all of this
has to stop somewhere, and they shouldn’t just go around and treat everyone
like criminals.
I can see this effecting people who get their computers from government
agencies.
That’s got to be a real headache.

By Rob Pegoraro
Washington Post

AmandaPosted on Kind Tags Leave a response on Draconian Windows Watchers

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I’ve been playing around with the Get_custom plugin to see if I could get it to work a litle better than I did the first time I glanced at it, and I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve been able to do with it.
Now, I can add current mood, reading, and whatever else I want to to the site, just by adding a custom field.
I’m really pleased with this plugin, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to tweak.
And BTW, it looks like the syndication monster didn’t bite me after all.
The feed publisher just doesn’t publish an excerpt.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I’d like to apologize for all the posts with no info in them that got posted
yesterday.
I’m working on implementing an automation system that will post while I’m
away or unable to post, and there are some bugs still left.
Note to self: Set up a test server!
So anyway, now that we’ve reached Hol HaMo’ed Pesah, it’s back to posting
manually.

  

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Moed Katan 23

It is forbidden to discuss words of Torah in a house of mourning.

A mourner may not walk out of his house the first Shabbos. The second Shabbos he may go out but he may not sit in his regular place (I.E., he may not recline or sit at a table). The third Shabbos he
may sit in his regular place but he may not talk.

A mourner may not get married for thirty days.

If a husband loses his wife, according to the Tana Kama he may not get married until after three Regalim have passed and according to R. Yehudah he may
get remarried after two Regalim.

A mourner may not wear freshly pressed clothing for thirty days. R. Yehudah says only new clothing is prohibited and R. Elazar Bar Shimon holds only new,
white clothing is prohibited.

There is a dispute between the residents of Yehudah (Judea) and Galil (Galilee) whether any of the regulations of mourning apply on Shabbos.

A person that lost a relative that has not yet been buried may not eat in front of the deceased and may not recline while eating and he may not eat meat
or drink wine.

According to the Tana Kama a person that lost a relative on Shabbos is prohibited from having marital relations, while Raban Gamliel disagrees.

Brief Insight
A woman that is mourning the death of her husband mourns for three months but may not get married until after three months. Although a husband that lost
his wife may not get remarried until after three Regalim a woman does not have to wait more that long. The reason is that a woman is happy married to anybody
and forgets her first love rather quickly. (Mordechai)
(I wonder if Rabbi Mordechai ever cared to ask any of the women of his acquaintance if this is so)?
Quick Halacha
A mourner may not get married forbidden thirty days even if he does not make a festive meal. After thirty days it is permitted to marry and make a festive
meal even if one is mourning a parent that passed away. It is permitted for a mourner to be Mikadesh (marry) a woman immediately even on the day of the death but
a festive meal may not be made until after thirty days. Some opinions hold that it is also forbidden to be Mikadesh a woman until after thirty days and
that opinion is the correct one. (Shulchan Aruch YD 392:1)

The opinion that allows a mourner to be Mikadesh a woman immediately is because of the fear that someone else will beat him to her by means of prayer. (Shach)

  

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Nissan 14

Do not sacrifice [the Passover offering] while you are in possession of chametz (leaven) (Exodus 23:18).

Chametz and matzah have many symbolic explanations. What ever the symbolic meaning may be, one fact cannot be denied. For the few days of Passover, chametz
and matzah are antithetical. The Passover seder cannot coexist with chametz. This point is clearly stated in the first of the traditional four questions
near the beginning of the Haggadah: “All other nights we eat both chametz and matzah; but this night, only matzah.”

Passover tells us that we cannot maintain two opposites, but must make a commitment one way or the other. As Elijah said to the Jews who worshiped idols:
“How long will you vacillate between two contradictory ideologies? If Hashem is God, then follow Him. If Baal is god, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21).

People who can take a definite stand can also open themselves to any needed change when they are shown that they are wrong. However, people who constantly
vacillate can always find excuses to slither out of improving themselves.

The above verse taught the about-to-be-liberated Israelite and their descendants a vital principle: Do not try to maintain mutually contradictory ideologies.

Today I shall …
… try to rid myself of mutually contradictory concepts, and instead make a commitment to a way of life that I can fully accept.

  

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As I promised yesterday, here’s the final list of entrants to the Daily Blog Tips Blogging Mistakes Project.
Enjoy the reading.

  

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Megillah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two

Introduction

This mishnah deals specifically with selling a synagogue.

Mishnah Two

1) They may not sell a synagogue except with the stipulation that it may be bought back whenever they want, the words of Rabbi Meir.

2) But the sages say: they may sell it in perpetuity, except for four purposes for it to become one of four things: a bathhouse, a tannery, a ritual
bath, or a urinal.

