Friday, May 31, 2013

Extraordinary Photos From LAURENT SCHWEBEL and the Burden on the Land of Israel

Your Mind Can Choose to Enjoy What You Do

One of the most self-empowering ideas for a happy, fulfilling life is that it's up to your own mind to choose to enjoy what you do. You have a tremendous power to develop this attitude.

If you need to do something that seems uninteresting and boring at first, ask yourself, "How can I find a way to enjoy what I need to do?"

Brainstorm. Enjoy the challenge of thinking of a number of ways to make the task more meaningful and fulfilling.

Ask yourself, "What are some of the ways that I can think about this task (or project, goal, or job) that will enable me to enjoy what I am doing?"
Love Yehuda Lave

A treat for you!
Incredible Photography!!!!!
Sent: 5/20/2013 11:45:23 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Extraordinary Photos From LAURENT SCHWEBEL
Really beautiful photography, enjoy...
Sad loss of this extremely special photographer.  French photographer
Laurent Schwebel, 52 years old, was stabbed and killed and robbed of
his camera  while he was taking pictures in Buenos Aires.
A naturalist photographer, he was born in 1959 in the Alsace region of
eastern France and killed on February 8, 2012, in Plaza San Martin,
Retiro, Buenos Aires.

He worked as a geologist, naturalist and photographer guide of a
French travel agency specializing in travel naturalists.

Rationalist Judaism: First, Understand "The Burden"

First, Understand "The Burden"
Posted: 26 May 2013 01:26 PM PDT
(Please see Mr. Eytan Kobre's article in Mishpacha magazine in order to understand this post.)

Of all the aspects of the avoidance of work and military service by Eretz Yisrael's bnei Torah, one must be addressed before all others. Before we consider whether there is any way to explain our worldview to chareidi Israelis in terms they can understand and accept, there is a far more important question to ponder: Do we, shlomei emunei Yisrael, accept and understand it? Do we perceive why this is evil? Do we appreciate just how great a danger this poses to our nation?

The unfortunate answer, to a very large extent, is that we do not. There is a huge, perhaps unprecedented misunderstanding about this issue. This is evident simply from the conversations one has and hears, as well as from numerous other developments. A sampling:

  • A magazine produced by and for Zionist Jews features an MK describing how charedim have a "right" to create communities that are educated towards poverty and financially supported by the rest of Israel, under the banner of "United Torah Judaism." To insist upon poverty in defiance of Chazal's statements about how one must teach one's son a trade, and about how one should support one's family and even take a lowly profession rather than live off charity, is not exactly Torah Judaism.
  • A frum website features a chareidi gadol's three prohibitions for Eretz Yisrael's frum community: serving in army units (even chareidi ones), participating in national service programs (even chareidi ones), and enrolling in job-training institutions (even chareidi ones). It is an astounding exercise in selfishness and self-destruction which, when practised by disadvantaged populations in inner-city America, we all recognize as a a tragedy. But somehow, its author's background as a Gadol HaDor is supposed to give him carte blanche to legislate such distortions. It does not.
  • The aforementioned politically-involved Gadol HaDor, whose policies sought, quite simply, to end the Religious-Zionist community as we know it, is eulogized with high honor in an American magazine aimed at ehrliche Yidden in the Centrist and Modern Orthodox community.
We must attain clarity on what is at stake and what precisely we believe. Let us begin with that on which both sides agree. Haredi spokesman Eytan Kobre recently stated that while Iran is "a formidable enemy," it does not represent "an existential threat" to Israel. Rather, it is "the Zionist project" that "poses a greater threat than … Ahmadinejad."

Let us ignore for now, if we can, the breathtaking demonization of fellow Jews that statement represents. The man is right — Ahmadinejad is not the problem. There is, indeed, a threat different not only in degree but in kind, an existential one, facing the Jews in Israel, but it is not that slithering Persian snake and his mad pursuit of a nuclear device with which to bring about his dream of a world without Jews. It is there, of course, that the meeting of minds with Kobre ends, and a gaping chasm wider than all the universe opens between him and us.

The great catchphrase that has all the wise men, all the ostensible Gedolim, shaking their heads and clucking their tongues in unison, is "Daas Toyrah." By this they mean that the burden of defending our nation has been determined by the Gedolim to be effected by those who learn in kollel.

We dissent. The crux of the matter is not who protects our nation, but who threatens it. And now, stand warned: I will pronounce what is for many Jews an insufferable heresy. True, we live today in a Torah-oriented Jewish world, in which "Daas Toyrah" is invoked endlessly to permit the airing of the most outrageous of views in Judaism's name. As a result, there's very little anymore that's still regarded as blasphemous, but I'll now say something that remains so: Nevuchadnetzar couldn't destroy the Beis HaMikdash, nor can Ahmadinejad destroy Eretz Yisrael. Only Jews, those most spiritually potent of creatures, whose "feet are planted on earth, but whose heads reach the highest heavens," can.

