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Gemar Hatima Toba to all. Rabbi M. Sevy

Best regards to all of the "tunes". Hag Sameah..and enjoy your Sukkot.. M. Sevy


Hey, English speaking Tunisien, you are not much talkative I know it is hard in English that's why I go to the French version will be happy to chat with American Tunisien and maybe find some relatives Edith Shaked, grand-daughter of Rabbi Mouchi Haddad grand-rabbin et juge du Cap-bon ( capitale de l'harissa) d'origine de Nabeul (capital of 'intellectual' Tunisian Jewish women! My grand-mother knew the names of ALL the capitals of Europe, and all the fables of La Fontaine!

I got this e-mail from an American Jew from Greece:

Subject: Interview

I dreamed I had an interview with God. "Come in," God said. "So, you would like to interview Me?" "If you have the time," I said. God smiled and said: "My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?"

"What surprises you most about mankind?" God answered: "That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived..."

God's hands took mine and we were silent for while and then I asked...

"As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"

God replied with a smile: "To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different.

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them...and likes them anyway.

To learn that it is not always enough That they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves."

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, "Anytime. I'm here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I'll answer."

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


If I Knew...

If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say "I love you, instead of assuming, you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything right. There will always be another day to say our "I love you's", and certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get, I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day, that you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear. Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear.

Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay". And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today

Edith Shaked

Je tiens à vous féliciter pour ce site assez réussi qui fait honneur à toute la communauté juive de Tunisie. Ce voyage que j'ai pu faire grace à vous dans la Tunisie d'entant où nos deux communautés cohabitaient en harmonie remplet mon coeur d'espoir, l'espoir que ce temps n'est pas révolu et que nous pourrions recréer cette époque aujourd'hui.


This is a very nice page i am very pleased to surfing here i woule like tochat with ther Tunissian pepole and learn about Go Ahead with the chat room Regards Eyal Brami

WONDERFUL SITE! How can it be missing a receipe for couscous?

I think you should distinguish between the Touransa and the Grana, and you should not consider yourselves Sephardim, you are in fact Mizrahim, but Tunes, with your own customs and traditions. It is true that many Sephardim migrated to Tunisia in the past, as well as Italian Jews from Livorno, but the Sephardim are only the Jews from Spain and Portugal

Thank you for having such an informative page about the Tunisian Jews. I have been known only a couple of Tunisian Jews. They are warm and wonderful people.

I have cooked a couple of sephardi recipes and wish to learn more. I wish the recipes were up and running it would be very helpful. I also printed the pages and used them as a lesson in my Hebrew school..because my kids wanted to know where are all the "sephardi" jews "hiding" and we read the articles together.

Thanks again!! Laya51@hotmail.com

We are offering you to meet during 10 days the nicest jews from Paris and Tunis. The most luxury boat has been completely booked for US from 20th January to 30th January 2000. The " Rivage Guadeloupe " boat will leave from Pointe-à-Pitre to Marie-Galante, La Dominique, les Saintes, Basse Terre, Ils Pigeon ... We will be all together cruising in the most beautiful places and the hottest seas. All is CACHER BETH DIN and a wonderful Chabbath is planned on the boat! ( including everything, entertainment program, luxury cabin ... : USD 2,500 !). E-mail us if you need more information ( please quickly, because we are nearly full ): m.journo@worldnet.fr Venez kiffer avec nous !

Shalom!! I'm a Sepharadic Jew from Salta, Argentina. Congratulations for your page, it's really wonderful. I loved the songs. I'm looking for familiy surnames Jallés o Jaches, Benseñor (Izmir, Turkey), Chaya (Beirut, Lebanon), Benzaquén (Tangier, Morocco), Andrade, Arana. In a remote posibility, you may know people with this surnames. If it, please, email me. Thank you very much for your page. Keep like this. Shalom u'braja. I made the comments about TUNES, SEPHARADIM and MIZRAHIM, I'll like to discuss this with you. Mi email is rebecari@yupimail.com. I love and admire your community. Marhaba!!!

