I keep kosher, which means that there are certain types of foods, mostly meats, that I can’t eat.The laws of kashrut are important because G-d gave these laws to B’nei Yisrael, and they followed them. These laws help make us pure and connect us to G-d. Although, keeping kosher can get a little annoying, because we have to check every food to see if it is kosher or not. The sayin, “You are what you eat,” relates with the laws of kashrut because the food we eat is kosher, and we keep are kind of kosher too. We keep kosher, so it is like we are kosher, even if we aren’t actually kosher in relation to the laws of kashrut. What we eat is a religious issue, because keeping kosher is part of our religion. The Torah is something that is part of our religion, and the rules of Kashrut are in the Torah. I like that I keep kosher, because it connects me with the early Jewish people when they just received the Torah, and they kept kosher too
At every Passover Seder, there is a Seder Plate that has many ceremonial items on it, like the Charoset, which symbolizes the mortar that B’nei Yisrael had to stomp to make bricks. If I could add a ceremonial ritual to the Seder, I would add something that represents the splitting of the Red Sea. When B’nei Yisrael was leaving Egypt, Pharaoh started to chase them. When they came to the Red Sea, B’nei Yisrael thought that they would be captured, but then a miracle happened! G-d split the Red Sea in two, and B’nei Yisrael escaped from Pharaoh’s clutches. I would add a ritual to the Seder where everyone pours a little bit of water onto a plate, and then they take a piece of matzah and use it to push the water to opposite sides of the plate. Then they eat the matzah. This would represent the splitting of the Red Sea and also, by eating the soggy matzah, we would remember that B’nei Yisrael did not get wet when they crossed through the sea.
This Saturday night to Sunday is Purim. Purim is the time when a woman named Esther became a queen and defeated an evil man named Haman who wanted to kill all of the Jews. One of the customs of Purim is delivering bags with different types of goods called Mishloach Manot. For our Mitzvah Project this week we delivered Mishloach Manot to diffferent people. One of the deliveries that I remember was our first one and was one that I personally gave the bag to the people. The man that opened the door was really grateful for our bag, and he said that we were doing a really good thing. Hearing that made me feel really good inside. I really enjoyed delivering Mishloach Manot for our Mitzvah Trip this week. Happy Purim! חג שמח!
A week from this Saturday night and Sunday is the holiday of Purim. The Purim starts off with מלך אחשורוש is having a huge banquet, and his wife ושתי is having her own banquet at the same time. When מלך אחשורוש tells ושתי to his banquet, she refuses to go. מלך אחשורוש send ושתי away and then has “auditions” for a new wife. A Jewish girl named הדסה, we call her אסתר, gets picked to become the new queen. Her uncle מורדכי tells her not to tell anyone that she is Jewish. מורדכי finds out that the king’s advisor המן is planning to kill all of the Jews because מורדכי won’t bow down to him. מורדכי tells אסתר, and she fasts for three days and prays to G-d. In the end, she tells מלך אחשורוש about המן’s plan at a small dinner that she planned and המן was killed.
The story of Purim has to do with Anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is when people strongly dislike Jewish people. המן didn’t like the Jewish people just because one person didn’t bow down to him, because he believed in only one god. המן was saying to bow down to him because he was like a god, but the Jewish people don’t believe in multiple gods. מורדכי was just doing what he believed in. המן created this whole elaborate plan to eliminate all of the Jews because מורדכי didn’t bow down to him. I somewhat understand where המן was coming from. I understand that המן felt disrespected, but instead of trying to wipe out all of the Jews, he could have just talk to מורדכי to understand why he wasn’t bowing down to him.
