Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are We Too Old to Drive This Car?

Don't Dwell On Past Troubles 

Every person has moments of suffering and unpleasantness in his life. If you master the skill of living in the present, you will keep these moments limited to the actual negative experiences. Both before and after a painful experience you will focus on what is at that moment, freeing you from much unnecessary pain in your life.
Very young children have this skill naturally, and that is why they enjoy life unless they are presently in pain. As we grow older, our ability to use our minds and think about the past and future increases. This ability can be utilized in very beneficial ways, but it can also be detrimental. We can transform our lives into suffering and torture by keeping in mind all our unpleasant experiences of the past.
Forgetting those experiences is the positive aspect of forgetfulness.
As I have said before however, take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. While we should not dwell on past troubles, every spiritual person (that is how I define a Jew), must never forget the events of 70 years ago.

Love Yehuda Lave

Just when you think you have seen it all!!

Presenting the New Mercedes Benz SCL600


Pretty, isn't it?  



What's different about this car?


Not this...



Here is the real difference  


No Steering Wheel

No Pedals either  

You drive this car with a joystick

Do you think that you can drive with a joystick?

Your kids and grandkids can.
The influence of video games in our lives
has really arrived, wouldn't you say?

But there is more!


NOW a 3-YEAR-OLD can STEAL your car

Yep - Start checking the senior bus schedule!!!!
We don't have to dwell on Past Problems, we have enough current ones. See below:

1. Peres: 'Live Under the PA, What Are You Afraid Of?'
by Ari Yashar Peres: 'Live Under PA, What Are You Afraid Of?'

Amid the ongoing crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett over the idea of leaving Jews under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule, President Shimon Peres decided to add his opinion to the debate.

Bennett wrote on his Facebook page Monday "why can’t we let the Palestinians be sovereign over Israelis? Because they’ll kill them." He added a picture from the notorious lynch in 2000 of two Israeli police officers at the hands of a Palestinian Arab mob in Ramallah.

In response, Peres opined Wednesday morning at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) that Jews would be "safe" living under PA rule.

"What's this fear that's struck us suddenly? They'll kill Jews? Today?" commented the doubtful Peres. "The fear should have been in 1948 when we didn't have a cannon, tank or plane against seven armies."

Despite Peres's appraisal that having a cannon means no Jews will be killed, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) figures note that terrorist attacks skyrocketed in 2013, jumping to 1,271 from 578 the year prior. Of those attacks, 1,042 took place in Judea and 229 took place in Samaria, the areas Peres claims can be abandoned safely.

Ironically, the same day that Peres opined "today they won't kill Jews," an Arab terrorist opened fire on an IDF guard post next to the Samaria community of Ateret, which lies near Ramallah. Soldiers returned fire, eliminating the terrorist.

Peres steadfastly supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the country, even as the PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"If we want to be a Jewish people we need a Jewish state, and all other reasoning has to bend to that need," said Peres Tuesday.

In the past Peres has said the PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary."

The president has also warned of "tragic consequences" if Israel does not submit to peace proposals that would require massive territorial withdrawals and a divided internationally-managed Jerusalem.

The president has a history of downplaying the lethal dangers posed by Israel's terrorist threats.

In 2006, in the midst of massive Kassam rocket attacks on Sderot from Gaza, Peres claimed "[We] have to stop being hysterical about the Kassams. ...What's the big deal? ...We have to tell the Palestinians that Kassams, Shmassams, we're staying."


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

cool old cars and largest cactus farm in Israel and Inner courage

  Inner Courage

Ultimately any courage you have is within you. You can choose to access your own courage this very moment.

Love Yehuda Lave

On the rest of the trip back we saw the largest cactus farm in Israel and a bee farm:

Following up on my post from yesterday on how our people risked their lives for our country is this story of weapons discovered from 1948.

Independence War Weapons Cache Discovered n North

by David Lev Independence War Weapons Cache Discovered n North

A long-hidden weapons cache has been uncovered in the Beit Shean Valley. The cache, apparently from the days of the War of Independence, was discovered near Kibbutz Mesilot.

