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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yehi zichram baruch

Yom HaShoah 5775 coincides with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945.

Tomorrow morning, as the siren wails and the entire country comes to a mournful standstill, I will think about the following Holocaust survivors:

- My great-grandmother z”l, who used her wits, courage, and determination to save her daughters and then survive the Kovno ghetto (where she lost her beloved husband) and then two different concentration camps.

- My grandfather z”l. A gifted talmid of both Rav Elchanan Wasserman zt”l and Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, he left behind a remarkable letter for his descendants.

- My grandmother z”l. She was such an important part of my life, and I miss her greatly.

יהי זכרם ברוך.

May their memories be blessed; may they be meilitzei yosher for their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, yblt”a, as well as all of Am Yisrael; and may we all be privileged to continue along their illustrious paths.

ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pesach 5775: Shmitah and brownies

Moadim l’simchah!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Pesach and enjoying the weeklong vacation.

B”H, thanks to YZG and the amazing Shiputzim kids, we had a beautiful seder and yom tov, and we’ve been spending chol hamoed visiting with family and going on various trips and outings.

It was on one of the aforementioned outings that we observed the following #onlyinIsrael sign hanging on the gate of a certain agricultural community:

IMG_6834Translation: “Shmitah is observed here!”

And speaking of Pesach, I know you won’t be surprised to learn that here in TRLEOOB* – as in many other households - we consider brownies to be a Pesach staple. (The Shiputzim kids made 7 batches this year.)

<quick explanation> As I mentioned elsewhere, although we don’t eat gebrochts on Pesach, we’re not fanatic about it. Basically, the only thing we avoid is matzah mixed with water. Other liquids are fine, and thus, the Shiputzim family’s favorite Pesach brownie recipe contains matzah meal but no water. </explanation>

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Mezonot Pesach Brownies

Our electric hand mixer can handle four recipes at a time.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope vanilla sugar (can be included as part of the cup of sugar)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup matzah meal
  • 5½ TBSP cocoa

Directions

Beat eggs and sugars well. Gradually add remaining ingredients, and mix together.

Pour batter into baking-paper-lined pan (we use aluminum pans that are slightly smaller than 9x13). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Let the brownies cool before cutting.

Note: They freeze well. (We freeze the brownies whole and only cut them into squares immediately before serving.)

מועדים לשמחה, חג שמח ושבת שלום!

Have a fantastic chag and Shabbat, and enjoy your Shabbat Parshat Shmini/Isru Chag kitniyot!

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*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Friday, April 3, 2015

Euphonic Friday: Erev Pesach 5775 Edition

The food is cooked. The table is set. Showers were taken, and here in TRLEOOB*, everyone is enjoying their traditional pre-Seder naps while listening to this newly-released song by Gad Elbaz:

!שבת שלום וחג כשר ושמח

May you and your families have a wonderful, joyous, and kosher Pesach, and may we all be privileged to celebrate together next year in rebuilt Yerushalayim!

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*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dayenu

Looking for some appropriate music for Pesach cleaning?

Here’s the Maccabeats’ latest video:

Happy cleaning!

Smile

Monday, March 16, 2015

Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael

Warning: The following post may exceed definitely exceeds the recommended daily allowance for political essays. Proceed at your own risk.

In shul this past Shabbat, our community’s Rav declared that he isn’t endorsing any particular party.

However, he stressed that each person should vote for the party that s/he believes would best protect and defend Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael v’Torat Yisrael (the People of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the Torah of Israel).

How should one determine which party best meets this criteria?

The Rav observed that the Hebrew word melech (king) is comprised of three letters:

  • Mem – which stands for mo’ach (the brain), which represents the intellect.
  • Lamed – which stands for lev (the heart), which represents the emotions.
  • Kaf – which stands for kaved (the liver), which represents ka’as, anger.

According to the Rav, it’s not coincidental that the Mem comes first, because when it comes to matters of state, the intellect must take the lead.

Similarly, the Rav continued, when deciding how to vote, one should be guided primarily by one’s intellect.

Therefore, even if one is upset or even angered by something that a certain party did or didn’t do, one should still make a rational, objective calculation about whether or not that party is nevertheless best able and most likely to protect and defend Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

As I noted above, the Rav was very careful to avoid endorsing or even recommending any particular party.

In contrast, I admit that I have much less compunction, and thus, I will state the following:

1) The would-be duumvirate known locally as “Tzippi/Bouji” has made it quite clear that Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael do not play prominent (or perhaps even any) roles in its members’ Leftist and post-Zionist worldviews.

2) Voting for any of the self-styled “Centrist” parties – including Yisrael Beiteinu, Kulanu, and most especially Yesh Atid – will enable Tzippi/Bouji to form and lead the next government.

