Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Joshua of the Bible By Shlomo Chaim Kesselman

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Courageous Progress

Choose to focus on the progress you are making. You have infinitely more courage now than you did when you were born. Since each courageous act makes you a more courageous person, by focusing on progress, you will almost always feel that you are increasing your level of courage.

This perspective will give you the encouragement to continue developing this quality. Even if you feel that you are backsliding, you still have made progress from the place where you were when you started your journey in life.

Speaking of Journeys, if I don't get back to you so quickly, it is because I am traveling. As the cartoon below says, "sometimes you need a vacation". August is the best time of year to take it.

Love Yehuda Lave

[Man was created in God's image, and the Israelites are children unto God.] It is an extra measure of love that man was informed that he was created in God's image ... it is an extra measure of love that they [the Israelites] were informed that they were called children unto God (Ethics of the Fathers 3:18).


It is one thing to be gifted, and another thing to know that one is gifted.

A woman who was admitted for treatment for alcoholism insisted on test after test to determine whether she had suffered brain damage because of her use of alcohol. When she could not be reassured, I became suspicious that some- thing was preventing her from accepting this reassurance.

A long psychiatric interview revealed the reason for her reluctance. This young woman wanted the test to prove that she indeed had sustained brain damage.

Why would anyone wish to have such a terrible diagnosis? The answer is that this young woman feared taking on the challenges of life, and brain damage would have provided her with a lifetime of excellent excuses: "Stop trying to help me stay sober. It's too late. Sobriety is difficult enough to achieve for people who have a properly intact brain. I am beyond recovery - I am brain damaged! You expect me to go to school or hold a job? I am too brain damaged for that."

As horrible a diagnosis as brain damage may be, for this young woman it had a redeeming feature: it would absolve her of responsibility. Knowing that one has talents and abilities makes one responsible to use them.

We have been informed that we have God-like attributes and that we are the children of God. It may be more comfortable for us to make believe this is not so, but we should not deny the truth.

Today I shall ...
confront myself with the realities of my abilities and avoid taking refuge in a delusion of inadequa

Hiking In And Around Jerusalem: Outdoor Swimming and bathing Spots Zev Stub     Monday, 11 June

From the website inandaroundjerusalem.com (with permission), a website for outdoor activities - hikes (tiyulim), walks, family cycling and outdoor swimming - in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Mountains, Judean Desert, north and south of Jerusalem, and Shefela (up to 75 minutes drive from Jerusalem, with directions for public transport), with interesting articles on the history, geography, geology and botany of Israel.

Finding an outdoor swimming location for your family is a bit like choosing a vacation resort. You need to plan according to your requirements. Do you need a wading pool for your toddler, a children's pool for your kids, a water slide to keep the kids occupied, lap swimming for you the parents and grandparents, or separate-sex swimming?  

The list below should be helpful in keeping everybody happy and keeping you within your budget. 

Many of the Jerusalem hotels also have outdoor swimming pools that are open to the public, but unless you are a guest at the hotel these are usually pricey. Plus they rarely come with anything more than a towel and a deckchair. 


Tucked away in the Jerusalem Forest, the Zippori Center offers an olympic-sized pool, incredible views, and separate swimming sessions for women everyday except Saturday. It is not very convenient for public transport though. 


This outdoor pool in Maale Adumim has a kiddy's wading pool and nice lawns. There is separate swimming everyday for men and women, but only in the indoor pool.


This has good lap swiming, a children's pool, a respectable water slide, and interesting things to visit in the kibbutz grounds.


There is something magical about going high into the Judean Mountains, and especially to a place like Shoresh, which is perched on a mountain. This pool has a partially shaded toddler's pool with a slide and fountain, and separate kids' and adults' swimming areas in the pool.


This swimming pool at the entrance to the moshav Mesilat Zion, close to Bet Shemesh, is by far the best pool around with respect to activities for kids. It has an inflatable water slide, other slides, an omega from an adjoining hill into the pool, and free table top games, such as air hockey, foosball and ping pong. There is also a partially shaded toddler's pool.


This large spring pool on route 385, not far from the Biblical Zoo, is absolutely free. It is only accessible by car or bicycle, is over the former Green Line, and there are no lawns (so bring something to sit or lie on or just stay in the water). 

At this time the pool is empty of water pending improvements at the site. Please do let us know if you find the pool functional.