There, I said it. Actually, I didn't say it — Rav Chaim Volozhiner did, in his Nefesh HaChaim (1:4). But please understand: In speaking thus, Rav Chaim, the Vilna Gaon's prime disciple, was stating an axiomatic truth of the Judaism of the ages, albeit with a kabbalistic framework that was unknown to most of the Rishonim and strongly rejected by some. He was expressing a principle so fundamental to the Judaic worldview that it leaps from the pages of every sefer in Tanach and every masechta in Shas: Spiritual reality underlies — indeed, gives rise to — physical reality and thus is the far more real of the two, with the latter mirroring the former.

Welcome to Jewish reality — also known as reality according to the non-rationalist rabbinic authorities — where spiritual causes bring about material effects, both positive and negative; where the "action" all takes place in the spiritual realms, with the ensuing this-worldly results, substantive as they seem to the human eye, being mere afterthoughts. Our deeds, ours alone, activate spiritual forces on high that, in turn, determine the course of human affairs.

Whatever your views may be on the particular issue of the Israeli draft, if you identify as a genuinely believing non-Maimonidean Torah Jew, you subscribe to this way of seeing the world, and it informs the way you live your life. It is why you insist on not working on Shabbos and Yom Tov, believing that G-d will bless your household for declaring Him Master of your destiny; it is why you pray thrice daily for all your needs; it is why you trade the so-called "high cost of Jewish living," as expressed in money, time and convenience, for the riches of a spiritually elevated life that connects you to the Eternal One and through Him, to eternity.

And so, if we are to be religiously consistent, it is through the prism of this irreconcilable divide over the fundamental nature of reality that the attempt to avoid military service and working for a living must also be viewed. What most threatens Israel's future existence? The Torah is unequivocal on this: Not an Iranian mushroom cloud, but Jews — fervently religious ones, ultra-secularist ones and everyone in between — acting un-Jewishly.

Incidentally, one need not be a benighted Religious Zionist, his big tomes of Scripture and Talmud in tow, to believe that Israel's fate is bound up with its inhabitants' conduct — one can even be, say, Eytan Kobre. Not unlike a Southern Baptist preacher, the lawyer-turned-Jewish community spokesman leader has only the Gedolim to guide him, yet he has famously, and admirably, stated that he believes our claim to this land to be based on adherence to the Torah and Talmud. Well, now, they say "talk is cheap," but ought he not to be held to his words?

So we open the Torah and read: "You shall observe all My decrees and all My ordinances and perform them; then the land to which I bring you will not disgorge you" (Vayikra 20:22). Let's charitably assume for the moment that transgressing "all My decrees and all My ordinances" doesn't, G-d forfend, include things like avoiding paying taxes and shirking military service without one of the Torah's explicit exemptions (as Moses himself said, "Shall your brothers go to war while you remain here?"). But surely, at a minimum, it refers to the litany of sins set forth in the immediately preceding verses: sexual immorality and all the rest.

So when we read that Agudath Israel has instructed rabbis not to report suspected pedophiles to the authorities without the permission of rabbis who have no training in such matters, and who have proven completely incompetent and to have covered up for molesters in the past, what are we to think? What does the estimable Mr. Kobre think of his community serving as a blight unto the nations? Does he ever ponder what the Author of Leviticus thinks of the fact that just minutes from Kobre's law practice in Brooklyn, countless minors are abused for unspeakable purposes — or can't he spare a minute from plotting the next diatribe against the Zionists?

And what guarantees Israel's safety? Jews acting like Jews and doing those things that Judaism teaches bring blessing and peace and sustenance and every manner of good fortune into the world. And among these, our Sages teach, none can remotely compare to Torah study for the protective merit and abundance of blessing it affords. Which is why one wonders why charedi yeshivos fled the beleaguered Ashdod and Netivot region as soon as troubles stated with Gaza, and why they are so desperate for financial help from the Zionist government rather than relying upon Hashem. Perhaps it is because, as our Sages teach, Torah study is most beautiful when accompanied by derech eretz. Moreover, as wonderful as the modern invention of the kollel is for their contribution to the contemporary profusion of Torah learning, there's no gainsaying the Torah's clear pronouncements, codified by Rambam: the only exemptions from military duty are for men with new homes, new vineyards or new wives, and not for those who wish to learn Torah. Furthermore, there's no gainsaying Chazal's clear pronouncements: kol Torah she'ain imo melachah sofo betelah vegoreres avon, any Torah that is not accompanied by work leads to neglect and sin; and that kol she'aino melamed es beno umnos ke'ilu melamdo listos, one who does not teach his son a trade is as though he has taught him to steal.

