Rav Sala said, "Every arrogant person will eventually sin ..." Rav Nachman said, "It is evident that an arrogant person is one who has already sinned" (Taanis 7b).
Rav Sala states that arrogance causes wrongdoing, and Rav Nachman asserts that wrongdoing causes arrogance. As with so many other differences of opinion among Talmudic authors, both positions are valid.
Rav Sala is pointing to a common phenomenon. Arrogance is an attitude of self-righteousness. Arrogant people discount opinions of others and consider themselves superior to everyone. They may go so far as to consider themselves above the law; rules that apply to others simply do not apply to them, only to those of lesser stature. Obviously, such an attitude makes breaking the law an available option, because to arrogant people, their actions cannot be wrong.
Rav Nachman states that arrogance is a defensive maneuver employed after the act in an effort to relieve the sense of guilt. Tormented by the guilt of having done something wrong, people may assume an attitude of defiance and deny that what they did was wrong. Since authority and/or prevailing opinion hold that the act was indeed wrong, they defend themselves by both dismissing those who hold that opinion as know-nothings and setting themselves up as superior in wisdom.
Arrogance and sin thus do have a cause-effect relationship, which can go either way.
Today I shall ... ...
be alert to any attitude or behavior of arrogance on my part. Love Yehuda Lave
The Owners of Tel Aviv's Luxury Towers Go to War on Airbnb Developers are opting for bylaws ensuring that apartment owners can't rent out their space and irk their neighbors
Luxury apartments in the Arlozorov 17 towerStudio Aiko
of the Tel Aviv luxury towers that have sprung up in recent years: the possibility that some apartment owners will seek to rent out their homes on Airbnb and harry their neighbors. Some developers are doing something about it.
Dolly Elrom, marketing chief for Dan Nadlan, talks about "a luxury apartment tower in the most desirable part of Tel Aviv, and when we started marketing we saw what was happening in other luxury developments, so we decided to act to prevent short-term rentals.
"We realized fairly quickly that many were being sold without restrictions. The owners rent them out, especially in areas by the beach," said Elrom, whose company is the developer of the luxury tower at 17 Arlozorov St. in Tel Aviv, whose residents are about to move in.
"So all summer, from June to November, the towers are full of tourists who come for a few days, walk around strewing sand in the lobby, use the pool and take towels, disturbing the other residents. The solution we found is to insert a clause prohibiting owners from renting out their apartments short-term."
The tower at 17 Arlozorov St. between Dizengoff Street and Hilton Beach was designed by the architect Moshe Tzur and includes most of the elements of luxury-apartment living in Tel Aviv – an Olympic-size swimming pool, a stunning lobby and a gym
One apartment sold for 40 million shekels ($10.8 million). But despite that huge sum, the buyers don't have right to do whatever they like with the apartment.
"About 60% of the Israelis who bought apartments in the tower plan to live there. These are people who are downsizing, people who have left large houses to live in an apartment in Tel Aviv," Elrom said.
"For some clients this is a vacation apartment, and there are about 10 units that were probably bought as investments. It may be that these are apartments to live in, not for investment, so if this clause deters people because they planned to rent out the apartment as an Airbnb, we have no problem deterring them."
According to statistics from AirDNA, which analyses the short-term rental business, fewer than 1,000 people are managing about 4,500 apartments out of 8,800 apartments offered on Airbnb in Tel Aviv, an industry in every sense of the word. In a good tourist season, owners can triple the income they would have reaped from a regular rental.
For example, a three-bedroom apartment for rent in Tel Aviv at 7,000 shekels a month can go for 800 shekels to 1,500 shekels a night during the tourist season. And in the luxury market, this price can surge to between 2,500 shekels and 3,000 shekels a night.
But the Airbnb rental debate isn't limited to the luxury market. One question is whether an apartment rented as a short-term accommodation can still be considered a residential apartment.
According to a recent ruling by the Justice Ministry's supervisor of land registration for the Tel Aviv area, in some residential buildings, apartments may not be rented on a short-term basis.
The case in question is an apartment in a building on Hebron Street in central Tel Aviv, not far from the beach. The building's bylaws state that the apartments are to be used as residences only. The supervisor ruled that, beginning on January 1, no apartments may be rented short-term there.
"Airbnb is certainly a problem. It generates lots of friction between the residents and short-term visitors, and in luxury towers this is a consideration in the project's marketing strategy," said Amir Rosenblum, chief executive of Idan (S.N.I.) Building Management and Holding, and a consultant in the management, operation and maintenance of luxury buildings.