My dear friends, please keep these two very important points in mind when heading to vote tomorrow.

May these elections herald besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Heblishization of the Megilah V

Shamelessly neglecting one’s blog is certainly no excuse for breaking a long standing tradition, and thus, the Our Shiputzim Editorial Board once again proudly presents:

The Official Heblish Translation

of

Megilat Esther - Chapter 4

(1) And Mordechai knew everything that was made, and Mordechai tore his clothes, and he wore sack and dust. And he went out in the middle of the city, and he cried a big and bitter cry.

(2) And he came until in front of the gate of the king, because there is not to come to the gate of the king in the clothes of sack.

(3) And in every state and state, a place that the thing of the king and his religion reaches to, a big mourning to the Jews and a fast and crying and mispeid. Sack and dust were offered to a lot.

(4) And the teenagers of Esther and her sarisim came, and they told to her, and the queen titchalchal-ed a lot. And she sent clothes to dress Mordechai and to get rid of his sack from on top of him, and he did not get.

(5) And Esther called to Hatach from the sarisim of the king that stood in front of her, and she l’tzavot-ed him on Mordechai - to know what is this and on what is this.

(6) And Hatach went out to Mordechai, to the street of the city that is in front of the gate of the king.

(7) And Mordechai told to him everything that happened to him and the parsha of the money that Haman said to weigh on the treasures of the king in the Jews to lose them.

(8) And the patshegen of the writing of the religion that was given in Shushan to destroy them - he gave to him to show Esther and to tell to her, and to l’tzavot on her to come to the king to beg to him and to ask in front of him on her nation.

(9) And Hatach came, and he told to Esther the things of Mordechai.

(10) And Esther said to Hatach, and she l’tzavot-ed him to Mordechai:

(11)All the slaves of the king and the nation of the states of the king know that every man and woman that will come to the king to the inside yard that will not be called - one his religion to kill,  except from that will the king reach out to him the wand of gold, and she lives. And I have not been called to come to the king this thirty days.”

(12) And they told to Mordechai the things of Esther.

(13) And Mordechai said to give back to Esther, "Do not imagine in your nefesh to escape in the house of the king from all the Jews.

(14) Because if you hachareish tacharishi in this time, space and saving will stand to the Jews from a different place, and you and the house of your father will get lost. And who knows if to a time like this you came to the kingdom?"

(15) And Esther said to give back to Mordechai:

(16) ”Go, bring together all the Jews who are found in Shushan, and fast on me, and do not eat and do not drink three days, night and day, and I and my teenagers will fast yes. And in yes, I will come to the king that is not like the religion, and when I got lost, I got lost.”

(17) And Mordechai went over, and he did like everything that Esther l’tzavot-ed on him.

Laughing out loud

¡ɯıɹnԀ ʎddɐH

םירופ חמש!

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P.S. In case you missed them, be sure to check out the Heblish translations of Esther 3, Esther 5, Esther 7, Esther 10, and Mah Nishtanah.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

Earlier today, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a brilliant and very effective speech to a joint session of Congress.

Like many Israelis and also many of our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, I confess that tears came to my eyes during the speech – especially when the prime minister cited a pasuk from Sefer Devarim:

חִזְקוּ וְאִמְצוּ אַל תִּירְאוּ וְאַל תַּעַרְצוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם כִּי ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ הוּא הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּךְ לֹא יַרְפְּךָ וְלֹא יַעַזְבֶךָּ.

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid and do not be dismayed of them. For Hashem, your God, is the One Who goes with you; He will not release you and He will not forsake you.”
(Devarim 31:6)

For those who missed it, here’s the full speech:

Two excerpts:

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

“We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

“Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East.

“Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

“And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

And also:

“We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

“This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

“But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel.”

As we head into Taanit Esther and then Purim, may we be privileged to witness besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) and also the fulfillment of the Megilah’s words:

כַּיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר נָחוּ בָהֶם הַיְּהוּדִים מֵאֹיְבֵיהֶם וְהַחֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר נֶהְפַּךְ לָהֶם מִיָּגוֹן לְשִׂמְחָה וּמֵאֵבֶל לְיוֹם טוֹב לַעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתָם יְמֵי מִשְׁתֶּה וְשִׂמְחָה וּמִשְׁלֹחַ מָנוֹת אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ וּמַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִים.

“As the days on which the Jews rested from their enemies and the month which was turned about for them from grief to joy and from mourning to a festival; to make them days of feasting and joy and sending portions to one another and gifts to the poor.”
(Esther 9:22)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Netanyahu’s 2015 AIPAC speech

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed AIPAC’s 2015 Policy Conference earlier today:

May the prime minister’s dedication, commitment, and efforts be blessed with success, and may they lead to besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael according to Torat Yisrael.