So let me understand: Now, as this fragile little country, whose 65-year history has been a string of wondrous miracles, faces the apocalypse being feverishly readied by the lunatic of Teheran, now is the opportune time to insist that the temporary measures invoked after the losses of the Holocaust must be concretized into a complete and permanent reformation of traditional Torah society? Now, with the returns of the Charedi project in, and the result a country where hundreds of thousands of Yidden are condemned to poverty with all its associated problems of shalom bayis, theft and other tragedies; where charedi youth are so disenchanted with the lifestyle that is forced upon them that many rebel and come to a tragic end in Yerushalayim's holy streets; where the drive to segregate themselves from wider society is so strong that reporting serial molesters to the authorities is regarded as mesirah — and all the while vicious enemies encircle us — is this the moment to insist upon the negation of the traditional Jewish community, where working for a living is considered normative and praiseworthy, and everyone is united as one people to follow the Torah's laws and values which stand between us and a violent vomiting out of the inhabitants of this most spiritually sensitive of lands?

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interesting duel between one bad-ass Texas wabbit and a rattler..and reassess

Reassess your Value

Low self-image usually forms at an early age. A person might have had excessively critical parents or teachers, failed to get along well with other children, or received low marks in school.

Though this attitude was formed long ago, the only reason it lasts in the present is because a person now keeps repeating it to himself. Yet he has the ability to tell himself, "In the past I may have judged myself to be inferior, but I will now think for myself and appreciate my true value."

Being aware of the source of poor self-image makes it easier to challenge the assumptions upon which it is based. It is possible that while you had certain faults in the past, you presently are learning to overcome them.

Or, perhaps the people who judge you unfavorably were using a yardstick that you do not presently accept. For example, in school a student is usually judged by the marks he receives on tests. Some students with low grades worked hard to understand, and more importantly may have internalized the concepts and practiced them to a greater degree than others who received higher grades. As a child, the diligent student with poor grades might have felt inferior, but as an adult he has the ability to appreciate how he may have really accomplished more.
You have the choice to re-judge the facts.
Love Yehuda Lave
Don't mess with Texans.  Even our rabbits are tough. See video  below

Great Words
 Pythagorean theorem: 24 words
Lord's prayer: 66 words
Archimedes' Principle: 67 words
Ten Commandments: 179 words
Gettysburg address: 286 words
US Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: 7,818 words
EU regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words

this speaks for itself

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why didn't the Chabad Rabbi visit Rabbi, It Was The Best Of Times & The Worst Of Times

To Err Is Human

A student of Teacher once erred in the pronunciation of a word when publicly repeating the silent Amidah prayer. Someone pointed out the correct pronunciation, and the student repeated the word accurately. However, the student became confused and nervous and made many more errors.

After the prayers, the Rabbi  approached him and said, "How is it possible to be so arrogant? Do you think you are so perfect that you cannot possibly make any mistakes?"
One of the other students asked, "Won't the student feel even worse and more upset by the fact that his teacher told him he was arrogant?"
It depends on how such a message comes across. If said with understanding and concern, the message is, "I care about you. Why do you have to make yourself so upset over a minor error? Of course, you are fallible and make mistakes. Expect to make mistakes and keep trying to improve, but do not feel devastated when you err."
Love Yehuda Lave
 Here is a  Chabad video justifying the Rebbe never visiting Israel

Love Yehuda Lave

Why Didn't the Rebbe Visit Israel?

Why the Rebbe didn't go to the holy land of Israel even for just a visit. (From "Messages"—Season 2, Episode 7.)

Subject: Fwd: It Was The Best Of Times & The Worst Of Times

1960s This is the one of the best presentations of the sixties that I have ever seen online. It is very well done.
It starts out a bit slow but the music gets better.
Sit back and enjoy the memories with a glass of beer, or wine. Click on the link below for great photos and facts.


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't look at what happens next!!! and Stacy Westfall and Jews on Memorial Day

GOOD MORNING! The story is told of a woman who enters what she believes is a Chinese laundry. However, there behind the counter is a little old Jewish man. Asks the woman, "Isn't this a Chinese laundry?" Responds the man with a thick Yiddish accent, "Vell, no. I own it. I guess you could call it a Jewish laundry." "What about the name?" queries the woman. "Ah, the name! I was standing in line at Ellis Island behind my cousin. The immigration man asked, 'Vat's your name?' and my cousin replied, 'Rabinowitz.' Then the immigration man asked me the same question and I replied, 'Sam Ting.' "

Don't Identify with your Possessions

When your property or possessions sustain some damage or loss, work on yourself to accept the Almighty's judgment with love. Realize you were born without any belongings, and you will eventually leave the world without belongings. You need not identify with your possessions since they are not an integral part of you.
Love Yehuda Lave

Stacy Westfall's Championship Run 2006

We Jews: Memorial Day Edition

Fascinating facts about Jews who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