The cache was discovered by members of the kibbutz who were doing work n the area. Speaking to Channel 10, Ami Magen, a kibbutz member, said that elderly members of the kibbutz had known of the existence of the cache, “but no one could say exactly where it was. The people who hid the weapons are no longer alive, and they didn't tell anyone where the weapons were, even after the War of Independence and the establishment of the state.”

The cache consists of several dozen rifles and ammunition. The rifles were wrapped in wax paper, and appeared to be in excellent shape, said Magen.

The cache was similar to others that have been found in other parts of the country. The caches were originally hidden by members of Jewish communities in pre-state days, who smuggled them into the country to defend themselves against Arabs, and later, to fight the Mandatory government's British troops.

The weapons were illegal, and were hidden away for use when fighting became imminent. In many areas, however, the weapons were never taken out of their hiding places either because they weren't needed, or because they were forgotten.


Let the Old Times roll . . .       

                       click on attachment

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Greatest story never told and the Pencil Sharpener

The Bullet factory that saved Israel:

Yesterday I went on a tour to Rahavet and learned about the history of how a group of non religious young Israelis went from high school to risking their lives to make bullets from 1945 to 1948 secretly under the eyes of the British.

If they had been caught it would have been a death sentence, or life in prison as having any arms to defend your self was a corporal crime.

A a religious Jew, I would risk by life to save my friend or defend my religion.

These were just young people that had the courage to stand up for being Jewish, and they were not religious. They had something to believe in worth dying for.

The people of Israel today and the world,  should never forget the sacrifices we made to live in her today.

Be Honest About Your Faults

Approval-seekers feel a necessity to put themselves in a better light than they really are. Because they try to hide their faults, they are nervous about others finding out what they're really like. Their situation is like that of a spy in enemy territory.Like the heroes above who were spies in enemy territory.
If, however, they are honest about their mistakes and faults, they will be much more relaxed. They will also find that others behave more positively toward them for their honesty.
While it is not worthwhile to go to the opposite extreme and tell everyone you meet about your faults, if you stop being defensive about your faults, you will live a more serene life.
Love Yehuda Lave

  Simply amazing....

Artist Dalton Ghetti carves artwork from pencils.

Dalton Ghetti does really sharp work - on a tiny scale.

The Bridgeport artist creates impossibly detailed miniature sculptures on the tip of a pencil.

"I'm known as the pencil guy," laughed Ghetti, 49. "I don't mind that at all."

He shuns a magnifying glass and uses simple tools like razor blades and needles to create 
delicate little figures - from a tiny, jagged handsaw to a minibust of Elvis in shades.

"It's like I'm removing specs of dust at a time because the scale is so small," he said. "If there's
 a little bit of dust on my table at the end of the day and I didn't break it - that's a good day's work."

Ghetti, who grew up in Brazil, has been carving since he was a schoolboy who sharpened his pencil 
with a razor or a pocketknife. He started big, with wood and stone, and then moved to carving soap, 
candles and even broom handles before he found his niche about 25 years ago.

"The pencil has been kind of like a challenge to myself," he said. "I can do anything really big, but the 
small stuff is really difficult, so I was like, let me see how small I can go."

He works as a carpenter and carves pencils in his free time - often putting in just an hour or so before 
his eyes get tired. It can take years to finish an especially complicated piece - a linked chain in the 
middle of a pencil took him two years, and a carefully crafted giraffe even longer.

"When I'm inspired, I can sit down and things just flow," he said. "You can't force yourself to do those 
things. I do it just for fun, it's pretty much like a hobby, a kind of meditation work that I do."

Along with his other projects, Ghetti is slowly carving a tiny, graphite tear for every 9/11 victim, finishing 
one each morning before he goes to work, and estimates it will take him 10 years to finish and display 
them together.

Several years ago, he decided to carve the entire alphabet, and created one letter a month until he was done.

The entire work is on display through Aug. 29 at the New Britain Museum of American Art as part of its 
"Meticulous Masterpieces" show.

He has four pieces in the works, but would not say what they are, in case he ends up jinxing himself into 
snapping the delicate lead. Ghetti doesn't sell his creations, and even saves his failed attempts, pinned into 
a Styrofoam "graveyard."

"I do it from my heart, I do it when I feel like - and I pretty much do it for myself," he said. "It's my own interest 
in the small things in life that drove me to call people's attention to them."

