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Monthly Archives: August 2020

La salud mental: su cuidado e implicaciones en tiempos de pandemia

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“El equilibrio no significa evitar conflictos, implica la fuerza para tolerar emociones dolorosas y poder manejarlas” Melanie Klein

No hay duda de que el coronavirus ha puesto en juego gran preocupación sobre nuestra salud física y la de quienes nos rodean. Las personas que no se habían ocupado o atendido de padecimientos que ahora reflejan un riesgo, empezaron a prestarse atención y recurrir a sus médicos de confianza.

Pero no se puede dejar de lado el hecho de que el encierro y la incertidumbre que la pandemia ha despertado en todos, también nos llevó a procurar nuestra salud mental. Ha sido mucho tiempo en casa, intentando hacer lo que se puede, con los recursos emocionales, económicos, tecnológicos entre otros, que cada uno posee.

La pandemia, nos ha obligado a mirar hacia el interior de nosotros, de nuestras emociones y nuestra reacción ante los cambios. Hay quien ha logrado la capacidad de adaptación, la creatividad y la convivencia, otros oscilan entre días buenos y días donde la angustia los ha inundado. Es decir que una misma situación ha llevado a miles de personas a reacciones distintas.

¿Qué significa la salud mental? La Organización Mundial de la Salud la define como «un estado de completo bienestar físico, mental y social, y no solamente la ausencia de afecciones o enfermedades».

Resulta cierto que los consejos de profesionales de la salud, se han dirigido hacia: hacer una rutina diaria para mantener estructura; hacer ejercicio para disminuir el estrés; limitar la cantidad de noticias que leemos diario para bajar la ansiedad; comer balanceado; establecer contacto con la gente cercana y sobretodo, estar en comunicación con nuestros familiares que teniéndolos cerca, o a distancia, lo que preocupa es su estado de ánimo y las implicaciones de la soledad en algunos casos. Otras recomendaciones también han estado inclinadas hacia establecer límites e intentar encontrar espacios personales, creando así una convivencia óptima, con uno mismo, y con quienes se vive en la misma casa.

En resumen, a lo que apuntan estas recomendaciones y consejos, es a procurar la salud mental. A intentar encontrar el bienestar en épocas de crisis, angustia e incertidumbre.

No obstante, dichos consejos no siempre son suficientes, éstos ayudan y estructuran pero otras veces, hace falta un auxiliar externo.

Estudios actuales demuestran que los padecimientos psiquiátricos han aumentado (en niños, adolescentes, adultos y ancianos). La ansiedad, los trastornos alimentarios, la depresión, el consumo de sustancias y la violencia intrafamiliar. Ésto refleja un llamado a quienes padecen desde hace tiempo algo de lo mencionado que pudo haberse potencializado debido al encierro. Pero también, aquellos que sin antes tener algún padecimiento grave, ahora han sentido mucha ansiedad, dificultad para realizar tareas, irritabilidad, miedo constante y pérdidas significativas. El gran consejo para ambos casos es: Recurrir a un profesional de la salud mental, aquellos profesionales que de momento se les ha encaminado hacia la primera fila. A un lado de los médicos, ahora también se encuentran los psicólogos y psiquiatras.

Dicho lo anterior, vale la pena mencionar que el otro lado de la moneda, en cuanto a la salud mental, también debe ponerse sobre la mesa. Más personas se han prestado atención a sí mismos, a sus relaciones, a su mente y a saber pedir ayuda cuando les es necesaria.

Las paredes de los hogares se conviertieron en espejos en los cuales día con día nos hemos visto obligados a vernos reflejados, no en el sentido literal, sino simbólicamente hablando. Voltear a verse, reconocer necesidades y aceptar la vulnerabilidad frente a la que nos encontramos.

“La vida no tiene sentido sin la interdependencia. Nos necesitamos unos a otros, y cuanto antes nos enteremos, mejor para todos nosotros” Erik Erikson

Psic. Esther Yaffee Arakanji
Fundación APTA

Según tomado de, https://diariojudio.com/ticker/la-salud-mental-su-cuidado-e-implicaciones-en-tiempos-de-pandemia/340659/

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The Dark Side of Shalom

BY TOM HOBSON

GUN BELT_opt
There are some meanings of shalom that are anything but peaceful. (Photo: Patheos Media Library)

Shalom is the word that every seminarian who takes any Hebrew is proud that they have learned. Now, they know the word for “peace”! Little do they realize that the word shalom has a dark side; it has hidden shades of meaning that are anything but peaceful.

Yes, students quickly discover that shalom means more than absence of military or social conflict. Shalom is a word that describes wholeness (Isaiah 53:5), health (Psalm 38:3), prosperity (Psalm 35:27), and well-being (Genesis 37:14). When the Shunammite woman is asked if all is OK with her, she simply says, “Shalom” (2 Kings 4:26). When Biblical characters (and modern Israelis) meet, they ask about each other’s shalom (Exodus 18:7). In Esther 2:11, Mordecai stays close to the palace to stay informed about Esther’s shalom.

Many times the adjective form shalēm is used to refer to a heart that is “completely” or consistently “loyal” and not divided. Examples include 1 Kings 8:61, 1 Kings 11:4 (versus 1 Kings 15:14), and 2 Chronicles 15:17 and 25:2.Hezekiah pleads that he has walked before God with a “whole/complete” heart (2 Kings 20:3 = Isaiah 38:3).

Moses commands altars to be built with stones that are “whole/complete” (shelōmoth – Deuteronomy 27:6, Joshua 8:31).  2 Chronicles 8:16 – the work on the house of YHWH was “complete.”  In Genesis 15:16, God says that the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet “complete.” Nehemiah 6:15 uses the verb form, “The wall was complete.” In Job 23:14, Job says that God “will complete (yashlim) what he has appointed for me.” The term “peace offerings” (shelamim) is also rendered as “offerings of well-being/wholeness.”

One landmark verse where the meaning of shalom embraces all of the above meanings is Jeremiah 29:7: “Seek the shalom (welfare) of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom, you will find your shalom.” In the same vein, in Job 9:4, Job asks, “Who has ever resisted [God] and prospered (or “come out OK” – wayyishlam)?”

But social justice proponents rightly point out that shalom cannot coexist with evil and injustice. Such obstacles to shalom must be eliminated. We find this meaning in the verb form of shalom. Its stative form (Qal) means “to be whole/be at peace.” In its transitive forms (Pi’el, Hifil, etc), it means “to establish peace” (2 Samuel 10:19). And that may include: restitution (Exodus 21:34), the repayment of debts (2 Kings 4:7), and the settling of scores (Proverbs 20:22). Ouch! Here is where we see the politically incorrect side of shalom, the dark side to which I refer. The verb form of shalom is used eleven times in Job, and six of them have to do with payback.

Who would have imagined that the shalom root would be found in this famous line?  “Vengeance is mine, and shillem – recompense!” (Deuteronomy 32:35) A few verses later, we find Deuteronomy 32:41 – “I will repay (ashallem) my enemies.” But the repayment meaning is not always negative.  In Isaiah 44, the verb refers to the fulfillment of God’s intentions to rebuild Jerusalem. In 2 Chronicles 5, the verb refers to Solomon “completing” his work on the Temple. The shalom verb is also a common way to express fulfillment of a vow (Psalm 65:1). In fact, the name Meshullam (used 17 times in the Hebrew Bible) is a Pu’al participle of the verb, a name that means “Repayment,” a name that may have been given to persons who were donated to service in the Temple as payment for a vow.

“Peace” is just one of the options by which we may translate the term shalom when we encounter it. Sometimes, it is entirely a matter of opinion whether peace, wholeness, welfare, well-being, or all of the above are being conveyed in any instance where the word is used. And yes, some of the extended meanings of the shalom root are anything but peaceful. If we really want to describe “peace” as in absence of violent conflict, we would do better to go to the root shaqat, which is used in Joshua 11:23 where the land “had rest” from war, and in 2 Kings 11:20, where the city “was quiet” after the overthrow of Athaliah. But that word might not fit in all of the wonderful scriptures where shalom is used.

As taken from, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tomhobson/2017/08/1200/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=Evangelical&utm_content=46

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The Three Forms of Betrothal

By Menachem Feldman

The laws of marriage are derived from the Torah portion of Ki Teitzei. The Talmud explains that there are three ways to betroth a woman:

A woman is acquired by (i.e., becomes betrothed to) a man to be his wife in three ways, and she acquires herself (i.e., she terminates her marriage) in two ways. The Mishnah elaborates: She is acquired through money, through a document and through marital relations.

Although this description of marriage may sound legalistic, Judaism’s perspective and insight into the profound meaning, beauty, romance and mystery of marriage can be discovered by exploring the meaning behind the seemingly technical details of the law.

There are three ways to betroth a woman, not merely

Marriage has three dimensions

because the Torah would like to give us more options for creating the legal state of marriage, but rather because marriage has three dimensions. Each of the three methods of betrothal express one of the three dimensions of the relationship.

(Practically speaking, even one of the methods of betrothal suffice to usher in all three dimensions of the marriage. In fact, the rabbis prohibited betrothal through intimacy, and it has become the universal custom to betroth through a form of money. Yet, the law offers three forms of betrothal to teach us to be aware of all three dimensions that can be initiated by any one of these forms.)

The first form of betrothal is through money—the groom gives the bride something of monetary value. Money, which is tangible and physical, represents the physical aspects of the relationship. The couple will live under the same roof, eat dinner together, have a joint bank account and file a joint tax return. They will spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Yet, while important, the physical aspect of the relationship is not all there is to marriage.

The second form of betrothal is through writing a legal document. The document itself does not have to have any monetary value; its value is abstract and intangible. The document represents the spiritual aspect of the marriage. The couple will share ideas with each other, and enjoy each other’s wit, wisdom and point of view.

Betrothal by document reminds us that marriage is more than just living together; marriage is about creating a bond between two souls (or, as the mystics say: reuniting two halves of the same soul).The document represents the soul connection that is established (or reestablished) through marriage.

The third form of betrothal, marital intimacy, represents the ultimate goal of

Intimacy is considered a holy experience

marriage. In Judaism, intimacy in the context of a sacred marriage is considered a holy experience, for it is a fusion of body and soul. It is when the first two dimensions of marriage, the physical unity and the spiritual unity, merge. The physical union expresses the deepest spiritual bond.


The marriage of man and woman is a reflection of the spiritual marriage between G‑d, the groom, and the Jewish people, the bride. Perhaps we can add that our relationship with G‑d is also expressed through these three forms of betrothal: 1) betrothal by money: G‑d blesses us with our physical life, health and necessities, allowing us to enjoy our physical life on earth; 2) betrothal by document: we enjoy a spiritual connection with G‑d, by studying His document, His Torah, which contains the mysteries of His deepest thoughts; and 3) betrothal by intimacy: the ultimate expression of our connection with G‑d is through performing a mitzvah. For the physical act of the commandment is an act of intimacy with G‑d, whereby our body and soul become one with His infinity.1

FOOTNOTES
1.Adapted from Binyan Adei Ad, by Rabbi Yosef Karasik.
As taken from, https://www.chabad.org/tools/subscribe/email/view_cdo/i/8A35D917402345A2:48CBD0CC6924F227527C3AFF4CBC3A8AF384C6450F9E9241939C4399ACF4292C#utm_medium=email&utm_source=6_essay_en&utm_campaign=en&utm_content=header
 
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Posted by on August 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The Pope, the Jews, and the Secrets in the Archives

Documents reveal the private discussions behind both Pope Pius XII’s silence about the Nazi deportation of Rome’s Jews in 1943 and the Vatican’s postwar support for the kidnapping of two Jewish boys whose parents had perished in the Holocaust.

Getty / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

In early 1953, the photograph of a prominent nun being arrested was splashed across the front pages of French newspapers. Over the next several weeks, other French clergy—monks and nuns—would also be arrested. The charge: kidnapping two young Jewish boys, Robert and Gérald Finaly, whose parents had perished in a Nazi death camp. The case sparked intense public controversy. Le Monde, typical of much of the French media, devoted 178 articles in the first half of the year to the story of the brothers—secretly baptized at the direction of the Catholic woman who had cared for them—and the desperate attempts by surviving relatives to get them back. It was a struggle that pitted France’s Jewish community, so recently devastated by the Holocaust, against the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy, which insisted that the boys were now Catholic and must not be raised by Jews.

What was not known at the time—and what, in fact, could not be known until the opening, earlier this year, of the Vatican archives covering the papacy of Pius XII—is the central role that the Vatican and the pope himself played in the kidnapping drama. The Vatican helped direct efforts by local Church authorities to resist French court rulings and to keep the boys hidden, while at the same time carefully concealing the role that Rome was playing behind the scenes.

There is more. At the center of this drama was an official of the Vatican curia who, as we now know from other newly revealed documents, helped persuade Pope Pius XII not to speak out in protest after the Germans rounded up and deported Rome’s Jews in 1943—“the pope’s Jews,” as Jews in Rome had often been referred to. The silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust has long engendered bitter debates about the Roman Catholic Church and Jews. The memoranda, steeped in anti-Semitic language, involve discussions at the highest level about whether the pope should lodge a formal protest against the actions of Nazi authorities in Rome. Meanwhile, conservatives in the Church continue to push for the canonization of Pius XII as a saint.

The newly available Vatican documents, reported here for the first time, offer fresh insights into larger questions of how the Vatican thought about and reacted to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, and into the Vatican’s mindset immediately after the war about the Holocaust, the Jewish people, and the Roman Catholic Church’s role and prerogatives as an institution.

I. A Secret Baptism

Fritz Finaly, a medical doctor, was 37 and his wife, Anni, was 28 when the Germans came for them. Having escaped from Austria following its annexation by Nazi Germany, in 1938, they had hoped to flee to South America, but like so many desperate Jews at the time they found it impossible to find passage there. Settling in 1939 in a small town just outside Grenoble, in southeastern France, they did their best to make a life for themselves, although Fritz’s ability to practice medicine was hampered by the anti-Semitic laws installed by Marshal Philippe Pétain’s collaborationist Vichy government following the German conquest of France in 1940. In 1941, Robert, the Finalys’ first child, was born, followed by Gérald 15 months later. Despite a mounting official campaign against the Jews in France, the Finalys had both boys circumcised, in accordance with Jewish law, eight days after birth.

In February 1944, aware of the intensifying Gestapo roundups of Jews in their area, the Finalys placed their two small boys in a nursery in a nearby town. They confided the boys’ whereabouts to their friend Marie Paupaert, asking her to look out for the children in the event of their own arrest. Four days later, the Germans took Anni and Fritz. The couple was transported to Auschwitz, never to be seen again.

Terrified by what had happened to her friends, and fearing that the Germans would come looking for the children, Marie took Robert and Gérald to the convent of Notre-Dame de Sion, in Grenoble, hoping that the nuns would hide them. Deeming the children too young to care for, the sisters took them to the local municipal nursery school, whose director, Antoinette Brun, middle-aged and unmarried, agreed to look after them.

A little less than a year later, in early February 1945, with France now under Allied control, Fritz Finaly’s sister Marguerite, who had found refuge in New Zealand, wrote to the mayor of the town outside Grenoble where Fritz had lived to learn the fate of her brother and his family. When she heard what had happened, she immediately secured immigration permits for the two boys to join her in New Zealand. Marguerite wrote to Brun to thank her for taking care of her nephews and to ask for her assistance in arranging for their travel. To Marguerite’s dismay, Brun’s reply was evasive and made no indication that she would help return the children to their family. At the same time, concealing her knowledge of the existence of any Finaly relatives, Brun got a local judge to name her the provisional guardian of the boys, now 3 and 4 years old. (A good chronology of the basic events of the Finaly case, as previously known, is found in the French historian Catherine Poujol’s “Petite Chronique de L’affaire des Enfants Finaly,” published by the journal Archives Juives in 2004.)

The following year, the family made another attempt to have Robert and Gérald returned, this time by confronting Brun in person. Besides Marguerite, Fritz had two other sisters—one, Hedwig Rosner, living in Israel and the other, Louise, like Marguerite, living in New Zealand. Fritz had also had an older brother, Richard, who had remained in Vienna and perished in the Holocaust. But Richard’s wife, Auguste, had escaped to safety in Britain. Auguste now traveled to Grenoble, and on the morning of October 25, 1946, she appeared at Brun’s doorstep. It had been Fritz’s wish, his sister-in-law told Brun, that if anything were to happen to him and Anni, his sisters would look after the boys. She pleaded with Brun to show pity for a family that had been so recently torn apart. To Auguste’s shock, Brun grew hostile. “To all my prayers and pleas,” the boys’ aunt recalled later, “she had only a pitiless response, and she kept constantly repeating: ‘The Jews are not grateful.’ She would never give the boys back, she said.”

For many more months, Marguerite tried every avenue she could to retrieve her nephews. She sent pleas to the local mayor in France, to the French foreign minister, and to the Red Cross. At Marguerite’s urging, the bishop of Auckland sent a request through the archbishop of Westminster to the bishop of Grenoble, asking him to look into the matter. In his reply, in July 1948, the bishop explained that he had had a long talk with Brun, but she remained firm in her refusal to give up the children to their family. He made no offer of help himself, perhaps influenced by the fact that he had learned what no one in the family yet knew: Four months earlier, Brun had had the two boys baptized, meaning that under canon law they would now be considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be Catholics, and under longtime Church doctrine could not be returned to their Jewish relatives. When the family learned of the baptism, they turned for help to a Jewish family friend who lived in Grenoble, Moïse Keller. Frustrated by the difficulty of effectively fighting their cause from the other side of the world, the sisters in New Zealand decided it would be best if Fritz’s sister in Israel, Hedwig Rosner, took the lead.

