Friday, December 22, 2017

The power of eight. Hanakah revisted, and President Trump commutes sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, ex-Iowa slaughterhouse executive

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Use your Experience to Empathize

 Every difficulty in your life builds up your mental library of what it's like to go through hard times. And every mistake enables you to empathize with others who also make mistakes. And every time you become frustrated or angry, you gain a better understanding of others who feel this way.

Make note of all your worries and your fears. Make note of your uncomfortable or embarrassing moments. These -- together with every injury, illness, and wound -- help you to become more sensitive to the suffering of others.

Speaking of suffering an Orthodox Rabbi who worked  as the head of meat Packing firm was involved in a white collar crime and got a 27 year sentance, much more than one else had ever received, in a case full of anti-semitism. President Trump showed compassion for the Father of 10 children and computed his sentance.

Love Yehuda Lave

President Trump commutes sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, ex-Iowa slaughterhouse executive

President Trump commutes sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, ex-Iowa slaughterhouse executive,

Former Iowa meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin had hoped new evidence could shorten his prison sentence for bank fraud and money laundering. It was a full case of anti-Semitism as no one had ever received a life sentance like this for a white collar crime.


President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of former Iowa slaughterhouse executive Sholom Rubashkin, who was sentenced to 27 years for bank fraud and money laundering, the White House said. 

In a statement, the White House said the decision, which is not a presidential pardon, had bipartisan support from leaders across the political spectrum, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Trump's action does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction and leaves his term of supervised release and a restitution obligation, the White House said. 

Rubashkin, a 57-year-old father of 10 children, oversaw operations at Agriprocessors, a large kosher meatpacking plant owned by his father in the northern Iowa town of Postville. The plant was raided by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in May 2008, leading to the arrests of nearly 400 Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants who were living and working in the country without authorization.

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The raid sparked a chain of events, including Agriprocessors declaring bankruptcy, that led investigators to suspicious invoices and other sales records that Rubashkin faked to make the company appear on better financial footing. Prosecutors accused Rubashkin of using the fake paperwork to continue borrowing on a $35 million line of credit, ultimately resulting in a $27 million loss for a St. Louis-based bank when Agriprocessors went defunct.

Rubashkin was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 27 years in prison. He has served more than eight years of that sentence. 

One of Rubashkin's attorneys, Montgomery Brown, said Rubashkin was released Wednesday from the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville in New York. His wife picked him up, Brown said Rubashkin's son told him. Rubashkin's family could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. 

Another one of Rubashkin's attorney, Guy Cook, praised Trump's commutation, the president's first in office. Cook said Rubashkin "finally received justice" and called the commutation tremendous news for the Rubashkin family, who live Borough Park, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

Power of Eight

The Torah informs us that the world was created in six days and it came to a completion on the seventh day, the Shabbat.

 Thus, the number six represents the natural, material world (which is described in "time-space" dimensions) that was created in six days - time with its six spatial directions east-west, north-south, up-down - space.


 In this material world the ordinary natural perception is of "absence" of the Creator. 
In Hebrew 'World'  is עולםOLAM, derived from the root "עלם", meaning – disappearing, absent, hidden.


 The number seven represents Creator's hidden presence - immanence at the heart of this world.


In other words, Seven is the very soul of Six, permeating it, instilling it with holiness, and elevating it to its perfection.

This is depicted in Magen David (David's Shield). 


The next number, eight, represents G-d's transcendence above and beyond this world.
It is interesting to note theresemblance between number 8 and the symbol of infinity: 

The miracle of Hanukkah, the lighting of the Menorah, lasted for eight days. It is not accidental; it is actually very intrinsic. 

Hanukkah happened from the level of "eight", that which is beyond natural law. 

Hanukkah embodied Eight (8) in a unique, special holistic way. 

In Hebrew, the root of the word shmonah (eight)  - שמונה  has the same letters as hashemen (the oil) - השמןneshama (soul) נשמה. 

The Talmud tells us, that the Greeks had entered the Temple and sullied all its oil.

This oil represents the deepest level of the Jewish soul. 

Only one jar of pure oil was found, sealed with the seal of the High Priest כהן גדול, who wore eight (8) special garments when serving in the Temple. 

Mattityahu the Hashmonai and his sons rallied the Jews to fight against the Greeks. 

The name Hashmonai – חשמונאי  has two components, the letter het, the eight letter of the aleph-bet, followed by the word for oil, shemen


 Thus, the Ha-shmonai family embodied the power of Eight. 

