I was not alone
This year, as I sat down to the seder, I did so with the uneasy feeling of never having experienced a seder alone. As I began the seder, a feeling of calm came over me. I realized that I was not alone. Present were my mother, Eva, z”l, and my father, David, z”l, through the traditions they imparted to me as a youngster growing up in our home. Their presence was deeply felt.
I sang the songs in the Haggadah with them from their heavenly resting place. I donned my father’s kitel, as was his custom for the seder. Also present was my younger brother, Harold Lee, z”l, whose kind and gentle nature, even in the face of life’s difficulties, reminded me that we must face the challenges we are presented with and carry on. My other siblings and extended family were present in my heart.
We have lost so many. Each of them is irreplaceable. My sympathy goes out to their families and friends. Next year, as we gather with our extended families and friends for the seder, I will do so with a newfound appreciation for a tradition that has endured through the ages and cannot be shattered by a virus. May we all come through this time speedily, healthy and as a stronger people.
Words cut like a knife
If you are Jewish and support Trump, consider your understanding of lashon hara. Can it EVER be justified?
The answer is simple: No! Lo!
Lashon hara is such a serious infraction that there are 14 positive and 17 negative commandments regarding it. Chofetz Chaim warned that lashon hara is THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE OF ALL SINS. Death and life are in the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21.)
Now explain to me or better to yourself how you still justify your support of a man, the president of the United States, who commits this horrific sin every day of his life, and you look the other way. You throw out all common sense and your education.
From his making fun of disabled people to actively destroying people who differ from him with words and deeds. Destroying people publicly and hurting them financially right now by withholding vital help because they don’t praise him. Telling the public he believes the doctors and nurses are stealing lifesaving equipment during this pandemic. Telling governors that they need to be nice to him or they won’t get help. Why? Because they are Democrats.
Trump is playing God about who lives and who dies because he can. Why? Because you are letting him get away with it. His minions will not speak against him.
As Jews we should know better. We are obligated not to stand idly by while your fellow man is being hurt. This is NOT okay. No American embassy move to Jerusalem is worth a life lost. Neither is the announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel worth a life lost.
There is NOTHING this man does right that could excuse or override his evil speech and actions. The Torah forbids it. CONDONING it is YOUR SIN, and there isn’t much you can do for HaShem to make up for that. If you overlook Trumps transgression’s and sins they become YOUR SINS against HaShem.
The Torah is specific in invoking this decree five times. He who speaks evil is if he has transgressed all five books of the Torah. That alone should implore you to rethink your support. Words cut like a knife. They scar the soul. When you go before God on Judgment Day, remember your deeds and inaction. HaShem certainly will. Do right, do justice, be kind.
The Jewish people
prove God’s existence
In response to letter writer Aaron Fishbein’s request that someone explain God’s ways to him, I’m afraid that’s impossible. (“Does God exist,” April 10.)
in the book of Shemos, Moses essentially asks of God Himself the same question and in response is told he can see only God’s “back.” If someone as great as Moses is not given the ability to comprehend God’s essence, for Fishbein to expect another reader to provide the answer is woefully unrealistic.
As for his question about God’s existence, mighty empires — the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and others — all have disappeared after dominating the world, yet the tiny Jewish people remain.
The land of Israel was totally barren for 2,000 years, yet began to blossom immediately after the Jews returned. Are we that much greater warriors and farmers than all others? The fact that the Jewish people, against all odds, not only still exist but flourish, should give Fishbein his answer.
must have full support
I am a parent of a disabled man who lives in a New Jersey group home.
According to an article in the Bergen Record, group homes are not getting the funds needed for keeping their residents safe. That is a disgrace. They are under the care of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and must be accorded full support and protection as is provided for all people in nursing homes and hospitals.
These innocent disabled persons are of equal value as any other human being.
Harriet and Jerry Terdiman, MD
Don’t blame Trump
It is disheartening at this time to find so many individuals to be unable to disassociate themselves from certain syndromes.
In an otherwise excellent article, “Keeping a journal (of sorts) about sanely surviving in seclusion (mostly)” (April 10), by Jonathan E. Lazarus, it only took my reading of the second paragraph to hear the first boot drop. The second boot dropped under “MONITORING OUR LEADERS.”
I fail to rationally understand the compulsion to find fault with almost everything our president says or does. It is long past due for all those who can’t accept the fact that Hillary lost, to start concentrating on working for the benefit of our nation, rather than the negation and defeat of President Trump.
Howard J. Cohn
More theological questions
I greatly appreciated the two letters to the editor in the April 10 issue regarding “God is not to blame.” Mr. Fishbein’s analogy and the contradictory questions raised by Mr. Buckman are both so relatable.
I’ve always asked the question of people with strong faith regarding God’s role in terrible things happening to humanity, or tragedy happening to good people and I have either never received an answer or have received an answer that was unsatisfying.
I also don’t want to call myself an atheist because I’m afraid to do so — the no atheists in a foxhole theory — but evidence of God’s hand in our lives is hard to process. The two theories of “God allows free will” and “our lives are pre-destined” make believing even more difficult. If it’s pre-destined, does it matter if we live our lives as good people? If God allows free will, when does he step in?
I also would appreciate a reader providing some insight.
I wish to reply to two items in the Jewish Standard on April 10, 2020. First of all, kudos to Rabbi Boteach. The television series “Un-Orthodox” is horribly bigoted, stereotyping chasidic males as hypocritical patrons of prostitutes and gamblers and stereotyping chasidic woman in a highly unfavorable manner. The fact that the entertainment industry views religion in an unfavorable light is not surprising. The fact that you have a woman coming from a chasidic background helping to write this series thereby returning to trash her former community is disgusting.
I realize that Orthodox Judaism particularly chasidic and charedi Judaism is not for every Jew but couldn’t you leave with a modicum of respect. Unfortunately, she is joined by Abby Stein and Shulem Deen.
Secondly, in regard to why God allows bad things to happen. My reply is perhaps is that there is no answer and an answer you tried to do is worse than no answer. My further reply is that if one concludes that there is no God at all there is ultimately no morality and human life would be reduced to preparation for vegetation. Perhaps, the only real answer is a belief in life after death where there is some kind of accountability and some sort of compensation for bad things in this life.
Alan Mark Levin