Note: Typos are there for those that look for them. I try to do something for everybody. :-)

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Is there a conflict between Evolution and Spirituality? and Micro Engines -- replacement for the battery.

Be Honest Beyond Reproach

Even a person who has a reputation for honesty should be careful to avoid doing things that might give others the impression that he is dishonest.
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman once gave a large sum of charity money to a student to distribute. Noticing that the student did not count the money right away, Rabbi Chasman wanted to teach him an important lesson, so he purposely handed over a lesser sum.
The student soon rushed back, upset that some of the money was missing. Rabbi Chasman revealed to the student that he purposely gave him less money so he would learn to be more careful in the future.
Love Yehuda Lave

Micro Engines

Thanks to Stationary Engine Magazine, I've found out that some researchers at Birmingham University have been making tiny petrol engines to form power packs for portable electric devices or power micro vehicles and robots.

"General hydrocarbon fuels have an energy density over 100 times more than current batteries. Microengines are designed to convert the chemical energy of hydrocarbon fuels either to mechanical energy to drive microdevices, such as micro air vehicles and microrobots, or to electric energy by driving a micropower generator to produce electricity. The micropower plant can be used to power portable electronic devices, such as notebook computers, PDA and mobile phones"

The microengine research at Birmingham started in 1999 and the first phase of the project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council. The scientists have worked on issues such as the fabrication process, ensuring high precision, handling the high temperatures using ceramic meterials and determining the minimum size for a combustion chamber.

They have produced a few engine designs including a single piston reciprocating engine and a micro Wankel engine. They have also made advancements in UV-lithography which could be useful for lots of different types of Microelectromechanical systems.

SEM images of a micro nickel gear<br />electroformed on a KMPR mould. The KMPR is<br />completely removed after demoulding - Univerity of Birmingham

Other Universities are doing similar research and Berkley has also been working on a MEMS rotary IC engine and also a mini engine which could generate up to 100W.

Rabbi Sprecher on Evolution

Is There Conflict Between Evolution And Judaism?

The Torah and science are completely compatible. Judaism insists that this world is not the result of an accident or blind chance but the result of a purposeful Act of Creation. Once the principle of Divine Creation is accepted Judaism allows much latitude in belief as to how the creation was effected.

There is no religious objection to the acceptance of the Theory of Evolution provided it is agreed that each stage in the evolutionary process was brought about by G-d.

Rabbi Ovadia Seforno states that the creation of Adam was the end of a long process, which began with an animal that gradually evolved until this creature was given the G-dly soul and received the image of G-d.

Rav Kook explains that just as the Nation of Israel evolved spiritually from 49 levels of impurity to 49 levels of purity, so too did G-d use evolution in the physical process of creation. The gematria - numerical value - of the word teva (nature) equals G-d.

There are remarkable similarities between the account of the Creation as given in Genesis and the Theory of Evolution.

First, light was created, then the firmament, followed by sea, land and vegetation. The creation of the Heavenly bodies was followed by fish and birds, and then by land animals. Only finally, as the culmination of G-d's work, was man created.

Indeed, the Bible's description of the Creation in a natural progression points to its Divine origin, because no mortal at the time of Moses could have known that modern geologists also believe that plants and water-based animals were the first to be created.

The Ramban on Genesis 2:7 writes about the guided evolution of life from inert matter to Adam. He also says the six "days" of creation in the Biblical account were six periods or stages of creation. In any case, the length of the first three days before the creation of the sun must have been different in length from our measurement of time by the sun.

"A thousand or even a million years are in G-d's sight as only one day" (Psalms 90:4). What is suggested by the six "days" is that the time of Creation, however long in itself, was insignificant to the Eternal.

The traditional Jewish method of reckoning years from the Creation of the World appears, at first sight, to be a difficulty. No scientist would accept that the world was created only 5768 years ago. However, if the Hebrew date is reckoned from the end of creation of the sixth day, when fully developed man was created, the difficulty disappears. Science would agree that man as we know him is not older than some 6,000 years.

The Bible does not deny that man developed from the ape, but it does deny that man is a soulless simian. Science has yet to explain how man, who developed from the ape, became endowed with speech, mind, soul, and personality, how he has a feeling for the higher things in life - religion, morality and ethics.

