Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Finger Monkeys and what is your job in this world

Anger, or the Will of Your Creator

The Rabbi of Lublin once wanted to arise early in the morning to take care of an important matter. The day before, he asked his wife to prepare his evening meal earlier than usual. But it turned out that the meal was prepared much later than usual.
He commented, "It would be natural for me to become angry now. But the only reason I wanted to have the meal early was to do the will of my Creator. This, too, is the will of my Creator that I should not become angry."
Love Yehuda Lave


The finger monkey is the tiniest living primate in the world. It's so small that it can hold on to your finger.
This cute little primate hugs and grips on to your finger so tightly that it pulls your heartstrings and you wish
you could take it home with you.
Finger monkeys are, as a matter of fact, pygmy marmosets.
They are also known by the names "pocket monkey"and "tiny lion".
These primates belong to the family Callitrichidae, species Cebuella and genus C. pygmaea.
They are native to rain-forests of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia . (Source: Buzzle)

Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

By Rabbi Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!   The world faces many challenges. What are we to do? My teacher, Rabbi Noah Weinberg, wrote the following article, "World Repairs," which I hope will clarify and give food for thought:
Poverty. Terrorism. Depression. Our world is in desperate need of repair. Divisiveness and violence must urgently be replaced by kindness and compassion. We need to find ways to make a positive difference in the world -- to turn the pain into positive change, and to lead humanity back on the road to peace.
This is not just a global problem. It is highly personal as well. If someone spills ink on the floor, and asks you to clean it up, you might say, "Hey, you made the mess -- you clean it up." But when it comes to world problems, nobody will say: "I didn't cause the problem, so why should I do anything about it?" Everyone agrees we should try to help. If you knew how to cure cancer, you'd cancel your vacation. We're all responsible.
The Hebrew word "tzedakah" is commonly translated as "charity" or "tithe." But this is misleading. "Charity" implies that your heart motivates you to go beyond the call of duty. "Tzedakah," however, literally means "righteousness" -- doing the right thing. A "tzaddik," likewise, is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether in the mood or not.
The verse says: "Tzedek, tzedek you shall pursue" -- "justice, justice you shall pursue" (Deut. 16:20). There's a basic human responsibility to reach out to others. Giving of your time and your money is a statement that "I will do whatever I can to help." That's the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam -- repairing the world.
Aside from helping those in need, we have many other financial obligations -- family, savings, even basic living expenses. So how much are we expected to help? Should we drop everything and run off to Africa to stop the famine?
The Torah recommends giving 10 percent. (Hence the popular expression "tithe," meaning one-tenth.) The legal source is Deut. 14:22, and the Bible is filled with examples: Abraham gave Malki-Tzedek one-tenth of all his possessions (Genesis 14:20); Jacob vowed to give one-tenth of all his future acquisitions to the Almighty (Genesis 29:22); there are mandated tithes to support the Levites (Numbers 18:21, 24) and the poor (Deut. 26:12).
Ten percent is the minimum obligation to help. For those who want to do more, the Torah allows you to give 20 percent. But above that amount is unrealistic. If you give too much, you'll come to neglect other aspects of your life.
Of course, don't just impulsively give your money away. The Almighty provides everyone with income, but it comes conditionally: Ten percent is a trust fund that you're personally responsible to disperse. God is expecting you to spend His money wisely.
If you were running a humanitarian foundation, you'd make a thorough study of the best use of your money. It's the same with tzedakah. When you choose one project over another, you have to calculate why it is more effective than the other. Consider it the "Your-Name-Here Save the World Foundation."
Put this money aside in a separate account. That way it will be available when the need arises. And it is a constant reminder of your obligation to help.
There are so many possible projects: the poor, the sick, the uneducated, drug abuse, domestic violence, the homeless. Which one should you pick?
Tzedakah begins at home. If your parents are hungry, that comes before giving to a homeless shelter. From there it is concentric circles outward: your community, then your country. (For Jews, Jerusalem and Israel are considered as one's own community, since every Jew has a share in the homeland.)
Once you've defined "who" to give to, what's the best method to do so? Maimonides lists eight levels of tzedakah in order of priority (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:7). Many people think the highest level is to give money anonymously. Actually, there's an even higher level: helping a person to become self- sufficient. This includes giving him a job, or a loan to start a business.
This is the source of the Jewish concept of a free loan fund, called a Gemach. If you help someone start a business, he can feed himself and 10 other people besides. As the old saying goes: Rather than give him fish to eat, teach him to be a fisherman. This represents a higher level of Tikun Olam, because now the fisherman can go out and help others. You've really fixed something.
There's actually one higher level of tzedakah: being sensitive to someone before he's in trouble. As the Sages explain: It takes one person to support something before it falls, but after it falls, even five people may not be able to lift it (see Rashi, Leviticus 25:35).
Tzedakah is not only helping people financially, it's also making them feel good. If a hungry person asks for food, and you give it to him with a resentful grunt, you've lost the mitzvah. Sometimes giving an attentive ear or a warm smile is more important than money.
You can also protect someone's self-esteem by giving even before he asks. The bottom line is that every person has unique needs. It is our obligation to help each one accordingly.
What if you offer someone a job and he's too lazy to work? Then you don't have to give him anything. The Talmud (Baba Metzia 32b) says: If he doesn't care about himself, then you're not required to care about him, either.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Regenerative medicine through stem cells - STUNNING VIDEO and Jewish Firsts

