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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
Love Yehuda Lave
In G-d we trust- All others pay Cash
In G-d we trust-All others pay Cash
The portion of the week that we read each week in the synagogue (or when we used to go to the synagogue-now we pray outside in the fresh air), is called the Parsha of the week.
Since the Torah is the blueprint for the world or the GPS (Global Positioning System) for where you are in your life, there is always something in the Parsha of the week that coordinates to what is going on in the outside world.
In my full blog, (read it at YehudaLave.com) I bring articles that discuss whether we made the right decisions to shut down the entire economy because of the Virus. Discussing it with people is a waste of time, because as I teach as a psychologist, people think with their emotions (classically their heart) not their brain.
If you think that the right decision was made because of the protection of public health, then the reopening of the Economy seems to be the wrong decision. Since people are emotional thinkers like I said above, reopening the economy seems like you are murdering sweet old grandmothers (most people use this example, as grandfathers aren't as sweet as grandmothers and they don't live as long anyway).
If you think, like Dennis Prager, the famous American commentary, that the closing of the economy was the greatest mistake of modern times, as in America 40 million people are out of work. This is the greatest economic meltdown since the great depression, according to Prager, who has been a modern Jewish thinker and writer for over 30 years and is a major brain.
What was unusual about this shutdown, is not only is the first time it has ever happened in modern history, is that we quarantined the healthy instead of the sick. Every business and economic model always works on the principle of the "going concern". Every day business owners and government leaders must deal with new problems. We survive these "tests" because 99% of the rest of the economy or business is running smoothly.
For example, when the CEO of the bus company comes into work, his job is to make his supervisors get the buses out on the street to move the passengers. 1 out of the 1000 buses may have a flat tire or an engine problem, so the supervisor gets the other 999 buses out on the street. He doesn't hold the problem bus at the front of the driveway and stop the other 999 buses from going. This would be idiocy and against the principle of the going concern.
Yet this is what was done, in our current crisis. We didn't know how to handle the virus, so we shut everything done. he forcible prevention of the world from doing anything except what politicians deem "essential" has led to the worst economy in world history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America.
There was agreement that something had to be done, but pulling the one bus that had a flat tire, like closing the sports fields and movie theaters, could have been tried before blanketing the entire and economy and throwing everyone except people working on computers out of work. It wasn't. All 1000 buses were stopped and we have tremendous unemployment in all countries. Duh? Wasn't this a natural consequence of our actions?
The Parsha of the week, Leviticus chapter 25 verses 20. 21, and 22 give a similar instruction for a full shutdown of the economy. "And if you say: "What shall we eat in the seventh year, we can not sow nor gather in our crops?" G-d says "I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year and it shall bring forth produces for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year and eat from the sixth year until the ninth year when you harvest."
Now, this is G-d promising to feed us. G-d has a track record. He fed us for 40 years in the desert. If he fed us for forty years, logically (it is called in Hebrew a call vahomer), he can feed us for three.
In G-d we trust all others pay Cash.
Why-the the governments of the world told all its peoples they had to stop working. As the people said, "what shall we eat?" We will send you stimulus checks, said the governments, after can't we keep printing money without any economic consequences. There won't be any inflation or economic downturns. We can keep printing money and send it to anyone we choose to.
However, anyone with a brain in his head, knows that this can't work. The cash will become worthless. In G-d we trust, economic decisions that are not thought out, we don't.
Here is a little joke to put some light on the decision as well:
A Logical Misunderstanding
Rivkah asks Shlomo, "I'm short of some ingredients for the cake I'm baking, so could you please get some things for me from the supermarket?"
"Of course I can, darling," replies Shlomo. "What do you need?"
"Please get one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get six." replies Rivkah.
Fifteen minutes later, Shlomo returns with six cartons of milk. Rivkah is furious with him. "You shmoo! Why on earth did you buy six cartons of milk?"
"Because they had eggs," he replies.
The Lockdown May Be The Greatest Mistake In History By Dennis Prager
The suggestion that the lockdown of virtually every country other than Sweden may have been an enormous mistake strikes many – including world leaders; most scientists, especially health officials, doctors, and epidemiologists; journalists; opinion writers; and the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who put their faith in these people – as so preposterous as to be immoral.