Nor is there a single factor that can explain the birth of life or of natural evolution. Science explains given matter, how the world functions.

However, the Torah explains why the world was created - to live in it, in accordance with the Divine Will.

There is no conflict between science and religion. Science reveals a world charged with G-d's grandeur. The more our scientific knowledge increases the more will we be able to appreciate the marvels, and wonders of G-d's Creation.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pendulum waves and a video of American Group visiting the temple mount

Use your Experience to Empathize

Every difficulty in your life builds up your mental library of what it's like to go through hard times. And every mistake enables you to empathize with others who also make mistakes. And every time you become frustrated or angry, you gain a better understanding of others who feel this way.
Make note of all your worries and your fears. Make note of your uncomfortable or embarrassing moments. These -- together with every injury, illness, and wound -- help you to become more sensitive to the suffering of others.
Today I was studying the book of Job. He asked his friends to be sensitive to his suffering and they were not. How much more should we be since we have learned lessons from studying his life.

Love Yehuda Lave

You may recall that the period of a pendulum is proportional to the square root of the length of the line suspending the weight - I.e., the longer the pendulum, the slower it swings.

Harvard students built a device with a series of 15 pendulums in a row, each one slightly longer than its neighbor, then set them in motion and filmed the result.

The resulting patterns in this short video are quite fascinating to watch.

Read the article before starting to watch the video. 
Click Pendulum Waves

Temple Mount 'Settlers' (Video)

 Arabs say so often that Jews are trying to re-build the Temple that they might end up convincing Jews to do it.

By: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu Published: January 23rd, 2014 Latest update:

Teaneck. New Jersey Jews and IDF women soldiers on the Temple Mount. Teaneck. New Jersey Jews and IDF women soldiers on the Temple Mount. Photo Credit: Yehuda Glick Israeli soldiers "escorted" more than 150 Jewish settlers to "defile the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem" on Wednesday, according to the official Hamas terrorist organization's website. The "settlers" included "male and female conscripts and policemen in plain clothes [who] broke into the Aqsa Mosque. Hamas added, "The notorious rabbi Yehuda Glick, who champions demolishing the Aqsa Mosque to build the third temple in its place, was among the settlers who roamed the Aqsa courtyards and the Dome of the Rock." What is most interesting about their little blurb is that most of it is essentially true, except for a few code words, and reflects a drastic change in police policies towards IDF soldiers visiting the Temple Mount. First the facts. The Jews, of course, did not "break in" the mosque. Any Jew who visits the Temple Mount always is accused of defiling it, breaking in, storming, invading or occupying the site, according to the Fatah propaganda machine in Ramallah as well as Hamas in Gaza. On that, Mahmoud Abbas and his brethren in Hamas are in full agreement, so it should never be said that the two rival "resistance" movements have nothing in common. As for the "settlers," any Jew living in under a Zionist entity, as radical Muslims like to call Israel so they won't have to mention the cursed name, is a "settler" in the terminology of the "resistance." Rabbi Yehuda Glick explained to The Jewish Press Thursday that in fact there were approximately 100 female soldiers from the Education Corps visiting the Temple Mount earlier this week, the largest group he can remember. The other "settlers" besides Rabbi Glick, who lives in Otniel, located in the southern Hebron Hills between Be'er Sheva and Kiryat Arab-Hevron, were 35 orthodox Jews from the Rinat Israel synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. So it appears that most of the readers of The Jewish Press, out there in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, East Podunk and all points in between, also are settlers. Welcome to the club. The sight of Israeli soldiers visiting the Temple Mount is relatively new. Rabbi Glick said that until two years ago, police would not allow any uniformed soldiers to visit the holy site. All that changed with the help of Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud and then-MK Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party that later merged into the Jewish Home, causing Eldad to form his own party. Rabbi Glick said that one of the officers on the Temple Mount invited him to say a few words to the soldiers to explain the history of the Temple Mount. The Arabs were relatively quiet, except for the usual screaming, \hollering and cursing of Jews. He explained that he was told the reason might be that the Arabs are on some kind of vacation this month. Below is a YouTube video of the Teaneck delegation with their Rabbi, Yosef Adler. print tell a friend

