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WATCH: Interesting Chassidish Minhag While Lighting Menorah - To Throw Towels At Person Lighting Candles

WATCH: Interesting Chassidish Minhag While Lighting Menorah - To Throw Towels At Person Lighting Candles
[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] [By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] It is one of those Chassidish Chanukah Minhagim that Litvaks generally don’t really go for. Nonetheless, it is a genuine Minhag that dates back hundreds of years. In a nutshell, this is what is done: In Chassidish communities of Poland and Hungary, it has been the custom when the Shamash is ready to light the Chanukah candles in shul, for children and others to throw hand towels and other items at him both before and during the lighting. The custom is still practiced today in ...

AG to Public Security Minister: Hold Off on Appointments

AG to Public Security Minister: Hold Off on AppointmentsAttorney General Yehuda Weinstein has instructed Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich to hold off appointing a new Israel Police chief and Israel Prison Authority chief until after elections. Weinstein explained that while the nation’s Basic Law gives a transition government a mandate to continue running the nation as usual, a Supreme Court ruling on the matter ...    Full Story »

AP Poll: Police Killings Of Blacks Voted Top Story Of 2014

AP Poll: Police Killings Of Blacks Voted Top Story Of 2014The police killings of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere — and the investigations and tumultuous protests they inspired — was the top news story of 2014, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors. In a year crowded with dramatic and often wrenching news developments around the world, the No. 2 story was the devastating ...    Full Story »

12 Million NIS Allocation for Torani Cultural Activities (1 opinions)

12 Million NIS Allocation for Torani Cultural ActivitiesThe Knesset Finance Committee on Sunday 29 Kislev approved 12 million shekels for chareidi cultural projects. The approval is credited to the tenacious efforts of MKs Yaakov Litzman, Moshe Gafne and Yitzchak Cohen of Shas. The current administration significantly cut the chareidi cultural budget and this allocation is viewed as a tikun of that cut, the MKs explain. They stated ...    Full Story »

NY Gov. Cuomo Urges Calm After NYC Cop Killings (1 opinions)

NY Gov. Cuomo Urges Calm After NYC Cop KillingsGov. Andrew Cuomo is urging calm through the upcoming holidays and respecting families' grief in response to the weekend killings of two New York City police officers and the July death of a Staten Island man in a confrontation with police. The governor tells WNYC Radio Monday that people are angry on both sides, and it's time to lower the rhetoric, followed by "rational, sober ...    Full Story »

Collect Gevina Farms ‘Ridiculously Delicious’ Yogurt Lids for the Chance of a Huge Win

Collect Gevina Farms ‘Ridiculously Delicious’ Yogurt Lids for the Chance of a Huge Win[COMMUNICATED CONTENT] The hottest name in kosher dairy has just announced the coolest collect-and-claim Chanukah raffle. Gevina Farms, innovator extraordinaire of the kosher consumer foods market, is offering kids and kids at heart the chance to win the latest and greatest remote-controlled spy drone available on the market. DJI’s Phantom 2 Drone is one of the most sought-after ...    Full Story »

Tekuma Rabbonim Express Their Support for Eli Yishai (3 opinions)

Tekuma Rabbonim Express Their Support for Eli YishaiIn the case of the dati leumi Tekuma Party, the word of the rabbonim is just their opinion and it appears it does not compel the actions of the politicians. While HaGaon HaRav Dov Lior Shlita and HaGaon HaRav Elyakim Levanon Shlita instructed Uri Ariel to break from Bayit Yehudi and align with Eli Yishai, Ariel brought the matter to the party’s central committee. The leadership body ...    Full Story »

Mayor Meets With Family Of Slain NYPD Officer

Mayor Meets With Family Of Slain NYPD OfficerNew York Mayor Bill de Blasio is meeting with the family of Officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot to death in a squad car this weekend with his partner. The mayor and Police Commissioner William Bratton were meeting with Ramos' relatives Monday. Ramos and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, were ambushed by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl (IHSH'-mayl) Brinsley on Saturday afternoon. Brinsley ran ...    Full Story »

Honenu reports: Ben-Tzion HY"D, Family: 'They Told Us Fabricated Stories'

Honenu reports: Ben-Tzion HYOn Monday, 9 Kislev 5775, Avi Ben-Tzion, a resident of the Jordan Valley, was critically injured at the Migdalim (Alon) Intersection in the Shomron in what the police have classified     Full Story »

Greenfield Organizes Community Rally to Support the NYPD @NYCGreenfield (1 opinions)