According to the Jewish War Veterans, We Jews have served in the U.S. Armed Forces far beyond our numerical proportion in the general population. More, we did so with distinction, receiving more than 52,000 awards, including the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor.
George Washington directly commanded 40 Jewish soldiers.
In honor of Memorial Day, here are but a few known but mostly unsung facts about our passion, our involvement, and our sacrifice.
LETTER FROM DANIEL: What I have experienced in the Army is far more profound than anything else in my life. I've learned that my mind can be my ally as well as my enemy. I had to teach myself how to be more flexible. I've learned how to push myself to my limits and, once there, continue. My biggest fear is not my death. It's the death of those whose parents and wives I'll have to see suffer. That's what makes me a solider. I want you to know that I love you and I will see you in a year from now. Love, Daniel
Daniel Freeman, age twenty, part of the elite 173rd Airborne Division, was killed in Afghanistan on April 6, 2005.

Early Jewish Officers

*The first Jewish officers in the New World fought in the French and Indian Wars. They were Jacob Judah, Michael Isaacs, Isaac Moses and Isaac Meyers. Meyers led a company across the Allegheny Mountains and served as captain.
*By 1775, there were about 2,500 Jews populating the colonies. Several hundred were of military age. There were at least 27 Jewish officers in the Continental Army.
*George Washington directly commanded 40 Jewish soldiers.
*In South Carolina, about two dozen men recruited from a largely Jewish part of Charleston became known as a "Jews' Company."

Jews & Independence

There were about 2,000 Jews in America in 1776, and they were devoted patriots during the Revolutionary War:
*Every adult Jewish male in Charleston, South Carolina, fought for independence.
*Jews also helped finance the War. Haym Salomon lent a fortune to the Continental Congress. The money was never repaid, and Salomon was bankrupt when he died.
*The Jewish Paul Revere of the South. "First Jew In South Carolina To Hold Public Office And To Die For American Independence" opens the inscription on a commemorative stone in honor of Francis Salvador, erected at the time of the bicentennial celebration of the Jewish community of Charleston, 1950. Salvador came to Charleston (Charles Town), South Carolina from his native London in 1773, and served with distinction in the creation of his state and his new nation. In 1775, he was the first Jew elected to public office as delegate to the first South Carolina Provincial Congress. A patriot, participating as a volunteer in an expedition against Indians and Tories, he was killed in an ambush near the Keowee River in 1776, thus also becoming the first Jew to give his life in the Revolutionary War

Brother Against Brother: The Civil War

Jewish-Americans fought in this most tragic of wars on both sides of the battlefield, blue and gray.
*The banking firm of Seligman Brothers provided financial support to the Union Army.
*Judah Philip Benjamin served both as Secretary of War and Secretary of State for the Confederacy. The Confederate States of America (CSA) had at least 23 Jewish-American staff officers.
*Surgeon General David de Leon of S.C. was the first Surgeon General of the Confederacy – and his counterpart for the Union was Dr. Jonathan Horowitz.
*When General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Grant, present at the ceremony on April 9, 1865, was Benjamin B. Levy, one of a six (some say seven) Jews awarded the Congressional medal of honor
*The only known Hebrew military cemetery outside of Israel is the U.S. Cemetery for Hebrew Confederate Soldiers in Richmond, Virginia, where 121 Jewish Confederate soldiers are buried.
Simon Wolf published the names of 7,000 Jewish Civil War veterans.
*Despite the fact that thousands of Jews fought in the Civil War, it was reported in "Jewish Soldiers in the Union Army" (North American Review, December, 1891), that few, if any, served. To set the record straight, social activist Simon Wolf not only responded with facts in an article of his own "The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen" (published in The Washington Post soon after), but in 1895, Wolf, whose friends included both Grant and Sherman, published the names of 7,000 Jewish Civil War veterans.
A MOTHER'S GRIEF … Rebekah Hyneman's last letter to son Elias about the death of her other son.
Philadelphia. June 22, 1864
Oh, my dear one. He died, God rest him without a struggle, without a moan. When he calmly told me he was dying and wished someone to read the prayers for him, I felt as if I could not endure it. He left a kiss for you with his dying lips and loved you to the last. May his pure spirit hover over you, my treasure, and turn aside every weapon that is aimed against you. Sorrowing Mother
*Elias Hyneman, a soldier with the Pennsylvania Cavalry, during the Civil War, could not get a furlough. One week later, his regiment participated in Kautz's Raid. Elias saved his comrades, but was captured and died in Andersonville.

WW ll In Body, In Spirit, In Image ...

The most famous and most photographed symbol of courage in battle is, of course, that of the U.S. Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The photo, shot during combat, was taken by a Jew, Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for this remarkable achievement.

