The less gratitude you receive for doing a kind act, the greater the value of the act. True kindness is when we do not receive anything in return for what we do.
Instead of feeling resentment towards the person who is ungrateful, take pleasure in doing a more elevated good deed. Focus on how your kindness towards that person is more altruistic.
Don't tell yourself, "How awful it is that I'm doing all this kindness and this person is not doing me favors in return." Rather, tell yourself, "This is a great opportunity to do a true act of kindness!"
Love Yehuda Lave
I returned August 15 to Jerusalem after a 16 day absence. I visited over 100 synagogues, graves and holy spots throughout Czech and Vienna, along with castles and tourist spots. My friend the Cabalist, says like the Bal Shem Tov, I was gathering up the holy sparks of Jewishness that has been trapped there and bringing the spiritual energy back to Jerusalem. I hope I have accomplished that goal, but I know for sure that I brought back lots of pictures. There are too many to share at one time so I am trying something new and sharing them day by day as experienced with a 16 day delay. I will repeat this introduction each day. I have been studying Jewish history and Israel in my time in Jerusalem, but the history of the Jewish people in modern times from 1492 to 1945 was in central Europe where the majority of the Jewish people lived. It is worth studying and knowing about and by sharing it with you my friends, I hope I am expanding your knowledge as well.
The Cynical Philosopher
♦ I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble, but shouldn't that be an even number?
♦ Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.
♦ I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
♦ I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.
♦ When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90% of their body... men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.
♦ A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight, live longer than the men who mention it.
♦ Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?
♦ America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote.
♦ You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's common sense leaving your body.
♦ Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
♦ My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that.
♦ I think my neighbor is stalking me as she's been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my telescope last night.
♦ Money talks ..but all mine ever says is good-bye.
♦ You're not fat, you're just... easier to see.
♦ If you think nobody cares whether you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.
♦ I always wondered what the job application is like at Hooters. Do they just give you a bra and say, "Here, fill this out?"
♦ I can't understand why women are okay that JC Penny has an older women's clothing line named, "Sag Harbor."
♦ My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I'm pretty sure she was hitting on me.
♦ My 60 year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I'm worried about the 175 pounds I've gained since then.
♦ Denny's has a slogan, "If it's your birthday, the meal is on us." If you're in Denny's and it's your birthday, your life sucks!
♦ The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today. I'm pretty sure she's going to get me something.
♦The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.
♦ I think it's pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.
♦ Money can't buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!
♦ The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.
Czech city of Trebic 080618
You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
The usual translation is printed above and indeed is the way the verse is generally interpreted. As a result, the question is often raised, "How can people have the same love for others as they have for themselves? Isn't this demand unrealistic?"
If, however, we look more carefully at the original Hebrew, the question disappears. The Torah is stating here a definition of "love": ve'ahavta, the sensation or the experience of love, is lerei'acha kamocha, when you wish for another that which you wish for yourself.
What some people consider love may be nothing more than a self-serving relationship. They may "love" something because it satisfies their needs, but when the object cannot satisfy the need, or the need itself disappears, the love evaporates.
True love is not self-serving, but self-giving. We love only when we have as intense a desire to please the other person as to be pleased ourselves. Such an attitude calls for sacrifice, because it may be that we will have to deprive ourselves in order to provide what will please the other person.
As children, we are selfish. As we mature, we should develop a spiritual love, which is quite different from our childish physical love. This spiritual, other-directed love can withstand all challenges. As the Song of Songs says, Even abundant waters cannot extinguish love (8:7).
Today I shall ... ... try to avoid the self-centered love of my childhood and replace it with a true love for the person I claim to love, even when it demands great personal sacrifice.
New research indicates pregnancy, childbirth may protect against Dementia
NEW RESEARCH suggests that changes in hormones and the immune system may protect women from cognitive impairment later in life.
Women make up some 60% of Alzheimer's disease patients in the United States. Over her lifetime, a woman is almost twice as likely as a man to develop the memory-robbing condition. New research offers tantalizing clues as to why that might be, suggesting either hormonal influences or pregnancy-related changes in the immune system – or both – may nudge a woman's risk for dementia in one direction or the other.