With Keller’s help, the Finaly family took the case to court, but over the next years Brun kept refusing to obey a series of court orders giving Rosner custody of her nephews. Although the Catholic press would later present Brun as a surrogate mother to the boys, throughout these years the children were living not with her but in a variety of Catholic institutions. Robert and Gérald later recounted that they saw Brun only a couple of times a year, for brief visits. Shielding the boys from the authorities, by 1952 the nuns assisting Brun had arranged to place them under fictitious names at a Catholic school in Marseille. By then, the boys were 10 and 11.

A newly discovered Vatican document coming from Church sources in Grenoble offers insight into these months, noting that in July 1952 a local court had confirmed Hedwig Rosner’s guardianship of her nephews and ordered Brun to give the boys up to Rosner’s representative, Moïse Keller. Again Brun refused. The Vatican document notes, “Her attitude, motivated by her conscience from the fact that the boys are Christian, is approved by His Excellency Cardinal Gerlier”—the archbishop of Lyon, the archdiocese of which Grenoble is a part. At this time, too, Mother Antonine, the superior of the boarding school associated with the Notre-Dame de Sion convent, took on the leading role in keeping the children hidden. She was supported, according to the account provided by Grenoble to the pope, “by the directives of His Excellency Cardinal Gerlier.”

In November 1952, the local French court decided to stay its order for Brun to produce the Finaly boys, pending a decision by the Grenoble Court of Appeals scheduled for January 1953. By this time, Cardinal Gerlier was growing uneasy about the position in which he found himself. The press had gotten hold of the story. Now, as he wrote to the pope in mid-January 1953, in a letter found in the newly opened Vatican archives, he feared what the press reaction would be if the appeals court ruled against Brun and the Church: “The seriousness of the problem results notably from the fact that a profound agitation of public opinion is being created and growing around this affair. The Jewish press, the anti-Christian press, and many of the major neutral papers are seizing on this question. The communists of Grenoble are getting involved as well.”

The Holy Office, one of the major congregations that make up the Roman curia, was founded as the Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition in the 16th century as part of the Church’s battle against heresy. By the early 20th century, when it was referred to simply as the Holy Office, it continued to operate as the Vatican body responsible for ensuring adherence to official Church doctrine. It would change its name once again in 1965 and is now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. For centuries, one of its functions had been to ensure that Jewish children who were baptized did not fall into the mortal sin of apostasy by returning to their Jewish faith. Although it was considered illicit under normal circumstances to baptize a child against parental wishes, once a child was baptized, whether licitly or illicitly, the baptism was considered valid and Church doctrine had to be followed.

A century earlier, another such case had caught the world’s attention. In 1858, the Holy Office and the pope at the time, Pius IX, learned that a 6-year-old Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy, had been secretly baptized by the family’s illiterate teenage Christian maid, who said she feared the boy was dying. They instructed the police of the Papal States, of which Bologna was then part, to seize the child, whose name was Edgardo Mortara. The boy was sent to a Church institution in Rome established for the conversion of Jews and Muslims. While Jews throughout the lands in which the pope ruled as king had long lived in fear of just such a fate for their children, times were changing, and Edgardo’s abduction set off a worldwide protest. Despite the pressure, the pope refused to have the child released. Ultimately, Edgardo Mortara became a monk, traveling through Europe and America as he preached in several languages and tried to convert Jews. (I recounted this story in a 1997 book, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and covered another aspect of the case in a 2018 Atlantic article.) Shockingly, the Church’s position on baptism remains unchanged even now: “An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents.”

II. “The Indisputable Difficulties Caused by Judaism”

The Finaly case was not unlike that of Edgardo Mortara. Both involved the baptism of young Jewish children without family knowledge. Both involved the long-held Church doctrine that such children, now considered Catholic, must not be raised by Jewish families. Yet in mid-20th-century Europe, in the wake of the Holocaust, much had changed. Nearly two-thirds of Europe’s Jews had just been murdered. Thousands of Jewish orphans were scattered around the continent. Many of them had been hidden in convents, monasteries, and churches, as well as with Catholic families. In June 1945, the major French children’s relief organization estimated that in France alone some 1,200 Jewish children remained in non-Jewish families or institutions. It was thought that a much larger number were scattered across Poland, the Netherlands, and other countries. (The Canadian historian Michael Marrus provided a good overview of the situation in a 2006 Commonweal article, “The Missing: The Holocaust, the Church, and Jewish Orphans.”)

To the Jews of Europe who had survived the war, and to the Jews in America who were looking on, the idea that thousands of those orphaned children might be lost to their families and to the Jewish people provoked fear and resentment. The recollection of cases like that of Edgardo Mortara had instilled a special sense of suspicion toward a Church whose very doctrines stood in the way of the return to their Jewish families of any children who had been baptized.

For Pope Pius XII, who read Cardinal Gerlier’s plea for guidance in January 1953, the issue was not a new one. On September 21, 1945, the secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, Léon Kubowitzki, had come to see him to make two requests. First, Kubowitzki had asked the pope to issue a public declaration denouncing anti-Semitism. “We will consider it,” the pope had replied, although he would not, in the end, make any such declaration. The Jewish leader then had come to his second request, asking for the pope’s help in ensuring that the Jewish orphans of the Holocaust living in Catholic countries be returned to the Jewish community. “We will give it all our attention,” the pope had said, asking that his visitor send him “some statistics” on the matter.

Several months later, on March 10, 1946, the pope received another distinguished Jewish visitor, the Polish-born, thickly bearded chief rabbi of Palestine, Isaac Herzog. Herzog’s visit came as part of a mission to help locate the missing Jewish orphans of the Holocaust. It would be of great assistance, said the rabbi, if the pope would issue a public plea to the priests of Europe calling on them to reveal the location of orphaned Jewish children who remained in the hands of Catholic families and institutions. Expressing sympathy for the disaster that had befallen the Jews of Europe, the pope said only that he would have the matter looked into and asked the rabbi to provide him with a detailed memorandum on the subject.

What the pope did next has not, until the opening of the Vatican archives this year, been known. Herzog returned to the Vatican on March 12 with the memorandum the pope had requested and was directed to the Secretariat of State. Following the death, in 1944, of his first secretary of state, Cardinal Luigi Maglione, Pius XII had taken the unusual step of not appointing a successor, instead dividing the work between his two chief deputies, Domenico Tardini and Giovanni Battista Montini. It was Montini—the future Pope Paul VI—to whom the pope would later entrust the management of the Finaly case. In the eyes of both Montini and the pope, there was one man viewed as the Secretariat of State’s expert on all Jewish questions. This was Monsignor Angelo Dell’Acqua, and it was Dell’Acqua with whom the rabbi was directed to meet.

Insight into Dell’Acqua’s attitudes toward the Jews is now available to us thanks to documents from the archives. Most telling is a remarkable pair of memoranda written as the pope considered whether he should take any action—or make any statement—following the Gestapo’s roundup, on October 16, 1943, of a thousand of Rome’s Jews for deportation to Auschwitz. As of that September, much of Italy was under German control, aided by a Mussolini-led puppet government established in the north. The Germans’ encirclement of the old Roman ghetto and their hours-long rousting of the terrified Jews had been traumatic for the Romans and presented the pope with a problem. Although he had a dim view of Adolf Hitler, as I discuss in my book The Pope and Mussolini, he had also taken pains to avoid angering him and was eager to maintain cordial relations with the Germans who occupied Rome and whose goodwill helped keep Vatican City unharmed. Meanwhile, more than a thousand Jews—mainly women, children, and old men—were being held for two days in a building complex right next door to the Vatican, awaiting deportation. The pope was well aware that a failure to speak out could be seen as an abdication of his moral responsibility.

In the end, he judged it imprudent to raise his voice. The Jews were herded onto a train to Auschwitz—and to death for all but a few of them. In the aftermath of this traumatic event, and amid a continuing roundup of Jews throughout German-controlled Italy, the pope’s longtime Jesuit emissary to the Italian Fascist regime, Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, proposed that some kind of Vatican protest be made. What he suggested was presenting a brief to the German authorities—in the context of a private meeting, not issued as a public document—calling on them to put an end to their homicidal campaign against Italy’s Jews. Two months after the deportation of the Jews of Rome, he went so far as to write a draft of what the official statement should say. The text he wrote, newly discovered in the archives and reprinted verbatim in translation at the end of this article, was titled “Verbal Note on the Jewish Situation in Italy.”

The thrust of the plea was far from pro-Jewish. The proposed Vatican statement argued that Mussolini’s racial laws, instituted five years earlier, had successfully kept the Jews in their proper place, and as a result there was no need for any violent measures to be taken against them. Italy’s Jews, Tacchi Venturi argued, did not present the grounds for serious government concern that they clearly did elsewhere. Nor had they engendered the same hostility from the majority “Aryan” portion of the population that Jews engendered in other countries. This was partly because there were so few Italian Jews and partly because so many of them had married Christians. New laws confining Italy’s Jews in concentration camps, the Jesuit insisted, offended the “good sense of the Italian people,” who believed that “the racial Law sanctioned by the Fascist Government against the Jews five years ago is sufficient to contain the tiny Jewish minority within its proper limits.”

Tacchi Venturi wrote, “For these reasons one nourishes the firm faith that the German Government will want to desist from the deportation of the Jews, whether that done en masse, as happened this past October, or those done by single individuals.” He returned again to his earlier argument:

In Italy, with the above-cited racial law of 1938, observed rigorously, the unquestionable inconveniences caused by Judaism when it comes to dominate or to enjoy great credit in a nation were already taken care of. But since at present this is not happening in Italy, one does not understand why and what need there is to return to a question that Mussolini’s Government considered already taken care of.

Could the pope remain silent if the continuing deportation of Italy’s Jews to the death camps continued? In considering this question, the proposed message to the German authorities—again, to be delivered only verbally—ended by raising the possibility that the Vatican might speak out publicly at some point: “If one renews the harsh measures against the minimal Jewish minority, which includes a notable number of members of the Catholic religion”—that is, Jews who had converted to Catholicism but were still regarded as Jews by both German and Italian authorities—“how will the Church be able to remain silent and not loudly lament before the whole world the fate of men and women not guilty of any crime toward whom it cannot, without failing to carry out its divine mission, deny its compassion and all its maternal care?”

On receiving the proposed protest, the cautious Pius XII turned to Dell’Acqua for advice. Dell’Acqua responded quickly, sending the pope a lengthy critique (also newly discovered, and presented verbatim in translation at the end of this article) two days later, advising against using Tacchi Venturi’s verbal statement, not least because, in Dell’Acqua’s view, it was overly sympathetic to the Jews. “The persecution of the Jews that the Holy See justly deplores is one thing,” Dell’Acqua advised the pope, “especially when it is carried out with certain methods, and quite another thing is to be wary of the Jews’ influence: this can be quite opportune.” Indeed, the Vatican-overseen Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, had been repeatedly warning of the need for government laws to restrict the rights of the Jews in order to protect Christian society from their alleged depredations. Nor, thought the monsignor, was it wise for the Vatican to be saying, as Tacchi Venturi had proposed, that there existed no “Aryan environment” in Italy that was “decisively hostile toward the Jewish milieu.” After all, Dell’Acqua wrote, “there was no lack in the history of Rome of measures adopted by the Pontiffs to limit the influence of the Jews.” He also appealed to the pope’s eagerness not to antagonize the Germans. “In the Note the mistreatment to which the Jews are allegedly being subject by the German Authorities is highlighted. This may even be true, but is it the case to say it so openly in a Note?” It was best, he concluded, that the whole idea of a formal Vatican presentation be abandoned. Better, he advised, to speak in more general terms to the German ambassador to the Holy See, “recommending to him that the already grave situation of the Jews not be aggravated further.”

Dell’Acqua, who, during the early course of the Finaly affair would himself be elevated to the rank of sostituto of the Secretariat of State, one of the most prestigious positions at the Vatican, and would later become cardinal vicar of Rome, ended his memo to the pope with advice for the Jews who kept making so much noise about the dangers they faced and the horrors they had already experienced: “One should also let the Jewish Signori know that they should speak a little less and act with great prudence.”

It was this prelate who met with Isaac Herzog, the chief rabbi of Palestine, a little over two years later. In a long memo now found in the Vatican archives, Dell’Acqua told of the meeting and reviewed the rabbi’s arguments for the pope to help get the Jewish children returned. “The children in question,” the rabbi said, “are in large part orphans (their parents were killed by the Nazis), found especially in Poland; others, however, are also in Belgium, Holland, and France.” The rabbi, Dell’Acqua reported, asked for the Holy Father—or, if not the pontiff personally, the Vatican—to issue a public call for the release of the boys. “That,” the rabbi told him, “would immensely facilitate our task.”

After reporting the rabbi’s request, Dell’Acqua offered his advice on how the pope should respond to what he called this “rather delicate problem.” He began by ruling out any public statement by the pope or the Vatican. “Nor would I suggest responding with a document of the Secretariat of State directed to the Chief Rabbi because it would certainly be exploited by Jewish propaganda.” Rather, the best course, Dell’Acqua advised, was simply to instruct the papal delegate in Jerusalem to offer a generic verbal reply, saying that it would be necessary to look into each case individually. Nothing should be put in writing. This the pope ordered done.

III. “Advise the Woman to Resist”

On January 17, 1953, Pius XII sent Cardinal Gerlier’s urgent request for guidance on the Finaly affair to the Holy Office for its opinion. Although the pope was the titular head of the Congregation of the Holy Office, the cardinals who composed it, along with the cadre of theological consultants who advised them, met separately and typically sent their recommendations to the pope through Monsignor Montini. A Holy Office note discovered in the archives, presumably written by one of the consultants, offered some historical background: “According to the practice of the Holy Office up until the suppression of the Papal States in 1870, Jewish children baptized without their parents’ permission were not returned.” Given the sense of urgency conveyed by Cardinal Gerlier, the Holy Office took up the Finaly matter immediately. As was customary, the cardinals turned first to their group of consultants. The Church, the consultants advised, should make all possible efforts to prevent the Finaly children from being returned to their Jewish family. Should the French court case decide against Antoinette Brun and grant the boys’ aunt guardianship, “one must delay its execution as long as possible, appealing to the Court of Cassation and using all other legal means.” Should the final court ruling then go against the Church, the consultants wrote, “advise the woman to resist  unless the woman were to sustain serious personal damage and one were to fear greater damages for the Church.”


The cardinal secretary of the Holy Office then wrote directly, in French, to Cardinal Gerlier, giving the Holy Office ruling:

The dangers for their faith, should they be returned to this Jewish aunt, requires careful consideration of the following consequences:

  1. by divine right, these children were able to choose, and they have chosen the religion that assures the health of their soul;
  2. canon law recognizes for children who have attained the age of reason [age 7] the right to decide their religious future;
  3. the Church has the inalienable duty to defend the free choice of these children who, by their baptism, belong to it.

What this meant, the cardinal secretary of the Holy Office advised Gerlier, was spelled out in the opinion the consultants had offered, which he appended.

Meanwhile, in France, Mother Antonine, afraid that the upcoming court ruling would go against them, had her own sister take the Finaly boys to a Catholic boarding school more than 500 kilometers from Grenoble, in Bayonne, near the Spanish border, and register them under false names. Her fears proved prescient. On January 29, 1953, the court ordered Brun arrested for failing to produce the boys. Brun would remain in prison in Grenoble for the next six weeks. Informed that the police were now looking for Robert and Gérald and afraid that they would not be safe as long as they remained in France, Mother Antonine made her way to Bayonne to discuss the matter with the local bishop. Two days after this visit, the boys disappeared. Shortly after that, Mother Antonine, charged with kidnapping, was herself imprisoned. The photograph of her arrest and the mystery of what had happened to the Finaly boys kicked off what would be many months of intense public interest in the case, in France and beyond. Over the next weeks, more monks and nuns would be arrested and imprisoned, charged with participating in a clerical underground that had spirited the boys across the Spanish border into the heart of Spain’s Basque country.

On February 24, in the wake of the French court decision and the arrest of Antoinette Brun and Mother Antonine, the Holy Office informed the pope that it had sent Cardinal Gerlier a new letter with the directive “to hold off as long as possible, that is up to when other more serious reasons might advise a different line of conduct.” The Holy Office, using one of the anti-Semitic themes routine within the Roman Catholic Church for many years, went on to inform the pope that “the Jews, tied in with the Masons and the socialists, have organized an international press campaign” around the case. In the face of this campaign, it complained, the reaction among France’s Catholics had been woefully weak, with only two of the Catholic periodicals having “energetically raised their voice in defense of the rights of the Church.”

Since the arrests, Cardinal Gerlier had agreed to negotiations with Jacob Kaplan, chief rabbi of Paris, to find a way out of the crisis. In its February 24 report, the Holy Office added its own cautious support for the negotiation. Given the situation they now found themselves in, with the Church taking a beating in the press and an increasing number of Catholic clergy imprisoned, something had to be done, the cardinals advised, to bring the case to an end. At the same time, the Holy Office insisted, any agreement requiring the boys’ return to France would have to meet two conditions. First, Robert and Gérald had to be placed in a “neutral” educational institution “in such a manner as not to get in the way of the boys’ practice of the Catholic religion.” Second, guarantees had to be given that Brun, Mother Antonine, and all the others charged with kidnapping either be absolved of the charges or amnestied. The Holy Office also suggested that Monsignor Montini speak directly with the French foreign minister, who happened to be visiting Rome, about the case, and called on Montini to send instructions to Cardinal Gerlier through the nuncio in Paris. Finally, it advised that in whatever action Gerlier took, no mention be made of the role being played behind the scenes by the Vatican, “so as not to compromise the Holy See in such a delicate and sensational dispute.”

