President Donald Trump and his administration have long been on a path to diminish Palestinian declarations of statehood. The Trump administration recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel, and in a historic move relocated the American embassy to Yerushalayim. David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, is recognized for engaging the White House on such a transference, and must be commended for his painstaking efforts since assuming his position.

The recent comments by freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib during a podcast have been discussed thoroughly in the Jewish, and non-Jewish, community. Tlaib, who spun an ahistorical lie that the surviving Jews of the Holocaust were welcomed with open arms by her Palestinian ancestors, has her defenders in the Democratic Party. The nefarious aspect of the defense tactics is not claiming that she is right; rather, they attack the criticizers themselves. By doing this, their goal is to silence their opponents, and this silence has a history all its own.

Not only one has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation they rise against us to annihilate us.” These words, recited during the most emotional point of the Pesach Seder, still ring true, despite the incredible freedoms American Jews enjoy. Six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, last week another shooting occurred at the Chabad in Poway, California. A few days earlier, The New York Times published a cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depicted as a big-nosed dog with a Jewish star necklace leading a yarmulke-wearing, blind President Trump. Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in many forms, and American Jews must be knowledgeable of who our enemies are and where they come from if we are to continue to survive.

Under New York law, there are several recognized grounds to contest a Will, which are as follows: Lack of Due Execution, Lack of Testamentary Capacity, Revocation, Fraud, Undue Influence/Duress, and Forgery. It is important to note that Mistake is not considered valid grounds to contest a Will.  In addition, an individual seeking to contest or object to a Will (an “Objectant”) must have “standing”.  In order to have standing one must be a beneficiary under the propounded Will (a “Legatee”), be a descendant of the decedent (a “Distributee”), or have an affected pecuniary interest; i.e., they would receive less under this propounded Will or would receive a greater share of the decedent’s estate if the propounded Will was deemed invalid and disregarded by the Court.

There is much in this world

We don’t understand.

Sometimes we must just say,

“Well, G-d has a plan.”

But we do have direction,

It’s a straight path, because

We were given a roadmap:

The Torah and its laws.

 

Mishpatim, the laws

By which we live,

Are rational and intuitive,

They appeal to our logic.

They feel correct,

They align with our morals

And intellect.

 

Conversely, a chok

Seems nebulous;

It doesn’t make much sense to us.

Why do some of Hashem’s commands

Defy explanation,

Subject us to the ridicule

Of the nations?

Their rationale is elusive,

But the discerning still attempt

To cull shards of insight,

To learn what is meant.

 

The discipline and commitment

To chukim instill

Pure obedience to G-d’s will.

 

At Y’tzias Mitzrayim

The whole world saw

Hashem’s existence,

His Might and Awe.

The world was G-d’s plaything

When He set the Hebrews free.

But this awareness

Was witnessed externally.

 

At Matan Torah, revelation

Reached each soul directly.

All who were there

Received prophecy.

The milkmaid, as well as

Forefathers of kings,

All gathered under,

The Sh’chinah’s Wings.

Beyond our boundaries

Of capacity,

Post-rational consciousness,

Veracity.

 

In every moment,

Of every season,

Truth resides in a realm

Beyond human reason.

Judaism does not reject

Rationale, when it’s shown.

But, it is seen as

A stepping stone

To something higher,

Extraordinary and sublime:

Something that eclipses

Space and time.

 

Nine red heifers

Were burnt;

Their ashes purified.

There will be a tenth

When Mashiach arrives.

 

HaKadosh Baruch Hu,

Your chukim elude us, yet

Your chesed always

Precedes emes.

Please forgive us

When we stumble

Through the challenges we face;

We turn to You,

For You receive us with grace.

As we struggle

To decipher life’s acronym,

Mysterious as the ways

Of your chukim.

By Sharon Marcus