Sunday, April 29, 2018

Israel-100 years in a flash and Pesach Shanie is today

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Do More than the Minimum

When a person does more than was expected or demanded of him, that is a sign of love. On the other hand, the surest sign that someone is doing something begrudgingly is when he does the minimum and no extra.

This principle applies to the good deeds we do in helping others. When you take on more than the minimal requirements, it manifests your loving attitude.

Today, think of some area in which you have been trying to just "get by" with the minimal requirements. What more can you do in that area?

Love Yehuda Lave

Chaim David Eric Targan

Why is there no public korban (offering) on Yom HaAtzmaut as Hashem surely knew the future ....

Because it was determined from the highest worlds that it would be a day of private korbanot - aka BBQs

Pesach Sheni 2018 is observed on April 29 (14 Iyar).

It is customary to mark this day by eating matzahshmurah matzah, if possible—and by omitting Tachanun from the prayer services.

How Pesach Sheni Came About

A year after the Exodus, G‑d instructed the people of Israel to bring the Passover offering on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nissan, and to eat it that evening, roasted over the fire, together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had done the previous year just before they left Egypt.

"There were, however, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, therefore, prepare the Passover offering on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron . . . and they said: '. . . Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present G‑d's offering in its time, amongst the children of Israel?'" (Numbers 9:6–7).

In response to their plea, G‑d established the 14th of Iyar as a "Second Passover" (Pesach Sheni) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering on its appointed time in the previous month.

What Pesach Sheni Means

The day represents the "second chance" achieved by teshuvah, the power of repentance and "return." In the words of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch, "The Second Passover means that it's never a 'lost case.'"

Israel: 100 Years in a Flash

Quite a Civil Engineering challenge and accomplishment.


The Karakoram Highway, extending from Pakistan to China, is fast becoming recognized as the 8 th man-made  wonder of the world.


Known informally as the KKH, it is the highest paved international road in the world.


At its peak, near the China/Pakistan border, it is considered to be one of the world's hardest alpine climbs.


The Karakorum Highway connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range via the Khunjerab Pass.  It's maximum elevation is 4,693 meters (15,397 feet) above sea level.


810 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers lost their lives in landslides and falls while building the highway.


The route of the KKH traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road, and has a total length of approximately 1,300 Km. (800 miles).  887 Km. (551 miles) in Pakistan and 413 Km. (257 miles) in China.  It was started in 1959, and completed 27 years later in 1986.

Seven days shall you celebrate before Hashem, your God ... and you shall only be joyous (Deuteronomy 16:15).


Many people think of Judaism as being extremely solemn, perhaps not realizing that the essence of Judaism is simchah, joy, and that whatever solemnity there is, is in reality a preparation for joy.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch points to a simple fact. The Torah designates one day each for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the second day of Rosh Hashanah is of Rabbinical origin), whereas Succos, the festival of rejoicing, is of seven days' duration.

The Gaon of Vilna was asked which of the six hundred thirteen mitzvos he considered the most difficult to observe. He answered that it was Succos, because for seven consecutive days a person must be in constant joy. Regardless of what might occur during these days that might make it difficult for a person to feel happy, the mitzvah to rejoice requires him to overcome all obstacles to joy.

The Torah's position is that joy is not simply a spontaneous feeling that accompanies pleasant experiences. Joy requires work: meditation on why a person who is privileged to serve God should rejoice. Joy can be achieved even under adverse circumstances. This is something which is expected not only of great tzaddikim, but also of every Jew.

On Succos we must make the necessary effort to be in constant joy throughout the entire festival, and we should learn therefrom how to generate joy all year round.

Today I shall ...
try to find ways to bring more joy into my life, and strive to achieve joy even when circumstances are not conducive thereto.

By Air, Land, and Sea: Aliyah under the British Mandate

Toldot Yisrael ( presents the dramatic stories of Jews from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Iraq who overcame great obstacles in their efforts to reach the Land of Israel. For 2,000 years, Jews around the world dreamed about returning to the Land of Israel. But the rise of antisemitism in the 1930s and 40s made the need to return to Israel far more urgent. Jews fled their homes in Europe and Arab Lands seeking refuge in Palestine but found the British Mandate had all but closed the doors to aliyah, forcing them to find dangerous and illegal methods to immigrate - by air, land, and sea. This movie is the fifth episode in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael. It is the centerpiece of an educational pilot program made possible through the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Alexander Family, and others. Producer Eric Halivni (Weisberg) Director and Editor Tal Ella Production and Research Peleg Levy Cinematography and Interviews Peleg Levy Eytan Nadel Moshe Shikler Eitan Wetzler Narrator Michael Greenspan   Editor Nahum Grinberg    Original Score and Sound Editor Uri Kalian

