There are people who consistently make others feel good about themselves. When you are in the presence of someone who has a "good eye" and a "good heart," you see yourself in a more positive light. Such a person treats you with respect and makes it easier for you to increase your own level of self-respect. Such a person says and does things that bring out the best in you.
Remember how you felt about yourself after encounters with such people. Let those experiences build your self-image. Don't just look at it as, "I felt really good about myself when I spoke to this person." Rather, view these encounters as life-enhancing experiences that permanently build your self-image. Even many years later, you can allow these encounters to raise your view of yourself.
My friend Chuck Hoffman was a person like that. Even though he passed away 10 years ago, I still remember the good times we would have together when we would sit at Padres baseball game and solve the problems of the world.
Love Yehuda Lave
Where is my Grandchild?
When I was a kid, I went to Hebrew school and learned the Hebrew letters and the vowels. But when it came time for my bar mitzvah and I started learning to read the Torah, I noticed that there aren't actually any vowels in the Torah, and I had to memorize the pronunciation of every word. Why is that? Is it just to make it super-hard to become a Jewish adult?
The truth is that while there are no vowels actually written in the Torah, it is not accurate to say that the Torah has no vowels. Although the vowels, or nekudot, were never actually marked in the Torah itself, the nekudot are of divine origin just as the letters are. The nekudot were given by G‑d to Moses on Mount Sinai and were passed down orally from leader to leader as part of the Oral Torah, until they reached Ezra the Scribe, who revealed and taught them to the Jewish nation. Up until that point, Hebrew was never written down with vowels.1
As with many early Semitic alphabets, one who is fluent in Hebrew can, for the most part, read it without vowels, which is why even nowadays the overwhelming majority of Hebrew literature is written without vowels.
On a simple level, the reason for this is because, unlike English, most Hebrew words are comprised of triconsonantal roots. Words with the same consonants are usually related, and differ only in how they're inflected for tense and so forth.
At the same time, there are also many words in the Torah whose meanings can change based on the vowels. And it is for this reason that an oral tradition was needed to tell us exactly how the words are to be pronounced.
One classic example is the prohibition of eating milk and meat together, which is derived from the verse לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ—universally translated as "You shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk."2 Now, the Hebrew word for "milk," חֲלֵב (chaleiv) or חָלָב (chalav), has the exact same letters as the Hebrew word for "fat," חֵלֶב (cheilev), the only difference being the vowels. So without the Oral Torah, we might mistakenly believe that we are prohibited to eat meat with fat.3
This, of course, leads us back to our original question: If there are ambiguous words, why leave the vowels to the Oral Torah? Why not have them written in the Torah itself?
The Power of Ambiguity
The rabbis explain that it is precisely because of this possible ambiguity that the vowels aren't written into the actual text. The ambiguity allows us to derive multiple layers of meaning from the same written text.4 For example, by contrasting the way in which a word is actually vocalized (called in the Talmud mikra) with other possible ways of pronouncing the same word (called masoret), the rabbis derive many laws of the Torah. For G‑d's wisdom (a.k.a. His Torah) is infinite, and upon rearranging the vowels, new dimensions are revealed.
It is no wonder then that the letters are compared to the body and the nekudot to the soul.5 Like the body, the letters are tangible and physical. But the nekudot,while hidden, are what give them life.
For more on the nekudot, see:
King David replied, "You have read the word with the wrong vowels (nekudot). It is not זָכָר, zachar, but זֵכֶר, zeicher, which means the 'remembrance' [of every member of Amalek]." 4. Ramban, introduction to his commentary on the Torah; Rabbeinu Bechayei, Deuteronomy 7:2. 5. Zohar Chadash, Shir Hashirim 90a. See also Sefer ha-Pardes, Shaar ha-
Jewish Woman Loses Gun for 'Praying on Temple Mount'
In midst of terror wave and as mayor calls to bear arms, Old City resident has gun taken over police claim unrelated to her handgun.
By Ido Ben-Porat First Publish: 10/12/2015, 11:16 AM
In the middle of an Arab terror wave centered around Jerusalem's Old City, a 55-year-old female Jewish resident of the restive area has had her license to carry a handgun removed by the Internal Security Ministry.
The reason given for removing her means of self-defense? According to the ministry, police claim she "prayed on the Temple Mount," the holiest site in Judaism.
The woman, Feiga Tavnes, has lived in the Old City for the past 35 years. For all of those 35 years she has held a license to carry a firearm and owned a personal handgun, and in all those years she has never been investigated or run afoul of the law.
However, specifically now as Arab terror attacks have ramped up in the area around her home, she was ordered to hand over her gun.
