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Love Yehuda Lave
Why Is the Olive Branch a Symbol of Peace? By Yehuda Shurpin
Long before the ancient Greeks used the olive branch as a symbol of peace and victory, the Bible recorded that the dove brought an olive branch to the ark as a message that the Great Flood had ended. Here's what happened:
Following the Great Flood, Noah dispatched birds from the ark to see if the water had receded. First he sent a raven, but it found no place to rest and came back to the ark. Then he sent a dove, but the bird returned as well. Then, on the 301st day of the Great Flood, Noah sent the dove yet again. The dove stayed away all day, and then "the dove came in to him in the evening, and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; and Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth."1
Why an olive?
Olives Are Hardy
Some explain that olive trees are very hardy and therefore able to withstand extreme conditions. Although the foliage was unable to survive the flood, the olive tree itself did. Thus, the dove bringing back the olive branch indicated that the flood waters had receded enough for leaves to start growing again.2
Now, the Bible is very sparing in its words. The verse could have sufficed with informing us that the dove returned with leaves, without specifying the species. What is the deeper significance of the olive branch, and why do we need to know that the dove held it in her mouth?
Bitter Is Better
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (the foremost biblical commentator, known as Rashi, 1040-1105) quotes the following teaching of the Talmud:3 "The dove said, 'Better, let my food be as bitter as an olive from the hands of G‑d and not as sweet as honey from the hands of flesh and blood.'"4
As the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, explains, the olive branch teaches us that rather than placing our trust in the promises of peace from man, we should place our trust in G‑d. Even if in the moment, it may seem a bit "bitter," ultimately, it is this promise and covenant that will prevail.
Thus, the true symbolism of the olive branch differs greatly from the conventional idea that it symbolizes a "peaceful new world."5 (In fact, although the olive branch as a symbol of peace seems to originate from the Bible, it was historically never used by the Jews as such.)
This lesson was particularly pertinent after the Great Flood, an era when people set out to rebuild civilization based on mutual cooperation, but ultimately rebelled against G‑d by building the Tower of Babel and were dispersed throughout the lands. So too in our day, when we work together to promote peace, we must not do so on account of our trust in mankind over G‑d.
Placing our trust in G‑d, rather than man, will usher in the era of true peace with the coming of Moshiach—may it be speedily in our days!
Florida family discovers 6-foot boa constrictor that was living in attic for up to four years
Aris Folley, AOL.com Aug 9th 2017 11:47AM
A Florida man said it all started with strange noises his family heard coming from their attic.
Bob van der Herchen, of Englewood, Florida, and his family believed for years that they might have had rats, or similar small pests, living in their home.
"I didn't think much of it, I thought maybe it was rats," van der Herchen told WESH.
But van der Herchen made a far more surprising discovery when he came face-to-face with a 6-foot-long boa constrictor that took up residence in his home.
RELATED: Click through photos of snakes where they aren't supposed to be
The Tower of Babel: What Was Up With lt? By Menachem Posner
After the Great Flood, man had again begun to multiply and fill the earth. They all spoke one language and understood one another well. They decided to build a tower which was to reach to heaven, to make them equal to G‑d, and at the same time, to make it possible for them to stay together. This symbol of their divine strength, as they thought, was to be built in the valley of the Land of Shinear.
G‑d decided to destroy their arrogance by destroying their ability to understand one another. He, therefore, confused the people by splitting them up into seventy different nations and tribes, each with a language of its own, (hence the name Babel, meaning "confusion").
When this happened, the project of the Tower had to be given up. The various groups migrated in different directions and settled in all parts of the world.
The Tower of Babel Explained
There are a number of fascinating explanations on the subject to be found in the classic commentaries. Let's begin with the Talmud (Sandhedrin 109a) where we find three traditions:
In the School of Rabbi Shila it was taught that they built the tower with the intention of piercing the heavens with axes to drain all the water held therein, making it impossible for G‑d to bring another flood, should they vex Him again. (Perhaps what's meant by this is that they had embraced their understanding of science and its workings to the extent that they felt they were now able to spar with G‑d on His turf—the heavens.)
Rabbi Yirmiya bar Elazar taught that there were actually three groups; each with its own plans for the tower: One group planned to climb the tower, safely out of harm's way, should another flood come. A second camp wanted to use it as a shrine for idol worship. Yet a third group actually wanted to use it as a platform from which to battle G‑d.
Rabbi Natan, on the other hand, taught that all of them intended to serve idols.
The Targum Yerushalmi explains that the tower was to be crowned by the form of a man holding a sword in his hand—an act of defiance against the G‑d whom they hoped to overcome.
An interesting teaching in the Midrash is that they were afraid that the heavens would collapse regularly every 1656 years like it did during the flood, which took place in the year 1656 from Creation, and they therefore decided to build a scaffolding to support it.