The Purim story teaches us to stand up for what we believe in and what is right. אסתר was afraid to approach מלך אחשורוש, but she still did, and when she talked to him, he told her that he would give her half of his kingdom, which can be interpreted as giving her what ever she wanted. Then, she told him about the cruelty that was going to happen, and he took charge and made sure that it didn’t happen. Whenever we see someone getting bullied, or we are getting bullied ourselves, for the color of their skin or their religion, we should stand up for the person and do what is right. All of the bigotry in our world is terrible, and any little thing we do could maybe help eliminate some of it. I’m not saying that if you see an adult being prejudice or bullying someone you should stand up to them, but if you see a kid acting this way, then you should stand up for the victim, or at least get an adult to help
You might not know what the Ten Commandments or עשרת הדברות are. The Ten Commandments are ten rules that G-d gave us when we got the Torah. If I could add an eleventh commandment to the Ten Commandments, I would add, “You shall not fight; no battles and no wars.” I want their to be peace in the world, so everyone can be happy and lead a good life. No one will be dying while fighting a war. Also, no one would have hatred towards another place, making them want to start a war. No fights could help eliminate no hatred. We could live in a place where peace is everywhere and we could all be happy. With this eleventh commandment, we can achieve that.
Next week, there will be a holiday called Tu B’Shvat. Tu B’Shvat is the birthday of the trees. Trees are getting cut down all of the time because people want to build houses or buildings in that area. It would be one thing if for every tree that was cut down another one would be planted, but that is not the case. Trees provide us with many things that we need to survive, as well us just being a pretty sight to look at. Without trees, the world would be full of carbon dioxide, polluted, and all around ugly. Trees provide us with fruits, and they give us the oxygen that we need to breathe to stay alive. Trees should be seriously protected, and we should learn to live with them all around us, even if we have to give up having a few new buildings or houses.
This week, we started the to learn about the mitzvah צער בעלי חיים or The Ethical Treatment of Animals. For our mitzvah project, we first made dog toys out of t-shirts. With the help of a video, we cut the t-shirts into strips, made three braids, and then braided them together. On each end of the toy, there is a knot. On one side, there are parts of the strips that are sticking out so that the dog’s owner can hold on to the toy. On the other side, we cut the strips so they don’t stick out, because a dog can rip the cloth off, choke on it, and die. It was really hard to tie the knots, and it took two people to tie the knots. It was kind of like we were playing tug-of-war with each other. In the end, I think we made over twenty chew toys.
For the second part of it, we were going to make phone calls to different hygiene companies, but we ran out of time, so we are going to do it on Tuesday. You might be wondering, what does calling hygiene companies have to do with צער בעלי חיים? Well, many companies test their products on animals. They do this because they don’t want to test it on humans if it doesn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. Also, some companies use animal byproducts, or parts of animals, in their products. I know right, gross. We are going to call these companies that we use products from everyday, to find out if they test on animals, or use animals byproducts. Some products say vegan or not tested on animals on the back, so we don’t have to ask about that. Other places like hospitals test on animals before humans, so it is Ophir just in hygiene products.
If I could ask Anne Frank one question, I would ask her how she stayed positive during the Holocaust. Anne Frank was a Jewish German girl that died at the age of thirteen from a disease called typhus. Can you imagine dieing at the age of thirteen? That would mean that I would have less than two more years to live. Anne had to hide in the Secret Annicks with her mom, dad, sister, and a few other people. She had received a diary for her thirteenth birthday, and she wrote about her life in the Secret Annicks and the war. In her entries, she stayed positive. She was surrounded by so much negativity, yet she was full of positivity. That is why, if I could sky Anne Frank one question, I would ask her how she stayed positive during the Holocaust.
Anne was writing to her imaginary friend named Kitty. She was describing to Kitty everything that was happening around her. I have heard parts of a few of the entries, and in the entries, she makes it seem like it isn’t happening near her. She was still smiling, and I bet that she had a few moments where she was having a little bit of fun. I wonder if she kept a positive attitude when they got discovered by the Nazis. I know that it would have been so hard to keep smiling while being in a concentration camp. Anne Frank was an amazing girl, and she stayed posritive during the toughest of times.