Jewish Veterans: The Oldest Veteran's Organization

The Veterans Organization: Hebrew Union, created March 15, 1896 was forerunner to the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. The latter is recognized as the oldest veteran's organization in America! The group with approximately 37,000 members holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

In the preamble to its National Constitution the purpose of the JWV is excerpted:
To maintain true allegiance to the United States of America; to combat whatever tends to impair the efficiency and permanency of our free institutions; to uphold the fair name of the Jew and fight his or her battles wherever unjustly assailed; to encourage the doctrine of universal liberty, equal rights, and full justice to all men and women; to preserve the memories and records of patriotic service performed by the men and women of our faith; to honor their memory and shield from neglect the graves of our heroic dead.
To those of all stripes who have given their lives for a principle, and to their families, there can be no higher mitzvah. Thank you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fwd: "The Perfect Torah-Science Authority" - Fact or Fiction? on Memorial Day 2013

Mentally See Yourself Taking Action

When you are not yet ready to take action, visualize yourself taking the action that you would really like to do. This way even though you are not in a frame of mind to actually take the specific action, you are mentally preparing yourself.

Your mental pictures will make it easier for you to take action. When you run pictures of yourself doing the things that you want to do, this mental rehearsal will shorten the amount of time it takes to build up your willingness to act.

Mentally picturing yourself taking action will help you overcome the resistance you are feeling. Anything we've successfully done in real life makes it more likely that we will take that action again. Anything that we've visualized doing is stored in our brain as if we actually took that action.

Love Yehuda Lave

Memorial Day
, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

Early Observances of Memorial Day

The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country's first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Decoration Day

On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land," he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Evolution of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day Traditions

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans' organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

Exploring the legacy of the rationalist medieval Torah scholars, and various other notes

Friday, November 25, 2011

"The Perfect Torah-Science Authority" - Fact or Fiction?

A reader asked me to respond to the puff piece by Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow in the Baltimore Jewish Life and Five Towns Jewish Times about Rabbi Moshe Meiselman and his forthcoming book on Torah and science. I didn't want to, because I've already posted plenty on this topic and I'll be giving a more comprehensive treatment when his book comes out. But when more emails came in with the same request, I decided to respond, point-by-point.

1. "Rabbi Moshe Meiselman is the perfect Torah scholar to tackle this subject."

This is a very strange statement. Rabbi Sebrow backs it up in two ways. First, he notes that Rabbi Meiselman attended college courses on science and has a PhD in Mathematics from MIT. However, as we have noted previously, mathematics is entirely irrelevant to expertise the natural sciences, and may even be detrimental to it. And as for the college courses on science, Rabbi Meiselman goes against the entire consensus of scientists in the natural sciences, who would consider his approach regarding the world being only 5772 years old to be ludicrous. Would we trust the credibility of a self-styled medical expert who did college courses on medicine but is deemed to be a crank by the entire medical establishment?

Rabbi Sebrow then states that Rabbi Meiselman was a nephew of the Rav and one of his foremost talmidim. However, other family members of the Rav and foremost talmidim believe that Rabbi Meiselman engages in extensive revisionism of the Rav to bring him in line with Charedi mores. Thus, not only is Rabbi Meiselman not the "perfect Torah scholar to tackle this subject," he is actually someone of whom there is great basis to be suspicious from the outset.

2. "Rabbi Meiselman posits that no Rishon ever understood the details of the Creation given in the Torah to be anything but literal."

Then Rabbi Meiselman is wrong. Rambam explicitly writes that:
The account of creation given in Scripture is not, as is generally believed, intended to be literal in all its parts. (Guide For The Perplexed, 2:29)

Furthermore, according to the explanation of Shem Tov, Akeidas Yitzchak, and Abarbanel, Rambam was of the view that the "Six Days" are not time periods at all. Here is what Akeidas Yitzchak says:
"The Rav, the Guide, gave the reason for the mention of days in the Beginning by explaining the statement of the Sages, who said that "all the products of Creation were created in their full form" (Talmud, Chullin 60a); in other words, everything was created at the first instant of creation in their final perfect form. Thus the mention of an order of Creation is not describing the sequence of days; rather, [but the days are simply serving] to differentiate the status of [the elements of creation] and to make known the hierarchy of nature. This was [Rambam's] major esoteric doctrine concerning Creation as those who are understanding can discern from that chapter (Guide For The Perplexed 2:30) which is devoted to this extraordinary account."

Ralbag was of the same view:
"You already know from the preceding that God's generating the universe did not occur in time, since [its generation] was from nothing to something. Likewise, our Rabbis agreed that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously. In the chapter "One Does Not Interpret," they said, "Both were created as one, as it is said, 'My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together' (Isaiah 48:13)." It is therefore apparent that the description of creation as being completed in six days is not in the sense that, for example, the first day was [prior] to the second as one [whole] day. Rather, they said this in order to show the priority amongst various created things."

So much for the claim that "no Rishon ever understood the details of the Creation given in the Torah to be anything but literal."

3. "The Great Flood was understood by all Geonim and Rishonim to be a literal description and record of events that occurred thousands of years ago. The world was indeed flooded."