It's the Effort that Counts

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz used to say, "Who is the righteous person and who is the evil person? Many people think the righteous person is one who does not transgress, and the evil person is one who constantly transgresses. But even the very righteous also transgress and even the very wicked perform good deeds.
"The essential difference between the two is that the righteous person tries to overcome his desire to do wrong, while the evil person does not."
Love Yehuda Lave

You won't believe what medicine can do today with stem cells... see this

Jewish Firsts

Jewish Firsts

Jewish firsts or ground-breaking Jews.

by Marnie Winston-Macauley

We Jews came, we saw, we did. Throughout our remarkable history, most of us know we've given the world gifts way beyond our numbers in the form of medical breakthroughs, science, literature, entertainment, and inventions. Einstein, Baruch, Louis B. Meyer, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, Levi Strauss, Sigmund Freud, Edwin Land! Great names all. They got there/did that, first. Then they named it, and claimed it.
Then there's another kind of first. The first Jew "who!" Not only did these Jews excel, despite prejudice, wandering, running, they managed to "break through" and become the first Jew to be recognized by the public for his/her contribution.
Lionel Nathan Rothschild was the first Jewish member of the British House of Commons.
Here's a sampling.

Uncommon Men ... The Rothschilds

Lionel Nathan Rothschild (1808-1879), son of Nathan Mayer and grandson of German financier Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1743-1812), became the first Jewish member of the British House of Commons. Yet, despite his election several times, he did not assume his seat for 11 years until Parliament let him take the oath in a manner acceptable to the Jewish faith. Finally, in 1858, with head covered according to Jewish ritual, he took the oath on the Hebrew Bible! Lionel lived to see his son, Sir Nathan Mayer, the 1st Baron Rothschild (1840-1915), also a Member of Parliament become the first Jewish peer in Britain in 1855.

He Blamed The Large Corporations For Being Morally "Abnormal And Lawless"; And "Men ... Who Had Been Blinded By Privilege."

Remarks in a recent paper? Hardly. They were made by Louis Dembitz Brandeis about the harrowing experience preceding his confirmation on June 1, 1916 to the Supreme Court – the first Jew to do be so honored. Withstanding great pressure, President Wilson stood behind Brandeis against thinly veiled anti-Semitism. The appointment made way for Jews to serve in high positions in government. Brandeis became a legendary advocate for social justice and remains a hero to Jews for his commitment to Jewish and Western values.

Leonard Bernstein: A "department store of music." – Stravinksy

The brilliantly versatile maestro who was "Laureate Conductor" of both the New York and Israeli Philharmonic orchestras, vaulted to fame when in 1943 he conducted at Carnegie Hall for the ailing Bruno Walter. Among his legendary achievements, he was the first American Jew (and the first American) conductor a La Scala Opera House (1953), and the first American-born Jewish musical director of the New York Philharmonic.

"Duty, Honor, Country": Simon M. Levy Graduates West Point

He was the second graduate of West Point – and the first Jew. Baltimore's Simon Magruder Levy was a hero in the Indian Wars at Maumee Rapids, Ohio (1794). He was a sergeant in the 4th Infantry (1793 to 1801) and arrived at West Point on March 2, 1801. Following graduation on October 12, 1802, he performed administrative functions at the Point until his transfer to Fort Wilkinson, Georgia, as Assistant Engineer.

This Land Is Made For You and Me: 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) from his native London in 1773, and served with distinction in the creation of his state and his new nation. In 1774, 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. Salvador's commander described his death to South Carolina President, John Rutledge. With a savage head wound, he asked whether the enemy had been beaten. He was glad ... and then said farewell. Such a large number of Southern Jews wanted to join the Revolutionary cause, Captain Richard Lushington of Charleston formed what was known as "the Jews' Company."

A Nice Jewish Doctor!

On January 24, 1656, Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo, a Portuguese physician arrived in Maryland, two years after the first Jews settled in New Amsterdam. Not only was he the first Jewish doctor to permanently settle in the New World, but the first Jew to reside in Maryland. Known as "Ye Jew doctor," he was a country squire, until, in 1658, he was arrested in the Catholic colony. Saved by the 1659 general amnesty declared by Richard Cromwell, Dr. Lumbrozo remained in Maryland, securing land and civil rights.
Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo was known as "Ye Jew doctor."

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, A Medical Groundbreaker

The daughter of German and American Jews, neither of whom completed high school, Rosalyn, born in the Bronx in 1921, received her degree from Hunter College in physics and chemistry. Rejected from Purdue's graduate program due to gender and religion, she got her Ph.D. in nuclear physics (1945) from the University of Illinois, becoming the first woman in their College of Engineering. At the VA Hospital in 1947, she and partner Dr. Solomon A. Berson created radioimmunoassay (RIA), allowing doctors to diagnose conditions caused by minute changes in hormone levels, useful in diabetes, screening for hepatitis in blood banks, determining effective dosages of antibiotics, and more in the field of endocrinology. Among her many honors, she was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1977. The Prize was one of many. Dr. Yalow, cooked kosher meals at home and never lost her passion for both career and family.

Famous U.S. Jewish Firsts: Quickies ...