The following day, Montini wrote back to the cardinal secretary of the Holy Office, informing him that the pope had accepted their advice. Montini reported that he had already spoken with the French foreign minister and sent the nuncio the instructions to agree to a settlement as long as it accorded with the Holy Office requirements. Following his conversation with the pope, Montini had added a clause to the language proposed by the Holy Office to make it even clearer that the children must be free to continue to practice their Catholic religion. The agreement, he told the nuncio, could only be reached “after having taken the opportune precautions to ensure that they [the boys] are not prompted to become Jews again.” Montini added a final instruction in his coded telegram to the nuncio: “E’ bene che S.O. non apparisca” (“It is well that the Holy Office not be visible”).

The Vatican was between nuncios in Paris at the time, as the pope had recently notified the previous nuncio, Angelo Roncalli—later to succeed him, as Pope John XXIII—that he was being appointed a cardinal and would become patriarch of Venice. Just as the acting nuncio received Montini’s instructions, he was visited by Israel’s ambassador to France. The ambassador came on behalf of his government to ask the pope to issue a public plea to all good Catholics to assist in finding the Finaly boys and to disassociate himself from the monks and nuns who had hidden them. “I observed,” the papal emissary wrote in reporting the conversation to Montini, “that he dared to ask too much. The Holy See might be able to support an agreement, but only if certain guarantees were given with respect to the little ones’ Faith. It would never disassociate itself from and publicly condemn those who, it must be supposed, acted out of the righteousness of conscience.”

The following days saw intense negotiations between the priest deputized to represent Cardinal Gerlier and the Church on one side and Rabbi Kaplan on the other. Receiving a draft of the proposed agreement in early March, the pope called on his expert on Jewish affairs, Dell’Acqua, to prepare an analysis. The Finaly affair, Dell’Acqua advised, had stirred up a fierce press campaign against Church authorities in France, and so finding a way to bring it to an end was crucial. And yet, he concluded, the proposed agreement did not provide the guarantees the Church was looking for. “With all likelihood,” Dell’Acqua wrote, “the court proceedings in course will finish in favor of the Judaic thesis and the two young boys will end up in the hands of the Jews who, with ever greater ruthless obstinacy, will force a ‘Jewish’ education on them, with the resulting humiliation (at least in the eyes of a part of the wider public) of the Catholic Church.”

Any agreement, thought the monsignor, had to ensure the boys’ ability to continue their Catholic education. “If, then, the Jews do not observe the commitment they assumed”—here Dell’Acqua added in parentheses, “which is likely”—“the fault will then be theirs and the Church will always be able, with reason, to charge them with hypocrisy.”

The pope, too, was unhappy with the agreement that the negotiators had reached in France. Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, assessore of the Holy Office, had brought the text in mid-March to show the pontiff. “A positive approval cannot be given,” reads the cardinal’s handwritten note of what the pope told him, bearing the purple stamp marking an official papal decision. The agreement, the pope thought, did not offer sufficient assurances that the boys would not come under Jewish influence and revert to their parents’ religion. That said, and recognizing the public-relations disaster that the Church faced if no agreement were to be reached, the pope sought to place responsibility for the deal on Cardinal Gerlier.

As a result of these discussions with the pope, on March 16 Montini wrote again to the acting nuncio in Paris. After pointing out the Holy See’s unhappiness over the lack of sufficient guarantees provided in the draft agreement, Montini added, “If, however, the cardinal, considering the circumstances, believes he is able to assume responsibility for the execution of the agreement, the Holy Office does not oppose it and will give promised support for finding the boys.”

At the same time, the head of the liberal branch of Judaism in France, Rabbi André Zaoui, came to Rome to plead on behalf of the Finaly family. Although he was presumably eager to see the pope, it was Angelo Dell’Acqua he got to meet with, a meeting the monsignor then reported on in a memo for Pius XII. The Vatican, the rabbi had told Dell’Acqua, would be performing an act of “charity” in helping return Robert and Gérald to their relatives. “I responded,” the monsignor informed the pope, “that it was not a matter of charity but a question of principle and therefore of justice. The two boys, being Catholic, have some rights. The Catholic Church not only has rights with respect to them, but duties that it must fulfill.” As he got up to leave, the rabbi countered that the Jewish community also had rights and responsibilities. “Not, however,” Dell’Acqua told him, “of the same kind as those of the Catholic Church.”

After hearing from Cardinal Gerlier that he could get no further concessions from the Jewish side and that prolonging the concealment of the Finaly boys would prove disastrous for the Catholic Church in France, the pope reluctantly—the Latin expression aegre is used in the official record of the pope’s decision—gave his approval to the agreement. On March 23, Montini sent a telegram to the nuncio in Madrid informing him of the decision and advising the clergy to help find and return the Finaly children.

IV. A Flight to Tel Aviv

Hopes that the agreement would lead to the speedy return of the boys were soon to be disappointed. Although the nuncio in Madrid met with Spain’s cardinal primate to let him know of the Vatican’s desire for the boys to be returned, it seemed that neither the Spanish clergy nor, for its own reasons, the Spanish government was in any rush to have them found. The Spanish monks hiding the boys, Cardinal Gerlier wrote Rome, were still claiming that the pope was not eager to see them returned. In April, this prompted another telegram to the nuncio in Madrid: “Cardinal Gerlier reports that the local Spanish religious authorities where the Finaly brothers are found are said to declare that the guarantees contained in Gerlier’s agreement are insufficient and would not agree to the return of the children without an order from the Holy See.” In an accompanying note for the pope, Dell’Acqua stressed the “importance that the Holy See not appear directly. It is necessary to be attentive not only to the effects in France but also in the other Catholic and non-Catholic countries. If in some way it appeared that the boys were being returned due to the direct intervention of the Holy See, that might, at least in some countries, be judged unfavorably.” In other words, Church traditionalists familiar with Catholic doctrine might be displeased with the pope should he be seen calling for the return of the boys to their Jewish family.

In an effort to deflect attention from any Church responsibility for the continuing concealment of the Finaly children in Spain, Dell’Acqua, with the pope’s approval, drafted an article to be placed in a Swiss newspaper. It was not the “religious” aspects of the case that were preventing the boys’ return, it asserted, but political issues, “insofar as the two boys can consider themselves to be refugees who have invoked the right of exile.” On April 28, Montini sent the text of the article to the nuncio in Bern, with the instruction that he “examine how to have the press of that Nation publish the news contained in the Note, obviously without them knowing its origin.”

Still the boys could not be found. As part of the agreement he had reached with Cardinal Gerlier in March, Rabbi Kaplan had remained silent, but in early June, under growing pressure from France’s Jewish community, he called a news conference. High Church officials, he charged, had never publicly condemned the baptism of the Finaly children and the Church had taken no action to pry their whereabouts from the priests and nuns who knew where they were. He had been promised their return, the rabbi said, but now, almost three months later, Catholic clergy were still hiding them.

“The attitude of the Spanish authorities,” the French ambassador complained to the Vatican, as a newly available Vatican record of the conversation reveals, “remains less than clear. While the Minister of Foreign Affairs seems to be favorable to the desired solution, those under him come up with various pretexts to avoid the conclusion.” Indeed, the excuse that the Spanish officials repeatedly gave for their inaction was that it was Spanish Basque monks who were hiding the Finaly boys and they did not want to further inflame the government’s already tense relations with that region. On June 22, the French ambassador followed up with a memo he gave to Montini, which Montini in turn quickly forwarded to the nuncio in Madrid: “The Governor of San Sebastián [in Spain’s Basque region] continues to think … that the Spanish Basque clergy have the last word and that ‘without a formal order from Rome, the boys will remain in the shadows.’” The French government, the ambassador reported, found the Church’s failure to abide by the terms of Cardinal Gerlier’s agreement for the return of Robert and Gérald a matter of growing concern.


Four days later, a greatly relieved French ambassador called the Secretariat of State and got through to Dell’Acqua: The Finaly boys had just been handed over at San Sebastián to Germaine Ribière, the woman who had been shuttling back and forth across the border on Cardinal Gerlier’s behalf, trying to find them. The boys had already crossed the border into France.

As the saga approached its final chapter, the battle over Robert and Gérald Finaly would take on a new complexion. From the Vatican’s perspective, while it had agreed to the children’s return, it had not agreed to have them abandon their Catholic identity. Reacting to press reports that the boys’ aunt, who had left her husband and her own children behind in Israel during the months that she had been in France, was planning to take them back with her, Pius XII authorized a news story to be planted by the Holy Office in a Roman Catholic newspaper. A journalist at the Vatican’s own L’Osservatore Romano was charged with drafting it, and the final text was edited by the Holy Office.

The article, published on July 9, explained that any claim that the accord reached between Cardinal Gerlier and the Finaly family would permit taking the boys to Israel and becoming Jewish was erroneous. “The free will of the two boys, who have declared their wish to remain Catholic, is protected by the agreement. Thus they have the full right to profess and practice Catholicism, without being exposed to any pressure direct or indirect … It is clear that the prospect of the two boys’ ‘reeducation’ to Judaism would be in contrast with these premises.” The article then took a swipe at France’s Jewish community. Although French Church authorities had kept their word, the article stated, the press in recent weeks had been filled with sarcastic remarks about how long it was taking for the Church to locate the boys. “Even the chief rabbis lent themselves to these harmful suspicions with words that, apart from every other consideration, betrayed the most absolute lack of recognition for all that the Catholics had done in these years for the Jews, running the risk of the most serious personal dangers and without asking for anything, simply out of Christian charity.”

On July 19, Monsignor Montini followed up in a letter to the new nuncio in Paris. “Some newspapers,” he wrote, “are reporting that the Finaly brothers will soon be taken to Israel to be reeducated in Judaism. That is in contrast with the agreements that Cardinal Gerlier concluded some time ago.” He instructed the nuncio to call the cardinal’s attention to this fact and to report back on his response.

Six days later, Hedwig Rosner, having been awarded legal guardianship of her two nephews, boarded a plane with Robert and Gérald and flew to Tel Aviv.

What should the pope do now? Dell’Acqua offered a suggestion. The Jewish press, he wrote in a memo for the pope on July 29, was casting the outcome of the Finaly affair as a victory. “I wonder if it is not the case,” Dell’Acqua proposed, “to have an article prepared for La Civiltà Cattolica to unmask the Jews and accuse them of disloyalty.” (This document is included in the appendix.) The pope apparently thought this worth considering, at least in some form; two days later, Montini prepared a message to the nuncio in Paris, complaining about Cardinal Gerlier and asking for his opinion on whether going ahead with the proposed article would be a good idea. The conclusion of the Finaly affair, Montini wrote, “had inflicted a serious blow to the Church’s right and also to its prestige in the world.” Meeting a few days later, the Holy Office supported the idea that some public action was called for, advising the pope to instruct Cardinal Gerlier to lodge an official protest.

Yet in the end, following the advice of the new nuncio in Paris that an article such as the one being proposed would be widely read as a condemnation of the action of the French episcopate, and especially of Cardinal Gerlier, the plan was dropped. Montini did, however, send a written protest in late September to the French government through its ambassador to the Vatican. The Holy See, Montini wrote, could only “express its great regret for the solution that was given to this affair without considering the religious interest of the two baptized youths. It likewise expresses the fear that these boys’ Catholic education will come to be compromised, contrary to the spirit of an agreement signed by the representatives of the family and those of the ecclesiastical authorities, and to which the latter have remained faithful.”

V. More to Come

Anni and Fritz Finaly had made it to within months of the Allied liberation of France when the Gestapo seized them and sent them to their death. While the danger to France’s Jews would soon pass, the horrors of the Holocaust were slow to move the Roman Catholic Church to consider its own history of anti-Semitism or the role it played in making the Nazis’ mass murder of European Jews possible. Pope Pius XII was undoubtedly horrified by the slaughter, but as pope or, earlier, as the Vatican’s secretary of state, he had never complained about the sharp measures taken against the Jews as one Catholic nation after another introduced repressive laws (Italy in 1938, for instance, and France in 1940). The only complaint Pius XII made about Italy’s anti-Semitic laws was the unfairness of applying them to Jews who had converted to Catholicism. That there might have been a link between the centuries of Church demonization of the Jews and the ability of people who thought of themselves as Catholics to murder Jews seems never to have crossed his mind. The fact that Mussolini’s regime relied heavily on Church materials—its newspapers and magazines filled with references to the measures popes had taken over the centuries to protect “healthy” Christian society from the threat posed by the Jews—to justify its anti-Semitic laws led to little rethinking of Church doctrine or practice under his papacy.

Among the revelations of the newly available documents is how little impact the Holocaust had on the Vatican’s view of its proper course of action in the case of the Finaly boys. While the documents show occasional allusions by the pope and those around him to the suffering recently experienced by the Jewish people, these expressions of sympathy did not translate into any special concern for the wishes of Robert and Gérald Finaly’s parents or for the Finaly family survivors who sought to take the boys in. What comes through clearly in reading the Vatican records is that the prerogatives of the Roman Catholic Church mattered above all else: that, according to Church doctrine, baptism, even against a family’s wishes, gave the Church the right to claim the children. This was what motivated the monks and nuns who moved the boys around, under fictitious names, from one hiding place to another.

The commitment of Pope Pius XII and the men of the curia to prevent the Finaly family from gaining custody of the children was tempered only by concerns about bad press, a worry constantly highlighted by Cardinal Gerlier in his increasingly urgent pleas to Rome. He especially feared bad press because it was, as he repeatedly reminded the pope and the Holy Office over these months, weakening the Church’s political position in France and its efforts to get the postwar French government to give state recognition to Catholic parochial schools.

No aspect of the pope’s attitude toward the Jews has received as much attention as the controversy over his silence during the war—his failure to denounce the Nazis and their accomplices for the systematic slaughter of Europe’s Jews. In an effort to respond to critics, it was Montini himself who later, as Pope Paul VI, commissioned a group of Jesuit scholars to pore through the Vatican archives—which have remained closed to other scholars until now—to bring to light all relevant documents regarding the pope’s and the Vatican secretary of state’s actions as they considered how to respond to the unfolding horrors of the Second World War. This resulted, from 1965 to 1981, in the publication of 12 volumes filled with thousands of documents. Volume 9, devoted to how the Holy See sought to help the victims of the war in the year 1943, contains 492 documents.

In light of the publication of this massive trove of documents, the claim has been made that nothing much new will be learned about the pope’s silence during the Holocaust from the recent opening of the Vatican archives. But scholars need not have worried about a lack of new material. Neither Pietro Tacchi Venturi’s proposed tepid, anti-Semitic Vatican protest of the Germans’ murderous campaign against the Jews in Italy nor Angelo Dell’Acqua’s memo in response was included in that massive publication. The single document published there on the episode is Cardinal Maglione’s somewhat cryptic comment in response to Tacchi Venturi’s proposal: “It is not the case to send Father Tacchi Venturi’s note (which would in any case have to be redone) nor even a more delicate note by us.” Dell’Acqua is not mentioned at all. A footnote by the editors of the Vatican volume does not make clear what Tacchi Venturi was proposing and only quotes the passages from his memo that offered a positive image of the Jews and of the lack of anti-Jewish sentiment in Italy. The new discoveries provide ample grounds to believe that the full story of Pius XII and the Jews remains to be written.

It would only be after Pius XII’s death that Church attitudes toward the Jews would change in a meaningful way, thanks to his successor John XXIII, who convened a Vatican Council devoted in part to rooting out the vestiges of medieval Church doctrine on the Jews. The culmination of those efforts came only after Pope John XXIII’s death; in 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the remarkable declaration Nostra Aetate. Reversing long-held Church doctrine, it called on the faithful to treat Jews and their religion as worthy of respect.

Although I am not aware that anyone has made the link, it may not be too far-fetched to suspect that the Finaly case played a role in that historic shift and, with it, the abandonment of the Church’s centuries-long vilification of the Jews. The link is John XXIII’s successor, Paul VI, who presided over the council when it considered and then approved its revolutionary new doctrine. This was the same man who—under his given name, Giovanni Montini—had spent months managing the Vatican’s dealings on the Finaly affair a dozen years earlier.

If there was any distance between Pius XII and Montini in the actions taken in the Finaly affair, I have not found any trace of it in the Vatican archives. Montini’s ties with Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII, could scarcely have been stronger. He had begun working for him as one of his two chief deputies when Pacelli was still the Vatican’s secretary of state and continued in the same role when, in 1939, Pacelli ascended to the papacy. In his final report to the government the following year, the outgoing French ambassador to the Vatican described Montini as the man closest to Pius XII’s heart and added, “Everyone agrees in predicting that Monsignor Montini will himself be pope.”

Yet, although heavily identified with his patron, Montini had a mind of his own. He came from an influential northern Italian Catholic family. His father had been a member in Parliament of the moderate Catholic Italian Popular Party until Mussolini abolished all non-Fascist parties in 1926. Montini was an intellectual with sophisticated tastes in art and literature. He had quietly worked behind the scenes, while Pius XII was pope, to prevent the Holy Office from condemning the works of the writer Graham Greene. The Vatican’s behavior in the Finaly case was a nasty business. Did Montini’s involvement on Pius XII’s behalf bother him at the time? Did it leave lasting scars? Did he think about the Finaly case as he was considering the proposals of the Second Vatican Council to change the Church’s long-held attitudes toward the Jews? We may not know the answers to these questions anytime soon; the archives of Paul VI’s papacy will most likely not be opened for many years.

