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.Friday Candle Lighting - 8:17pm
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Is Astrology Kosher?

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By Levi Brackman

Predicting the future is big business. From newspaper astrologers to corporate consultants, there are many people out there ready to profit from our insatiable desire to know the unknown. Often, when contemplating major changes in my life, I am tempted to check my astrological reading. Is there anything wrong with this? Can an intelligent person believe in astrology without feeling ridiculous?It is fascinating to note that the rabbis of the Talmud gave considerable credence to astrology. The Talmud states that “upon entry into the month of Adar one should become increasingly joyous. Rav Papa said: ‘Therefore a Jew should avoid litigation with gentiles in the month of Av, because his mazal is bad; and he should move the court case to the month of Adar, when his mazal is good.’” The Hebrew word which Talmud uses here, mazal, is usually translated “luck” but literally means “constellations.”
Astrology is not only a factor to be taken into account when planning future events—it also influences human nature. According to the Talmud, one born under the constellation of the sun will achieve eminence, and one born under Venus will become wealthy and immoral. One born under Mercury will be wise and have a retentive memory. One born under the Moon will suffer evil. One born under Saturn will suffer frustration, one born under Jupiter will be righteous, and one born under Mars will become either a surgeon or a slaughterer. A birthday is therefore viewed by the rabbis as a day on which personal astrological fortune is at its most potent.
There is an uncomfortable contradiction inherent in all this. Although astrology is prominent in rabbinic thought, Jewish law cautions against seeking the advice of astrologers. But if astrology is a true science, why not consult it? The following Midrashic parable sheds light on this.
A king conquered a new province, the elite of which decided that they needed to forge connections with the new rulers. Some decided to become acquainted with the dukes, others with the knights and yet others with the ministers. The wisest amongst them declared, “I will forge a connection with the king himself.” He reasoned, “All the ministers, knights and dukes change; however, the king will always remain king.
So, too, continues the Midrash, some people attribute power to the constellations and wish to serve them. Monotheistic believers, however, realize that G‑d is the supreme power, and that all other powers are no more than obedient servants who carry out His will.
Since everything in the universe is subject to the laws of cause and effect, according to nature the month of Adar is an astrologically lucky month, and a birthday has unique astrological potential for the celebrant. However, reliance on astrology could lead one to conclude that nature has a life of its own, and that the celestial spheres have powers independent of G‑d’s will. In fact, these are no more than a manifestation of the divine will. This is why prayer is so important. Mundane life seeks to convince us that life is dictated by the laws of nature. Prayer reminds us that nature is controlled by G‑d.
The message is clear: nature and its rules—including astrological truths—do exert an influence on our lives. It presents us with auspicious times and circumstances, and inauspicious ones; it imbues our character with certain traits and tendencies. However, one must recognize that ultimate power rests not with “nature” but with the Creator of heaven and earth 

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Еврейство до и после Катастрофы

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Главный Раввин России Берл Лазар

Иудаизм – это Б-жественное учение, оно постоянно обновляется и всегда остается современным. Жизнь течет, приходят новые поколения, а основы веры, заповеди Закона нерушимы. Как и 3000 лет назад, мудрые в Торе ищут ответы на вопросы, которые ставит жизнь. Единый с Б-гом, жив еврейский народ, и он вечен благодаря этому единству, наперекор всем врагам Творца и нашего народа.
Сколько бы мы не говорили и не доискивались, пытаясь постичь Катастрофу, остаются тайны, которые неподвластны человеческому уму. Помня о шести миллионах, мы не можем хладнокровно созерцать прошлое, настоящее, обращаться к будущему. Несмотря на неописуемое горе, мы продолжили жизнь, и в наших детях и внуках мы возродили любовь и веру, привили им родную культуру, продолжив традиции Праотцев. Близкое или далекое, прошлое всегда остается с нами.
По указанию Б-га еврейский народ первым в истории поставил человеческие жертвоприношения вне Закона и долгое время был единственным, запрещавшим употребление крови. Как это не парадоксально, антисемитизм вскормлен на «кровавом навете», нас обвиняют в «деициде» – убийстве Б-га. «Чем грубее ложь, тем больше в нее верят», – так и есть. Но даже тогда, когда мир рушился на наших глазах, опрокидывался, погружался во тьму и хаос, мы сохраняли веру в Творца и приход Мошиаха (Мессии). Евреи шли в газовые камеры и пели: «Я исполнен абсолютной веры в приход Мошиаха».
К сожалению, существует миф, что евреи шли в газовые камеры, как скот на бойню: безропотно подняв руки, не сопротивлялись уничтожению. Миф начал создаваться уже тогда, когда начали работать эти чудовищные изобретения человеческого ума, потому что многие не понимали последовательной веры в Мошиаха тех, кто оставался верным своей вере даже за шаг до смерти. Оторванные от традиции, они не понимали смысла воззвания к Б-гу, повторяемого и на пороге смерти: «Слушай, Израиль, Г-сподь Б-г наш, Г-сподь Один», как не видели смысла в предсказанном мудрецами: страдания евреев и великие чудеса, «как и в дни исхода из Египта», должны предшествовать приходу посланца Г-спода. 

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On a Lighter Note

A man and woman were recently celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 
While cutting the cake, the wife was moved after seeing her husband’s eyes fill with tears. 
The wife took his arm, and looked at him affectionately. 
“I never knew you were so sentimental.” she whispered. 
“No . . . No . . .” he said, choking back his tears, “That’s not it at all. Remember when your father found us in the barn and told me to either marry you or spend the next 50 years in jail?” 
“Yes,” the wife replied. “I remember it like yesterday.” 
“Well,” said the husband, “Today I would have been a free man.”  





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