And so, there it is: 

 Oil -  burning Eight days

Family of Eight


Eight calls us to recognize the transcendence, to see internal miracles in the order of natural laws in all events of our lives in the hidden (נעלם) pathways of Divine Providence.


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BY MICHAEL WILNER  DECEMBER 12, 2017 09:48 Trump's announcement was intentionally correlated with Pence's upcoming travel to Israel.3 minute read.


WASHINGTON -- Over the course of six weeks, as staff for Vice President Mike Pence consulted with Palestinian officials in Washington to plan meetings and fashion an itinerary for his December trip to the West Bank, Pence himself was quietly pushing President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital – a move the Palestinians now believe rendered their conversations moot.

Pence and his team were not surprised when Palestinian Authority leadership called off their meetings in the wake of Trump's December 6 announcement on Jerusalem – and have already filled in much of his scheduled day in Bethlehem with alternative plans, senior administration officials tell The Jerusalem Post.
Sources say little effort was made to salvage the meetings, and there has been virtually no direct communication between Pence's staff and Palestinian officials since the two sides began sniping over the Jerusalem decision in the press.

Pence proved instrumental in Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to initiate the relocation of America's embassy there from Tel Aviv, despite opposition from the rest of the world and much of the president's national security council. Trump's announcement was intentionally correlated with Pence's upcoming travel to Israel, an administration official said, where he will tout the move as a historic achievement for Christians and specify its meaning in US policy terms.

Last week, the vice president stood beside Trump as he made the announcement in the White House diplomatic reception room, and offered praise for the move that aides say comes from the heart. He was one of the most enthused advocates of the move– one warmly welcomed by the Israeli government. His trip there will be a triumphant tour and defense of the policy from a true believer who has supported recognition of Jerusalem for many years.

But Pence's trip was never meant to focus on the Middle East peace process – a subject not within his portfolio. The vice president is not formally involved in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks, led by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations. Palestinian leaders privately question his commitment to the peace effort.

Pence planned instead to focus on the issues of counterterrorism, Iran and persecuted religious minorities – and thus his plans remain unchanged, according to aides, despite the Palestinians' decision to cancel their meetings.

Palestinian officials, including PLO envoy to Washington Husam Zomlot, claimed that Pence explained the Jerusalem decision in biblical terms in the wake of the announcement, referencing an interview he gave to a Christian broadcast network. "If you believe you know His will then it shuts the discussion," the ambassador told US broadcast network MSNBC over the weekend.

Pence's office responded by questioning the PA's commitment to peace.

"It's unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians," Alyssa Farah, Pence's press secretary, said in a statement over the weekend.

The vice president's staff expects that Jerusalem will nevertheless top his conversations in the region, given the freshness of the news and Pence's critical role in orchestrating it.

While Pence has no policy endgame for his trip on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, he plans to briefly address the peace process in a speech to the Knesset. He also will detail a policy plan to redirect funding from United Nations programs to USAID to more directly combat persecution of religious minorities, and the administration's vision for the future of a nuclear deal reached between Iran and international powers in 2015.

Understanding Chanakuh

"Imagine if your cell phone battery was on 10% and it lasted for 8 days. Now you understand Chanukah"

Our parents

We learn a lot about parents and estranged children from revealing comments made by Jacob upon reuniting with his son Joseph after twenty-two years of separation.

Rabbi Lazer GurkowRabbi Eliezer (Lazer) Gurkow, currently serving as rabbi of congregation Beth Tefilah in London, Ontario, is a well-known speaker and writer on Torah issues and current affairs.More from the author ►

Do our parents have access to our lives? Do we share your secrets with them? Do they have unfettered access to our grandchildren, for example, do we let them take our children away on vacation?

Sadly, there are many people who grow up and shut their parents out. Some do it deliberately, relieved to be out from under an oppressive parent's thumb and wanting no further contact. If parents abused their child, they often deserve to be cut out, but if they parented within the bounds of propriety, meant well, but miscalculated or misjudged, they deserve a reprieve.

As children we expect nay demand perfection from our parents; we have no tolerance for error or imperfection. But as adults we learn that the superman and superwoman of our youth, sit not on a pedestal, but on a simple stool. They are not perfect; they have failings. They are beset with the same insecurities and weaknesses as most, and we can cut them some slack. When we become parents, we realize even more how challenging parenting can be and how unrealistic are children's' expectations.