Not long ago, I was able to reach Robert Finaly by email in Israel, where he and Gérald—now known as Gad—have lived since they were taken there by their aunt. Robert recalled the school environment in which they had been held, before their family was able to reclaim them, as one that was “100% Catholic.” Students were taught that Jews were destined for damnation. Had it not been for the persistence of his family, he and Gad would likely be living elsewhere—in France or Spain—and would, as Robert noted, remember their past very differently. The lives they have lived in Israel have been remarkably uneventful. Gad pursued a career in the Israeli military and subsequently as an engineer. Robert became a doctor, just like his father.

As taken from, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/the-popes-jews/615736/

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Ask the Rabbis | Do People Become More Jewish as They Get Older?

Ask the Rabbis | Moment Magazine - The Next 5,000 Years of Conversation  Begin Here

BY AMY E. SCHWARTZ

HUMANIST

When I was 17, I began attending weekly Friday night services at our large Reform temple. When there was no simcha, the crowd was impossibly small. With barely a minyan, mostly older people, we sat in a circle on the bimah. Following one of these services I asked my rabbi why it was always older folks who attended these services. He told me, “It will always be older people.”

As a congregational rabbi, I’ve experienced the same thing. It’s not that younger people don’t participate, but it’s the empty-nesters—folks in their 50s, 60s and up—who participate in the widest range of activities. Their need for connections amplified by changing circumstances, they seek in Jewish community a family of choice.

Some have attributed this phenomenon to a search for God. I’m sure that’s true for many. Yet since I’m a Humanistic rabbi, that’s obviously not what I’ve observed. Our older members value Jewish identity and belonging, but they are not looking for sacred reassurances. They seek greater meaning in life, something many of us learn to appreciate only as we grow older. One of the strengths of Judaism—broadly defined—is that it provides us with so many rich and varied paths of continuing growth and exploration.

Rabbi Jeffrey L. Falick
Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
Farmington Hills, MI

INDEPENDENT

Being Jewish is an anomaly. From ancient times to the present, we have been perceived by the world as pariahs. Even when we occasionally chose to assimilate or convert, we failed to drop our Jewishness.

Hitler understood this and refused to take a chance on half-Jews, quarter-Jews or ex-Jews. The Spanish Inquisition had a heyday rooting out Jewish converts to the Church because they stuck out like a sore something-or-other, maybe unconsciously rolling their eyes when offered the wafer. The Jew simply cannot conceal Jewishness, and it intensifies with age because it is not cultural; it is fundamental. Bottom line, whether you are born Jewish or a “Jew by choice,” an elder Jew or a young ’un, you are notably different from everyone else across the planet. Even the very adamancy with which some older Jews disown their Jewish identity, claiming they’ve long ago grown out of it, is in itself characteristically Jewish. Reb Mendl of Kotzk once remarked how much easier it is to perform a miracle than to be a Jew. It is just as impossible to become less Jewish than you already are, regardless of age.

Rabbi Gershon Winkler
Jewish Chaplain, Patton State Hospital
Patton, CA

RENEWAL 

You would think so. The common wisdom is that as people age, they reach for the existential comforts of religion. This may come from fear of death or from what sociologists call “gerotranscendence”—a desire for deeper meaning and a connection beyond oneself. I have seen this in my own congregations, where this spring we are celebrating ten adult b’not mitzvah by women who never had a bat mitzvah in their youth. But I have also seen, in nursing and retirement homes, a strong resistance among older Jews to prayer, God or religious tradition. Historical circumstance plays an enormous role here, as do older Jews’ perceptions of what it means to be Jewish.

RABBIS HAVE A RINGSIDE SEAT FOR ALL OF LIFE’S CHANGES, AND THE PASSAGE OF TIME IS NO EXCEPTION. WE WONDERED: IS IT TRUE THAT PEOPLE REBEL AGAINST RELIGION IN THEIR YOUTH, THEN RETURN? OR IS THAT A MYTH? AMID ALL OF THESE EXPLORATIONS OF CALENDARS AND CYCLES, HISTORICAL ERAS AND TURNING POINTS, HOW DOES TIME LEAVE ITS TRACKS IN INDIVIDUAL HUMAN LIVES?

I keep thinking about the verse from Psalm 37 recited in the grace after meals—I was a lad and now I have grown old/ and yet I have never seen a righteous person abandoned whose children are begging for bread. How can one say that with a straight face? But try adding four words at the end of the line—that I didn’t help—and it becomes a prescription for proper aging. How wonderful if, later in our lives, each of us could attest that we never passed by an adult or child needing food and compassion and did not help. Wouldn’t we all “get more Jewish”?

Rabbi Gilah Langner
Congregation Kol Ami
Arlington, VA

RECONSTRUCTIONIST

Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 teaches, “When humans mint many coins from one mold, all are alike; yet God mints everyone in the [Divine] image of the first human, and all are different.” Maturity develops fast in some, slowly in others. Deepened spirits and open hearts correlate only loosely with age. Eldering should include “paying it forward,” through mentoring, sharing, volunteering and nurturing; for some, though, it doesn’t.

Judaism commends these values and practices but can’t compel them. The same goes for communal involvement, spiritual development and other “Jewish” activities. Many seniors embrace these, not just because they have the time, but because they deeply appreciate the value of Jewish (and civic) engagement. Would that everyone of all ages felt that way! Seniority does not automatically confer wisdom and perspective. Let’s all be intentional about “spiritual eldering” and “wise aging.” And, whatever our age, what’s stopping us from getting “more Jewish” right now? Just do it! Practice one more ritual; support another cause or organization; embrace one more value. An ageless value to start with is the fundamental equality of all, young and old, created in the Divine image.

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Bethesda, MD

REFORM

An older member of our community came to me troubled. After some family crises, seeing the troubles in the world, she wasn’t sure what she believed about God anymore—or whether she believed in God.

While her commitment to Judaism was not waning, she sensed that her self-understanding as a Jew was changing. Was she becoming “less of a Jew” if she didn’t view God in the same way as when she was younger? As we mature, the way we see the world and act in it shifts. Frameworks of human development can provide some insight. Theologian James Fowler identified stages of faith development that articulate differences in the ways we view our presence in the universe and make meaning in our lives. While humans advance through the stages in predictable order, not everyone progresses through every stage, and some move back and forth. Furthermore, one stage is not more faith-filled than the previous stage; rather, they are different ways of understanding one’s self in the world. As we experience life, as we reflect on and integrate those experiences, we change, we grow and we don’t get more Jewish—we get different Jewish.

Rabbi Dr. Laura Novak Winer
Hebrew Union College
Los Angeles, CA

CONSERVATIVE

Two-career families, child-rearing and elderly parents can be time consuming. Sadly, important questions about the meaning and purpose of life are often postponed. As people get older, they do turn to religion. This is not a 21st-century phenomenon. A passage in Plato’s Republic addresses it: “For let me tell you, Socrates, that when a man thinks himself to be near death, fears and cares enter into his mind which he never had before; the tales of a world below and the punishment which is exacted there…” For Plato, one becomes more engaged with religion because of a concern for the afterlife.

In contrast, many of the adults I have worked with turn to Judaism because they are looking for meaning and purpose in this world. They have time to explore important existential questions when their children are older or they are more established professionally. Sometimes an encounter with mortality inspires these questions. As they get older, adults become more Jewish in different ways. Some begin to attend daily or Shabbat worship; others read, take classes or travel to Israel.

Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz
Temple Beth El
Springfield, MA

MODERN ORTHODOX

As with most aspects of human behavior, some people do more as they get older and some do not. The Talmud tells that at the Celebration of the Drawing of Water in Second Temple times, there was dancing, singing, acrobatics and juggling (of flaming torches!) The pious men who led the celebration chanted, “We are grateful that our [behaviors in our] youth did not embarrass our old age”—meaning that they had been consistently observant and studious over their lifetime. However, the baalei teshuvah (returnees) would chant, “We are grateful that our old age atoned for our [behaviors in our] youth”—meaning that they had become more observant and learned in their old age.

Judaism does not pronounce that growing older will automatically make us better or worse Jews. That depends on the choices we make and the directions we take in life. Judaism does say that older people are entitled to extra attention and respect. There is a commandment,“Stand up in the presence of a hoary head [white-haired person] and honor [the face of] the elderly” (Leviticus 19:32). In the Talmud, some rabbis say this honor is due because people become wiser as they grow older. Other rabbis say no: Just living longer entitles people to extra care and honor. By respecting the elderly—whether or not they become wiser or more Jewish—we honor human life itself. (This only dramatizes what an enemy of human life the coronavirus is, since it targets and kills the elderly more than others.)

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
Riverdale, NY

ORTHODOX

Gerontologists tell us that as people get older, their focus and interests change. No matter how Type A they were, they come to value family and friends far more than before. Of course, those things are Jewish values. But there’s another level. There’s a commandment in the Torah to rise for an elderly person. The famed 16th-century rabbi known as the Maharal of Prague has a beautiful explanation of this mitzvah: According to Genesis, human beings are composites of physical and spiritual elements, animated by the breath of God. While Judaism values both, it puts the spiritual side on a pedestal. The Maharal observes that as people grow older, their sheer physicality begins to wane; we stand before them because we are seeing less of their material presence and more of their soul.

Recently we’ve seen the formation of Kollels, intensive study groups, for retirees, people throwing themselves into Torah study who never had time for it on a daily basis, sometimes getting deeply involved and doing it for years. I guess you could say it’s making them more Jewish, or more deeply in touch with the Judaism they always valued but never had a chance to really embrace. It’s a sharp contrast with the attitude that urges older people into retirement communities with golf courses and tennis courts, as if they can nurture the dream of youth until their dying day.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
CrossCurrents
Los Angeles, CA

SEPHARDIC

Not necessarily. People follow different patterns. From my observation, changes in attitudes to religion depend on many factors, including personality, education, life experience and how they came to practice Judaism. Some rebel at an older age against everything they believed in because they feel betrayed by the blows that life, or God, has dealt them. Some practiced Judaism as a routine and later, usually after retirement, cling to these routines and habits as a lifeline. If before they would read and chant for an hour, now they will do it most of the day, finding comfort and solace in the familiar rituals and texts. And there are those whom I envy: thinkers and tinkerers whose curiosity and intellectual honesty are restless. Those people get more Jewish as they grow older because they keep asking questions. Their Judaism, in both faith and practice, is vibrant and alive, and even if their observance is perceived by the masses as “less Jewish” than what normative or mainstream Judaism dictates, for me they are the mentors we should seek. There are the great masters such as Arthur Green with his Radical Judaism, and there are many quiet masters hidden in synagogues, nursing homes and probably our own families. We only have to make the effort and find the wise elder, or as the rabbis’ wordplay suggests: “Zaken” (elder) = “Ze Kana” Hokhma—One who acquired wisdom (Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 32:2)

Rabbi Haim Ovadia
Potomac, MD

CHABAD

Many people (re)discover their Jewishness later in life, as they reflect upon their years and wish to embrace a more meaningful existence, or after a crisis or life-altering event like the loss of a loved one, especially one who was pious. At that stage, people tend to feel they’ve built themselves up, and now they need to decide how to go forward.

Others drift away as they age and become bored, complacent or disenchanted with their Jewish practice. Perhaps they want to relax, having been diligent in their younger years. This is usually a result of lacking continued and proper learning. While the practice of Judaism can be inculcated by parents and teachers and developed in the course of life, its active preservation in adult years is crucial. When the Torah refers to G-d giving us the Torah “on this day” or “today,” we must remember that it is really every day. It is up to us to invest the effort and time to keep our interest in Torah energetic and enchanting. If Torah and Jewish practice become rote, you seriously risk an evaporation in the spiritual fulfillment they provide. You miss the precious “connect” to G-d available in every mitzvah. One must constantly renew and nourish that. As we feed our bodies, so too must we feed our souls—for all of our days.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov
Executive Vice President
American Friends of Lubavitch
Washington, DC

As taken from, https://momentmag.com/ask-the-rabbis-do-people-become-more-jewish-as-they-get-older/

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Si puedes creerlo, entonces puedes crearlo

por Alex Corcias

Si puedes creerlo, entonces puedes crearlo

Una invitación a utilizar el poder depositado en uno.


Mientras vamos viviendo los primeros días del mes de Elul, surgen preguntas esenciales: ¿Somos víctimas del destino? ¿Nuestra vida está determinada por la suerte? ¿Cómo es que la Providencia nos guía en la vida y hasta qué punto coarta nuestra libertad de elección? Estas preguntas me han inquietado desde pequeño y la verdad es que, en esta era de coronavirus, se han intensificado. La idea de ser víctima de un destino predeterminado o de la suerte pareciera una limitación casi antinatural al poder creativo y al propósito individual de cada uno. El ser humano es un ente lleno de energía, capaz de expresar su autenticidad en distintos campos de la vida, los cuales debe dirigir al servicio íntegro del prójimo y de su Creador, ¿cómo podría el destino minimizar el poder de nuestro libre albedrío?

Una elección que puede hacer toda la diferencia

En el mundo del coaching se habla acerca del poder de la actitud.

La actitud es el mayor activo que una persona tiene en su vida, pero depende del uso que se le dé. La actitud puede ser el secreto del éxito de una persona o la causa de su fracaso. Una persona con actitud positiva hará frente a los desafíos de la vida con esperanza y confianza. Una persona con una actitud negativa perderá las oportunidades que la vida generosamente le brinde.

Winston Churchill dijo: “Un optimista ve las oportunidades que hay toda adversidad, mientras que un pesimista ve las adversidades que hay en toda oportunidad”, muy cierto. Al final del día, la actitud es el punto de elección más básico de la persona.

Criaturas creadoras

En mi libro “Propósito” – El eje central de una vida apasionante, hablamos sobre el poder de la mente para manifestar en la vida el propósito individual de cada uno. Lo que nos atañe aquí es principalmente el enfoque judío sobre este tema, por tanto, vamos a analizar algunas enseñanzas de nuestros sabios acerca del verdadero poder que se alberga en nosotros.

El libro Néfesh HaJaím (1:7), escrito por el Rav Jaim de Volozhin (1749-1821), enseña:

“Y sólo a él (al hombre) se le otorgó el poder de la elección para inclinarse a sí mismo e inclinar a todos los mundos (o dimensiones espirituales) hacia el sentido que él desee”.

Este poderoso mensaje nos dice que cada persona, con sus acciones o inacciones, afecta todas las dimensiones de su propia vida y del mundo entero. ¡Absolutamente impresionante!

“Eso es lo que dijo el Rey David (Tehilim 121): ‘Hashem es tu sombra junto a tu derecha’; es decir, así como la sombra de un objeto refleja los movimientos de aquel objeto, de la misma manera (…) Él, Bendito sea Su Nombre, se conectará [con las acciones del hombre] para inclinar los mundos [espirituales] de acuerdo con los movimientos y las inclinaciones de los actos del hombre abajo”.

El Rey David deja claro que la realidad que vemos en nuestra vida es un reflejo que Dios proyecta en ella, como la forma de una sombra que proyecta un objeto, pero no por consecuencia de la suerte o el destino, sino de nuestros propios deseos, emociones y decisiones, tal como una sombra o un espejo. Resulta que, uno es el creador de su propia realidad.

Si puedes creerlo, puedes crearlo

El Rav Jaim Shmulevitz (1902-1979), en su obra Sijot Musar (Cap. 64) asegura que las creencias de una persona tienen el poder de otorgarle fuerza a ella misma e incluso a otra persona o a objetos físicos para crear circunstancias en el mundo material.

Cuando uno cree en una persona y confía en ella, le da fuerzas y le transfiere poder. Asimismo, cuando uno está convencido de que puede lograr algo, adquiere la fuerza y el poder para lograrlo, aunque aún no sepa exactamente cómo lo hará.

Anticipa tu éxito

Durante los años que el pueblo de Israel deambuló por el desierto, dedicaba su servicio espiritual en un santuario movible. Éste fue construido por todos los integrantes del pueblo. Pero sólo algunos se dedicaron a la construcción y confección del mismo. En la literatura judía se menciona con sorpresa que estas personas no tenían formación en orfebrería ni en bordado, sin embargo, su corazón se llenó de confianza y de orgullo por cumplir la voluntad de Dios; y precisamente esa actitud fue la causa de que se despertara en ellos la inteligencia necesaria para llevar a cabo su labor.

El Ramban (1194-1270) enfatiza esta idea: “Al enorgullecerse por el servicio a Dios, le fue concedida a estos artesanos la creatividad para la confección del santuario” (1). Este concepto, lejos de ser misticismo, es más bien una ley natural del mundo. Cuando se tiene la fuerza de creer en algo, accede a un depósito de creatividad capaz de lograr lo que hasta ese momento parecía imposible.

Es claro que hay muchos elementos de la vida que uno no decide: la época de la historia en la que vive, la familia en la que nació y su situación socioeconómica. Sin embargo, existe una inmensa responsabilidad acerca de qué hacer con ese perfil.

Hemos citado solo algunas fuentes, pero existen muchas enseñanzas dentro de la literatura judía que sostienen que las decisiones que uno toma, así como su flujo de pensamientos y palabras, moldean su propia actitud, pero además afectan de manera directa las circunstancias que lo rodean y los resultados que se obtienen.

