Above Art by 
 studied art at Vilnius University. As Schubert was in music, the precociously talented Mikhtom was amazingly spontaneous and prolific, working with considerable ease on a wide variety of illustrations, graphics and memorable pieces of art. He was a founding member of intellectually active Yiddish writers and artists called Jung Vilne. He was also the artist-in-residence a Jewish puppet-theater in Vilnius. However, he was best known for his creation of moving portraits and scenes of Jewish life in Litvakia, often with people at work. Rarely, if ever, did the artist use oil, preferring pencil, ink and watercolors throughout most of his aborted career. And what became of this outstanding man? He was slaughtered in Ponar by Wehrmacht troops in September 1941. Most of his works were destroyed. Many were stolen. Some survived. Fortunately, some have been recovered. A representative display of Mikhtom's work may be found at Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum and on Jewish Art Network.

 Saturday, 18th of Tevet, 5771
Saturday, 25th of December 2010 
Saturday 4th of Dey, 1389

Weekly Torah Portion

The Israelites are slaves to Pharaoh and God instructs Moses to liberate his people. Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh, who refuses their request.

A New Pharaoh Rises
The sons of Israel in Egypt were fruitful in births, and the people grew strong. Now a new Pharaoh rose up over Egypt who knew nothing of Joseph. This Pharaoh was worried that the Israelite nation was too mighty. First he levied a tax on them, then he decided to make them slaves.

Promises of Hope, Threats of Destruction.

Samaria, the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, was destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 BCE. In the haftarah read by Ashkenazim this week, Isaiah gives a prophecy concerning Israel, explaining why it fell to its enemies, but also giving hope for a future of redemption.
Though Isaiah's primary concern is to bring a message of doom for Israel, he begins noting that eventually, "Israel shall sprout and blossom, and the face of the world shall be covered with fruit" (27:6).

 About Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935),

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), the celebrated first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, is recognized as being among the most important Jewish thinkers of all times. His writings reflect the mystic's search for underlying unity in all aspects of life and the world, and his unique personality similarly united a rare combination of talents and gifts.

Rav Kook was a prominent rabbinical authority and active public leader, but at the same time, a deeply religious mystic. He was both Talmudic scholar and poet, original thinker and saintly tzaddik.


"God's angel appeared to [Moses] in the heart of a fire, in the midst of a thorn-bush. ... Moses hid his face, since he was afraid to look at God." (Ex. 3:2,6)

Going To Peace 
After agreeing to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses took leave of his father-in-law. Jethro blessed Moses "Go in peace" (Ex. 4:18). Actually, Jethro said "Go to peace." The Talmud (Berachot 64a) picks up on this fine nuance

"I Will Be Who I Will Be"
 Mosess was not excited with the idea of leading the Jewish people out of Egypt. He foresaw many of the difficulties in the assignment, including gaining the trust of the Hebrew slaves.

"God's angel appeared to Moses in the heart of a fire
, in the midst of a thorn-bush." (Ex. 3:2)
Why did God choose a sneh, a thorn-bush to reveal 
Himself to Moses?A Cure for Fever

Appearing in a burning bush, God charged Moses with the task of leading the Jewish people out of Egypt. Moses, however, had doubts about the feasibility of the mission:

When God informed Moses that he was to bring the Jewish people out of Egypt, Moses did not accept the assignment happily. "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" (Ex. 3:11) The Midrash explained Moses' objection with the following parable:

When Moses expressed his doubts whether the people would believe that he was sent by God, God gave him a sign — but one that implied displeasure in Moses' lack of faith in his people..

Jewish LIFE
A selection of laws and stories about brit milah.

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