Stopping in Tachana Merkazit on a Snowy Morning

By Batsheva Haber

Whose buses these are I think I know.
But he’s at home, playing with the snow;
He will not see me sitting here
To wait until said buses will go…*

Ok, I don’t know what Robert Frost was thinking! His horse was right “to think him queer”! The snow is not a time to be sitting around waiting. If you have transportation – get a move on it – and fast, before your horse crashes down and you’re stuck waiting with the rest of us for the buses to start running.

And what was Frost so excited to watch?! Yes, snow is cool to look at, but after about 10 minutes, you start getting bored. It has now been 6 hours since I first got to tachana merkazit, (so proud of myself for getting up early to leave on a 6:40 bus so I can make it home before they close the roads) and no sign of busses anytime soon.

So here, for your enjoyment, and because I am that bored, a list of things to do when stuck in Tachana Mercazit during a Snow Storm:

  1. Complain – this is your civil duty as an Israeli, the louder you are the better.
  2. Complain about those complaining around you. People, it’s only snow!
  3. People watch – a classic, but it never gets old.
  4. Go exploring around the Tachana. Did you know there is a hallway that connects the food court with the escalators? I do.
  5. While you’re at it, know that 4th floor waiting center you never wait at? Go up there and do some waiting (it’s actually kinda nice…)
  6. Try and find all the places that people are hanging their coats to dry.IMG_20131212_114941 (1)
  7. Once you’re doing that, find all the places where water leaks into the tachana. Store away that info for further evil plans to flood the place next time egged annoys you by running late.
  8. Count the amount of soldiers who try to impress some girls by boldly stating that they are going to walk to the Gush, taking their stuff, and leaving. (3 so far)
  9. Speculate how far they will get before turning around. (One was already spotted on the second floor).
  10. Go outside and try to start a snowball fight with strangers.
  11. Realize that strangers get annoyed when you throw snow at them. Also realize that it’s cold outside, so go back in.
  12. Look down on people who have only been waiting 1 hour, you have a long way to go youngster, till you’ve earned your complaining rights!
  13. Statistics homework (at least something good came out of this).
  14. Realize that you have almost no more battery left and that both your computer and phone are about to die. Start the hunt for an outlet. This is like the hunger games – only the strong survive – or have a charged battery.
  15. Come to the Realization that you are way behind the game, all the outlets have been taken long ago.
  16. I mean ALL the outlets!!
    People will get very creative when faced with the possibility of no technology.
  17. Try to remember what people did before cellphones and laptops.
  18. Set up a stakeout on an outlet. SUCCESS! My battery shall live to entertain me for another hour!!
  19. Politely say no to anyone who now wants to take your outlet from you, but offer them to connect their cellphones to your laptop – also leeches survive in Darwinism…
  20. Taste test all the coffees in the Tachana Merkazit (results to come).
  21. Hate on anyone who is uploading happy pictures of themselves having fun in the snow.
  22. Hate on the fact that you’re hating on the snow.
  23. “100 buses parked in the tachana, 100 buses in the tachana, kvish 1 opens, one bus leaves, 99 buses parked in the tachana…”
  24. Try to start a flash mob.
  25. Get super excited when the announcements being made over the loudspeaker change from “Boker Tov” to “Tzohorayim Tovim”.
  26. Then remember that that just means you’ve been here for sooo long, stop being excited and start being annoyed again.
  27. Try to do all those things you say you’ll do “if you ever have the time.”
  28. Remember why it is that you never have “the time”, you don’t actually want to do those things.
  29. Consider getting one of those massive hotdogs you always pass by in the Tachana.
  30. But then you’ll be Fleishk and no more coffee tasting – battle it out in your head, coffee wins this time, but good fight meat, maybe next time.
  31. Hate on anyone not from the Gush, why are buses going to other places??? It’s not fair!
  32. Realize that things are less crowded now that they left. Stop hating and be happy about it!
  33. Meet some new people. might as well be social, we’ve spent all this time together in one building…
  34. Consider hijacking a bus. But then turn down that idea, after realizing that driving a bus, through the snow, when I don’t even have a license to drive a car – not such a good idea… I guess I’m stuck here… Feel free to send me any more ideas, I’ll be happy to try them out.

* Shout out to Madeline, my elementary school English teacher, I guess learning Robert Frost, did come in handy some day.


Is Avrohom Meir Weiss obligated to give his wife a Get?

By Batsheva Haber

RImageecently an article published in the NY post has been circling the Jewish community. The article tells the story of Gital Dodelson and her 3 ½ year battle for halachic devorce from her husband Avrohom Meir Weiss. In response the Weiss family published a statement describing a different narrative of the divorce process and custody issues over their son Aryeh.

I am not going to take a side in the divorce case, I do not know the entire story. Likewise, I am not familiar with much of the divorce laws or process. Therefore, I cannot rightfully take a stand on who is right in these issues. But I don’t really care, because Mr. Weiss, there is NO excuse for a man to withhold a get from his wife! Not now, not ever.