I (Jewish male from USA) am coming to Tunisia for a visit in mid-March 2000. Any suggestions where to go? I am also looking to celebrate Purim. Which congregation should I go celebrate? Thanks, Jeff jgold@anticruelty.org

Tunisia: ONE OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISREAL. IS IT TRUE? Is there someone who can help me show my story to everyone in the world? I know the true meaning of the Pyramid and what it's for, many mysterious stories, the UFO's, the ancient Mya, links from the Bible and the Koran, the ancient people, the history of Tunes in the Bible, and why the country Tunes has its name. Everything that is written in the scriptures about Tunisia gives me goosebumps because of its truth. I'm looking for someone who really cares about the Tunisian history. With my story I will bring Christianity, Judism, and Islam into one belief. I have spoken to Charleton Heston ( the one who played Moses). He told me that I have an intriguing story. I'm looking for a producer or publisher for a short story or someone who can put my work on the internet. They must send me their phone number so I can contact them and I will send my cd for review. Thank you Louie N. light@enter.net

I was very happy to find your web page, but somewhat disappointed not to find what I was searching for. I am in need of information about Tunisian brides, and Tunisian righteous women, tzaddeket. If any one has any stories about such holy women fromthe recent or distant history of Tunisia I would greatly appreciate them. My e-mail address is mir57@aol.com. In the same vein I was greatly disappointed to see the offer of a reward for coming to this site. How can you say that you are proud of your Jewish Tunisian heritage and then degrade the mothers of that heritage????? Do you think that by offering to show pictures of naked women you are improving this site?? What about the fact that I would not have hesitated to allow my young sons to explore this site? Please reconsider and remove this abomination from an otherwise beautiful, informative, and very interesting website.

where can I find info over boukha??? raphael.sitbon@xs4all.nl

Tunisians: Descendants of the Minoans? I cannot trust this man as he is a spiritualist but he has a quote by an author who believes Minoans reached Southern Tunisia. Here is the link: http://www.fireplug.net/~rshand/streams/thera/atlantis.html

"One remnant of Minoan civilization is believed to have sailed southwest to Tunisia, where they settled in the Atlas Mountains and become the tribe known to the classical Greeks as the Atlantes. Another remnant went south, where a handful of talented refugees apparently became Egyptian nobles; and others almost certainly sailed east, bringing their distinctive architecture with them to the land they called Philistia, or Palestine, in what is now Israel's Mediterranean coast west of the Dead Sea." - Charles Pellegrino, Unearthing Atlantis (1991) p. 86

There also is something on the page that the Atlantis story might have come from Turkey.

Here are Minoan art links:

http://www.best.com/~singer/crete.html http://www.dilos.com/region/crete/gournia.html http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1039/greece/ minoan1.htm http://www.dilos.com/region/cyclad/akrotiri.html http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/ minoandiscovery1.html

I wonder if there is any connection? The Minoans were supposed to be a tall and fair people. It seems that some North Africans may share some affinity with them. I wonder: Could you be a Minoan? Will the mystery of what happened to the Minoans ever be solved?

Hi, I am a Tunisian Jew from the Luisada family. Even though I also speak French I am more comfortable to speak in English. My family is also from Livorno. My great great grandfather was the doctor to the Bey of Tunis. My grandfather Angelo won numerous awards for fencing as he represented Tunisia. Being born in Tunisia I was fortunate enough to spend each summer there. Because my mother was American I spent the rest of my life in the USA. Nevertheless my family history remains close to my heart. Most recently I ate at a Kosher Tunisian restaurant in Paris. It was delicious and if you email me I will forward you the address. It was called Tunis Tunis. The best part is that I met Jewish people in the restaurant that knew my family. My email address is pgood@earthlink.com .

hi there.we met at the pot lock tunisian party last month.your site is incredible! we didn't have a chance to talk but you were interested in my artwork.please check out my site www.lidiashaddow.com .also i am having an open studio on april 15.sat 4-7.you are invited.keep up the tunisian spirit.

Holiday for Atheists

An atheist complained to a Christian friend, "Christians have their special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; and Jews celebrate their holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur; Muslims have their holidays. EVERY religion has its holidays. But we atheists," he said, "have no recognized holidays. It's an unfair discrimination."

