Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Hide Dead Trees....and the five most important things to know about Passover

Exercise Your Will-Power

Three times a day, use your will-power to take actions that you do not feel like doing.
Start off with some minor tasks that you know would be helpful to you but you tend to procrastinate. For example, you can apply this to acts of kindness that you could easily do, but tend to put off. Or, you can apply this to doing things for your spiritual well-being and to your health.
After maintaining this for one month, you will find that you have achieved greater self-mastery

Love Yehuda Lave

How To Hide Dead Trees....

All the old cottonwood trees in the area of Craig , Colorado , had some disease and needed to be removed. So the city council approved a chainsaw competition in the park and offered a prize. The attached pictures are a result of the competition in the park.
And this all came about from just a thought..... remarkable


Our greatest contributions to the world summarized in five words: memory, optimism, faith, family, and responsibility.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

The 5 Most Important Things to Know About Passover
Our greatest contributions to the world summarized in five words: memory, optimism, faith, family, and responsibility.

The 8-day Passover holiday begins with the Seder on Monday, April 14, 2014, through Tuesday night April 22nd, 2014.

Scholars have long wondered why Jews who number less than one quarter of one percent of the world – as Milton Himmelfarb memorably put it, "The total population of the Jewish people is less than a statistical error in the annual birth rate of the Chinese people" – have had such a profound influence on almost every field of human endeavor.
What accounts for the remarkable fact that in the 20th century, Jews, more than any other minority, have been recipients of the Nobel Prize, with almost one-fifth of all Nobel laureates being Jewish?
Perhaps it all goes back to the very beginning of the birth of our people and the Passover holiday that we will shortly be celebrating.
Passover conveys five major concepts that became our mantras for how to lead successful and productive lives. They are the five most important things to know about Passover, and to incorporate into every day of the rest of the year. Because we've absorbed them into our national psyche for the thousands of years since the Exodus, we've been privileged to fulfill in great measure our prophetically mandated role to become a light unto the nations.
They are our greatest contributions to the world and can be summarized in five words: memory, optimism, faith, family, and responsibility.
The Importance of Memory
The Irish Catholic writer Thomas Cahill was so overwhelmed by how the Jewish people literally transformed the world that he authored what proved to become an international bestseller, The Gifts of the Jews. One of the major gifts he credits to Jewish genius is the invention of the idea of history.
"Remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt." "Remember that the Lord took you out of the bondage of slavery." Remember is a biblical mandate that had never seemed important to anyone else before the Jewish people came on the scene. It was the Passover story that initiated a commitment to memory.
Henry Ford was famous for his belief that "history is bunk." The Ford motor company is also famous for producing the Edsel. And both were probably equally stupid blunders. History is the only way we can learn from the past. History allows us to grow by standing on the shoulders of giants. Make a mistake once, and you're human. Never learn from what happened before, and you're brainless. That's why it's so important to heed the famous words of George Santayana that "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it."
We know how horrible it can be to live without a personal memory of events that preceded. For an individual we have a name for it that fills us with terror: Alzheimer's. It is a disease we fear perhaps even more than death because it leaves us living corpses. Strangely enough, we don't have a similar word for the condition that describes ignorance of our collective past. Knowing what came before is almost as important in an historic sense as it is in a personal one. Only by being aware of our past as a people can our lives become filled with purpose and meaning.
Memory links our past to our future. It turns history into destiny. Learning to treasure it was the first step in our climb up the ladder of greatness.
The Importance of Optimism
To study the Passover story in depth is to recognize that the most difficult task Moses had to perform was not to get the Jews out of Egypt, but to get Egypt out of the Jews. They had become so habituated to their status as slaves, they lost all hope that they could ever improve their lot.
Without hope they would have been lost.
The true miracle of Passover and its relevance for the ages is the message that with God's help, no difficulty is insurmountable. A tyrant like Pharaoh could be overthrown. A nation as powerful as Egypt could be defeated. Slaves could become freemen. The oppressed could break the shackles of their captivity. Anything is possible, if only we dare to dream the impossible dream.
In the story of America's Great Seal, a particularly relevant chapter is the imagery suggested by Benjamin Franklin in August 1776. He chose the dramatic scene described in Exodus, where people confronted a tyrant in order to gain their freedom.