There are green lawns and spring water bathing for kids at Ein Hemed in the Judean Mountains not far from Jerusalem. There is a charge to enter the park - but less than for a swimming pool.


Ein Lavan is part of the Jerusalem Park system and is one of the most delightful pools in the Jerusalem area. It is close to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and can be easily reached by public transport. It is an ideal place for a family picnic and swim, as a youth hangout, and for a trip with the grandkids. The kids will love the pools.


The Palm Pool at Ein Prat in the Judean Desert is not far from Jerusalem, is deep at 2.5 meters, is just big enough to do some real swimming, and has a constant temperature of 20 degree C whatever the season. There is a lifeguard present throughout the year. There is an admission charge for Ein Prat. Ein Prat offers beautiful hiking. Small kids will also delight in wading in the nahal in the Eucalyptos Grove. 


The artesian pool at Ein Mabu'a in the Judean Desert not far from Jerusalem is one of the best kept secrets around. (But no longer I guess!). It's not deep or big enough for adult swimming, but it's great for cooling off in the summer, and the kids will love it. The hiking is incredible too. It's all free. But you need a car to get there.


The Almog Resort Village at Kibbutz Almog close to the Dead Sea has a very nice large swimming pool. It is primarily for those with a yearly subscription and visitors to the Resort Village, but single visits are permitted during the week, although not on Saturday or Jewish holidays. On Fridays call first to check.


Enot Tsukim is an oasis by the Dead Sea close to Qumran. There are pools for all sizes, including the Palm pool which is deep enough for adult swimming. There are many picnic tables, all with stunning views. There is an admission charge. 


A recently built natural-style rock pool has been built at the base of a mountain adjacent to the community of Mevo'ot Yericho, situated on the northern border of the ancient city of Jericho. The pool is a project of the community, but is open to the public at no charge. 

This pool is temporarily closed because of flood damage. 


Many people are unaware of the existence of a Nature Reserve and spring pool only about a 35 to 40-minute walk from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station or light rail stop. The pool is by the ruins of the Arab village of Lifta and is deep enough for kids to swim in. 


If you have gotten as far as Shiloh in the Shomron or you are at Ariel, think about driving a bit further to the kids pool and garden at Rechalim. It's about an 18-minute drive further along route 60 from Shiloh. The pool is just inside the gate of the community, and visitors are welcome. The swimming is fine for kids.There is wading for toddlers.There is no admission charge.

New law to allow purchase of medication at any pharmacy?

Knesset committee approves for vote a bill which would allow Israelis to insist on paper prescription, purchase medications at any pharmacy.

Contact Editor Arutz Sheva Staff, 11/06/18 09:55Share
PharmacyMoshe Shai/FLASH90

The Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved for vote a law which would allow all Israelis, regardless of which health fund they use, to purchase prescription medications at all pharmacies, Calcalist reported.

The bill is backed by Yisrael Beytenu MKs Oded Forer, Yulia Malinovsky, and Robert Ilatov, as well as by Joint Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi.

Currently, Israelis can only purchase prescription medications at a pharmacy run by their health fund or a pharmacy which works with their health fund.

In recent years, patients' abilities to choose where to purchase medications has been severely limited by the use of digital prescriptions, visible only to health fund pharmacies and to the larger pharmacy chains.

A secondary result of the switch to digital prescriptions was that smaller, private pharmacies lost business.

According to Calcalist, the new law would allow patients issued a digital prescription to request a print version, allowing them to choose where to purchase their medications.

Top 50 Greatest Songs 1960-1969

My grandfather once told me that the 1960s were two different musical decades. The first half (approx. 1960-1963) drew a lot of similarities to the 1950s, with acts like Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, The Everly Brothers, and Connie Francis remaining popular. As most of us know, this all rapidly changed in the mid 60s with the British Invasion. The United States intervention in the Vietnam War saw a counterculture movement spread across the US and the UK. Suddenly there was a burst of color and psychedelia across the world, changing the music scene forever. To quote TsorT (my source for the song list) "By the end of the decade music was a major industry."

If the court finds [the thief] guilty, he shall pay twofold (Exodus 22:8).


The Talmud explains that an armed robber can make restitution simply by returning the stolen item. A thief, who steals in stealth, must return the object and pay a heavy fine.

Why is the thief punished more severely? By operating in stealth, he indicated that he feared being observed by humans, but was not concerned that God saw his deeds. In other words, he essentially denied the providence of God. While the robber's act was just as dishonest, he at least equated people with God, in that he operated in full view of both. Hence, although his attitude was one of defiance of God, it was not necessarily one of denial.