"What do you mean, atheists have no holidays," his friend replied, "People have been observing a special day in your honor for years."

"I don't know what you're talking about," the atheist said, "When is this special day honoring atheists?"

"April first."

Hi my name is Esther and i was born to a tunes parents in Israel. I enjoy listening to stories about tunis and in last October i even visited there, i enjoyed it very much. I know i have family in france but i dont know them. my mothers family name was Hatab (my grandfather was a "shlich Zibur in the sinagog in Tunis, Hai Hatab, he was a tailor in the souk) and my fathers family name is Boshenino. If someone knows or is members of one of these families i'll be glad to hear from him/her. My emai etti_e@tadcomm.com

First of all i am really proud of this site,and support it from every way i can.I`m 18 years old and live in canada. my mom is jewish from Bizerte and lost her family so for her it is a bit sad thiinking of the past,but we still vistit tunisia and speak the languague.My parents met in germany and i was born there and grew up there so i never really knew if i am a german jew or a tunisian jew.I think as long as i know where i`m from and who i am i`m happy. And this site is making me happy and helps me to identify my personality.

BY Nadra bouker hoffmann

Yahoo Nazi Sales Protested Apr. 11, 2000  PARIS -- A Paris-based anti-racism group said on Tuesday it was taking Internet portal Yahoo to court over the sale of Nazi memorabilia on one of the Web sites it hosts. The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), which called in February for a boycott of Yahoo sites for the same reason, said it was seeking an injunction in a Paris court to force the California-based company to stop the sales in France. Yahoo Nazi Sales Protested LICRA demands that Yahoo take the necessary measures to prevent the exhibition and sale on its sites of Nazi objects throughout the national territory," the group said in a statement. Judicial sources said a hearing was set for May 15. LICRA said it would ask the judge to order Yahoo to pay a daily fine of 100,000 euros ($95,880) until it complies with the injunction. A Yahoo.com auction site puts hundreds of Nazi or neo-Nazi, or Ku Klux Klan objects up for auction each day, including films, swastikas, uniforms, daggers, photos, and medals. Under French law, it is illegal to exhibit or sell objects with racist overtones. "This sale of symbols of the greatest-ever crime against humanity trivializes Nazism in the extreme," LICRA said. LICRA did not say how access to a worldwide website could be blocked in France only. Yahoo came under fire in February from another anti-racism group, the Anti-Defamation League, which accused the Web service provider of hosting dozens of sites that promoted messages from racist hate groups including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. aline

SAN FRANCISCO -- Reported anti-Semitic incidents have increased significantly statewide, particularly in Northern California, despite a national decline, according to a new Anti-Defamation League survey.

The League will release its ``1999 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents'' Wednesday.

Using San Francisco police data, the League found that the city's hate crimes decreased 18 percent in 1999 from the previous year, but anti-Semitic hate crimes increased from nine in 1998 to 29 in 1999.

Anti-Semitic incidents include acts of vandalism, harassment and other expressions of hatred against Jews.

Up 23pct in state Reported incidents of Anti-Semitic acts in California increased 23 percent in 1999 from the previous year. In 1998, 223 incidents were reported compared to 275 in 1999 -- marking the second year in a row in which California reported a significant increase.

The audit, which identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, was compiled using official crime statistics as well as information provided to the League's 30 regional offices by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders.

Nationally, anti-Semitic violence fell to its lowest level since 1989, the League said in its annual report.

High-profile incidents While overall numbers were down 4 percent in 1999, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said Tuesday that those figures were mitigated by several horrific incidents: the firebombing of three Sacramento synagogues, a shooting spree at a Jewish community center in suburban Los Angeles, and the Chicago shooting of Orthodox Jews walking home from Sabbath services.

Five people were wounded in the Los Angeles center, and six were shot in the Illinois attack.

California saw an increase of 52 incidents last year, caused in part by the June 17-18 synagogue arsons and the Aug. 10 community center shooting. Both attacks prompted "copycat" incidents, the report said

A Little Girl's Prayer

(As told by Helen Roseveare, a doctor missionary from England to Zaire, Africa)

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping he baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator) and no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.