"Pharaoh sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his head and a Sword in his hand, passing through the divided Waters of the Red Sea in Pursuit of the Israelites: Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Cloud, expressive of the Divine Presence and Command, beaming on Moses who stands on the shore and extending his hand over the Sea causes it to overwhelm Pharaoh."
The motto he suggested, words based on the Passover story, inspired George Washington and the founding fathers of the American colonies to rebel against their British oppressors: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God."
It was the biblical record of the Exodus that enabled the spirit of optimism to prevail for the followers of Martin Luther King in their quest for equal rights, because they were stirred by the vision of Moses leading his people to the Promised Land. It was the hope engendered by recalling how God redeemed our ancestors that allowed even Jews incarcerated in Auschwitz to furtively celebrate the Festival of Freedom and believe in the possibility of their own liberation.
That optimistic spirit, based on our own miraculous history, is the second great gift we have given to mankind and defines our identity.
The Importance of Faith
A pessimist, it's been said, is someone who has no invisible means of support.
Jewish optimism is rooted in a contrary notion, a firmly held belief that we are blessed with support from above by a caring God. And that faith in a personal God gives us faith in ourselves, in our future and in our ability to help change the world
The God of Sinai didn't say "I am the Lord your God who created the heavens and the earth." Instead, he announced, "I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage." The God of creation could theoretically have forsaken the world once he completed his task. The God of the Exodus made clear He is constantly involved in our history and has a commitment to our survival.
Thomas Cahill credits the Jews not only for monotheism but for this additional groundbreaking idea of a Divine being with Whom we share a personal relationship. This, he points out, is key to Western civilization's concept of personal accountability, conscience and culpability for ourselves and the rest of the world.
The Passover story conveys that history is not happenstance. It follows a Divine master plan. It has a predestined order. "Order" in Hebrew is "Seder" – and that is why the major ritual of Passover is identified by that name. Coincidence is not a Jewish concept. Coincidence is just God's way of choosing to remain anonymous.
Faith gives us the certainty that whatever our present-day problems, history moves in the direction of the final messianic redemption. That is what has always motivated us to believe in progress and to participate in tikkun olam, efforts to improve the world.
The Importance of Family
Passover taught us yet another major truth: the way to perfect the world is to begin with our own families.
God built his nation by commanding not a collective gathering of hundreds of thousands in a public square but by asking Jews to turn their homes into places of family worship at a Seder devoted primarily to answering the questions of children.
It seems all too obvious. Children are our future. They are the ones who most require our attention. The home is where we first form our identities and discover our values.
More even than the synagogue, it is in our homes that we sow the seeds of the future and ensure our continuity. No wonder then that commentators point out the very first letter of the Torah is a bet, the letter whose meaning is house. All of the Torah follows only after we understand the primacy of family.
The world may mock Jewish parents for their over-protectiveness and their child-centered way of life, but they are the ones chiefly responsible for the extraordinary achievements of their progeny.
At the Seder table, the children are encouraged to be the stars and their questions are treated with respect. And that is the first step to developing Jewish genius.
The Importance of Responsibility to Others
One serious question begs to be asked as we celebrate our Divine deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. We thank God for getting us out, but why did God allow us to become victims of such terrible mistreatment in the first place?
A remarkable answer becomes evident in numerous Torah texts. We were slaves in Egypt – and so we have to have empathy for the downtrodden in every generation. We were slaves in Egypt –  and so we have to be concerned with the rights of the strangers, the homeless and the impoverished. We experienced oppression –  and so we must understand more than anyone else the pain of the oppressed.
The tragedy of our encounter with injustice was in no small measure meant to prepare us to serve throughout all future generations as spokesman for those with whose pain we can personally identify.
The purpose of our suffering was to turn us into a people committed to righting the wrongs of the world, to become partners with God in making the world worthy of final redemption.
We begin the Seder by inviting the hungry and the homeless to join with us. We conclude the Seder by opening the door for Elijah. It is our acceptance of responsibility to others that is the key to hastening the arrival of Messiah.
From earliest childhood every Jew identifies with these five powerful ideas that are at the heart of Passover and its message. And precisely because memory, optimism, faith, family and responsibility have become such vital characteristics of our people, we have been able to achieve far beyond what anyone might have considered possible.

