A person who sincerely fears the Almighty should forgive someone who wronged him when that person asks for forgiveness. He should do his best to return to the previous state of loving-friendship that existed before the other person erred.
We find in the Torah (Genesis 50:21) that Yosef forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery as soon as they asked his forgiveness. He told them that because he fears G-d they need not worry.
Is there anyone you have not yet forgiven? If yes, imagine that the person has the wisdom and courage to ask you for forgiveness. Visualize yourself forgiving that person. The next time you encounter that person act with the friendliness of someone you have forgiven
Love Yehuda Lave
Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gag
Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gagby Every Frame a PaintingBefore Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, before Chuck Jones and Jackie Chan, there was Buster Keaton, one of the founding fathers of visual comedy. And nearly 100 years after he first appeared onscreen, we're still learning from him. Today, I'd like to talk about the artistry (and the thinking) behind his gags. Press the CC button to see the names of the films.
In this week's parsha we read about a very special Mitzvah, the Red Heifer, who's ashed purify the "Tameh Met" (one who touched a dead person), but at the same time makes the Cohen who dealt with it Tamei himself. This mitzvah is so incomprehensible that even king Solomon admitted: "I said: 'I will get wisdom' but it was far from me". (Ecclesiastes 7, 23), this mitzvah is the epitome of a 'Law', which we follow without asking questions, without trying to understand.
I want to ask a question not about the reason for the mitzvah of the red heifer, but rather about its location in the parsha; why did the Torah put the mitzvah here? The laws of "Tum'ah and Taharah" are already mentioned in the book of Vayikra, and that seems like the logical place to learn about the Red Heifer. What is the link between the Red Heifer and the rest of our parsha, and how does this connection illuminate this mitzva?
The parsha speaks about several subjects that are connected to the significant change Am Israel is going through. There is a 40 year gap in the parsha, as we suddenly jump to the preparations to enter Eretz Yisrael. The parsha describes the changes in the nation's leadership as well; Miriam dies and the miraculous well that escorted Am Yisrael for 40 years disappeared. Consequently the people complain to Moshe and Aaron, asking for water, a demand that will ultimately lead to their failure at The Waters of Meribah, and the decree that they will not lead Am Israel into the land of Canaan. Additionally messengers were sent to the king of Edom, asking permission to pass through his lands. He refuses, as does Sichon, king of the Amorites, who also sets out to attack Am Yisrael. As we know, Sichon is vanquished, as is Og, the king of Bashan. Yet another event in a very eventful parsha is the story of the Bronze Serpent; Am Israel complained about the Manna and are punished by serpents who strike at the people, and who are cured only by raising ther eyes to the bronze statue of a serpent Moshe creates. Looking deeply, we can see that all the stories in the parsha are dealing with a dramatic change, from a leadership of miracles to a leadership of the nature. The people now need to search for water on their own, fight physical wars and even the miraculous Manna losses value in their eyes. Moshe and Aharon, who embody the idea of divine intervention and leadership will not lead any more.
To my opinion there is a link between that process and the Red Heifer. The mitzvah of the red heifer is unique because there is something very strange that happens here. You take a red cow, burn it, add some ingredients, put it water, some sort of a magical potion, then you sprinkle it on the "Tameh Met"(one who touched a dead person), and all of the sudden he is pure. From a state of the most serious Tumah to a complete purity in an almost miraculous way. I think there is a special connection between the red heifer and the rest of the parsha, the red heifer represents the great miracle, the ability to purify the impure, but the tasks of the slaughtering and burning of the red heifer represent nature, and naturally slaughtering or burning an animal can cause impurity, as in fact burning other "Chatat" sacrifices causes Tumah.
In my opinion, the Red Heifer combines the two worlds of the miraculous and the natural, which is why it is here in our parsha, a parsha that describes the transition from a miraculous leadership to a natural one. This is why, to my opinion, it is called "Chukat Ha'Torah" (The statute of the law), because the Torah is the most amazing link between heaven and earth, between the action of G-d and action of men
President Trump's Justice Department has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and reverse a decision by ten judges of the federal court of appeals in Richmond that invalidated Trump's travel ban because the judges determined the ban was unconstitutionally motivated by anti-Muslim bias.
Chief Judge Roger Gregory's opinion cites statements made by candidate Trump as proof that hostility to Muslims was the true intent of the president's executive order, even as the court of appeals' opinion admits that, on its face, the "temporary suspension of entry" from designated countries serves an important national-security purpose.
Judge Gregory minced no words. He held that the statements Trump made while he was a candidate "drip with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination." This conclusion was so obvious to the ten appellate judges that they quoted Jonathan Swift's famous maxim: "There's none so blind as they that won't see." The judges who joined the majority opinion self-righteously exclaimed, "We cannot shut our eyes to such evidence when it stares us in the face."