Timothy Egan of The New York Times described Republicans who wish to enable their states to open up as "the party of death."
But for those open to reading thoughts they may differ with, here is the case for why the worldwide lockdown is not only a mistake but also, possibly, the worst mistake the world has ever made. And for those intellectually-challenged by the English language and/or logic, "mistake" and "evil" are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.
The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem "essential" has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America.
The United Nations World Food Programme, or the WFP, states that by the end of the year, more than 260 million people will face starvation – double last year's figures. According to WFP director David Beasley on April 21: "We could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries. … There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself" (italics added).
That would be enough to characterize the worldwide lockdown as a deathly error. But there is much more. If global GDP declines by 5 percent, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Foreign Policy magazine reports that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy will shrink by 3 percent in 2020, marking the biggest downturn since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, across South Asia, as of a month ago, tens of millions were already "struggling to put food on the table." Again, all because of the lockdowns, not the virus.
In one particularly incomprehensible act, the government of India, a poor country of 1.3 billion people, locked down its people. As Quartz India reported on April 22, "Coronavirus has killed only around 700 Indians…a small number still compared to the 450,000 TB and 10,000-odd malaria deaths recorded every year."
One of the thousands of unpaid garment workers protesting the lockdown in Bangladesh understands the situation better than almost any health official in the world: "We are starving. If we don't have food in our stomach, what's the use of observing this lockdown?" But concern for that Bangladeshi worker among the world's elites seems non-existent.
The lockdown is "possibly even more catastrophic (than the virus) in its outcome: the collapse of global food-supply systems and widespread human starvation" (italics added). That was published in the left-wing The Nation, which, nevertheless, enthusiastically supports lockdowns.
But the American left cares as much about the millions of non-Americans reduced to hunger and starvation because of the lockdown as it does about the people of upstate New York who have no income, despite the minuscule number of coronavirus deaths there. Or about the citizens of Oregon, whose governor has just announced the state will remain locked down until July 6. As of this writing, a total of 109 people have died of the coronavirus in Oregon.
An example of how uninterested the left is in worldwide suffering is made abundantly clear in a front-page "prayer" by a left-wing Christian in the current issue of The Nation: "May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake."
"Merely inconvenienced" is how the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II describes the tens of millions of Americans rendered destitute, not to mention the hundreds of millions around the world rendered not only penniless but hungry. The truth is, like most of the elites, it is Barber who is "merely inconvenienced." Indeed, the American battle today is between the merely inconvenienced and the rest of America.
Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, recently stated, "There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor."
Palestinians, Israel and the Coronavirus By Colonel Richard Kemp
Coronavirus has turned the world upside down. One Through the Looking Glass moment was the UN's praise for Israel over "unprecedented cooperation on efforts aimed at containing the epidemic". Those of us who follow the Middle East know that any judgement on Israel apart from outright condemnation is unprecedented for the UN.
What is not unprecedented is cooperation between Arabs and Israelis such as we see today. One hundred years ago, a Jewish microbiologist, Dr Israel Kligler, led the fight to eradicate malaria from this land. For centuries, the territory had been ravaged by the mosquito, decimating the people that tried to live there, leaving it barren and sparsely populated. Shortly before Kligler's war on malaria, British General Edmund Allenby, speaking of his 1917-18 fight against the Ottoman Empire in Palestine, had said: "I am campaigning against mosquitoes". His battle plans against the Turks were shaped above all by the need to overcome the murderous effects of malaria on his own forces.
Like Coronavirus, malaria did not differentiate between Jews and Arabs, and both communities learnt the need to work together against a disease that had for so long caused devastation to both their peoples. Despite violent efforts by Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to prevent his people from cooperating with the hated Jews, Kligler's endeavours enabled the land to be cultivated, populated and developed, and eventually to the total elimination of the disease in the area.
Like al-Husseini, some Palestinian Arab leaders today seem to prefer that their own people succumb to disease rather than cooperate with Israel. While Palestinians and Israelis on the ground pull together against Coronavirus, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh says: "Some soldiers are trying to spread the virus through the door handles of cars. It is a case of racism and hatred by people who hope for the death of the other." More Alice in Wonderland fantasy.
