Watch: New River Exposed in Israel, Mired in Secrecy and Landmines By David Israel and Only in Israel: Boy Went Mushroom Picking, Found Byzantine Marble Slab with Greek Inscription Instead By David Israel and Drinking on Purim, required? NO, however Jerusalem Municipality offers free ice cream on Election Day (tomorrow)
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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Drinking on Purim, required? NO
A person is obligated to drink on Purim," says the Talmud, "until he does not know the difference between 'Cursed be Haman' and 'Blessed be Mordechai'"
There are different types of joy. There is "the joy of mitzvah," for a Jew is commanded to "Serve G‑d with Joy" Psalms 100:2.
A mitzvah performed joyously is greater, deeper, more alive, than a mitzvah performed mechanically. This joy, however, is not an end in itself, but for the sake of enhancing a mitzvah.
Another type of Jewish joy is the mitzvah to "Rejoice in your festivals" Deuteronomy 16:1. Here, joy is not an accessory to another aim. The mitzvah itself is to rejoice.
But the fact that one needs to be commanded to rejoice indicates that this is still not the ultimate in joy.
A greater joy is one King Solomon speaks of when he says, "The good-hearted is festive always." Proverbs 15:15, describing joy as a state of being rather than an activity. This is the joy experienced in the month of Adar—in the words of the Talmud, "When Adar commences, joy increases." One who is attuned to the spiritual essence of Jewish time spontaneously rejoices when entering the month of joy.
The world's religions have had differing relationships with alcohol. Many religions forbid alcoholic consumption or see it as sinful or negative. Others have allocated a specific place for it.
Judaism relates to the consumption of alcohol, particularly of wine, in a complex manner. Wine is viewed as a substance of import and it is incorporated in religious ceremonies, and the general consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted, however, inebriation (drunkenness) is discouraged.
This compound approach to wine can be viewed in the verse in Psalms 104:15, "Wine gladdens human hearts," countered by the verses in Proverbs 20:1, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is riotous; and whoever stumbles in it is not wise," and Proverbs 23:20, "Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat"
The Rambam, replaces the "can't tell the difference between Haman and Mordecai" standard with one that is more easily appraised:
How does one fulfill the obligation of the Purim Seudah? One should eat meat and prepare as nice a meal as one can afford and drink wine until one becomes drunk and falls asleep from drunkenness. (Laws of Megillah)
Maimonides' reading finds substantial support in the comments of the 16th-century Talmud commentator R. Samuel Eliezer ben Judah haLevi Edels, better known as the Maharsha.
More recent commentators have been somewhat more limited. The 18th-century codifier, R. Abraham ben Yehiel Michal Danzig wrote:
Since the entire miracle of Purim came about through wine, our sages obligated us to get drunk, or at least to drink more than what we are used to, in order to remember the great miracle. However, if one knows oneself, and is likely to neglect the performance of a
[commandment], such as washing one's hands before eating bread or making a blessing over food before and after eating or that one might forget to pray or might act in a light-headed way, it is better not to get drunk. (Quoted in Be'ur Halakhah 694, s.v. "Ad")
Don't get so drunk that you forget to perform any mitzvot. And count among those mitzvot the contemporary obligation to have a designated driver. Cars can be like Rabbah's sword, and one cannot count on a miracle.
Jerusalem Municipality offers free ice cream on Election Day
The free ice cream will be available to customers spending NIS 20 or more at retailers throughout the city, after bringing a receipt to select ice cream retailers. By AARON REICH
While Israelis may be tired of elections, the Jerusalem Municipality has come up with a sweet offer to get residents excited about the third Election Day in a year: Free ice cream. The free ice cream will be available to customers spending NIS 20 or more at retailers throughout the city, after bringing a receipt to one of a number of select ice cream retailers. Read More Related Articles
The retailers include Katzefet, Glida Metuka, Metudela, Cookie Cream, Selfy's and Mousseline. The move comes in response to reports that Jerusalem businesses suffered declining revenues during the last election."We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem businesses," Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said in a statement, adding that he encouraged all Israelis to come to Jerusalem after voting to enjoy the delicious benefits. "Happy voting!" he added. This is not the only ice cream-related news to come in the wake of Election Day. Earlier this week, Ben & Jerry's debuted a special ice cream called "One Sweet Vote." The ice cream is both vanilla and chocolate, and it contains chocolate "peace signs," chocolate-covered almonds, white-chocolate chunks, and blondies – vanilla brownies. The ice cream was released with the goal of encouraging as many people as possible to vote, amid fears that voter turnout could decrease in the third round of elections within a year.