Querido lector, ¿Cómo crees que tu actitud puede darle forma a un escenario distinto en tu vida? Si la actitud tiene un poder tan grande ¿no valdría la pena intentar dirigirla hacia una vida de riqueza espiritual y material? ¡Seguro que sí!

Notas:

(1)  Shemot 35:21

Según tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/e/cp/Si-puedes-creerlo-entonces-puedes-crearlo.html?s=ss2

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Las Tres Oraciones Diarias: Ideas generales

por Rav Shraga Simmons

La plegaria diaria: Ideas generales

La plegaria es nuestra oportunidad de hablar directamente con Dios.


Introducción

La plegaria es una obligación diaria para cada judío, como está escrito: “Servirás a Hashem tu Dios con todo tu corazón”. (1) El Talmud explica: “¿Cuál es el servicio del corazón? La plegaria”. (2)

Todavía más: cuando un individuo o una comunidad enfrentan un peligro inminente, la Torá requiere que eleven plegarias a Dios. (3) Esta obligación es tanto para los judíos como para los no judíos. (4) (5)

A través de la plegaria, el hombre mortal tiene la oportunidad de hablar directamente con el Creador del universo y expresar sus necesidades. Dios escucha y responde a nuestras plegarias. (6) En el judaísmo, todas las plegarias se dirigen directa y exclusivamente a Dios. No les rezamos a los ángeles. No les rezamos a las personas que han fallecido. Sólo Dios puede responder a nuestros pedidos. (7)

Cada día, hay tres servicios principales de plegarias:

  • Shajarit, la plegaria matutina
  • Minjá, la plegaria de la tarde
  • Maariv, la plegaria nocturna

De acuerdo con la tradición, estas tres plegarias fueron instituidas respectivamente por Abraham, Itzjak y Iaakov. (8)

Las tres plegarias diarias también corresponden a los tres servicios diarios que se efectuaban en el Templo Sagrado: la ofrenda Tamid de la mañana, la ofrenda Tamid de la tarde, y las partes de los sacrificios que se quemaban en el altar cada noche. (9)

En consecuencia, cuando alguien reza se considera como si hubiera llevado una ofrenda al altar. (10)

Al dedicarnos a rezar en diversos momentos del día, hacemos que Dios sea parte de cada aspecto de nuestras vidas. (11)

Quienes descubren por primera vez el servicio de plegarias, a veces pueden sentirse agobiados por la carga de las plegarias diarias. Lo recomendable es comenzar con unas pocas plegarias y gradualmente ir agregando otras al ritual diario. (12) Si es necesario, en un primer momento incluso puede limitarse a una sola plegaria diaria. Esto se puede hacer siempre y cuando sea con el entendimiento de que con el tiempo llegará a completar todas sus responsabilidades respecto a las plegarias diarias. Las plegarias más importantes que se dicen cada día son la Amidá y el Shemá. Más allá de esto, se debe pedir consejo a un rabino para saber a qué se le debe dar prioridad en este proceso de crecimiento.

El idioma de la plegaria

Las plegarias se leen de un sidur, (13) el texto religioso judío en mayor circulación, incluso por encima de la Biblia Hebrea. (14) Sidur significa “orden”, porque contiene el texto establecido para la plegaria. Para quienes hablan español, es sumamente recomendable tener una copia del sidur de ArtScroll. Este fue traducido por eruditos judíos que entienden las sutilezas tanto del hebreo como del español, e incluyen una explicación de todas las plegarias, leyes y costumbres, para los días de la semana, el Shabat, las festividades y los eventos especiales a lo largo del ciclo de vida. (15)

Técnicamente, las plegarias pueden decirse en el idioma que uno entiende, (16) sin embargo el idioma preferido para las plegarias es el hebreo. (17) Se puede rezar con el texto original en hebreo incluso sin entenderlo. (18) En cualquier caso, es una buena idea aprender hebreo lo antes posible para poder rezar de forma significativa en el idioma original.

Muchas de las plegarias se basan en versículos bíblicos, y la Amidá (por ejemplo) fue compuesta en el siglo IV AEC por los miembros de la Gran Asamblea, guiados por los profetas Nejemiá y Ezra. (19) Antes de eso, la gente rezaba manifestando lo que tenía en su corazón, (20) pero debido a las dificultades del exilio la nación judía comenzó a perder el contacto con sus “corazones”. Por eso la Gran Asamblea fijó el texto para las plegarias, incorporando en sus palabras profundos significados cabalísticos para que incluso el judío más simple pudiera ser capaz de comunicarse con Dios con las palabras más sagradas. En consecuencia, el libro de plegarias trasciende el tiempo y la geografía, permitiendo que cada judío se conecte profundamente con Dios usando las mismas palabras.

Es una buena idea fijar cada día un momento para leer y contemplar el significado de las plegarias diarias y de las plegarias especiales. (21)

Existen pequeñas variaciones en el texto de las plegarias, basados en las costumbres de las diversas comunidades. Los tres textos más comunes son:

  • Nusaj Ashkenaz (lit. edición alemana) – utilizado por los judíos de ascendencia ashkenazí. (22)
  • Nusaj Edot HaMizraj(lit. versión de las comunidades orientales) – usado por los judíos de ascendencia sefaradí. (23)
  • Nusaj Sefarad (lit. edición española) – utilizado en general por los jasidim, se basa en las enseñanzas del Arizal, sabio místico del siglo XVI.

Existen precedentes históricos para leves variaciones en el texto; los escritos místicos enseñan que hay 12 “ventanas” celestiales a través de las cuales envían sus pedidos cada una de las Doce Tribus. Por eso, originalmente los Sabios compusieron 12 ediciones de las plegarias, correspondientes a las características espirituales diferentes de los diversos segmentos del pueblo judío. (24)

Diversas obligaciones

Los hombres deben rezar con un minián siempre que sea posible. (25) Esto se debe a que es más probable que sea aceptada la plegaria pública, a diferencia de la plegaria privada que depende en gran medida del grado de concentración de la persona. (26) Además, hay ciertas partes del servicio que sólo se pueden decir en presencia de un minián: Kadish, (27) Barjú, (28) la repetición de la Amidá, (29) la bendición de los cohanim, (30) y la lectura de la Torá. (31) Siempre se debe tratar de rezar en una sinagoga, (32) incluso si en ese momento no hay presente una congregación. (33) En la clase “Leyes de la vida cotidiana – La sinagoga” se analizan más leyes relativas al minián.

También las mujeres están obligadas a rezar cada día. (34) Sin embargo, debido a que esta es una mitzvá “limitada por el tiempo”, la obligación específica es diferente. Una mujer que debe cuidar a sus hijos puede cumplir su obligación de rezar con una breve plegaria informal. (35) Los detalles se analizan en: “Leyes de la vida cotidiana – Las mujeres y las mitzvot”. (36)

Se debe enseñar a los niños a rezar de la forma debida. (37) Apenas el niño es capaz de hablar, se le debe enseñar a decir el primer versículo del Shemá. (38) Tradicionalmente, se lleva a la sinagoga incluso a niños muy pequeños, siempre y cuando no perturben la plegaria de los demás. (39)

Dónde rezar

Dios escucha nuestras plegarias sin importar en dónde estemos. Pero las plegarias son mejor recibidas cuando se recitan en un lugar fijo, (40) porque esto ayuda a tener concentración. Por lo tanto, se debe seleccionar un lugar particular para rezar, a menos que haya razones importantes para rezar en otro lado. (41)

En general, se debe tratar de no rezar en un área en donde otras personas puedan llegar a molestarnos. (42) Además, debido a que el Rey Jizkiahu se volvió hacia la pared para suplicarle a Dios, (43) siempre que sea posible es mejor rezar frente a una pared. (44)

Hay ciertos lugares en los cuales no se debe rezar ni decir bendiciones. Por ejemplo, no es ideal rezar en un área abierta que no tiene techo, (45) si hay otro lugar disponible. (46)

No se puede rezar ni recitar bendiciones en el baño (47) ni en ningún lugar donde hay mal olor o desperdicios expuestos. (48) Tampoco se puede rezar ante la presencia de alguien que no está suficientemente vestido. (49)

Focalizar la atención en la plegaria

Hay dos cosas que se deben tener presentes al rezar:

  • Recordar que estás de pie frente al Rey Omnipotente del universo
  • Prestar atención al significado simple de las palabras (50)

Durante la plegaria, se debe tener limpia la mente y el cuerpo. Es necesario esforzarse por alejar cualquier pensamiento ajeno (sobre negocios, trámites, etc.) y concentrarse solamente en las palabras de las plegarias.

Si alguien tiene dificultad para concentrarse en las plegarias, por lo menos debe concentrarse debidamente en el Shemá y la Amidá. Al decir la Amidá, es especialmente crítico mantenerse concentrado durante la primera bendición. (51)

Antes de comenzar a rezar, debemos entrar en un marco mental solemne. (52) No hay que rezar cuando uno está preocupado por algo. (53) Si en medio de la plegaria se nos cruza algún pensamiento ajeno, debemos esperar en silencio hasta que logremos sacarlo de la cabeza y luego seguir rezando. (54)

Para evitar que la mente se disperse, es una buena idea mantener los ojos fijos en el sidur. (55) De hecho, durante la plegaria no se debe sostener en la mano ninguna otra cosa fuera del sidur. (56)

Al rezar, la vestimenta debe reflejar la importancia de la experiencia. (57)

Asimismo, debemos lavarnos las manos antes de las plegarias, (58) y durante la plegaria no hay que tocar ninguna parte del cuerpo que normalmente esté cubierta. (59) Si es necesario, antes de rezar se debe ir al baño. (60)

El día judío

En la siguiente clase nos referiremos al cronograma diario de plegarias. Pero antes, necesitamos entender algunos conceptos básicos respecto a cómo está estructurado el día judío.

Para comenzar, es importante recordar que el día judío comienza a la noche, basado en Génesis 1:5 que menciona primero la noche: “…y hubo noche y hubo mañana”. (61)

Sin embargo, la mayoría de las personas intuitivamente piensan que el día comienza a la mañana, así que en pos de la simplicidad nuestro análisis comenzará con la salida del sol y continuará hasta llegar a la noche.

Terminología

Hay algunos términos claves que debemos entender y recordar:

  • Alot Hashajar – el comienzo del día, 72 minutos antes del amanecer
  • Netz HaJamá – el amanecer
  • Jatzot HaIom – el mediodía
  • Shkiá – la puesta del sol
  • Bein Hashmashot – el período entre la puesta del sol y el anochecer (tzet hakojavim) se considera como un momento “de duda” entre el día y la noche.
  • Tzet HaKojavim – el anochecer se define por la aparición de tres estrellas, (62) lo cual ocurre aproximadamente 30-40 minutos después de la puesta de sol, dependiendo de la estación y del lugar.
  • Hatzot Halaila – la medianoche

Tiempos de las plegarias

Cada plegaria específica se analizará con mayor profundidad en la próxima clase, pero por ahora lo básico es:

  • Shemá de la mañana – el momento más temprano en que se puede recitar el Shemá de la mañana es aproximadamente una hora antes del amanecer, (63) y se puede decir hasta la cuarta parte del día.
  • Shajarit– comienza con el amanecer y continúa hasta el final de la cuarta hora halájica, que es equivalente a un tercio del día.(64)
  • Minjá– el servicio de la tarde comienza media hora después del mediodía, (65) y continúa hasta la puesta del sol. (66) 
  • El Shemá de la noche – se puede recitar al anochecer (tzet hakojavim) hasta la medianoche halájica. (67)
  • Maariv– el servicio nocturno comienza al anochecer (tzet hakojavim), (68) y continúa hasta la medianoche halájica. (69)

Horas estacionales

Las horas a las que nos referimos aquí son llamadas “horas estacionales” (en hebreo shaot zmaniot) y son diferentes de las horas convencionales. Una hora convencional consiste en 60 minutos. Pero una hora estacional judía puede tener más o menos de 60 minutos, dependiendo de la estación y de la ubicación.

Dicho de forma simple, las horas estacionales se determinan al dividir el día en 12 partes iguales, y la noche en 12 partes iguales.

Por ejemplo, digamos que en una ciudad en particular, en un día de verano, el sol sale a las 5 a.m. y se pone a las 8 p.m. Esto significa que hay 15 horas de “día” y 9 horas de “noche”. En términos judíos:

  • Dividimos el “día” en 12 partes iguales, Debido a que hay 15 horas de “día”, cada “hora estacional” tendrá 75 minutos (15 horas x 60 minutos = 900 minutos, luego lo dividimos por 12 = 75 minutos por “hora estacional”).
  • También dividimos la “noche” en 12 partes iguales. Como quedan sólo 9 horas de “noche”, cada “hora estacional” tendrá 45 minutos (9 horas x 60 minutos = 540 minutos, luego lo dividimos por 12 “horas” = 45 minutos cada “hora estacional”).

En invierno ocurre lo opuesto, las “horas estacionales de noche” son más largas, y las “horas estacionales de día” son más cortas.

En un día en el cual el sol sale a las 6 a.m. y se pone a las 6 p.m., cada hora estacional tendrá exactamente 60 minutos.

Con respecto a las horas especificas locales, se puede obtener fácilmente en varios sitios de Internet, como por ejemplo https://www.myzmanim.com/search.aspx?lang=es

Ahora que hemos visto los aspectos básicos, en la siguiente clase analizaremos los detalles específicos de las plegarias judías diarias.


Notas:

(1) Deuteronomio 11:13

(2) Taanit 2a

(3) Ibíd. Shut Igrot Moshé (Oraj Jaim 2:25)

(4) Shut Igrot Moshé (Oraj Jaim 2:25); cf. Or Sameaj (Tefilá 1:2)

(5) De acuerdo con el Rambam (Tefilá 1:1 y Sefer HaMitzvot – Positiva N° 5), la obligación de las plegarias diarias es una obligación de la Torá en todo momento. Sin embargo, ver Mishná Berurá 106:4, que sigue el dictamen del Rambán respecto a que la obligación básica de la plegaria diaria es de origen rabínico.

(6) Rambán (Hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot, Positiva N° 5)

(7) Rambam, 13 Principios de fe, N° 5; Baer Heitiv (Oraj Jaim 581:17)

(8) Talmud, Brajot 26b, basado en Génesis 19:27, 24:63 y 28:11. Ver también Salmos 55:18 y Daniel 6:11

(9) Talmud, Brajot 26b

(10) Talmud, Ioma 86b

(11) Ver Kuzari 3:5 y la introducción del Rav Dr. Elie Munk a World of Prayer (Feldheim).

(12) Oído del Rav Itzjak Berkovitz

(13) Hay un libro especial de plegarias para las festividades que se llama Majzor, “ciclo”.

(14) Rav Jaim HaLevi Donin: To Pray as a Jew

(15) Puede comprarse en línea en artscroll.com.

(16) Oraj Jaim 101:4, 62:2 con Mishná Berurá

(17) Mishná Berurá 101:13. La plegaria regular comunitaria debe pronunciarse en hebreo; una congregación no puede adoptar otro idioma oficial para las plegarias (Mishná Berurá 101:13).

(18) Mishná Berurá 62:3

(19) Talmud, Brajot 33a; Meguilá 17b

(20) Rambam (Tefilá 1:3)

(21) Rav E. M. M. Shaj citado en la introducción al Kuntras Avodat HaTefilá de Rav Meir Birnbaum; cf. Mishná Berurá 101:2

(22) Los judíos ashkenazim son aquellos cuyos ancestros provienen de la mayoría de los países europeos, incluyendo a Inglaterra, Francia, Alemania, Checoslovaquia, Austria, Hungría, Polonia y Rusia.

(23) Los judíos sefaradim por lo general son aquellos cuyos ancestros provienen de países que estuvieron bajo influencia musulmana, tales como España, Siria, Líbano, Egipto, Iraq, Irán, Túnez, Marruecos, Argelia y Turquía.

(24) Mishná Berurá 68:4

(25) Oraj Jaim 90:9, Shut Igrot Moshé (Oraj Jaim 2:27, 3:7)

(26) Talmud, Brajot 6a; Mishná Berurá 52:3, 90:28

(27) Oraj Jaim 55:1

(28) Ibíd.

(32) Talmud Jerusalem, Brajot 4:4

(33) Oraj Jaim 90:9

(34) Oraj Jaim 106:1

(35) Ishei Israel 7:7 en nombre del Jafetz Jaim y del Jazón Ish

(36) Más información sobre el rol de la mujer en la plegaria se puede encontrar en Rigshei Lev, del Rav Menajem Nissel (Targum Press).

(37) Oraj Jaim 106:1

(38) Mishná Berurá 70:7

(39) Mishná Berurá 98:3

(40) Oraj Jaim 90:19

(41) Aruj HaShulján 90:23

(42) Oraj Jaim 98:2

(43) Isaías 38:2, Reyes II 20:2

(44) Oraj Jaim 90:21 con Mishná Berurá

(45) Oraj Jaim 90:5

(46) Mishná Berurá 90:11

(47) Oraj Jaim 83:1

(48) Oraj Jaim 90:26

(49) Oraj Jaim 75:1 y Mishná Berurá 75:2, 76:2. Más detalles sobre la manera de vestirse se puede encontrar en Halijot Bat Israel 4:9

(50) Rambam (Tefilá 4:16); Oraj Jaim 98:1

(51) Oraj Jaim 101:1

(52) Brajot 30b

(53) Brajot 31a

(54) Oraj Jaim 89:1

(55) Mishná Berurá 53:87, Tefilá KeHiljato 2:8

(56) Oraj Jaim 96:1-2

(57) Oraj Jaim 91:5

(58) Oraj Jaim 92:4

(59) Oraj Jaim 90:3

(60) Oraj Jaim 92:1

(61) Talmud – Brajot 26a

(62) Talmud – Shabat 35b

(63) Desde el momento en que puedes reconocer a un amigo a una distancia de cuatro codos (2 metros)

(64) Oraj Jaim 443, Mishná Berurá 8. Si alguien por descuido no rezó antes de ese momento, puede decir Shajarit hasta el mediodía.