3) Rabbi Judah says: they may sell it to be a courtyard, and the purchaser may do what he likes with it.

Explanation

Section one: Rabbi Meir holds that the community can sell the synagogue but only on condition that the synagogue can be bought back any time they wish.
It sounds like Rabbi Meir intends to say that while the community may sell the synagogue because they need to buy holier items, what the community should
really do is save up so that they can buy the synagogue back. Also, if they saw that the synagogue was being put to improper use, they could demand to
purchase it back immediately.

Section two: The rabbis are more lenient when it comes to selling the synagogue and do not require the seller to be able to buy it back whenever he should
so please. The one restriction is that the sellers may not sell it knowing that it will be used for a something smelly (a tannery, a urinal) or for something
where people will be naked (a bathhouse or a ritual bath).

Section three: Rabbi Judah points out that if the synagogue’s owners cannot by right repurchase the synagogue, then the new owners can trick the system
by first buying it to be a courtyard and then doing with it whatever they like, including turning it into a urinal. It is unclear whether Rabbi Judah
says that this is permitted and there’s nothing that can be done about it, or what he is really doing is criticizing the sages’ position by pointing out
that they can’t really enforce their halakhah. As we shall see in the next mishnah, Rabbi Judah believes that a synagogue retains its sanctity even after
it is destroyed. It therefore seems less likely that Rabbi Judah would condone the synagogue becoming something like a urinal.

  

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Day 2 – Mining the Heart
SEFER AHAVAS CHESED – Part II Chapter I

A person with enough self-discipline and persistence can force himself to
perform an act of chesed, even if he has no real desire to do it. A more
difficult task is to force oneself to love chesed when the feeling doesn’t
seem to be present in one’s heart. This is a far greater challenge, but it
cannot be an impossibility, simply because the Torah never commands the
impossible. Therefore, one must assume that within each Jew dwells the
capacity to love chesed, even if a person must dig deeply within himself to
search for the emotion.

Such a search, conducted by a simple Jew, provided a lifetime of
inspiration for the chassidic rebbe, Rabbi Bunim of Pshis’che. Rabbi Bunim
spent his early years as a businessman. In his constant business travels,
he used every interaction as a means to bring Jews closer to Hashem. On one
such journey, he stopped at an inn on a cold, stormy night. The Jewish
innkeeper found in Rabbi Bunim a sympathetic ear for his tale of a failing
business. The peasants no longer came to him, vats of liquor sat untouched
in the basement and the landlord was growing impatient for the rent. Rabbi
Bunim spoke with the man for awhile, and then sat down to learn.

In the middle of the night, there was a loud knock on the door. A traveler,
drenched and freezing, begged the innkeeper to admit him, even though he
had no money with which to pay. The innkeeper sighed at his misfortune – he
finally had a customer, but even this wouldn’t bring him any money.
Nevertheless, he helped the traveler. He let him in, gave him a change of
clothing and a room for the night. The traveler, however, was still
shivering. “Could you bring me some vodka, please?” he asked. “I don’t have
any money, but I’m so cold.”

The innkeeper went to the basement to tap into his vodka supply for the
first time in weeks – once again, for no profit. He didn’t notice that
Rabbi Bunim was there, watching him. What the rabbi saw, however, struck
him so powerfully that he told of the scene for the rest of his life. The
innkeeper poured a cup of vodka, then shook his head firmly and smashed the
cup to the floor. Once, twice, three times, four times he repeated this
procedure, oblivious to the sin of wastefulness he was committing. Finally,
upon pouring the fifth cup, he happily proclaimed, “Now!” and brought the
vodka to his guest.

Rabbi Bunim asked the innkeeper to explain his strange behavior. The
explanation was touchingly simple. He couldn’t serve the guest a drink he
had poured with disappointment and resentment in his heart. He knew he had
been handed a golden mitzvah – a chance to revive a shivering, hungry, poor
man, yet his financial worries were clouding his ability to appreciate this
gift. He tried and tried again, until he reached the vein of ahavas chesed
that was within him. Then, satisfied that he was doing his act of kindness
with a full heart, he brought the man his drink.

Step by Step

Today, I will think of a method to invoke enthusiasm for a chesed I
regularly do that sometimes causes me annoyance.

  

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Day 2 – The Conniving Fellow
SEFER SEFAS TAMIM – Chapter One: Deceit vs. Truthfulness

Mirmah (deceit) refers to any statement that is intended to mislead
someone. This includes misleading someone in business matters. It also
includes statements which in themselves do not cause the listener harm, but
which could lead to harm or loss. For example:

A conniving fellow sets his eyes on cheating a certain individual. In order
to accomplish this, he first must earn the person’s trust, so he
“befriends” him. This in itself is mirmah and is a terrible sin.
People who are guilty, that their words are not reflective of their true
feelings, are classified among those who are “hated by G-d” (see Pesachim
113b).