The Maharal (Rabbi Yehuda Lowe, 16th century rabbi of Prague) explains the Midrash and the teachings of the School of Rabbi Shila to mean that they saw the Flood as a natural occurrence that took place as a result of the movements of the celestial spheres and their positioning in the sky at the time of the Flood. The purpose of the tower was to somehow change what they perceived as the natural weather pattern.
Rabbi Obadiah Sforno (15th-16th Century) explains that their plan to place an idol on top of the tower was so that it would gain universal acclaim as the world's tallest shrine and greatest god, making it the center of worship for all—with the result that the one who ruled that city would rule all humankind.
Rabbeinu Bachya (13th-14th Century) gives a number of explanations. On an elementary level, he explains that their plan was to build a monument that would be seen from many miles around. They wanted to settle together, and decided that they would all remain within view of the tower and never stray from it. Anyone who strayed too far from the metropolis would have the tower to guide him back. This, however, was not G‑d's plan, since He created us to settle the world—all of it—and make it a better place.
He also suggests that they may have actually been creating the first lightning rod. They knew that G‑d had promised not to bring another flood, and feared that He would instead punish those who rebel with fire. They hoped that the tower would serve to divert any electrical storms that G‑d would send their way. (Note that Bachya lived many centuries before Franklin.)
The Netziv (Rabbi Naphtali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, the19th century Rosh Yeshiva of the famed Volozhin Yeshiva) has a fascinating and very instructive view on their plan. He explains that they were the first social engineers—hoping to create a utopian society where all lived and thought as one. They feared that if some people would settle their own colonies and towns, they would develop their own cultures and unique modes of living. They wanted everyone to live in one controlled environment where they would be able to make sure that all remain culturally homogenous. The tower served as a base around which all people of their planned colony would settle—no one leaving its immediate environs. The problem with their plan was that it was the first step toward a tyrannical state where no individual expression would be tolerated, and G‑d split them into separate nations.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe once explained the episode as follows: They planned a tower which would be a monument to inspire commitment to their common goal—survival. They wanted to ""make for ourselves a name""—to ensure the continuity of the human race.
Where did they go wrong?
Precisely that was their error: they saw survival as an end in itself. Let us make a name for ourselves, they said; let us ensure that there will be future generations who will read of us in their history books. To them, life itself was an ideal, survival itself a virtue.
This was the beginning of the end. Nature abhors a vacuum, and this is true of spiritual realities as well: unless a soul or cause is filled with positive content, corruption will ultimately seep in. A hollow name and shrine soon becomes a tower of Babel.
LECH LICHA : Fourth Reading -- GENESIS 14 Isaac Mozeson
[In Abraham's next trial, it is not his father's civilization, or his wife or son's life that was at stake -- but his own. Would this great pacifist go to war to free his nephew? And this was no "mere" Entebbe hostage rescue mission, but history's first world war.
W.W. I of 1914 began on תשעה בעב /9 Av, the day Israelite' scouts maligned the Promised Land, when both Temples fell, when the Spanish expulsion began, and more calamities – especially the Holocaust. WWII is merely a continuation of the interrupted WWI, the "war to end all wars" that was touched off by the 9 Av assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on June 28, 1914.
This same war that BEGAN all wars created the circumstances for the later Cold Wars pitting the U.S. vs. Russia and China, not just Korea and Vietnam, but also the Russian weapons suppliers for the Arab wars against Israel. Abraham saw the giants, the GIANT odds against his tiny band defeating the vast imperial armies, but unlike the fearful 10 Israelite scouts, he would fight as if the world's Commander-in-Chief were with him.]
14:1 It was in the reich of Amrafel or Hammurapi [also spelled Hammurabi (the title, not name) of the 1945 B.C.E.] king of Shinar / Sumer 1 …
GENESIS 14:5 [The Four-Kings were literal GIANT killers on their way to re-vanquishing the rebellious Five Kings who had stopped paying tribute. GENESIS 14:15 [The dramatic Entebbe rescue of Lot by only 318 of Abraham's men is given only 3 words: ויחלק להם לילה. Extrapolating "he divided them by night" we can learn that this was history's first nighttime military action . The divided bands, using Gideon's tactics (loud horns, torches, etc.) of Judges 7, made the huge army fight their own divisions and run for their lives in fear of several huge invading armies. In the miraculous 1948 Israeli war to stave off genocide, entire Arab towns fled from loud but ineffective homemade mortars (the Davidka) because the locals feared that Einstein had given them atomic bombs, and that the Jews would do to them what they were planning.]
GENESIS 14:18,19 -- peace and blessings flow from the Noahide King of SHaLaiM (peace).
See you Sunday, change your clocks Saturday night in Israel Shabbat Shalom