Admiral: Adolph Marix: advanced to rear admiral by President Taft, July 4, 1908
Ambassador from the U.S.: Oscar Solomon Straus, Ottoman Turkey, March 24, 1887
Army Chaplain: Rabbi Jacob Frankel, September 10, 1862. (Michael M. Allen cited not ordained.)
Cabinet Member: Oscar Solomon Straus, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, 1906. (See above)
Chess (Youngest): Robert (Bobby) Fischer) In 1958, at age 14, youngest player to become Grand Master, and first American to be World Chess Champion (1972-75).
College (Jewish): Maimonides College, Philadelphia, October 28, 1867
Congressional Representative: Israel Jacobs, Second Congress, March 4, 1791- March 3, 1793
Congresswoman: Bella Abzug, 1970
Doctor trained in America: Isaac Abraham, 1774.
Hebrew Book (All): Abne Yehoshua (Stones of Joshua), published, 1860 in New York City
Hebrew Grammar Book: Published, 1735 in Boston for use at Harvard College

Kosher Butcher: Asser Levy, Brooklyn, 1660.
Lawyer: Moses Levy qualified/admitted to Pennsylvania Bar in 1778.
Medal of Honor: Sgt. Leopold Karpeles, Battle of the Wilderness, May 1864, issued April 30, 1870.
Published: February 8, 2014

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Are all believers insane? and pictures from Vietnam

Clarify Job Details In Advance

The Chafetz Chaim frequently said that before you hire someone to do a job, clarify in advance the agreed-upon conditions. Be specific about the exact amount you will pay, and what his obligations are.
By clarifying as many details as possible in advance, you will save many needless difficulties and quarrels.
Love Yehuda Lave

Views from Vietnam.

See power point below

Are All Believers Insane?

And can we live without them?

By Tzvi Freeman

From a talk to students of Emory University, Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, in March 2014, billed as "Jews and the New Atheism."

I'm A Believer

Hi, my name is Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. I am the person your professor warned you about.
Why? Because I am a true believer. I believe first and prove afterwards.
More than that, I am a dogmatist. Even when the reality before my eyes flies in the face of all I believe, I continue as doggedly as before. Until I get the facts to conform to what I believe.
What do I believe?I am the person your professor warned you about.
Well, I'm a dad, see. So, I believe in my kids. I believe that each one of them is a precious jewel with enormous gifts to grant the world.
Actually, I believe the same is true of every human being born on this earth, because each contains a spark of the divine, as hidden as it may be.
I believe the value of each individual is greater than the value of the entire society composed of those individuals. Even though the math doesn't work.
I believe that life, each life, is worth living no matter what the struggle, just as the biosphere in which we live is worth saving no matter what the cost.
I have absolutely no evidence that this is so.
I believe that this world in which we live is totally amazing beyond anything we have yet to discover, that we have only begun to scratch the surface of treasures yet to be exposed—technology that will join the entirety of humanity in communication and dialogue, providing each of us access to all that can be known, unleashing the latent creativity of every human being, and placing before our eyes the oneness and harmony of this wondrous universe.
I believe that the world has one Creator, and that He is good, and that His intents in creating this place were good, even though it doesn't always look that way. It sometimes looks quite the opposite. But I believe, so I dismiss evidence to the contrary as outlier data yet to be explained.
You can argue with me; you can bring a thousand proofs that my beliefs are wrong, absurd and harmful. Save your breath. I am a true believer. I am a fanatic. I am the person your professor warned you about.

Dangerous Beliefs

Now, let's get this straight: Belief is dangerous. Lethal. Belief can destroy humankind—and it almost has, several times over.
Take the belief that human worth can be measured, "just as a rod of iron can be measured." That belief was responsible for racist immigration quotas and tens of thousands of forced sterilizations in America. Shipped across the Atlantic, that belief gave warrant to the Nazis to terminate the lives of miscreants, crippled children, bedwetters, homosexuals, gypsies and Jews.
In the first half of the 20th century, eugenics was considered the cutting edge of science. But eugenics was not a science. It was a belief. A belief that ended up threatening the survival of humankind.Eugenics was not a science. It was a belief. A belief that threatened humanity's survival.
Take the belief that the proletarian revolution would lead to emancipation of the people, fair distribution of wealth, the eventual dissolution of governments and peace on earth. In retrospect it sounds downright silly, but people really believed, truly believed in it. They believed it enough to fight bloody revolutions that relegated hundreds of millions of people to virtual serfdom, and stole tens of millions of lives through artificial famine and forced labor.
Communism was touted as social science. But it was not a science. It was a belief.
Take the belief that the state trumps the rights of the individual. Because the many are more important than the few. Because there is nothing divine or special about the life of any human being that accords any individual inalienable rights. Worship of the state—"statolatry," as the Vatican called it—was an idea that captured the imaginations of philosophers, writers and statesmen—and brought with it the greatest atrocities of history.
Fascism, it turned out, was nothing more than a belief. A lethal belief.

Take the belief that everything can be explained as emergent phenomena of a small set of physical laws—including your subjective experience of those laws. Nobody has explained how subjective consciousness can arise from matter, energy and physical law. Nobody has even explained what subjective consciousness is. But we are told to believe, just believe, that there is an explanation waiting to be found, and that therefore this is absolutely so. You are nothing more than a device, and all that is most real to you, all that matters the most to you—your joy and sadness, your love and fear, your aspirations and inspirations—all is an illusion, nothing more than software running on hardware made of meat.
Materialist reductionism has been a very successful strategy to predict observable phenomena. To believe that it can explain the observer as well is not science. It is a belief—a very radical belief. One that threatens to undermine the dignity of human life.
Take the belief that everything we see about us got here by accident, and so there is no purpose or meaning, other than whatever we wishfully assign to our inherently futile lives. Accordingly, saving the environment and leaving behind a better world for our grandchildren is of nothing more than sentimental value. The world really has no inherent meaning or purpose.Atheism is the belief that there is nothing in which to believe.
How do we know? We don't know. Atheism is a belief. Atheism is the belief that there is nothing in which to believe.
All these beliefs—eugenics, communism, fascism, materialist reductionism and atheism—are regressive beliefs. Regressive, because they never assisted humanity's progress forward towards a healthier, happier, more harmonious world. On the contrary, they have provided a fast escape route to the past.
As the Bolshevik revolution returned a populace only recently released from serfdom back to their chains, so materialism and atheism can only return humanity back to the era before the word progress was uttered, before the mavericks of the Renaissance spoke of human dignity, before the emancipators of the Age of Reason spoke of human rights, before humanity began to dream of an age of world harmony and peace. From physical law and a purposeless universe emerge neither dreams nor destiny.
But that's not what's most noxious about those beliefs. What makes them most pernicious is that those who believe those beliefs don't believe they are beliefs. They believe they are pure reason. Proven fact. Science.
And therein lies the trouble with reason that denies belief. Not that it is bad reasoning. Quite often, it is very brilliant reasoning. It may even turn out to contain some great truths. The real trouble is that it doesn't know who is its father and mother. It believes it gave birth to itself. It believes that reason has proven itself as fact, without recourse to any other faculty of the human being. And that therefore, anyone who believes otherwise is an ignorant, damned fool.
If anyone ever tells you that his beliefs have been proven absolutely true by science, he is playing with fire. Wildfire. It is such beliefs that have the capacity to destroy the world.