As Iyun Yaakov (ibid.) explains, a person who is two-faced demonstrates
that he lacks fear of Hashem. He befriends people while plotting behind
their backs, ignoring – or denying – that the all-knowing G-d is aware of
one’s innermost thoughts and secrets.

The late Rabbi Shimon Schwab, revered Rav of the Washington Heights
kehillah, made another observation: Those who resort to trickery, fraud or
outright thievery to earn money show a basic lack of faith in Hashem. Do
they truly believe that Hashem wants them to steal and cheat in order to
make ends meet? Apparently they do not believe that each year on Rosh
Hashanah, Hashem decrees our earnings for the coming year (Beitzah 16a),
and that He has infinite means by which to ensure that we will earn
whatever is meant for us.

But there are many Jews who do possess such faith.

Baruch Feldman (a fictitious name) owns a healthcare facility on the east
coast. A government audit revealed that he had overpaid $100,000 in taxes.
A few weeks later he received a government check for that amount. Two weeks
later, he received another check for the same amount. Mr. Feldman
immediately called his accountant.

Upon looking into the matter, the accountant concluded that the second
check had been issued in error. “Mr. Feldman,” he said, “the decision is
yours. Chances are very slim that anyone in the government will ever
realize the error. So if you deposit the second check, you’ll probably have
no problem keeping it. Of course, you’re not actually entitled to the
money.”

Mr. Feldman left the room and upon returning after a few minutes said, “I
discussed the matter with my partner and we decided to return the money.”
The accountant was well aware that the only “partner” Mr. Feldman had was
Hashem, and that he had left the room to ponder privately what Hashem would
want him to do in such a situation. He concluded that without a doubt the
right decision was to return the money.

  

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The Essential Quality

It is every person’s hope and prayer that he or she be healthy, that every
organ of the body function as it should. Similarly, it should be every
person’s hope and yearning that his or her soul, which lives on eternally,
be spiritually healthy. It is therefore imperative that one strive
throughout his lifetime to faithfully observe all 613 mitzvos, which
provide the components of the soul with eternal life and vitality.

Shmiras haloshon is especially crucial to one’s spiritual wellbeing. People
who habitually speak loshon hora, and accept as fact the evil talk of
others, corrupt their power of speech and hearing in this world – and their
souls will surely be affected in a parallel way in the next world. How
great will be their shame in the next world! For it will be obvious to all
that their deficiencies resulted from the sin of loshon hora and their
having been the cause of strife on this world.

The Torah states: “And Hashem (God) formed man from the dust of the ground,
and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living
being” (Bereishis 2:7). Targum Onkelos translates the verse’s last phrase
as, “and man became a speaking spirit.” It is the power of speech which
defines man’s essence and distinguishes him from other creatures.

Thus does Scripture state: “One who guards his mouth and tongue, guards his
soul from tribulations” (Mishlei 21:23). Shmiras haloshon is singled out
because speech is man’s essential quality. Impairment of this power
deprives the soul of its essential quality in the next world and is the
source of its ultimate tribulation.

David therefore declares, “Which man desires life, who loves days of seeing
good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit…”

  

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SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM

Day 2 – Breach of Halachah

It is forbidden to relate that someone has been remiss in matters of Jewish
observance – be it a transgression prohibited by the Torah, a rabbinical
prohibition, or even a breach of custom. Such statements are derogatory by
the Torah’s standards and thus are forbidden.

Therefore, it is forbidden to mention an incident in which one of the
people involved transgressed a halachah, even in a society where that
particular halachah is commonly ignored.

  

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Mishlei (Proverbs) Chapter 18

