Sunday, June 28, 2009

Update on Ark......Bologne

Apparently Patriarch Abuna Pauolos of the Ethiopian Church had nothin to say and nothin to show.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bye -bye Sitemeter

Hi all,

Well, I am saying good bye to the ole sitemeter. I can't believe I have the strength to do this. But its good. No more checking to see how many people read the blog, no more competing with myself and hoping for more readers. Now I just wing it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

More Holy Temple Hints...


"Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters," writes Iranian dissident Arash Irandoost, "Iran needs your help more than ever now. And we will be eternally grateful. Please help opposition television and radio stations which are blocked and being jammed by the Islamic Republic (Nokia and Siemens) resume broadcast to Iran. There is a total media blackout and Iranians inside Iran for the most part are not aware of their brave brothers and sisters fighting and losing their lives daily. And the unjust treatment and brutal massacre of the brave Iranians in the hands of the mullah's paid terrorist Hamas and Hizbullah gangs are not seen by the majority of the Iranians. Please help in any way you can to allow these stations resume broadcasting to Iran.

"And, please remember that we will remember, as you have remembered Cyrus the Great's treatment of you in your time of need," Irandoost concludes, signing his blogged call for help "Your Iranian Brothers and Sisters!" (More from Arutz Sheva)

Remember King Xerxes? Queen Esther? ***sigh***

So far there have been more talk or hint of the Holy Temple by non-Jewish people. When are the Jews going to wake up. I think the world could use a Temple "for all nations to pray"

(ps why aren't they asking help from America?)

Speaking of Music and Kingship...

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

The world of music and entertainment was in mourning today after singer Michael Jackson collapsed and died at his Los Angeles home.

Jackson, 50, suffered a massive heart attack and stopped breathing last night, although the exact circumstances of his death are not yet known.

His personal doctor was with him at home when he collapsed but could not revive him. Unconfirmed reports claim the catastrophic heart attack could have been triggered by a painkiller injection.

Sources close to the Jackson family had recently told the Daily Mail how the singer was addicted to painkillers and that they had taken over his life. One side effect of their abuse is cardiac arrest. (more at the Daily Mail)

I had just completed a piece on music and kingship. Yep, Michael Jackson was certainly the king of music in this generation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Holy Ark to be Revealed???

I don't know if this holds water, but the Ethiopian church (which had been rumored to be holding the ark) says it is now time to reveal it to the world.

Story on Arutz Sheva.

If true, I can't even (dare) imagine what this means...

Daniel Hauser

A 13 year old boy runs away with his mother.

They are running away to escape chemo-therapy from the doctors.

When I first read this story, I thought it was the type of people who refuses any sort of medical treatment. But upon further reading, its not that they don't want ANY medical treatment, they just didn't was that particular one.

The Hausers, who initially resisted chemotherapy out of a preference for alternative, American Indian-based treatments, faced immediate legal consequences if they skipped the appointment. (

It seems a bit alarming to me that people are not ALLOWED to do whatever treatment they think would be better. Legal actions are threatened against them. What's happening to choices?

Perhaps people are not intelligent enough or able to gather enough info by themselves to make an intelligent decision? I must admit one of my biggest unspoken fear (until now) is to be hurt by someone else's stupidity.

Nevertheless, people ought to be given a chance to live their own lives, especially if they appear sane and have a seeming healthy drive towards self-preservation.

My 2 shekels.

p.s Imagine the sense of defeat this boy must feel after attempting to "save" himself, but being denied.

Some corrections...

I wanted to add more dates to be more precise in my "Kicking into Redemption Mode" posts:

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was from April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810. He was the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov -the one who started the Hassidic movement) He specifically requested that none of his work be published until after he had passed some time in Israel. Nevertheless, some of his previous work did get published.

He lived in the Ukraine. Made the trek to the Jewish community in Israel and left shortly. You can read more general info about him at wikipedia.

Israel Ber Odesser (Israel Saba) 1888 – 23 October 1994, was born and lived in Tiberia, Israel. It was a small Jewish community. Though there was still hostility between Arabs and Jews even back then, for the most part they lived peacefully within their city. You can get more info at wiki.

Gay Parade set for this Thursday

Well, I suppose this group is happy J'lem is still in Jewish control. lol!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Salute to Daniel Pearl

A journalist who was kidnapped finally came home. David Rohdes escaped his captors and thankfully the media helped by their SILENCE.

I read an article about this on Yahoo news and they mentioned Daniel Pearl, another reporter who didn't make it. In fact, he was beheaded. Many others suffered that same horrific fate. That story hurts so much. It parts partly because I met my husband at the Dan Pearl Hotel. AFterwards, I found out his wife was biracial.

Yay David Rohdes for escaping!

RIP Daniel Pearl.

On another note,

RIP Ed McMahon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bring on the Holiness! MUSIC K'doosha

Kedoosha means holiness in Hebrew.
Many say music with beats are sinful. Some even ban music altogether. But it feels so gooood! lol. What's going on? Are we unable to handle the holiness of music anymore? Is its holiness in such a state of exile that is just better to abandon the whole concept altogether?

