13 December 2017

Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Sufganiyot - and Life-Saving Tools for Hanukkah

25 Kislev 5778
First Candle of Hanukkah

Dough-not hole-style. OK, so they don't look as pretty as Israeli sufganiyot - but they taste better!
Hanukkah Sameah!

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Sufganiyot 

I finally got this recipe down to where it is truly doable and my husband likes loves the results. I adapted it from a regular recipe I found a few years ago because we have diabetes. I'm controlling mine mainly through a low-carb (LCHF) diet, and a small dose of medicine as needed. This one is pareve. I have been deliberately vague on things like exact sugar replacements because people have their favorites.

MACROS: I don't know what the macro-nutrients are for this, but I'd probably rate this as low-carb but not quite ketogenic because of the coconut flour. If someone who can actually calculate from this recipe would do so, I'd be happy to post it.

5 T. / 75 g. equivalent of sugar replacer of your choice, or to taste*
1/3 c. / 80 ml. coconut cream (the thick part)
3 large eggs
1c. / 250 ml. coconut flour*
1/8 t. / .75 ml. baking soda
1 t. / 5 ml. baking powder
Spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger etc. to taste
1/2 t. / 2.5 ml. vanilla extract
1/8 t. / .75 ml. salt
Oil for deep-frying**

Combine dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients (except oil) and mix each one well. Sifting the dry ingredients together works even better. Then combine wet and dry, mixing well. Electronic devices (mixer, food processor, whatever) are optional. I haven't used any.

Heat oil to 375 degrees F / 190 C. Shape sufganiyot to your preference (I made doughnut holes) from the dough and drop into oil, frying until golden brown, turning often. Drain excess oil when done.

Wait a few minutes, until the sufganiyot won't burn your mouth, but are still warm, before topping/coating (your choice) and eating. 😉 Remember that it's the oil that makes Hanukkah, not the flour.

*Coconut flour without extra sweetening is sweet on its own, so you may not have to use as much sugar replacer. Some people may not need any! Great for you if you're one of them!

**The exact oil to use for frying is somewhat of a compromise - I used a mixture of canola and a small amount of coconut oil - approximately 2T. / 30 g. of it — enough to cover the sufganiyot. Depending on who/what you read, canola oil is controversial in the low-carb world. 

I don't have a deep fryer, so I use a small saucepan. Thus, I didn't specify "how much canola oil" to use. It depends on the pan you're using to hold the sufganiyot while they fry.


Chanukah Life-Saving Tools (a lovely Vimeo production) comes from the Chaya Malka Burn Foundation. Our lives come first — that's what Hanukkah is all about!!!

10 December 2017

Which votes were behind the Trump declaration? And some pushback...

22 Kislev 5778

A security guard was stabbed by an Arab Palestinian this afternoon. Now, will this end US President Trump's experiment on "Palestinian" good will? (INN, from Magen David Adom)

What constituency was US President Donald Trump supporting when he declared Jerusalem Israel's capital, aside from the obvious: Was it the Jews, whether in Israel or America? the Arabs, similarly? or the evangelical Christians? From whom does he get his votes?

An even better question: Why did it fall to him to do what should have been done a very long time ago? He does realize, as he stated, that it is entirely illogical for things to remain as they were — unlike others who promised but didn't deliver.

Here's an article where Julie Ingersoll, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Florida, on The Conversation, seems to get to the answer. Why Trump's supporters welcome his move on Jerusalem

As we know, none of the Arab/Middle Eastern countries supported it at all. I think the jury in Saudi Arabia is still out on that one. (Just kidding. I'm under the impression that neither SA, nor any other Muslim country, has juries.)

Others, like Dan Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel, says we're all over-reacting to the news, while Chris Matthews, MSNBC host, says the evangelicals have crazy ideas about Israel. (The whole Xian mentality around this IS crazy, but maybe not for the reasons Matthews brings forth. G-d willing, more on that later.)

Jack Engelhard (Indecent Proposal, The Bathsheba Deadline and more) asks, Why are the nations in an uproar? as they try to undo what has been done in the finest hour between the US and Israel.

Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow), by email sent 7 December, tells us (emphasis mine):

The Sovereignty Movement welcomes the focal point of the speech by U.S. President Donald Trump – the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish People, and views this speech as another step towards the national and international recognition of the Jewish People’s sovereignty over its land.
Indeed, President Trump’s words still do not negate the idea of two states, but there is an understanding that a political solution cannot be imposed on Israel, and that the repeated attempts in the past by American presidents to do so have always resulted in failure, therefore these matters require re-examination.

President Trump also includes the principle that it is important to recognize reality, and just as the American president now openly gives recognition to the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so will he and others also recognize this reality of thousands of years, the reality of the connection of the People of Israel to all parts of its Land and its rights to its Land.

As an aside, the Sovereignty Movement, founded by Women in Green, warns and asserts that it is incumbent upon the Israeli leadership to see [to] its interests even when confronted with the American embrace. The gift that President Trump has bestowed on Israel in the 70th year of its founding should not require any “political payment” in the future.
NOTE: [there is also a campaign to further WIG's immediate-future work; see here (English) and here (Hebrew). -CDG]

 Tzvi Fishman, novelist, says, "...there are still a lot of Gentiles who resent the rise of Israel in the world." Which is why this recognition hasn't occurred until now.

In the end, amidst a lot of possibilities, it doesn't matter.  I'm not saying I know the answer. I  know that HaShem's plans will succeed, no matter what it takes. If not now, when — and through whom?


BREAKING: My husband called me in the middle of writing this: He had passed by the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, in front of which a security guard was stabbed before his bus arrived there. You can see the report here:

 Mr. Trump, neither you nor Mr. Netanyahu or anyone else, can tell Israel to WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE DIES, as everyone else has told us ad nauseam. If you meant what you said, in any way, you must leave us to do what we must. We have NO ONE to talk to on the other side. Period. The test is over as far as I'm concerned!

And in case you didn't get the message, here's the stabbing.

07 December 2017

Did US President Trump Acknowledge Jerusalem, DC?

20 Kislev 5778

(US President Donald Trump: Getty Images)

 I'm not feeling so euphoric about the whole thing. And I'm not the only one.

While it is difficult to describe how good it is to hear the president of the United States recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, I also heard him say: "Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at al-Aksa mosque."

I took a few minutes to transcribe this bolded bit word for word because I feel it is the heart of the speech. I fervently wish the bubble didn't have to be burst...but there you have it, from Donald Trump's mouth. I wonder how that sounded in Heaven's ear.

My husband thought the speech important enough to download and put on our family Web site's home page so that it won't disappear, G-d forbid. We don't want to forget exactly what was said...and what was not said.

Thanks and appreciation are due for the acknowledgment, but not "to the skies."

Do you see anything missing here?

Here's what I see, as of now: Not only did HaKadosh Baruch Hu give us the site of Har haBayit, the Temple Mount, but DAVID HAMELEKH bought the site with gold - not with the currency of today which, by comparison, means nothing. Not for himself, but for the entire Jewish nation: he, through whom Mashiah comes. Am I crazy, or did I hear US President Trump aid and abet the theft of the heart of our holy city, the threshing floor bought and paid for in the transaction with Arauna in Shmuel Bet 24:24-25, by the enemy that wants to do away with us, while recognizing the rest as ours? And "must remain" means that this must not be the way to geula. I don't know about you, dear reader, but I feel that a vicious sting came with the honey. A wrong turn has been taken and we are backed into a corner.

Nevertheless, I'm sure geula will be advanced, not only because of President Trump's words, wherever they came from, but possibly in spite of some of them as well. 

I have to believe that HQB"H has our best at heart and in mind. This moment is indeed an opportunity for us Jews, whether in Israel or in Diaspora, to assert ourselves as He would desire, even though some Jews just don't seem to be willing.

It may be, and I hope it is, enough for now that at least one great nation from afar acknowledged Jerusalem, David's Capital (thanks, Tamar Yonah!) as Israel's capital, incomplete though it may be. Be'ezrath haShem, im yirtzeh haShem.

May He bless His people with redemption, peace and our inheritance from Him. I believe and hope that going forward, being on the side of His (and our) enemies will not be tolerated any longer.

Please, Abba she'ba'Shamayim, now would be a good time to show Yourself...