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

Here is the video..I was there and sent pictures last week.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Most Dangerous Job Ever! and a safe visit to the grave of Samuel the Prophet

Do More than the Minimum

When a person does more than was expected or demanded of him, that is a sign of love. On the other hand, the surest sign that someone is doing something begrudgingly is when he does the minimum and no extra.
This principle applies to the good deeds we do in helping others. When you take on more than the minimal requirements, it manifests your loving attitude.
Today, think of some area in which you have been trying to just "get by" with the minimal requirements. What more can you do in that area?
Love Yehuda Lave
On a warm Jerusalem Friday afternoon we take a spiritual visit to the grave of the prophet Samuel (my Grandfather's name) just outside Jerusalem on a hill looking over much of Israel. You can see from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

Here is a video of a little clean up of a COBRA Pit

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

SEINFELD IN YIDDISH and self confidence

You Already Own Self-Self-Confidence

You are already the owner of self-confidence. Claim your ownership. You don't have to travel to pick it up. It doesn't cost anything.  It can be found in your brain and mind.

  Say out loud: "I am the owner of a tremendous amount of self-confidence.

I will keep gaining a stronger and greater awareness of how easy it will be for me think, feel, speak, and act with self-confidence."

Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave

        English sub titles for those not so well versed in Yiddish.
        Very amusing.


Two old Jewish men, Sid and Al, are sitting in a Mexican restaurant in
South Texas. One day, Sid asks Al, "Do you know of any people of our
faith born and raised in Mexico?" Al replies, "I don't know, let's
ask our waiter."

When the waiter arrives, Al asks, "Are there any Mexican Jews?" The
waiter says, "I don't know, Senor, I ask the cooks."

He returns from the kitchen a few minutes later and says, "No, Senor,
the cook say no Mexican Jews."

Al isn't satisfied and asks, "Are you absolutely sure?" The waiter,
realizing he is dealing with 'Gringos,' replies, "I check once again,

While the waiter is away, Sid says, "I find it hard to believe that
there are no Jews in Mexico. Our people are scattered everywhere."

The waiter returns and says, "Senor, the head cook say there is no
Mexican Jews."

Al asks, "Are you certain? I just can't believe there are no Mexican Jews."

The exasperated waiter says, "Senor, I ask EVERYONE... All we have is
Orange Jews, Grape Jews, Prune Jews and Tomato Jews.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Beauty of Mathematics and wolf in sheep clothing and Old City Yeshivas

Being in the Almighty's Favor

The Chofetz Chaim (one of great sages from the 1900's)  writes that because we are so involved in worldly matters, we lose our sensitivity to the great amount of joy we can potentially experience when performing a mitzvah (good deed). He offers the analogy of a man who was granted an audience with a powerful ruler. Imagine that the ruler is greatly impressed with the man, and has the conversation recorded in his personal diary. What a thrill! Upon returning home, the man's face would glow with elation as he retells his experience to all his friends and neighbors. Even if he'd previously been worried over personal problems, he'd quickly forget them! Over the next years, whenever he'd meet others at some gathering, his successful meeting with the ruler would invariably be the topic of conversation.
Says the Chofetz Chaim: If this is the joy of someone who found favor with a mortal (who will eventually die and whose glory is short-lived), all the more so should we feel joy when we doing something which finds favor with the eternal Creator of the universe. Even afterward, when recalling the good deed, we will feel a glow of pleasure. In fact, the Torah (Deut. 28:47) stresses that we should feel more joy in serving the Almighty than from all other pleasures that exist.
Love Yehuda Lave
I am practicing what I preach above, by studying G-d's word every day in Yeshivah. It is a thousand times more fulfilling than fighting with the IRS.
Here is the beauty of the places I go:

Subject: The Beauty of Mathematics

Please watch it to the end. It is 3 minutes only.

The Beauty
of  Mathematics...

Click here:  Mathematics
Make sure you let it scroll to the end.

