To be human means that we will grapple with moments of anxiety, grief and despair. All of us.
Love Yehuda Lave
More on Korach --last weeks parsha as we still talk about until Tuesday
Perhaps Rambam said it best in a letter to his son: "Don't contaminate your soul with machlokes (brawling controversy), which destroys body, soul, and money. I saw… families die, cities destroyed, groups disintegrate… the respected disgraced, all because of machlokes. The nevi'im discuss how bad machlokes is, and the chachamim added on more ideas, and they haven't yet reached its ultimate evil. Therefore, hate it; run away from it, keep away from all its friends, lest you will perish …"
In approaching Parshas Korah, the toxic evil of acrimonious bickering (machlokes) needs to be revisited if only to sensitize us to its terrible consequences. Let us begin by posing this question: The Talmud abounds in controversy. Hardly a page goes by without some dispute being sharply debated. If so, how might we distinguish between an argument that is proper and even to be encouraged and one which is immoral and downright dangerous?
The Mishna (Avos 5:21) tells that that a machlokes for the sake of Heaven (l'shem shamayim) has enduring value while a dispute, waged not for the sake of Heaven will not endure. But this formulation, as noted by the Ba'al HaTanya (Iggeres HaKodesh 56) and R. Yonasan Eybeshutz (Ye'aros D'vash 8), among others, only begs the question. Every party to a disagreement is generally convinced that their motivation is pure, for the sake of Heaven. How then can we know for sure whether an argument is ethically legitimate?
The Talmud (Yevamos 14b) suggest an amazing test. There, the text records a dispute between the schools of Hillel and Shammai regarding certain prerequisites to a marriage. Notwithstanding the clear disagreement between the two, the Talmud records, quite remarkably, that after sharing the specifics of their differences, each permitted members of their respective communities to intermarry. Why, the Talmud asks, is this fact recorded? To teach that each side, notwithstanding their differing opinions, related towards one another with deep love and friendship.
How then can we recognize whether a machlokes is l'shem shamayim or not? The test is clear: If both rival parties can love each other with all their heart and soul even while vigorously arguing about an issue, if in the manner by which they express their respective views, they demonstrate respect and reverence for each other, this very behavior indicates that their reciprocal intentions are pure. You are disagreeing only because you genuinely feel that something needs to be corrected. As such, the dispute is a sign the argument is truly l'shem shamayim.
However, if the protagonists harbor hatred towards one another, if they cannot "leave their egos at the door" but rather, subconsciously or otherwise, gear up to win at all costs, if hostile ad homini characterize the debate, then no matter what they might profess and even believe, their controversy is not for the sake of heaven. The simple fact is that they did not enter the fray for the sake of primarily determining the truth (l'shem shamayim), but rather to proudly claim victory even if truth be sacrificed on the vainglorious altar of their egos.
Beneath the surface of Korach's protestations, there lurked an animosity toward Moshe. Korach's righteous indignation was fueled by jealousy even though his stature as prince and bearer of the Holy Ark accorded him much honor (Shelah HaKadosh). That so many well-intentioned people suffered so severely reminds us, say our Sages, that machlokes is like a raging fire that once ignited can destroy even the innocent, r"l.
What else can be done in the face of a Korach-type controversy?
In this tragic story, Ramban (16:4) wonders why the Torah tells us that only Moshe "fell on his face" when confronted by the Korach rebellion. After all, it was against Aharon's appointment that the barbs were being thrown. He answers that Aharon understood that in the face of a Korach machlokes, remaining silent is often the better part of wisdom.
And what of Moshe who did engage? On the phrase "And Moshe arose … (16:25), the Ohr HaChayim comments that in Moshe's attempt to diffuse the machlokes, even to endure shame and abuse, he rose to an even higher level of greatness. That he failed was due more to the stubborn conceit of Korach than to any fault of his own.
In our contemporary culture, the presence of the Korach machlokes is everywhere. The ubiquity of our social media in spreading this immoral ethic only legitimizes the phenomenon and regrettably creates a new normal. We can either allow ourselves to be swept into this destructive behavior or we can choose to reject it and instead elect to emulate the examples of Hillel and Shammai. That is, we can embrace an ethic that passionately pursues the truth while genuinely loving one another, and if sometimes that proves to be a bit difficult, we should at least have the courage to just walk away. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach once said, you never ultimately lose when you avoid machlokes!
A great prophet once declared, "You shall love truth and peace" (Zecharyah 8:19). Indeed, seek and hold to both truth and peace; they do not contradict. And when accomplished, an era of "joy and gladness, of festive holidays" will be ushered in.
Love Yehuda Lave
"I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will"
Bill Clinton Under Fire, Says Norms Have Changed of What You Can Do To Someone 'Against Their Will'
Former President Bill Clinton is on a tour promoting his latest book project, but so far his book isn't what's generating headlines.
Clinton came under fire Monday for comments he made in an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS that aired last week in which Clinton was asked about the resignation of Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota over allegations of sexual misconduct.
"I assume you think that what happened with you was more serious than what happened with [Franken]," Woodruff asked Clinton. "He was driven from office, from the U.S. Senate. So, norms have changed. Do you think that's a good thing?"
Clinton, who initially seemed hesitant to answer, offered his reply.
"Well, in general, I think it's a good thing, yes," replied the former president.