(65) Oraj Jaim 233:1

(66) Mishná Berurá 233:14

(67) Oraj Jaim 235:3

(68) Bajo ciertas circunstancias, se puede decir Maariv hasta 72 minutos antes de la puesta del sol. Consulta con tu Rabino por más detalles.

(69) Si es necesario, tanto el Shemá como Maariv se pueden recitar hasta el comienzo del día (Alot HaShajar), 72 minutos antes del amanecer.

Según tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/judaismo/ley-judia/principiantes/La-plegaria-diaria-Ideas-generales.html?s=mm

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Una visión global de toda la Torá

Una visión global de toda la Torá
por Rav Mordejai Becher

Una visión global de los libros que conforman la Torá Escrita y la Ley Oral


La palabra “Torá” en un sentido estricto, se refiere a los Cinco Libros de Moshé. Sin embargo, en un sentido amplio la Torá incluye toda la Ley escrita (Tanaj) y toda la Ley Oral (Mishná, Talmud, Midrash). En su sentido amplio, Torá se refiere a todo el cuerpo de escrituras y pensamiento judío, incluyendo las obras de los comentaristas a lo largo de los siglos.

LA LEY ESCRITA

Los Cinco Libros de Moshé – Torá

1. Génesis – Bereshit

Bereshit significa “en el comienzo”. Aquí se habla de la creación, de Adam y Javá, el diluvio, los patriarcas y las matriarcas del pueblo judío, y termina con el descenso de Iaakov y su familia a Egipto. También contiene el mandamiento de la circuncisión, la promesa de Dios a Abraham de que recibiría la Tierra de Israel y que sus descendientes serían una gran influencia positiva sobre todo el mundo.

2. Éxodo – Shemot

Shemot significa “nombres”, y se refiere a los nombres de los judíos que entraron a Egipto con Iaakov. Aquí leemos sobre el exilio, la esclavitud y el sufrimiento, la vida de Moshé y sus primeras profecías, las Diez Plagas y el Éxodo. También se describe la revelación en el Monte Sinaí, donde los judíos recibieron los Diez Mandamientos, la Torá Escrita y la Torá Oral. El Libro de Éxodo termina con la construcción del Tabernáculo (el Mishkán), un Templo transportable que contenía el Arca Sagrada, donde estaban las Tablas de la Ley.

3. Levítico – Vaikrá

Vaikrá significa “Él llamó”. Dios llamó a Moshé y le informó en detalle las leyes relativas a las festividades, a los cohanim y el servicio en el Templo. Gran parte del código judío de moralidad, ética y caridad aparece en Vaikrá, incluyendo el famoso mandamiento de “Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo” (Levítico 19:18).

4. Números – Bamidbar

Bamidbar, “en el desierto”, detalla los viajes, las batallas y las dificultades de los judíos durante sus 40 años de travesía por el desierto después del éxodo. Registra un censo de las tribus, el puesto de cada tribu cuando acampaban y cuando viajaban, la rebelión de Koraj y lo que ocurrió cuando enviaron espías a Israel. Bamidbar culmina con la captura de la Banda Oriental del Río Jordán (Iardén) y el subsecuente asentamiento de las tribus de Reubén y Gad.

5. Deuteronomio – Devarim

Devarim, “palabras”, trae el discurso de Moshé al pueblo judío antes de su muerte. Esta despedida profética incluye reprimendas, aliento, advertencias y profecías. En ella se explican muchos mandamientos que sólo tendrán aplicación en la Tierra de Israel y que gobiernan la interacción con otras naciones. También se entregan nuevos mandamientos, muchos de los cuales conciernen a las cortes y al sistema de justicia. Después de su despedida, Moshé escribió 13 copias completas de la Torá, entregó una a cada tribu y colocó una en el Arca sagrada. Los Cinco Libros culminan con la muerte del “mayor de los profetas” y “el más humilde de los hombres”, Moshé.

Profetas – Neviim

PRIMEROS PROFETAS

6. Josué – Iehoshúa

El primer libro de los Profetas continúa desde el momento de la muerte de Moshé, con el nombramiento de Iehoshúa como el nuevo líder de la nación. Aquí se relata la batalla de Jericó, la conquista y subsecuente división de la Tierra de Israel, y se detallan las guerras con los canaanitas. Termina con la exhortación de Iehoshúa al pueblo para que permanezcan unidos al servicio de Dios.

7. Jueces – Shoftim

El Libro de los Jueces detalla la historia posterior a la era de Iehoshúa hasta los primeros reyes. Los Jueces gobernaron al pueblo en lo relativo a la ley civil y criminal, la práctica judía y los asuntos políticos y militares. El tema del libro es que cuando el pueblo judío se mantiene leal a Dios, disfruta de tranquilidad. Cuando se debilitan, son oprimidos por invasores hasta que se arrepienten y un Juez elegido por Dios los libera del enemigo. Entre los numerosos jueces se encuentran Guidón, Shimshón (Sansón) y Deborá.

8. Samuel – Shmuel

Este se divide en dos libros: Shmuel I y Shmuel II. Shmuel nació en respuesta a las plegarias de una mujer estéril, Janá, y desde pequeño sirvió en el Tabernáculo bajo la guía del Gran Sacerdote Eli (quien también fue el último de los jueces). Shmuel fue uno de los mayores profetas. Siguiendo el mandato de Dios, Shmuel ungió a Shaúl (Saúl) como el primer rey de Israel, y eligió a David como el reemplazante de Shaúl cuando él falló en destruir al enemigo amalequita. Aquí se relata la vida del Rey David, el más famoso de los monarcas de Israel, incluyendo su enfrentamiento con Goliat, el filisteo; su lucha con el rey Shaúl y la rebelión de su hijo Abshalom. David fue tanto un guerrero como un poeta y es conocido como el “Dulce cantor de Israel”. Los Salmos de David (Tehilim) escritos a lo largo de su vida de pruebas y tribulaciones, han brindado esperanza e inspiración a millones de personas en todo el mundo. Un descendiente del Rey David está destinado a ser el Mashíaj (Mesías).

9. Reyes – Melajim

Este libro está dividido en dos partes: Melajim I y Melajim II. Shlomó (Salomón), el hijo de David, reinó sobre Israel en una época de paz y prosperidad y construyó el Primer Templo. Al final de su reinado, los hijos de Shlomó Jeroboam (Ierovoam) y Roboam (Rejovoam), dividieron al país en los reinados de Judá (Iehudá) e Israel. El Libro de Reyes describe la historia de la nación y a quienes reinaron hasta la destrucción del Templo y el exilio de los judíos a Babilonia. El reinado de Iehudá fue dirigido en su mayor parte por reyes rectos, pero el reinado de Israel (que abarcaba a 10 tribus) fue dirigido exclusivamente por pecadores. Como consecuencia, el reino de Israel fue exiliado varias generaciones antes que Iehudá. De aquí surge el misterio de las Diez Tribus perdidas. Otros temas importantes del libro son las profecías de Elías (Eliahu) y Elisha, y la descripción de la forma en que Eliahu desacreditó a quienes idolatraban al Baal en el Monte Carmel.

PROFETAS POSTERIORES

10. Isaías – Ieshaiahu

Ieshaiahu predijo la destrucción del Primer Templo en vívidos detalles. Él es más famoso por sus profecías de consuelo y redención, las que se leen como Haftarot en los Shabatot posteriores a Tishá BeAv. La profecía de Ieshaiahu incluye el conocido versículo: “Transformarán sus espadas en arados… ninguna nación levantará su espada contra otra nación, y ya no estudiarán tácticas de guerra”.

11. Jeremías – Irmiahu

El Libro de Irmiahu advierte sobre la próxima destruición el Templo y registra la historia del período previo a esa tragedia. Irmiahu fue testigo de la destrucción y describe el terrible sufrimiento que tuvo lugar. Sus últimas profecías consuelan al pueblo judío en el exilio. Él les aconseja establecer raíces en Babilonia, pero al mismo tiempo prepararse para retornar a Israel. La inspiradora profecía de Irmiahu respecto a que “el sonido de festejo y alegría, las voces de la novia y del novio” volverán a escucharse “en las ciudades de Iehudá y en las calles de Jerusalem”, forma parte de la ceremonia de boda judía.

12. Ezequiel – Iejezkel

Iejezkel reprende al pueblo judío por sus fallas y le advierte que si no cambian su Templo será destruido. Él vio la destrucción del Templo y acompañó al pueblo en su exilio a Babilonia. Iejezkel ofreció la esperanza del retorno a Sión y la futura era mesiánica. La visión de Iejezkel de la “Carroza Divina” es la fuente principal de muchos escritos místicos judíos. Su libro concluye con la descripción del Tercer Templo sagrado, que será reconstruido en la era mesiánica.

13. Doce Libros breves de Profetas – Tri asar

Estos 12 Libros de Profetas fueron reunidos debido a su brevedad. Uno de los más famosos es Jonás (Ioná), en donde el profeta le advierte a la ciudad de Nínive sobre su inminente destrucción. El pueblo de Nínive se arrepiente y el decreto es anulado. Malaquías (Malaji) termina el Libro de los Profetas con una exhortación a seguir la Torá y una profecía de los tiempos mesiánicos, cuando “el corazón de los padres retornará a sus hijos, y el corazón de los hijos a sus padres”. Los 12 libros son:

  1. Oseas – Hoshea
  2. Joel – Yoel
  3. Amós
  4. Abdías – Ovadiá
  5. Jonás – Ioná
  6. Miqueas – Mijá
  7. Najum
  8. Habacuc – Jabacuc
  9. Sofonías – Tzefaniá
  10. Ageo – Jagai
  11. Zacarías – Zejariá
  12. Malaquías – Malaji

Hagiógrafos – Ketuvim

14. Salmos – Tehilim

El nombre hebreo de Salmos, Tehilim, significa “alabanzas”. Esto se refiere tanto al contenido como al propósito de este libro. Aquí el Rey David, junto con otros nueve autores que contribuyeron con Salmos individuales, da expresión a toda la gama de emociones y pensamientos humanos relacionados con Dios. A través de poesía y canto, los Salmos capturan el alma de la alabanza a Dios en todas las situaciones, tanto favorables como desfavorables. Gran parte de la liturgia, música y poesía judía se basa en los Salmos. Hay Salmos individuales que fueron entonados por los levitas en el Templo sagrado y en la actualidad forman una parte central del libro de plegarias judío (sidur).

15. Proverbios – Mishlei

Los Proverbios fueron escritos por el Rey Shlomó y contienen sus enseñanzas éticas y prácticas en la forma de proverbios. Este libro constituye la base de muchas obras posteriores de ética y trabajo sobre las cualidades personales.

16. Job – Iov

El Libro de Iov relata la historia de los sufrimientos de un hombre recto, Iov, y diversas respuestas a su sufrimiento. A través de los siglos, este libro fue una fuente de reflexión para algunos de los principales problemas filosóficos en el pensamiento religioso: el sufrimiento de los justos, la existencia del mal, la providencia Divina y el libre albedrío, y la forma en que funciona la justicia Divina.

LOS CINCO ROLLOS – JAMESH MEGUILOT

17. El Cantar de los Cantares – Shir Hashirim

Los Sabios describen a Shir HaShirim como el texto más sagrado de toda la literatura profética. Su autor, el Rey Shlomó, describe el amor entre el pueblo judío y Dios en la forma de un diálogo poético entre un hombre y una mujer. Hay muchos comentarios midráshicos y rabínicos que elucidan esta bella obra y explican las profundidades de las alegorías utilizadas por el Rey Shlomó. Esta obra se lee en la sinagoga en Pésaj, cuando Dios designó a Israel como Su pueblo.

18. Rut

Este libro cuenta sobre una mujer moabita, Rut, y Naomí, su suegra judía, que vivieron durante el período de los Jueces. Debido a una grave hambruna, Naomí y su familia partieron de la Tierra de Israel y se instalaron en Moab. Cuando su esposo y sus hijos fallecieron, Naomí decidió regresar a su patria y alentó a sus nueras moabitas a que regresaran con sus familias. Pero Rut insistió en acompañar a Naomí de regreso a Israel. Rut se convirtió al judaísmo y luego se casó con Boaz, el líder de esa generación. Ella tuvo un hijo, que fue el abuelo del Rey David. Por lo tanto, Rut es la matriarca de la dinastía real de David. Rut aceptó el judaísmo con la famosa frase: “Adonde tú vayas yo iré… tu pueblo es mi pueblo, y tu Dios es mi Dios”. Este libro se lee en la sinagoga en la festividad de Shavuot, el aniversario del fallecimiento del rey David.

19. Lamentaciones – Ejá

El profeta Irmiahu predijo y fue testigo de la destrucción del Primer Templo por los babilonios. En este libro, él lamenta la destrucción del Templo y de Jerusalem, la desolación de Israel y el exilio del pueblo judío. “Ejá” significa “cómo” y es el trágico lamento con el que comienza este libro y que se repite a menudo: “¿Cómo ha quedado solitaria la ciudad que estaba llena de gente? ¿Cómo se ha tornado viuda? Ella que era grande entre las naciones y princesa entre las provincias, ¿cómo se ha vuelto un vasallo?”. El Libro de Lamentaciones se lee en la sinagoga cada año en Tishá BeAv, cuando guardamos duelo por la destrucción del Templo sagrado.

20. Eclesiastés – Kohelet

Eclesiastés fue escrito por el Rey Shlomó, quien se refiere a sí mismo como Kohelet, el hijo de David. En este libro, el Rey Shlomó analiza la futilidad de la vida materialista y señala la frustración y el cinismo de alguien que vive sin una dimensión espiritual. Eclesiastés incluye el pasaje citado con frecuencia: “Todo tiene una estación, hay un tiempo para cada cosa debajo del cielo…”. El libro termina con un versículo que proclama el esencial mensaje sagrado del libro: “Habiendo sido todo escuchado, he aquí la conclusión del asunto: Teme a Dios y cumple Sus mandamientos, porque esa es todo el deber del hombre”. Eclesiastés se lee en la sinagoga en la festividad de Sucot.

21. Ester

El Libro de Ester, llamado así por la reina Ester, relata la historia de la celebración de Purim. La historia se desarrolla en Shushán, la capital de Persia en el año 360 AEC. Aquí se describe el plan de Hamán de aniquilar a los judíos y el milagroso giro de los eventos a través de los que nos salvamos. Aquí vemos como lo que parece ser una serie de “coincidencias” sin ninguna relación, fue un plan orquestado por Dios para lograr Su objetivo, enseñarnos a reconocer la Mano de Dios en lo que parecen ser eventos mundanos. Este libro se lee en público en Purim, y nos enseña a celebrar la festividad con alegría y caridad.

22. Daniel

Daniel, un joven de Iehudá con enorme belleza y sabiduría, fue capturado y llevado a Babilonia poco después de la destrucción del Primer Templo. Lo entrenaron para servir al rey Nebujadnetzar (Nabucodonosor). Allí el estableció las bases para la continuidad del estudio de la Torá y del judaísmo que luego hizo famosos a los judíos de Babilonia. El Libro de Daniel está escrito en arameo, el idioma de Babilonia. Contiene el famoso mensaje de “la escritura en la pared”, y describe a varios enemigos del pueblo judío utilizando la famosa metáfora de las cuatro bestias.

23. Ezra y Nejemiá

Los libros de Ezra y Nejemiá se consideran como un solo libro debido a que tienen el mismo autor (Ezra) y el mismo tema: el regreso de Israel de la cautividad en Babilonia. Aquí se describe en detalle el reasentamiento del pueblo judío en Israel y la construcción del Segundo Templo. Ezra instituyó las lecturas públicas de la Torá los lunes y los jueves además de la lectura habitual en Shabat (que fue introducida por Moshé).

24. Crónicas – Divrei HaIamim

Dividida en dos partes, Divrei HaIamim significa “los eventos de los días”. Aquí se detalla la genealogía de las principales figuras de la Biblia, desde Adam hasta Ezra, el escriba. Crónicas también es un resumen de la historia judía desde el comienzo del tiempo hasta la construcción del Segundo Templo.

LA LEY ORAL

Seis Órdenes de la Mishná – Shishá Sidrei Mishná (Shas)

Esta fue la primera codificación de la Ley oral. Fue redactada por Rabí Iehudá “HaNasí” (el príncipe). Él es conocido simplemente como Rebi, porque fue el primordial maestro y líder de la nación. La Mishná fue redactada durante el siglo II EC. A continuación mencionamos sus seis secciones, conocidas como tratados.

1. Semillas – Zeraim

El primer tratado (masejta) de este orden es Berajot (Bendiciones) que enseña las leyes de las bendiciones, las plegarias y el servicio en la sinagoga. Los otros 10 tratados discuten las leyes agrícolas que se aplican a la Tierra de Israel, así como algunas que se aplican fuera de Israel.