Author Biography:
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, is a Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, and lecturer. Author of 14 highly acclaimed books with combined sales of over a half million copies.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Fantastic Sawmill and King of Egypt story on Passover


  Learn from King David

Rabbi Meir Shalom of Porisov used to say that suffering need not deter us from serving the Almighty. King David wrote beautiful and uplifting Psalms while he was in the most difficult situations.

Love Yehuda Lave

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Try lifting an 80 foot long log that’s 6 feet in diameter …. WITH ANYTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!
To open this just click on "Only Sawmill in World....."

This mill is located near Alpine, Oregon, and is the way things used to be 50 years ago all over in the Northwest.

Gold scarab with symbol of Pharaoh Seti I set in a ring found in a 3,300 year old coffin in the Jezreel Valley
Gold scarab with symbol of Pharaoh Seti I set in a ring found in a 3,300 year old coffin in the Jezreel Valley
Photo Credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
A gold signet ring bearing the name of Egyptian Pharoah Seti I was among the personal belongings of a wealthy Canaanite recently discovered in a 3,300-year-old coffin at the foot of Tel Shadud in the Jezreel Valley.
The archaeological dig took place at a site where construction was to begin on a pipeline carrying natural gas to Ramat Gavriel by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company.
The Israel Antiquities Authority usually carries out an excavation at construction sites before any project begins. Often, unusual discoveries are made, and this time was no exception.
Excavation directors Dr. Edwin van den Bring, Dan Kirzner and the IAA’s Dr. Ron Be’eri said, “We discovered a unique and rare find: a cylindrical coffin with an anthropoidal lid – a cover fashioned in the image of a person – surrounded by a variety of pottery consisting mainly of storage vessels for food, tableware, cultic vessels and animal bones… it seems these were used as offerings for the gods and were also meant to provide the dead with sustenance in the afterlife.”
The skeleton of an adult was found inside the clay coffin. Next to it was more pottery, a bronze dagger, bronze bowl and hammered pieces of bronze.
Rare 3,300 year old coffin of a wealthy Canaanite uncovered in the Jezreel Valley.
Rare 3,300 year old coffin of a wealthy Canaanite uncovered in the Jezreel Valley.
“Since the vessels interred with the individual were produced locally, we assume the deceased was an official of Canaanite origin who was engaged in the service of the Egyptian government.”
Also found next to the deceased was an Egyptian scarab seal, encased in gold and affixed to a ring. This item is used to seal documents and objects.
The name of the crown of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the 13th century BCE, appears on the seal. Seti I was the father of Ramses II, identified by some scholars are the pharaoh mentioned in the Biblical story of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.
The Egyptian coffin lid after it was cleaned up. Photo by: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
The Egyptian coffin lid after it was cleaned up.
Photo by: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Already in the first year of his reign (1294 BCE) a revolt broke out against Seti I in the Beit Shean Valley, but he conquered that region and established Egyptian rule in Canaan.
Seti’s name on the seal symbolizes power and protection, and the reference to him on the scarab found in the coffin aided the researchers in dating the time of burial. A cemetery dating to Seti I’s reign was previously uncovered at Beit Shean, the center of Egyptian rule in the Land of Israel, and similar clay coffins were exposed.
This new discovery, however, surprised archaeologists.
Tel Shadud preserves the Biblical name “Sarid” and the mound, located in the northern part of the Jezreel Valley close to Kibbutz Sarid, is often referred to as Tel Sarid.
The city is mentioned in the Bible among the settlements of the Tribes of Israel, with Sarid included in the territory of the Tribe of Zevulun as a border city. It is mentioned in the Book of Joshua:
“The third lot came up for the Tribe of Zevulun, according to its families. And the territory of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid . . . (Joshua 19:10)
The researchers add that only a few such coffins have been uncovered in this country – the last one found at Deir el-Bala about 50 years ago.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

DRIFTWOOD HORSES and the Great Shabbat

Expect Insults When Influencing Others

The Chafetz Chaim wrote: "If you try to influence others to improve, at times they might insult you for your efforts. So before you approach someone, realize you may be insulted and try to accept it. Don't reply to their insults, nor let those insults deter you from your goal. The more difficulties you have in trying to do good, the more elevated you become.
"If you were new in business and an experienced businessman made fun of you, you would not give up trying to make a profit. You would still make an effort to be successful. After a while no one would make fun of you. Trying to influence others is similar. Even though in the beginning some may mock you, if you are sincere [and persistent], they will eventually respect you."
Love Yehuda Lave