Music began almost as soon as man began. You can read its history here at wikipedia.

African music is pretty famous for its use of the drums-- which means beats, rythme, and tempos.

Long ago, Israelites, specifically from the Levite tribes would use music to help them to meditate, to get prophecy, or to just be inspired.

We have all heard about King David and his harp. According to tradition, he would hang his harp a certain way so that when the mid night winds began to blow, it would vibrate the strings of his harp, and thus he would awaken and the Psalms were created that way.

There is a certain sect of Jews who refuse to play any instrument except the drum and other percussion instruments. They refuse to "add a little guiiitar, to make it easy to move your feet" until the Holy Temple is rebuilt.

Now what is the holiness of music according to Likutey Moharan?

The Ari teaches that music comes from two symbolic "birds". One bird is represented by Netzach and the other Hod. Its the same attributes that surrounds Yesod. (The same forces that, I believe, BF are surrounded by and have the task to reign and perfect.)

Please keep in mind that by "bird" we mean something that has attributes of a birdlike something, but its not really a bird. Maybe a better word could be cherub? Like the cherubs that were positioned on top of the ark and where the voice emanated from to Moses?

Anyway, this is the same place where speech is said to come from. This is why, if a Hebrew Israelite slandered someone -like in the case of Miriam speaking disparagingly about Moses for not being more with his wife Tzipporah- the punishment was leprosy. After, the Leper was put away from the camp and the leprosy was gone, the recovered leper had to offer a two bird offering.

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:

2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought unto the priest.

3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

4 then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two living clean birds, and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop. (Leviticus 14:2-4)

Many draw from this "well" singers, anybody with a voice, cantors, etc. (because its associated with the mouth, its also related to Malkhut. In fact, some even say that David was deserving of becoming king because of his ability to sing. Could that be why many rely on singers nowadays to be "spokespersons"?)

Problem is that every up has a down, every left has a right. Just as these two birds are like a "well" for beautiful sounds, speech, music, etc. So there are two other, more sinister birds!

***insert dramatic music****

From these two other birds, you get slanderous speech. Wicked musicians, etc. People who can literally draw you away from life (God forbid). In the black community, there are an abundance of these singers spewing out hateful messages. They put these messages into a beat for quicker entrance into our minds.

This must not go on.


So, what to do about this?

The only suggestion I have now is to use the tools at our disposal. It seems that beats in music are like straws that go straight into our being. If that beat is accompanied by beautiful, positive music, speech, sincere confessions, then those messages goes straight into us.

I say don't ban the beats, use it for positive message insertions.

Also, filling our world with positive speech -not just music- but positive talks, good news, etc. That also helps to counter the loud other's message.

In conclusion, we all love and appreciate music. However something happened to it that caused many religious leaders to worry, censor or even ban it altogether. Plainly, we can see the terrible effects of bad music, speech from many in the 'hood. But we don't need to stand idlely by and watch the slow demise of the "other" two birds music, we can coubter this with our own positive speech, jingles, repeats of clever beautiful quips. We can also make use of beats for a more "speedy recovery". Most importantly, seek out good music and rejoice!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Music and Praise of God

A cross post from Chaya from Living Essence blog...(this happened few days ago):

I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and write! I've had some crazy weeks, moving apartments, packing and unpacking, and settling in. It's the end of the week, Shabbath is on it's way, and I can breathe easy.

I'm in town, sitting observing, thinking and writing.

Beside me are a group of young folks, creating beats and rhythms on their drums, guitars, and their hands and feet, singing the night away. "Hodu l'Hashem Ki Tov!" (Give thanks to G-d Who is good)

A few feet away is a group of Ethiopians who want a chance on the drums...and get it. Laughter.

A cool Jerusalem night. Music and praising G-d.
Ok. I'm in Heaven.

Where have I been all this time? Lost in work. Lost in bills. Lost in all sorts of distractions! Distractions!

But G-d has His ways of getting us back on track. Oh, didn't you know? Oh, yes. He didn't just create this little planet and say bye bye. Oh, no. He is very much in the world, in my world, and in yours.

He's even "talking" to you.
Oh, yes.

Problem is, dear reader, many times I don't hear so well. And sometimes, it seems I don't wanna hear. Oy vey. But He is persistent. And He sends messages to get me to notice Him as if saying, "Talk to Me!" "Sing to Me!" If I don't listen to the softer messages, He'll send LOUDER ones.

He is my Papa, after all. And He didn't create me only to leave me on my own. No, He is very much in the world, in my world, and in yours. But you have to want to hear His messages-look out for them. I don't mean superstitious-the black can ran passed me. I mean- these guys are playing music for G-d, am I playing my "music?"

What does my "song" sound like? How am I thanking Him? When was the last time I changed the tempo? Am I being creative? Am I singing by myself or am I letting others play along?

Ok, I may say, "Well if He wants me to talk to Him,why doesn't He get rid of some of my problems first?" or "I complain, er, talk to Him all the time!" or "What I've been doing the past 10 years is fine. I'm QUITE pious, you know...