2. Épocas – Moed

Este orden se refiere a la santidad del tiempo. Contiene 12 tratados que hablan de Shabat, las festividades, las Altas Festividades, el calendario y los días de ayuno.

3. Mujeres – Nashim

Este orden trata sobre la santidad de la relación masculino-femenina. En sus siete tratados se discuten las leyes de matrimonio y divorcio, el contrato de matrimonio (ketubá), incesto y adulterio, promesas y su anulación y matrimonios de levirato (ibum y jalitzá).

4. Daños – Nezikim

Aquí se habla de las leyes que gobiernan sobre los bienes de la persona. Sus nueve tratados discuten los daños y agravios; objetos perdidos y abandonados, ética comercial y leyes del intercambio, propiedad y herencia, jurisprudencia, gobierno y monarquía, leyes de evidencia, castigo y juramentos, la prohibición de idolatría y tener relaciones con paganos, y las leyes de dictámenes erróneos en la corte.

5. Santidad – Kodashim

Kodashim contiene 11 tratados. Analiza las leyes de las ofrendas en el Templo Sagrado, las leyes de la redención del primogénito, las donaciones al tesoro del Templo y las leyes de kashrut, el código de dieta judío.

6. Pureza – Taharot

Taharot trata sobre las leyes de pureza e impureza espiritual (tumá vetahará). Sus 12 tratados discuten las leyes de pureza familiar, impureza causada por la muerte y la enfermedad, y los diversos métodos para purificar a las personas y a los objetos. También se detallan las leyes, la estructura y el propósito de la mikve.

El Talmud

El Talmud (Guemará) es una compilación de las discusiones y las explicaciones de la Mishná. Esta obra voluminosa es la base de la ley civil y religiosa judía, de la ética, moralidad y de la interpretación de las Escrituras. Debido a que la opresión romana impidió el contacto entre los centros eruditos en Israel y Babilonia, cada país produjo su propia edición del Talmud.

El Talmud de Jerusalem (Talmud Ierushalmi) fue redactado en el año 350 EC por Rav muna y Rav Iosi en la Tierra de Israel. Contiene explicaciones de la Mishná, una sinopsis de las discusiones, preguntas y decisiones de las academias en Israel. Las leyes de agricultura de la Tierra de Israel se analizan en detalle. Está escrita en el dialecto hebreo-arameo de la época.

El Talmud de Babilonia (Talmud Bavli) fue redactado en el 500 EC por Ravina y Rav Ashi, dos líderes de la comunidad judía de Babilonia. Al igual que el Talmud de Jerusalem está escrito en el dialecto hebreo-arameo. Contiene explicaciones de la Mishná, legislación, costumbres, casos históricos y exhortaciones morales, una sinopsis de las discusiones de las grandes academias de Babilonia que florecieron durante más de 300 años. El Talmud de Babilonia tiene la ventaja de tener un poco más de autoridad, porque fue escrito posteriormente. Por eso comúnmente es más estudiado y la expresión “estudiar Guemará” por lo general se refiere al Talmud Bavli.

Midrash

Midrash es un término genérico para un grupo de aproximadamente 60 colecciones de comentarios rabínicos, historias, metáforas y ensayos éticos organizados de acuerdo con los Libros de la Torá, los Profetas y los Hagiógrafos. También incluye varios comentarios sobre las letras del alfabeto hebreo. La mayoría de los Midrashim datan del tiempo de la Mishná y la Guemará. Muchos de los autores del Midrash aparecen en la Mishná y viceversa. Muchos de los conceptos y comentarios centrales del Midrash forman parte de la tradición oral del Sinaì.

Las colecciones más famosas son el Midrash Rabá, Midrash Tanjuma, Sifri, Sifra, Mejilta y Ialkut Shimoni.

Con respecto al Midrash, el Maharal de Praga escribió: “La mayoría de las palabras de los Sabios fueron en la forma de metáforas y analogías… a menos que ellos digan que una historia en particular no es una metáfora, debemos asumir que es una metáfora. Por lo tanto no debemos sorprendernos de encontrar en las palabras de los Sabios cosas que parezcan ilógicas o alejadas de la mente” (Beer HaGolá, Cuarto Beer, pág. 51).

Zóhar

El Zóhar fue escrito por los alumnos de Rabí Shimon bar Iojai, quien transcribió sus enseñanzas alrededor del año 170 EC en la Tierra de Israel. Allí se discuten los conceptos de la creación ex nihilo, la providencia Divina y sus mecanismos, el significado metafísico de los mandamientos de la Torá y la conexión entre lo físico y lo espiritual. Está escrito en arameo y sigue el orden de los Cinco Libros de Moshé. El Zóhar es el principal libro de la Cabalá, las enseñanzas místicas de la Torá.

Los Sabios y sus obras

LOS GUEONIM

El período de los Gueonim se extiende desde el 690 EC hasta el siglo XI. Los primeros Gueonim fueron los líderes de las academias en Babilonia. La mayoría de los Gueonim vivieron en Babilonia, Egipto o el Norte de África. Ellos escribieron responsa (respuestas de eruditos de la Torá a preguntas sobre la ley judía que formulan los expertos y las personas comunes y corrientes), así como breves comentarios sobre el Talmud. Entre los Gueonim más famosos se encuentran Rav Saadia Gaón, Rav Jai Gaón y Rav Sherira Gaón.

LOS RISHONIM (PRIMEROS ERUDITOS)

El período de los Rishonim comienza aproximadamente en el siglo XI EC y se extiende hasta el siglo XV. Entre los Rishonim más famosos se encuentran:

Rashi: este nombre es la sigla formada por las primeras letras de Rav Shlomó Itzjaki, un erudito francés que nació en 1040. Él es el más famoso y prolífico de los comentaristas medievales. Rashi escribió comentarios sobre los Cinco Libros de Moshé, los Profetas, los Hagiógrafos, la Mishná, la Guemará y el Midrash. Sus obras conforman una parte tan esencial de la literatura judía que el Código de la Ley Judía considera obligatorio que cada judío estudie todas las semanas la Torá con el comentario de Rashi.

Tosafot: literalmente significa “adiciones” y se refiere a los comentarios sobre el Talmud escritos por un grupo de escuelas de eruditos entre el siglo XIII y el XV. La mayoría de estos eruditos vivieron en Francia, Alemania e Inglaterra y los cuatro maestros y líderes principales de estas escuelas fueron nietos de Rashi. Estos comentarios se encuentran en la página de todas las ediciones estándar del Talmud.

Rif: una sigla de Rav Itzjak Alfasi, es decir Rav Isaac de Fez (Marruecos). El Rif vivió entre 1013-1103 y escribió uno de los primeros tratados legales judíos. Él condensó el Talmud, dejando de lado gran parte del debate y otras partes no aceptadas como ley (halajá). Por lo tanto su condensación es la base de gran parte de la codificación de la ley judía.

Rosh: las iniciales de Rabenu Asher, es decir “nuestro maestro Asher”. Vivió de 1250-1327 en Alemania y eventualmente se convirtió en el líder de la comunidad judía en España. Es más conocido por su codificación de las partes legales del Talmud en un estilo que combina las discusiones de los Tosafot y la codificación del Rif.

Maimónides: o Rav Moshé ben Maimón, conocido también como el Rambam. Fue uno de los primeros codificadores de la ley judía. Su obra de 14 volúmenes, Mishne Torá cubre todas las leyes, creencias y prácticas judías. Nació en España en 1135 y vivió la mayor parte de su vida en Egipto. También murió en Egipto en 1204, aunque está enterrado en Tiberias, Israel. Sus obras incluyen el Libro de las Mitzvot, donde enumera y explica todos los 613 mandamientos; la Guía de los Perplejos, una filosofía completa del judaísmo, y muchas cartas y responsa. También fue un médico famoso y escribió numerosos tratados de medicina.

Najmánides: Rav Moshé ben Najmán, también conocido como el Rambán. Nació en España en 1195, donde vivió la mayor parte de su vida y falleció en la Tierra de Israel, tras haber inmigrado. Najmánides escribió comentarios sobre los Cinco Libros de Moshé, el Talmud y varios libros del Tanaj. Es considerado uno de los mayores cabalistas y su comentario sobre la Torá contiene muchas ideas místicas.

Rashba: las iniciales de Rav Shlomo ben Abraham ibn Aderet, es decir Rav Salomón hijo de Abraham hijo de Aderet. El Rashba vivió de 1235-1310 y fue alumno de Najmánides. Escribió comentarios sobre el Talmud, varias obras sobre la ley judía y envió miles de respuestas a judíos que lo consultaros prácticamente sobre todos los temas del judaísmo. Vivió en Barcelona y fue el líder de todos los judíos de España.

AJARONIM (ERUDITOS POSTERIORES)

El período de los Ajaronim comienza aproximadamente en el siglo XV EC y se extiende hasta los tiempos contemporáneos. Entre los Ajaronim más famosos se encuentran:

  • Rav Moshé Karo y Rav Moshé Isserless, autores del Código de la Ley Judía.
  • Rav Eliahu, el Gaón de Vilna
  • Los maestros jasídicos: El Baal Shem Tov, Rav Levi Itzjak de Berdichev y Rav Shneur Zalman de Liadi.

En los últimos 150 años el estudio de la Torá y de las regulaciones halájicas se vio enriquecido por Rav Jaim Soloveichik, Rav Israel Meir Kagan, conocido como el Jafetz Jaim y Rav Moshé Feinstein, por nombrar a unos pocos. Estos eruditos escribieron comentarios sobre el Talmud y sobre la Ley Escrita, obras de filosofía y ética y responsa.

EL CÓDIGO DE LA LEY JUDÍA (SHULJÁN ARUJ)

Shulján Aruj significa “la mesa servida”, porque allí se presenta la ley judía de forma sistemática. Contiene cuatro secciones:

1. Oraj Jaim – leyes de la práctica cotidiana, Shabat y festividades

2. Ioré Deá – leyes de kashrut, duelo, pureza familiar, promesas, circuncisión, rollos de la Torá y conversión

3. Joshen Mishpat – leyes de negocios, finanzas, contratos, jurisprudencia, ofensas y daños.

4. Even HaEzer – leyes del matrimonio y del divorcio

El Shulján Aruj fue escrito en Tzefad aproximadamente en el año 1560 EC por Rav Iosef Karo, un erudito sefaradí. Las ediciones actuales también contienen las regulaciones y los comentarios concurrentes de Rav Moshé Isserles de Cracovia, respecto a las costumbres de los judíos europeos (ashkenazim).

LITERATURA DE RESPONSA (SHEELOT UTESHUVOT)

Responsa son las respuestas de los eruditos de Torá a preguntas sobre la ley judía formuladas tanto por personas comunes como por expertos. Estos eruditos aplican la ley y la filosofía del judaísmo a las circunstancias cambiantes de la vida judía; a las innovaciones tecnológicas y sociales; a temas médicos y a otros aspectos de la vida contemporánea. La literatura de responsa provee una visión sobre el funcionamiento de la ley judía y revela las preocupaciones de judíos de todo el mundo a través del tiempo.

Segun tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/judaismo/la-tora/Una-vision-global-de-toda-la-Tora.html?s=hp7

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Elul: Tiempo de cercanía

por Rebetzin Tziporah Heller

Elul: Tiempo de cercanía

Con solo 30 días por delante antes de Rosh HaShaná, elul es una época de amor, anhelo, reconciliación, perdón y retorno.


“¡Recuerda!, ¡sólo 30 días más de compras!”.

Los últimos días de noviembre eran días mágicos en nuestra “Tierra Natal”. Yo nunca arriesgué mi vida yendo de compras a Filenes que, en aquella época, existía sólo en Boston. Macy’s aún era el sitio de muchas experiencias “cercanas a la muerte” para aquellos que disfrutaban de la inyección de adrenalina de una buena oferta. La tentación era constante y repetitiva. “¡Sólo por hoy, señoras y señores! ¡Sí! ¡Hoy!”, era una frase típica de apertura de una rebaja de 10% en calcetines. Todo terminaba con año nuevo, dejando muy poco a su paso, además del desalentador regreso a enfrentar la rutina de adormecer el alma como de costumbre.

Todo es diferente cuando el mes judío de elul llega. También es 30 días antes del “gran día”, que en este caso es Rosh HaShaná. No es una época en la que luchamos por conseguir un balance entre las compras y el agotamiento. Es una época de amor, anhelo, reconciliación, perdón y retorno.

¿Qué significa “retorno” realmente? ¿A qué queremos retornar? Irmiyahu proclamó, “Retorna, doncella de Israel, retorna a estas, tus ciudades” (Irmiyahu 31:20). Somos comparados a una doncella que finalmente puede retornar a su prometido, a un exilio del cual se puede retornar a una tierra reconstruida, que antes estaba vacía y desolada.

Nadie puede retornar a un lugar en el que nunca estuvo antes. ¿Hemos sentido realmente cercanía a Dios y hemos anhelado su presencia así como una novia anhela a su amado? ¿Nos hemos identificado tan fuertemente con el destino del pueblo judío, que nuestros logros personales no pueden proveernos con satisfacción suficiente para apaciguar el dolor nacional que sentimos por no ser lo que estábamos destinados a ser como pueblo?

Para muchos de nosotros la respuesta es el silencio. Y para muchos hay momentos de belleza y conexión que desearíamos duraran para siempre. Hay momentos en los que nos sentimos totalmente conectados al pueblo judío como un todo, escuchando las noticias ansiosamente. ¿Cuántos misiles desde Gaza? ¿Conozco a alguien en Ashdod? ¿Qué puedo hacer para ayudar?

Microcosmos de cuerpo y alma

La diferencia en la manera en que nos relacionamos con elul y la manera en que nos relacionamos con finales de noviembre es un microcosmos de la manera en que nos relacionamos con nuestro cuerpo y nuestra alma. El cuerpo quiere adquirir, comprar más y más. El alma quiere conexión, más y más profunda.

La gran ilusión de la vida es que el cuerpo (que intelectualmente nosotros reconocemos como mortal) se siente real y permanente. Y por otra parte, el alma (que todos sabemos que es infinita, porque es parte de Dios), se siente vagamente ya que es intangible.

Nuestros sabios nos dicen, “Un momento de ‘retorno’ y buenas acciones en este mundo, valen más que toda la vida en el mundo venidero” (Pirkei Avot 4:17). Este es el mundo de enormes oportunidades espirituales. Es el escenario perfecto para ponernos a prueba, mientras nuestras pasiones y celos arden dentro de nosotros. Cada victoria tiene un profundo impacto en nuestra conexión con Dios y con el hombre. En el sentido más profundo, nuestra autoestima se construye, ladrillo a ladrillo, cuando elegimos conquistar nuestra impulsividad y nuestros deseos. El problema es que somos muy miopes para ver la vista panorámica de esta batalla dentro de nosotros. Estamos muy ocupados batallando. Fallamos, una y otra vez. Dejamos que nuestros fracasos nos definan y erosionen nuestra fe en el hecho de que estamos luchando una batalla que es ganable. Con demasiada frecuencia nos sometemos a las órdenes de nuestro cuerpo y silenciamos los anhelos del alma. Nos damos por vencidos.

Una de mis pesadillas recurrentes es una en la que me veo a mí misma como una paciente en un asilo de ancianos. Estoy sentada cerca de una mesita en un gran salón con una TV, observando a nadie en particular. La cena, servida en una bandeja de plástico de color naranja intenso, está frente a mí. Mis últimas palabras antes de dejar este mundo son “Yo pedí pollo”.

Es decir: No el Shemá. No un adiós acompañado de bendiciones e instrucción moral. El ganador del trofeo es el cuerpo, que pronto será sepultado en la tierra, de la cual fue formado. En mi peor pesadilla, el alma es la que llega en segundo lugar de la carrera más importante que alguno de nosotros correrá alguna vez.

Lo que hace que todo sea aún peor, es que la luz del día no relega la pesadilla a las redes del pensamiento subconsciente; la temible visión es absolutamente posible. De hecho, el Talmud nos dice que no hay manera de que el alma gane la batalla si no es con la ayuda de su Creador.

Dios está cerca

En esta época del año, es cuando la cercanía a Dios es más tangible. Es como si un velo invisible, que nosotros diseñamos a través de malas decisiones, miedo y dolor, fuera removido milagrosamente. Elul es comparado a la época del año en que Dios, a modo de parábola, es comparado a un rey de carne y hueso que reside en su palacio y que es virtualmente inaccesible para la persona promedio. Sin embargo, una vez al año, el Rey abre sus puertas para conocer a su pueblo. Cualquiera puede acercarse al Rey para decirle lo que piensa en su mente y en su corazón, sabiendo que el Rey está ahí para escucharlo.

¿Cómo encontramos al Rey? Existen varias prácticas en elul para ponernos en sintonía con su poder.

1. Recitar Tehilim número 27.

Al Rey David —nos comenta el Talmud— le fue entregada algo de la vida de Adán. Por lo tanto, de la misma manera que Adán, su alma es un compuesto de todas las almas que serán depositadas alguna vez en algún cuerpo. El libro de los Salmos nos entrega palabras que tocan la esencia de cada experiencia humana posible, desde el ángulo más profundo posible. El Salmo 27 es uno de los Salmos que nos ayuda a resolver el conflicto entre nuestro cuerpo y nuestra alma. El primer verso lo dice todo, “Dios es mi luz”. Esto significa que Él no sólo creó el mundo físico, sino que nos guía a través de él con Su luz. Así como encender una luz en un cuarto oscuro ayuda a que un niño reconozca que tigres y leones son sólo sábanas y almohadas, similarmente, podemos dejar que la luz de Dios remueva nuestros más profundos temores, tristezas y limitaciones.

