Often what seems to be a depressing situation is due only to the lack of fresh air. Get out into the air and breathe deeply, or at least open the window and fill your lungs.
Your emotions become normalized when your body is invigorated by the influx of cool, moist and moving air. This often has immediate effects. Drink deeply of the Almighty's bounty, and inhale a lungful of the champagne of life.
Love Yehuda Lave
New Genetic Study: 90% of Species Appeared Almost Simultaneously -
Visit Testing Our Strengths The Torah in Parashat Korah describes the revolt
waged by Korah and his followers against the authority of Moshe and Aharon.
Korah and his group posed to Moshe the question, "Madu'a Titnas'u Al Kehal Hashem" – "Why do you elevate yourselves over the congregation of G-d?" Korah accused Moshe of asserting his authority and exerting power for personal, egotistical interests,
for prestige and glory. Just two weeks ago, in Parashat Behaalotecha, we read the Torah's description of Moshe Rabbenu
as "exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth." G-d Himself testified to the fact that Moshe was the precise opposite of how Korah portrayed him.
Korah charged him of asserting himself out of a desire for honor and power, whereas in truth, Moshe
was more humble than any other person in the world. This incident teaches an important lesson about the way we are tested during life.
Namely, our patience is tested specifically in our areas of strength.
If a person pokes fun at us for something regarding which we profess no skill or expertise,
it doesn't bother us. But it is when we are challenged in the area in which we feel accomplished
that our patience and forbearance are tested. As a Rabbi, I could easily ignore an insult about my
talents as a softball player. I do not play softball, I never put much effort into honing my skills
in the sport, and I never thought of myself as much as a softball player.
So if a person would come along and make fun of me for being a lousy player,
it would not affect me too much, or at all. But if somebody would come along and challenge my
ability to deliver Torah lectures, which is precisely the field in which I have invested much time
and effort, that is when I will be tested. This is when I might be naturally inclined to feel offended and get angry, and must find the inner
strength to ignore the insult. Moshe was challenged specifically in the area of his greatest
achievement – humility – and he passed the text with flying colors, ignoring the insult and proposing
a way to prove that the leadership appointments were made by Hashem, and not by him. Our areas of success and achievement are often our source of personal pride,
and it is thus specifically regarding those areas that we are emotionally vulnerable.
Since they provide us with a sense of satisfaction, challenges to our success
in those areas tend to hurt. We should learn from Moshe's example to keep at our emotions at bay,
and to have the strength to ignore insults and retain our dignity in the face of unwarranted criticism and scorn.
One is a planner. The other is too, but mostly for food and naps
Torah Insights w/Rav Simcha Hochaum
Parshat Korach- we learn about the danger of machloket (strife and conflict). Though Korach had quite a prestigious position as the leader of the tribe of Levi - he wasn't satisfied with his status and wanted to become the High Priest. On this the rabbis teach us that three things take us out of this world- jealousy, lust and pursuit of honor. R Shlomo would teach us- based on the mishna in Pirkei Avot- 'Who is rich? The one who is happy with his lot': this can also be interpreted as being happy with the lot of his friend not only his own- to celebrate the success of his friend. Instead Korach challenges Moshe and Aaron's authority and cannot rejoice in their success. According to the deeper teachings of the Ari z"l - Korach's soul was connected to that of Kayin (Kane) who was also unable to rejoice in the success of his brother. Moshe, on the other hand, so much wanted to bring harmony to the camp that he rose up and personally went to appease Korach's followers and quell the conflict. There is a story told of the Gaon of Vilna that when he was a small child - his father encouraged him to go out and play with the other children. After a short time the Gaon of Vilna returned home, frustrated. His father inquired as to why he returned so quickly. He replied that the children were playing a game that he refused to play. They were playing see-saw which entails pushing your friend down in order for you to go up. Such a game he would not play. We should be privileged during this month of Tammuz to the fixing of our eyes, to celebrate the success of others and to wipe out any unholy machloket in our midst. R Simcha Hochbaum
Reb Shlomo's TeachingsKorach: It's My Fault
Last week we read the story of the spies. The spies came back and said Israel is a terrible country, let's not go there. This Shabbos we read that Korach, who was actually a very holy Jew, he comes to Moshe and Aaron and says, 'I deserve to be the high priest'.
I want to share something very, very fast with you. Let's say I have two friends. There's one friend that whenever I do something wrong, this friend points it out to me right away. Unbelievable friend. Whenever I make a mistake they put it right on my plate, such a good friend. Are you looking for that kind of friend? Let me tell you, I'm not.
Here I have another friend, a real friend. When I do something wrong, you know what they say? It's all my fault because if I would be better you would be better also.