Of course the Rishonim understood it that way; they had no reason to think differently. The question is, how did recent Torah authorities - who were aware that there is overwhelming evidence for the continuity of civilization and animal life throughout that period in many parts of the world - explain it?

Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman, who (if I recall correctly) was on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, said that the Mabul did not cover the entire planet, only the "world" of the Torah. This was also the view of Rav Gedalyah Nadel, who brought some excellent proofs from the Gemara that "olam" does not always refer to the entire planet.

4. "The accuracy of the Midrash about the dimensions of the Ark being optimally seaworthy has been confirmed many times, even in contemporary maritime engineering laboratories."

I can't for the life of me understand the relevance of this. If this is indeed a known fact amongst boat-builders (although others claim that the Ark would not be viable under ordinary natural means), then how is it significant that Torah says it, too?

5. Is The Mud-Mouse Claimed To Exist?

According to the article, participants at the meeting with Rabbi Meiselman challenged him on the mud-mouse (good for them!). Rabbi Meiselman responded by claiming that "Chazal never stated unequivocally that such a creature exists. There were reports of such a creature, and Chazal discussed the halachic ramifications of its theoretical existence." With this, Rabbi Meiselman has classified himself as a heretic according to Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Rav Moshe Shapiro and many others. However, his Talmudic scholarship is flawed. Chazal DID state that such a creature exists, at the end of Sanhedrin:

A certain sectarian said to Rabbi Ami: You say that the dead will live again—but they become dust, and can dust come alive? He replied... Go out to the field and see the rodent that one day is half flesh and half earth, and on the next day it has transformed into a creeping creature and has become entirely flesh.

How is someone the "perfect person to tackle questions of Torah and science" if their approach ignores basic source texts on the topics that they discuss?

6. Rambam and the Science of Chazal

Rabbi Meiselman makes the following astonishing blanket assertion:
"when a statement is mentioned in the Gemara as a fact, it must be accepted. The Rambam, when confronted with a contradiction between what Chazal said was possible and what contemporary medical knowledge of his time said was impossible, opted for Chazal. For almost all interpreters of the Rambam, this is implicit in his statements about treifos. Not one of the classic interpretations of the Rambam says that he was of the opinion that Chazal made a mistake. This is not an available option."

In fact, Rambam believed that Chazal's statements about science (as well as their statements about certain metaphysical matters, such as astrology and demons) were not Sinaitic and were mistaken, as he says explicitly in the Guide. What, then, is his view about terefos? Let us see Rambam's words:
With anything which they enumerated as a terefah, even if with some it is seen not to be fatal based on modern medicine, such that an animal [with such an injury] might sometimes live, we have only what the Sages enumerated, as it says, 'According to the law that they direct you'."

As explained by Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Glasner, Dor Revi'i, Chullin, Introduction, and Rabbi Aryeh Carmell, BDD vol. 6 pp. 60-61, Rambam is saying that the laws as established by the Sages were canonized, and are thus unaffected by later discoveries. He was not denying that certain terefos can indeed live!

7. Rashba and the Science of Chazal

Rabbi Meiselman claims that "Similarly, the Rashba stated that all statements of Chazal regarding science are absolutely true. If anyone were to suggest that they were less than authoritative, that would classify him as a melagleg al divrei chachamim and subject him to serious penalty."

In fact, Rashba states that Rabbi Yochanan and the judges of Caesarea erred in a mathematical matter (Commentary to Eruvin 76b).

8. Medical Halachah

The article claims that "many halachic statements made by Chazal based on their understanding of the underlying medical situation are authoritative." For life-and-death cases, this is absolutely NOT true. As Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says explicitly:
With regard to the fundamental words of Chasam Sofer, in my humble opinion it appears that just as with regard to the law that an eight-month fetus is like a stone and one does not transgress Shabbos on its behalf, certainly the rule has changed in our time, and forfend to rule in that way (of the Gemara)… and one is forced to say that only in the times of Chazal was the fetus given the status of a stone, because at that time they did not know how to enable it to survive, unlike in our time… So, too, in my humble opinion it appears clear that in our time, it is impossible to decide that someone as already died except via the latest techniques which establish the boundaries between life and death. And forfend to rely in our time just on the signs of breathing and suchlike, more than other checks, and to rule with someone under a collapsed building on Shabbos that if his breathing has stopped, and his heart has stopped beating, that he should be left under the rubble and Shabbos not be transgressed on his behalf… (R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Shulchan Shlomo II, pp. 34-35)
The story that Rabbi Meiselman brings regarding the Rav is where he delayed doing a bris against the doctors saying it was safe to do it earlier - not when he advanced doing a bris against the doctors saying it was dangerous!

9. "We do find knowledge of medicine in the Gemara that was far ahead of its time."

No, we don't.

