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Jewish centers and schools across the nation coped with another wave of bomb threats Monday as officials in Philadelphia began raising money to repair and restore hundreds of vandalized headstones at a Jewish cemetery. Jewish Community Centers and day schools in at least a dozen states received threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. No bombs were found. Many of the buildings were cleared by early Monday afternoon and had resumed normal operations. It was the fifth round of bomb threats against Jewish institutions since January, prompting outrage and exasperation among Je...
The female terrorist who perpetrated a stabbing attack in Rosh Ha’ayin in April 2016 was sentenced to 16 years in prison. A 28-year-old woman was wounded in the attack on HaMalacha Street and transported to Beilinson Hospital in light condition. The terrorist, a resident of Kfar Kassam, admitted to the attempted murder as part of a plea bargain agreement that also compels her to pay NIS 100,000 in compensation to the victim.
A special team is being formulated by the Attorney General’s Office to address attacks against chareidi IDF soldiers, known by the frum community opposing their service as ‘chardakim’. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit held a special meeting on Sunday, 1 Rosh Chodesh Adar in his office to consult with Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan on the matter. Also present were the IDF Chief Prosecutor, an Israel Police representative, a representative from the State Prosecutor’s Office, and other involved in the matter. Mandelblit cited the need for a firm and immediate battle against attacks and harassment against chareidim serving in the military, and addressing such incidents must remain high priority, addressing threats against members of all religions for their s...
The United Nations does not miss a beat when it comes to condemning Israel and in the case of the trial of Elor Azariya, there is no exception. Israel is angry over the UN Human Rights Council for its comment on the sentence in Israel, as Azariya was sent to 18-months imprisonment and demotion to private. The council however feels the sentence is “unacceptable” since it deals with an IDF soldier firing at a PA (Palestinian Authority) resident. Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for firing at and killing a wounded Arab terrorist shortly after the latter perpetrated a terror attack in Hebron, last Purim. Spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani warned the sentence “risks undermining the [Israeli] justice system since the maximum senten...
Attorney General upgrades probe into 'Submarine Affair' to full criminal probe. Suspects include PM's lawyer. State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan announced Monday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit approved upgrading the investigation into the so-called 'Submarine Affair' to a full criminal investigation into graft. The decision was taken based on information gathered by the police as part of the examination conducted in recent months, which raised reasonable suspicion of violations of the public trust and corruption on the part of several figures involved in the affair. The State Prosecutor made it clear that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not among the suspects in the investigation. The case centers around allegations that Netanyahu's personal law...
Famed legal scholar says Keith Ellison should not have been appointed to DNC position, but will stay in Democratic party to fight extremism. World famous legal scholar and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz announced that he would not leave the Democratic party following Keith Ellison's defeat in the election for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, the Algemeiner reported. Dershowitz had earlier announced that he would leave the party if Ellison, a former member of the Nation of Islam movement who stated at a fundraiser in 2010 that US foreign was "governed" by Israeli interests and who voted against providing funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, was elected the DNC chairman. While Ellison was narrowly defeated by former Labor Secretary T...
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HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, Shlita, on Monday 1 Adar, telephoned HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita, who is sitting shiva for his brother, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Edelstein, ZT”L, the former Rav of Ramat HaSharon. Rabbi Dovid Shapira, a grandson of Rav Shteinman arranged the call in advance along with Rabbi Moti Pelai, a grandson of HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Edelstein. It is reported Rav Shteinman maintained a close relationship with the niftar.
MK's lawyers negotiate with prosecutor about reducing sentence in exchange for admission of charges. Will there be breaks in the indictment against MK Basel Ghattas? Lawyers of the MK, accused of passing messages and cell phones to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, are negotiating a plea bargain in his case with the prosecution. Channel 10 reported that the sides discussed the possibility of reducing items in the indictment against the MK, in exchange for an admission of those acts attributed to him in the indictment. The parties will continue talks in a meeting to be held between them next week. Today (Monday) Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein submitted a request to the chairman of the House Committee, MK Yoav Kish, to convene the Knesset House Committee to discuss ousting M...
Daily Halacha
Hilchos Chanukah