Watch: New River Exposed in Israel, Mired in Secrecy and Landmines By David Israel
There is a river in Israel nobody knew existed, until Sunday night, that is, when Kan 11 News exposed it to the world. To start, it's nice to know that in a world surrounded by satellites that take pictures of everything all the time, this great river could be kept a secret for so long. No one who should have known, including Israel's green groups and avid 4-wheel drive nature lovers, had any idea. On the other hand, it's also quite upsetting: how dare they—whomever "they" may be—keep such a natural treasure from us?
This video is alive, despite the fact that for some reason YouTube has attached an error image to it. Click and watch:
This will all be sorted out sooner or later, presumably. Meanwhile, here are the facts: on Sunday night, Channel 11 (Israel's PBS) revealed that there is a secret river, more than 6 miles long, flowing inside a huge canyon, between cliffs that are tens of meters tall, to the Dead Sea (The Sea of Salt in Hebrew).
This river lies within the concession area of the Dead Sea Works, an Israeli potash plant in Sodom, on the Dead Sea coast. This is the reason the secret river's existence has been kept secret. Also, according to the report, the Dead Sea Works concession is also why the river is currently in great danger. Apparently, no one really knows the exact scope of the works at Dead Sea Works, and what it may be doing to the local environment.
Kan 11 was adamant about warning enthusiastic Israeli nature lovers to stay away from the new discovery, because, as they put it most bluntly: "the place is full of mines – there is a real danger to life facing anyone trying to get there."
Of course, only in Israel would a news broadcast report someone planted a whole bunch of landmines someplace and move on, without stopping to inquire: landmines? In the middle of the desert? Why? When? Who put it there? In Israel, if someone put landmines someplace they must have had a good reason. Watch your step.
According to Kan 11, "the place is packed with unique natural phenomena, not seen anywhere else in the world." The report also suggested that not only is Dead Sea Works suspected of exceeding the scope of their permits, another project, known as Salt Harvest, may also now come under scrutiny, because suddenly having the new river around may call its calculations into question.
The Salt Harvest project aims to transport salt back to the Dead Sea, in order to raise the sea level which has been declining greatly over the years. Transporting the salt from the evaporation ponds and dispersing it at the bottom of the Dead Sea basin will cause the sea level to rise. Now, with the new river, it's back to the drawing board for everyone down there, at the deepest point on planet Earth.
50 Years Late: Rabbinate Recognizes Ethiopian Jews in Israel, Many Ethiopian Jews Aren't Impressed By David Israel
Nearly 50 years after the late Rav Ovadia Yosef ruled that the Jewish status of Ethiopian Jews should not be questioned, last November, the Chief Rabbinate Council accepted his ruling, and recognized that Ethiopian Israelis are Jewish, Kan 11 News revealed Sunday night.
Ethiopian Jews in Israel are immigrants and descendants of the immigrants from the Beta Israel communities in Ethiopia who now reside in Israel and have Israeli citizenship. The Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel is also composed of the Falash Mura, a community of Beta Israel which had converted to Christianity over the past 200 years, mostly under pressure from government and their neighbors, but were permitted to immigrate to Israel conditioned on their conversion to Orthodox Judaism.
Rabbinical officials said the decision eliminated an old 1980s document that questioned the Jewishness of all Ethiopian olim and demanded various actions to confirm their Judaism, including Giur L'chumra.
Rabbi Sharon Shalom, Dean of Ethiopian Jewry Studies at the UNO Academic College, told Reshet Bet radio on Monday morning: "It's a meaningless decision," and added, "This is not a holiday, the rabbinate is still punking us. It's like asking Guatemala to recognize the State of Israel – we've already established it, it's no longer relevant."