Some developers see Airbnb as an obstacle, so they have apartment buyers sign a commitment saying they won't rent out the space on a short-term basis. Rosenblum calls this "a strategy to ensure peace and quiet and a luxury experience for their clients."
On the other hand, Rosenblum says, some developers shy away from a no-short-term-rental clause because "in this market there are plenty of purchases based in part on the possibility of profits in months when the apartment is empty. Such a clause could put off such buyers."
Rosenblum says he's seeing cases where buyers of luxury apartments are banding together to update their building's bylaws. "That is, even if the developer didn't insert a clause like this, the residents see that they have the power and want to act," he said.
Rosenblum says short-term rentals will remain a hot topic in Israel for years.
Oh Jerusalem! The city is holy to the three major monotheistic religions but lurking under the surface is another Jerusalem that harbors unholy mysteries, perhaps even ghosts.
The dark underbelly of Jerusalem dates back to biblical times when the Valley of Hinnom outside the city walls was a place of pagan child sacrifice. Little wonder that the place, whose Hebrew name Gai ben Hinnom (transmuted to the Latinate "Gehenna"), became analogous to the concept of "hell" and was considered cursed.
The valley served as a necropolis for an ever-expanding number of cemeteries from the Judean Kingdom (7-8th century BCE) through the Byzantine period (4-7th centuries CE). A Crusader-era structure (12-13th century CE) has been identified as a burial place for Christian pilgrims who died in the Holy Land. Its nickname: "House of Bones."
The Hinnom Valley served as a necropolis from the Judean Kingdom to the Crusader era. Photo by Félix Bonfils, LACMA via Wikipedia
Perhaps because the Torah forbids communicating with the spirit world, Jerusalem's spooky places are not so much haunted by spirits as they are subject to being cursed by humans. Nonetheless, Jerusalem has its stories of apparitions, mystics, dybbuks and their rabbinical expulsions.
Old-time Machane Yehuda residents swear that as late as the 1970s some neighbors peered through a window to witness an exorcism when a flame shot out of the toe of a young girl possessed by a demon. And that's just one of the city's ghostly legends…
Sir Moses Montefiore's carriage, once the site of ghostly sightings, was destroyed in 1986. The replica carriage appears to be spirit-free. Credit: Wikipedia
British-Italian financier, banker, activist and philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore made seven trips to Palestine between the years 1827 and 1875. In 1834, he rode in his own carriage to visit Jewish communities throughout Europe, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Morocco and Palestine.
After Montefiore's death, the carriage changed hands and was brought back to Jerusalem by Boris Schatz, founder of the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, where it stood in the courtyard and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1963, the carriage was renovated and, in 1967, placed in the Windmill Plaza of Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the neighborhood Montefiore established in 1860 as the first settlement outside the Old City walls.
In his song "Sir Moses Montefiore's Carriage," songwriter Haim Hefer imagined Montefiore's last years and recounted a bit of local Jerusalem lore:
"Wrapped in a silk prayer shawl and resting in a casket / Sir Moshe ended his final journey / But there are those willing to swear that sometimes at night, surrounded by darkness / They've seen Montefiore next to the chariot / And he boards the carriage…"
The municipality restored the carriage and put it on permanent display next to the Montefiore Windmill in 1976. The carriage was destroyed by fire in 1986. At the initiative of the Jerusalem Foundation in 1990, the carriage was reconstructed using fragments that remained of the original and reinstalled in its glass case. Since then, there have been no more reports of ghostly sightings.
The Dead Groom's House
This former hospital on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road stood empty for 10 years, said to be haunted by the ghost of a dead groom. Credit: Wikipedia
From 1891 to 1917, the Municipal Hospital on Jaffa Road was the city's central healthcare facility. But it stood empty for 10 years prior, reviled as "The Dead Groom's House." Bertha Spafford-Vester, daughter of the American Colony founders, told the tale in her memoir, My Jerusalem:
"It was being built, about the time we arrived [in 1881], as the future home of a couple about to be married. The young man was the only son of an Arab Roman-Catholic family who lived near our home in Haret-es-Sa'ad-ieh. Before the wedding took place, he died. …
"The mourners gathered in the room where the dead man was propped up in a chair and his lovely young bride was brought up to him, gorgeously decorated with jewels and flowers and wearing an elaborate brocade dress and the customary wedding veil. The 'joy shout' was raised by the mourners, or guests, and his mother danced before the couple with a lighted candle in each hand, the traditional dance the mother and relatives perform before a bridal pair.
"'It is my duty to dance,' she repeated, and the guests joined in, 'Yes, it is your duty.'
"As she finished her dance she tore her clothes, gave the terrible death cry, and snatched the veil from the bride's face. Then the corpse was laid in the coffin and the funeral ceremony held.
