Monday, February 29, 2016

Why G-d made Dogs

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

 Good 'n Sad 

Make a list of good deeds you can do and force yourself to do them when you feel sad. This may be very difficult. But realize that exactly because it is difficult, it is more meritorious to do "good."

Thinking, "How good it is that I can do good even when I feel bad," will help you feel better. Especially, devote time to doing acts of kindness for those who could use your assistance. The more you think about others, the less time you will have for self-pity.

Love Yehuda Lave


Fred Cherry defied Communist torture and leftist stereotypes.

February 22, 2016
Lloyd Billingsley


Fred Cherry, the African American U.S. Air Force pilot who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, has passed away at 87. With all due respect to Joe Louis, Fred Cherry was the real Brown Bomber.

Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Fred Cherry experienced racial prejudice and segregation first hand but did not let it hold him back from achievement. He graduated from Virginia Union University in 1951 and joined the U.S. Air Force. A skilled pilot, Cherry would soon be flying combat missions over Stalinist North Korea.

In 1965 Cherry was flying an F-105 fighter-bomber over North Vietnam when he took anti-aircraft fire and his plane exploded. He bailed out, suffered major injuries, and fell captive to the enemy. The North Vietnamese thought they had a real find and threw Cherry in a cell with Porter Halyburton, a white pilot from North Carolina. The Vietnamese Communists hoped to stoke racial friction that would break down Cherry and make him a propaganda tool. The captors' plan backfired.

Halyburton duly attended to Cherry's wounds and watched over his black countryman around the clock. Cherry credited the white southerner with saving his life, and Halyburton thought Cherry had done the same for him. The two became lifelong friends but in captivity both faced a hard road. The Vietnamese Communists slapped Cherry into solitary confinement for 702 days and the pilot endured punishment and torture for 93 straight days. Before his release in 1973, Cherry racked up 2,671 days in captivity.

The story of Cherry and Halyburton emerged in Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton (2014) by American pilot Lee Ellis. He had been shot down in November 1967 on a mission to destroy the guns that protected the Quang Khe ferry that supplied the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In the Hoa Lao prison, which POWs dubbed the Hanoi Hilton, Ellis learned firsthand about North Vietnam and its systematic torture of American POWs. As the author notes, the North Vietnamese tortured more than 95 percent of American POWs including eight tortured to death. But the torture wasn't all physical.

The captors piped in propaganda and, Ellis explains, "the afternoon broadcasts were especially disheartening because they featured Americans spouting words that could have been written for them in Moscow and Hanoi." New Left icon Tom Hayden "was a regular speaker," later joined by his wife "film star Jane Fonda." For this pair, the American POWs were war criminals and their reports of torture were lies.

Ellis charitably calls Fonda an "anti-war activist," but she and Hayden were not against war in general. They only opposed American participation in a war against the North Vietnamese regime they served as propagandists. Hayden was their voice in the cells of the Hanoi Hilton and Fonda even partied it up with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft squad.

Lee Ellis, Porter Halyburton and Fred Cherry managed to survive, and Cherry received the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism as a prisoner of war. His long stretch in captivity left him with a number of family problems but the African American flyer attended the National War College and Defense Intelligence School before retiring in 1981 as a staff officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

James S. Hirsh wrote about Cherry and Halyburton in the 2004 Two Souls Indivisible.

Cherry's story also showed up in the public television documentary Return with Honor about U.S. fighter pilots who became prisoners of war.

Col. Fred Cherry passed away in a Washington hospital on February 16, in the midst of Black History Month. Even so, the President of the United States did not rush to the podium to honor the departed hero. That should come as no surprise.

Fred Cherry defied the Vietnamese Communists but he also explodes a common stereotype. The American left prefers to portray blacks as angry, alienated, and perpetually in need of help from the government.

Fred Cherry had endured more than his share of racial discrimination and hardship. But as Porter Halyburton told the Washington Post, "he was such an ardent patriot. He loved this country." May he rest in peace

An old geezer became very bored in retirement and decided to open a medical clinic. He put up a sign outside that read: "Dr. Geezer's Clinic. Get your treatment for $500; if not cured, get back $1,000."

