Friday, June 26, 2009

Not Marsha's Parshas - Torah Thought for the week - Healthy Differences of Opinion

In this week's portion we find Korach who had demands against Moses.
He starts a rebellion and he and his followers get swallowed up in the earth.
So what was wrong?
Was it wrong to argue with Moses?
Was that why they were punished?
The answer is NO!
They were allowed to argue. The Talmud tells us that Korach was worthy of all the demands he requested. But his ego and arrogance caused him to go about it the wrong way, and caused him to twist the truth in his attempt to get what he wanted.
There is nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion, the Talmud is full of them. And at times demands us to speak up.
But there is a proper way to address it.
Instead of mounting a rebellion based on claims that stretched the truth Korach should have called for a meeting with Moses asked him out for a cup of coffee and worked it out.
Had he argued for the greater good of the Israeli People as he had claimed and meant it he would have had everything and more. But since he had alterior motives and just had his own ego and arrogance in mind it ended how it did.
If we really want to effect change and bring out our opinions we have to do it the right way and it will work.

Shabbos and Kosher

I recieved the following question:
I understand that you give the kosher supervision for (Certain Restaurant) in Manhattan. How is it possible for it to be kosher when it is open on the Sabbath?

Thanks for answering!

And I answered the following:
Thanks for the question.
According to Jewish Law, Shabbos and Kosher are two different things. Being open on Shabbos does not effect the Kosher status of the food.
Of course we want every Jew to be all that they can be and keep the Shabbos as holy as can be. BUT if someone does not keep Shabbos it does NOT at all mean that their Kosher standards are compromised.
Unfortunately, in this world of convoluted and unnecessary stringencies we are made to believe the opposite, that Shabbos is somehow a Kosher standard.
When I was young, reliable certifying agencies did give certification to restaurants and businesses open on Shabbos. And even now all the major certifying agencies (OU, OK, etc.) certify factories that produce on Shabbos.
If I can help you any more please feel free to contact me further.
Have a good Shabbos.
Rabbi Schwarcz

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's stay strong to our morals

More infidelity and unfaithfulness.
The world has become full of lies and untruths. It is very hard to find anyone, especially in public view, who speaks the truth and acts completely morally. (The Talmud actually spoke of this thousands of years ago.) Morals have been under a relentless barrage of attacks for many years.
It may be easy to fall prey and let down your guard. It may be easy to allow yourself liberties with the truth and morality, but try to stand strong to what you know to be true and moral and not let yourself be influenced by those who profess to be examples.
We really know what needs to be done and how we're supposed to act. So let's stay strong and do what Moses told Joshua, "be a mentsch".

Monday, June 22, 2009

Let's support liberty

I think we should give our strong support for the People of Iran who are trying to rally against tyranny on behalf of liberty and change.
I know we think that we can't do much just by speaking up or affect the outcome by our support, but by doing nothing we certainly don't accomplish anything.
As is stated by the powerful words (usually misattributed to 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke) "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Value of Positivity - Thoughts on the Parsha (Weekly Torah Portion)

Oh if only my name or my wife's was Marsha this column could be called "Marsha's Parshas"
What can I call it with the name of Zev??

In this week's Parsha we continue to follow the Israeli People's exploits during their second year out of Egypt as they travel through the desert on their way to Israel.
They are about to enter "The Land" but they want to first send spies to check it out.
Moses and (G-d) don't think it is necessary as once G-d says it is good the people should believe, but Moses (and G-d) understand human nature and allow the spies to be sent to allay the fears and satisfy the curiosity of the populace.
But a problem arose out of that spying and the story does not end so well (another 38 years in the desert).
Going to check things out wasn't the problem but the approach and outlook of most of the spies was. And that resulted in a bias that affected how they viewed and reported on the land.
And that approach was NEGATIVITY.
Instead of looking at the good side of what they saw the spies twisted all that they saw, sensationalized it to get dramatic effect and caused all the people to believe there was a crisis of doom. Until the people believed it was better to be enslaved in Egypt.
They weren't even able to hear the truth from the 2 spies who maintained the proper positive attitude.
They cried for nothing and wanted to give up.
So where are we in all this?
How do we view things?
Do we fall prey to the horrible claws of NEGATIVITY and recognize the drastic consequences??
They are always many ways of dealing with and viewing any situation and by approaching it with a positive attitude we can strengthen ourselves and better accomplish our goals and ourselves.

Mazel Tov?

I officiated at a wedding last night. And of course it was wonderful. But it was an interesting case which for me made it very worthwhile.
This couple was married 2 years ago civilly but never had a Chupah and Kiddushin (Jewish Law wedding). So for me it was an honor to be able to help a couple who wanted to increase their spiritual connection.
Now they're not "completely observant" yet, or maybe they'll never be but they wanted the connection so it was a pleasure to facilitate.
We had it at a Shul in Brooklyn so the groom's father, who has a hip problem, could attend as it was close to his house.
But what bothered me was that when the Rabbi of the shul "found out" that the couple was not "religious" he told me that he wouldn't have allowed the wedding in his shul and of course he couldn't be involved and he wouldn't be able to stay. (????!!!!)
Why are people like that?
Why can't we appreciate the positive steps people want to take without criticizing what you think are the steps they didn't take? Are we so pristinely perfect that we can be so judgemental?

Friday, June 12, 2009

thought on the Parsha (Torah Portion)

Good Shabbos all!
In this week's Parsha you find that the Israelis in the desert were complaining that they had no meat or fish (although they had the miraculous mana from heaven).
However the Torah doesn't say that they desired meat, rather it says that they desired a "desire"
or in other words they just wanted to want something. They just felt they should be getting more.
They were actually searching to find something they could crave.
or they were just looking for a reason not to be satisfied.
And this attitude was the beginning of the downturn which eventually led to having to spend the next 40 years in the desert.
We have to look at ourselves and see if we are satisfied with what we have. Are we grateful for all the good we have or are we being influenced by a entitlement mentality that just tells us take more more more I don't even know what but I deserve it I neeed it and now?

Hope to hear from alot of you soon

I know many of you have Kosher questions or just Jewish ones because I received alot of calls with questions and I was glad to be able to help. So I hope to hear from many of you here with comments or questions.