"Mother came home shaken by the spectacle. The violent demonstration of grief evidently killed the mother, for she died soon after. So, one more house stood unfinished for many years in Jerusalem."
Since the British Mandate, the building has served as the Ministry of Health's district office.
The Russian Hospital
One of the oldest districts outside the Old City walls, the Russian Compound was built between 1860 and 1890 to provide Russian Orthodox pilgrims with a mission, consulate, hostel and hospital that also housed a funeral home and morgue. The latter function may have been the reason for rumors that the place was haunted.
In 1948, the building was used for wounded Israeli troops and became known as AviHayil. Today, the building serves as municipal office space, but it took years for it to shed its ghoulish past.
In a 2010 article, Jerusalem-based reporter Omri Maniv wrote about his visit to the Russian Hospital building: "I go with Uziel, who works there, down the steep staircase to a stuffy basement. In the cellar, on the bookshelves stand black binders that appear to contain various and strange magic spells. As a whole, the place is reminiscent of a medieval library.
"Uziel claims that the priests are forbidden to enter the building, even for work. The terrifying isolation there gave rise to his decision to bring in a quorum of ten guys to perform a rending of garments [ceremony] for safety's sake. We asked for forgiveness in all cases, just as is done before a funeral, when preparing the body, cleansing and honoring the dead person. When Jerusalem's Municipal Square was being built, the workers objected to working in the accursed building because it was haunted. A rabbi was called in to solve the issue; he said, 'The city of Jerusalem is sacred, let not your hearts be troubled' and conducted prayers there.
"'Security guards are afraid to do late-night patrols because they think there are ghosts here,' says one worker. 'There used to be people who didn't want to work here because the building was cursed and had all sorts of diseases. There was one female security guard working here at night, and the alarm sensor went off. She went in but found nothing. Rumor has it that she left, vowing never to return.'"
Orient House gained infamy in 1898 when tragedy cast a pall over the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm and his queen, Augusta Victoria. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90
The magnificent East Jerusalem stone mansion known Orient House was built in 1897 as the residence of the al-Husseini family. Orient House has, in recent years, became synonymous with Palestinian nationalism, but the building's infamous reputation began in 1898 with the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to Jerusalem.
As the story goes, the al-Husseni family was preparing to receive the Kaiser and his wife, Augusta Victoria, when a tragedy occurred. Ruwaida, daughter of the Ottoman Minister of Education in Jerusalem, had been chosen to present the queen with a gift. While she helped the servants light the rooftop lanterns, the child's gauzy white dress caught on fire and she burned to death. The official visit went on as planned, under the shadow of the horrific incident.
Over the years, the family continued to receive important guests, such as Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia after his exile in 1936. Between 1948–1950, the building was headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Two years later, the owners turned it into a luxury hotel but following the 1967 Six-Day War and the capture of East Jerusalem by Israel, the hotel closed and the building went neglected.
Starting in 1983 , Orient House served as the Palestine Liberation Organization's de facto headquarters. Subject to periodic closures by the Israeli government, in 2001, following the Sbarro pizzeria bombing, Israel closed the Orient House; it remains shuttered to this day.
The Enchanted Road
The "Enchanted Road" of Jabel Mukaber is more illusion than magic. Credit: Wikipedia
During more peaceful times, for many years the road running downhill through the Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber was a destination for curious visitors who drove to a particular spot, put their cars into neutral, released the brakes, and then squealed in delight as their vehicles appeared to roll uphill against gravity.
The road, known locally as the "magic" or "enchanted road," is among several of Israel's "gravity hills" — places where surrounding landscape produces an optical illusion.
The Cursed Building of Agrippas Street
It's well-known that any business opening at Eini House on 111 Agrippas Street in Jerusalem is doomed to failure. Credit: Google Maps
The most famous of Jerusalem's "cursed" buildings is Eini House at 111 Agrippas Street. It's well-known throughout the city that any business opening there will fail, doomed by a curse placed five decades ago by Rabbi Shalom Sharabi, head of a kabbalist house of study.
Legend has it that Sharabi was angered when the building, then under construction, rose to the height where it blocked out the rising sun, thus preventing him from saying his morning prayers on time. When the contractor, one Meir Eini, refused to accommodate Sharabi's (somewhat unreasonable) demand to cease construction, he and his building fell victim to a curse.
From the outset, turnover was high. Office spaces went unrented. Apartment units did not sell. One after another, businesses that opened in Eini House lost money, went bankrupt or were forced to close – including the headquarters of the far-right Kach Party, which was removed from the building by court order.