Doctor "Young," who was positive that this old geezer didn't know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1,000. So he went to Dr. Geezer's clinic.

Dr. Young: "Dr. Geezer, I have lost all taste in my mouth. Can you please help me?"

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22and put 3 drops in Dr. Young's mouth."

Dr. Young: "Aaagh! - this is Gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You've got your taste back. That will be $500."

Dr. Young gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days figuring to recover his money.

Dr. Young: "I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything."

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient's mouth."

Dr. Young: "Oh, no you don't - that is Gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You've got your memory back. That will be $500."

Dr. Young (after having lost $1,000) leaves angrily and returns after several more days.

Dr. Young: "My eyesight has become weak: I can hardly see anything!"

Dr. Geezer: "Well, I don't have any medicine for that so,here's your $1,000 back" and hands him a $10 bill.

Dr. Young: "But this is only $10!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You got your vision back. That will be $500."

Moral of story - Just because you're "Young" doesn't mean that you can outsmart an "old Geezer"!

Remember: Don't make old people angry. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to annoy us.

The digital jigsaw to piece together 15,000 Dead Sea Scroll fragments

Thousands of tiny scroll fragments are being scanned using the latest techniques so scientists in Israel can piece them together and reveal texts that, until now, have remained a mystery.

Read the full story:

24 February 2016

Get ready for Li-Fi: Ultrafast new technology shown off at tech show

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the capabilities of Li-Fi, using just an office lamp to start playing a smartphone video.

Read the full story:

24 February 2016

Why Say Kaddish for a Dad Who Abandoned Me?

What's the point, if all I feel is spite?

By Tzvi Freeman

Dear Ask-the-Rabbi Rabbi,

My father ran away when I was two years old. Disappeared. No child support, nothing. Now I'm twenty-four. Last year I tracked him down. Don't ask me why. I felt I had to, without knowing what I would say or do when we met. Just to discover he had died two years ago.

Now I'm torn. On the one hand, I figure I have to say kaddish on his yahrtzeit—in two months. On the other hand, what connection do I have to him? I mean, he abandoned me and Mom for all those years. And he never tried to make a connection with me or support me in any way, so why should I say kaddish for him?

Maybe this is not the real sort of situation that kaddish is meant for. Doesn't saying kaddish imply at least some kind of emotional attachment or respect?

—Yitz Gadal (pseudonym)


Hi Yitz!

Yes, it's the pits. It's the kind of pain that's so deep, you don't want to acknowledge how much it hurts. Because you don't want to have to visit that place inside. There's something about us that wants—really badly wants—to put our parents on a pedestal. There's something about us that really badly wants to put our parents on a pedestal.But then you find Dad and realize that he doesn't belong on a pedestal, because he never had a pedestal to begin with.

Do you have to say kaddish for him? Let's say Dad was sexually abusive or a relentless child-beater. For such a parent, you probably would have no obligation to sit in mourning for him. Mourning is a way of honoring a parent, and someone so blatantly wicked has foregone that honor.1 Saying kaddish may be another matter, as we will see.

But I don't think that's the case here. It sounds more like someone who was just irresponsible. You've still got a valid grudge—he never cared to contact you, or make up for all those years of abandonment.

And that's important to face up to. When we don't acknowledge the faults of our parents, we end up shifting the blame from them onto ourselves. It's when that pedestal falls that you free yourself from the burden of guilt so you can get on with life.

So I suggest you first try to acknowledge that grudge, visit the place of that hurt, and then, when you're ready, get on with healing it. And a kaddish on his yahrtzeit could well be the right place to start with that healing.2

The Prototypical Orphan's Kaddish

I'll explain why. This may seem strange, but although it may seem like you are one in a million, you're not. In fact, the classic Talmudic story of kaddish said by a child is a case of one who never knew a father—and whose father was not worth knowing. There are many versions, but it basically goes like this:3

Rabbi Akiva sees a man running through a cemetery. The guy is naked, black with soot, and burdened with a load of wood.