Well, it all comes down to faith/emuna. True, it's not easy to maintain, given the onslaught we have to face in life. Continuing to believe in G-d's goodness, our goodness, and His love can be....HARD!

But it's Truth.

And it becomes easier to believe and maintain faith/emuna and hear G-d's messages once we slow down and begin a dialogue.

or a song...

G-d bless!

What Happened to Tania?

Does any one know what happened to Tania from Its My It List blog?

BW and the Weighty Issue

A cross post from the Notes blog. I was debating whether to post this or not. I figure I'd take the plunge)

Recently a certain blog hostess broached the topic of weight loss and exercise. Many BW are resistant to the idea of exercising. It seems though that many are now trying to get out of that trap.

A commentor raised a very important factor that was touched upon by the host; the psychological factor. Many BW, according to her, suffer obesity because due to unresolved issues of abuse in their past. Many other commentors confirmed this.

Quite often, when someone suffers through abuse, it closes their view of life. Mental constriction. Their view becomes more and more narrow in order to find relief from the abuser. Eventually the abused doesn't care about international news, local news, neighborhood news. They are just too busy trying to take care of the body. Some may even go as far as to give up on the body, but try to take care of the mind alone, or the neck up, or just a significant other.

(This reminds me of long ago, when cruel people came up with this phrase: "your mama!" This was meant to break any barriers that some one may have, any last resort safety zone and attack the person's significant other -the ultimate display of powerlessness on the part of the abused. They either have to fight of run away. Such cruelty...)

The blog hostess interjected and advised against a pity party. A typical reaction that usually leads to inaction in the end.

There is another dimension I'd like to explore here.

The spiritual dimension.

Long, long ago, I once saw a white man jogging along. Nothing too significant. His cheeks were pink from his efforts, his blond hair was wet and stuck to his forehead, his shirt had the tell tale v-shaped signs of sweat; his flabby shorts quivered in the wind as he pounded the pavement. I didn't think much of it.

A while later I saw him again. He had gone full circle around the block. Then it made me think of Joshua and his troops circling around Jericho. They circled around the city seven times and blew the shofar. With that, they conquered the city!

2 And the LORD said unto Joshua: 'See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, even the mighty men of valour.

3 And ye shall compass the city, all the men of war, going about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

4 And seven priests shall bear seven rams' horns before the ark; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the horns.

5 And it shall be, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the horn, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him.' (Joshua 6:2-5)

There is something to be said about hitting the pavement. (But what about the out cry? The shofar's blow? And what about the Cohen priests? Well. the voice and sound can be replaced with prayer. There is a teaching, that -with zeal and a true effort to do good- even regular Jews and non Jews alike can rise to a high level!)

This reminds me of my beloved rabbi who took me in. Before he passed away he gave me this sound advice: "Go to this store, go to that store. visit people, go to synagogues. Don't stay at home, go around the neighborhood!"

Innocently, I followed his advice and in a short while many people got to know me. I was no longer the stranger in the neighborhood. When a newcomer came and saw the "strange BW" in the synagogue, there were plenty of people who could quickly dismiss the newcomers bewilderment saying, "Oh, she's part of the gang!" I had conquered the neighborhood! Please, don't think of conquering as vanquishing the enemy! lol.

This also reminds me of how Rebbe Nachman spoke highly about those who walked to him as oppose to taking a charriot. Indeed, there is something about moving the feet --not necessarily going from point A to point B. (Some say that holy and joyful dancing has the ability to cancel evil decrees)

BF have alot of the trait of Malkhut (kingship)and also that of Yesod (foundation, sexual purity, creativity; see here and here). Yesod is represented by the groin area. So, its only appropriate that they have tasks in this life that deals alot with Netzach and hod.

The right leg corresponds to Netzach. Things associated with Netzach are dominance, perseverance, determination. Indeed, there are so many issues dealing with dominating a field vs being intimidated and trying to appear "dumb" for approval, being an expert at something, leading.

The left leg corresponds to Hod. Things associated with Hod are humility, empathy and splendor. Indeed even there there are issues regarding pity party vs showing empathy to someone's suffering; splendor vs laziness, and arrogance vs humility.

Together the right leg and the left leg move in sinc. A powerful combination of dominance and consistancy with empathy and humility frictioning off of each other. Like this Malkhut is built. Yesod becomes potent and fulfills its task in the world.

But taking a practical look at what's going on and it looks like someone jogging, or walking or dancing in the physical world. Hopefully, this angle will inspire some BW out there to exercise, go jogging, or at least have a joyful and holy dance session!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dearest BW

Dearest BW,

I hope and pray that you find safe havens. Even in blogland. Places were no old pots are stirred. Places were you feel safe to post a comment and not worry about ridicule. Places were there is no hateration. I pray this is that place for you. If not, I pray you have another. Many others. Create your environment and make it a pleasant one for your soul!


Murders on the Rise ?

I saw this at Orcinus blog:

I am so very sorry for the daughter and the husband. These murderers show no remorse! True ESE (evil sides of Esau) with all the lust for killing (or humiliating or taking away someone's money).