Here is a nice Parody on

Les Misérables as applied to Passover







Shabbat HaGadol(Malachi 3)

The Great Day

Shabbat HaGadol (yesterday)
The Shabbat before Passover is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat. It is called "HaGadol" because the Haftarah contains the verse from the prophet Malachi 3: 4-24:
"Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and the awesome day of Hashem. He shall restore the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with destruction."
The words "yom hagadol" - "the great day" - is the basis for the name Shabbat HaGadol.
But the connection to our Shabbat is much more than just a semantic one. That Great Day is the day when the Messiah arrives. It is the beginning of the yearned for "end of days," the final redemption. The connection to Passover is that Passover was our first redemption from our first exile in Egypt and the Haftarah prophesies about the next and last redemption from our present exile.
Let us look at Rashi on the verse which says that Elijah will "restore the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers."
This is quite a significant verse. Aside from its idyllic view of family relations and the connection between generations, it is also the final verse in the prophetic literature. Malachi was among the last of the prophets and this verse is his last statement from Hashem.
And I will restore the heart of the fathers to (Hebrew "al") the Holy One - Rashi: by means of (Hebrew: "al yedai") the sons. He (i.e. Elijah) will tell the sons by way of love and desire 'go and speak with your fathers to adopt the ways of the Almighty. And likewise, the hearts of the sons to their fathers': So I have heard in the name of Rav Menachem.

Rashi quotes an interpretation from Rav Menachem. The interpretation is quite different than an ordinary understanding of this verse. Ordinarily we would understand the verse to mean that Elijah will "return" the fathers to the sons and the sons to their fathers, meaning we would have family harmony instead of family friction, dispute or distance. In this sense the Hebrew word "al" would mean "to" – the fathers' hearts would return to the sons etc.
But Rashi takes the word "al" to mean "al yedai" - "by means of". He also adds a word (did you notice?). Which word did he add by slipping it in between the prophet's words?
Your Answer:
An Answer: Rashi adds the words "The Holy One" and inserts them in between the words of the verse. This changes the whole sense of the verse. The hearts are returned not to the sons but to the Holy One, the Almighty, by means of the sons. In other words, Elijah is told to go to the sons and have them help in returning their fathers to Hashem. And likewise the fathers are told by Elijah to go to their sons and help them return to Hashem.
Why would Rashi accept this interpretation which is seemingly so far from the simple sense?
Your Answer:
Hint: Read the whole verse.

A Possible Answer: First of all, perhaps Rashi thinks the word "al" is better translated as "by means of" than by "to." But more to the point is the fact that the verse ends with the words "lest I come and strike the land with destruction." This is God's punishment for not having the hearts of the fathers returned to (or by means of) the sons. This seems like harsh punishment for family disharmony. Of course, one would want all families to live in harmony but "to strike the land with destruction" is a bit much.
On the other hand if the fathers and the sons do not return to Hashem (as Rashi's comment has it) God's anger and punishment would be appropriate.

I would make an additional comment. Rashi says that "Elijah will tell the sons by way of love to speak to their fathers" (and likewise the fathers to the sons).
Rashi takes for granted that if Elijah is going to return people to Hashem, it will be done by way of love. Rashi's own personal life is a perfect example of this. He dealt with all people and with his student only by way of love. Rabbi Berel Wein's video on Rashi's life shows this quite clearly. For Rashi this is a most fitting way to end God's prophesy to man, Malachi's last message to us. Teach people by way of love to return to Him.
When we do this, it will certainly be " the great and the awesome day of Hashem."

Shabbat Shalom & Pesach Samayach,
Avigdor Bonchek

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Netherlands in May and Libel Wolf on Israel for Pesach

Deal With Others as They are Now

In your relations with other people, live in the present. Reviewing past misdeeds and failures of the people you associate with just adds fuel to the fire of resentment. Try to deal with people the way they are now. True, they might have offended you in the past, but what do you gain by thinking about it now?
If you find it difficult to stop thinking of others' past offenses, write a list of what you gain by thinking of that past, and another list of how you lose by doing so. When you see the harm you are causing yourself, you will be more motivated to let go of the past.
Love Yehuda Lave

Cd Eichler

to me for your Pesach music
Hi Yehuda, Its CD Eichler I met you while we visited San Diego like 8 years ago!
I enjoy ur emails very much!