In a comprehensive study that tracked almost 15,000 US women from middle age into their senior years, researchers found that women who gave birth to three or more children were less likely than those who had a single child to develop dementia.
Reporting their findings Monday, the authors of the new research said also that women whose lifetime span of fertility was shorter appeared more likely to develop dementia than were those who began menstruating earlier.
The new findings, reported at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in Chicago, offer an early clue that hormones, specifically estrogen, might exert some influence on a woman's risk of dementia. They emerged from the first study to explore women's lifetime dementia prospects by tracking a very large group of women over a long period – for some, as long as 53 years.
In other research presented Monday, a pilot study that captured the pregnancy histories of 133 British women offered evidence that a female's likelihood of developing dementia declined as the number of months she had spent pregnant rose.
In many ways, those findings are consistent with the study suggesting a hormonal influence on dementia risk in women. But the author of the pilot study, UCLA anthropologist Molly Fox, said her findings suggest another influence on a woman's dementia risk – the profound changes in the immune system wrought by pregnancy.
Collectively, the new research marks a first-ever effort to explore the underpinnings of gender differences in dementia. That effort is certain to uncover insights into the factors that influence the risk of cognitive decline as we age, and possibly ways to counter that risk in both men and women.
For decades, researchers presumed that women were more likely than men to develop dementia because they are more likely than men to survive into old age. As a disease of aging, their reasoning went, dementia is more likely to affect the longer-lived sex. BY SUGGESTING possible roles for hormones and the immune system, the new research has offered some intriguing alternative hypotheses: that women, who evolved to spend much of their fertile years in pregnancy, might long have accrued protections against dementia equal to a man's. But as families have become smaller, women have lived longer, and their reproductive years have come to account for a smaller share of their lives, it's possible that women's dementia risk has risen.
That the female hormone estrogen is at work is suggested by several of the large study's findings. From 1964 to 1973, the undertaking enrolled female members of Kaiser Permanente ages 40 to 55. Researchers initially collected data on the number of children the women had birthed, how many miscarriages they had suffered, and the ages at which they began and ceased to menstruate. In addition to recording the women's race and educational levels, they tracked other midlife health conditions, including smoking, high blood pressure and obesity, which are known to influence dementia risk.
Between 1996 and 2017, the researchers combed the women's health records for evidence of dementia.
Compared with women with one child, women who had three or more children had a 12% lower risk of dementia. And that effect was still seen after accounting for the other factors collected by researchers. In addition, with each additional pregnancy miscarriage a woman reported, her average risk of dementia rose by 8%. Women who had suffered three or more miscarried pregnancies were 47% more likely to develop dementia than were women who reported no miscarriages.
Finally, women whose first menstrual period occurred between the ages of 10 and 13 were 22% less likely to develop dementia later in life than were women who did not begin to menstruate until age 16.
Paola Gilsanz, a Kaiser Permanente researcher in Oakland and co-author of the new study, acknowledged that the new findings will do little to help women stave off dementia. Many sex-related hormones are involved in reproduction, and they wax and wane in complex patterns. "And you can't really change when you get your first period or whether you have a miscarriage," she added, uncovering a link between pregnancies, periods and miscarriages.
"It's more that these provide a window into sex-specific modes of action" that may underlie dementia, Gilsanz said. If researchers can get a better handle on what factors contribute to dementia, or to its prevention, they are a few steps closer to identifying drugs, dietary influences or behavioral changes that might mimic those effects.
The smaller of the two studies suggests that pregnancy-related changes in a woman's immune function may be at work. During pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman's immune system undergoes dramatic reorganization. To allow the implantation and development of a fetus that could be construed as a foreign invader, the immune system needs to selectively ease its normal level of vigilance. THIS RETRENCHMENT helps explain why for some disorders linked to the immune system's hypervigilance – autoimmune disorders such as allergies and multiple sclerosis – pregnancy reduces risk or eases symptoms, said Molly Fox, the author of the second study. And there's evidence that some pregnancy-related changes in "immunoregulation" persist over a woman's lifetime.