Very sad. But I was surprised and intrigued that the mother was able to defend herself with a gun. Long ago at Black Women Vote blog, many of us discussed the need for a gun. We, the Blackfirewhitefire family have been thinking alot more about this issue lately.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Have a Great Weekend Everybody!

Shalom /Peace to everyone.

Not much to blog these days.

This week is the weekly reading of the Bible portion about Korach coming against Moses. Its Numbers 16:1-18, 32.

Often times, we call out a Bible portion by various names, sometimes its the name of a person because of their significance. For example, there is a portion called Yitro -Jethro? the father of Tzipporah, father-in-law of Moses. He was significant because he was not Jewish. In fact he worshipped all kinds of idols, but then turned to believing in one God. He even helped Moses in sorting out how to deal with all the multitude of people.

There is another Biblical reading portion called Bilam. He was wicked but still significant. As the sages teaches, he was a match for Moses! Yep, the Moses who could ask God to do this and that, on his merit. (So, let that be a lesson to y'all Jews abd non-Jews alike, you can rise to a high level-- just be on the side of good! lol)

But why Korach?? He was so envious of Moses's leadership, he was prepared to stand against him.

Anyway, have a great weekend, a Shabbat shalom!

Friday, June 12, 2009

BF and the Talmud...What if?

What if today, as we live, Sojourner Truth...

Harriet Tubman...

Martin Luther King, Jr....

Malcolm X.

and..... hmmmm .....Michael Steele (LOL!)

came together in one room for a shmooze.

While together they began discussing various topics and the situation of BF and what to do about it. The topic at hand was education and there happened to be a young BW who was recording the whole thing!

Here's how it would go...

MLK, being ever so bold, broached the topic. "Our children need an education! They are ranking pretty badly in the public school system."

Malcolm X: "What do you expect? We need to establish our own school system."

Harriet Tubman: " We BF appreciate education, even though we were not allowed an education, somehow we learned and had to keep it a secret. Now we think we are allowed, but must still learn on our own and perhaps keep it secret..."

Michael Steele: "Forget any sort of education! Just vote for me should I run for anything, okay?"

MLK: "I still say we must use the current system and do better in IT."

So they all agreed to use the current system at hand, however, they would fortify it with extracurricular after school school for those who want.

This "RULING" would be called their "mishnah"

So, the BW who recorded this took these opinions and published it in her book called The Mishnah. The book became so popular because people learned to process information, concepts based on these people's way of thinking -not to mention their wisdom and reasonings. Then the BW got interviewed and she confessed that there were some comments that didn't get published into her book. She showed one such comment, it was Michael Steele's.

Someone else compiled a list of the comments that didn't make it into BW's "mishnah". These extras were also studied.

Time passed...

People became unsure...

Now, when Tyrone Benhood wants to study his Mishnah, he studies both MLK's words and Michael Steele's word with the same intensity because he's in the dark as to know who is more valid or what's more relevant. He feels like he's in Babylon, not his home and not too sure what's the right thing to do. "I know," thinks Tyrone, "I'll go to the regular system, cuz that's what MLK said...and I'll also go to a special school for BF , cuz that's what Malcolm X said...and there are no schools cuz that's what Harriet Tubman said...and finally, I'll vote for Michael Steele should he run for anything!"

This way, Tyrone satisfied every opinion listed in the Mishnah and felt safe. He didn't have to weigh one opinion over another, he was politically correct and democratically safe. True, it gave him more to do and to consider, but at least he felt that he couldn't go wrong like this.

Then comes along his friend, Emmett Yesod. He knows what's up and can be discriminatory as to whom he should learn from in what topic. He decided to see what was written about education and took the BW's Mishnah --let's give her a name, Keila). Emmett reads all the opinions and stops at Michael Steele's. "Hmmmm..." thinks Emmett, "I'm going to have to reject this idea because it doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't sound logical nor relevant to school issues." So he rejected that idea. So, in the end he decides to "rule" like the Mishnah does. Sure, some may disagree with him for not placing all the players on equal stage. But because he had more clarity on who was involved and what the goal of the topic was, he was able to discriminate.

A bunch of Tyrone benHood mulling over these rulings would be called a gemorrah. The Mishnah plus that gemorrah would be their Talmud which is -not really in the same degree- like the Babylonian Talmud.

A bunch of Emmett Yesod mulling over these rulings would also be called a gemorrah. The Mishnah plus this gemorrah would be their Talmud which is --again, not really in the same degree-- like the Jerusalem Talmud.

Is it a crazy idea for BF to try and create a "Talmud"? Is there already something like this? A collection of opinions of various leaders divided into topics and subjects such as education, politics, health, etc.?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Neshama News...

Terrorists found on board Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janiero, Brazil to Paris on 31 May. (According to Homeland Security blog)

If this is truly the case that the flight was blown up by terrorist, then they have reached a drastic level. People are being killed by the hundreds at a time!

In other news, though I am religious and read very "right wing" blogs at times. Somethings are very hard to stomach. One example is the whole hatred for Obama. His name was even found in the Bible Code in Ezekiel 38:2.