Greenfield Organizes Community Rally to Support the NYPD @NYCGreenfield Councilman Greenfield has organized a community rally to show support for the NYPD in light of this weekend's brutal murders of two officers in Brooklyn. The Councilman will gather with community leaders and local residents to say 'thank you' in front of Brooklyn's 66th precinct. The rally will be held on Tuesday December 23, 2014 at 1:00PM, in front of the 66th Precinct, 5822 16th ...    Full Story »

Marathon Bombing Suspect's Lawyers Invoke McVeigh

Marathon Bombing Suspect's Lawyers Invoke McVeighLawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seeking to have his trial moved out of Massachusetts again drew parallels Monday between the media coverage of their client's case to the coverage received by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. It would be impossible to select impartial jurors, defense attorneys wrote in a filing Monday, because "the crimes charged ...    Full Story »

The 'Other' Poverty Report Paints a Frightening Real Picture of Poverty in Israel (5 opinions)

The 'Other' Poverty Report Paints a Frightening Real Picture of Poverty in Israel  Recently, the annual Bituach Leumi report on poverty was released, painting a worrisome picture regarding poverty in Israel. The report addressed 2013, documenting there are over 1.6 million poor Israelis, including over 750,000 ...    Full Story »

'My Extended Family' Illuminates Channukah for Single Moms and Their Children (2 opinions)

'My Extended Family' Illuminates Channukah for Single Moms and Their ChildrenOn the 3rd night of Chanukah, “My Extended Family” a project of Mayan Yisroel of Flatbush under the leadership of Rabbi Yoseph and Tzippy Vigler, held their 2nd annual Chanukah party, exclusively for children from single parent homes and their mothers. My Extended Family is the first organization of its kind, catering to children from single parent homes, and run under rabbinic ...    Full Story »

Top News Of 2014 Left Public Grasping For Answers (1 opinions)

Top News Of 2014 Left Public Grasping For AnswersTwenty-thousand feet down the answers may be waiting, hidden in some underwater canyon far off Australia's coast. But more than nine months after searchers began scouring the seas for a Malaysia Airlines jetliner that vanished with 239 people aboard, the catastrophe defies resolution. In that way, the long, fruitless hunt for clues to Flight 370's fate set the tone for many of the ...    Full Story »

VIDEO: Mass Chanukah lighting in Jerusalem honoring lone soldiers

VIDEO: Mass Chanukah lighting in Jerusalem honoring lone soldiers[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] Over a thousand people gathered last night as lone soldiers lit a huge menorah at Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. Chayal el Chayal - a home away from home for lone in Jerusalem arranged for over 50 lone soldiers to attend. Following the lighting, the soldiers enjoyed spirited dancing, a barbecue on a Mamilla Rooftop and special Chanukah gifts. Chayal el ...    Full Story »

FAA, Industry Launch Drone Safety Campaign

FAA, Industry Launch Drone Safety CampaignAlarmed by increasing encounters between small drones and manned aircraft, drone industry officials said Monday they are teaming up with the government and model aircraft hobbyists to launch a safety campaign. The campaign includes a website ? www.knowbeforeyoufly.com ? which advises both recreational and commercial drone operators of FAA regulations and how to fly their unmanned ...    Full Story »

PHOTOS: Boro Park Shmira Patrol (CWSP) Acquires New Mobile Command Center (4 opinions)

PHOTOS: Boro Park Shmira Patrol (CWSP) Acquires New Mobile Command CenterThe Boro Park Shmira Patrol (CWSP) has recently acquired a new mobile command center, their Twitter account says. Shmira says they are proud to announce the addition of a 'state-of-the-art; mobile command center to their fleet of emergency vehicles. The command center is reportedly equipped with "cutting edge satellite communication technology and rescue equipment". (YWN ...    Full Story »

No Injuries Reported in Monday Morning Stabbing Attack

No Injuries Reported in Monday Morning Stabbing AttackA PA (Palestinian Authority) resident on Monday morning 30 Kislev tried to stab soldiers who were manning a crossing point between PA Tulkarem and the area under Israeli control. The terrorist was restrained in time. B’chasdei Hashem there were no fatalities or injuries. The suspect was taken for interrogation. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

VIDEO: PM Netanyahu Addresses Threats Facing Israel

VIDEO: PM Netanyahu Addresses Threats Facing Israel[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night, 1 Rosh Chodesh Teves 5775, lit Chanukah candles with IDF soldiers at Latrun. He used the event to release a statement pertaining to threats facing Israel today. "In this struggle that we are in, Israel is being attacked on two fronts simultaneously. It is being attacked by the terrorism of Hamas and the ...    Full Story »