2. Recitar Selijot.

Selijot son plegarias que comienzan en elul (los Sefardíes comienzan el 1ro de elul, mientras que los Ashkenazies comienzan al final del último Shabat) y continúan hasta Iom Kipur. El tema principal de las Selijot son los 13 Atributos Divinos de Misericordia. Dios reveló su verdadera naturaleza a Moisés cuando él pidió conocer a Dios en la máxima medida que un mortal puede conocerlo.

Finalmente Dios es conocible. Nuestra capacidad de conocer está limitada por el hecho de que vivimos en el tiempo lo cual distorsiona nuestra percepción de la realidad. Somos físicos y tenemos vidas cortas, y tenemos enorme subjetividad emocional. Como Dios es misterioso y trascendental, tratamos de achicarlo, por así decir, para que parezca más asequible. La peor manifestación de esto fue la construcción del becerro de oro. Moisés quería palabras que le dieran al pueblo judío acceso a Dios en la medida de lo humanamente posible.

Cada uno de los 13 atributos existe dentro de nosotros también. Cuando nos unimos como grupo y proclamamos estos atributos en voz alta, así como lo hacemos en el servicio de las Selijot, afirmamos lo que Dios es y lo que nosotros somos. Esto tiene tal fuerza que el Talmud nos dice que los atributos siempre generan cambio.

Aquí hay una breve reseña de los atributos y de su significado:

1-2. “Dios, Dios” (las cuatro letras Yud-Kei-Vav-Kei):

Dios nos está diciendo que no cambia. Tiene compasión infinita por nosotros antes y después de que pequemos, sabiendo que somos sólo humanos, y cuando fallamos por culpa de nuestra humanidad Él está abierto a nuestros deseos de cambiar y a nuestro retorno. Por esta razón, su nombre que significa “Ser”, es invocado dos veces, una por antes y una por después de nuestra caída y retorno.

3. “La fuerza”:

A diferencia de la compasión humana que está limitada por nuestra paciencia y fragilidad, la compasión Divina es comparable a una fuerza inalterable”.

4. “Quien es piadoso”:

El le da a los “pobres”; a nosotros que somos pobres espiritualmente.

5. “Y lleno de gracia”:

Él da libremente y en abundancia.

6. “Él es paciente”:

Dios nos da tiempo de cambiar, y tenemos que soportar el sufrimiento, para cambiar de dirección, Él da sólo en la medida que la situación individual de la persona demanda.

7. “y tiene mucha bondad”:

Dios elige juzgarnos favorablemente cuando nuestras motivaciones son ambiguas.

8. “y verdad”:

Incluso si alguien ha cometido muchos errores y ha hecho cosas terribles. Dios todavía lo recompensará por el bien que ha hecho.

9. “Crea bondad para miles de generaciones”:

Fortalece las fuerzas del bien para que duren para siempre. Un ejemplo de esto es que literalmente todos los que están vivos hoy en día son afectados por el bien que Abraham, nuestro antepasado, hizo en su vida.

10. “Lleva los pecados del deseo”:

Dios permite que los pecados actúen como un trampolín para llevar a una persona a un nivel más alto de lo que podría haber logrado sin el arrepentimiento. Un ejemplo de esto es una persona que decide comenzar a respetar leyes de cashrut, y es tentado cada vez que pasa por un restaurante no casher.

11. “Y los pecados de la rebelión”:

Incluso cuando una persona tiene el ego tan grande que siente una necesidad de controlar o atacar toda ley humana o Divina, si se abre a sí mismo, Dios ampliará su visión lo suficiente como para ver más allá de los límites de su ego.

12. “Y pecados de negligencia”:

Cuando la fuente del pecado es una pasiva, despreocupada y alienada relación con la vida, y esta fuente es siempre la desesperación que viene de pensar, “Nada de lo que hago maraca una gran diferencia de todos modos”, Dios le dará el mejor regalo de todos – la esperanza – cuando hay voluntad de asumir la responsabilidad. Esto es cierto incluso si la actitud subyacente ha estado allí durante años.

13. “Y limpia”:

Incluso la insensibilidad que aparentemente es el resultado inevitable del desarrollo de malos patrones de respuesta frente a la vida y a otras personas, literalmente, puede desaparecer a través de la teshuvá, el arrepentimiento.

Cuando somos el reflejo de estas características frente a todas las personas imperfectas en nuestras vidas (es decir, todo el mundo incluidos nosotros mismos), encontramos la divinidad que está latente en todos nosotros, y fortalecemos su voz.

Cuando hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para cambiar, debemos hacer una evaluación honesta de lo que somos, y de las decisiones que nos llevaron a ser de esta manera. Si hacemos esto honestamente, nos daremos cuenta de que hemos cometido errores.

El primer paso para el cambio es confesar lo que hicimos mal a Dios. Ninguna persona debe estar involucrada. Nadie puede otorgar claridad espiritual, nadie puede borrar el daño espiritual y emocional. El segundo paso es reconocer que todas las malas decisiones son en última instancia perjudiciales, y debes darte permiso para sentir remordimiento. El tercer paso es hacer cambios prácticos de comportamiento.

Si los pecados afectan a otras personas, entonces hay dos pasos adicionales. El primero es restitución material, en caso de que exista la posibilidad (por ejemplo, devolver el dinero que sabes que no es tuyo si te guías a través de las normas de la Torá), y la segunda es lograr la reconciliación pidiendo perdón.

Asegurémonos de utilizar el mes de elul correctamente, así, dejemos que nos lleve a vivir con autenticidad, y a sentir una mayor apertura, amor y perdón.

Según tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/h/rhyik/e/56093172.html?s=mm

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

On Simplicity

By Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz)

The first letter of the word tamim – the letter tav – in the verse “Be wholehearted (tamim) with God your Lord” (Deut. 18:13) is traditionally written in Torah scrolls larger than the other letters of the word. Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz, who was known to joke at his own expense, and even more so at the expense of others, once said that the reason for the large tav is so that there should be room inside it for everyone, so that no one should consider himself too big and great to fit into this wholeheartedness.

What does it mean to “Be wholehearted with God your Lord”? It is not so simple to determine what type of person qualifies as tamim.

The first person to whom this attribute is assigned is Jacob, who was a “wholehearted man (ish tam) who stayed with the tents,” unlike Esau who was “a skilled hunter” (Gen. 25:27).

The designation ish tam is so closely identified with Jacob that the great Tosafist Rabbeinu Tam was given this name because his first name was Jacob. We generally envisage an ish tam as a type of lowly creature, a pale young man, an idler, who sits in the tent and does not know how to perform even the simplest of tasks. Yet from the Torah’s account, Jacob does not seem to fit this description at all. He is not simple and naïve; on the contrary, the Talmud says that when Jacob met Rachel and told her that he was her father’s brother, he said to her, “I am his brother in deception” (Bava Batra 123a). Sure enough, Jacob uses this craftiness to ultimately emerge unharmed by Laban.

In modern Hebrew, a tamim is a naïf, a person whose mental capacities may be lacking in some way. But this is not the plain meaning of “Be wholehearted with God your Lord” and of the word tamim as it generally appears in the Torah. Rather, the Torah speaks of temimut in the sense of wholeness and wholeheartedness.

This distinction can be seen by considering the context of our verse. Moses tells the People of Israel that if they want to know the future, they must not be like all the other nations who “listen to astrologers and diviners” (Deut. 18:14). Rather, they must “be wholehearted with God your Lord” – be completely with Him. When people want to see something that is hidden from them, some will attempt to see the concealed item by straying outside stealthily. King Saul, for example, reasoned that if he could not know the future – neither via the Urim and Thummim nor via the prophets – he will go outside the Torah’s framework and visit the woman who consults ghosts. When something is interesting and intriguing enough, it is very tempting to go outside to get a glimpse.

“Be wholehearted with God your Lord” means that we must be wholly with Him, just as Chamor and Shekhem described Jacob’s family to their fellow townsmen: “These people are completely with us” (Gen. 34:21).

To be wholehearted with God your Lord means to be completely in God’s domain and not to go outside to get a glimpse of the future. As such, temimut is truly a simple matter. It is the simplicity of one who lives within a world of wholeheartedness.

The Ability to Accept

Another difference between the tamim and the non-tamim is the ability to immediately accept new things, whether it is another person, idea, or subject, without constantly asking if perhaps the opposite is the case.

Temimutis measured by a person’s initial reaction: Does he immediately block out everything that he encounters, or does he come with the willingness to listen and accept? After the initial acceptance, there is certainly room for investigation and examination, study and search, and sometimes one in fact discovers that the thing in question must be rejected. But one’s initial reaction is what determines if one is a tamim or not.

Rashi comments that an ish tam is “one who is not sharp in deceiving.” Some explain that the reference is not to one who does not know how to deceive or does not understand what deception is; rather, “sharp in deceiving” refers to one whose first thought is how to get the best of the other person: “You do not trust others because you yourselves are untrustworthy” (Is. 7:9).

The Midrash relates that when God offered the Torah to the Ishmaelites, they asked, “What is written in it?” whereas the People of Israel immediately said, “We will do and [then] hear” (Mechilta DeRashbi, Ex. 20:2). The Talmud cites the words of a certain sectarian: “You are a rash people, who gave precedence to your mouths over your ears [when you said ‘We will do and (then) hear’].” Rava answered him: “We, who walk in integrity, of us it is written, ‘The integrity of the upright will guide them.’ But of you, who walk in perversity, it is written, ‘but the perverseness of the faithless will destroy them’ (Prov. 11:3)” (Shabbat 88a–b).

This is exactly the essence of temimut: A tamim is one who immediately says, “We will do and then hear,” rather than always making sure to first ask what is written.

Does this mean that it is easier for Jews to fulfill the Torah than it would have been for the Ishmaelites or the Edomites? One could argue just the opposite: It is true that the Ishmaelites could not accept “Do not commit adultery” and the Edomites could not accept “Do not murder” (Ex. 20:13), but the Jewish people had difficulty accepting all Ten Commandments, from beginning to end. Nevertheless, the Jewish people’s approach was that because the Torah came from God, it was their responsibility to accept it before delving too deeply into the details. If there are problems later on, they can be dealt with, with the necessary struggle, coping, and reckoning, internally and externally.

The difference between Israel and the nations is the difference between temimut and the sense that everything must be investigated. It is the willingness to accept a thing as it is, without feeling the need to first dismantle it, extract the inner mechanism, and see how it works, and only then consider whether to accept it.

A Complex World

When one loses the ability to see something new and simply go with it – whether because of one’s own personality, the society in which he lives, or the education that he received – this is a poisonous way to live one’s life. Such a person will never again be able to see things in a straight way. This actually happens to some people. They reach a state where they assume that behind every smile lurk dark thoughts. They lose the simple ability to recognize and accept the good in things.

It is difficult to be tamim. Perhaps it is easy for one who has never suffered disappointments in his life. For someone who has never been kicked from behind, it is easier to relate to people according to the expressions on their faces. He feels much more comfortable with people; if someone smiles at him, he smiles back. The problem exists primarily with those who have already encountered dishonesty in interpersonal relationships. Yet even these people are charged with maintaining their temimut, and this is not easy at all.

Part of what people learn in the course of their lives, for better or for worse, is that the world is complex, and not everyone is the same inside and out. Despite the need to live one’s life with temimut, this, too, is an experience that one must learn: Although not everything that appears unpleasant on the outside is unpleasant on the inside, and although not everything that seems frightening should actually cause alarm, the reverse is also true; not every nice thing is actually as nice as it appears. However, sometimes people take this distrust too far, and are no longer able to accept anything at face value.

After Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, he may have wanted to spit it out, because he probably discovered immediately that the pleasure of knowledge is accompanied by much pain. What is difficult and tragic is that once man tastes the fruit, after the slightest lick from the Tree of Knowledge, it is very hard to spit it out.

A righteous Jew once came to see his rebbe and said to him, “When I pray, I see facing me letters of fire.” The rebbe informed him that the letters represent the contemplations of the Ari on the prayers. The Jew replied, “Rebbe, I would prefer not to see those letters, and to pray with the intention that I used to pray with.” The rebbe answered, “In order to study the contemplations of the Ari and yet not see those letters, one must be on a much higher level than yours.”

What, then, can be done? According to the Responsa of the Rivash (No. 157), Rabbi Shimshon from Kinon used to claim that he prayed with the mentality of a young child, that is to say, with the same temimut or simplicity that a young child has. Rabbi Shimshon of Kinon, author of Sefer HaKeritot on the rules of Talmud, was one of the greatest rabbis of his generation, and part of his greatness was that after all that he knew and heard, he was able to pray “with the mentality of a young child.”

Nowadays, prayer requires spiritual effort that in earlier generations was not as necessary. One’s spiritual work in prayer is not just to remove distractions or extraneous thoughts, but that people cannot relate to the matter of prayer itself; rather, they feel that they must conduct all sorts of analyses of prayer. Nowadays, when one wants to have proper intention in prayer, he must conduct linguistic, historical, and philosophical analyses, and even esoteric or exoteric analyses, and cannot accept the prayer as it is. He cannot contemplate the Selach Lanu blessing without debating whether the phrase mechol lanu follows the rules of grammar or not, and other such questions.

When one hears the blowing of the shofar, notwithstanding all the halakhic matters connected with it, one must remember the simple question, “Shall a shofar be blown in a city, and the people not be alarmed?” (Amos 3:6). The time of the blowing of the shofar is designed for this alarm, but instead of alarm, many people focus on how long the shofar blast lasted, whether the shevarim tones were satisfactory, and whether the shofar blower became confused and blew ten times instead of nine. It could be that when one heard the blowing of the shofar as a child, one experienced fear of judgment and fear of God. But now that one has grown up and studied the Shulchan Aruch, one experiences neither of those fears. Instead of the simple aspect of alarm inherent in the shofar blowing, it has turned into a science of shofar blasts. I can imagine that, even facing Mount Sinai, there was some wise and learned man who stood up and said, “Nu, how long was this shofar blast?” I am sure that there were several God-fearing people there who, when they heard the sound of the shofar “growing louder and louder” (Ex. 19:19), made sure to count how many seconds it lasted.

In a certain sense, after having already encountered so many individual, disjointed parts, it becomes very difficult to see the whole, the temimut. The Talmud expounds on the verse, “Attend (hasket) and hear, O Israel” (Deut. 27:9), saying, “First be silent (has) and only then analyze (kattet)” (Berachot 63b). First there is a stage of listening, of accepting. Only then is it time to discuss and analyze, to break down and reconstruct. If one engages only in analysis without retaining the ability to receive, the idea is no longer alive; it is only dissected parts.

A pathologist who performs autopsies often knows more about the human body than anyone else. However, in a certain sense he now knows less, in that he was never given the whole in its perfect form. All that he has to work with are dissected parts.

This is true of a vast array of things, ranging from faith to prayer. Integral to prayer is the appeal for the strength to serve God wholeheartedly. This is an ability that we generally have when we commit sins but less so when we perform mitzvot. When a person commits a sin, he does not consider how many prohibitions it entails, and how this sin is shameful and contemptible. While the sin is being committed, he has the ability to forget the sin itself and somehow to be wholly invested in the performance. One should pray for the ability to perform the mitzvot just as wholeheartedly, without all the surrounding considerations.

I began with Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz’s comment on the tav of the word tamim – that at times it may seem that one is already a great man. It is good that the blowing of the shofar causes the eyes of children to fill with tears. But if one believes that he is a great, learned man, who has studied so much about the halakhot of shofar blasts, it is hard to imagine reacting this way. Yet what Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz says is that even for such a great man, there is room for him to enter into temimut. Indeed, he is obligated to do just this.

“I Have Stilled and Quieted”

Each year, Parashat Shoftim is read close to Rosh Hashanah, and the nature of Rosh Hashanah is that it always arrives, whether I want it to or not. On this great day, the Day of Judgment and the Day of Remembrance, there is an aspect of “I have stilled and quieted” (Ps. 131:2). Indeed, on Rosh Hashanah the mitzvah is not to blow the shofar but “to hear the sound of the shofar” – to listen and to accept. The new beginning on Rosh Hashanah is significant because it sets the direction of one’s progress, and if one begins at a wrong angle, there is a higher chance of continuing this way in the future.

Rosh Hashanah is, without a doubt, a day of intense prayer. The custom on Rosh Hashanah is to read chapters of Psalms; indeed, many people read through the entire book of Psalms twice. One of the reasons for this is that if one must finish reading the entire book twice, one cannot do it with the contemplations of the Ari, nor even with the commentaries on the bottom of the page; one must read it as one reads a book – simply read and react. Sometimes there is a positive reaction and sometimes there is a negative reaction, but there is always a reaction.

Many learned, God-fearing Jews will not have time for all this. When these people read Psalms, they will likely not reach chapter 131, a chapter that demonstrates how to be truly wholehearted with God:

A Song of Ascents; of David. O God, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in things too great, or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is with me like a weaned child. O Israel, hope in God from this time forth and forever. (131:1–3)

Just as a young child sits with his mother even after he is weaned, a great and learned man can likewise sit this way in prayer, even after attaining vast amounts of knowledge and interpretations. When one faces God, “My soul is with me like a weaned child.”

As taken from, https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/4844636/jewish/On-Simplicity.htm

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2020 in Uncategorized