I produce the music group A.K.A. Pella and we just released a brand new acapella single and music video for Pesach.

The Netherlands in May
At first glance, it looks like a giant child armed with a box of crayons has been set loose upon the landscape.  Vivid stripes of purple, yellow, red, pink, orange and green make up a glorious patchwork. Yet far from being a child’s sketchbook, this is, in fact, the northern Netherlands in the middle of tulip season. The Dutch landscape   in May is a kaleidoscope of color as the tulips burst into life. The bulbs are planted in late October and early November. More than nine billion tulips are grown each year & two-thirds of the vibrant blooms are exported, mostly to the U.S. and Germany .


crossing the Narrow Bridge
By Laibl Wolf

Freedom – Despite All Odds

Can you find Israel on this map? (follow red arrow and use microscope!)
Again I return to Israel.  Again I find myself in the center of the world. Inexplicably this tract of earth, the size of Vermont or New Hampshire in USA, or one third of Tasmania, the smallest state in Australia, has been the subject of wars fought by the super powers of history right down to the present day.
Surrounding it are Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, whose land masses total 500,00 square miles compared to Israel’s mere 10,000. They could fit little Israel 50 times into their lands! And  87 Israels could fit into Saudi Arabia. And they continue to fight over this tiny piece of earth, called Israel, a veritable set of Goliaths against an impossibly small David.
Even the super powers of USA, Russia, and the pretender power known as the European Common Market, devote extraordinary attention to little Israel.  The current  USA Secretary for State seems to be popping in on Israel almost weekly.
Yet little Israel has produced more technological advancements per capita, contributed more technical skills per capita, is amongst the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita, in the world, and this while surviving more wars in the post second world war era, than any country in the world.
These amazing indicators point to a remarkable country whose existence for over 3500 years defies logic and history.
 So small is it that I could drive from its southern tip, Eilat, to its northernmost point, Rosh HaNikra, well within a day.  And the drive from the western Mediterranean city of Ashkelon to Tiberias in the West is a third of that time.  This mere drop in the constellation of the world’s political entities exercises a totally disproportionate power on the world.  It is the cradle of civilization, the source of the Judea-Christian values, and the home of Jaffa oranges to boot!
Why? Because it can? But it can’t, or shouldn’t be able to, and doesn’t try to.
And all this today amidst internal strife between its secular and religious Jewish populations, between Arab resident extremists and Israeli citizenry, between illegal African immigrants and Tel Aviv establishment, between doves and hawks, between a newly generated Philistine nation calling itself Palestinians that practices terrorism as its modus vivendi and a legally constituted member of the UN…and the beat goes on.
So here I am walking the very earth that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked. The land that Moses led several million Jews into, millennia ago; the land that the world family of nations returned to its rightful owners as a ‘guilt offering’ after the holocaust. I sense I am walking through history, that I am transcending time, and that the earth underneath me harbors much blood, sweat and tears.
I strongly believe that every part of the earth has a spiritual connection to a people who belong to that time and place.  In that regard Israel holds spiritual prominence as the country of the ancient Hebrews and and their Jewish successors.  The Jewish people are eternally spiritually connected to that small sliver of the world’s real estate, all 9000 square miles – a mere dot if superimposed onto a map of USA.
In the land of Israel, Jews experience their historical freedom. An emancipated slave-nation marched into ‘the promised land’ with Joshua at its head. To the present day, Israel and the Jewish world celebrate their freedom through the festival of Passover. The Passover ceremony (Seder) may be characterized by the ‘poor man’s bread’ (Matzo) and the bitter herbs of raw horse-radish (Maror). But its truer character is that of spiritual victory coupled with miraculous blessing from Above.
Israel’s existence is a historical anomaly, a political dilemma, a cultural pot pouri, and to many, a thorn in their side. But to its inhabitants and supporters around the globe, Israel is the symbol of freedom and liberation, the expression of hope and taste of freedom for an ancient people that has survived, against all odds, into the modern era.

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