Friday, August 3, 2018

When FDR wanted to silence the Jews and what is Biblical Criticism

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Bring It Home

The mitzvah to develop our character is the mitzvah to "walk in the ways of our Creator." Viewing events and situations in this light will elevate the mundane, for in the ultimate view of life nothing is mundane. Every moment presents its unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

By acting and reacting in ways that are kind, compassionate, understanding, and sensitive, you emulate the Creator and bring the Shechinah (Divine presence) into your home. No accomplishment could be greater.

Love Yehuda Lave

Biblical Criticism

I have heard many arguments for a multiple authorship/editing of the Torah. Is there any reason to doubt the seemingly convincing conclusions of the secular university Bible scholars? Are there contemporary Biblical scholars of note who dissent from the "unanimous" view of their peers that the Torah text is from man?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:


A complete discussion of Bible Criticism is beyond the scope of one email, but I can try to cover a few of the basic points.

One claim that the Bible Critics use for "multiple authorship" is the fact that the Torah uses different words to refer to God.

Of course this is true, because a human being can never fathom the totality of God. We can only describe "aspects" of His existence. For example, two primary terms the Torah uses for God are "YHVH" (the Four-Letter Name) and Elohim. YHVH represents the attribute of mercy (see Exodus 34:6), and Elohim is the attribute of judgment (see Exodus 22:8). Assigning different names to those various aspects is a key to deeper understanding of who God is. It's like describing "light" by the various colors visible through a prism.

Another point raised by the Bible critics is the subtle stylistic differences of the Torah text. For instance, if you carefully analyze Shakespeare (or any other human writer), you will see that the writer prefers certain sounds and phrasing structures. For example (and I am making up this example), lets say that Shakespeare will frequently end a word with an "sh" sound, and then follow it immediately with a word beginning with the letter "b." Most likely the author does this subconsciously. If a "new manuscript" of Shakespeare were discovered, the experts would run it through a computer, and if this same "sh" and "b" pattern was completely non-apparent, then the manuscript is likely a fake.

So too, Bible critics have applied this methodology to the Torah and found that it is not consistent. This criticism, however, is seriously flawed, because it applies a "human" phenomenon to God! In other words, the Bible critics start with their own premise – that the Bible was written by man – and then apply those human standards to it. But if the Bible was written by God, then obviously God has a consciousness far beyond those human constraints.

This idea has been corroborated by many researchers, for example Chaim Shore, a non-religious engineer at the Univ. of Tel Aviv, whose computer documentation on the Book of Genesis revealed a single author.

As a third example of multiple authorship, Bible critics will cite the two different creation stories which appear in the first chapters of Genesis. Yet that fails to consider the deep theological reasons for two different creation stories: It describes the complexity of human beings, who operate in multiple dimensions, and then merge those perspectives to create a holistic life approach. This spiritual phenomenon is detailed in many rabbinic writings, including Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's "Lonely Man of Faith," which is available in English.

A Guide to the New Palestinian Authority License Plates

Drivers in Judea and Samaria will soon begin to notice a variety of letters in English on the license plates of Palestinian Authority vehicle and a new numbering format. The licenses will appear on new PA vehicles, and vehicles that have changed classifications.

There will be an individual number, a dash, followed by 4 numbers, another dash, and then a letter in English.

The first number is the region in which the vehicle is registered:

Gaza (1, 2, 3),
Jenin and Tubas (4),
Tulkarm and Qalqilia (5),
Ramallah and Jericho (6),
Shechem (Nablus) and Salfit (7),
Jerusalem and Bethlehem (8),
Hebron, Dura and Yatta (9).

The letters at the end will be used to increase the numerical capacity of the licenses, and identify their classification. It appears the last position will begin the series with a number, and when those numbers are completed, they will switch to letters.

Letters A-M will be for private vehicles. N-T will be commercial vehicles, U is for motorcycles (surprisingly, not M), V will be for agricultural tractors and W is for engineering equipment such as bulldozers and cranes.

According to the licensing authority of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Transport and Communications, one of the reasons for the introduction of the new license plate numbering and classification system is that they are close to running out of unique numbers in the Ramallah province.