Sometimes we do things that are not ethically sound, and in order to avoid social sanction and to maintain a reputation of decency, we may act in such a manner that it appears to be ethically proper. While we may indeed succeed in this deception, we must remember that there is One Who cannot be deceived, and Who knows the truth of our behavior. We should realize that acting in such a manner is essentially a denial as well as a defiance of God.

It is evident now why the thief pays double. The robber pays only for defiance of God, whereas the thief must pay for defiance and denial.

People who think they are willing to sacrifice their very lives rather than deny God should reflect on whether they might not actually deny God for the sake of mere monetary gain. The acid test of loyalty to God is not just in martyrdom, but in living honestly.

Today I shall ...

rededicate myself to honesty in all my affairs and realize that dishonest behavior constitutes a denial of God.

Joshua of the Bible By Shlomo Chaim Kesselman

Joshua (Yehoshua in Hebrew) was Moses' successor who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. The Bible describes Joshua as a devoted student, a saintly man, and a brilliant military commander. Joshua led his people on all fronts, exhorting them to serve G‑d and uphold the Torah, while at the same time leading them in military conquest. Born in Egypt in 2406 (1355 BCE), he led his people for 28 years until his passing in the year 2516 (1245 BCE). His story is recorded in the Book of Joshua.

A Faithful Disciple

Joshua, son of Nun, was from the tribe of Ephraim. His name was originally Hoshea (Hosea) but was changed by Moses to Yehoshua (Joshua). He was Moses' faithful attendant, about whom the Bible attests that he "never moved from the tent"1 of Moses. He was devoted heart and soul to his master, and waited by the foot of Mount Sinai all while Moses was atop communicating with G‑d. He formed an important link in the chain of transition, since Moses taught Joshua the Torah, and he passed on those teachings to the elders, who relayed the teachings to those who came after them.2 And when Moses would go to the "Tent of Meeting" to commune with G‑d, Joshua would accompany him. The first to stand up in defense of his master's honor, Joshua was infuriated when Eldad and Medad prophesied about Moses' death (read the story in the Bible here).

The Righteous Spy

Joshua's most notable exploit in the 5 Books of Moses took place during the episode of the spies (Numbers 13-14). He was chosen to represent the tribe of Ephraim among the group of twelve leaders who travelled to Canaan to scout out the land. Upon returning from their mission, ten spies frightened the people with tales of giants and "a land that consumes its inhabitants,"3 declaring it unconquerable. Only Joshua and Caleb ben Jephunneh (from the tribe of Judah) dissented, and attempted to no avail to convince the Jews that G‑d would indeed deliver the land to them. The Jews believed the report of the ten libelous spies, so G‑d promised that they would not enter the land, save the two righteous spies, Joshua and Caleb.

It was right before the departure of the spies that Moses, fearing the spies would fail in their mission, added the letter "yud" to Hoshea's (Hosea) name, changing it to Yehoshua (Joshua), which means "may G‑d save you."

Read the Full Story of the Spies

Moses' Successor

Before he passed on, Moses publicly appointed Joshua his successor, placing his hands on his disciple's head, transferring his spirit. And on the 7th of Nissan 2488, once the 30-day mourning period for Moses concluded, Joshua received G‑d's command to prepare the children of Israel to cross the Jordan river. Three days later, Joshua led the people through the miraculously split river.

Joshua's mission was clear. He was to enter the land, conquer its inhabitants, and divide the land into portions for all the tribes. G‑d promised him success in his conquest; "No man shall stand up before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will not weaken My grasp on you nor will I abandon you. Be strong and have courage; for you will cause this nation to inherit the land that I have sworn to their ancestors to give to them." G‑d also cautioned him to remain steadfast in his commitment to Torah and Mitzvos. 4

Joshua's Wife: Rahab

Immediately after crossing the Jordan, Joshua sent two spies, Caleb and Pinchas, to the city of Jericho, the Jews' first point of attack. Disguised, the spies made their way to an inn owned by a woman named Rahab. When the spies were discovered and soldiers were dispatched to capture them, Rahab saved their lives. She asked them that just as she had saved their lives , so should they save hers and her family's. She declared her faith in the Jewish G‑d, and revealed that the people of Canaan were petrified of the Jews and that they knew the Jews would overcome them. The spies gave Rahab their word and snuck out of the city.