The example that Rabbi Meiselman gives is hemophilia, which he claims the Gemara knew was hereditary via the mother centuries before non-Jewish doctors discovered it. But as Rabbi Josh Waxman has explained in detail, there are two points to bear in mind here. First is that this fact can be discovered via simple observation. Second is that Chazal reached this conclusion fortuitously due to their mistaken belief that "the mother supplies the semen of the red substance out of which is formed his skin, flesh, hair, blood and the black of his eye."

10. The Regenerative Power of the Liver

Rabbi Meiselman claims that "The regenerative powers of the liver are part of hilchos treifos. This was unknown in the ancient world."

In fact, the ancient Greeks knew that the liver regenerates, long before Chazal.

Furthermore, as Rivash points out, the measurements that Chazal give for the quantity of liver that can regenerate are not scientifically correct and poses a great problem! Far from bring a proof for Chazal's superior knowledge of science, the liver presents the opposite!

11. The Necessity of Kidneys

Rabbi Meiselman (or Rabbi Sebrow? it's not absolutely clear) discusses the Gemara's statement that the absence of kidneys in animals is not a mortal defect. He quotes Rabbi Levinger's claim that "ruminants have an excretory system that excretes into the rumen. Hence, in fact, these animals can survive if their kidneys are removed." However, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Sternberg, in Bar Ilan's BBD journal, vol. 4 presents arguments that they will nevertheless die within a month. Thus, the conflict between the Gemara and our knowledge of kidney requirements remains.

Furthermore, to cite the kidneys as an example of how Chazal knew physiology beyond what others knew in the ancient world, is very strange; after all, Chazal believed that the kidneys serve not to produce urine, but rather to provide counsel to the mind.

12. Jumping Elephants

According to the article, those present at the meeting with Rabbi Meiselman challenged him about Tosafos and jumping elephants. Rabbi Meiselman conceded that perhaps Tosfos had never seen an elephant and was under the impression that they could jump. Finally, the right answer! Of course, I had already put this explanation forth several years ago.

13. Concluding Thoughts

The great tragedy of all this is not that Rabbi Meiselman is insisting upon positions that scientists would laugh at. It is not even that he is distorting rabbinic thought. Rather, the great tragedy is that there are so many people who lack the tools and knowledge to recognize this, and are taken in by a long beard and a PhD from MiT. It is important for those who also possess long beards and/or expertise in science, but who actually know what they are talking about in the field of Torah and science, to make themselves heard.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Earth is beautiful. PICTURES TO CHERISH

Grow From Setbacks

Use difficulties and setbacks as challenges to help you become a better person. Think of a specific difficulty or setback that has already helped develop your character.
Love Yehuda Lave

Nail Gun Art:

Nail_Gun_Art.wmv Nail_Gun_Art.wmv
4556K   Download  

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Friday, May 24, 2013


   Stare Wars

The more comfortable one feels about oneself, the less being stared at will be considered a problem. In reality, there is no practical difference if one walks down an empty street or a street full of people staring.
Those with vivid imaginations have the ability to imagine that the streets are full of people cheering and wishing one well. For those who might argue that this is not real, neither is being intimidated by being stared at. The main difference is that the cheering imagery is much more enjoyable than experiencing anxiety because of others' stare

Love Yehuda Lave

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God and Evolution can be reconciled by Chief Rabbi Sacks and These pictures are amazing.!!!!!

Sound Advice

Sound is energy. This is a highly significant statement that effects you every time you speak to someone. Your tone of voice creates a specific type of energy. A soft and smooth tone of voice creates peaceful energy. An upbeat or joyous tone of voice creates positive energy. Both of these are in stark contrast to an angry tone of voice that creates an angry loop.

When you speak, your tone of voice creates either positive or distressful feelings in the person on the receiving end of that energy. The other person is likely to speak back to you in a tone that is similar to your own. For this reason King Solomon (Proverbs 15:1) advises us: "A soft reply turns away anger." A soft tone of voice has a calming effect both on you the speaker and on the listener.

Do you want others to speak to you in an upbeat tone of voice? Then speak to them that way. A word of caution: For some people an overly enthusiastic tone of voice is too intense. So observe the effects of how you speak and modify your intensity according to the reaction of the listener.

Love Yehuda Lave

In the videos below, Chief Rabbi Sacks reconciles evolution and the bible. Rabbi Sacks is universally recognized as one the great minds of our time, even by other rabbis who claim the bible is literal and want to throw as back into the stone age, like the Muslims.
News Update
17th May 2013

In partnership with TorahCafe (, the Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has recorded a series of short videos in answer to some of the most basic questions of Judaism and faith in general. The first five of these questions are now available online, with the others being posted on the website over the coming few weeks. The first five questions include:
To view these videos, either click on the individual video titles above or here to view them all on the Chief Rabbi's website.

These pictures are amazing.!!!!!
   Taken from world's tallest building 'Burj Dubai' 
at 2,620 ft!!!

