Sunday, July 29, 2018

Harry Truman and His Much Jewish Ways By Howard Zik and Lenny Solomon at the OU

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Every once in a while during the day, stop and still your mind. Be grateful for life as it is, for yourself as you are, for the people around you as they are.


It's all perfect, even if it's painful and frustrating.

We are always getting exactly what we need for our growth. We are loved, capable and important. A stilled mind, which accepts Hashem's will, is a gift to the entire world and a fine gift to give back to Hashem for all He has done for us and is doing for us

Love Yehuda Lave

Supreme Court Sides With God By Rabbi Raphael Fuchs - 23 Tammuz 5778 – July 5, 2018

Recently the Supreme Court issued its decision in NIFLA v. Becerra, a 5–4 vote ruling that the state of California cannot compel pregnancy-resource centers to advertise for the state's abortion services. The decision has been applauded by conservatives as a win for both free speech and anti-abortion / pro-life right groups.

The case concerned California's Reproductive FACT Act, which mandated that women's health clinics (that were set up to aide and help women carry full-term and not abort their pregnancies) must provide a pre-written notice to clients informing them that they can get an abortion for free or very cheap and where they can get more information about it.

While liberals have been lamenting this "loss," their fears have intensified with the announcement of U.S. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, giving President Trump yet another opportunity to pick a second (conservative) Supreme Court justice. The left-wing of this country fears that another pro-life justice could set their pro-abortion agenda back decades, and this author certainly hopes it does.

With this topic occupying the news, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss why I believe we should all be pro-life or anti-abortion. It is actually quite simple. It is because the Torah considers it murder and forbids it.

The reason that we consider murder or stealing or any act to be "wrong" is because God so deemed it. It is not because we feel it is wrong or a group of people decided it was wrong. Our moral compass is based on what God informed us is right and wrong. In regard to abortion the Torah informed us that an unborn fetus, from 40 days after inception, is considered a life and cannot simply be terminated at will (Rambam hilchos Rotzeiach 1:9; hilchos Melachim 9:4; Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 425:2).

It is not any one person or group of thinkers who decided that abortion is morally unacceptable; it was the Creator of the universe, who sets all of our morals, who decided that abortion is wrong.

However, it is this exact point that the left-wing liberals of this country, and around the world, do not want to acknowledge. They do not want to believe that there is a God and He has communicated His will. They do not want to be subjugated to follow God. On the contrary, they wish to demoralize society and distance people from religion. They urge people to follow their heart's desire and pursue any and every sick and disgusting temptation, fantasy, or lifestyle they can possibly dream of. They openly deny the existence of God and His natural laws and despise those who adhere to them.

Thankfully, this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. The role of the Supreme Court is to interpret the constitution as the framers intended. Those values forbid abortion. Those values don't view it as something that we have a choice about; rather as something that is morally wrong, just like anything else that is forbidden.

This is also why many progressives have strongly objected to some of the candidates on President Trump's short list to replace Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. One example is Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose credentials are nothing short of excellent, yet she has been the target much scorn to many on the left. It seems that her only blunder is that she is a faithful Christian. They fear that she may not share their view of immorality and would likely not advance their shameful agenda, as the Obama appointees so loyally have.

Over twenty five years ago Rav Avigdor Miller, zt"l, was deeply concerned with the immoral path the Democrats were leading this country down. He said that world history teaches us that when a country becomes completely immoral God ceases to permit its existence. Decades ago Rav Miller was concerned with the direction the Democrats were headed; one can only wonder what he would say today?

We must be extremely thankful that Hashem has appointed a leader who has implemented common sense policies and seeks to keep this country moral by appointing righteous justices to the Supreme Court, may he continue to do so.

Lenny Solomon creator of Shlock Rock last night at the OU

After a beautiful Shabaton, at the OU this Shabbat, Lenny Solomon, creator of Shlock Rock and 90 albums and 35 years of making Jewish music

Children Are Quick

TEACHER:    Why are you late?

STUDENT:     Cause class started before I got here.