As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. "All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got hills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby'll be dead, so please send it this afternoon." While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel! I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

>From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas -- that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the bottom, could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out -- yes! A brand-new, rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! That parcel had been on the way for five whole months! And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child -- five months before -- in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

excelent! 'vraiment' no comment , I'm not Jews but I'm Tunisian, Mon commentaire concerne la musique juif And you know any Tunisian love 'elmusiqua elyhoudia' specialement 'cheikhna el ifrit' et 'Habiba msika' ..iih... so if anybody knows how to get their recording, please let 'tout le monde' enjoy it and let us know if there is any way to get them from the united states Thank you, to all Tunisian folks, tawa annestou ,besslama ou filamen.

Laws of the Lighthouse - By Max Lucado

Love God more than you fear hell.

Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.

Make major decisions in a cemetery.

When no one is watching, live as if Someone is.

Succeed at home first.

Don't spend tomorrow's money today.

Pray twice as much as you fret.

Listen twice as much as you speak.

Only harbor a grudge when God does.

Never outgrow your love of sunsets.

'Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.

God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same [for others].

When you can't trace God's hand, trust His heart.

Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.

Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.

Please place this ad in your site, Link would be very much appreciated. Invitation to join SICHA SICHA - The International Hebrew Discussion Group. SICHA is a moderated Email discussion edited in a daily digest. SICHA is for all the Hebrew speakers around the world who would like to share their common values. SICHA members take part in the discussion even if Hebrew is not their first language. The content of the message is the most important thing. For more Information and Free Subscription www.hebrewdigest.com

Best Regards, yours Shlomo El Az Moderator moderator@hebrewdigest.com

Recently, my husband and I published a book about "Judeo-Arabic Liturature in Tunisia" the years 1850-1950, in Hebrew. You can purchase it through Hosaat Yahadute Hamagreb in Israel. My husband and I (Professor Yosef and Tsvia Tobi), can be contacted at ytobi@vwc.edu. Our mailing address in Israel is

Department of Hebrew Literature Haifa University Israel

We look forward to hearing your comments.

I suggest that you add the link to Kerkennah islands' homepage to your list of links. I find it a cool and interesting site: http://www.kerkennah.com

Any American soldier stationned in Tunis and working for the American Headquarters The National Building, Place de France or any French civilian working there please contact me as I was working there myself in 1944-45 as a French typist Thank you. my Email (skipbo4@webtv.net)

STILL CRAZY: WHY WE MADE ALIYAH - For two thousands years of exile, Jews had cried and prayed to return to the land. Now we can do it just by hopping on a plane, so why don't we? By Sol Jakubowicz http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1265

A tribute to mothers

This is for all the mothers who DIDN'T win Mother of the Year in 1999, all the runners-up and all the wannabes, all those too tired to enter or too busy to care. This is for all the mothers who freeze their you know what on metal bleachers instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids ask, "Did you see my goal?" they can say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

This is for every mother who ever sat up all night with a sick toddler in her arms, wiping the child at both ends, while saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."

This is for all the mothers of the victims of our nation's school shootings, and the mothers of the murderers. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

It's for all the mothers who run carpools and bake cookies and sew Hallowe'en or Harvest Festival costumes.

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse, cook dinner and sew on a button all at the same time? Or is it heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your child disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the first time?

Is it the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school-shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying?

I think so. So this is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn't.

This is for reading "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then reading it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

It's for all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed-- when their 14 year-olds dye their hair green and pierce body parts.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are not with them.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children's graves.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, and who can't find

the words to reach them.

This is for mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mothers learning to let go. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for mothers who take in children not their own and give them homes.

This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night and can't find their children.

This is for you all. So hang in there. The world would be much the worse without you.

Honor thy father and thy mother. God

ARE THE FRENCH RACIST? The French are honest, but a recent poll shows that tolerance is not necessarily their strong suit. Indeed, 69% have indicated that they consider themselves "rather racist" or "not very racist". 63% are convinced that there are too many Arabs in France (12 points more than last year) and 21% believe there are too many Jews (an increase of 7 percentage points).

a very nice program indeed. people should not put pages after pages. keep it short, man!

Who is God?