Rabbi Akiva yells, "Stop! What on earth are you doing?" And, being Rabbi Akiva, he continues, "And what can I do to help?"

Turns out, the guy was dead. In his past life, he had been a tax collector with an important government position who squeezed the life out of the poor to give to the rich. He also committed adultery—on Yom Kippur, no less.

As a punishment, he now must collect wood each day to build a pyre upon which he is barbecued each evening, only to have to run through the exercise again the next morning. (Today, this is called being an employee.)

Rabbi Akiva asks whether this dead man has any clues how he could be granted a pardon.

"Yes," the man answers. "I heard my supervisors saying that if I had a son, and that son would stand among the congregation and say kaddish and the congregation would answer, 'Amen! Yehei shmeih rabba mevorach!'4—then I would be off the hook for his sake."

"No problem!" exclaims Rabbi Akiva. "Let me take care of it."

"Big problem," the man replies. "I didn't leave a son behind."

"Yes, that's a problem," I heard them say that if I had a son who would say kaddish more me, I would be off the hook.Rabbi Akiva says.

"On the other hand," the man continues, "I think my wife was pregnant when I died. But I don't know whether she gave birth, and whether it was a boy or a girl. And if she did, the boy certainly wouldn't have learned any Torah, because the people weren't exactly my friends."

"You've got me as a friend," answers Rabbi Akiva. "Just give me your info. Your name, your wife's name and the name of your town."

"Name is Arnuniya. Wife's name, Shishchaya. Town, Ludkiya."

Rabbi Akiva is immediately on his way to Ludkiya. Once there, he's asking the townspeople about Arnuniya. The response is worse than he imagined.

"May his bones grind in hell," they mutter, spitting on the ground and grinding the spit deep in.

"How about his wife, Shishchaya?" he asks.

Not a good question. "May her name and her memory be eradicated!" they answer, spitting again.

So he asks about her child. Good news and bad news. Shishchaya had a boy. But she had never even bothered to circumcise him.

Rabbi Akiva gets hold of this child, circumcises him and sits him down to learn. The kid just sits there blinking. His skull is so thick, nothing can enter.

Rabbi Akiva is a man of love and compassion for every one of G‑d's creatures—even tax collectors and their children. What does he do? He fasts for forty days. After forty days, he hears a voice from heaven: "Akiva, you're fasting for who?"

"Master of the Universe!" Rabbi Akiva shouts out. "Just trust me on this one. Open up the kid's heart so I can work with him."

As this is Rabbi Akiva talking, G‑d complies. Next thing you know, the kid is reading Torah like a pro, saying the Shema Yisrael, the Silent Prayer and even Grace After Meals.

As soon as he's ready, Rabbi Akiva stands him before the congregation. The boy says "Barchu" and they answer him.

Finally, he says kaddish and they answer him, "Amen! Yehei shmeih rabba mevorach!"

The end of the story: The father is released from the barbecue business with a ticket to heaven. We know that because he returned to Rabbi Akiva in a dream to thank him.

The Soul's Interface

Now, I'm not judging the father who abandoned you. I don't know the whole story. What I do know is that there are two souls here that need fixing as a result of his parenting, or lack of it: Yours and his. When you fix your parent's past, you fix your own future.And kaddish is a powerful tool—along with others we'll get to later—to do just that. It's a two-way street that runs through the avenues of the heart and mind, right into the soul: When you fix your parent's past, you fix your own future.

That requires some explanation. Which Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (Tzfat, 16th century), known as the Arizal, provides:5

The first thing you have to know is that we are not like automobiles coming off a factory line. Whatever happens at the Honda plant in Indiana today doesn't affect my Accord that came off its lines two years ago. But with the people we came from, we are forever connected.