TEACHER:    Maria, go to the map and find   North America    .. 
MARIA:         Here it  is. 
TEACHER:   Correct.  Now class, who discovered   America ? 
CLASS:         Maria. 
TEACHER:    John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor? 
JOHN:          You told me to do it without using tables. 

TEACHER:  Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?' 
GLENN:      K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L' 
TEACHER:  No, that's wrong 
GLENN:       Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.   
(I Love this child) 

TEACHER:   Donald, what is the chemical formula for water? 
DONALD:     H I J K L M N O. 
TEACHER:   What are you talking about? 
DONALD:    Yesterday you said it's H to O.   

TEACHER:   Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago. 
WINNIE:       Me! 
TEACHER:   Glen, why do you always get so dirty? 
GLEN:          Well, I'm a  lot closer to the ground than you are.   

TEACHER:     Millie, give me a sentence starting with '  I.  ' 
MILLIE:         I  is.. 
TEACHER:     No, Millie..... Always say, 'I  am.' 
MILLIE:         Oh, All right...  'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'       

TEACHER:    George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it.   Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him? 
LOUIS:           Because George still had  the axe in his hand.....    

TEACHER:    Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating? 
SIMON:         No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.  (LOL!) 


TEACHER:       Clyde , your  composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your   brother's..   Did you copy his? 
CLYDE   :         No, sir.  It's the same dog.     
(I want to adopt this kid!!!)


TEACHER:    Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer  interested? 
HAROLD:     A teacher



Clint Eastwood Shootouts

Various shootouts from Clint Eastwood Movies. Movies Include: Magnum Force, Dirty Harry, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, High Plains Drifter, A Fistful of Dollars, Pale Rider

A Mockery Of Justice By Moshe Feiglin - 23 Tammuz 5778 – July 6, 2018

The confessions of the youth in the Duma trial that were obtained through torture are invalid. But the confessions obtained between torture sessions are valid. So the judges ruled last week.

In all my years in politics, I have never encountered a statement as ugly and cynical as this. Obviously, teenagers who are held in prison for weeks on end without being allowed to consult with an attorney, who are prevented from sleeping, and who are tortured and degraded physically and emotionally will eventually sign anything and confess to anything.

And then, in between one torture session and the next – or even if they are simply threatened with more torture – they will once again agree to sign.

When the Arabs in Gaza prepare incendiary balloons, our hairsplitting legal advisors prohibit the IDF from shooting at them so that no legal rule or human right is undermined, Heaven forbid. But when it comes to the hilltop youth, then "the roof will fall on our heads" (Bennett) if we do not throw all their basic human rights and every possible law to the wind.

"Whom do you believe?" the pundits cry. "Ayelet Shaked or [rightist lawyer] Itamar Ben Gvir?"

I believed Itamar Ben Gvir – because when you want to know if a politician is telling the truth, check what his possible interests could be. Bennett and Shaked stood to gain nothing politically by fighting the witch hunt against the hilltop youth that was led at the time by Bogi Ya'alon and the media.

This is in addition to the fact that before the arson that killed the Dawabshe family in Duma, a different house in Duma had already been torched and another five homes were torched afterwards – all of them on the same street and all of them belonging to the extended Dawabshe family.

The feuding Dawabshe clan learned – what a surprise – to write "price tag" on the walls of the burned homes to make it appear as though the house had been torched by hilltop youth.
But the media was eager for the blood of those vexatious hilltop youth with their large kippot and Bogi Ya'alon understood on which side his bread would be buttered.

For their part, Bennett and Shaked, instead of defending their constituents (the parents of those youths), joined the witch hunt, and the Religious Zionist rabbis did not interfere (apparently, the food in prison is kosher). That is how the State of Israel stooped to the level of torturing seven minors (whom it called "ticking time-bombs").

Just like Roman Zadorov – in jail for years after being falsely accused of murder – there are two boys still in prison, and the system will never admit that it was wrong.

Today it is me. Tomorrow, it will be you.