Is It Okay to Believe?

The other day, I met an atheist. He told me he doesn't believe in anything that cannot be proven to him beyond reasonable doubt.
I told him I don't believe him.
"What don't you believe?" he asked.
"That you don't believe," I answered. "Can you prove that to me—beyond reasonable doubt?"
"Well, I'm telling you so!" he replied.
"So," I answered, "I'm just supposed to naively believe anything you tell me without proof?"
The truth is, there is no human being without beliefs. Without many, many beliefs.
Belief is to humankind as sunlight is to the forest.
Without belief, there is no life.
If lovers didn't believe "this is the one!" if couples didn't believe "our children will be beautiful!" if parents didn't believe "one day they'll grow up and it will all pay off"—oh, what a desolate world this would be.
And without belief, life is not worth living.
If businessmen didn't believe their hunches, if athletes didn't believe they'll get that medal, if artists didn't believe they can become eternal through their art—oh, what a dull, abysmal world."The human being believes in eternal life, and therefore plants seeds."
"The human being believes in eternal life," the Talmud says, "and therefore plants seeds." We live, love, build and create as though we will live forever, as though our deeds are eternal. Because we believe.
Without belief, there is no success.
Simon Sinek tells us that businesses succeed, inventors succeed, leaders succeed, movements, countries, projects—everything that succeeds—not because of what they do or how they do it, but because of the "why" in which they believe. People buy your product because of what you believe. And employees do their best job for you because they believe in what you believe. "If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood and sweat and tears."
We're all feasting and enjoying one another's company at this beautiful Chabad on Campus event. None of this could happen if the young couple who are your hosts didn't believe in you. And they believe in you because their rebbe believed in you.
Without belief, there can be no progress.
If Newton had not believed that there is harmony in the universe, we wouldn't have his exquisitely simple formulas for gravity and for motion. If a young Swiss patent clerk hadn't believed the universe to be a single whole, we wouldn't have relativity.
I have a little book on my shelf titled What I Believe But Cannot Prove. It's a collection of essays by researchers in various fields providing their particular beliefs that they are either out to prove or just take as a given. That is how science works. Because no human being can put one foot forward without first reaching beyond his own intellect and believing—in himself, in his ideals and his ideas, and in his ability to transform a belief that is even beyond insight into a reality.
Reason is useful, very useful. But it goes nowhere without the faith that there is a somewhere to go.
Without belief, the human moral compass is doomed.
Yes, we have an innate moral compass. Our sense of reason is often its worst enemy.
If there were never people who believed that all human life is sacred, we would be living today in a world ruled void of civil rights. They never had proof. There still is no proof. It was, after all, the rational scientists of the first half of the 20th century who supported modern racism. At that time, reason was on the side of totalitarian states, the quashing of individualism, and the supremacy of "the Nordics."
Thank G‑d for the believers who have saved us from the rationalists.
Because reason alone won't get you ethics, won't get you truth, won't find you meaning. "There are people who live by reason alone," writes social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, "and they are called psychopaths."With reason, we observe the world. With faith, we change it.
Without reason, we cannot listen to the world and discover what it is. Without faith, we cannot speak back to it and tell it what it must be.
Without reason, we cannot know where we are. Without faith, we have no power to change our course.
Without reason, we lose touch with the here and now. Without faith, we forsake the future.

Betting on the Human Soul

There are seven billion people living together in this tightly knitted global shtetl, carrying at least a million banners of diverse beliefs. Can such a cacophony of voices harmonize together without the tyranny of forced conformity?
That depends. If there can be dialogue, there can be harmony. But for there to be dialogue, we all need to come to a simple recognition: That just as we have two legs, two eyes, two ears, two ventricles of the heart and two lobes of the brain, so we have two faculties by which our minds interact with the the world: reason and faith.
But if someone refuses to recognize the sanity of faith, the channels of dialogue are closed.
If someone tells me they believe something is true but cannot prove it, I can speak with that person. I can say, "You have beliefs, and I have beliefs. I can't prove mine; you can't prove yours." I can ask that person, "Just what sort of a world do you think these beliefs will take us to?" That's a great measuring stick. Because if both of us agree on the same goal, we can work together.
But if that person tells me that if I don't believe what they believe it's because I'm ignorant, stupid and insane . . . well, you get the idea. I can't see that as a route to a happy world.
All this means that no one has to give up their beliefs in order to live peacefully with everyone else. No one has to even compromise in the slightest. That would be nothing less than a death knell to the magnificent patchwork of wisdoms and cultures that multiculturalism purports to preserve.
It would also be murder of the human soul. You can't tell a world, "Believe that you're sort of right, maybe, under certain circumstances," and expect a symphony of voices worth paying attention to.
There is just one condition for us to live in multiple cultures, each with its own beliefs and yet living together: We simply must know that what we believe is belief, and whatever we reason also starts with belief. There is no need to ridicule belief, because none of us can so much as breathe without it.
Those "others" may be unscientific, they may be heretics, or just plain wrong. But they are not insane. They may not be "us," but they are still human as we are. We can understand them and they can understand us, once we both understand that "our beliefs are not your beliefs; my starting point is not yours."
Basically, I'm betting on the human soul. I'm gambling that we all really do share common truths, a sense of the transcendent, of meaning to life and of human dignity, and that through dialogue we will discover those shared truths.
I believe in the human being. And I'll admit, that's a belief.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