If immune over-reaction is a feature of dementias such as Alzheimer's disease (and there is strong evidence that it is), then there might be some protective value to getting the immune system to "stand down" during early pregnancy, Fox added.
Fox found that for each additional month of pregnancy a woman experienced, her average probability of developing dementia declined by 5.5%.
Fox said the results of her pilot study "would hopefully... expand the conversation beyond just one hormone – estrogen – and encourage larger studies and future research" to tease out women's dementia risk.
Other research presented Monday expands the picture of women's dementia risk in ways that offer other insights. One study uncovered a curious difference between men and women whose brains have begun to show the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease: That even as physiological evidence of Alzheimer's mounts, women tend to perform better at verbal memory tasks, such as recalling words and names.
That advantage may act as a "cognitive reserve" for women, serving them well as they navigate the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease, the authors of the new research said. But because families often seek help when they first detect a loved one's "searching for words," a woman's verbal resilience may also delay recognition of the onset of dementia.
By measuring the effects of a female's reproductive span and her childbearing history on her risk for dementia, the new research is also likely to refine efforts to identify women early who are at higher risk of the disease.
No medication has been found to be effective in altering the course of Alzheimer's disease. But mounting evidence suggests that the processes leading to memory loss start decades before behavioral symptoms are evident, and that with widespread early interventions, some cases can be delayed or prevented. That has put a premium on early identification of those at risk.
In an interview, Suzanne Craft, a professor of geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University, called the new studies an important first step in understanding dementia risk in women. Studies that look at women's life courses can generate hypotheses about the mechanisms that drive dementia – or that protect a woman's brain from its ravages, said Craft, who moderated a panel on the new research Monday morning in Chicago.
Craft said that researchers now should explore these hypotheses in animal studies, clinical trials and in populations of women whose life courses and childbearing patterns are different than those explored here.
(Los Angeles Times/TNS
The ultimate pest controller
If you've had a problem with pests where you live, it probably wasn't life-threatening. Maybe it was an infestation of ants or termites, but not any creature that could kill you in 15 minutes if it wanted to. For one pest controller in Kandahar, however, dealing with deadly wild animals is a daily chore. His job is to make sure the people at the Kandahar air base are safe from the wildlife that teems at its edges, especially when they occasionally get in
How do we know that the Torah we have today is the same text given on Mount Sinai? Maybe it's all just a game of "broken telephone.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The Torah was originally dictated from God to Moses, letter for letter. From there, the Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4) tells us:
Before his death, Moses wrote 13 Torah Scrolls. Twelve of these were distributed to each of the 12 Tribes. The 13th was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (along with the Tablets). If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would "testify" against him.
Similarly, an authentic "proof text" was always kept in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, against which all other scrolls were checked. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sages would periodically perform global checks to guard against any scribal errors.
To eliminate any chance of error, the Talmud enumerates more than 20 factors mandatory for a Torah scroll to be considered "kosher." This is the Torah's built-in security system. Should any one of these factors be lacking, the scroll then has the same status as one of a printed book. It does not possess the sanctity of a Torah scroll, and is not to be used for a public Torah reading.
The meticulous process includes these following guidelines:
- A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is added.
- A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is deleted.
- The scribe must be a learned, pious Jew, who has undergone special training and certification.
- All materials (parchment, ink, quill) must conform to strict specifications, and be prepared specifically for the purpose of writing a Torah Scroll.
- The scribe may not write even one letter into a Torah Scroll by heart. Rather, he must have a second, kosher scroll opened before him at all times.
- The scribe must pronounce every word out loud before copying it from the correct text.
- Every letter must have sufficient white space surrounding it. If one letter touched another in any spot, it invalidates the entire scroll.