The petition requesting Supreme Court review filed by the acting solicitor general called the appeals court's ruling a "remarkable holding." It noted that American courts do not invalidate "religion-neutral government action" because of "speculation about officials' subjective motivations."
In upholding a public display of the Ten Commandments, the Supreme Court had said that it is not a judge's job to engage in "judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter's heart of hearts." Nonetheless, ten federal appellate judges eradicated a presidential directive designed to protect the safety of US residents because the judges discerned religious prejudice against Muslims in the president's motivation.
If anti-religious bias was so plain in the travel ban case, why did the same august group of federal jurists not recognize religious prejudice against Jews that stared the judges in their faces? I appeared before the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a case involving Susan Abeles, an Orthodox Jewish employee of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. In 2013 she was suspended without pay for having observed the concluding two days of Passover. During the 26 years that she worked at the same job for the Airports Authority, she had given her supervisors a list of Jewish holidays at the beginning of every calendar year. They knew that on holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Passover she would be out on annual leave.
Susan had relatively new supervisors in 2013, and they did not like her. She disputed their allegation that she was "insubordinate." Her past performance evaluations by many different supervisors had been excellent, and she had won several awards. When the Passover holiday approached, Susan noted the four dates when religious observance would keep her out of the office on her supervisors' Outlook calendars.
The concluding two days of Passover in 2013 were on Monday and Tuesday. Neither of her supervisors was in the office on the Friday before the holiday, so Susan sent them an e-mail reminder at noon that she would be out of the office to observe the religious holiday on Monday and Tuesday. Her second-level supervisor replied in an e-mail: "Thanks. Please see my note about providing us a status update before you leave today."
This amounted to full compliance with the language of the Airports Authority's "Absence and Leave Directive" which specified that employees should have "an exchange of e-mails between the employee and supervisor." Nonetheless, when Susan returned to work the following week she was told she had been "AWOL" for the last two days of Passover because her immediate supervisor had not given her oral approval. Susan was suspended without pay for an additional 5 days for "failure to follow leave procedures" and being "absent without leave." In such a hostile work environment that failed to respect her religion, Susan felt she had no choice other than to take early retirement.
The federal Civil Rights Act requires both government and private employers to make a "reasonable accommodation" for the religious observances of their employees. Susan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and then brought a federal lawsuit against the Airports Authority. The Authority moved the case from the District of Columbia to Virginia, and 16 days before a jury trial was to begin, the federal judge in Virginia threw out Susan's case. He did not, in an opinion he issued more than two weeks after his decision, even mention the "reasonable accommodation" provision of federal law.
Although her appeal was supported by both the American Jewish Committee and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, three judges of the Fourth Circuit court rejected it on the ground that Susan did "not establish . . . a religious conflict with an employment requirement." Contradicting undisputed documentary evidence, the three appellate judges declared that Susan had "failed to obtain advance approval for her absence on April 1 and 2, which coincided with the last two days of Passover in 2013."
The three judges tried to bury this decision by classifying their 16-page opinion as "Unpublished." Their factual error in describing the Airports Authority's annual-leave policy was called to the attention of the full complement of active Fourth Circuit judges in a petition for rehearing that quoted the language of the directive on annual leave (which did not require approval by an employee's "immediate" supervisor) and the exchange of e-mails between Susan and her second-level supervisor.
The full court – which included all 10 judges who claim that religious bias in the presidential travel ban stared them in the face — rejected the request for rehearing, apparently oblivious to flagrant religious discrimination against a Jewish employee.
Had Susan followed the procedure that the appellate court mistakenly believed she should have followed, her supervisors could not , under the Civil Rights Act's "reasonable accommodation" provision, have lawfully denied her request for annual leave. So she was punished for having failed to make a purportedly obligatory request for leave on a religious holiday when the request was meaningless because it could not lawfully be rejected.
Could there be more obvious staring-you-in-the-face proof that Susan was the victim of anti-Jewish bias by her supervisors than the punishment she was given for absence on Passover after she had received the e-mail approval of her second-level supervisor? Are the ten appellate judges who rejected her Civil Rights Act claim not perfect embodiments of Swift's condemnation of those who are blind because "they won't see?"
As Susan's lawyer I have called the Supreme Court's attention to this double standard in a friend-of-the-court brief I have filed in the travel-ban case. We announce her intention to take her case to the Supreme Court. That court, unlike the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, may have judges who will recognize religious discrimination when it stares them in the face.
A BLOODY DAY IN JERUSALEM
[Rabbi Kahane saw the disasters of bloody days in the future bg]
The Rabbi (Sotah 46) comment on the Biblical law concerning the finding of the body of a murdered Jew with his murderer unknown. The law decrees that the respected elders of the nearest town or city come out to the place of the murder and declare: "Our hands did not shed this blood!" Meaning: the elders, the leaders, must declare before man and G-d that they did everything possible to insure that this Jew would not be murdered.