Public vehicles will retain their old licensing structure, identified by the number 30, as will rental cars, which bear the number 32.

There is an alternate explanation we received via WhatsApp that says the letters will indicate the region. We believe this explanation is incorrect, but are including it below:

According to that version the Alphabet will be used as follows:
A = Jenin
B = Tul Karem
C = Tubas
D = Shechem (Nablus)
E = Kalkilya
F = Salfit
G = Jericho
H = Ramallah
J = Jerusalem
K = Bethlehem
L = Hebron
M = Dura
N = Yatta

When FDR wanted to silence the Jews

The Jews in FDR's inner circle were notoriously afraid to raise Jewish concerns with the president. By Rafael Medoff

Although American presidents do not enjoy being criticized, they usually have a healthy respect for their opponents' right to dissent.

Usually – but not always.

Seventy-five years ago this summer, president Franklin D. Roosevelt was poised to use the power of his office to silence American Jewish critics of his policies regarding Zionism and the Holocaust.

In late 1942, Roosevelt decided to send a personal envoy to the Middle East to canvass wartime Arab opinion, especially regarding the Palestine conflict.

The emissary he chose was Lt.-Col. Harold Hoskins of the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA), the Beirut- born son of American Protestant missionaries.

Hoskins delivered his report to the president the following spring. The primary threat to the stability of the region, he concluded, was "worldwide [Zionist] propaganda."

Hoskins predicted that "if the issues of a Jewish political state and of a Jewish army continue to be pressed [by Zionist groups] at this time," the Arabs would respond by instigating "a very bloody conflict" and would drag the Allies into it. This would plant "the seeds of a possible third world war."

One of Hoskins's supporters was Maj.- Gen. George V. Strong, head of the US War Department's G-2 intelligence division. Strong claimed that any perceived American backing for Jewish statehood, for letting Jews enter Palestine, or even for just temporarily housing European Jewish refugees in North Africa, would provoke a Muslim "Holy War" that would "result in the death and destruction of several hundred thousand American soldiers."

Lt.-Col. Hoskins advised the president that the only way to head off such a catastrophe was for the Allied leaders to issue a declaration that all "public discussions and activities of a political nature relating to Palestine" were endangering the war effort and therefore should "cease."

The US government has no legal means of enforcing a ban on certain types of speech. But an imperious president knows how to throw his weight around.

Roosevelt understood that the practical impact of such an announcement would be to tar all public expressions of Zionism as undermining the war effort – and that would intimidate most American Jews into silence.

The president jotted "OK – FDR" on the State Department's draft of the declaration. The British quickly gave their approval; they were anxious to muzzle Zionist protests and keep all but a handful of Jews out of Palestine. A date was chosen for the release of the decree: July 27, 1943.

Not many secrets remain secret very long in Washington. Prominent American Jews soon caught wind of the planned declaration and were furious.

Millions of Jews were being slaughtered in Europe – by this time, the news of the Holocaust had been confirmed – and now the Allies were about to close off any hope that Palestine might yet be opened to those fleeing the Nazis.

Congressman Emanuel Celler charged that "the joint statement will, with its 'Silence, please,' drown the clamor of the tortured Nazi victims pleading for a haven of refuge."

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress and the US Zionist movement, hurried to the White House on July 22 to ask the president directly if the Allies really intended to issue a proclamation "enjoining silence with respect to Jewish claims to Palestine."

FDR looked him in the eye – and lied.

"The chief seemed completely in the dark with respect to such [a] statement," Wise reported to Chaim Weizmann the next day.

Many of the Jews closest to FDR were not Zionists, but they, too, vigorously objected to the planned Palestine declaration. Treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., a non-Zionist, said he was "inexpressibly shocked" to learn of the plan "to deprive US citizens of their constitutional liberties."

Presidential speech-writer Samuel Rosenman, an anti-Zionist, feared that if the statement were issued, "the Zionists would inevitably issue a shriek, a public controversy involving Senators, etc., would follow, which would ultimately give the Jews, whether Zionists or not, dangerous publicity as playing politics in a time of crisis." In other words, Jews would be accused of being unpatriotic.