Rabbi Shalom recalled bitterly an event when he and other males from his family and their neighbors had been ordered one night into a mikva, where they were told to undress and stood in a row while a messenger of the Chief Rabbinate performed bloodletting on them, in lieu of a circumcision. This was not a humiliation he would easily forget.
The Kes (Ethiopian priest) of Kiryat Malachi, Andaleh Maharat, said he was pleased with the rabbinate's decision, and hoped the Ashkenazi Orthodox rabbis would accept it as well: "The Torah embraces, it does not reject. It does not give any single ethnic group a monopoly."
Kes Maharat told told Reshet Bet: "We have made sacrifices to keep our Judaism. For us to come to Israel only to be told it is doubtful we are a Jewish – there's nothing more humiliating than that."
The chief rabbi of Ethiopian Jews, Rabbi Reuven Wabashat, expressed optimism about the implications of the rabbinate's decision: "In recent years, all kinds of things have happened in the religious services system, and some have justified this by saying, 'The Chief Rabbinate has not yet recognized the Jews of Ethiopia.' Now, those who object to our Jewish status will have no more recourse."
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Friendship with Abraham Heschel and The Jewish People By Howard Zik
Many have seen photographs of Martin Luther King Jr. marching with rabbi and scholar Abraham Heschel in Selma and other places, but few know of the close friendship and bonding that developed between the two and the profound influence they exerted on one another.
Sometimes in recent times we hear of claims of Martin Luther King ultimately turned against Israel in his perspective on world affairs. A full evaluation will, however, reveal to the contrary he was a true ally and admirer of Israel's national principles as well as supporter of its ongoing presence. In a March 26, 1968 speech 2 weeks before his assassination Dr. King in a revealing speech expressed this heartfelt support : " Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist …I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy." This support by King is additionally revealed in his co-sponsorship of October 13, 1963 of the Conference on Soviet Jewry at Carnegie International Center as well as his January 16 th letter to the Soviet Union urging Moscow to change its policy regarding Jews. In the demonstration of King in Selma hundreds of King's followers wore yarmulkes in solidarity and gratitude to Jewish support of King's efforts.
The alliance between King and Heschel is an intriguing saga and may first be told by understanding how each had come to certain views that united them. Both were born under circumstance where their peoples were subject to oppression. This included Heschel born within pogroms in Russia and King within oppressive segregation and denial of rights in the US South. At the core of both of their perspectives is a vigorous advocacy of universal rights. Both King and Heschel held a common view that a respect for human rights cannot ever be confined to particular groups but must be extended to all groups as part of a cornerstone commitment to universal rights. One example of King's expression is a view he stated at the New York Conference of Religion and Racism (January 14, 1963). Here King asserted unequivocal solidarity with Herschel's opposition to the Soviet treatment of the Jews.
Both tapped the Tenach and particularly the Prophets in supporting this world view. In his acclaimed march on Washington before the Lincoln Memorial King quoted Amos in declaring "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water," (Amos 5:24). Within jail cell in Montgomery in his March 1956 he declared this inspirational eloquent message, "Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere." Heschel for his part references the Jew's slavery under the Pharaoh as having special relevancy while marching with the King to secure freedom. Both jointly opposed the war in Viet Nam taking yet another moral stand against what they considered an injustice that went beyond the immediate concerns of their own peoples.
A second parallel uniting them is the establishment of a state of justice or kingdom of God on earth rather than a hereafter. Although King's Christian's roots provided an emphasis on the hereafter he extended this commitment especially through the influence of the Baptist thinker Walter Rauschenbusch (Christianity and Social Crisis) who extended the notion of the "kingdom of God" to the life in this world as well as the hereafter. This was part of his dedication to what was called the Social Gospel movement originating in the early twentieth century which has its parallel in Judaism with the Jewish role of justice in the Torah and clarified by Prophets and rabbinic thought. " The Social Gospel movement in its original form addressed social injustices among workers, children and schools but in King and others led its application to civil rights of minorities in the sixties without its affiliation with socialism .Further this involved a remarkable parallel with the Jewish concept of a messianic age.