Whitney Houston & Michael Jackson - One Moment In Time & You Were There

Sammy Davis Jr. - Live '89 60th Anniversary Celebration

Matzah on Pesach Sheini: When and Why? By Yehuda Shurpin


There is a widespread custom to eat matzah on the 14th of Iyar, known as Pesach Sheni (the "second Passover"), the day when those who were impure and/or unable to bring the Paschal lamb on Passover were given a second chance to do so.1 Just as the matzah eaten as the afikoman by the Seder commemorates the matzah and Paschal offering eaten in Temple times, so is this matzah a remembrance of the second Passover.

But if this is the case, a question arises: The Paschal lamb (and its accompanying matzah) was consumed on the evening of Iyar 15, but the widespread contemporary custom is to eat matzah on the day of Iyar 14, when the Paschal lamb was slaughtered and prepared. Why?

Now, it should be noted that some do in fact have the custom to eat matzah on the eve of the 15th rather than on the day of the 14th of Iyar. But why are they in the minority?

It's All in the Prep

Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Shapiro of Dinov, known as the Bnei Yissachar, writes that although he himself ate matzah on the eve of the 15th, the main, public feasts are held on the day of the 14th, as per the custom of the Baal Shem Tov and his students.

On a somewhat mystical note, he explains that in the time period between Passover and the holiday of Shavuot, the emphasis is on the work of preparing and refining ourselves. Thus, we count the Omer, each day taking another step closer to the holiday of Shavuot, when we received the Torah. Appropriately, when it comes to celebrating the second Passover, the main emphasis is on the time of preparation, Iyar 14.2

The Last Remnants of the Miracle

Rabbi Yaakov Emden, known as the Yaavetz (1697-1776), writes that it was "revealed to me from heaven" that Jews were given a second chance to bring the Paschal offering specifically on the 14th of Iyar because that was the last day the Jews still had leftover matzah from when they left Egypt on Passover. After eating the last bit that night (eve of the 15th), the Jews complained to G‑d, "What will we eat?" and it was on the day of the 15th of Iyar that the manna began to fall. Thus, in a certain sense, the 14th marked the culmination of the miracle of the Exodus, while the 15th marked a new phase of the miracles in the desert.3

Although Rabbi Emden is explaining the timing of the second Passover, and not the reason for eating matzah nowadays, some cite this explanation as an additional reason for eating it both on the day of the 14th as well as the eve of the 15th.4

Not to Add to Torah

Rabbi Meir Dan Plotsky (1866–1928), in his work Kli Chemdah, offers a somewhat novel explanation for the widespread custom to eat the matzah on the day of the 14th. He explains that ordinarily there is a concern of not adding to the mitzvahs of the Torah. Now, if one simply does a time-bound mitzvah on a different day of the year without intention of doing the mitzvah (e.g., it's a hot summer, so one builds a sukkah and eats in it), there is no issue of "adding to the Torah." However, if it is in theory the proper time for the mitzvah, then there is potentially an issue of adding to the mitzvahs—even if there wasn't any intention to do so.

Therefore, we specifically eat the matzah on the day of the 14th since the proper time to eat it really would have been the eve of the 15th (if someone were actually observing the second Passover because they were impure on the first Passover), and we wish to avoid making a custom to eat it specifically then. He writes that this is especially true in light of the Jerusalem Talmud's statement that if the Moshiach will come between the first and second Passover, then all Jews will have the opportunity to bring the Paschal offering on the second Passover.5 Thus, since the second Passover could be an actual holiday for all Jews—when we would all be obligated to eat matzah—we don't want to have a custom to eat matzah on the 15th, which gives the impression that we are adding to the observance of the day.

Others, however, question this explanation. They note that we eat matzah on all 7 (or 8) days of Passover even though there is no obligation to do so and there is no concern of "adding to a mitzvah."6

Mystical Numerology

Many have the custom that after counting the Omer, they recite (among other things) psalm 67. This psalm contains 49 words (not counting the introductory verse). According to the Arizal, each word corresponds to a different night of the Omer, and one should have that word in mind when reciting the Omer. The same applies to verse 5 of that psalm, which contains 49 letters,7 each one corresponding to another night. (This can be seen in the standard Kehot Siddur, which includes the word and letter corresponding to each night of the Omer).