The Danger of False Piety (A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing)
By my Rabbi, Rabbi Efriam Sprecher

To our sorrow, these past few months we have witnessed painful divisions and shocking hatred within Israeli society. What is particularly tragic is what triggered these divisions and animosities. It was the criminal actions of a small group of hooligans. The fact that they were dressed in Charedi garb should not deceive us. Their acts of verbal abuse and other degrading behavior constitute a gross violation of Torah Judaism and are a Chilul Hashem – a desecration of G-d's Holy Name.
The Vilna Gaon warned us to beware of false piety. The example that he gives is from Megillat Esther. King Ahasveros hosted a grand banquet to celebrate the defeat of the Jewish people. The reason for the grand party at this time was to celebrate the destruction of the Holy Temple and the fact that it had not yet been rebuilt.
At the banquet, King Ahasveros used the sacred vessels of the Holy Temple, which he had received from his wife's grandfather, King Nebucadnezar of Babylon, who had destroyed the Holy Temple. During the party he dressed up in the clothing of the High Priest.
The Vilna Gaon says that a person who appears religious and pious on the outside, but does not act so on the inside, is like the wicked King Ahasverosh, wearing the clothing of the High Priest. King Ahasveros, an evil enemy of the Jewish people, masquerading in the garments of the High Priest, was certainly not the High Priest.
So too, says the Vilna Gaon, a person who presents an outer image of religious faith and piety, yet does not live by those values he projects, causes enormous damage to Judaism. People who dress as Charedi Jews and yet defy the Halacha's standards of ethical behavior are not truly Charedi. People, dressed as Charedim, who assault, verbally abuse, or degrade other people or cause emotional pain through the disgraceful misuse of Holocaust symbolism, are like the evil Ahasveros dressing up in the clothes of the High Priest.
Any person who verbally or emotionally abuses or degrades another person cannot be called Charedi. The severity of the sin of publicly humiliating someone is likened to murder, according to the Talmud (BAVA METZIA 58b), and the perpetrator has no share in the World to Come.
One of the greatest rabbinic leaders of the twentieth century, the Chofetz Chaim, lamented about dispute and dissension/ machloket in many of his letters and in his books. He writes that machloket together with lashon hara (verbal abuse) causes death and destruction in the Jewish community.
The Chofetz Chaim also cites the Talmud that says that G-d will forgive the sin of idol worship more easily that the sin of machloket. The proof of this is that G-d forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf by giving them the Second Tablets, but did not forgive those who were involved in the sin of Korach's machloket against Moshe.
The Talmud in Yoma 9b states that the First Temple was destroyed because of the three cardinal sins: murder, sexual immortality and idolatry. That exile lasted only 70 years until the Jews returned and built the Second Temple. The Talmud asks: Why was the Second Temple destroyed when most of the Jews were supposedly Torah observant? The Talmud answers: Because of the sin of hatred, lashon hara and machloket. And this exile, unlike the first, is almost 2000 years long.
Our motto and goal must be the verse in Mishlei 3:17 which describes the vital character of the Torah and those who observe it: "Her ways are ways of sweet pleasantness and all her paths are those of peace".


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Good Riddance Day and Create a New Habit

Create A New Habit

When you consistently act a certain way to form a new habit, it will become your new nature even though previously your nature was the opposite.
Think of a specific habit that you can apply this to. Start that new positive habit today. Feel joy for the initiative you are taking.

Love Yehuda Lave

Good Riddance Day

Good Riddance Day

A new custom for removing trash from your life echoes the burning of chametz before Passover. The similarity is no accident.

