Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Greatest Miracle

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Choose your Words Carefully

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).

If you were writing a newspaper article, you'd be sure to choose your words carefully. You'd even ask others to help edit what you wrote.

It is equally crucial to watch what you say when speaking to your husband or wife. Your words to your spouse can create feelings of joy, love, closeness, gratitude, and hopefully even radiant bliss. Your words can console, comfort, inspire, motivate, elevate.

Other words can create feelings of pain, distress, and anger.

Choose carefully.

Great advice, but easier to preach than practice. I know that, since I am married now. When you are mad, the words flow out and you pay the price. Choose carefully

Love Yehuda Lave

The Greatest Miracle

It's sad that some people seek to bolster emunah through ridiculous stories of sentient pigs, flawed "proofs" from animals that chew the cud, or pseudo-scientific demonstrations of auras. Because there's something so much more powerful which, unlike our ancestors, we are blessed to have right in front of us. It's the single greatest miracle in post-Biblical history: the return of the Jewish People to their ancestral homeland.

An ancient nation, exiled and dispersed and massacred with the most horrific persecution in human history, fulfills its ancient prophecies and returns to its homeland, to create an amazing country and triumph against overwhelming odds. Is there anything more inspirational than that?!

The more that one learns about the creation of the Israel, the more miraculous it becomes. Historian Paul Johnson, in A History Of The Jews, describes the extraordinary confluence of circumstances that was necessary for it to happen, including the death of Roosevelt (who had turned anti-Zionist), and an amazing brief period in which the Soviet Union was pursuing an active pro-Zionist policy. As Johnson concludes: "Israel slipped into existence through a fortuitous window in history which briefly opened for a few months in 1947-8. That too was luck; or providence." (It's worthwhile reading Johnson's book to learn more about all the factors that had to coincide for Israel to come into existence.)

Then there are all the amazing aspects of the War of Independence. The only reason that Israel had soldiers at all were to due to the remarkable events of the life of Colonel John Patterson, the lion hunter of Zion. The fledgling army didn't even have communication devices for its forces, and relied on a network of carrier pigeons. Israel's homemade Davidka mortar turned out to be wildly inaccurate and completely useless at damaging things, but it did make a very loud noise, and that scared away Arab forces!

And ever since the War of Independence, it's been miracle after miracle. Entebbe. The Six-Day War. The absorption of refugees from all over the world. The desert turning green. The tiny state turning into a source of technology and ideas that improve life all over the world.

Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrates the greatest miracle in recent history. There's nothing more worthy of celebration (see Rav Eliezer Melamed's discussion at this link). Chag Sameach!

The following essay (with my few emendations) was written by my rabbinic colleague, Rabbi Josh Flug, and offers a beautiful and inspiring message as we just had this important commemoration.


"On May 13, 1948 (the fourth of Iyar), a committee was convened to finalize the text of Israel's Declaration of Independence. One of the sticking points was whether to include a mention of Gd in the Declaration. Some secularists insisted that the new State of Israel is a secular state and therefore, Gd should not be mentioned. Others, led by Rav Yehuda Leib Fishman (Maimon) insisted that Gd must be mentioned. A compromise was reached and the name Tzur Yisrael appears in the Declaration — מתוך בטחון בצור ישראל. Those who believe in Gd know that Tzur Yisrael refers to HaShem, and those who do not can interpret it as the might of the Jewish people.

However, unbeknownst to those present, Rav Fishman had a trick up his sleeve. When it came to sign his name, he signed it, בעז"ה יהודה ליב הכהן פישמן. By adding b'Ezras HaShem, Gd got an explicit mention in the document.

Use of the word Tzur to refer to HaShem is found throughout Tanach and we use it throughout davening. Most notably, in Ha'azinu, Tzur appears eight times, though some of those references are chol, not kodesh. In fact, the ambiguity of tzur is explicitly referenced in the Shiras Ha'azinu —כי לא כצורינו צורם— where we see the contrast between HaShem as The Rock and the other nations' belief in their own might.


Why is HaShem described as Tzur? Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch (Devarim 32:4) suggests that Tzur connotes two ideas about our relationship with HaShem:

  1. a) An unwavering "solid rock" commitment. HaShem is committed to the Jewish people to ensure that we will always survive and we can rely on that like we can lean on a rock;
  2. b) Just like a rock doesn't change, HaShem doesn't change, and our relationship with Him is the same no matter what environment we find ourselves in.