During the Second Temple, the Greek empire reigned (over Israel),1  and they (the Greeks) passed decrees against the Jews and (tried) to erase their religion,  and did not allow them to carry out Torah (study) or the commandments.  They put their hands on their property and their daughters.  They entered the Temple, destroyed and made the pure unclean.  The Jews were in great distress because of them and were much oppressed, until the G-d of their fathers had mercy on them, delivering them from their hands and saving them.  Then overcame, the sons of the Hasmonean High Priest, (the Greeks) and killed them  and saved the Jews from their hands.  They appointed a king from the Priests,  and the kingdom of Israel was restored  for more than 200 years until the destruction of (the) second (Temple).  When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them,  it was the 25th of Kislev2  when they entered the Sanctuary (inner room) and did not find pure (olive) oil in the Temple,  except one jar sealed with seal of the High Priest,  and it did not contain enough to light except for one day only.  But they lit from it the lamps of the Menorah3 for eight days,  until they could crush olives and produce a (new quantity) of pure oil.  For these reasons, decreed the Sages of that generation  that these eight days  that begin on the 25th Kislev, will be days of joy and praise.  One lights on them lamps at evening at the entrance to the houses,  every evening of the eight nights to show off and demonstrate the miracle.  These days are called ''Hanukah''  that is to say ''they rested'' (chanu) on the ''25'' ('th of the month)  because on the 25th they rested from their enemies.  and also because of those days  they (re)-dedicated the house (Temple) which their foes had defiled.  Also some say that it is a commandment to increase slightly the festive meals on Hanukah.  Another reason is because the work of (building) the Sanctuary (in the desert) was completed in these days.  One should tell one's children the story of the miracles  that were done for our fore-fathers in those days,  (see Josephus)  However, these meals are not considered as part of the commandment  unless one says at the meal songs of praise.  One should increase charity in these Hanukah days,  for this can help mend any defects in our souls.  This charity, should be given particularly to poor Torah scholars. (KSA 139:1)
1) 352 BCE until 70 CE
2) 139 BCE
3) The Menorah was made of gold and had seven branches.

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Law calls for creation of database of faces and fingerprints of all Israeli residents. The Knesset passed the biometric database law Monday night. The bill was approved in its second and third readings after all objections were overcome. The final vote was 39-29 in favor. The bill was significantly changed from its original version. Over the course of the day it was decided that the database will not include fingerprints of anyone under the age of 16 and will not be used for unusual police applications. New additions to the law were intended to amend the arrangements for the biometric database, in which all residents of the State will have their pictures and fingerprints taken, but for those who object, their data would be tied to their smart-cards instead of being entered into a da...
A flight attendant accused of making bogus bomb threats on two Skywest flights in 2015 has signed a plea deal to avoid trial, but he could still end up spending decades in prison. Justin Cox-Sever, 23, of Tempe, Arizona, is accused of making threats on a July 2015 flight from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Chicago, and on a September 2015 flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson, North Dakota. In the first incident, the plane had to turn around mid-flight. The second incident resulted in the temporary shutdown of the Dickinson airport. Under the plea agreement filed Saturday, Cox-Sever will plead guilty to four of five charges accusing him of interfering with an aircraft. Prosecutors will drop a fifth count, reducing the potential maximum sentence from 70 to 50 years in prison. A judge must s...
Parsha Hashavua
Halchaic Analysis: Matanos L’Evyonim

One of the Mitzvos of Purim is that there is a mitzvah to give at least one gift to two different poor people on Purim day. Even a poor person who himself has reached a financial state that he must ask for charity, must still give.


What if a person gives to a poor person and his son who is supported by his father? Would this be considered as if he has given to one person or to two people? The Aruch HaShulchan (OC 694:2) is of the opinion that it is only considered as if he has given to one person. Rav Forsheimer, however, point to the Maharsha (Megillah 7b “shedar’) which indicates that it is considered as two people.


This obligation may be fulfilled through any type of gift — money, food, drink, or clothing. One should, however, try to give a substantial monetary gift. If one does use money, ideally it should be enough to buy bread weighing at least three eggs — five slices, approximately. At the very least, however, one must give a perutah (now 3 cents) or its equivalent value to each of two poor persons. A perutah is 1/1244th of an ounce of silver.


Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, rules that the minimum amount should be $1. The Shaarei Teshuvah rules that it should be the equivalent amount of the cost of a meal for a poor person. In modern times this amounts to approximately five dollars (Rav Shmuel Fuerst.) .


These gifts should be given in the daytime, after the Megillah is read. Matanos la’evyonim should be above and beyond maaser.


Money set aside for matanos la’evyonim should not be changed to another tzedakah without a ruling from a posek.


One is not overly strict with the poor on Purim to determine whether they are really poor or not. Whoever puts his hand out — we give him. According to leading poskim, this does not apply to organizations, however.


Women are also obligated to give gifts to the poor on Purim. A married woman may fulfill the mitzvah through her husband. Ideally, however, the husband should inform his wife that he has given matanos la’evyonim for her, as well.


Children who are dependent upon their parents’ table should still give matanos la’evyonim on their own (Aruch HaShulchan 694:2).


Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, ruled that one may fulfill the mitzvah of matanos la’evyonim with a check. This is true even if the check is post-dated.


One may fulfill the mitzvah of matanos la’evyonim by giving the money even to a young child who is considered poor.
Matanos la’evyonim may be given anonymously. This is the ideal form of fulfilling the mitzvah.