God is the infinite, unbounded, eternal intelligence that constantly projects itself as the Universe--through the creation of space, time, matter and infinite energy.

SHAVUOT at AISH.COM!: Shavuot is the anniversary of the defining moment of Jewish history: the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai over 3,000 years ago. Insights, recipes, stories and more. http://aish.com/holidays/shavuot

.Parenting: JUDGING OTHERS FAVORABLY- Giving people the benefit of the doubt applies to children too. In fact judging our children favorably is the most effective tool for teaching them this powerful commandment. By Sarah Chana Radcliffe http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1347 _________

1. THE DESIGN ARGUMENT - Does the intricate design of the universe serve as evidence for the existence of God? By Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1363 __________________

2. FOR FATHER'S DAY: MY ZADIE - Can you ever be too Jewish for your grandparents? One young man tests the outer-limits of tradition and learns that more unites than divides the generations. By Richard Rabkin http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1350


3. HAPPINESS: THE FUEL FOR A MEANINGFUL LIFE - How to find happiness by living in the present and anticipating the future. An excerpt from the new book "Powers of the Soul". By Rabbi Tom Meyer http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1352


4. INTENSIFYING LOVE THROUGH GIVING - Are you silently keeping score of who does what in your marriage? Here are some practical tips on how to give unconditionally and intensify your love. By Emuna Braverman http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1354


5. Dating Wisdom: LIFE GOALS - Nobody would choose a business partner who didn't share the same goals and strategies. Why should choosing a life partner be any less? By Rabbi Nachum Braverman and Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1349 __________________

6. IN PRAISE OF PAINLESS CHILDBIRTH- No day in history comes even close in the magnitude of its significance. It was a day when all the assumptions concerning life and its purpose were altered irrevocably. By Emuna Braverman



Last night as I slept, I saw in a dream A man in white standing in a bright beam. He looked at me in love I could tell, And said: "How deep in your spiritual well?

Then he told me of all the bad things to come, That soon things of the earth would all be undone, And even the most faithful heart would fail If each spiritual well would not last the long trail.

Fill it with kindness fill it with God's love, Fill it with the scriptures sent from above, Fill it to the brim with gratitude and prayer To your God in heaven, who loves you with care.

Clean out all hatred, worry, anger and fear, These soak up the spirit and things you hold dear, Cast them aside, do not let them replace Great love, tenderness and God's good grace.

I saw tears in his eyes as he spoke to me, I felt my well fill as if touched by deity, "Go my child and keep thy well full to o'rflow And touch others with goodness here below.

I awoke from my dream, my pillow was wet >From tears of gratitude, for an angel I met, I pray that my well, full will always be With the things that will last through eternity.

For we will see times that could crush every heart, Wickedness so cruel that earth will break apart, And Satan will think he has won in the end But if our spiritual well is full, on that you can depend.

I'll will take heed of my dream in the night, And fill my well up with things that delight A loving God who bears His children up With His ever flowing spiritual cup.

Israel's grumbling and complaining described in last week's Torah portion indicate that there is something more fundamentally wrong with Israel then just the items about which they are complaining. Israel's complaints to God, are like a couple's petty squabbles that often mask a more basic problem in the relationship. In this instance the problem is that Israel is just not emotionally and psychology ready to achieve its destiny that God knows they should achieve.

The problem erupts with all its potency in this week's portion when God commanded Moshe to send spies, forcing the underlying problem into the open. The forty-year decree of wilderness wandering, the consequence of Israel's balking at entering the land, should not be viewed as a punishment. Rather, it represents a more realistic view of the relationship between God and Israel, even if it is not the most expedient way of achieving their common goals of creating the Torah society in the land of Israel. This interpretation of the events described in these chapters has meaning for contemporary Israel's situation both on the individual and the national levels.

The first hint of problem occurs at the place later called Taberah. The specific content of the complaint there is not known. The Torah uses the general phrase "kemitonenim r'a" ("like those who grieve over ill-fortune"--SB; "complaining bitterly"--NJPS). Commentators have explained this phrase in various ways.* The vagueness of the description gives the impression of a general undercurrent of dissatisfaction. It is no wonder that this dissatisfaction surfaces in the form of petty complaints.