- If a single letter was so marred that it cannot be read at all, or resembles another letter (whether the defect is in the writing, or is due to a hole, tear or smudge), this invalidates the entire scroll. Each letter must be sufficiently legible so that even an ordinary schoolchild could distinguish it from other, similar letters.
- The scribe must put precise space between words, so that one word will not look like two words, or two words look like one word.
- The scribe must not alter the design of the sections, and must conform to particular line-lengths and paragraph configurations.
- A Torah Scroll in which any mistake has been found, cannot be used, and must be fixed within 30 days, or buried.
Maintaining the accuracy of any document as ancient and as large as the Torah would be very challenging even under the best of circumstances. But consider that throughout history, Jewish communities were subject to widespread persecutions and exile. Over the last 2,000 years, Jews have been spread to the four corners of the world, from Yemen to Poland, from Australia to Alaska.
Other historical factors make the accurate transmission of the Torah all the more difficult. For example, the destruction of the Temple nearly 2,000 years ago saw the dissolution of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish central authority which traditionally would lead and unify the Jewish people in case of any disagreements.
So let's investigate the facts as we have them today: If we collect the oldest Torah scrolls and compare them, we can see if any garbling exists, and if so, how much.
There are 304,805 letters in the Torah. If you were to guess, how many do you think are in question?
The fact is, that after all the trials and tribulations, communal dislocations and persecutions, only the Yemenite Torah scrolls contain any difference from the rest of world Jewry. For hundreds of years, the Yemenite community was not part of the global checking system, and a total of nine letter-differences are found in their scrolls.
These are all spelling differences. In no case do they change the meaning of the word. For example, how would you spell the word "color?" C-O-L-O-R. That's how you spell it in America. But in Canada, it's spelled with a "u," C-O-L-O-U-R.
Such is the nature of the few spelling differences between Torah scrolls today. The results over thousands of years are remarkable – especially when compared to other documents such as the Christian Bible (which has approximately the same number of words).
Here are the nine discrepancies:
Genesis 4:13 - "M'n'soh" (whether to have a Vav before the Alef)
Genesis 9:29 - "V'yiyu" (whether to have a Vav at the end of the word)
Genesis 25:6 - "Pilagshim" (whether to have a Yud before the Mem) - ibid 25:6.
Exodus ch. 29 - "Aharon" (whether to have a Vav before the Nun)
Leviticus 7:22 - whether to have parsha separation
Leviticus 7:28 - whether to have parsha separation
Numbers 7:1 - "Kalot" (whether to have a Vav before the Tav)
Deut. 1:13 - "V'Asimem" (whether to have a Yud after the Sin)
Deut. 23:2 - "Daka" (whether to have an Alef or a Hey at the end)
Such is the nature of the few spelling differences between Torah scrolls today. The results over thousands of years are remarkable!
The Christian Bible has better conditions for preserving the text – it is about half as old, Christians haven't gone through nearly as much exile and persecution as Jews have, and Christianity has always had a central authority (the Vatican) to ensure the accuracy of their text.
Yet the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, a book written to prove the validity of the New Testament, says: "A study of 150 Greek [manuscripts] of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings... It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the [manuscript] is wholly uniform."
Other scholars report there are some 200,000 variants in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament, representing about 400 variant readings which cause doubt about textual meaning; 50 of these are of great significance.
The Torah has nine spelling variants – with absolutely no effect on the meaning of the words. The Christian Bible has over 200,000 variants and in 400 instances the variants change the meaning of the text.
The point of course is not to denigrate Christianity. Rather, this comparison demonstrates the remarkable accuracy of the Jewish transmission of Torah.