To nurse a grudge against a well-meaning parent is unfair. Our parents spent the lion share of their lives, raising us, worrying about us, providing for us and nurturing us. They took us to kindergarten, and marched us down the aisle. They cleaned our noses and nursed our stubbed toes. They changed our diapers and soothed our wounded hearts. They gave us pocket money with a smile and arranged our birthday parties when it meant the world to us. It is true that they sometimes lost their temper and were often unyielding with their curfews and rules, but they don't deserve to be punished.

Some people don't deliberately cut their parents out of their lives, they do it inadvertently. They love their parents, but are living their own life now and don't find the time to stay in touch. They don't visit their parents or invite them. When the parents come for a visit, they don't make them feel welcome and take them for granted. This is even worse. These children never felt rejected by their parents, yet without realizing it, have rejected their parents.

Their parents know nothing about their lives and are reduced to asking relatives, neighbors and friends. If the grandchildren are sick, the grandparents are the last to know. If their child is in financial crisis, the parents are the last to know.

Sometimes children are ashamed of sharing a vulnerability with their parents. They think their parents would think less of them if they knew their failings. But the opposite is true. Our parents want nothing more than a chance to help. It is true that our parents can be intrusive, but rather than reject them, we can work to set proper boundaries.

Jacob and Joseph

We learn a lot about parents and estranged children from revealing comments made by Jacob upon reuniting with his son Joseph after twenty-two years of separation. His first comment was, "I can die [at] this time, now that I have seen your face."

On the face of it, the comment is revealing enough. Being estranged from a child is more agonizing for a parent than death itself. Now, after twenty-two years of agony, Jacob said to his son, I have everything I could ever yearn for. I have you. Nothing can top this. Even death won't mar my happiness.

But there is a much deeper meaning here that reveals a profound facet of the estranged parent. Our earlier rendition of this comment read, "I can die [at] this time, now that I have seen your face." The word at was parenthesized because it is not in the original text. Our translation followed the rendition of Rashi, the great Biblical commentator. However, others explained Jacob's comment in the original.

"I can die this time, now that I have seen your face." Had I not seen your face, I would have died many times. Now that I have seen your face, I will only die this once. Just this time. 

What was the significance of seeing Joseph's face? The commentaries explain that Jacob was primarily concerned with Joseph's piety. Living in a land of moral depravity could easily have influenced Joseph. When Jacob heard that Joseph was alive, he was thrilled. But when he heard about the conditions of his life, he was concerned that Joseph might have survived physically, but had lost his piety. Jacob feared that Joseph had veered from the path that he had been taught and parents suffer, even after their passing, every time their children behave inappropriately.

Said Jacob to Joseph, I expected to die many times over. Every time you would commit an immoral act, I would feel like I wanted to die. And even after my passing, every time you would commit an immoral act, I would feel as if I had died again. But now that I behold the refined piety in your face, I am relieved that you are walking in the path of the upright. When my time comes to die, I shall only die once.

The Alienated Parent

Parents who abuse their children, suffer a punishing blow every time the children, in turn, abuse their children. Children who were abused in their youth, often become abusive parents. Every time grandparents see that, they suffer. It is a sad spectacle to behold and knowing that they are to blame is a terrible blow.

But so long as the parents are alive, something can be done about this. Before his passing, Jacob told Joseph, "To see your face, I did not expect."

The idea that you were alive and that we could resume our relationship was so farfetched to me that I stopped believing it was even possible.

According to most commentators, Jacob was saying that he had given up hope. But according to some commentators, Jacob was also berating himself for not doing anything to find Joseph. I despaired of ever seeing you and therefore did not even try to seek you out.

This is a message to parents who are alienated from their children. Whether or not our past behavior justifies this alienation, we must reach out. And if our attempts are rebuffed, we must reach out again. Not only is each day of estrangement more agonizing then death, our estrangement directly threatens the wellbeing of our grandchildren. When our children do to them, what we did to our children, a little part of us will die each time it happens.

We can't afford to nurse our wounds and suffer in silence. As parents we must reach out again and again. We cannot give in to despair, and we cannot stop believing in the possibility of reconciliation. The wellbeing of our grandchildren hangs in the balance. The happiness of our children hangs in the balance. Our own wellness and peace of mind, hang in the balance too.

See you Sunday, Shabbat Shalom

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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