The pettiness of the second complaint is remarkable for Israel's lack of perspective. They are only a few days away from entering the land. This is not the time to complain about the menu nor to pine away about Egyptian fish, garlic and melon. Yet, when seen as the first specific expression of an underlying problem the people's apparent pettiness can be better understood.

God answered Israel's short-sighted culinary demands by providing the quail and by bringing the plague. The quail taught Israel (and Moshe) that there is no limit to God's power. The plague taught them that it was wrong to focus on food when marching towards their destiny. Perhaps God had originally tried to teach Israel this idea in a benign way by monotonously providing the same food, the manna, day after day. The lesson was not absorbed in the more subtle way.

God also answered Moshe's complaint about the trying conditions of leading Israel. He established the institution of the seventy elders. Moshe now shared the burden of leading Israel more broadly. Yet that does not silence complaints about Moshe--this time coming from the highest echelons, Moshe's sibling. God responded to this affront to Moshe by informing Miriam and Aharon (and all the Torah's readers) about Moshe's unique character and prophetic capability. The complaint by Moshe's sibling shows that the uneasiness with the situation permeated all levels of Israel.

After responding to several of Israel's complaints in a point-by- point manner, God decided to bring the problem out into the open. Commanding Israel to spy the land allowed the people to finally express their underlying problem. They were not ready to enter the land and assume all the responsibilities that freedom and opportunity impose.

This is an approach that can answer the problem that the version of this story that occurs in the book of Deuteronomy has Israel initiating the request to send the spies. In Deuteronomy Moshe agrees to Israel's request. There is no mention of God's command to send the spies in Deuteronomy. The story, as told in Numbers, only has God's command to send the spies.

One can answer the different accounts by seeing them as different approaches that the Torah took to explaining the same situation. When Israel and its prophetic leader, Moshe, agreed on a course of action, it is as if God commanded it. This is not far from the answer that is commonly given that the people requested the spies and God finally acquiesced to their will (Rashi). If that is what the people need at the time, God does not want to violate the unanimous will of the people-even if the course of action could be ultimately to the detriment of the people and the achievement of their goals. This is reflected in the words cited at the end of Rashi's explanation of this verse (13:2): "By their lives, I will give them space to err by the words of the spies, in order that they won't inherit the land." God does not impose His will on the people if they are not ready for it. (God's relationship with His prophets reflects a similar approach. Both Israel and the prophets are allowed their autonomy and freedom of choice.) God let Israel chose its path, even if it was the wrong one, because to impose a solution on Israel would be denying their humanity. Israel was just not ready for their true destiny.

Freedom means meeting your own destiny, not that chosen by someone else--your master. Israel was accustomed to the slave's dependent life where their Egyptian master decided their goals for them. Enslaved Israel's life and effort were subordinated to another nation's purpose and destiny. Newly-liberated Israel, after suffering centuries of slavery, could not yet handle the idea of an independent destiny--of national goals. They were, technically, no longer slaves, but they were not yet free.

Had God imposed His view of their destiny on the people, it would not have served His goal of having them realize their own destiny and strive for it. They would not have broken out of the slave mentality. God's only choice was to accept Israel's will and allow them to send spies and respond as they would to their report.

The spies' report and Israel's reaction to it was Israel's opportunity to respond to their destination and their destiny--at a time when a crucial stage in its realization was imminent. Previous movements toward the goal were not the same as the affirmation that would have been displayed had Israel entered the land. Fleeing Egypt's persecution was not an affirmation of their goal, but flight from oppression. Fledgling Israel, without compulsion, accepted the Torah, God's advice to Israel about its spiritual goals and the practical applications of being "a holy nation and a kingdom of kohanim" (priests). Yet the Torah did not become fully applicable until they entered the land (according to Ramban). Israel, at the threshold of turning Torah theory into practice, wavered. They were not yet ready.

God wanted Israel, after seeing the land, to enter wholeheartedly. But Israel at the crucial moment allowed their doubts to surface and believed the spies' exaggerations. The spies' pessimism itself affected their report.