Ezekiel Chapter 38

2 'Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

3 and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;

4 and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords:

5 Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet;

In the Hebrew, every seventh letter spells Obama. (There is a good explanation from Solomon's Stable blog --its a Christian blog).

While I do believe in the Bible codes, and I am slightly wary of Obama and his foreign policies, I know that there is free will. That alone should mean that there should be more than one place where Obama's name could be, perhaps spelled slightly differently (i.e. if he changed a part of himself, improved something like a character trait, or not get taken by haughtiness or whatever)a different reality can be had. I don't have a computer program to do the gematria research, alas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

IR -Woes!!!

A situation that might happen in IRR:

Today Mr. Blackfirewhitefire went with our son, li'l three year old Avi to pick up his mother at the airport. Okay. No big deal.

The cops notice the big difference in skin tone between Hubby and son and stops them for questioning!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Kicking into Redemption Mode 4

Around 1800, there lived a man called Israel Odesser (1888 -1994). He was a simple man from a family that was not monetarily wealthy AT ALL. So much so, that their mother would give them each ONE drop of oil for their morsel of bread --that was their lunch to take to school.

Anyway, he tried his best to be a truly religious Jew but no one could answer his questions or inspire him. Finally, he found near a bunch of old books a book called "Out Pouring of the Soul". It was one of those outlawed Breslov books. He picked it up and read it. Immediately he knew it was a book he wanted to keep.

Everyday he would follow the teachings of that book and went to practice hitbodedut (seclusion and meditation and talking to God) in the fields. This was good for him. He continued to do this until a friend found the book. They fought about it as the friend was upset that Israel was reading a banned book. The friend was stronger and manage to take the book away. "Its Breslov, its forbidden!" And that was it. But it had already awakened in Israel the want to know more!

Eventually, he met more Breslovers and learned from them. He became more devoted and was able to be defiant and steady in his Breslov path. Many tried to discourage him. To the point that the place where he learned practically gave him no money. People harrassed him and shunned him. They tried to do everything possible to make his life miserable. But the books were too good. He wouldn't stop learning and speaking of it.

Well, one fast day (the fast of Tammuz))he was not feeling well. Everyone was fasting on that day and he wondered and debated to himself whether he should continue fasting or not. Eventually, he opted to eat something!

After breaking the fast, his spirits fell. How could he do such a thing?! How could he claim to be pious, Breslov, and devoted to God and make such a mistake? Why was the temptation so strong? He was crestfallen and could not forgive himself.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Harps, King David and the Last (New) Song

Website on harps and King David.

In the video the lady talks about the "last song". There are 9 songs in the Bible.

Song 1: What Adam sang when he realized he IS.

Song 2:Miriam and the women dancing in a circle singing the "song at the sea" when they were saved miraculously.

{the rest can be found at the 10 Shirot site}

Everytime a great event happens, its capped with a song.

There is much speculation what this last and final song is suppose to be. Some say its the "Na Nach Nachma Nachman M'Uman" chant. She gives a nice explanation of what she thinks it will be!

Tzniut Police made it to the Huffington Post

I wanted to fall off my chair laughing when I saw this article at the Huffington Post!

Its about the "Tzniut Police" who patrol the religious neighboehoods and spray bleach on your cloths if they are mot modest enough.


At one time -when I wanted to fit in--- these things used to scare me. Now, I say I MUST be me. Like Yaakov /Jacob, I have to be true to my heart. So i am okay with no longer being views as Ultra-Orthodox /Chareidi. In fact, hiding half my life for the approval of others, gives those others more power over me. No!

Kicking into Redemption Mode 3

In Israel, with so many people from so many different places living in such close quarters, you can have a Hassidishe family...

Living next to a Litvish family....

Who's living next to a Rambamist /or Yemenite...

Who's living next to an Ethiopian who follows his traditional ways...

Or an Ethiopian who became mainstream national religious...

Who's living next to a convert! lol!

Rabbi Bar Hayyim is of the opinion that we can't all continue with all of our respective "exile modes"- the practices that was followed while everyone was scattered in various parts of the world. Here we are in a new country and everyone is still trying to hold on to European garbs, European traditions, Ethiopian methods, Litvish ways, etc. Each one thinking they are superior than the other one. He teaches that its time to meld and become ONE. A more unified oneness -complete with a new prayer book with the Exile type things removed (like longing to live in the Land changed to being glad there are Jews living in the Land), new traditions (such as eating kitniot - "legumes" like rice and beans that Europeans don't eat around Passover because they act in some ways like leavenable food or may potentially have some wheat grains mixed in). But to say that there is no unity now --there is! However, Rabbi Bar Hayyim means more of a united "march" toward a more redemption mode of being. A messianic era.

This is mainly Mr. Blackfirewhitefire's realm along with various esoteric learnings. He wears blue in his tzitzit/fringes -the old way (whereas the majority of people wear all white fringes), and an assortment of kippas (yarmulke/head cover).

