Monday, April 11, 2005



For years I used to buy "shmurah matzah" wanting to be the best Jew I could. We bought hand made shmurah matzah, sometimes paying as much as 120 kilos for it. Something about spending about 80-120 Shekels a kilo on "lachma anya" (bread of poverty) gnawed at me though. I knew I was kidding myself and not acting in the true spirit of Pesach. I came to the conclusion that this is a travesty. Shmurah matzah is just one of the "chidushim" (religious innovations) of recent times aimed at keeping the religious communities dependent upon the Rabbis by povertizing them.

The packages that are delivered to the poor in Israel before Pesach contain regualar, store-bought matzah. If that lachma anya is good enough for them, it's good enough for us.

I bought regular matzah this year and intend to do so in the future.

Regular matzah also make the best k'neidlach, BTW :0).

Chag Kasher, Same'ach and Ken (Honest)

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat

Saturday, April 09, 2005



Available at:

I purchased this some months ago and am absolutely delighted with it.

Upon purchase, you will be shown how to access the books at once. You will also receive disks that will allow you to copy the library onto your hard drive in a couple of weeks.

You must have a recent version of Adobe Acrobat downloaded to read the books. If you do not, you can download it from the Adobe site within seconds (on an ADSL modum, a few minutes on a slower modum) for free.

Copying the material onto your hard drive is a bit more complicated than copying ordinary disks, but well worth the effort. You will be receiving 100 major works, some in more than one volume, and the Jewish Encyclopedia in 12 volumes.

Just follow the directions you are given carefully and copying the disks will be accomplished without undue difficulty.

You can contact the company for support, if you need it.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Difference Between Faith and Knowledge of God

There is a way of thinking about God that inevitably leads nowhere. It is the thinking of God only in the third person. It is the belief that some great Being other than and outside of oneself has the power to affect your life. What is paradoxical is that you believe that this Power that isn't you has the power to affect your life as you would want it to be affected. That is magical thinking. Essentially, it is the substitution of one addiction for another, and it always fails in the end leaving us utterly bereft of hope. You are setting yourself up for a terrible let down. None are more disillusioned than those who thought of God this way and found it isn't true. They are left with nothing and they hit a terrible bottom.

There is another way of thinking about God that does work. It is the knowledge that God is the first person, second person and third person, singular and plural. That means simply that you experience, not believe but experience, everything as an expression of God - you, others, everything around you. Surely God is also transcendent to everything in creation, but this type of experience also allows you to experience your own awesome Holy Power and that of other Human beings, as well as everything in creation. You will not be disillusioned if you see things this way.

You will come to understand prayer as not being a plaint to another Being, but as a call to and mobilization of God within you and within all creation for good. Everything in creation has the ability, right and even the responsibility to send out this clarion call to the All to come to fight for the right. It is the same Power within you, within us and within every created thing. You cannot fail this way.

This is the difference between faith and Knowledge of God.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I've read this statement a number of times since the Pope passed away in similar form:

Quote: "I don't agree with all his ideas but I still think the world will miss him."

How amazing that the Catholics have matured to the point that they can express disagreement with some of what the Pope did or said or believed!

For a very long time in history that was unthinkable.

It is still unthinkable for many Chassidic Jews who attribute absolute infallibility to their Rabbis. There are many ultra-Orthodox Jews today who would not dare to say that they do not agree with their Rabbis.

It is still unthinkable for many Muslims too.

Although I do not accept the tenets of Catholicism, I do see them as a model of spiritual and moral and intellectual growth to be learned from. The Catholics have come far, very far. Far enough for me to let go of some of the anger I feel for them for the excesses of their past. They are showing true repentance, and should be forgiven in direct proportion to their letting go of their absolutism.

Doreen Dotan, Tzfat