Another aspect of the relationship between Heschel and King are the complementary traits that they exhibited in relation to one another in their approach to ensuring human rights. King although a visionary, possessed more of a rational side while Heschel's nature shifted towards the mystical. King planned effectively and strategically mapped out his courses of action learning from experience. For example in his Birmingham Alabama, campaign he timed his protest to occur after the local elections so that the most radical of candidate for mayor, namely, Bull O'Connor, would not gain votes from King's presence. It appeared that King was inspired by Heschel's spiritual side and Heschel by Kings practical side and its efficiency (although moved by his spiritual side as well) in their commitments to lead meaningful lives. Herschel in his life perspective spoke of a "leap to action "from an intuitive (preconceived) sense of the sublime. King for his part saw in Heschel's intuitive side with visionary elements the underlying mystical foundation for his commitments. In fact a rather similar experience was described by King in his early Montgomery experience which dissipated his personal fears of harm by an ineffable sense that God will be with him. In this reciprocal linkage each spoke of one another as a prophet where prophet embodies both the mystical and practical sides. In an essential sense they were each other's ministers.
King and Heschel remained friends and spiritual brothers ever since they met at the 1963 National Council of Christians and continued protesting together throughout until King's assassination in April 1968.The rapport and bonding between them was immediate. Each attempted to demonstrate how their religious commitments compelled them to take a moral stand in support of civil rights. Morality in their view was demanded by their religious identity revealed in their frequent use of quotes from Prophets.
Most revealingly King delivered the keynote address at Heschel's birthday on March 25, 1968 10 days before his assassination. Here Heschel emotionally said "Martin Luther King is a sign God has not forsaken America. His presence is the hope of America." In response King said "Hershel is indeed truly a great prophet". Here and there we find those who refuse to remain silent and they are seeking to make the great ethical insights of Judaic Christian culture relevant in this day and age." The words of both are truly a great tribute to the relationship that helped shape them and in turn help shaped America. .
Only in Israel: Boy Went Mushroom Picking, Found Byzantine Marble Slab with Greek Inscription Instead By David Israel
Stav Meir, 13, a resident of Caesarea, went out a week ago with his father Zohar, his brothers and cousins, to look for mushrooms after the rains. He noticed a marble slab an inscription in Greek protruding from the ground and called his father over.
"I immediately recognized that it was something ancient," Stav, a seventh-grader, said. Turns out he had studied archaeology in school as part of an Israel Antiquities Authority program, and now, he said, "I can easily identify antiquities when I see them."
The excited Stav reported his discovery to the IAA which sent over its local archaeologist in Caesarea, Dr. Peter Gendelman, who came over to collect the find.
According to Dr. Gendelman, "this is a burial inscription – a marble slab with an inscription engraved in Greek, and adorned with a cross. The slab, which apparently indicated the grave's location in the cemetery and the identity of the deceased, reads: 'The grave of […] and of Anastasius, or Anastasia.'"
Gendelman added that, "in ancient times, Caesarea was already a center of attraction for a wealthy population (much as it remains today – DI). The quality of the slab discovered by Stav indicates the wealthy status of the entombed person, as well as the customs and beliefs of the inhabitants of Caesarea in the Byzantine period. This inscription joins a large collection of burial inscriptions previously discovered around ancient Caesarea."
During the Byzantine period, the rich of Caesarea built magnificent mansions in the suburbs of the city, enjoying life in the countryside only a short carriage hop away from the bustling city. To this day, sections of five magnificent mansions have been discovered, each sprawling over an extensive area.
According to Karem Said, Haifa District Archaeologist at the IAA, "the country's recent rainstorms have uncovered archaeological finds that were buried in the ground. The IAA is pleased and proud with Stav's good citizenship, and the real-life application of the knowledge he has acquired with us in the classroom and in the field. The finding of this inscription enriches archaeological knowledge and our understanding of ancient Caesarea. We awarded Stav a Certificate of Appreciation for his good citizenship, and we will come to his class for a special lesson addressing the discovery he has made. We urge all citizens to be our partners in preserving the treasures of the land. Let us know if you discover archaeological finds that have surfaced in the rain near your home."
Thousands of schoolchildren across Israel study archaeology with the IAA. The curriculum breathes life into cultures and ancient times, in classroom and field studies, combining archaeological finds, puzzles, workshops, archaeological excavations, and tours.