The first report of the spies is an accurate account of the situation. "We have came to the land you sent us to ; it does indeed flow with milk and honey and this is its fruit. However, the people who inhabit the country are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the Anakites there, Amalekites dwell in the Negeb region; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites inhabit the hill country; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea along the Jordan." This report contains two elements, the nature of the land, and the nature of its inhabitants. The report does not seem to be tendentious, even though it goes into greater detail concerning the nations with whom Israel must contend. Yet, its subtle persuasive power is in the ordering of the two elements. The strongest and most lasting impression is not about the fertility of the land but about the seemingly impossible task of conquering it. The spies' fear of choosing their destiny "against the odds" caused them to report in a way that pessimistically emphasized the negative. Reared in slavery, most of Israel was not yet ready for complete freedom to achieve their divine mission; they were not yet ready to contend against all odds to achieve what they must as a people.

Once they had allowed their doubts and insecurity to take control they imagined the worst. Israel complains that, Now why is the Lord bringing us to this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little-ones will become plunder! (14:3;SB) Their dire situation nearly caused Israel to react in a foolhardy way. In their efforts to escape their role, they were ready to choose a new leader (according to Onkelos) and head back to Egypt. They were ready to run back to the "comfort" of slavery-- where others decided for them. Consider the problematic execution of the return-to-Egypt plan. They would come to Egypt's border and ask to resettle there. After Egypt suffered the plagues and the defeat at the sea they would likely be reluctant to show hospitality. It is inconceivable that anyone would entertain the thought of going back to Egypt into slavery. Such are the ways people use to escape progress. The safe alternatives proposed turn out to be dead ends when thought out thoroughly.

Israel's pessimism deafened her to Yehoshua and Caleb's reasoned arguments. The people did not respond to the argument nor present a counter argument. They instead tried to stone Yehoshua and Caleb. Israel's insecurities and self-doubts, their lack of faith in God and in themselves, are displayed intensely by this emotionally- charged reaction to calculating logic.**

God displayed extreme frustration with Israel at this point. His desire to annihilate them and replace them with Moshe's family, demanded Moshe's intercession. Moshe's winning argument to God also explains to Israel (then and now) why they were not destroyed.*** Profaning God in the eyes of the nations, the inescapable repercussion of Israel's annihilation, is more repulsive to God than His frustration at Israel's lack of faith.

God decreed that the people who left Egypt's slavery, and yet were not changed by God's miracles to believe in His ability to lead them further, should be barred entry to the land. God saw that nothing would purge Israel of their fear. They would wander aimlessly in the wilderness. This is not a punishment but the consequence of those who are afraid of achieving their destiny.

The next generation, the wilderness generation, never having been whipped into docility and apathy by slaver-drivers, would seize the God-given opportunity to achieve their destiny. Only the children, born into freedom, reared on the Torah's spiritual nourishment, could appreciate the self-definition of Israel as a nation destined for greatness. They could take the bold steps, effort and sacrifice necessary to fulfill their ambitious national destiny. God selected Yehoshua and Caleb to survive and enter the land as they alone displayed faith in God, and the security that He will support Israel's march to greatness.

Note that God does not impose even freedom upon Israel. God allowed Israel to realize its potential when they were ready--even after forty years. The relationship between God and Israel became more realistic after their reaction to the spies' report. God dealt with Israel's true feeling and did not force Israel into the land prematurely. He allowed Israel to develop into a people that can handle destiny.

The emotional eruption that accompanied Israel's fear of progress and God's resultant frustration almost obliterated Israel. Israel's expression of their insecurity and God's acceptance of Israel's nature strengthened Israel and her connection to God. Contrast the report of Yehoshua's spies with Moshe's reveals the results of the wilderness period. Yehoshua's spies are pursued and narrowly escape being captured--yet they return confident. Moshe's spies traverse the land without fear, picking its fruit and observing its inhabitants for forty days--they returned terrified. Israel's resolve flourished during the wilderness period and they no longer displayed the slave's fear, servility and apathy.

To reach our personal destiny often requires stretching ourselves into areas and mindsets that we do not yet have. Not making that effort can result in aimless wandering--until you realize your destiny and develop the ability to actualize it. Israel failed by allowing their fear of progress to dominate their thinking and action. They ended up predicting their own outcome (a negative self-fulfilling prophecy). Likewise when we do not struggle to reach our personal destinies and instead opt for a more comfortable, less mind-stretching goal because of our fears, we end up allowing our fears to control the day and chart the course of an aimless future.

