I have read with interest and appreciation the comments of Rav Yoel Schonfeld, in your issue prior to Pesach, regarding the importance of proper dress during davening. A letter to the editor took issue with Rabbi Schonfeld and felt that a person should dress, while davening, in a way that makes one feel “comfortable.”
For many years, I have interviewed prospective dental students wanting to attend a highly regarded dental school. The men wear ties and jackets, and the women dress very appropriately. They dress to impress the interviewer as if their lives depended on it. Once they are accepted and attend school, they dress the way that they feel “comfortable.”
I once saw a man davening, in shul on Shabbos, in clothes more suitable for playing ball. I asked him if this were the way he would dress if he was trying to impress or honor an important person. His answer was “Yes.” A few weeks later, I saw him at his son’s bar mitzvah. He was dressed in a tie, jacket, and shoes. This is the way he should be dressed when davening, and not just on Shabbos.
The Mishnah B’rurah states that a person, while davening, should feel as if he is standing before a king. After 120 years, we will all have our interview before the King of Kings. Do you want to appear before Him in your everyday dress of sneakers and ordinary “comfortable” clothes, or do you want to impress and honor Him? Like the prospective student, your life depends on it.
You have this opportunity every day of the week.
Hoping that all had a chag kasher v’samei’ach,
I must disagree with my friend Rabbi Schonfeld’s premise in his article “On Second Thought” (QJL, 4/20/23).
Pointing out President Biden’s praise for Ilhan Omer or VP Harris’ commendation of Al Sharpton does nothing whatsoever to diminish Trump’s unapologetic dinner with avowed anti-Semites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. Two wrongs do not excuse either of them. Discussing the failures of the Biden (or any other Democratic) administration should not cause Rabbi Schonfeld to have “second thoughts” about Trump. Both Trump and Biden are unfit candidates. There are other far superior candidates running for the Republican nomination.
Although, as Rabbi Schonfeld mentions, there were accomplishments emanating from the Trump administration, the fact that Trump attempted to steal the 2020 election and promote The Big Lie of the “stolen election” and thereby dismiss democracy, has forfeited his chance to ever hold public office again. Therefore, Rabbi Schonfeld should have no “second thoughts” on Trump’s fitness for office.
If, G-d forbid, Trump does become the Republican nominee, Biden will win the election. Trump is the only Republican who would lose to Biden. There are other Republicans (most notably Ron DeSantis) whose administration would have comparable and likely superior achievements to those of the Trump administration without the cruelty, corruption, lack of intellect, and the baggage that Trump brings.
A vote for Trump in the Republican Primary is a vote for Biden in the general election.
May is around the corner. I’m a big fan of this month, but not because of “Cinco de Mayo.” First of all, it’s a one-syllable month, which is easy to spell and pronounce. True, June is also one syllable, but I’ve always associated it with Regents examinations, so it’s far from my favorite month.
May is also the month of Pesach Sheini (Sheini being the operative word), Lag BaOmer, and Shavuos. I look forward to the cheesecake even though I’m lactose intolerant. Lag BaOmer reminds me of the picnics we had when I went to yeshivah. The middle of May reminds me of graduation from graduate school and getting engaged.
Yet, the most trying part of May is S’firah – not that I mind the rest that I’m giving to my credit card by not shopping or getting my hair cut. Instead, S’firah is a challenge to the mathematically challenged individuals. Quick: 32 days equals x number of weeks and y number of days!
Then there’s Mother’s Day. When the Torah refers to kibud av va’eim, I don’t think it meant running to T.J. Maxx and buying your mother her eighth white (because it’s spring) pocketbook. I’d always get out of this problem of what gift to get my mother by reassuring her that every day is Mother’s Day and that I’m a constant gift to her. I also refused to enrich Hallmark by spending money on their corny cards.
Finally, May is 31 days dedicated to re-cleaning the house that your family (I love them) has trashed. Matzah crumbs are pervasive in places you never imagined. Of course, there are also the Pesach pots that are so nice that you’ve decided to make them chametz. Don’t complain to me next Pesach when you have to buy new pots, another urn, and a new blech! Better yet, start putting away $2,000 a month to take that Pesach dream trip with your family to _______ (Fill in the blank).