How trees make life possible and act confident and ancient Chisel

Speak and Act Self-Confidently Even Without Feeling It

Your feelings determine whether you are experiencing happiness and joy or sadness and misery. Your thoughts, words, and actions create your feelings.

When your thoughts, words, and actions are at their best, you will experience great feelings.  Right now and every moment of your life, you have the free will to choose your thoughts, words, and actions.

Regardless of how you actually feel, you can choose to speak and act the way you would if you were feeling very self-confident.

Feelings are very important.  But they are not the main thing. What you say and do with your life will make the greatest difference in who you are and what you accomplish. You can still speak and act self-confidently, even if you are not currently feeling self-confident.

Don't be limited by a down mood or a negative state of mind. It's possible to feel insecure yet act and speak with self-confidence. In my experience, when people consistently speak and act with self-confident patterns, they usually internalize the awareness that they are more self-confident than they feel.
Love Yehuda Lave

Video on how trees work:

Archaeologists Find Ancient Chisel that May Have Helped Build Kotel

The chisel was found along with a gold bell that may have been on the clothes of the High Priest.
By: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Published: April 22nd, 2014
This 2,000-year-old chisel may have been used to help build the Western Wall, according to archaeologists.
This 2,000-year-old chisel may have been used to help build the Western Wall, according to archaeologists.
Photo Credit: IAA

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure of Second Temple-era objects, including a chisel that may have been used to build the Western Wall, but officials at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) are not officially confirming anything until conclusive studies are completed.
IAA archaeologist Eli Shukrun told Haaretz that he discovered the 2,000-year-old chisel last summer during digging in a tunnel at the lower base of the Western Wall, popularly known by the Hebrew word "Kotel," which was the western outer wall of the courtyard of the destroyed Second Temple. The Kotel was not a wall of the Holy Temple itself.
Shukrun also told the newspaper that he found a golden bell that may have been used by the High Priest, but the IAA reported the same discovery three years ago, and it is not clear if the archaeologist has found  an additional bell along with the chisel.
The Torah states in Exodus, Chapter 28 Verse 3, ""A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of the robe all around."
Shukrun and Prof. Ronny Reich, who have been digging in Temple Mount area for 19 years, also found a Roman sword and a ceramic seal that probably was used as a stamp of approval for sacrifices brought on the Holy Temple.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Domed structures and to be holy is to be different-the section of Holiness

Worry Knot

Worry destroys one's life.
A life filled with worry is a miserable existence. Regardless of how much good fortune you have, you will be oblivious to it if you fill your mind with worrisome thoughts.
You would hate someone for trying to destroy your life. With constant worry, you are destroying your own life.
Make it a top priority to change your thinking

Love Yehuda Lave

Acharei Mot
Different means gifted.
• Kadosh -- holy- literally means 'separate'
• We refer to the 6 million as Kedoshim -  those who were separated from others to be martyrs
• Moses instructs the Jewish people to be Kadosh -- separate from the peoples of the world
• Not separate meaning isolationist -- separate meaning to keep their identity and thereby be a living example.
You are Kadosh -- a distinct member of a distinctive people, distinguished by its special role in the world - See more at:
Different means gifted.
• Kadosh -- holy- literally means 'separate'
• We refer to the 6 million as Kedoshim -  those who were separated from others to be martyrs
• Moses instructs the Jewish people to be Kadosh -- separate from the peoples of the world
• Not separate meaning isolationist -- separate meaning to keep their identity and thereby be a living example.
You are Kadosh -- a distinct member of a distinctive people, distinguished by its special role in the world - See more at:
Different means gifted.
• Kadosh -- holy- literally means 'separate'
• We refer to the 6 million as Kedoshim -  those who were separated from others to be martyrs
• Moses instructs the Jewish people to be Kadosh -- separate from the peoples of the world
• Not separate meaning isolationist -- separate meaning to keep their identity and thereby be a living example.
You are Kadosh -- a distinct member of a distinctive people, distinguished by its special role in the world.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

15 Cool Spy Concealment and Spring in Hadara

  Picture How Great You Will Feel

See yourself being a master of gratitude in the future. Mentally picture how this will help you feel joy the moment you are awake and are grateful for being alive. See how you can be grateful and happy for each breath. Realize that when you master gratitude, you will see a happy face every time you look into the mirror. See how your entire quality of life will be improved. See how other people will tell you that they enjoy being around you because you are such a happy person