The attraction of Rebbi Nachman, for me was his Joy appeal. The art of seeing holiness in things that would ordinarily be thought of as mundane. His straight forwardness in stating that some so-called rabbis may just be out for honor, prestige, etc and to be wary. His combination of higher learnings and simple teachings.

When I first read his books I was shocked at his straight forwardness. I was wondering when will they ban his books. Then I learned his books had been banned already! Now they are allowed to be sold.

I sense that Rebbi Nachman is the most honest teaching that I've heard yet. Though, he has a way of spinning things for the positive, I can see the truths that he is saying in his work. And for some reason, from his Likutey Moharan books I totally see the situation of BFs in there. Its like plain as day. But I know no rabbi would translate it as such --not yet, maybe?. But he is the only one who speaks of dark curly hair and its significance (besides the Holy Zohar)--in a non-negative way I might add. Its nice that those books have the commentaries on the bottom but I try not to rely on that to steer my brain where the commentor wants me to go; I try to read strictly what Rabbi Nachman is trying to say. It's already stretching my imagination so much and helping me to entertain new ideas of my own based on his words.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is popularly known for:

(1) teachings about Joy and dancing

(2) teachings about seeking out the "tzaddik" of the generation; i.e. the righteous one -not necessarily the most popular one, in fact more than likely he WON'T be the popular one

(3) Hitbodedut -talking to God as if He is a friend sitting right next to you

(4) Guarding the brit - sexual purity

People were fired up against Breslov teachings in the pre WWII era. If you were caught reading, teaching, speaking Breslov, you suffered. The books were banned back then. No one would hire a Breslover, marriages was discouraged to Breslovers. Life was hard. Even Rabbi Nachman and his student Rabbi Nathan had it hard.

Anyway, so a group creative a whole movement called Breslov. And it became just another strand of Hassidic types of movement. But I don't buy into that. I really think "breslov" is more of an "add on" thing. Its whatever you are and then add on Rebbi Nachman's teachings. Once it begins to be a whole group thing, I get wary because from what I understand from reading his books, its an individual thing.

So it became a new form of Hassidic movement called Breslov. And, just like the other groups there was hierarchy, ranks, rebbes - the leaders of a group, in which all the followers tend to flock for get-togethers, etc.

Enter Israel Saba and his "note from heaven."

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baruch Hashem! / Praise God

Another miracle to add to a growing list of blatant miracles in the past few months.

A car bomb set in a busy mall did not explode this past Saturday night. Apparently it contained enough explosives to bring down the whole three story mall in Haifa. (story here)

Kicking into Redemption Mode 2

Though Hassidish seemed more welcoming, the majority of my Ashkenazi friends were Litvish. I also most attended and hung out with Sephardim. Each group had something I liked. Among the Sephardi, there seemed a little less restriction with guys and girls. They were not closed to Kabbalah, their music just took me away, and the women seemed powerful. They could be very demure as long as things were going "right" lol! But if there was a problem, the women that I knew at least, were not afraid to get upset.

The Litvish had modesty down to a science. They also had the biggest population, a radio station, employment offices, etc. They made the society work!

The Hassidish were warm. There was always some Hassidishe person coming over to make sure I was okay or calling. Also they were the first ones who were receptive towards me. I appreciated that!

And then I went to Israel.

Israel is very different than America. I really had to decide on alot of things. For example, it wasn't enough to just say that I follow Sephardic tradition. Here, there were Sephardim from Morocco, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Spain, etc. Which Sephardic tradition do I follow? This was asked many times and I had no answer. My rabbi was from Tunesia, did that mean I must follow that?

In Israel I also began to take classes to get a better, deeper understanding. Studying the code of laws, I realized there were more than one book! More than one way, however, peer pressure and want for acceptance was making many people follow a certain path.

Well there wasn't much time to think about all that, I got married! Mazal tov!!

On the wings of my husband, I learned even more. Lucky for me he loved learning and was patient enough to help translate or read together the Hebrew books that I couldn't read. That really opened up many doors.

Mr Blackfirewhitefire started looking into doing things more like the Rambam. The Rambam's real name is Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (RMBM) and he was from Spain. Because of forced conversions, the Rambam and his family were forced to flee from Spain (There were many Spanish Jews who were forced to convert which they did outwardly, but in private kept their tradition and way of life: those were called Marranos). They went to Morocco, then stayed with others in Israel, and then finally went to Egypt in the late 1100s and became a doctor to the Sultan Saladin of Egypt.

Rambamists are few and far between in modern times. Yemenites, I think, follow mostly the Rambam's teachings. I actually met the owner/founder of Mechon Mamre, who's a Rambamist.

That played a role in what my husband and I believed. We also met Rabbi Bar Hayyim co- founder of Machon Shilo. He played a really big influence on us.

Rabbi Bar Hayyim being interviewed:

But the real role player for me personally was Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Just like the Ari, he also had a student, Rabbi Nathan who wrote down his teachings. From reading his books, especially Likutey Moharan, I woke up. I woke up once when I converted. I "woke up" again from Rabbi Nachman's teachings. This time I don't think anything can compare to this.