I have just spent two days of my life in an Israeli prison. Two more days. And I say, unequivocally, that what happened in Jerusalem last week, as two Jews were murdered and the police protected the murderer and other Arabs even as they tear-gassed Jews, is the clearest evidence that this Jewish government can never say, "Our hands did not shed this blood." For surely they did, by a policy that is not only un-Jewish, but sheer madness.
I arrived shortly after the two murders. But first consider its circumstances. The murders took place in broad daylight, a little before 11A.M., with tens of people in the street. It took place in Jerusalem's main street, Jaffa road. It took place across the street from the main Post Office. And it took place around the corner from the main police station, in the Russian Compound.
And there is more. The murderer, according to the police has "a security background." Meaning, he was arrested in the past for terrorist and nationalist involvement. Arrested, freed, and allowed to remain in the country. He had spent the night before at the Al Aksa Mosque that desecrates the Temple Mount and, there, listening to the Moslem hate and incitement, decided to murder Jews.
The Arab approached the bus station on Jaffa Road and without warning pulled out a knife and stabbed Nissim Levi and Kalman Vardi as well as three other Jews. Kalman Vardi died on the spot. He was 76. Nissim Levi also died there. He was 91. One of the seriously wounded was a woman of 81. As the Arab fled, he was caught, and as an infuriated Jewish crowd attempted to get him, a policeman fell on the Arab, covered him with his body and saved his life. Police then physically beat up Jews and drove the Arab away.
When I arrived shortly thereafter, furious Jews were milling about, frustrated, bitter, impotent. I climbed on a railing and spoke to them. I said that things could not continue this way. I said that Arabs were not the problem but rather the Jews in power, the government that was so impotent, the leftists who give such moral, financial and legal support to the Arabs, the Israeli news media that so encourages them. I said that until Arabs are dealt with with a heavy hand, Jews will continue to be murdered in their own land in increasing numbers.
I began marching east, towards the Old City. But now hundreds, if not more, had gathered and walked behind me. The police reinforcements were arriving, and as we reached the end of Jaffa Road, the police official in charge of the operation, Natan Kremersky, stopped me and said: "If you go further there will be blood." Thinking he meant that the Jews would shed Arab blood, I said: "If you had done that, things might have been different." "No", he said, "I mean that we will use force against you."
When I informed the crowd, they were so furious that they shouted, "Go ahead. We will follow you." We began marching toward the Old City and as we neared the walls, a solid line of police horses and others with helmets and clubs barred the way. More ominously, they had their gas masks on and we could see the gas guns aiming at us.
As we came face to face with the police, the head of the Jerusalem Patrol, known as "Velvel" (from a religious family in Jerusalem, though he is no longer so), raised a portable bullhorn and shouted: "This is an illegal gathering. I will give you a reasonable time to disperse. You have three minutes."
I approached him and said: "If your grandfather would be here, he would slap you in the face." Velvel reddened but did not reply. At that point, with not more than a minute elapsed, I saw Kremersky approach Velvel and say something to him. Suddenly, without warning, the horses charged the crowd with tear gas blasting. I received a full blast in the face and the police began hitting Jews. My people dragged me away; I could hardly breathe. The nearest building was the one used as a court by the municipality and the people inside opened the doors, giving us water and muttering against the police.
We remained for about half an hour and then, with my eyes burning but able to see, I walked down Jaffe Road with a number of Kach people. The police were there, in force still, and as I passed they arrest us.
I spent the next 48 hours, two full days, in a small cell with six other Kach members. The fact that the Jewish prisoners and the police inside treated us as kings made no difference. Inside with us were some 80 Arabs, eating, drinking and being kept there at Jewish expense. The police told me that they were afraid to mistreat them because the news media and the Red Cross would immediately intervene and they (the police) would be reprimanded and suspended. Their frustration was evident as was their growing weariness.
It was clear to me sitting in that foul-smelling cell with a toilet in the room (a "Turkish toilet," as it is known, with only a hole over which the person much perch) that the State of Israel was collapsing and that the prime culprits were the "elders," the leaders, the government.
It was also clear to me that there must be a change, a fundamental change in the very system of the government, from the present fraudulent democracy (which is, of course, not democracy at all) to strong government that will save us from ourselves.
As I was freed, a few hours before Shabbat, I heard over the radio that Shamir had visited the wounded and said, "Jews must defend themselves and not leave the attackers in one piece."
I thought to myself: How long will we continue to accept this paragon of hypocrisy and disaster? And when a Jew does defend himself and shoots an Arab, what does the government of Shamir do to him? It arrests him and places him on trial. The problem is not Arabs; it is Jews. Jews such as Shamir and Arens and Rabin – not to mention the leftists – whose babbling lack of policy allows an intifada to continue for 18 months (!) and for Jews to be murdered in their own cities. They must go. Or there will be terrible things in Israel.
Written May 12, 1989
Jew in the City Presents "The Sound of Silence" feat. The Maccabeats