Really amazing

Look at the edge (uppermost right corner) of the picture, you can almost see the turn of the earth

The persons who are working on the upper most Girders can see the 'ROTATION OF EARTH'
So terrifying. . .

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Fabulous 1940's and when American Ambasadors were still untouhable

  Cheer Yourself On

Every hour on the hour, create an inner mental cheer for being alive. Hear an inner enthusiastic voice shouting, "It's great to be alive!" Imagine a stadium crowd cheering for your being alive.

When you control your anger or other character trait you're working on, see and hear the same immense crowd cheering for you!

Love Yehuda Lave

When American Ambassadors Were Still Untouchable

The growing revelations that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty.
By: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Published: May 17th, 2013

William Dodd, the United States ambassador to Germany, in 1934.
William Dodd, the United States ambassador to Germany, in 1934.
I just finished one of the best books I've read in a long time, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which tells the story of Ambassador William Dodd, President Roosevelt's first Ambassador to Hitler. The book chronicles the slow descent of Germany into Nazi tyranny. One of the most striking features of the narrative is the fear that slowly descends on the German populace as they become terrified of ever expressing an opinion about Hitler and his police state even in the company of close family and friends.
Yet Dodd and his family were utterly immune to such fear. Though they lived in a home that was owned by a Jewish banker; though they regularly hosted journalists who wrote critically of Hitler; though they drove by the home of Franz Von Papen – the deputy Chancellor –  to show their support even after he had been placed under house arrest by Hitler for his Marburg speech of June, 1934; though Dodd openly snubbed Hitler every year by refusing to attend the Nazi Nuremberg rally where Hitler was celebrated as a god, Dodd never had anything to fear. He did not have to worry that the S.A. would ransack his Berlin home in the middle of the night. He did not have to fear that his daughter Martha, who even had an affair with Gestapo head Rudolf Diels, would be summarily shot for her increasing disillusion with Hitler's regime. He did not have to fear that the SS would arrest him on his frequent walks through the Tiergarten for a speech he gave on that made subtle reference to Hitler's growing assault on freedom. And he did not have fear that roaming bands of Nazi thugs would attack him for his protests to the German Foreign Minister against unprovoked attacks that threatened the lives of Americans.
And why didn't he fear? Because even a monster as evil as Hitler, arguably the most dangerous man that ever lived, wasn't going to mess with the American Ambassador.
In fact, one of the stories told in the book is the day that Dodd took a walk with French Ambassador André François-Poncet in the Tiergarten when the latter told him he would not be surprised if he would be shot in the street by the S.S.
Dodd was astonished. It never occurred to him to ever worry so long as he was the American Ambassador and indeed Hitler and the Nazis never harassed Western Ambassadors.
It therefore matters that just 80 years later a bunch of terrorist thugs can think they can murder an American Ambassador in full site of the world without consequence. American diplomatic staff were once the safest people in the world, representatives of a superpower who would rain hell from the skies should you touch one of their diplomatic staff. But no more.
The growing revelations from the Congressional hearings on Benghazi that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty and shows a lack of moral will to give evil its proper name. ABC News and Fox News reported this past Friday that the departments talking points were revised a full 12 times to purge them of any mention of terrorism. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland asked the CIA to remove mention of their own security warnings about Benghazi.
According to ABC News the original paragraph read,
The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.
But Nuland was concerned that the line "could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?"
I have earlier written how  Ambassador Susan Rice was utterly inappropriate to be chosen as Secretary of State based on her efforts to disassociate the word genocide from the Rwandan mass slaughters of 1994 so as not to commit the Clinton Administration to intervention.
In a 2001 article published in The Atlantic, Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning A Problem of Hell and arguably the world's foremost voice against genocide and who currently serves on the National Security Council as an aide to President Obama, referred to Ambassador Susan Rice and her colleagues in the Clinton Administration as Bystanders to Genocide. She quotes Rice in the 2002 book as saying, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?" Rice's subordination of a human tragedy of epic proportions to partisan politic interests mirrors the current allegations of denying a terror attack in Benghazi for political gain.
Worse, the attempt to whitewash the Benghazi attacks as merely a protest that turned violent trivializes the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three Americans murdered with him and threatens to cheapen the life of every American diplomat currently serving in dangerous posts. We need to accept that the fear the United States once instilled in those with evil intent against our diplomatic staff has worn thin and the only way to reintroduce that fear is to understand fully what happened in Benghazi and rain fire on the culprits so that this never happens again.

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "America's Rabbi" whom the Washington Post calls "the most famous Rabbi in America," is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

The Fabulous 1940's
(well maybe they weren't all that fabulous, but you will enjoy this plus other access to other movies on the site.

Ah, seems like yesterday.

The 1940's ...Absolutely Fabulous
Here again we get to step back in time!
This is well done, a short history lesson.
Be sure to turn up the sound to catch all the great music, too.
 Click on "The 1940s" It advances automatically.

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