He taught me that I must be myself. LOL! Simple isn't it?! Yes, that Judaism is an individual thing. I couldn't follow a herd. He even discouraged people from becoming rabbis saying many people are just out for prestige, honor, whatever plus its a very hard task to be responsible for students. Better that we all be simple, help one another and serve God. No one is higher than the other one.

This on the outskirt turns alot of people off. Those who want to be sophisticated see this message and they're gone! Perfect!! All those who are just looking for a name for themselves or other superficial things are turned away because Breslov is not popular. Only after I delve into his teachings did I realize, its not so "simple". He combines alot of teachings from all over the place to prove a point. Its complex, but not arrogant, sophisticated.

Many attempted to take his teachings and turn it into yet another strand of Judaism complete with hierarchy, ranks, etc. But Israel Odesser (aka. Israel Saba) put a stop to that. He lived in Israel in a town called Tiberia from 1888 to 1994.

To be continued...

Neshama News...

In the news there was a recent report of Egyptian Coptic Christians writing an urgent letter to the US Prez. Obama pleading that he should hear their cause.

An excerpt from their letter according to Arutz Sheva:

"reconciliation cannot be separated from reciprocation. The Islamic World must not demand from us that which they are unwilling to retune to us and to extend to their own citizens of other religious. I hope you help them understand reconciliation is a two-way street."

You can read more excerpts at Arutz Sheva)

Also Egyptian democratic activists are also trying to get Prez. Obama's attention.

"Where you deliver the message is part of the message," says Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a democracy activist who has lived in exile in the US since 2007 and was twice convicted of "tarnishing Egypt's reputation" for his critical writings. (This, from CSMonitor)

Everyone has such hopes that he can make a positive difference in the world. So much rests upon his shoulders. May God help him. (He is here in Israel at the moment in an unannounced trip)But the way things have been dealt with before seemed more based on lies than on helping anyone. For instance, much money get thrown at the "Israeli -Palestinian problem" but as one Palestinian journalist pointed out, no one checks if the money gets trickled down to the people. And much of the money from the US to Israel is earmarked only to buy US weapons.

Jihad in America? Some like to equate terrorism with Islam, but I am not so sure. There are many Islamists in Indonesia but I don't hear about so much terror there. So why are Africans or African Americans joining in terrorist activity?

There was a shoot out at a Little Rock army recruiting station on June 2nd. The man, Carlos Leon Bledsoe (Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad) was apprehended but not before he managed to kill one person and injure another. More at Homefront Security and at

Movies are creeping in messages that rabbis, priests, other religious figures could only hope to convey to the masses. With movies like the Matrix, the Secret, Zeitgeist -to name a few that personally touched me, messages of a reality different from what is is being entertained in many's imagination. A friend pointed out a more recent item- a sitcom called Heroes.

I don't have a television so I'm not 100% sure what its about, but here's according to Wikipedia:

Heroes is an American science fiction television drama series created by Tim Kring, which premiered on NBC on September 25, 2006.[1] The series begins by telling the stories of apparently ordinary individuals from around the world who mysteriously develop superhuman abilities, and who then seek to use them to prevent the end of the world as foreseen in images produced by a precognitive painter. The series emulates the aesthetic style and storytelling of American comic books, using short, multi-episode story arcs that build upon a larger, more encompassing arc.[2] The series is produced by Universal Media Studios in association with Tailwind Productions,[3] and it is filmed primarily in Los Angeles, California.[4] The executive producers are Allan Arkush, Dennis Hammer, Greg Beeman and Tim Kring. (Wikipedia)

What's so interesting to me is that from what I hear the apartment is where everything takes place (the world) and what's the apartment number? 613! (as in 613 commandments to keep)

And Mazal tov to Djimon Hounsou!! He became a proud papa to a baby boy May 30th. Yes, its old news already lol! But I wanted to say mazal tov anyway. What happened to My It List blog. My 411 on who's who in celebrity world. ***pout**

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kicking into Redemption Mode

When I first became Jewish, I had only gotten a taste here and there of what those Torah Jewish books contained. I hardly understood alot of it, but some how it had such a grip on me I could not let go. Now, as a Jewess, I could finally read, learn, have some one to ask questions to, etc.

Tried as I might, I still couldn't understand.

I have heard of many people who became Jewish, and how they practically left their former lives -their careers, etc., but it wasn't until I myself realize that I simply couldn't grasp what the books were teaching until I also left everything and tried to hold these new knowledge with my two hands, my two legs, my torso, my head, all my brain capacity, my everything; only then did I understand what those other people went through.

I had to quit my job -I took a small menial job for survival. Every waking moment was spent pouring into books. The sages became real people. Their teachings and their stories were recreating me.

It finally got to the point where I was almost starving. My dinner would the few cookies I found around my apartment. Crackers and tea, if someone had invited for such. At times, I ate "old food" kept too long in the freezer, but "they -seemed-okay- at -the- time" food only to get sick as a dog later. But all that didn't matter, I only wanted those books, those teachings, those sages!