There is a debate as to whether it is preferable to give many poor people a minimum amount of matanos la’evyonim or to give just a few people a significant amount of matanos la’evyonim. The Bach (siman 695) writes that it is preferable to give more people the lesser amount. Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, is quoted (Shvus Yitzchak 8:2 as cited in Kovetz Halachos, p. 92) that it is preferable to give fewer people a more significant amount. Since either way one fulfills the mitzvah, one should perform it in the manner in which one feels most inspired toward dveikus Bashem.


The author may be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com


Announcement: Volume 8 of Rabbi Hoffman’s “Not Your Usual Halacha” is now available on amazon.

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Head of English-speaking high school in Jerusalem says parents have no need to fear making aliyah with older children. Rabbi David Samson, formerly of Baltimore, MD,  the dean of the Maale Erev Israel high school chain and the head of the Yerushalayim Torah Academy (YTA) program for English high school students, spoke with Arutz Sheva at the 9th annual Nefesh B’Nefesh Israel Mega Event aliyah fair. "I feel that's it's an opportunity to expose families that are thinking about aliyah, and they're worried about their children, to the possibilities of making aliyah and having a very good solution for the education of their children in high school," Rabbi Samson said. Rabbi Samson said that his Jerusalem high school, YTA, was perfect for families making aliyah f...
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Court sentences Arab who fired marble at Jew causing blindness in the eye to only community service. An Arab who fired a slingshot at Jews marching in Jerusalem's Old City and caused blindness in the eye of one of his victims will not sit a single day in prison, according to the verdict of Judge Avital Molad of the Juvenile Magistrates Court in Jerusalem. The incident took place five years ago. Three Breslov Jewish youths were walking to the Western Wall. While passing one of the Old City's alleyways, a number of young Arabs began provoking them. On their way back, the Arabs had returned to the same place and began shooting marbles at the Jews with slingshots. One of the boys was hit by a marble in his eye, was sent to Hadassah Medical Center where he stayed for a few days...
A Virginia man is accused of biting another man’s face after making anti-Muslim slurs in a parking lot at a busy shopping mall late last year. Fairfax County police say in a statement that 35-year-old Robin McGreer was arrested Monday and charged with bias-related malicious bodily injury. Investigators say McGreer approached a 31-year-old man on Nov. 27 in the lot at Tysons Corner Center, started a conversation and threatened him with racial insults. The two started fighting and police say McGreer bit the victim in the face before fleeing. Police spokeswoman Megan Hawkins says the threats and slurs at issue were anti-Muslim. She says the delay between the incident and arrest was because of a thorough investigation. Online records do not list an attorney for McGreer.
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is presenting the White House with a plan to “rapidly defeat” the Islamic State group, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday. The strategy includes significant elements of the approach President Donald Trump inherited, while potentially deepening U.S. military involvement in Syria. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Mattis provided the results of his 30-day strategy review ahead of a Monday afternoon Cabinet-level meeting of the National Security Council. It’s unclear if the discussion will include Trump, who said last week his goal is to “obliterate” IS. Davis said details of the report are classified secret. “It is a plan to rapidly defeat ISIS,” Davis said, using the Pentagon’s preferred acronym for the group, which has ...
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Egyptian military officials report Hamas tunnels from Gaza to Egypt were destroyed, including one tunnel dug 20 meters below the surface that led to additional tunnels. The main tunnel also contains oxygen tanks as well as communications technology. Egyptian leaders are increasingly concerned as Salafist radicals continue operating in Sinai, compelling many Christians to flee their homes as ISIS continues efforts to rule over Sinai, having failed elsewhere.
Dan Scavino serves as the White House Director of Social Media. President Trump's tweets are read by 95 million people.
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The District of Columbia’s police department should appoint an independent consultant to examine the actions of police on Inauguration Day, when more than 200 people were arrested and charged with rioting, the city’s Police Complaints Board said in a report Monday. The recommendation was included in one of two reports released by the office that oversees police complaints and monitors police interaction with protesters. The first report covered Inauguration Day, when self-described anti-capitalists broke windows and set fire to a limousine, while the second report covered the Women’s March on Washington, the day after the inauguration. The report on Inauguration Day concludes that in many instances Metropolitan Police Department officers “conducted activities in a...
In the days after President Donald Trump’s election, thousands of teenagers across the nation walked out of class in protest. Others rallied to his defense. It was an unusual show of political engagement from future voters who may alter America’s political landscape in 2020 – or even in next year’s midterm elections. Now, a new survey of children ages 13 to 17 conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with the permission of their parents finds that America’s teens are almost as politically disillusioned and pessimistic about the nation’s divisions as their parents. The difference? They aren’t quite as quick to write off the future. Eight in 10 feel that Americans are divided when it comes to the nation’s mos...
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