"I think it's a good thing that we should all have higher standards," Clinton said. "I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work. You don't have to physically assault somebody to make them, you know, uncomfortable at work or at home or … just walking around. That, I think, is good."
People from both sides of the political aisle took aim at Clinton's remarks.
Bill Clinton's statement revealing and VERY troubling. Most of us believed that rape and sexual assault were ALWAYS wrong and illegal. Those were NORMS for the rest of us already.
Clinton was also criticized for seemingly questioning the women who made allegations against Franken.
"I think that — I will be honest — the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case," Clinton said. "There may be things I don't know. But I — maybe I'm just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on 'Saturday Night Live' that put out a statement for him, and that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question.
"Too late to wade into it now," he continued. "I mean, I think it's a grievous thing to take away from the people a decision they have made, especially when there is an election coming up again. But it's done now. And I think that all of us should just be focusing on how to do better and how to go forward."
A representative for the former president issued a statement Monday trying to clarify Clinton's remarks.
"He was not suggesting that there was ever a time that it was acceptable to do something against someone's will," said Angel Urena, Clinton's press secretary, in a statement released to Fox News. "He's saying that norms have changed in a variety of ways in how we interact with one another, and that's all for the good."
Clinton is promoting "The President is Missing," a book he has co-authored with best-selling writer James Patterson. But most of the media appearance to date have focused on Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky and his thoughts on President Donald Trump.
Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference. Aristotle
Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. Carol Burnett
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
Charles R. Swindoll
Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life. Yoko Ono
There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. William Barclay
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. Omar Khayyam
The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Oprah Winfrey
Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.
The Smartduvet is a self-making bed
Never make your bed again -- the SmartDuvet does it for you!
A store that sells new husbands has opened in Melbourne , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:
You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!
So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:
Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs
She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:
Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.
'That's nice,' she thinks, 'but I want more.' so she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:
Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.
'Wow,' she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.
She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework. 'Oh, mercy me!' she exclaims, 'I can hardly stand it!'
Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.
She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor , where the sign reads:
Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.
Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.
The F irst Floor has wives that love sex.
The S econd Floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer
The Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Floors have never been visited.
Welcome to the House of Love and Prayer
From the new Musical about Shlomo Carlbach. I saw it in Jerusalem on 6/13/18
New Evidence Shows The True Extent of The Biblical Kingdom of David
(Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology/Bar-Ilan University)
The legends might have been true after all.
MIKE MCRAE 2 MAY 2018
Beyond the Biblical legend of David versus Goliath, historical records concerning a far reaching Israelite kingdom in the 10th century BCE have left plenty of room for debate.
A new archaeological study has found evidence supporting the belief that a monarchy just might have united the lands during this important period, while also serving as a reminder of how biases in archaeology can change how we view the past.
Archaeologists Avraham Faust and Yair Sapir from Bar Ilan University in Israel recently published their radiocarbon dating findings on a dig site at Tel 'Eton that pushed the date of the site's establishment to between the 11th and 10th century BCE.
Previous estimates on an elite building known as the governor's residency had it being built centuries later, only to be destroyed by the end of the 8th century by an Assyrian invasion.
Not only does the evidence suggest an Israeli governor was ruling in a Judean town at a crucial period, it serves as a reminder of the challenges archaeologists face in accurately dating ancient sites.
On his death this united kingdom was inherited by his son, Solomon, only to fall apart again a generation later.
Outside of traditional recounting of such stories, there's a dearth of solid evidence pinning down the existence and actions of these legendary figures.
Piecing together accounts and circumstantial clues, it's likely that this version of David would have ruled roughly around the 10th century BCE.
But if there was indeed a David-like figure who waged war with the king who took him under his wing, followed by military campaigns that united Israel with Judah, it seems he didn't leave much of a legacy in the form of infrastructure.
At least, that's been the assumption. And without such signs of a complex administration in the Judean lands he's alleged to have conquered, there's little to indicate how he held power over these two rather distinct cultures.
Its strata show various signs of occupation dating back to the early Bronze Age, some 5,500 to 4,200 years ago.
At some point important administrative structures were built, but by the close of the 8th century the town had been rocked by an Assyrian assault that buried fortifications and an elite four-room residency under a pile of rubble.
The question of when these constructions were first laid down has proven hard to answer.
Given their architecture – a process of interlocking masonry known as ashlar – their establishment would indicate something of the culture that put them there.
It's been taken for granted that the town was flourishing just before the invasion, leading many to assume they appeared during the preceding century.
Thanks to super tidy housekeepers, few clues such as animal bones or pottery have been easily available for radio dating.
Faust and Sapir's team dug deeper, taking samples from the floor and foundations to extract potential organic materials they could test, including charcoal and an olive pit.
By using these items and identifying reasons they could be linked with the building of the foundations, they determined the latest the manor's floor stones could have been laid was 921 BCE, putting its initial construction between the late 11th century and the third quarter of the 10th century BCE.
"This date is in line with other finds related to the construction, like the foundation deposit itself," says Faust.
Significantly, its layout points squarely at an Israelite architect rather than a Judean one, one who didn't so much as destroy the city before building as much as integrate with it.
Just how far this goes to supporting the story of David's uniting of the lands of Israel and Judah is still up for debate.
But the researchers point out their discovery should also serve as a cautionary tale about making assumptions based on limited evidence.
"Archaeologists should therefore be careful when they conclude that the rarity of finds from these eras indicates that society was poor, and lacked social complexity," says Faust.