Finally, finally, I realized that the way I viewed so many things were counter to what I was trying to received and grasp. charity -giving away money- brings one more money??!! Character traits matter??!! Things physical have a spiritual counterpart??!! The whole Bible -with the letter all put together is really one huge gigantic name of God??!! Yes!! I was finally getting it.

I can't explain it, but there was a part of me that realized this point of shift. I understood that I would not see the world the same again, and indeed in many instance I don't even remember how I used to view a concept before Judaism.

At a certain point I had to slow down and start learning the social aspects of living a Jewish life.

My Social Studies

Socially speaking I did everything wrong! I mean every thang! lol. I used to roll into the quiet Jewish neighborhood with my car radio blasting music. I think folks weren't too happy about that -even if it was Jewish music. I didn't understand Shabbat meals long ago and would accept invitations from from two to three families --for the same meal! I'm surprised I didn't get caught "making my eating rounds" until much later. (then some one kindly explained the way its done in such a round about way I didn't get embarrassed. But I learned.)

There was this long blessing that many say after eating bread (Bircat hamazon). I didn't know it was for only for bread because in the blessing it talks of sustenance and the land. So I would say that blessing for every food eaten. Including after chewing gum! Eating became such a burden because I dreaded saying that after eating blessing. Thank God, I eventually learned -it was only for meals with bread!

One of the most fearful things I had to learn was dealing only with women. I used to deal almost exclusively with men. With men, I knew I had a lure. A wink, A shy smile and a head tilted just so and I could have almost anything with men. But when I learned that in the Orthodox Jewish society I would be expected to fraternize mostly with women, I was truly nervous. There is an old movie in which Cleopatra, who was basically surviving and getting what she wanted from the Roman Emperors because of her sex appeal, was faced with a new Emperor who was a seemingly gay man. As soon as she saw who the new Emperor was, she took some poison and killed herself. Well, I felt a little bit like that Cleopatra character. What do I use to pull my way with women? Pity? Feminism? I had no clue. After years of living in the secular world, I was faced with a society in which I had no clue of how to make it landing on my feet.

Slowly, slowly, I learned. First I learned to just fit in. Don't make waves. I began to watch how the mainstream was and copied. Most of the women wore suits. I wore suits. There were certain expressions people frequently said; I said them. "Mamish!" "baruch Hashem" became common place on my tongue. Many laws /halacha I followed mostly because everyone else did (such as holding by the modern day eruv) not because of any true learning or conviction. Even mannerisms I slowly learned and copied.

At a certain point, what I learned and how I was acting needed cementing. Knowing Torah, Bible, is not like any other knowledge like geometry, calculus. The purpose of Torah and the Bible is to bring people closer to God. Acting and doing the motion because "the other guy's" doing it is not conducive to coming closer to God.

When I first converted I asked the rabbis while still "signing the contract" so to speak (while in the mikveh/bath house) "what! so what am I? Ashkenazi? Sephardi?!" Personally, I wanted to take on Sephardi traditions. The rabbis, in a rush to get out of the mikveh, replied, "do whatever you want!!" lol!

Fiery Teachers

I learned a little bit about The Ari. I learned to hide any book about him because of the reaction it produced.

The Ari, Through his student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, wrote down many explanations about kabbalah. He expounded on the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

In Ashkenazi non-Chassidish circles, the attitude towards Kaballah is a bit more standoffish. The learning there to me, seems like steps.

Step one: simple (Pshat)- this is learned across the board for everything in the Bible
step two: what's being hinted to you (remez) again learned through;
step three: What a sage derived from a concept or verse (drosh)
and step four(kabbalah).

Whereas in Sephardic circles, I learned, say one concept (for example: "in the beginning") from that one concept, we do step one/ pshat (what's the question? this happened in the beginning!), step two/Remez (example: There was a beginning or beginning of time-count? or why does it all begin with the letter B-Beginning 'in the beginning'==Bereishit etc), step three/Drosh (what a certain rabbi teaches about it), and step four/ Kabbalah (hidden meaning). This is done one concept at a time rather than reviewing a whole book with step one, then redoing it with step two, etc. Anyway, that was how I learned it.

In the Ashkenazi world (Europe), a man named Shabtai Tzvi learned and used kabbalah and gained much following. He claimed he was the Messiah and started behaving strangely. Eventually he was captured by the Turks and forced to convert to Islam. But ever since then, Ashkenazim became wary of anything Kabbalah.

I don't know Kabbalah.

But I did learn to hide any books that seem to get too close to it.

Another big influence was the Baal Shem Tov's teachings. Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer. He basically created a new way in Judaism called Hassidus. This outraged the current leaders (Litvish)and began a grand scale fighting between the two groups. The amount of vitriol, the drama, the (lethal) distance some were willing to take it! I was extremely fascinated with this topic!

The whole fighting between them. Such anger! Passion! Great arguments! One Hassidic teacher, I don't remember his name once said -I'm paraphrasing, its good that the Litvish question and oppose them, this will hone the Hassidic way and beat it into perfection. What patience!

There were great names on both sides of the fence so I wasn't sure who was right.

Hassidishe?......................................................... Litvish?

To be Continued...