(sources: "Divrei Chachamim" Y.D. 27 by Rabbi Shalom Yitzhak Halevi; "Divrei Yatziv" Y.D. 170 by Rabbi Y. Halberstam; "Yechaveh Da'at" 6:56 by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; Aish HaTorah's Discovery Seminar)
Come and possess the good land which HaShem swore to your forefathers"
Av 15, 5778/July 27, 2018
The Torah reading of Va'etchanan begins with Moshe's impassioned plea to G-d to allow him to enter into the land of Israel with his people: "Pray let me cross over and see the good land that is on the other side of the Jordan, this good mountain and the Lebanon." (Deuteronomy 3:25) Despite Moshe's entreaties, (and tradition has it that Moshe directed five hundred and fifteen separate prayers toward G-d concerning the matter), G-d turns down Moshe's request and instructs him to desist from his petitions and accept his fate. Indeed, Moshe will not plead with G-d about this ever again, but this does not in any way diminish his concern for his people's future in the land G-d promised them. In fact, Moshe immediately turns his thoughts to the nation, saying, "And now, O Israel, hearken to the statutes and to the judgments which I teach you to do, in order that you may live, and go in and possess the land which HaShem, G-d of your forefathers, is giving you." (Deuteronomy 4:1)
The connection which Moshe makes between hearkening to G-d's statutes, that is, faithfully fulfilling the Torah commandments, and entering into, living in and possessing the land is not a casual connection. It's the entire connection. Fulfilling G-d's commandments and being sovereign in the land of Israel is the entire Torah. And this intrinsic and vital connection is one that Moshe will continue to repeat and emphasize and stress and state and underscore throughout the remainder of the book of Deuteronomy, that is, till the very day that he dies.
The children of Israel inherited G-d's promise to their forefathers that they shall dwell forever in the land of Israel, and they also received in the wilderness, at the foot of Mount Sinai, the eternal Torah covenant with G-d. What Moshe is teaching them is that the two are intrinsically intertwined. It is not simply that more than half of the Torah commandments can only be fulfilled in the land of Israel. It is much more than that: the land of Israel is the children of Israel's soulmate. The land is a living, breathing partner in Israel's livelihood and well-being, spiritual, as well as physical, and in Israel's intimate connection with G-d, who Himself has chosen to dwell in the heart of the land.
The Torah is not a creed that one can fully observe wherever he may be in G-d's world. The Torah, whose full name is the Torah of Israel, is not just the Torah of the people of Israel and the G-d of Israel, but also the Torah of the Land of Israel. The nation of Israel can only be the nation of Israel in the land of Israel, and to fully achieve this objective the nation of Israel needs to adhere to the Torah of Israel. It is within the context of this knowledge that Moshe goes on to re-convey to the people the Ten Commandments received at Sinai, to emphasize that these commandments, universal as they are, must be observed by the people of Israel as a nation, within the boundaries of the land of Israel. The nation of Israel lives and thrives in the land of Israel, by the Torah of Israel, bequeathed to Israel by the G-d of Israel.
Moshe cannot emphasize this essential equation enough, and he will repeat it over and over again as he prepares his people to enter and possess the land. As obvious as this connection may seem, apparently it just cannot be emphasized enough. Just this week the Israeli Knesset approved what is known as the Nationality Law, in which it is stated that, among other things, "A. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established. B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination. C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people."
While this new law is basically a repetition of Israel's 1948 Declaration of Independence, and while it may simply be restating what to many of us is obvious, the new law, nevertheless caused a wave of protest among some of Israel's Jewish citizens, who, perhaps, didn't want to be reminded of what it means to be the nation of Israel in the land of Israel. And while the new law falls short of directly mentioning the need to, as a nation, adhere to the Torah of Israel, it does further remind us that: "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel... The state's language is Hebrew... The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles... The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation... The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state... [and] The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state; Non-Jews have a right to maintain days of rest on their Sabbaths and festivals.. "
Moshe himself knew that Israel needed to be reminded from time to time of its purpose and destiny and why this destiny can only be pursued as a sovereign nation in the land of Israel. Indeed, at the close of Va'etchanan, Moshe again, states it, simply and succinctly: "Diligently keep the commandments of HaShem, your G-d, and His testimonies. and His statutes, which He has commanded you. And you shall do what is proper and good in the eyes of HaShem, in order that it may be well with you, and that you may come and possess the good land which HaShem swore to your forefathers." (ibid 6:17-18)
See you tomorrow-Its good to be home in Jerusalem
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States