Even Secretary of War Henry Stimson, no great friend of Jewish causes, conceded that Hoskins's predictions of violence in Palestine were "alarmist."

With the story starting to come out in the press, his Jewish advisers clamoring against the plan, and even the War Department keeping its distance, FDR realized the scheme had become too much of a hot potato. He quietly scrapped the declaration.

The story of the never-issued Palestine statement defies the conventional wisdom concerning both the Allied leaders and American Jews.

Franklin Roosevelt and then-British prime minister Winston Churchill presented themselves to the public as stalwart champions of liberal democracy and all that it represents. Yet they were willing to trample on the cherished principle of free speech in order to advance their narrow political goals.

The Jews in FDR's inner circle were notoriously afraid to raise Jewish concerns with the president.

Yet in this instance, they found the courage to protest, even if for somewhat convoluted reasons.

Most of all, this episode points to a phenomenon in American Jewish life that is not limited to the 1940s.

Jewish leaders frequently argue that they are unable to influence this or that policy, either because of high levels of antisemitism or fear of straining relations with the president or other officials.

But the story of the declaration that never was suggests that such Jewish fears can be exaggerated. At the end of the day, government officials respond to political pressure. When Jewish leaders apply it, they often get results.

The author is founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and the author of The Jews Should Keep Quiet: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust, forthcoming from the Jewish Publication Society in 2019.






John Pinette - Lines Drive Me Crazy!!

Comedian John Pinette talking about how lines at fast food restaurants drive him mad!!!!

If one read and reviewed his studies but did not serve an apprentice ship to scholars, he remains unlearned (Berachos 47b).


We can learn more about tennis by seeing a pro in action than by reading a book about how to play good tennis. Book learning certainly has value, but observing a professional performance is much more impressive.

One of the mitzvos the Torah lists is to say Shema Yisrael twice daily. I had learned about the proper kavanah (concentration) needed when saying the Shema, and I had heard lectures on the subject regarding the intensity of meditation required. One day, I attended the vasikin minyan (sunrise communal service) at the Kotel (the Western Wall), and I heard the Shema being recited the way it should be said. All that I had read and heard beforehand now became galvanized and took on new meaning.

If you have the opportunity to watch any expert performing in his or her field, do so. Watch a tzaddik pray, a matriarch light the Shabbos candles, and a scholar learning Torah. These indelible experiences can give life and spirit to your own actions and convert the knowledge you have accumulated through book learning into more meaningful experiences.

The Torah states that at Sinai, the entire nation saw the sounds (Exodus 20:15). Many commentaries ask how sounds can be seen. Perhaps the Torah is saying that the Israelite observed how their leader Moses acted, and so were able to see that which they had previously heard.

Today I shall ...

try to reinforce those character traits that I know are correct by observing how good people implement them.

Actors We Lost In 2018 So Far

It's amazing how much of an impact someone we've never actually met can have on our lives. But that's the magic of movies and television: sometimes the actors we grow up watching can feel just like family, and it feels like they'll be there forever. Sadly, however, we've had to say goodbye to many talented performers in 2018. But thanks to the memorable characters they brought to life, these actors will never really leave us. Here are the unforgettable actors we've already lost in 2018... Jerry Van Dyke | 0:27 Reg E. Cathey | 1:20 John Mahoney | 1:57 David Ogden Stiers | 2:41 DuShon Monique Brown | 3:17 Donnelly Rhodes | 3:41 Connie Sawyer | 4:10 Robert Dowdell | 4:45 Jon Paul Steuer | 5:07 Emma Chambers | 5:29 John Gavin | 5:53 Debbie Lee Carrington | 6:14 Dorothy Malone | 7:05 Joseph Wayne Miller | 7:43 Vic Damone | 8:12 Harry Anderson | 8:55 R. Lee Ermey | 9:35 Margot Kidder | 10:33 Read more here →

See you Sunday and Shabbat Shalom

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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