I also promised that I'd post R' Sprecher's videos in the merit of Reb Menachem ben Rivka, may he enjoy a swift recovery...a new one, Current Events on Parashath Yeshev, came out today. Of course, words about President Trump's speech were included; and the Rav is responsible for his own words.

05 December 2017

Rav Sprecher Video Festival...and Interesting Geula News

18 Kislev 5778

I am filling in a part of Reb Menachem ben Rivka's spiritual work over at The Absolute Truth while he's recovering. You are invited to enjoy all the Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher videos that haven't been posted there since Reb Menachem went to the hospital, from approximately 23 Heshvan / 12 November (which was the date of Mrs. Robinson's first post letting us know what happened) to date. BE"H I will also post each one as it comes, as long as need be.

May Reb Menachem ben Rivka have a speedy and complete recovery in the merit of this post and those that follow. Also see the translations of Reb Nir ben Artzi over at Going Home...To Yerushalayim.

Also, it should be noted that today we read the news that the US is going to move its embassy to Yerushalayim, and not just recognize her as Israel's capital. Mazal tov, America. It's about time...or, as we say over here,  higiya ha'zman הגיע הזמן

May HQB"H help us all. Looks like there's going to be war over it. But He could surprise us, so we should be in serious communication with Him!


03 December 2017

Leah's Children

16 Kislev 5778

Rahel and Leah, source

Over the High Holidays of 5778 (Yamim Nora'im), I gained an insight into something most of us don't think about: Do you realize that most of us Jews are the children of Leah Imenu (our mother)?

I was hoping to get this posted in time for Parashath Vayetze'; but, obviously, I didn't make it in time. But thinking about Leah's impact on us is as timeless as that of all the other Imahoth. If not more, at least in one aspect, due to sheer numerical superiority.

We can learn much from studying her. She is not mentioned often, and of course we are also children of her sister Rahel, since she is the "aqeret habayit" (the head of the household among the women). But since we inherit the traits of those we are descended from, most of us (six tribes' worth; also, Rahel's son Yosef's two tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, whom we learn from commentary are descended from Leah's daughter Dina through her daughter Asenath/Osnat) are descended from her.

I am not here to present hiddushim (new insights); it's just something hiding in plain sight, that's all.

The main thing is that the majority of Jews have absorbed Leah's rejection by her husband Ya'aqov Avinu (our father), whether self-perceived or objectively viewed, as well as her hope that things will turn out well in the end, if only we will hold out for it.

It explains (to me, at least) why our first reaction after arriving at home after nearly 2,000 years of exile was not exactly to head straight for the finish line (although I think our ancestors were thinking, hoping, and praying just exactly that.). After all. we've been crying our eyes out for nearly two millennia, and our (in)sight is not exactly what it used to be. However, our hope that Mashiah will be revealed once, for all, and forever has not dimmed in the least, even though there have been fakers and liars along the way. And let's not forget that except for Mashiah ben Yosef, the redeemed government leadership is mostly made up of Leah's descendants!

I say "mostly" because the head of the Sanhedrin of 70 could be a ben Binyamin, Naftali or Dan (who were not descended from Leah), Asher or Gad (who were Leah's legally but not physically). But the Mashiah and the Kohen Gadol are both from Leah.

We need some rest after all we've been through. Doing teshuva (returning to our Jewish life and relationship with HQB"H) ensures that we can see that and much, much more!

I have had other thoughts too, but I haven't been able to get them to come down here when I approach my notebook or the keyboard...!

See more background here (Thanks to Geula613!).

Also see Rahel and Leah: Two Destinies, Two Worlds (Chana Weisberg, Chabad) 
 and The Women in Jacob's Life (Bible Study Connection).

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher takes over from here, with his recent video from Parashath VaYetze'.

Meanwhile, the footsteps are growing louder, louder and louder...

12 November 2017

"I Reserve Judgment..."

23 Heshvan 5778

Part of the message from the hozeh Nir ben Artzi, as posted on the front page of his Web site, Ta'ir Neri. I don't know how long it will remain there.

 We heard from The Absolute Truth by way of English translation that the hozeh Nir ben Artzi said last week that HQB"H is ready to reveal who Mashiah is. The question is when.