Loving One's Fellow By Sivan Rahav-Meir - 23 Tammuz 5778 – July 6, 2018

His name was Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar (1696-1743), but how fitting is the name by which everyone refers to him: the Or HaChaim ("the light of life"). How much light and life he added to this world.

Last week we commemorated 275 years since the passing of the Or HaChaim, one of the greatest Torah commentators, a native of Morocco who made aliyah with great effort and became a venerable rabbi amongst all the different Jewish ethnic groups.


Here is just one gem from his writings, in which he explains how every person in the Jewish nation has a role, how we need everyone in this story: "The Torah was given so that it would exist in all of Israel. Every person should do what he can, and each will provide merit to the other."

He explains further that since there are 613mitzvot and it is impossible for one person to perform all of them, the nation consists of different parts – kohanimlevi'im, men, women – and each should fulfill its mission.

Contrary to the perception that unity means uniformity, he calls upon every person to seek his own contribution to the nation and to recognize his fellows' contribution. He also explains, in a fascinating fashion, the words "And you shall love your neighbor as yourself":

"'And you shall love your neighbor as yourself' – because through the other fellow you complete your own perfection, and so, the other fellow is not 'other'; he is yourself. It is as if he is a part of yourself."

Harry Truman and His Much Jewish Ways By Howard Zik

"The buck stops here!" "I'm from Missouri!" These are among a universe of insightful aphorisms that Harry S. Truman coined and reflect in basic ways a Jewish manner of thinking. President Harry S. Truman led the US in being the first nation to approve at the UN the creation of the state of Israel.  His perspectives and manners earn him a de facto Jewish way of responding to the world.  In fact in his youth when he became best friends with a Jewish guy from the east side, Eddie Jacobson (more about him later) with whom  he effectively ran a military canteen  during the first world war  Truman was  often jokingly  referred to as a Jew himself because of his effective business capacity. Truman in these instances proudly   responded, "I guess I should be proud of my Jewish ability. " It may be seen upon a quick review of his exciting life that Harry Truman in a multitude of ways mirrored the values so dear to Judaism.

Harry Truman initially in life had no contact with Jews, but he did have a natural disposition that was in true harmonization with a Jewish outlook. This included a love of truth and an openness to explore other viewpoints. The Talmudic method of exploring viewpoints encourages leaving one open for future probing, and­­ is a methodology that would be truly at home with Truman.  The adage, "I am from Missouri" as a call for seeking a rationale is pervasive in the Talmud as well as earlier Jewish thought.


Truman was further very much steeped in a universal notion of egalitarian justice where all peoples were entitled to equal rights before the law. This is a core Jewish principle, first expressed by declaring "Let us make Man in our Image" (Gen, 1:26), and is reflected in a multitude of Judaic references including the rights of the widow, orphan and stranger. The rights of the stranger is mentioned repeatedly (36 times) throughout the Torah and is especially central in relation to universality. Truman also had an amazing capacity for maintaining friendships both lifelong and on an extended basis, and it is perhaps this capacity that enabled Eddie Jacobson to remain in his life and ultimately exert the influence he did upon him. Friendship although not often recognized is something  that Jewish tradition and Torah often promotes as exhibited between Jonathan  and David as well as Moses and Jethro.

Truman first met Eddie Jacobson through his military service in WW I when he operated the service canteen with him and finally entered with him into a business partnership.  They partnered a haberdashery business which unfortunately failed in the post war recession, but their friendship continued throughout their lives. Their relationship had its impact when the UN in 1947 considered the statehood of Israel. Truman was reluctant initially to provide his support because of influences by certain advisors (e.g. Marshall) and international alliances but his openness to alternative viewpoints allowed him to consider Eddie Jacobson's plea that he pursue a now historical meeting with Chaim Weitzman.