Yet the Talmud (Berachos 10a) has an additional level of interpretation. There, our Sages understand the word, tzur, to refer to HaShem as an artist. How can this be explained? R. Simcha Zisel Broida (cited in Haggadah Knesses Yisrael, pg. 43) suggests that the Gemara is trying to convey the idea that HaShem's Providence works like a picture. When an artist starts to draw a picture, we don't exactly know what the picture eventually is going to look like until it is finished. The more detail there is, the less we know about the big picture. Similarly, we don't understand the ways of HaShem as they are happening. Sometimes it takes years, decades or centuries to figure out and see the big picture.

On the day of the founding of the State of Israel, nobody knew what her fate would be. The Arab nations immediately declared war on a one-day-old country that did not yet have a chance to assemble of formal military force. The signatories signed the document with a long-term vision of hope and optimism but knowing full well that its effect may be fleeting. The use of the name Tzur Yisrael to describe HaShem was most apropos. In addition to Him being the Rock that we rely on in difficult times, He is also the Artist who paints a picture that sometimes can only be understood from a distance. Nobody knew what He was painting a short three years after the conclusion of the Holocaust, but now that we have almost 70 years of perspective, we have a better picture of what the Tzur Yisrael was drawing. Rav Fishman's signature serves as a simple and permanent reminder that the Tzur Yisrael is a reference to Gd's ongoing providence in protecting our Land and our people." 


As believing Jews, we are enjoined to be sensitive to how the Hand of HaShem is manifest not only in historical events but even in certain simple halachic dicta. Recently, I came across this incredible insight of the great Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Even Ha'ezer, 126). He discusses why, in a get, the month of Iyyar is spelled with two yuds. He quotes from the Yalkut that Iyar is the acronym of אברהם יצחק יעקב רחל. Why is Rachel included in this group? R. Isaac Bernstein suggested that each of these personalities plays an important role in the return to Israel. Iyyar has to be written with two yuds to include Yitzchak and Yaakov, but it also has to include Rachel because the prophet (Yirmiyahu 31:14,15) so poignantly speaks of Rachel crying for her children awaiting their return and HaShem's promise, "Your sons will return to their borders." Iyyar, the month of Israel's anniversary as a State after some 2,000 years, represents our return to our Land.


As we celebrate the miraculous reality of the State of Israel, we must be forever grateful to HaShem for granting us the unique privilege of witnessing these events. The "picture" is not yet finished but the Tzur Yisroel is still the Divine artist who will surely complete this magnificent canvas of Jewish travail and triumph with the coming of Mashiach.


And here too, may we be worthy of experiencing that glorious event speedily in our day.


Good Shabbos.

Luciano Pavarotti & Celine Dion - I Hate You Then I Love You

  • "I Hate You Then I Love You" by Luciano Pavarotti, Céline Dion, L'Orchestra Filarmonica Di Torino & Marco Boemi ()

Fantasma da ÓPERA -Sarah Brightman & Antonio Banderas

O Fantasma da Ópera", tocada ao vivo em abril de 1998 no Salão Royal Albert celebração de gala do 50 º aniversário de Andrew Lloyd Webber, por Sarah Brightman e Antonio Banderas. Sarah Brightman realiza cinco músicas durante o show, incluindo duetos com Michael Ball e O'Neil Dennis. A celebração é uma coleção repleta de estrelas de artistas uma ampla variedade de opções de alguns dos mais conhecidos Andrew Lloyd Webber produções musicais. O programa de uma hora inteira dois, dirigido por David Mallet, está disponível no lançamento do DVD 1999 ", de Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Celebration Hall"., De vídeo Polygram / ​​Universal Music
A canção, "O Fantasma da Ópera", apresenta música por Andrew Lloyd Webber e letras de Richard Stilgoe e é o título da canção a quebra de longa duração musical de mesmo nome. Sarah Brightman era o original Christine Daaé no West End inicial de 1986 e 1988 produções da Broadway. -

Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli - Time to Say Goodbye (1997) [720p]

n November 1996, Andrea and Sarah Brightman were invited to perform the duet 'Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partirò)' at the farewell contest of the German World Light-Heavyweight boxing champion, Henry Maske. A national hero held in unrivaled esteem, he is known for his love of selecting entrance themes to his bouts. Sarah Brightman, the internationally renowned soprano and friend of Henry Maske heard 'Con Te Partirò' in a restaurant while dining with her friends. Entranced by the singer and the song, Brightman made contact with Andrea. Andrea and Brightman re-recorded 'Con Te Partirò' as the duet 'Time To Say Goodbye' with members of the London Symphony Orchestra.

This live version is from Brightman's first full concert recording, "Sarah Brightman: In Concert", from London's Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Paul Bateman. Guest artists include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Adam Clark and Andrea Bocelli. The concert was released to video in 1998.
The concert was directed by David Mallet.

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

Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion - The Prayer

Listen to the best of Andrea Bocelli here:
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See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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