Be resolved with a strong sense of commitment to master serenity. The greater your realization of the magnitude of the benefits you will gain, the easier it will be to persevere even if the going gets rough.
Serenity promotes health and feelings of well-being. Your brain functions better when you are in a calm and relaxed state. Serenity increases your ability to think clearly, to concentrate for longer periods of time, to better understand what you read, to listen with greater focus, and to remember at optimal levels. You are more creative when you are in a serene state.
Love Yehuda Lave
God is ALWAYS First! (A Response to Rabbi Hartman)
Very strong response, when I read the Hartman article I was simply perplexed.
Is not the first of the Aseret Hadibrot "I am Hashem your God"?
Without God, how do we know what morality means, it can easily change from moment to moment. First and foremost you must know that God is running the show.
In an interview with the Times of Israel, Rabbi Donniel Hartman claims (based on his new book) that to save religion from itself, one must place God SECOND and live an ethical life first. Some have called it heresy. Some have called it a non-Orthodox approach to Judaism.
I call it just plain WRONG. While Rabbi Hartman may have a lot going for him in the Hartman Institute, this approach is not one of those things. If we begin with one statement he makes, we can see fairly quickly, the fallacy of his thesis. He states in his interview:
"In Isaiah, God turns to the Jewish people and pleads with them to stop coming to the Temple on every holiday and new moon with their sacrifices. God says: "Who asked this of you?" But the truth is that God, it was You! Haven't You read the book of Leviticus? Half of the 613 commandments in the Torah pertained to Temple worship? Half of them!"
He uses this argument (among others) to say that even God Himself isn't interested in our worship of Him. However, if we put it into context of the Book of Yeshayahu, it changes the entire meaning of the Pasuk that he is quoting.
At the beginning of the Book, Yeshayahu is castigating the Jewish people for having cast off proper service of God. He adds that in spite of not being "good people" they continue to come to the Temple and offer sacrifices. To this the prophet (in the name of God) says in a rhetorical way: WHAT DO I NEED ALL YOUR SACRIFICES FOR? Who asked you for them? The meaning is that how dare you bring sacrifices to God and yet lead an immoral life; a life that goes against the wishes and desires of God.
If the ideal would be to be a good person and live an ethical life, then we would not "need" the 613 Mitzvot from God. We would be able to be told a single statement that we are to live an ethical life and that would be sufficient. Yet, to lead an ethical life and leave God to Number Two runs counter to our mission here on this Earth.
God put us here on Earth to be His servants; to live life according to the Torah; to weave into the fabric of our lives our complete subservience to HIS will. Yes, of course, we must lead ethical lives and must be good people! But that is a SUB-SET of the entire worship of God and the service of God. They are indeed inseparable, as we see at the beginning of Sefer Yeshayahu. However, once you move God to the backseat and make Him SECOND, you have dismissed your mission on Earth.
Listen to the word of God as found in Devarim 10:12 וְעַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל מָה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֹׁאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ כִּי אִם לְיִרְאָה אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו וּלְאַהֲבָה אֹתוֹ וְלַעֲבֹד אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשֶׁךָ.
("And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.")
What is יראת השם ("fear of Hashem/God")? It has the meaning of "fear" in that we fear Him as our King. It has the meaning of "awareness" in that we have a constant awareness of God in our lives through His Mitzvot. It also has the meaning of "seeing God," in that we see Him in every aspect of our lives and the lives of others.
How in the world is that God asking us to place Him SECOND? Rabbi Hartman: I suggest that you have a sit-down with yourself and re-think your position.
Just because one calls oneself Orthodox, it doesn't mean it is so. I don't want to give this guy any publicity but he gets plenty and of course his titile is titalating and demands a response which Rabbi Zev Shandalov does beautifully.
Here is original article
What the Land of Israel REALLY means to the Jewish People.
Kippalive covers "500 Miles" by Hedy West -- "We Are Home." WATCH: An extraordinary a capella performance on the deep connection of Jews all over the world to their homeland in Israel. The song, which features lyrics written by Kippalive to the tune of "500 Miles" by Hedy West, is entitled "We Are Home."
The world's newest shade of blue, a brilliantly bright, durable pigment called YInMn blue, has been licensed for commercial use and is already in the hands of some artists.
The pigment was discovered in 2009 by chemist Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University while they were conducting experiments connected to electronics. For one series of tests, the scientists mixed black manganese oxide with a variety of chemicals and heated them to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. (The name comes from the pigment's elemental makeup, which includes Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.)
In a serendipitous accident, one of the resulting samples turned a vivid shade of blue. Further testing found that the unique crystal structure of the resulting compound kept the color from fading, even when exposed to oil or water.
Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity and durability," said Subramanian in statement released by OSU. Existing blue pigments include ultramarine, made from ground lapis lazuli, and toxic alternatives such as cobalt blue and Prussian blue, making OSU's discovery a major breakthrough.
YInMn, Subramanian added, is "more durable, safe and fairly easy to produce … it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency," as it reflects a large amount of infrared light. A roof painted in YInMn blue could potentially help keep the building cooler.
"This new blue pigment is a sign that there are new pigments to be discovered in the inorganic pigments family," added Geoffrey T. Peake, the research and development manager of the Shepherd Color Company, which has licensed the patent is already selling samples of YInMn blue. The pigment is still undergoing testing before it is made more widely available.
Speaking to artnet News by phone, Subramanian said that the future of this new blue looked promising. "Several companies have been working with [Shepherd Color Company]," he revealed, citing Pittsburgh Paints and Glass as one example.
The chemist has also been fielding plenty of inquiries about his discovery from people on the more creative end. "I have sent samples to artists who have used the pigment in their artwork," he said. So far, those artists have been mainly local, including OSU applied visual arts major Madelaine Corbin, who has been making her first foray into chemistry as intern in Subramanian's lab, while using YInMn blue in her artwork.
Madelaine Corbin, OSU Memorial Union Façade. Courtesy Oregon State University.
Subramanian has also fielded interest from art restorers. "Our pigment is useful for art restoration, because it is similar to ultramarine but really more durable," he explained.
The Jericho and Dead Sea areas shall take on a new meaning for you as we visit and learn about this beautiful corner of our land, our glorious past and the inspiring, dynamic present.
We begin in Mizpe Yericho with it's awe inspiring view of the ancient city of Jericho and surroundings. We shall visit the village's unique shul with it's special connection to the ancient (currently off limits) "Shalom Al Yisroel" synagoge in Jericho.
Dip our feet into the very same Jordan River, where Yehoshua and the twelve tribes crossed into Western Eretz Yisroel on their way to conquer Jericho..
Mev'ot Yericho - A growing young pioneer village, next to Jericho, making the desert green with determined Jewish labor. We will have the honor of meeting a founding member and plant a tree after visiting their very informative and inspiring "date horticulture center"
View the famous caves in Qumran where the Dead sea scrolls(the most important archaeological discovery of the twentieth century) were discovered.
We shall visit the recently discovered, beautiful mosaic floor of the Ein Gedi synagogue dating from the Second Temple. (The special secret of that community is hinted in the mosaic text..).
We shall visit the very popular "Ahava" cosmetics factory and outlet on kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem and learn about the secrets of the Dead sea's cosmetic powers.. The display rooms and shop are available for shoppers.
Pick up at 9:00 from the Inbal hotel Return app 6:00
Suited for all ages.
Pack a picnic lunch
Cost:150 Shekels, includes all entrance fees, transportation, guiding