Early in the Torah we are granted an example of Moses's openness. This involves the advice he accepts from Jethro a non-Jew where upon the advice of Jethro he disseminates judgeship responsibilities authority to other able leaders so as to avoid being overburdened with responsibility. Another instance involves his granting consideration to the daughters of Zelophehad opposing the customs of inheritance in relation to male exclusivity. He ultimately listens to them and upon reflection takes their case to God who tells him to accept the daughter's arguments adding not a thing. Truman's openness to the views of others also is powerfully evidenced in his relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. In this connection in 1946 he worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in persuading the British to allow 100,000 Jews leave their protective areas to Palestine.

Judaism hold study in high esteem and this is also mirrored in Truman's life. Truman is sometimes described as the last president to not hold a college degree but it should be recognized that his not attending college was due to circumstance economic obstacles among them. It is significant that he took pride in the fact that he read every book in the Independence Mo. library and this at a very early age as just barely a teenager.

Truman was clearly a born leader which is a trait we sometimes detect in certain characters within the Torah as well the Talmud where this gift is granted special praise. Joseph is one such character who distinguishes himself even while imprisoned and finally recognized by the pharaoh of his time.  Truman exhibited such traits early, however, particularly within his leadership role in serving during the First World War as well as his early rise in becoming a senator and his leading role in that capacity.

Truman's ultimate decision to support the establishment of the state of Israel was a monumental struggle and the dramatic and inspirational saga that followed is movingly revealed in David McCullough's biography, "Truman" The pressures to support as well as resist the UN proposal for partition were immense in those March days of 1947.

On the one hand there were the powerful voices of General George Marshall and Loy Henderson (Advisor and US Foreign Service Officer ) insisting that Truman should resist where Marshall threatened to resign if he supported statehood.  They claimed the US needed the good will of the oil producing Arab states and that Israel was forming a socialist government which the  Soviets at this point in time of cold war formation was warming up to as comrades in harmonious spirit. Further Truman's support hinged to a tremendous extent on Marshall's popularity.  At the other end there was the strong opposing voice of Clark Clifford (White House Council) advocating recognition adding to the circumstance that Truman harbored a longstanding deep empathy for the establishment of a Jewish state. Moreover he was being strenuously pressured by a few Zionists in what he mistakenly perceived as a disrespectful conduct for him to support the recognition of the state.   At this point it appeared that Truman was leaning significantly towards a UN trusteeship and against partition.

It was at this point that Truman's old friend Eddie Jacobson entered the picture at the insistence of B'nai Brith to shift the balance in the opposite direction. Jacobson without an appointment walked into Truman's office at the White House and managed to see Truman. He asked that Truman just let Chaim Weitzman, the intended Prime Minister of the new state visit him to discuss the matter of recognition. Truman then stated plainly he had no wish to talk about Palestine. At this point Jacobson fixed his eyes upon a statute of Andrew Jackson a hero of Truman. He then referred to Chaim Weitzman as Eddie's own hero just as Jackson was to Truman and asked if he would not refuse to see Weitzman due to any perceived offense by a few Zionists or recommended by some of his advisors. This he emphasized would prevent Truman from doing what is morally right and historically vital simply because certain Zionists offended him. Truman upon looking out the window suddenly turned himself around and told him in some emphatic language he would see Weitzman.

It is significant that they were speaking in terms of heroes and thereby addressing ultimate values.  Truman had a talent for taking his values so dearly to heart that they became an ongoing everyday part of life decisions. This is very much consistent with the valued role of silver trumpets in Torah (Numbers 10) where their soundings represented a pervasive effort to the incorporate spiritual values into day to day living. The meeting with Weitzman that followed overflowed with shared enthusiasm which turned the tables towards the creation of the new state. Weitzman's request that the historical Negev be included within the new state was recognized and he was impressed by Truman's grasp of the geography of the area.   Both rode this wave of enthusiasm and it is related Truman later recalled Eddie Jackson being present. Records show, however, that he was not physically present, but in a deeper sense he was there through the special place in Truman's mind and heart for Jacobson. In gratitude to Truman's historical response at this meeting Chaim Weitzman later gifted Harry Truman with a Torah scroll which today is displayed in the Truman library. One can hardly imagine a more heartfelt expression of gratitude of Harry Truman's vital role in the official creation of the state of Israel.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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