A father can walk out on his kids, but he can't divorce them. He can't even truly and completely separate himself from them. And neither can the kids divorce their father. A father is forever a father and a child forever a child, for better and for worse. At the end of the day, the memory of a child is indelibly engraved in the mind of the parent, and the imprint of the parent pervades every cell of the child. Geographically they may be light-years apart, but like entangled subatomic particles, what happens in one immediately affects the other. An essential part of you emerges out of your parents and remains forever connected to them.

The reason for that, the Arizal explains, is because it's not just chromosomes that you receive from your parents. An essential part of you has not only emerged from out of your parents, but remains forever connected to them. It's not your soul and it's not your body. It's something in a certain way even more important than either of those.

Who are you? In essence, the Arizal taught, you are a divine soul, sent here on a mission. The principal target of your mission is a body of sinews and blood driven by the instincts of self-preservation and gratification. Your soul must enter that body so that it can bring it to realize that it too is divine—and to get it to behave that way.

But how can a divine soul, the ultimate spiritual being, relate to an earthly physical body? The answer is that it's provided a kind of interface, in the form of a thinking human personality.

Think of the interface between you and the device that's in your hands or on your desktop as you are reading this. You and that hardware reside in two very different worlds. That's why companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft spend billions of dollars designing an elegant interface—a visual and audible means of presenting what's going on inside that plastic, metal and silicon box—that is meaningful, intuitive and speaks to you, while efficiently driving its hardware within.

As a human being, you have a similar interface, and it's not just your physical brain. Your divine soul operates through the medium of a human mind and heart that is capable of seeing beyond instinct and immediate gratification, a being that can hear what the divine soul is trying to say and be inspired by it. Yet at the same time it's a human mind and heart, very much a part of this world. It acts as the go-between, reining in the beast while teaching it to conform to the vision of the Divine soul.

Fixing Upstream

Here's the hitch: While the body is a product of Mom and Dad's DNA, and the soul is a forever Divine piece of business handpicked by the Creator to fulfill its particular mission on the planet, this intelligent interface that is at the guts of your personality, this is something, the Arizal teaches, that emerges from the inner mental and spiritual state of your father and mother at the time of conception.

Whoa, you're saying, that might not be a good deal, because my parents' mental and spiritual state at the time they were making me might not have been so healthy. No matter how great the divine soul that breathes within you, it's still needs that interface.Or worse. Yes, that is the problem. No matter how great the divine soul that breathes within you, if it doesn't have a clear pathway to the human animal in which it is invested, it's going to be riding a bucking bronco without saddle or reins.

That was the problem of the little child of the tax collector in Rabbi Akiva's story. His body was healthy. His Divine soul was perfect, as every Divine soul must be, and all its programming was there in place. It's just that because of who his parents were, how they behaved and where their heads were at, the interface between that soul and the body was a disaster. Torah could not enter, and prayer could not come out.

But there's a fix. Because the personalities of child and parents remain networked. Which means that the direction you take in life affects your father's state. And vice-versa: Once the things are fixed upstream, the water runs downstream crystal clear.

Kaddish is one way of accomplishing that. People assume that kaddish is a prayer for the dead, or some way of honoring them. Read the words, and you'll see it has nothing to do with that. When you say kaddish for a parent, you are leading the community in declaring the greatness of their Creator. By doing so, you're picking yourself up to a whole new level.

The same with learning Torah, giving charity, or any other mitzvah you now do. You're not doing it for him—you're doing it to illuminate your own inner self, you're doing it to lift up your entire world. And by doing so, you're affecting your father, fixing the problem at its source.

That's what Rabbi Akiva was out to do with this boy. He had to extricate him from the pit of thick, gooey mud in which he had been born. He had to be circumcised, taught Torah, and become a leader in prayer. In the place of all the darkness his father had brought into the world, he had to bring tremendous light. He had to become a different person, the opposite of who his father had been—and through that, automatically, his father's soul was able to find respite.

Because the two are really one. Just as the son was messed up by his father's life, so the son was able to fix up his father by changing that life his father had given him.