Love Yehuda Lave

Spring in Hadera--Passover 2014

Man Knowledge: 15 Cool Spy Concealments

In a previous edition of our Man Knowledge series, we discussed the fascinating history of invisible ink. In doing the research for that post, we came across an equally interesting tool in the spy's bag of tricks: the concealment device.
Invisible ink was handy for sending secret messages, but sometimes spies and soldiers needed to hide other kinds of objects, or simply wanted a double-layer of protection for their coded missives. Concealment devices or CD's looked like normal, everyday objects but actually contained a secret compartment or cavity, inside which could be placed film, notes, eavesdropping equipment, and various other types of contraband.  They were used to smuggle escape aids to prisoners of war, exchange information with friendlies, monitor the enemy, store secrets for safe keeping, and transport items without arousing suspicion.
The earliest quasi-concealments were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greek general Histiaeus wrote a message on the head of his servant, waited for his hair to grow back, and sent him on his way. This was, of course, not a very effective method of communicating something that was even remotely time-sensitive.
Roman generals placed secret messages in the bandages wrapped around the limbs of wounded soldiers or sowed a message into the sole of a courier's sandal.
In later centuries, dignitaries hid their correspondence in barrels of beer and hollowed out bullets.
Such rudimentary methods of concealment were used for hundreds of years. But the fabrication of concealment devices really became a high art in the 20th century, particularly during World War II and that Golden Age of Espionage, the Cold War.
Modern concealment devices can be classified into two categories: active and passive.
Active concealments are objects that contain a secret compartment while also retaining their normally intended function. A lamp that you can turn off and on but also contains a secret compartment in its base would fall into this category. An object like a secret book safe, which serves only as a hiding place, is a passive concealment.
Regardless of whether the CD was active or passive, it had to be something that would not arouse suspicion if the agent was searched or scrutinized–an item that the person would normally have in their apartment or carry around.
Concealment devices also had to look indistinguishable from the non-modified versions on which they were modeled. To accomplish this, intelligence agencies like the CIA's Office of Technical Services created labs capable of fabricating everything from furniture like bookshelves and wine racks, to leather goods like wallets and handbags, to books and electronics–all from scratch. The lab consisted of a myriad of special shops that were each staffed by expert craftsmen–carpenters, leather workers, bookbinders, tailors, seamstresses, and more–who specialized in a certain area of production.
These craftsmen, along with very imaginative technicians, dreamed up and brought to life a variety of extremely clever concealment devices. Here is a look at some of the coolest and manliest of the bunch.


Does Patton have some secret intelligence hidden in that pipe?
During WWII, a pipe was made with a secret cavity that sat in the pipe's bowl, right below the compartment that held the tobacco. You could stash your secret message in that cavity, and if you were about to be compromised, you simply twisted the pipe stem and the top compartment opened, allowing the burning embers to destroy the message. To accomplish a similar task, agents later used flash paper that would instantly and smokelessly burn up when touched by a cigarette. And when smoking became less popular, spies used water-soluble paper that could be dissolved in coffee cups or even swallowed.

Another pipe used by later spies functioned as a passive concealment; it couldn't be smoked as it housed a countersurveillance radio. For the agent to listen in on the enemy's conversations, he merely had to bite down on the stem; sound was conducted through the user's bones (they currently make swimming headphones that work in a similar way).

Playing Cards

If a pilot was shot down and taken prisoner, but hoped to escape, he needed to know the lay of the land–where he was and how to get to safety.  Thus secret maps were an important tool for the fighting man. But paper maps were hard to hide; they crinkled if you were getting a pat down. So Christopher Clayton Hutton, working for the British MI9, came up with the idea of printing maps on pieces of silk.  The maps were sewn into the lining of pilots' bomber jackets, stashed inside a secret compartment in the heels of their boots, or rolled up inside pencils and even cigars. Hutton also created maps on a special tissue paper made from Mulberry leaves. It had the consistency of onion skin, but was very durable and could be soaked and folded without becoming damaged or creased. These tissue paper maps were sandwiched between the fronts and backs of playings cards, and could be revealed by wetting the cards and peeling them apart. Each of the 52 cards contained a segment of the map, while the Jokers included the code for how to put the pieces together.

Maps were also printed invisibly on handkerchiefs and could only be revealed when soaked in a certain chemical.

Compass (Various Forms)

Even if a POW had a secret map at his disposal, without a compass, getting back to safety would have been a challenge. Thus hidden compasses were one of the most popular concealments during WWII, and they took a variety of forms. Compasses were hidden in pipes, brass buttons, bars of soap, and even unshelled walnuts. Innocuous-looking items were also made with parts that could function as compasses in a pinch; for example, the clip of a pencil was magnetized and when removed and balanced on the pencil's tip, would point north.

A tiny compass concealed in a fountain pen. The nib and clip were also magnetized and could function as compasses when suspended from a thread. Other escape pens held maps, currency, and dye to color clothing,

These standard-looking razor blades contained magnetic needles. When the razors were placed in a cup of water, they would spin so that the arrows pointed north.

Board Games

The British company that produced the aforementioned silk maps, John Waddington LTD., also happened to own the rights to produce the American Parker Bros. game, Monopoly, in the UK. German prisoner of war camps accepted items that fell into the category of games and amusements, and so Waddington's expanded their concealment device catalog to include rigged Monopoly games.
The game board was created with slight indentations which were filled with low-profile compasses, files, and maps. The board and these depressions were then covered over with the printed label. Also, sandwiched between the fake Monopoly money was real currency from Germany and surrounding countries for the men to use on the lam. Recipients of the games were alerted to the fact that the game was a rigged one by a small red dot on the free parking square.
Monopoly boards were not the only games used as concealment devices. Shortwave radios were smuggled in inside hollowed out cribbage boards as well.
While it is commonly thought that these rigged games were delivered by the Red Cross, the supplies from that organization were too vital to risk the Germans discovering the deceit and thus having a reason to refuse their packages. The games were actually given through fictitious charitable groups that were made up for the express purpose of smuggling contraband.

