Monday, October 28, 2013

In support of Chodesh Irgun?

Like just about every other parent in the entire country, I’ve never exactly been a big fan of Chodesh Irgun*.

* Chodesh Irgun in a nutshell: Chodesh means "month”, and irgun literally means "organization". Most youth movements (or at least the religious-Zionist ones) dedicate one month a year - usually around MarCheshvan - to what is essentially a month-long color war or competition between the different shvatim (age groups). Chodesh Irgun culminates with Shabbat Irgun, and on Motzai Shabbat Irgun, the oldest shevet (i.e. ninth grade) receives a permanent name. Feel free to check out my older Chodesh Irgun posts for more information. </nutshell>

In fact, over the years, I think I’ve pretty much mocked everything there is to mock about Chodesh Irgun… and then some.

So it’s probably only fair (i.e. l’maan haseder hatov, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) to give Chodesh Irgun’s supporters a chance to defend its honor.

Thus, I turned to the experts and asked each of them the following question:

What is the point of Chodesh Irgun? In other words, what purpose  - if any - does it serve? 

Here are their responses:

(I’ll let you decide if their answers help clear things up. Bonus points: See how many Heblishisms you can pick up…)

Chanich/ah #1:

“To have fun!”

Chanich/ah #2:

“To practice for the dance, which is the most important part of Chodesh Irgun. Also, instead of all the time having stam pe’ulot [Ed. - loosely: regular activities], you have Chodesh Irgun to make things a little more interesting.”

A member of what will soon be the new shevet:

“To organize and arrange the snif [Ed. – the local youth group chapter], and to open and start the new year.”

A former madrich/ah:

“To legabesh [Ed. – very, very, VERY loosely: to unite and to promote team spirit], and to give the kids a chance to do something that they don’t get to do everyday. It’s also supposed to be educational. The kids learn about the theme and leyaseim [Ed. – to implement] it.”

A dedicated member of “Iyov” (an acronym for “אשרי יושבי ביתך” – i.e. someone who doesn’t belong to any youth group):

“I never thought there WAS a point to Chodesh Irgun…”

Open-mouthed smile

What do your favorite chanichim and madrichim have to say on the subject?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Baruch Dayan Emet

Am Yisrael suffered a devastating loss today.

Police reported that a staggering 800,000 mourners accompanied the Rishon L’Tzion, Maran HaRav Ovadiah Yosef zt”l on his final journey through the streets of Yerushalayim, and countless others watched the proceedings on television or online.

An unsurpassed Torah giant, Rav Ovadiah zt”l was renowned for his incredible memory, his encyclopedic knowledge, his love and concern for his fellow Jews, and most of all, his willingness to rule on complex issues that many others were afraid to address.

At one point, a TV anchor asked who would replace him, and one of the commentators responded that Rav Ovadiah zt”l cannot be replaced. After all, the commentator continued, the only previous “Maran” was Rav Yosef Karo zt”l, the compiler of the groundbreaking halachic code, the Shulchan Aruch.

The following video clip – of Rav Ovadiah’s hachtarah (coronation or investiture ceremony) as Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel in 1973 – aired this evening on Israel Television:

.יהי זכרו ברוך

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

“I will return the captivity of My people Israel”

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations today:

He concluded his speech with a beautiful quote from Sefer Amos:

”וְשַׁבְתִּי אֶת שְׁבוּת עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבָנוּ עָרִים נְשַׁמּוֹת וְיָשָׁבוּ וְנָטְעוּ כְרָמִים וְשָׁתוּ אֶת יֵינָם וְעָשׂוּ גַנּוֹת וְאָכְלוּ אֶת פְּרִיהֶם.  וּנְטַעְתִּים עַל אַדְמָתָם וְלֹא יִנָּתְשׁוּ עוֹד מֵעַל אַדְמָתָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לָהֶם אָמַר ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ.

“And I will return the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild desolate cities, and they will inhabit them, and they will plant vineyards, and they will drink their wine; and they will cultivate gardens, and they will eat their fruits. And I will plant them on their land; and they will no longer be uprooted from upon their land which I have given them, said Hashem, your God.”
(Amos 9:14-15)

May we soon be privileged to witness the fulfillment of this prophecy, speedily and in our days. Amen.