Other buildings on the street are said to have been affected by the ricocheting curse: the failed Shukanyon covered market at 88 Agrippas and another white elephant, the Clal Center at the corner of Agrippas and Kiah streets.
Of course, there may be simpler explanations for these unsuccessful ventures – bad business decisions and bad locations, for instance.
But in a city where talismans and amulets to ward off the evil eye are sold at every kiosk, where everyone just happens to know someone who reads coffee grounds, tarot cards or horoscopes, and even the supermarket checkout guy has a second gig as a giver of blessings, well, there just may be some other-worldly forces at work in Jerusalem.
Recently, my wife and I visited Ma'aras Hamachpaila, the Cave of Machpaila in Chevron, the burial place of our Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and our Mothers Sarah, Rebeccah and Leah as well as Adam and Eve. Standing before the ancient stone building, we felt the kedusha wash over us.
"The Patriarch Avraham entered [Ma'ares Hamachpaila]. He smelled the fragrance of the Garden of Eden. He heard the angels saying, 'Adam is buried there; Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov are destined for this place.'" (Zohar Chadash, Rus 79b, cited in the Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities)
"How did Abraham discover Ma'aras Hamachpaila? He was running after a calf, as it is written, 'Then Abraham ran to the herd.' (Genesis 18:7) The calf fled into the cave. Abraham followed it …. Sublime fragrances [wafted] … from that cave." (Zohar 1:127a; ibid)
Travel to Chevron is difficult. One must pass through hostile neighborhoods. Savage faces stare at you. Yet this road leads to the Garden of Eden!
"Hashem banished [Adam] from Gan Eden (the Garden) … and, having driven out the man, He stationed at the east of the Garden of Eden the Cruvim and the flame of the ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the Tree of Life." (Genesis 3:23)
The road back to the Garden of Eden, but we have to know there is a road, and we have to know the road can be traveled, and we have to know that we can travel that road!
"There are many times when one finds himself at a crossroad … when he isn't sure what would be the will of Hashem Yisborach. [In such a situation], we should learn from Avraham Avinu and choose the path that is least comfortable for us! This way he can be optimistic and certain that he has no … ulterior motives … pushing him to do this. He can rest assured there will be no claim on him why he acted in this way.
"A person must examine himself … to ascertain how he is performing his mitzvos. Is it in order just to 'get it over with,' or is it in order to give nachas ruach to his Creator by doing His will? How can this be discerned? When there are obstacles. Does he take … the obstacles [as a rationale] to desist from doing the mitzvah or does he still push onward to perform Hashem's [will] regardless of what will happen?
"Throughout all the generations, especially since our holy Temple was destroyed, the Children of Israel have experienced grueling situations and predicaments …. What gave them the strength to go on? Their clear Emunah (faith and trust in Hashem). The darkness of Exile requires us to strengthen our faith, as the Torah says, 'And to have faith in You at night-time….' (Psalm 92:3) Avraham Avinu remained totally steadfast in his emunah … even when offering as a korban his very own … son, who was to be the father of all his descendants!" (Rabbi Shlomo Bussu Shlita"h)
The Evil Inclination tells us we cannot do it. The stronger the voice of the Evil Inclination, the more mightily we have to battle. This is the sign from Hashem that we are nearing our goal!
"Blessed are You … G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzchak, G-d of Yaakov … Who recalls the kindnesses of the Avos and brings a Redeemer to their children's children, for His Name's sake, with love!" (Shemoneh Esreh) May we see it soon in our days!
The Cave of Machpaila in Chevron, where our forefathers and mothers are buried.
Everything you did not know about the winter candy-the Krembo
Have you ever thought what would happen if we put the karmbo in the microwave? And what if we ate it on the plane? We have collected for you once and for all everything you did not know about the Krembo.
Like the Nahalali in the fall, the Krembo symbolizes the coming of winter. It turns out that it has a much smaller semicircle than meets the eye and it even hides some secrets. We decided to concentrate some of the less known facts about the winter candy for you.
1. Winter Candy - Krembo is really a winter candy and is exclusively produced during the winter so you can not find it in the summer. The karmbo is meant to be a warm substitute for those who do not want cold ice cream in the winter.
2. The national food - although it feels so Israeli - the Krembo was created in Europe at all.But there is still Israeli pride in the fact that Israel is the country that consumes the most Krembo in the world, with a little over fifty million karmbo a year. In this rough calculation, there are about 8 caravans per person on average.
3. There is no chocolate in Krembo-The Krembo is not just so sweet and delicious. The main ingredient in its production is actually sugar and glucose. To stabilize it add egg protein and other flavorings with some preservatives. And if you wonder - there's no chocolate in Crembao, but actually a cocoa that combines vegetable sugar with a little cocoa.