The reason given in the letter asking her to do so was simply "a recommendation of the Israel police for...praying on the Temple Mount, and therefore due to the danger it is recommended to cancel her license."
Making the incident all the more surprising is the fact that Tavnes has never been investigated by the police for praying on the Temple Mount, which even if she had been would not constitute a legal grounds to remove her gun license.
The Jordanian Waqf has been left in de facto control of the Mount, where it has banned Jewish prayer despite Israeli laws and court rulings stipulating freedom of worship.
Adding to the seriousness of the move to negate her license is the fact that Tavnes's husband previously was stabbed by an Arab terrorist right by their house. The move also comes after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on all license-holding Jerusalemites to carry their weapons at all times.
"Abandonment of Jews"
Attorney Adi Kedar of the Honenu legal aid organization submitted an urgent petition last week to the Internal Security Ministry, demanding that the decision be overturned and Tavnes's weapon be returned.
"The recommendation of the Israel police lacks any basis and is mistaken," wrote Kedar, demanding that he be immediately given the details of the police source that recommended canceling the woman's gun license so as to sue them for harassment.
"My client was not investigated for prayer on the Temple Mount, and even if there was a suspicion of that, that is not a suspicion at all connected to her gun license," noted the attorney.
"This shocking case of abandoning Jews in such a difficult period is just the tip of the iceberg, and reveals the continued management of the Israel police and the Internal Security Ministry in my cases over recent years, in which the weapons licenses of residents of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem residents was revoked."
"In similar cases petitions were submitted to the court and the petitions were accepted, but the time dealing with the case and the bureaucracy leaves the civilians for an extended period - sometimes even over a year - without a weapon, posing a danger to them and to their family members," said Kedar.
The attorney added, "we must remember that we are dealing with civilian residents of Judea and Samaria of neighborhoods in Jerusalem, who unfortunately are exposed to daily terror attacks. I call on the prime minister and the appointed minister to re-examine the entire management of the Internal Security Ministry in terms of weapons licenses. I hope that until then lives will not be endangered G-d forbid due to this management." ________________________________________
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations
Latest update: October 22nd, 2015
"We have become like Sodom and Gemorrah," the judge lamented when referring to the hard kick the Arab woman terrorist received from a Jewish bystander after an attempted stabbing. The judge's assessment was right, but from the other side of the coin. It is the judge who represents the Sodom mentality; thinking that turns values inside out, rendering good – bad and bad – good. The Jew who kicked that Arab terrorist still has moral clarity; it is the judge who is stricken with Sodom mentality.
Clearly, not all the Arabs are murderers. There are very good people among them, some of them personal friends of mine. I believe that many of them – perhaps even the majority – feel very badly about the wave of Arab murderousness enveloping us right now. But that does not change the fact that we are currently in a war. Arabs in the Land of Israel (from both sides of the Green Line) backed up by determined and dominating religious and political leadership have declared that the lives of Jews are worth nothing. Not only have they made declarations – they carry them out, as well.
This is not a criminal conflict in which, as soon as the intruder is neutralized, it is clear that the court – and not the victim – must determine his sentence. Not at all. This is a war that was declared against all the Jews simply because they are Jews. And in a war, you do not fire at the enemy soldier only after he fires at you; you try to shoot first.
In this war, however, the situation is much more serious. As we are dealing with total de-legitimization of the very right of Jews to live, there is only one way to stop the trend and to make it non-legitimate and unacceptable to murder a Jew. Israel must clarify with actions (not with words) that in the face of the widespread terror, all the rules have changed. Whoever raises a knife over a Jew in the Land of Israel will be the one to lose his privilege to breathe air on the globe – and should be killed on the spot – without any doubt.
When Netanyahu began to explain that Abu Mazen lied and that the young Arab murderer was alive and breathing in a modern Israeli hospital – the PM proved how much he lacks understanding of the threat. Once again, he has caused severe strategic damage. Does anybody in the world really care if Abu Mazen is telling the truth or lying? After all, when Netanyahu fell into the trap, celebrating the fact that Abu Mazen had lied, he himself endorsed the claim that the elimination of a terrorist is tantamount to murder.
An Israeli leader should have said the following:
"As usual, Abu Mazen lied. The boy in question is alive. Nevertheless, I would like to clarify: The Nation of Israel did not establish its own state just three years after Auschwitz in order to once again be slaughtered in the streets. Anybody in our Land who raises a knife against a Jew has lost his humanity and the right to continue to live."
Clearly, Netanyahu is doing just the opposite and a whole trail of confused people has followed in his footsteps.
The result, of course, will be that the lives of the murderers will be worth their weight in gold, while police officers and civilians who were the intended victims will be severely punished. And Jewish blood will continue to be cheap.