------------------ Endnotes * Commentators have explained the root as "a.w.n." (evil--Ibn Ezra). Others derive the word from "a.n.h." which can mean "to scheme or plot" (see Judges 14:4; 2 Kings 5:6; and R. Sa'adyah Gaon). The word might mean "to mourn" from the root "a.n.n." (Radaq). The root "a.n.n." can also mean "to moan and complain" (see Ramban). Milgrom claims that the last explanation has support in cognate languages to the root "a.n.n." (Olam Hatanakh p. 72).

**Are those who condemn ideas and attack their proponents without presenting reasoned counter-arguments much different?

*** Of course, God was aware of the arguments that Moshe raised. Having Moshe present them revealed both God's intense frustration at Israel's lack of faith and His priority. God puts aside his "emotional reaction" to achieve His goals--modeling the type of behavior He expects from Israel (namely, to put aside their fears and enter the land.) Describing God as knowing these arguments is a weaker way of teaching these points. It goes without saying, that divine emotions and reasoning are not indicative of God in His essence. They are techniques that God uses to educate Israel and all the Torah's readers.

----------------------------------------------------------- II. Follow-Up

 <jasperhouse@juno.com> Subj: Judaic Seminar Vol. 7 No. 38

Re: "Miryam's punishment of being 'stricken with snow-white scales' is a fitting punishment to her ethnic objection to the Cushite woman, who was most probably dark-skinned":

Yours is the first Jewish source I have seen that points out this exquisite irony. The only other place where I have come across this idea is, surprisingly, in the novel "Moses, Man of the Mountain," by the noted African American author Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston's Miriam explicitly expresses racial disdain for Moses' "black" wife, and her punishment is a disease that turns her skin excessively white. While it may seem curious to find the characteristically Jewish concept of "middah ke-neged middah" highlighted by a non-Jewish writer, it is perhaps only natural that a perceptive black observer should have picked up on the undercurrent of racial tension in the story -- assuming, of course, that the mysterious Cushite woman was in fact from "Cush," that is, Nubia.

Sincerely, Daniel A. Klein

1. JEWISH GENES - There is now new and exciting DNA evidence for common Jewish origin -- not just among Cohanim, the Priestly Class, but among Jews scattered all over the globe. By Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1402 __________________

2. DISCIPLINING KIDS EFFECTIVELY - Effective discipline begins long before you need to correct anything. It depends on the trusting relationship between the parent and child. By Rabbi Noach Orlowek http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1405 _________________

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5. KABBALA #14 - LOVE AND AWE - The sefirot of "action" engender love and fear on our part, the two "wings" which we need to soar up to the heavens. By Rabbi Shimon Lieberman http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1410 __________________

6. WHO ARE THE JEWS? (audio only) - A fascinating look at the nature of the Jewish People. By: Rabbi Maurice Lamm http://aish.com/ar.asp?an=1400

"Springs in the Desert" by Harleigh M. Rosenberger

Once there was an Arabian sheik whose home was an oasis on the edge of a great desert. He was a man of much wealth. His flocks and herds were the finest. He was admired--and feared--by all. One night he could not sleep. His mind kept running to the events of the day. For a man had been discovered just a few miles away, dead from want of water. As the shief lay on his pillow, he could hear the gurgling of the spring in the oasis. He arose. Then he bade his servants fill two large, leathern bottles with water from the spring. He took the water, with some figs freshly picked, and rose to the trail where the traveler had been found. There he built a small booth into which he placed the food and water. The next day, a caravan came upon the simple booth. With cries of joy, the men seized upon the bottles of refreshing water and the figs. Then they read the scroll on which were written the words, “While God gives me life, each day shall a man be as springs of water in a desert.” There are many who stumble on life’s road--weary, discouraged, fearful of what lies ahead. They need a cup of cooling water. You and I can extend it through words of kindness, or a helping hand at a crucial moment. Sometimes it is a note of gratitude, or a letter of encouragement. You and I can be springs in a desert.


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