4. Coated Cream - Although it is clear that we call the winter creme cremebo (a combination of "cream" and "boo"), every country in the world that respects itself has invented its own name. Britain called the Challenge Teacake (tea cake), probably because they eat everything with tea, and America won the small candy longest name "chocolate-coated marshmallow candy," less catchy Challenge.
In Israel, the Krembo was initially called a Negro, but due to accusations of racism, he finally received the name - Krembo. Today, Strauss owns the Krembo brand, and all of its competitors use other names for Krembo (like Manbo for example).
A relative of the Krembo?
- How do you eat it? - There are several options for eating the karmbo - eating the whipped cream and then the cookie, eating the cookie followed by whipping and eating together. The most common method, if you wondered, is eating the whipped cream and then the cookie. There are also those who like to diversify and eat the Krembo each time in a different way.
6. Halachic issues - Since karmbo includes koftaf, which means that everything and a biscuit that is eaten by alimony, there is disagreement about whether to recite foods on the main biscuit and to remove the whipped cream or the biscuit itself is the remedy.
Another controversy about the chocolate candy is the separation of the biscuit from the karmbo on Shabbat for those who want to eat only the whipped cream. Aaron Razel even composed a song based on a halakhic response that concluded that removing the biscuit on Shabbat could be considered an arbitrator.
Krembo micro-invited to try for yourself
7. The most delicious vanilla - Although there are several flavors of karmbo, such as strawberry, milk jelly and even orange, the most popular taste is the classic vanilla flavor. The second reason, by a considerable margin, is the taste of the mocha for those who want a little variety.
8. Flying Krembo - Although we have not tried, but there is a stubborn legend that if you take Krembo to the plane, it will shrink during the takeoff and landing of the plane. The logic behind the legend is that the differences in air between the time the plane is in the air and landing on the ground cause Krambo to empty out of all the compressed air and shrink.
9. Mousa Crembo - If you want to make even more hot delicacies from the Krembo, try to heat it in the microwave. After you remove the aluminum wrap of course, you can put the karmbo into about 20 seconds to the micro and enjoy a warmer and more liquid karmbo.
Today we mark 101 years since the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917 - when British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, the head of their Zionist Federation, that expressed British support of a Jewish State in the land of Israel.
In all my life, I don't remember ever being so giddy with joyous disbelief. Dr. Aliza Bloch, a dati-leumi woman, won the Beit Shemesh elections!
The significance of this is enormous, and we are still processing it. But here are three immediate takeaways:
1. Never Give Up Hope For five years, everyone in Beit Shemesh, both charedi and non-charedi, thought that there wasn't the slightest chance of ever having a non-charedi mayor. The charedi community outnumbered the non-charedi community, and they also benefit from a much higher rate of voter turnout. When Dr. Aliza Bloch launched her campaign, many of us dismissed it as a vain and futile hope, a complete waste of time and effort. And yet she won! By over 500 votes! The message to cynics and realists
Dr. Aliza Bloch, with some of her many charedi supporters
2. It's the Beginning of the End of "Daas Torah" and a Return to Classic Torah Aliza Bloch won with the support of thousands of charedi voters. This includes not only post-charedim and people on the fringes of charedi society, but even many charedim who voted United Torah Judaism for the political party (in Israel you have separate votes for mayor and for political party). That is to say, thousands of people who strongly identify as part of the charedi community nevertheless went directly against the "Daas Torah" of all the Gedolim. This is staggering. (I urge people to read the comments written by charedi residents of Beit Shemesh against the hateful letter published in Cross-Currents.) This marks a return to traditional Jewish concepts of Torah and rabbinic authority, and away from the recent hijacking of it by political interests.
3. There's a Tremendous Opportunity Here The charedim who voted for Moshe Abutbul were convinced by "Daas Torah" that Aliza Bloch wants to harm the charedi community, destroy the Torah way of life and secularize the city. Right now, they are probably filled with despair. But in the coming years, they will see that they were utterly misled. Aliza Bloch has zero ill-will towards the charedi community, and certainly does not want to destroy their lives and secularize the city. On the contrary, she will improve the city of Beit Shemesh for everyone, including charedim. So when the next elections come around, in five years, the re-election message will be obvious: "Daas Torah" deceived you last time, and there's no reason to trust it. And people will see that there are genuine Torah values to be found in other communities, too, and that charedim and non-charedim can work together for the good of everyone.
We live in historic times! Baruch Ha-Tov VeHaMeitiv!