Police Departments On Alert After Cop Killings

Police Departments On Alert After Cop KillingsBig-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car. The slayings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the ...    Full Story »

A Number of Israelis Hospitalized After Choking on Jelly Donuts (6 opinions)

A Number of Israelis Hospitalized After Choking on Jelly DonutsA 60-year-old woman choked as she was eating jelly donut on Sunday 29 Kislev, and she was transported by Magen David Adom to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where she is listed in serious condition. She is on a respirator. Paramedic Yarit Farkash explained when she arrived, the woman’s state of consciousness was “foggy” and she tried to get her to cough up the obstruction but her ...    Full Story »

NY Lawmakers Call For Bullet-Proof Police Car Windows (1 opinions)

NY Lawmakers Call For Bullet-Proof Police Car WindowsFour state lawmakers are proposing that all police cars in New York state be retrofitted with bullet-proof glass after two New York City officers were gunned down in their car. The bill is being drafted by Assembly members Jim Tedisco and Nicole Malliotakis and senators Phil Boyle and Marty Golden, all Republicans. According to a news release Sunday, the legislation to be introduced ...    Full Story »

NYC Sees 25-Percent Drop In Tickets To Bicyclists (2 opinions)

NYC Sees 25-Percent Drop In Tickets To BicyclistsNew York City bicyclists are getting fewer tickets. The drop comes as biking safety is in a spotlight. The New York Post reported Monday that about 32,500 tickets have been issued to cyclists from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30. That's about 25 percent fewer than during the same period last year. The tickets can reflect offenses ranging from going the wrong way to going through red ...    Full Story »

United Flight From Seattle To Newark Makes Safe Emergency Landing In Spokane

United Flight From Seattle To Newark Makes Safe Emergency Landing In SpokaneEngine trouble forced a United Airlines flight heading from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey, to make an emergency landing in Spokane. KXLY reports that the Airbus A320 was diverted to the eastern Washington city Sunday night, where it landed safely with power from only one engine. United spokesman Charles Hobart says the airline flew in another aircraft to accommodate the 145 ...    Full Story »

Prosecutor: No Terror Link in France Car Rampage (1 opinions)

Prosecutor: No Terror Link in France Car RampageFrench officials called for vigilance but warned against jumping to conclusions Monday after a pair of weekend attacks - one in which a driver ran down 13 bystanders, and another in which a recent convert to Islam knifed police officers. The driver, who had a history of psychological problems, was arrested following the attack in the city Dijon in eastern France, while the assailant ...    Full Story »

FrumDivorce: Light Up the Night with Over 500 People

FrumDivorce: Light Up the Night with Over 500 PeopleThis Chanukah Frum Divorce, in cooperation with the Lev Shlomo foundation has joined forces to inspire and bring light and joy to children of divorced homes. This is a first ever such program. They have taken over the magnificent Hall of Science on Monday, December 22nd from 5-8 PM. Children will have the opportunity to be entertained and enjoy the myriad of different exhibits at the ...    Full Story »
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Has Yahadut Hatorah Launched a Website? (4 opinions)

Has Yahadut Hatorah Launched a Website?It is unlikely if voters will ever know if Yahadut Hatorah has launched this website which asks visitors to vote for nine of the persons to represent the tzibur in the next Knesset. A lookup of the owner of the domain Yahadut-hatorah.co.il shows Yahadut Yahadut LTD as the registered owner, Nisim Gain 31, Elad ...    Full Story »

Lapid Trying to Freeze Budget for Yehuda and Shomron (4 opinions)

Lapid Trying to Freeze Budget for Yehuda and ShomronYesh Atid leader Yair Lapid took his election campaign to southern Israel on Sunday 29 Kislev, visiting Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the communities that came under heavy fire during Operation Protective Edge during the summer of 2014. Lapid was met to the Eshkol Regional Council leader, Chaim Yellin, who recently announced he is joining the bid to land a slot in the Yesh Atid party’s ...    Full Story »

Right-Wing: Livni Crossed a Red Line! (1 opinions)

Right-Wing: Livni Crossed a Red Line!According to a Foreign Policy Magazine report from Friday, 27 Kislev 5775, former President Shimon Peres and The Movement party leader Tzipi Livni told US Secretary of State John Kerry that if the PA (Palestinian Authority) succeeds in pushing through its resolution in the UN Security Council, it would significantly boost the election campaign of right-wing parties in Israel. The ...    Full Story »

Killer Of 2 NYPD Officers Had Long Criminal History (5 opinions)