Based on this, some point out that the 14th of Iyar, which is the 29th day of the Omer, corrosponds to the word תַּנְחֵם, tancheim ("comfort them"), and the letter yud. The word tancheim has the numerical value of 498: ת-400 נ-50 ח-8 ם-40. Add on the yud, which had the numerical value of 10, and you have 508. This is the same numerical value as Pesach Sheni (פסח שני). Thus, we see a hint in the verse itself that the main celebration of Pesach Sheni is on the 14th of Iyar.8

As noted above, there is good reason to eat matzah on the night of the 15th as well, so although the common practice in Chabad is to eat matzah on the day of the 14th of Iyar,9 the Rebbe also encouraged people to eat matzah on the eve of the 15th.10

Footnotes 1. See Numbers 9:6–7. 2. See Shaar Yissachar, Pischa Zeira 12; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 631-2, cited in Igrot Kodesh, vol. 2, p. 352. 3. Siddur of Rabbi Yaakov Emden, Shaar Hayesod, "Chodesh Iyar." 4. See Rabbi Yehoshua Mondshien in Otzar Minhagei Chabad, Pesach Sheini, "Achilat Matzah." 5.Kli Chemdah, Parshat Vaetchanan. 6. See responsum Kol Yisroel, Orech Chaim 130. He writes that although according to some, there is indeed a "mitzvah" to eat matzah the rest of Passover, the term "mitzvah" in that context is not meant as obligation, but rather as a positive, meritorious act.

Love is not enough

News | Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Love is not enough (Acharei-Mot Kedoshim 5778)

The opening chapter of Kedoshim contains two of the most powerful of all commands: to love your neighbour and to love the stranger. "Love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord" goes the first.

"When a stranger comes to live in your land, do not mistreat him," goes the second, and continues, "Treat the stranger the way you treat your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt. I am the Lord your God (Lev. 19:33-34).[1]

The first is often called the "golden rule" and held to be universal to all cultures. This is a mistake. The golden rule is different. In its positive formulation it states, "Act toward others as you would wish them to act toward you," or in its negative formulation, given by Hillel, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour." These rules are not about love. They are about justice, or more precisely, what evolutionary psychologists call reciprocal altruism. The Torah does not say, "Be nice or kind to your neighbour, because you would wish him to be nice or kind to you." It says, "Love your neighbour." That is something different and far stronger.

The second command is more radical still. Most people in most societies in most ages have feared, hated and often harmed the stranger. There is a word for this: xenophobia. How often have you heard the opposite word: xenophilia? My guess is, never. People don't usually love strangers. That is why, almost always when the Torah states this command – which it does, according to the sages, 36 times ­– it adds an explanation: "because you were strangers in Egypt." I know of no other nation that was born as a nation in slavery and exile. We know what it feels like to be a vulnerable minority. That is why love of the stranger is so central to Judaism and so marginal to most other systems of ethics.[2] But here too, the Torah does not use the word "justice." There is a command of justice toward strangers, but that is a different law: "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him" (Ex. 22:20). Here the Torah speaks not of justice but of love.

These two commands define Judaism as a religion of love – not just of God ("with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might"), but of humanity also. That was and is a world-changing idea.

But what calls for deep reflection is where these commands appear. They do so in Parshat Kedoshim in what, to contemporary eyes, must seem one of the strangest passages in the Torah.

Leviticus 19 brings side-by-side laws of seemingly quite different kinds. Some belong to the moral life: don't gossip, don't hate, don't take revenge, don't bear a grudge. Some are about social justice: leave parts of the harvest for the poor; don't pervert justice; don't withhold wages; don't use false weights and measures. Others have a different feel altogether: don't crossbreed livestock; don't plant a field with mixed seeds; don't wear a garment of mixed wool and linen; don't eat fruit of the first three years; don't eat blood; don't practice divination; don't lacerate yourself.

At first glance these laws have nothing to do with one another: some are about conscience, some about politics and economics, and others about purity and taboo. Clearly, though, the Torah is telling us otherwise. They do have something in common. They are all about order, limits, boundaries. They are telling us that reality has a certain underlying structure whose integrity must be honoured. If you hate or take revenge you destroy relationships. If you commit injustice, you undermine the trust on which society depends. If you fail to respect the integrity of nature (different seeds, species, and so on), you take the first step down a path that ends in environmental disaster.