Do It Now

Everything in this world, the Arizal taught, is a two-way street. Everything in this world is a two-way street. And that's something to celebrate.Fortunately, you don't have to wait until a parent is gone to know what you've got—and to do something about it.

Yitz, your father may be gone, but your mother is still with you. When you provide her with the most valuable things a child can give to a parent—respect, honor, love and dignity—your own persona rises higher along with hers.

There are those who feel their parents don't deserve that respect—and, in some cases, they may be right. Some people have abusive parents. Some need to stay far away from home. Some even have to avoid all communication.6

Yet despite all that, we're never passive victims of this universe. The same One who deals the cards is the same One who gives us the opportunities to win. We may not be able to change the people around us directly, but we can do our best to fix ourselves, our attitude and how we treat others. When we do that, all those connected to us move up a notch, in this world and in the next. And it all bounces back to the place from which it came.

There's a lot to celebrate. The whole universe is in your hands.



Concerning mourning for a wicked person, see glosses of Rema (Rabbi Moshe Isserles) to Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 340:5; Siftei Kohen 340:8; Chochmat Adam 156:3. Furthermore, the Torah does not demand that a person place unbearable strain on his or her psychological wellbeing for the sake of honoring a parent. For a full discussion of such cases see Rabbi Mark Dratch's article in Hakirah12 (2011): 105–119.

2.Since the news was heard over a year later, there is no seven-day mourning period, or thirty days, or year of mourning. One simply sits on the ground for a short time. Keriah (ripping of upper garments) is also performed, but this should be done with the assistance of a rabbi or someone experienced in the specifics of this obligation.

Nevertheless, it is certainly worthwhile to make up for the lost year of mourning by such things as leading the congregation in prayer, reading the haftarah, and certainly by giving charity and taking on more mitzvahs on behalf of the deceased.

3.Ohr Zarua II, end of chapter 50; Responsa of Rivash 115; Menorat Hamaor (Abohav), Ner Aleph 2:1, quoting Kallah Rabbati 11 and Tanchuma Noach; Seder Eliyahu Zuta, end of chapter 17; Zohar Chadash.

4.Translation: "May His great name be blessed forever and ever!" That's the standard response to kaddish. The main point of kaddish is that you lead the congregation in saying that.

5.Likkutei Torah (Arizal), Parshat Va'eira.

6.When asked, "What is the proper response when in-law interference causes marital problems?" the halachic authority Rabbi Moshe Shapiro responded with the following:

"When such interventions erode peace and harmony in the home, couples should deny their parents entry. If that doesn't work, they should send the parents away in a manner that makes it clear that their parents' intervention has generated this alienation. This is the husband's responsibility. It is obvious that the rule of honoring one's father and mother does not apply here; one is not obligated to put his life aside for his parents' honor. But it is advisable to first consult with an impartial Torah scholar." [Sefer Binat Hamidot: Pirkei Hadrachah (Jerusalem: Binat Halev, 5767), p. 86, free translation.]

By Tzvi Freeman


At the YU Book Sale, books with 10,000 different viewpoints are sold, including Kosher Jesus and books from the extreme Leftist .The book that IS banned from sale is Kahane on the Parsha. Students are not allowed to buy this book and decide from themselves if the Parsha as written by Rabbi Meir Kahane and Rabbi Binyamin Kahane is what they believe in or even something to think about. YU doesNotallow freedom of thought when it comes to Kahane.

Please protest, here are addresses: students claim Rabbi Brander is at fault)

Now, let us learn Parshat Ki Tisa as written by Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D and submitted to the Jewish Press just hours before hisassassination

Kahane on the Parsha

Rabbi Meir Kahane- Parshat Ki Tisa


For many years I have pointed out the clear halachic status of a non-Jew in the Land of Israel, which is in total contradiction to Western democracy, which postulates complete equality of all peoples regardless of ethnic, national, or religious background. I have pointed out that he has, at best, the status of a ger toshav, assuming that status is still applicable nowadays when yovel is not in force.