Killer Of 2 NYPD Officers Had Long Criminal HistoryThe gunman who fatally ambushed two police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, authorities said Sunday. Moments before opening fire, Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street and asked them to follow him on Instagram, ...    Full Story »

MK Yacimovich: The Idea of FM Lieberman Serving as PM Makes me Shudder (1 opinions)

MK Yacimovich: The Idea of FM Lieberman Serving as PM Makes me ShudderMK (Labor) Shelly Yacimovich came out in a strong statement against Yisrael Beitenu party leader Avigdor Lieberman. She stated that he must not be viewed as a candidate for the premiership, adding “the thought of him serving a prime minister makes me shudder”. It appears Yacimovich’s comments are compelled by recent statements made by Lieberman that he is not ruling out a ...    Full Story »

Price Tag Defendants Accept 30 Months Imprisonment in Plea Bargain Deal

Price Tag Defendants Accept 30 Months Imprisonment in Plea Bargain DealGilad Farm residents Yehuda Landsberg and Yehuda Savir were sentenced by the Lod District Court to 30 months imprisonment for crimes including conspiracy to commit crimes of a racist nature and incitement. The two admitted to their action in a plea bargain agreement accepted by the prosecution, charged with a so-called “price tag” attack against property of residents of the PA ...    Full Story »

No Unity Among the Arab Parties in Knesset (4 opinions)

No Unity Among the Arab Parties in KnessetIt is not just the Jewish coalition and opposition parties that seem to lack shalom bayis as the Arab parties have not yet reached agreement to run under a combined list. Should this be the case, some of the Arab parties would likely be eliminated as the minimum threshold to enter Knesset has risen from two to four seats. The Ra’am-Ta’al party has been negotiating with Hadash ...    Full Story »

Police Continue Arrests in Connection to the Lehava Organization

Police Continue Arrests in Connection to the Lehava OrganizationFollowing last week’s arrests of Bentzi Gupstein and others affiliated with the Lehava (להב"ה – למניעת התבוללות בארץ הקודש) (Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land) organization, police on Sunday 29 Kislev announced the arrests of ...    Full Story »

N. Korea Threatens Strikes On US Amid Hacking Claims

N. Korea Threatens Strikes On US Amid Hacking ClaimsPresident Barack Obama is "recklessly" spreading rumors of a Pyongyang-orchestrated cyberattack of Sony Pictures, North Korea says, as it warns of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism." Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea's massive propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington. But a long statement ...    Full Story »

Yishai Loyalists: Deri Did Not Keep His Word (2 opinions)

Yishai Loyalists: Deri Did Not Keep His WordPersons close to Eli Yishai on Sunday 29 Kislev responded to the Meet the Press interview with Aryeh Deri on motzei Shabbos. They are far from apologetic, simply explaining the person who fails to keep his end of the bargain should not point an accusing finger of blame at another. Deri told Channel 2’s Meet the Press that Yishai is betraying Shas and therefore Maran’s life work ...    Full Story »

Killings Of 2 NYPD Officers Trigger Backlash (4 opinions)

Killings Of 2 NYPD Officers Trigger BacklashCivil rights leaders Sunday condemned the ambush killings of two New York police officers and expressed fear that the backlash over the bloodshed could derail the protest movement that has grown out of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In the raw hours following the killing of the officers, police union officials and politicians accused those who have protested the deaths ...    Full Story »

France: Driver Slams Into Passersby In Rampage Yelling 'Allahu Akbar' (2 opinions)

France: Driver Slams Into Passersby In Rampage Yelling 'Allahu Akbar'A driver deliberately slammed his car into crowds around the city of Dijon in eastern France on Sunday, raising concerns at a time when Islamic extremists are calling for attacks in France. The Sunday night rampage came a day after a knife attack on police in another French town that counter-terrorist police are investigating. The government said the motive for Sunday's attack was ...    Full Story »

MK Erdan: Our Job is to Serve with Dedication

MK Erdan: Our Job is to Serve with DedicationInterior Minister (Likud) Gilad Erdan was honored last week to light Chanukah candles at the Kosel in the presence of Kosel Rav Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz Shlita, Jerusalem Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Aryeh Stern Shlita and Deputy Minister of Religious Services (Bayit Yehudi) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan. Rabbi Rabinowitz praised Erdan in his capacity as Interior Minister towards maintain achdus in ...    Full Story »

Christie To Obama: Demand Cuba Return FBI Most Wanted (2 opinions)