A lot of parents put everything on their children. They are cute parents, but I wouldn't like to be their son or their daughter. You know what good parents are? They say inside 'oy,' if I would be better my children would be better.
The Zohar says when the spies walked into Eretz Yisroel they all had clear prophesy. You know what they saw? They saw a river of blood from Yerushalayim all over the world. They saw the destruction of the Temple, they saw the inquisition, they saw Auschwitz. They saw everything and they said let's not go there. But there was one little thing they didn't see. You know what it was? They didn't see that the reason we are not going into Israel is because of them. They couldn't imagine that they were not the cause.
Everything the Meraglim say is right but one little thing they are missing. It's their fault.
I want you to know my beautiful friends, when Aaron Hakohen, the high priest, walked into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, what did he say to G-d? He didn't even ask for forgiveness, he didn't even say one word. You know what he said; he walked into the holy of holies and said 'Master of the world, it's all my fault because I am the high priest. If I would be better they would also be better'. Gevalt, is that holy of holies.
You know what holy is? Holy is to be a good person. Holy of holies is to say everything is my fault.
And you know who Korach is, he's just the other way around.
Korach says, I am the holiest Jew. So what does he say in the holy of holies? He will go into the holy of holies and say, 'brother G-d, do you realize you are talking to the holiest Jew in the world?'
Have you even met those people who stand before you and say I am holy? Disgusting, because even if they are holy it smells so bad, so disgusting. Who wants to hear it?
And you know what is says by Aaron Hakohen?
"Ve'Ahron Mah Hu", Aaron always says, you are so much better than I am. You are so good, you are so holy, you are so beautiful.
You know friends, the world needs you and I, the world mamesh needs us. Whenever we see something wrong in the world it should be clear to us it is our fault. We have to fix it, we have to fix it.
We need people like Aaron Hakohen, that every person they see they say you are so good, you are so beautiful. You are so much better than I am.
My dearest friends, I know someday you will all be shining lights in the world and I beg you whenever you see something wrong in the world, think about it, maybe it's our fault. If we would be better the whole world would be better.
Jewish merchant adventurers who lived in the south of France and northern Spain travelled to China in the 9th and 10th centuries
As a youth, I was fascinated to read about the travels of Marco Polo who, in 1275, journeyed from his home in Italy to distant China.
That was no mean feat in the thirteenth century, even though Alexander the Great had taken his Greek army as far as the Punjab in India, fighting all the way, some sixteen hundred years earlier.
Other European travelers to distant lands included Giovani di Piano Caprini, a Papal legate, who in 1245 had reached Karakorum, near the River Orkhon in what is today central Mongolia. And Guillaume de Rubrouck arrived at the same city in 1253. Karakorum had once been the residence of Genghis Khan.
But it was not until later that I learned about those other fascinating European travelers to China who had made the perilous journey much earlier in the ninth and tenth centuries. Those travelers were Jewish merchant adventurers who lived in the south of France and northern Spain.
They were known as Radanites and made their epic journeys by sea and overland. It would seem likely that they were the only Europeans at that time making such arduous expeditions into relatively unknown territories.
The Arab geographer, Ibn Khordadhbeh, who lived in the middle of the ninth century, gave an account of the many places visited by the Radanites as they traveled from Europe to China.
He included them in his book, The Book of Ways and Kingdoms, and described four different routes the Jewish merchants took. Here is some of what he wrote:
"These merchants speak Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Latin, Frankish, Spanish, and Slav languages. They journey from West to East, from East to West, partly on land, partly by sea. They transport from the West brocade, castor, marten and other furs, and swords.
Route 1. "They take ship from France on the western sea (Mediterranean) and make for Pelusium (Port Said, Egypt). There they load their goods on camelback and go by land to al-Kolzom (Suez). They embark in the Red Sea and sail from al-Kolzom to al'Jar (Medina) and the port of Jeddah. Then they go to Sind (India) and China.
"On their return from China they carry back musk, aloes, camphor, cinnamon, and other products of the eastern countries to al-Kolzom, and bring them back to Pelusium where they again embark on the Western Sea.
"Some make sail for Constantinople to sell their goods to the Romans; others go to the palace of the kings of the Franks to place their goods.
Route 2. "Sometimes these Jewish merchants, when embarking in the land of the Franks, on the Western Sea, make for Antioch at the mouth of the Orontes; thence, by land to al-Hanaya on the bank of the Euphrates where they arrive after three day's march. There, they embark on the Euphrates and reach Baghdad whence they sail down the Tigris to al-Obolla (Basra). From al-Obolla they sail for Oman, Sind-Hind, and China.