Later, after the Jews kept their word and saved Rahab and her family, she converted to Judaism. She was a very special woman, and our Sages teach that G‑d seeks out righteous people from the nations and draws them to His faith, citing Rahab and Jethro as examples. So sincere and holy was she, Joshua eventually married her. Eight prophets, including Jeremiah, descended from their union.5

A Capable Military Commander

For seven years, Joshua led the people in battle, vanquishing the 31 kings and conquering their lands. And for the seven years after that, Joshua oversaw the division of the land amongst the twelve tribes, allocating a portion to each family. One facet of Joshua's persona was of a devoted Torah student and another was his military acumen and pragmatic leadership skills. In fact, the very first time Joshua is mentioned in the Bible is when, shortly after the Jewish People were redeemed from Egypt and were traveling in the desert, they were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses ordered Joshua to gather fighters and command them in battle. And while Moses prayed for their welfare, Joshua and his soldiers fought and defeated the Amalekites.

The Wall of Jericho and The Stopping of the Sun

In Joshua's conquest of the Holy Land, G‑d was with him every step of the way, and in certain instances the supernatural was clearly at work. The first city the Jews conquered, Jericho, had impenetrable walls. G‑d commanded Joshua to circle the walls for six days and on the seventh to have the priest blow shofars. When they did so on the seventh day, the city walls were swallowed up by the ground and the Jews conquered Jericho with ease. Only Rahab and her family were spared.

Another time, when the Jews were fighting the five Emorite kings at Gibeon, night time was approaching and the battle was going to have to be put off. Joshua commanded the sun to stand still until his soldiers achieved victory. The sun stood still and the day was extended, enabling the Jews to defeat the Emorites on that day. G‑d also hurled giant stones at the Emorites, smiting many. 6

A Leader's Farewell

Like his predecessor had done before him, two years before his passing Joshua gathered the nation in Shechem. The future was uncertain, the land was not entirely settled, and pockets of enemies remained scattered throughout the land. There was the possibility of assimilation with the Canaanite tribes and the acquisition of their perverted practices. Joshua warned the people to guard against assimilation with the idolatrous natives. He urged them to apply themselves assiduously to the study of the Torah and to keep its precepts. Only by Israel's devoted loyalty to the Torah would they be assured a healthy national existence. The nation swore their fealty to G‑d and his Torah.

Two years later, at the age of 110 , Joshua passed away. He was buried in Timnath-Serah in Mount Ephraim, and was deeply mourned by his people. The Torah testifies that the Jewish People remained loyal to G‑d, studied His Torah and obeyed his commandments for all the days of Joshua's life.

In addition to his roles as leader and warrior, Joshua is the second link in the chain of the transmission of Torah, receiving it from Moses and passing it on to the "Judges" who succeeded him.

A Special Leader

Whereas Moses was the leader of the Jews when they were in the desert, Joshua was a real-world leader. In the desert, the Jews were able to serve G‑d easily since they had no worldly concerns. G‑d's clouds of glory sheltered them, manna fell from heaven to sustain them, and a miraculous well provided them with water. When they entered the land though, things became difficult, physically and spiritually. They had to fight for their land, had to provide for themselves, and had to adapt to the grind of real life. When the going got tough, Joshua stood up to the task of leading them. He weathered the odds -on the battlefield and in the study hall- conquering and settling, all while inspiring his people to stay faithful to G‑d.

The Talmud compares Moses and Joshua to the sun and moon, respectively.7 Moses was like the sun, the source of light, because he delivered the Jewish People the Torah and brought the light of G‑dliness into the world. He represents a top-to-bottom approach to serving G‑d. Joshua, on the other hand, is compared to the moon, which has no light of its own and merely reflects the sun's light. This represents a bottom-up approach to G‑dly service; the idea of transforming and elevating the physical world into a "moon", a vessel for G‑dly light. And although both approaches are necessary and complement each other, Joshua's mode has the unique advantage in that he achieved that the world itself should become G‑dly, not just that it had G‑dliness imposed onto it. 8

FOOTNOTES 1. Exodus 33:11. 2. Avot 1:1. 3. Numbers 13:32. 4. Joshua 1. 5. Megillah 14:b. 6. Joshua 10:11. 7. Bava Batra 75a. 8. Ohr Hatorah Vaetchanan 96.

See you tomorrow


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Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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