I have also pointed out that a non-Jew who wishes to live in the Land of Israel MUST ACCEPT upon himself the obligations of misim and shibud (tribute and servitude) under which he cannot ever hold sway over any Jew in Israel and cannot hold any position of authority (see Hilchot Melachim6:11). In a word, I have pointed out the clear halacha of a non-Jew with absolutely no NATIONAL (as opposed to personal) rights in the Land of Israel that was given to the Jew as a Holy Land in which he must live alone and in isolation, creating his own unique and holy Torah state.

Today, after deep contemplation and study of the situation, I believe all this applies to every non-Jew--except for the Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians." They, unlike any other people, have the halachic status of the ancient Canaanites. Let us consider my point.

We clearly find in halacha a difference in status between ordinary non-Jews and non-Jews from the seven Canaanite nations--a difference that is expressed only in part by the fact that refusal to surrender on the part of ordinary nations leads to the killing of all their male adults (not their women and children), whereas similar refusal by the Canaanites leads to TOTAL extermination. Why this halachic distinction? Because there is a FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE between non-Jews who have origin in the Land of Israel (but wish to live there now) and those who stem from it--i.e., those who were there before the Jews arrived or came during the absence of Jewish sovereignty in the land.

To understand the nature of this difference, consider the words of the great Biblical commentator, the Abarbanel, on the following verses, "Behold, I drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Be vigilant lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you come, lest it be a snare in your midst" (Exodus 34:11-12). The Abarbanel writes:

"Since the Almighty drives out His enemies, it is unseemly that we should make a covenant with them because this would be a desecration of His honor. [Furthermore], a treaty with them will not succeed since there is no doubt that they will ALWAYS seek evil for Israel considering that the Israelites took their land from them. And this is the meaning of the words 'the land to which you come'--i.e., since you, Israel, went into that land and took it from its inhabitants, and since they feel oppressed and robbed of it, how will they preserve a treaty of friendship? Rather it will be the opposite; they will be 'a snare in your midst'--i.e., when war breaks out they will join your enemies and fight you."

What a stupendously true and incisive comment by the great Abarbanel and how much it understands the reality of human nature. And how different from that of the sad Moderdox of our time, who not only prattle about equal rights for the inhabitants of the land under the Jews who took the land from them but who ignore--because they lack the courage to face up to it--the reality of human feelings and the unwillingness to accept crumbs rather than the sovereignty that was.

The Abarbanel lays down the clear fundamental reality that non-Jews who were in the Land of Israel before the Jews arrived will never accept their defeat. They will always dream of revanche and the day when they will take the land back. They will never see themselves as equals in a land that was once theirs and now belongs to the Jews who "graciously" consent to give them "rights." And herein is the fundamental difference in feeling between nations who were in the Land of Israel first, before the Jews arrived to take it for themselves, and other non-Jews who have no sovereign claim to the land but wish to live there now.

And, indeed, this postulate--which equates ALL peoples who were in the land before the Jews with the Canaanites--is also advanced by the holy Ohr HaChaim in his commentary to Numbers 33:52, which instructs the Jewish people to "drive out all the inhabitants of the land." He writes: "It's true that the [Torah says] concerning the seven nations, 'You shall utterly destroy them,' but this verse refers to nations OTHER THAN the seven nations found there. And that is why the Torah specifically states 'ALL the inhabitants of the land'--i.e., even those who are not of the seven nations."

And so we see: The seven nations do not have their special status alone, but rather all people who were in the Land of Israel before the Jews arrived, and who see the Jews as robbers who stole the land from them, have the same kind of attitude and approach of hate and revenge--and thus, the same legal status.

The Jewish Press, 1990 Editor's note: This Dvar Torah derives from the very last article Rabbi Meir Kahane wrote for The Jewish Press. The article was published in two installments. Rabbi Kahane submitted the second half to The Jewish Press onNovember 5th, just hours before his assassination

This Is Why God Made Dogs