by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

There's a fairly new tradition in New York for the transition from one year to the next. It's called Good Riddance Day, and we just witnessed its seventh annual observance.
Tim Tompkins, head of the Times Square Alliance, explained "It's a great idea for all of those who treasure an opportunity to physically destroy reminders of negative events of the past year and to symbolically move forward to better days ahead." And sure enough, New Yorkers turned out in droves to Midtown Manhattan just before New Year's with their own individual and highly unique ways of commemorating a day dedicated to removing the trash from their lives and for expressing their contempt for the most harmful items of the past.
Good riddance to those aspects of our lives we want to discard.
Some used the moment to burn the letters from unfaithful spouses. There were the parents who shredded the-year-old medical diagnosis of their son's kidney cancer which has now thankfully gone into total remission. Then there were those who brought documents they wanted to destroy, like medical bills, and objects they wanted to smash with a mallet, as a way to vengefully say goodbye to the troubles of the past year. What all of them shared was a cry of good riddance to those aspects of their lives they visibly wanted to discard, a commitment to keeping bad memories from interfering with the future.
Something like this has been part of Jewish tradition for thousands of years.
Jews are doubly blessed when it comes to New Years. We observe one in the fall, on Rosh Hashanah, commemorating the birth of mankind. We have another in the spring, when the calendar marks the month of Nissan, which the Torah refers to as the first month, because of its association with the Exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish people. Passover is the holiday that commemorates this beginning, and it is preceded on the morning of the night of the Seder with a symbolic burning that resonates powerfully with the theme of Good Riddance Day.
On Passover Jews are commanded to eat matzah and are forbidden not only to eat leavened bread but to have the smallest crumb in their home or possession as well. Bread is something that needs to be totally renounced. Whatever is left over before Passover begins must be ceremoniously burned and verbally negated. Jews recite: "All leavened bread that is in my possession which I have seen or not seen, may it be nullified and rendered ownerless as the dust of the earth."
What is this sudden aversion to bread all about? What does the food we normally consider the staff of life suddenly represent that is so reprehensible? Traditional commentators have offered various symbolic suggestions, comparing yeast to the evil inclination and bread that "has risen" to the sin of excessive pride.
Allow me to offer another possible, novel interpretation.
Historians tell us sourdough is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread and the oldest recorded use of sourdough is from the Ancient Egyptian civilizations1. Archaeological evidence confirms that yeast – both as a leavening agent and for brewing ale – was initially used in Egypt. Food historians generally agree that the land of the Nile, biblically known for its enslavement of the Hebrews, must be credited with the remarkable technological achievement that was to play such a crucial role in the progress of civilization.
Egypt's expertise brought the world a great gift of nourishment and sustenance. Yet its "scientific breakthrough" was not matched by moral progress. The inventors of bread remained barbaric masters of slaves. The very people who discovered the staff of life didn't hesitate to serve as the agents of death for the Hebrew children they drowned in the Nile.
It was a profound lesson about the disconnect between science and ethics that mankind learned millennia ago – and not much has changed to this day. In our own times, Albert Einstein famously warned us that "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." And he wisely cautioned us that "Our entire much-praised technological progress and civilization generally could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal."
Martin Luther King put it beautifully when he said, "We have reached a time when we have advanced enough to have guided missiles, yet we still remain primitive enough to have misguided men." Technology has blessed us with smart phones but left us with stupid people in terms of ethical and honorable values.
Perhaps the burning of chametz is meant to publicize this great dichotomy between mankind's achievements and its propensity to continue to embrace acts of evil. As the Hebrews were about to be freed from slavery they were to symbolically rid themselves of Egypt's great technological innovation of bread to demonstrate that scientific progress divorced from a moral code needs condemnation, rather than unqualified praise and acceptance.
A world of nuclear giants is a dangerous place when filled with ethical infants.
Every year on the eve of Passover Jews have a Good Riddance Day. The "villain" isn't bread but what it came to represent to the Jews in ancient Egypt - a powerful symbol of intellectual progress by their oppressors, devoid of any humanitarian concern for those they oppressed. The pioneering Egyptians ate bread; their slaves, never granted the dignity of human beings created in the divine image, were forced to eat matzah, the bread of affliction.
It is a message that bears repetition more frequently than in the context of the pre-Passover ritual.

Those who came to the New Year's Eve ceremony in Manhattan who didn't bring items to destroy were encouraged to write down the things they wished could be eliminated from our future. Entries ranged from pop culture references – "Miley Cyrus's fame" – to the serious: "cancer," "war," "human trafficking," "poverty."
All of these surely deserve inclusion. Allow me to add one more: "Technology without values, progress without prudence." Because a world of nuclear giants is a dangerous place when filled with ethical infants.

 Sand Castles

2008 Sand Castle Competition
These are sand castles from the competition at Harrison Hot springs, British Columbia Canada.
They last until the weather wears them away.
Harrison Hot Springs is well known for their perfect sand for building sand castles, as you can see by these photos.

How cool was that? and, remember this is SAND!

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