Christie To Obama: Demand Cuba Return FBI Most WantedNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie disagrees with President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba and wants the president to demand the immediate return of a convicted cop killer from the country “before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.” In a letter sent to the White House Friday and made public by his office ...    Full Story »

VIDEO: NYPD Officer Lights Menorah At Memorial Where Two Officers Were Executed (12 opinions)

VIDEO: NYPD Officer Lights Menorah At Memorial Where Two Officers Were Executed[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] A New York Police Department baseball cap surrounded by flowers, teddy bears and candles marks the spot where two police officers were killed by a gunman who was targeting law enforcement. Visitors including Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have gone to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section in Brooklyn to pay their respects to officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian ...    Full Story »


WATCH: Interesting Chassidish Minhag While Lighting Menorah - To Throw Towels At Person Lighting Candles

m [VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] [By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] It is one of those Chassidish Chanukah Minhagim that Litvaks generally don’t really go for. Nonetheless, it is a genuine Minhag that dates back hundreds of years. In a nutshell, this is what is done: In Chassidish communities of Poland and Hungary, it has been the custom when the Shamash is ready to light the Chanukah candles in shul, for children and others to throw hand towels and other items at him both before and during the lighting. The custom is still practiced today in numerous Chassidish minyanim. One can understain why Litvaks would not appreciate this particular custom. The Eliyahu Rabbah writes that talking to someone in the middle of a bracha may constitute Lifnei Iver – certainly throwing items at a person may cause a person to lose focus. There is the other issue of decorum within a shul and Beis Midrash as well. Yet, on the other hand, is said that the Tzeshinover Rebbe was informed that one city that formerly had the practice had abolished it. He remarked, “Who knows what shall become of this city.” It is brought down that the Jewish community in that city was decimated r”l (See Pninei Chassidus [Vishnitz] page 31). What is the reason for this custom and where does it come from? The custom is cited in the name of the Sanzer Rav, but quite feasibly could have dated before this as well. The Halichos Chaim, written by Rabbi Aharon Kluger cites the minhagim of the Klausenberger Rebbe Rav Yekusiel Halbershtam (Chanukah p.18) and explains that the purpose of this custom was to vividly demonstrate how things were during the time of the Greeks and the Hellenists when a Jew wished to perform a Mitzvah. He was laughed and jeered at, unless the Mitzvah was performed in their specific Hellenizing way. Yet another given for this custom by the Klausenberger Rebbe is that on the chance that the Shamash feels a sense of empowerment and haughtiness in fulfilling this Mitzvah so publicly. The clothing and towels are thrown at him to demonstrate that he has accomplished nothing (See Yehi Ohr 5733 p.67). Yet a third reason is that both Lag BaOmer and Chanukah are connected to the Neshama of Rabbi Shimon Br Yochai. Tzaddikim are a type of Ohr HaMakif – all-encompassing light, according to the writings of the AriZal. Clothing signify this, therefore the custom is to throw clothing which signifies the all-encompassing light of Tzaddikim in this world (See Ben Yehoyada Sanhedrin 102a as cited in Nachalas Sadeh VaYikrah page 611). The custom to light in shul only dates to the times of the late Rishonim. It is interesting to note that neither the Rambam, the Rif, the Rosh, the Ohr Zaruah, the Eshkol, Rashi, nor the Machzor Vitri mentions the custom of lighting in shul. The earliest authority to mention the custom is the Baal HaIttur. Indeed, the first to mention that a blessing is recited is Rav Yitzchok Perfet, the Rivash (1326-1408). The Maharam Shick (YD) stated that the Chasam Sofer actually did not recite a blessing when lighting in shul. As far as lighting in shul in general, there are two reasons brought down. The Chayei Odom (154:17) explains that we light and recite the blessing in the synagogue because of Pirsumei Nisah – publicizing the miracle. The Levush (#8) gives a different reason. He says that it is so that guests who have no place to stay could also see the Chanukah lights. Dayan Weiss (Minchas Yitzchok Vol. VI 65:1) explains that according to the first reason a child who has reached the age of Chinuch may light in the Synagogue; while according to the Levush’s reason he may not. Rav Elyashiv zt”l (as cited in Yashiv Moshe p.86) states that according to either reason a child may not light in shul. Rav Elyashiv made no mention, however, about children throwing towels at the shamash. It is likely that he would not have been happy with this custom. The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY 5TJT

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WATCH: NYPD Officers Turn Their Backs At Mayor de Blasio At Pres Conference (6 opinions)

NYPD officers turn their backs on Bill de Blasio as he walked into Saturday’s press conference about NYPD officers shot and killed execution-style, in Brooklyn.

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