Shoes and Boots

A shoe with a hollowed out heel is one of the oldest and simplest concealment devices. The first heel compartment was created in 1901, and Houdini used them to hide keys for his escapes.
During the war, Clayton Hutton designed flying boots for RAF pilots that had a secret compartment in the heel, inside which could be stashed small food packets or maps. The leggings could be removed as well, turning the boots into civilian-looking brogues.
Hutton also stuck cheese wire into the laces of other shoes for the prisoners to use in cutting through metal bars.

Shaving Cream and Brush

The items contained in mess kits were good candidates for concealment devices as they seemed very ordinary for a solider to be carrying, and they would be accepted into POW camps. Shaving cream and toothpaste tubes concealed capsules which contained messages or maps. The top of the tube contained a bit of cream so that if the tube was tested, it would appear to be a normally-functioning item. Metal shaving cream cans were made with false bottoms that included a secret compartment. (Such "diversion cans" are still sold as household secret safes.) And shaving brushes with hollow handles could be used by spies to hide a roll of film.

False Scrotum

Picture thankfully unavailable
In the 1960s, a false rubber scrotum was developed which hid a sub-miniature escape radio and was placed over an agent's real scrotum. It was a very safe concealment; even during a strip-search, inspectors were unlikely to give an agent's balls a very close look.


During the Cold War, the CIA altered cars so that the fuel tank was smaller, and the remaining cavity could be used to stash a spy they were smuggling out of a country.

Combustible Notebook

The combustible notebook isn't really a concealment device per se, but it's so cool we had to include it. Pull out the pin and it starts to combust, like a smoldering grenade. I would have loved to have taken notes for my college classes in one of these and then removed the pin after finals to watch it burn.


A bottle of wine was an ordinary thing to bring to a function and exchange with someone else, and the cork was very unlikely to be inspected.

Dead Animals

The "dead drop" method was used when secret agents wished to exchange information without ever meeting in person. One agent would drop off a concealment device on the side of the road or in a public park, and another agent would come by later and casually pick it up. Because they were left in public places, dead drop concealments had to be made from things that would fit into the area and wouldn't entice other people to take or even touch them. Thus, the more repulsive a dead drop concealment, the better. So while hollowed out bricks, tree limbs, and soda cans were sometimes used, animal carcasses were the most popular vehicle for this espionage tactic.
The animals were killed, gutted, and sometimes freeze-dried. A cavity was prepared and closed up with velcro. The animal could be placed in a can and given to the agent to be used at the appropriate time. When that time came, the animals were stuffed with anything from code books to cameras, velcroed shut, and dropped off. The agent might also add some realistic-looking OTS-crafted rodent guts to the scene to up the yuck factor.
Of course while people might steer clear of the cadaverous critter, such a find was a cat's delight. So the rodents were often sprinkled with hot sauce as a deterrent to kitty depositing a mouse with state secrets at someone's doorstop.
The animal carcass dead drop was so effective it was still in use up until a decade or so ago.

Gentleman's Clothing Brush

With its small size and close-focusing lens (the better to copy documents with), the Minox camera was popular in espionage circles and hidden in a variety of concealment devices, like this gentleman's clothing brush. The two halves of the brush discreetly locked together and could only be unfastened by inserting a pin into a camouflaged hole.

Skeleton Key

As if skeleton keys weren't cool and mysterious enough to begin with….


Lighters were very common items for a mid-century man to be carrying around, so it was a perfect candidate for transformation into a concealment device. Some, like the lighter above, were made with special bottoms that held a small secret cavity.  And in the 70s, as technology got better and listening devices got smaller, eavesdropping equipment was moved from large passive concealments like bricks to small active concealments like lighters.

Hollow Coins

Hollow coins were first used by Soviet agents in the 1930s to conceal microdots, soft film, and ciphers. Americans discovered the ruskie's ingenuity in 1953, when a paperboy in Brooklyn dropped a nickel that surprisingly split open when it hit the ground to reveal a secret compartment within. The coins had been traded back and forth between Soviet spies operating in New York City.
Other countries, including the US, used the hollow coin concealment as well. The reusable coins consisted of two pieces that were screwed together in a virtually undetectable way. To open the coin, you had to press and turn your thumb on the face of it (on the coin above from 1978, you pressed the tip of the eagle's wing).
The incident with the paperboy reveals one of the downsides of the hollow coin concealment; since they look and feel just like regular coins, they were easy to lose, drop, and accidentally spend.  Thus there could very well still be some out there in circulation (better check your piggy bank!) In fact, they're still definitely being used by somebody; just a few years ago, Canadian coins containing tiny radio frequency transmitters were found on American contractors. Showing that some of these old spy tricks still have legs.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Jewish Grandmother and Rabbi Sachs on Love on Passover

Grow Beyond Anger

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs (19:11): "It is a wise man's good sense to be slow to anger, and his glory to pass over a transgression."
It is common sense and self-interest to refrain from lashing out immediately to avenge an injury. A higher level of humanity is that of entirely overcoming feelings of vengeance in one's heart.

