Portland Jewish Hour 7/4/21

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Air date: 
Sun, 07/04/2021 - 10:00am to 11:00am
July 4th Edition

"Preface

26  Rav Moshe often said that he was the last official Rav in Russia. After the Revolution, the Communists could not openly prohibit rabbanus because it was permitted by the Soviet Constitution, but they imposed a heavy "parasite tax" or "bourgeoisie tax" on rabbanim. In order to avoid the tax, many rabbanim resigned from their official positions, though they would remain in town to serve the needs of the people. Rav Moshe, however, said that this was forbidden under the injunction of יהרג ואל יעבור, which sometimes demands the forfeiture of one's life. Whenever a rabbi resigned from the rabbanus, the Communist newspapers would carry a gloating report that another rabbi had given up his "decadent religion." Rav Moshe refused to resign because it would have amounted to כפירה, or renouncing faith in Hashem and His Torah."

(Responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein, trans. by Moshe David Tendler; Vol. 1: Care of the Critically Ill, Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1996.)

America is a work in progress, a lab experiment that is being tweaked, one variable at a time.  Americans move forward, Americans move back, but we at least have a framework to build freedom from.  I have been to Jewish services where people praised communism, from an affluent, privileged Portlander vantage point.  The same people who would not give me the time of day for being a Tradesman.  We Americans love to romanticize isms while forgetting the ism that bore us in the first place.  Judaism is about moving from 'avdus' to 'cherus', from slavery to freedom (Passover Haggadah).  This does not only mean physical shackles, but mental manacles as well.

Jews have been on the ground here since the very inception of colonialism to the continent.  We came from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to seek the freedom to practice Judaism while seeking “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (US Declaration of Independence).  Jews had their share of antisemitism here, but we managed to create a thriving presence.  There is a dichotomy in all the fluff.  Not everyone on the land was able to pursue these ‘unalienable rights.  We must remember the Indigenous Native Peoples who were removed and displaced, the Africans who were brought over on slave ships to build and farm this new country with their own lives and centuries of oppression, and many other groups who were made to live in a marginalized limbo and still fight for the basic ‘unalienable rights’.

The United States does not make Rabbis pay ‘parasite taxes’ like the Soviet Union.  The law proclaims that one may worship as they choose.  The law proclaims that all are created equal under the law.  However, we Americans have a history of not treating everyone with the same accord as a member of whatever group we identify with.  In my life, I have been the one that was not treated as the adult in the room when there was someone that was a bird of a feather to my boss.  I have been the one that did not match up to my peer’s architype of management.  I have been told that because I am dammed for not agreeing with them, I may as well be treated harshly.  Perhaps this interpersonal, communal equity of the unalienable rights is our final frontier.  The Tractate of Bava Metzia 111A notes the difference between oppression and stealing.  Oppression is to keep saying, come back later, and never actually doing anything.  Stealing is more transactional.  Americans do not believe that we tolerate theft, but both sides still allow oppression.  May it be the will of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, that our society seeks truth, justice, and peace.  May we obliterate oppression amongst our nation.  V’imru Amen!!

 

May the 4th be with you!!

 

Love ,

      Chaim

                            

Episode Playlist

  • Time
    10:00
    Artist
    Nachas
    Song
    אודה ה׳
    Album
    בשכר זה
    Label
    Nachas Music
  • Time
    10:03
    Artist
    APM Karaoke (Chaim Wolin - Voice)
    Song
    Star Spangled Banner (Low Key) [Karaoke Version]
    Album
    Karaoke Hits: American Orchestra, Vol. 2
    Label
  • Time
    10:05
    Artist
    Mama Doni Band
    Song
    Jewish Cowgirl (Remix)
    Album
    Shabbat Shaboom
    Label
    MVD Audio
  • Time
    10:08
    Artist
    Cantor Rebecca Garfein
    Song
    God Bless America
    Album
    Golden Chants in America...Commemorating 350 Years of Jewish Music
    Label
    Bari Productions, Inc.
  • Time
    10:11
    Artist
    Nefesh Mountain
    Song
    Singin' Jewish Girl
    Album
    Nefesh Mountain
    Label
    Nefesh Mountain
  • Time
    10:15
    Artist
    Warner/Chappell Productions
    Song
    Kasbah
    Album
    Essence of the Middle East
    Label
    Warner/Chappell Production Music
  • Time
    10:17
    Artist
    Nissim Black
    Song
    Od Yishama
    Album
    Lemala
    Label
    LittleBox Records
  • Time
    10:21
    Artist
    Kinky Friedman
    Song
    We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You
    Album
    Sold American (30th Anniversary Edition)
    Label
    Vanguard Records
  • Time
    10:25
    Artist
    Various Artists
    Song
    Make Those Waters Part
    Album
    American Jewish Summer: Songs of the Jewish Youth Camping Movement
    Label
    Jewish Music Group
  • Time
    10:29
    Artist
    Chaim Wolin
    Song
    In Heaven There is No Beer (feat. Frankie Yankovic)
    Album
    2020
    Label
  • Time
    10:33
    Artist
    Pasternak & The Children Choir
    Song
    Leaving Mother Russia
    Album
    The Best of Jewish Songs
    Label
    Tara Music
  • Time
    10:39
    Artist
    Danny Maseng
    Song
    Ma Tovu
    Album
    American Jewish Summer: Songs of the Jewish Youth Camping Movement
    Label
    Jewish Music Group
  • Time
    10:43
    Artist
    Socalled featuring Theodore Bikel, Teah, & Susan Hoffman-Watz
    Song
    (Rock the) Belz [feat. Ssan Hoffman-Watz, Teah & Theodore Bikel]
    Album
    Holla! It's Hannukah! The Very Best Jewish Rap
    Label
  • Time
    10:46
    Artist
    Nachas
    Song
    Emes
    Album
    Emes
    Label
    Nachas Music
  • Time
    10:50
    Artist
    Arthur Rubinstein
    Song
    Nocturnes, Op. 15: No. 3 in G Minor
    Album
    Chopin: Nocturnes
    Label
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