There is an order to the universe, part moral, part political, part ecological. When that order is violated, eventually there is chaos. When that order is observed and preserved, we become co-creators of the sacred harmony and integrated diversity that the Torah calls "holy."

Why then is it specifically in this chapter that the two great commands – love of the neighbour and the stranger – appear? The answer is profound and very far from obvious. Because this is where love belongs – in an ordered universe.

Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist, has recently become one of the most prominent public intellectuals of our time. His recent book Twelve Rules for Life, has been a massive best-seller in Britain and America.[3] He has had the courage to be a contrarian, challenging the fashionable fallacies of the contemporary West. Particularly striking in the book is Rule 5: "Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them."

His point is more subtle than it sounds. A significant number of parents today, he says, fail to socialise their children. They indulge them. They do not teach them rules. There are, he argues, complex reasons for this. Some of it has to do with lack of attention. Parents are busy and don't have time for the demanding task of teaching discipline. Some of it has to do with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's influential but misleading idea that children are naturally good, and are made bad by society and its rules. So the best way to raise happy, creative children is to let them choose for themselves.

Partly, though, he says it is because "modern parents are simply paralysed by the fear that they will no longer be liked, or even loved by their children if they chastise them for any reason." They are afraid to damage their relationship by saying 'No'. They fear the loss of their children's love.

The result is that they leave their children dangerously unprepared for a world that will not indulge their wishes or desire for attention; a world that can be tough, demanding and sometimes cruel. Without rules, social skills, self-restraints and a capacity to defer gratification, children grow up without an apprenticeship in reality. His conclusion is powerful:

Clear rules make for secure children and calm, rational parents. Clear principles of discipline and punishment balance mercy and justice so that social development and psychological maturity can be optimally promoted. Clear rules and proper discipline help the child, and the family, and society, establish, maintain and expand order. That is all that protects us from chaos.[4]

That is what the opening chapter of Kedoshim is about: clear rules that create and sustain a social order. That is where real love – not the sentimental, self-deceiving substitute – belongs. Without order, love merely adds to the chaos. Misplaced love can lead to parental neglect, producing spoiled children with a sense of entitlement who are destined for an unhappy, unsuccessful, unfulfilled adult life.

Peterson's book, whose subtitle is "An Antidote to Chaos," is not just about children. It is about the mess the West has made since the Beatles sang (in 1967), "All you need is love." As a clinical psychologist, Peterson has seen the emotional cost of a society without a shared moral code. People, he writes, need ordering principles, without which there is chaos. We require "rules, standards, values – alone and together. We require routine and tradition. That's order." Too much order can be bad, but too little can be worse. Life is best lived, he says, on the dividing line between them. It's there, he says, that "we find the meaning that justifies life and its inevitable suffering." Perhaps if we lived properly, he adds, "we could withstand the knowledge of our own fragility and mortality, without the sense of aggrieved victimhood that produces, first, resentment, then envy, and then the desire for vengeance and destruction."[5]

That is as acute an explanation as I have ever heard for the unique structure of Leviticus 19. Its combination of moral, political, economic and environmental laws is a supreme statement of a universe of (Divinely created) order of which we are the custodians. But the chapter is not just about order. It is about humanising that order through love – the love of neighbour and stranger. And when the Torah says, don't hate, don't take revenge and don't bear a grudge, it is an uncanny anticipation of Peterson's remarks about resentment, envy and the desire for vengeance and destruction.

Hence the life-changing idea that we have forgotten for far too long: Love is not enough. Relationships need rules.


[1] Note that some read these two verses as referring specifically to a ger tzedek, that is, a convert to Judaism. That, however, is to miss the point of the command, which is: do not allow ethnic differences (that is, between a born Jew and a convert) to influence your emotions. Judaism must be race- and colour-blind.

[2] Had it existed in Europe, there would not have been a thousand years of persecution of the Jews, followed by the birth of racial antisemitism, followed by the Holocaust.

[3] Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos, Allen Lane, 2018.

[4] Ibid., 113-44.

[5] Ibid., xxxiv.



  • Clear rules and proper discipline help to establish, maintain and expand order for more fulfilled children, families, and society. Love is not enough. Relationships need rules.

See you tomorrow-Happy Pesach Shanie

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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