Love Yehuda Lave

Little Jewish Grandmother

Little Jewish Grandmother
A little Jewish grandmother gets on the crowded bus and discovers that she doesn't have correct change for the fare.
The driver tries to be firm with her, but she places her hand delicately over her chest and murmurs, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me. He caves in and lets her ride for free.
She tries to push her way down the crowded aisle, but people won't move over for her. She finally places her hand delicately over her chest and murmurs, " If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me." The crowd parts like the Red Sea and lets her down the aisle.
She gets to the back of the bus where there are no seats and looks significantly at several people, none of whom take the hint and get up to offer her their seat. Once again she places her hand delicately over her chest and murmurs," If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me." Several people jump up and insist that she sit down and ride in comfort.
A woman who had been watching all this leaned over and said to her, "I know this is none of my business, but what is it that you've got, anyway?
The little Jewish grandmother smiled and said, "Chutzpah."

Seasons of Love

A short thought about the three
biblical books about love

Shir HaShirim (which will be read on the afternoon of Shabbat chol ha'moed Pesach) is not the only biblical book about love. It is a complex emotion that cannot be defined from a single perspective, nor do all its dimensions become apparent at the same time. In a way that is subtle and richly complex, the Shalosh Regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals, all have their special book, each about love but about different phases of it.

Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, on Pesach is about love as passion. The lovers are young. There is no mention of marriage, a home, children, responsibility. They have no thought for the morrow nor for others. They are obsessed with one another. They live conscious of the other's absence, longing for the other's presence. That is how love should be some of the time if it is to be deep and transforming all the time.

The book of Ruth, the scroll we read on Shavuot, is about love as loyalty: Ruth's loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi, and Boaz's to Naomi, Ruth and the family heritage. It is about "loving-kindness," the word coined by Myles Coverdale in his Bible translation of 1535 because he could find no English word that meant chesed. Beginning as it does with death, bereavement and childlessness, and ending with marriage and the birth of a child it is about the power of love to redeem grief and loneliness and "make gentle the life of this world." It is about what Shir HaShirim is not: about marriage, continuity and keeping faith with "the living and the dead" (Ruth 2:20). That too, in Judaism, is a significant part of love, for we are not just selves: we are part of the living chain of generations.

On Sukkot we have a third story about love: love grown old and wise. Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, is a book easy to misread as a study in disillusionment, but that is because of sustained series of mistranslations of its key word, hevel. This is variously rendered as "vanity, vapor, meaningless, futile, useless," leading readers to think that its author finds life without purpose or point. Hevel does not mean that: it means "a fleeting breath." It is about the brevity of life on earth. It begins with the author seeking happiness in philosophy (chokhma), pleasure, laughter, the accumulation of wealth, fine houses and pleasure gardens, the perennial secular temptations. He discovers that none of them can defeat death. Objects last but those who own them do not. Wisdom may be eternal, but the wise still die.

We defeat death not by seeking a this-worldly immortality but by simcha, the spiritually and morally textured exhilaration about which William Blake wrote, "He who binds to himself a joy / Does the winged life destroy. / He who kisses the joy as it flies / Lives in eternity's sun rise." Kohelet learns that happiness is to be found not in what you own (bind to yourself) but in what you share. It exists not where you invest your money but where you give of yourself. It lives in work and love: "Enjoy life with the woman you love all the days of this fleeting life you have been given under the sun, all the fleeting days, for that is your portion in life and in all your labor under the sun" (Eccles. 9:9). This is love that has grown from passion to responsibility to existential joy: the joy of being with one you love.

The essential message of Judaism is contained in no one of these books but in the combination of all three. Eros is the fire that gives love its redemptive, transforming, other-directed quality. Marriage is the covenantal bond that turns love into a pledge of loyalty and brings new life into the world. Companionship, experience and a life well lived bring simcha, a word that appears only twice in Shir HaShirim, not at all in Ruth but seventeen times in Kohelet.

Love as passion; love as marriage and childbirth and continuity; love as abiding happiness: three stages of love, traced out in the course of a life and the course of a year and its seasons: Shir HaShirim in spring, Ruth in harvest time, Kohelet in autumn as the days grow colder and the nights longer. With a wonderful touch of serendipity, Kohelet ends with the advice, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them" (12:1), thus leading us back to youthfulness, spring and the Shir HaShirim where we began.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Newfoundland Crab Boat in "Choppy Waters" and 90% of Israelis to keep the Passover Seder

Don't Take Things For Granted

A key element in why it's easy to lack gratitude is because human nature is to take things for granted when we get used to having them. To master gratitude we need to stop taking things for granted and to increase our thoughts of appreciation.
The Creator keeps bestowing His tremendous kindnesses on us each and every day when we are awake and when we are asleep, whether we are aware of them or not. There are so many things in our lives that we take for granted.
As an exercise, choose a day to not take anything for granted. Look at everything as if it were new. Look at everything as if this were the first time that this positive thing was happening. Look at all that you own as if you just bought or received them today. Look at what you have as if it were invented recently and you are one of the first people on the planet to get it.
Hopefully this exercise will give you the experience of what it's like to not take things for granted.
Love Yehuda Lave

"Some Choppy Water"  Yeah Sure!?  Downright Scary!!
A Newfoundland Crab boat, owned by Ross Petten from Port de Grave...
in some choppy water on the Grand Banks off Nfld.

Next time you are having fish for dinner, think about these guys!

A family Pesach seder in Tzur Hadassah, Israel, April 6, 2012.
A family Pesach seder in Tzur Hadassah, Israel, April 6, 2012.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/flash 90

90% of Israeli Jews will participate in a Passover Seder, 80% of self-defined secular Jews said they believe in God, according to a study done by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics.
While 55% said they would make sure to only eat kosher during the entire holiday, nearly all said they would make sure to eat Matzah and only kosher food on Pesach night.
Those are some pretty good numbers.

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