Route 3. "These different journeys can also be made by land. The merchants that start from Spain or France go to Morocco and then to Tangier whence they walk to Afrikia (Kairouan, Cairo) and the capital of Egypt. Thence they go to al-Ramla (Ramle), visit Damascus, Baghdad, and al-Basra, cross Ahwaz, Fars, Kirman (in Iran), Sind-Hind, and arrive at China.
Route 4. "Sometimes they also take the route behind Rome and, passing through the country of the Slavs, arrive at Khamlij, the capital of the Khazars. They embark on the Jorjan Sea (Caspian Sea), arrive at Balkh (on the River Oxus), betake themselves from there across the Oxus, and continue their journey towards Yurt, Toghuzguz (Mongolia), and from there to China."
It should be noted that such epic journeys, as carried out by the ninth and tenth century Jewish merchants. took them on a 5,000 mile trek though deserts, mountains, dangerous seas and territories where bandits constantly preyed upon travelers.
It was interesting to read that they journeyed to the land of the Khazars; the same empire whose king and subjects embraced Judaism. That nation survived as a major Jewish state for several hundred years before being conquered by Russians.
Many of the goods brought back from the East, including spices, such as cinnamon, created the later impetus for European explorers in the Middle Ages to find the fabulous Spice Islands and resulted in the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan.
When the Radanitesdisembarked from their ships, their journeys were continued by horse and camel. The picture above is a statue of a Jewish merchant traveler made in China during the Tang dynasty, a period from the 9th to the 10thcentury.
The late Israeli President, Yitzhak ben-Zvi, wrote a book, which also fascinated me as a youth. His book, The Exiled and the Redeemed, included stories of the remnants of scattered Jewish communities across the known world and the travels of the remarkable Jewish explorer, Benjamin of Tudela.
The Radanites reminded me of even earlier Jewish journeys going back as far as when Judah was still a sovereign state.
I was intrigued by accounts, legendary or true, of Jewish fleets sailing as far as the Tin Isles (Great Britain) to bring back tin from the mines of Cornwall. Or of Jewish seamen manning Phoenician ships at the time of King Solomon.
Jews went to sea like all other Mediterranean peoples. Jewish visitors arrived at ports throughout the Mediterranean basin. These ports included, among others, Alexandria, Cyrene, Carthage, Cartagena, Tarragona, Marseilles, and Barcelona.
Some of these Jewish explorers arrived in ships not merely owned by Jews but often with Jewish captains, sailors and crews. This continued until at least the 5th century.
It is not certain, but perhaps possible, that Jewish crewed ships were still plying the Mediterranean Sea at the time of the Radanites, thus taking them on the first leg of their fabulous journeys from France and Spain to China.
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of several books including the acclaimed Four Volumes of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish State.
This joke is risque. Don't read if easily offended. At bottom of letter to avoid children reading
Sperm Count at 71 Years Old ……OLDER people have problems that you haven't even considered yet!
A 71-year-old man was requested by his Doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 'Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.'
The next day the 71-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day.
The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, 'Well, doc, it's like this -- first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing' Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with her teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.
We even called up Arleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin' it between her knees, but still nothing ...'
The doctor was shocked! You asked your neighbor?'
The old man replied,"Yep, none of us could get the jar open." Sad to grow old………..
Less Risque Joke
Bill Gates (about as Goyish as anybody can be )advertised for a new chairman of Microsoft Europe. 5000 candidates show up at the job screening. They are assembled in a large room.
Among them is Maurice Cohen, a French Jew, a small, bearded, bespeckled man. Bill Gates thanks the candidates for coming but asks all those who are not familiar with the JAVA programming language to leave; 2000 people rise and leave the room. Maurice Cohen says to himself, "I do not know this language but what have I got to lose if I stay? I'll give it a try".
Bill Gates then asks all those who have no experience of managing teams of more than 100 people to leave. Another 2000 people go. Maurice Cohen says to himself, "I have never managed anybody but myself but what have I got to lose if I stay? What can happen to me?" Then Bill Gates asks all candidates who do not have outstanding academic qualifications to rise and leave; 500 people remove themselves. Maurice Cohen says to himself, "I left school at 15 but what have I got to lose if I stay? So he stays in the room.
Lastly, Bill Gates asks all of the candidates who do not speak the Serbo-Croatian language to rise and leave; 498 people rise and leave the room. Maurice Cohen says himself, "I do not speak Serbo-Croat but what the hell! Have I got anything to lose?"
He finds himself alone with one other candidate. Everyone else has gone. Bill Gates joins them and says: "Apparently you are the only two candidates who know JAVA, have managed large teams of employees, have advanced PhD degrees, and who can speak Serbo-Croatian. I'd like to hear you converse with one another in Serbo-Croatian."
Calmly Maurice turns to the other candidate and says to him: "Baruch ata Adonai." The other candidate answers: "Elohénu melechha'ola m."