1. He who is separated seeks lust; in all sound wisdom, he is exposed.
He who is separated seeks lust He who is separated from the Holy One, blessed be He, not keeping His precepts, pursues the lust of his heart and his evil
inclination, and finally…
in all sound wisdom, he is exposed Among the wise, his disgrace will be revealed. Our Sages expounded this as referring to Lot, who separated from Abraham
because of the lust of his heart, as it is stated (Gen. 13:11): “And Lot chose for himself the entire plain of the Jordan, etc.” This whole verse is stated
concerning adultery. His end was that his shame was exposed in the synagogues and in the study halls, [when people read] (Deut. 23:4): “Neither an Ammonite
nor a Moabite may enter [the congregation of the Lord].”
2. A fool does not delight in understanding, but in revealing his heart.
but in revealing his heart But in the revelation of his heart. He wishes to reveal what is in his heart.
3. When a wicked man comes, there also comes contempt, and with disdain, provocation.
and with disdain disgrace comes. He who chooses disdain and adultery-it is a disgrace for him.
4. The words of a man’s mouth are like deep water; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing stream.
the wellspring of wisdom is like a flowing stream and like deep water.
The words of a man’s mouth Heb. ???. Every instance of ??? in Scripture is an expression of a mighty man, one who is great in might.
5. It is not good to be partial to the wicked, to subvert the righteous in judgment.
It is not good to be partial to the wicked As our Sages explained: It is not good for the wicked, that they are favored in this world and are requited in
the next world.
to subvert the righteous in judgment It is good for the righteous that the scale is weighed down for them to make them guilty in this world, where they
are requited during their lifetime, and they merit the world to come. Its simple meaning, however, is according to its apparent meaning.
6. The lips of a fool will enter a quarrel, and his mouth calls out for blows.
The lips of a fool will enter a quarrel All his matters come about with an expression of quarreling.
and his mouth calls out for blows He calls pains to come upon himself.
7. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare for himself.
8. The words of a grumbler are like blows, and they descend into the inmost parts.
The words of a grumbler are like blows Heb. ????????.
9. Even one who is slack in his work is akin to the destroyer.
Even one who is slack in his work If he is a Torah scholar who separated himself from the Torah.
to the destroyer To Satan.
10. The name of the Lord is a tower of strength; the righteous runs into it and is strengthened.
The name of the Lord is a tower of strength; the righteous runs into it and is strengthened Heb. ?????.
11. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a strong wall in his chamber.
and like a strong wall his wealth is to him in his chambers. Since the house is paved with a floor of stones that cover the earth, it is called ??? ?????,
a covering stone.
12. Before ruin, a man’s heart becomes haughty, but before honor there is humility.
13. He who answers a word before he understands-it is foolishness for him and an embarrassment.
14. A man’s spirit will sustain his illness, but a broken spirit-who will bear it?
A man’s spirit The spirit of a ???, who is a mighty man, does not take worry to heart, but accepts with joy and love whatever befalls him.
will sustain his illness He does not lose his strength.
15. An understanding heart will acquire knowledge, and the ear of the wise will seek knowledge.
16. A man’s gift will make room for him, and it will lead him before the great.
A man’s gift will make room [This is to be understood] according to its simple meaning, but, according to its midrashic interpretation, it deals with those
who give (sic) charity, which widens his share in the future world, as well as during his lifetime, and it will lead him before the great, who say that
he is esteemed.
17. He who pleads his case first seems just, but his neighbor comes and searches him out.
18. The lot causes quarrels to cease, and it separates contentious people.
and it separates contentious people Heb. ??????, these are the litigants, as in (Isa. 41:21): “ ‘present your strong points (????????).’” As their pleas
are strong, they are called ??????, either an expression of strength or an expression of closing, as in (ibid. 33:15) “and closes (???) his eyes.”
19. A rebellious brother [is deprived] of a strong city, and the quarrels are like the bolt of a castle.
A rebellious brother… of a strong city There is a brother who rebels against his brother and loses a strong city, e.g. Lot against Abraham and Esau against
Jacob.
and the quarrels are like the bolt of a castle The quarrel between them separates them forever, like a bolt with which they lock the gates of a castle,
so that no one should enter it.
20. With the fruit of his mouth does a man’s stomach become sated; with the produce of his lips he is sated.
21. Death and life are in the hand of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its produce.
and those who love it will eat its produce He who loves his tongue and accustoms it to [speaking words of] Torah, partakes of its reward in this world.
22. He who has found a wife has found good, and has obtained favor from the Lord.
He who has found a wife has found good He who has found the Torah; and according to its apparent meaning, a good wife.
and has obtained favor And has obtained. This is its simple meaning. Another explanation: A man who found a wife and found good, has obtained favor. That
man obtains favor from the Holy One, blessed be He. [This is in the name of] Rabbi Joseph Kara.
23. A poor man speaks with supplications, but a rich man replies with impudence.
A poor man speaks with supplications This one is accustomed to [speak] in this manner, and that one is accustomed to [speak] in that manner. He teaches
you a rule of conduct; that although the rich man answers with impudence, the poor man should speak with supplications, and so is the matter of a teacher
to a pupil.
24. A man acquires friends with whom to associate, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
A man acquires friends with whom to associate A man who acquires friends for himself [will find] that the day will arrive when he will need them, and they
will befriend him. Now, if you ask, “What of it?” there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, for he will befriend him more than his kin and his
brothers.

  

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