UPDATE from Shirat Devorah: Rav Menachem [Robinson, who blogs The Absolute Truth,] has had a stroke in his cerebellum. Pray and say tehillim for Menachem Berel ben Rivka.

Note: There seems to be a controversy in Shirat Devorah's comment section over whether to include Berel in R' Menachem's name. Having read it, I'd say that both ways are OK. But you can figure it out for yourself there (link above). FURTHER NOTE: Mrs. Robinson posted on her husband's blog a little while ago and says it's Menachem Ben Rifka.

Many thanks to Shirat Devorah for being our conduit of information in this matter, and to Mrs. Robinson for straightening us out!


I replied to an anonymous commenter on Reb Dov Bear bar Leib's blog, End of Days, who said the following:

The message of Nir Ben Artzi on how Moshiach will be revealed just doesn't sound right.
H', when HE deems it's time, He will see to it that we will know and the world will know. How, where, what and when is something only HKB'H knows! 

Reb ben Artzi haHozeh doesn't sit down and calculate. He sees visions; that's what Hozeh means. All he's telling is what he saw.

[Maybe I should have said it more like this: "A Hozeh, such as Reb ben Artzi, doesn't sit down and calculate..." I don't actually know what he does or how he does it. This note is not in the original message. -CDG]

I would reserve judgment for now if I were you or anyone else who questions right now, for positive or negative. We as a people have been through so much, for so long, it's hard to tell what's going on.

Reserving judgment means saying neither yes nor no. To give a negative example, HQB"H told Lavan haRasha, who was about to approach his son-in-law Yaaqov Avinu after the latter had left to return to his father's house, in Bereshith 31:24:

כד  וַיָּבֹ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶל־לָבָ֥ן הָֽאֲרַמִּ֖י בַּֽחֲלֹ֣ם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ הִשָּׁ֧מֶר לְךָ֛ פֶּן־תְּדַבֵּ֥ר עִם־יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב מִטּ֥וֹב עַד־רָֽע

24 And God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night, and He said to him, "Beware lest you speak with Jacob either good or evil." (Chabad translation)

Meaning, say nothing at all. L'havdil, perhaps this word from Reb ben Artzi is a test for us all. We must never doubt that haShem will redeem us. The questions, as always, are when and through whom.

Speaking of "through whom," I have always wondered how HaShem is going to get around the spiritual leaders of the nation to bring us Redemption, and with it our Righteous King Mashiah, Sanhedrin and Levitical Priesthood.

Remember that the 10 Spies who opposed Moshe Rabbenu were also the leaders of the nation, and they spoiled it for everyone, necessitating a 40-year-long wait until we could enter the Land.

I cannot, nay must not, leave it there. I don't want to accuse all rabbis of keeping geula from us, or us from geula. But, too many are: too fast, too slow, going in the wrong direction, making divisions among Jews where there were none before, and so on. It has been said many times, even here on this blog, that most rabbis at the end of days will be Erev Rav.

The rest is history...until, possibly, now, be"H.

Could it be that HQB"H is now offering a perfect solution: Putting the revelation of Mashiah's identity into the hands and mouths of the very ones who would keep us from attaining redemption? And threatening pressure on them if they choose not to?

We will have to keep our eyes open and watch carefully. Reb ben Artzi has put his entire life on the line here, putting this message right on the home page of his Web site! If he's wrong, all 7734 (turn upside down to see what the word is) will break loose and he may not survive it. I shudder to think what would happen to his family, too.

I hope he's right, but I dare not say "yes!" yet. Reserving judgment gives me a way out without doing harm to him or to our people. And it leaves the door open for geula, if he is right, rather than slamming the door in its face, so to speak, and automatically making him wrong even if he would have been right.

I wait with 'bated breath for the results.

How about you?


I repeat, please pray for Menachem (or Menachem Berel) ben Rivka. Thank you.

UPDATE: I knew there was something I forgot! See R' Lazer Brody's take on current events leading to geula shlemah on video here.

UPDATE: Devorah from Shirat Devorah, quoting Reb Menachem Robinson's daughter's FB page 15/11/17:
He’s still in the ICU. He’s on a respirator and can’t move. His condition has not improved. Please keep praying for him. Menachem ben Rivka