Politically correct liberal “Birds of a Feather” flock together. First, Vice President Kamala Harris flies to Memphis, Tennessee, in a show of solidarity to meet with state representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson. All three participated in a demonstration promoting gun control in the Tennessee legislative chamber, disrupting proceedings to protest the school shootings.
While in town, Harris could not find time to meet with the two brave police officers who shot and killed the school shooter, saving many more lives. She was too busy to meet with the families who lost loved ones or other victims.
Not to be outdone, now we have President Biden inviting the same three legislators to the White House. No invitations for families who lost loved ones, two brave police officers, or any of the families of shooting victims.
What a sad commentary on the moral bankruptcy of both Biden and Harris. Americans deserve better.
Great Neck, New York
Maybe Donald Trump should not have been denounced for hosting Kanye West, the-then-anti-Semite, after al.
I wrote a letter to this paper months ago in response to Donald Trump inviting West to his dinner, that we should not denounce Trump for doing so. I said that it does not reflect on Trump being cavalier about anti-Semitism, but rather that Trump wanted to keep Kanye under his wing in order to dissuade him away from his anti-Semitism. Maybe the Jewish community, in denouncing Trump, felt that it was an easy thing to do because it looked like Trump was losing his status as the Republican frontrunner anyway.
Well, fast-forward a few months and it is clear at this point (and grant that things could still change) that Trump is far in the lead to be the Republican nominee for president. We also now see from our own rabbinical consultant to this paper a softening, perhaps, in his past condemnation of Trump for the West debacle by saying that Biden has his own association with anti-Semites, namely his approval of the “Squad” of Rashida Tlaib, and most recently praising Ilhan Omar. On top of all, we see that Kanye West, as I predicted, did not even remain with his anti-Semitic position. He has since retracted his anti-Semitic statements after having seen Jonah Hill, who is a Jew, in a movie called 21 Jump Street and now says, “I like Jewish people again.” I knew that West would not remain with that mishegas of his anti-Semitism – that it was an unbridled emotional outburst perhaps from his being bipolar, and that it should not be elevated and judged as we would a statement from Louis Farrakhan. Perhaps I was proven right.
“Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” was Laverntity Beria’s infamous boast. Beria was a ruthless secret police chief under Stalin’s reign of terror. In this way, Stalin weaponized the legal system to liquidate his opponents. Beria is dead, but his spirit is alive and well in the Democratic Party. The latest example of this weaponized legalization is the phony indictment of Donald Trump by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.
Bragg claims that Trump is guilty of misreporting a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. For this “heinous crime,” Bragg wants Trump to spend the rest of his life behind bars. I am no lawyer, but even I can see many problems with this case.
- Trump did not make any hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the payments. Cohen stated at the time in writing that Trump was not involved with the hush money payments and that he took full responsibility. Cohen now claims that he lied, and Trump told him to make the payment and reimbursed him for it. If the primary witness admits he is a liar, the case is very weak.
- Trump made various payments to Michael Cohen for legal work. The payments that Trump made to Cohen were listed as legal expenses. Bragg claims some of these payments were made as hush money payments and not legal expenses. However, if these payments were made to prevent a lawsuit by Stormy against Donald Trump, then the payments were properly listed as legal expenses. If the payments were made because Stormy was threatening to go public about an alleged affair, then Stormy is guilty of blackmail and Stormy is the criminal and Trump is the victim.
- Even if we ignore the above facts, the crime of misrepresenting an expense is only a misdemeanor, which carries with it a two-year statute of limitations. Since this alleged “crime” occurred in 2017, the window of time to charge Trump has expired.
- Bragg tries to get around this problem by claiming that this “crime” was actually made to hide another crime and therefore the statute of limitations would not apply. However, Bragg has refused to say what this other crime is.
- The judge presiding over the case has Trump Derangement Syndrome and is a donator to the Democratic Party. His daughter is a left-wing activist. In addition, the jury pool in Manhattan is so biased against Trump that he cannot get a fair trial.
- Bragg has been increasing crime in New York City by releasing violent criminals into the streets. But when it comes to Trump, he has the temerity to say that “no one is above the law.” Bragg is a political hack and he is an embarrassment to our city and our country.