I do not know what Hashem’s reasons were for placing the entire halachic divorce process in the husband’s power, but I am sure that it was not so he can have the upper hand in the settlement agreements. The halacha is not a bargaining piece that you can use for your personal benefit! Demanding that certain agreements be made before you grand a get, is not a legitimate move, but an act of bizayon ha’torah!

It is very clear what chazal think of one who uses the Torah for personal gain. In Avot, D, 5, we see the following Mishnah:

רבי צדוק אומר: אל תעשם עטרה להתגדל בהם, ולא קרדום לחפור בהם.

וכך היה הלל אומר: ודאשתמש בתגא, חלף.

הא למדת, כל הנהנה מדברי תורה, נוטל חייו מן העולם.

Rabbi Tzadok used to say: Do not make the Torah a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, nor use it as a spade with which to dig.
As Hillel used to say: He who makes worldly use of the crown of the Torah shall perish.
Thus you may infer that any one who exploits the words of the Torah removes himself from the world of life.

There is no room for questions here. Torah was not intended to advance your personal goals and wishes and should never be used as such!

If you were in Israel, where marriage and divorce are governed by Jewish law, you would be sitting in jail right now, because what you are doing is a CRIME. You may argue that this is a modern law, and not necessary the halachic approach. You would be right, according to traditional law you would be beaten by the beit din until willing to give a get. [Rambam, Hilchot Gerushin, B, 20]

I ask you to end this immediately. I ask this of you not as a man putting a woman through a terrible ordeal, nor even as a father who is forcing his son to grow up in a torn family, but as a religious Jew who believes in the Torah. Can you honestly attempt to live as an Eved Hashem, while using his Godly law to achieve the upper hand in your worldly agreements?

Yerushalaim – Ir Shechubra la Yachdav?

Two days ago, on Yom Yerushalaim, I left my office on King George Street and stood for a moment to just take things in. It was beautiful, Jews from all over the religious spectrum gathered around to celebrate the beautiful city that unites us all. Walking through the crowd of blue and white, I was truly uplifted, here in front of my eyes was a fulfillment of the nevuot describing masses rushing to Hashem’s city. When presented with such a sight I truly felt that I am living in the time of the geulah, Am Yisrael is ready! It’s time for the Beit Hamikdash once again to stand upon Har Habayit and for Hashem’s glory to once again shine over the world. So what is God waiting for?

Little did I know that my answer was only two days away. Today, like every other Rosh Chodesh, the Woman of the Wall gathered in what some would call a minyan, others a protest. But this Rosh Chodesh they were not the only group to gather at the Kotel. Women from the ultra-orthodox community, came together as a counter-statement to the Woman of the Wall. A heated and almost violent dispute quickly broke out amongst the two groups.

Without getting into the controversial debate surrounding this story, I’d like to focus on this dispute, and what it says about the state of the Jewish people today.

Jews all over the world pray toward Jerusalem, expressing the common hope for final redemption by focusing on the center of our universe. The Kotel should be a place that brings us all together, one where we can put our differences aside and be one nation. However, that is not the case today. The Kotel has become a center for religious disputes. Not a place of common prayer and worship, but a place of politics, of protests and occasionally, even hatred.

Have we learnt nothing in the 2,000 years we spent in galut?  Can we not remember that the last Beit Hamikdash was destroyed by people who were so focused on their personal growth and connection to Hashem, that they forgot about the people surrounding them. The famous story from the Gemara  comes to mind, where two Kohanim, both so intent on getting the opportunity to serve Hashem, raced up the ramp to the mizbeach. When one Kohen took the lead, the other pulled out his knife and stabbed him. The surrounding witnesses who saw this they were appalled, but not because of the cold-hearted murder, but rather at the thought that a dead body in the Beit Hamikdash’s courtyard would impair their worship to Hashem by rendering the tools impure. [Yoma, 23a]

Is this not the same issue we have before us today? Perhaps not on such a vulgar or dramatic level, but the same ideals are at play here. We are all so focused on worshiping Hashem in our own way that we forget about the other people in our nation. I would like to emphasize that both sides are to blame here! Both sides are so devoted to getting their point across that they forget that at the end of the day, we’re one nation, with one common goal.

These thoughts reminded me of something I witnessed at the Kotel a few years ago. An older woman aggressively pushed aside the girl standing next to me in order to get closer to the wall. After yelling something at the girl, about how she needs to let other people through, the woman turned towards the Kotel, and with tears in her eyes said: “Hashem, why are you not bringing Mashiach?” This woman was completely unaware of the irony in her actions. She sincerely meant to pour her heart out to Hashem, and did not realize who she hurt along the way.

I have to ask myself, if we did have a Beit Hamikdash today, what would it be like? Would it be the center of the Jewish people uniting us all, or would it be just one more opportunity for us to express our differences. I now must rephrase my earlier question. We truly are living in the Geulah, God has returned us to Israel and to Yerushalayim. It’s time for the beit hamikdash once again to stand upon Har Habayit and for Hashem’s glory to once again shine over the world. So what are WE waiting for?!