A PA spokesman accused the Israeli authorities of "racist and inhumane" behaviour and articles in official PA publications assert that Israel is deliberately spreading the infection and trying to contaminate Palestinian prisoners, using Coronavirus as a biological weapon. Of course, Israel-haters in both mainstream and social media are only too eager to amplify such defamatory and divisive outbursts.
Meanwhile Israeli and PA health departments meet regularly to coordinate action and share vital information. Troops from the IDF's Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) are organising joint training for medical teams. Israel provides test kits, laboratory supplies, medicines and personal protective equipment for Palestinian health workers.
COGAT is also working to coordinate safe transit for Palestinian Arabs from their homes into places of work across the Green Line in Israel. Their earnings put food on the table for tens of thousands of Arab families. Authorities ensure these workers observe the same social distancing as Israeli citizens and are equipped with the same protective equipment. Unprecedented arrangements have been made to allow them to remain in Israel for extended periods to avoid cross-contamination. Despite that, PA leaders maliciously accuse Israel of using their workers, who are so vital to the Palestinian economy, to transmit infections back into Arab areas.
The IDF is closely cooperating with local authorities among Israeli Muslim communities, providing testing and medication and evacuating the sick to hospitals and hotels. Across Israel, they have established discrete isolation facilities in 21 hotels, tailor-made to specific communities, including strictly kosher for Orthodox Jews and halal for Muslims.
The IDF have distributed more than 100,000 food packages to Israeli Muslims in places where there have been significant outbreaks, and are supplying groceries for those who are unable to leave their homes. IDF uniforms inside Muslim villages are often seen among locals as provocative. In places where the Ministry of Health identifies hotspots, deployment of Muslim IDF soldiers and careful messaging and coordination with village leaders have so far helped prevent incidents. In some cases, Muslim civilians carrying out official roles have donned fluorescent vests with IDF Home Front Command markings, something normally unheard of and indicative of understanding the need to pull together.
A recent Coronavirus op-ed in the Washington Post demanded that Israel "lift the siege on Gaza". Predictably, the author ignores the fact that Israel's lawful blockade of the Gaza Strip — also imposed by Egypt — is in place for one reason only: the regime there remains intent on using Gaza as a base for terrorist attacks against both Israel and Egypt. But even in Gaza, a form of cooperation has been achieved.
The Washington Post article goes on:
"Israel must immediately lift restrictions on supplies and equipment entering Gaza and ensure Palestinian doctors and nurses have the resources they need to ensure the health and safety of their patients."
Israel-haters don't want to know this, but what the author calls for is of course exactly what has been happening since the Coronavirus outbreak.
Israel has continued, as usual, to supply essential aid to the people of Gaza, including electricity and water. COGAT facilitates unhindered all international aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip, including testing equipment, protective garments, disinfectant, medical stocks and other humanitarian supplies provided by WHO, the EU, UNRWA, Qatar, Norway and other countries. Last week alone this included 197 tons of medical supplies among the 2,563 truckloads of goods that crossed from Israel into Gaza.
Despite scaremongering in the Washington Post and other papers, the Gaza health authorities report very low levels of Coronavirus, and restaurants re-opened last week. Hamas seems to have been managing the crisis effectively, no doubt anxious to avoid unrest that could destabilise its regime.
The cooperation between Israel and Palestinian Arabs will enable Coronavirus to be contained and perhaps eventually eradicated there. But will it lead to improved long-term relations between the two sides? If history is any guide, the answer is unfortunately no. Despite the extraordinary mutual benefits achieved by cooperation against malaria in the 1920s, which literally enabled life to flourish throughout the land, the obsessive hatred stirred up by Amin al-Husseini and his henchmen prevailed, leading to relentless conflict from that day to this. Despite the insight into Israel's true nature gained by many ordinary Palestinians in this crisis, it looks likely that al-Husseini's modern-day successors will continue to betray their own people as he did, with the same self-destructive animosity and aggression.
Happy Lag BaOmer -See you tomorrow bli neder-We need Moshiach now!