You shall converse in the words of Torah and not in other things (Yoma 19b).
The Talmud explains "other things" as referring to idle, meaning less things.
The Hebrew language has words that mean rest, play, relaxation, and pleasant activities, while it has no word for "fun." A "fun" activity has no goal, as is implied in the colloquial expression, "just for the fun of it." In other words, the goal of the activity is within itself, and fun does not lead to or result in anything else.
This concept is alien to Judaism. Every human being is created with a mission in life. This mission is the ultimate goal toward which everything must in one way or another be directed. Seemingly mundane activities can become goal directed; we eat and sleep so that we can function, and we function in order to achieve our ultimate goal. Even relaxation and judicious enjoyable activities, if they contribute to sound health, can be considered goal directed if they enhance our functioning. However, fun as an activity in which people indulge just to "kill time" is proscribed. Time is precious, and we must constructively utilize every moment of life.
Furthermore, since people conceptualize their self-worth in terms of their activities, doing things "just for the fun of it" may in fact harm their self-esteem.
Today I shall ... ... try to direct all my activities, even rest and relaxation, to the ultimate purpose of my life.
Love Yehuda Lave
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
A few days ago we reported that the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv Fast Train would not be free anymore as of today, as the planned initial three-month trial period for the new train came to an end. However, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced Monday that the free trial period for rides between Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem's Navon station would extend another three months. According to Ynet, in the days between now and when the order is actually signed, riders will be charged 50% of the full price, NIS 8.50.
What isn't clear yet, is whether it will be free past Ben Gurion Airport, as it was in the first three month trial period, to the rest of the Country.
The new train line was launched on September 25. It continues to run twice per hour in each direction, and has carried more than 420,000 people thus far.
Meteor blast caused Dead Sea civilization end 3700 years ago according to new research
Evidence of Sodom? Meteor blast cause of biblical destruction, say scientistsMulti-disciplinary team of scientists uses 3,700-year-old archaeological evidence from Jordan's Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project to understand end to civilization near Dead Sea By Amanda Borschel-Dan 22 November 2018,
A multi-disciplinary team of scientists has a new theory for why all human civilization abruptly ended on the banks of the Dead Sea some 3,700 years ago. According to analyzed archaeological evidence, the disaster of biblical proportions can be explained by a massive explosion, similar to one recorded over 100 years ago in Russia.
In 1908, a massive blast near Siberia's Stony Tunguska River flattened some 2,000 square kilometers of uninhabited taiga forestry. Curiously, no crater was discovered and scientists explain the strange phenomena through a meteor explosion some 5-10 km above land.
Now an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and scientists are using the Tunguska explosion as a model to explain the equally curious end to a thriving civilization that lived for thousands of years in a plain near the Dead Sea.
As reported in Science News, at the recently concluded Denver-based ASOR Annual Meeting, director of scientific analysis at Jordan's Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project Phillip J. Silvia presented a paper, "The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization" during a session on Environmental Archaeology of the Ancient Near East.
According to the paper's abstract, the scientists discovered evidence of a "high-heat" explosive event north of the Dead Sea that instantaneously "devastated approximately 500 km2." The explosion would have wiped out all civilization in the affected area, including Middle Bronze Age cities and towns. Silvia told Science News that the blast would have instantly killed the estimated 40,000 to 65,000 people who inhabited Middle Ghor, a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain in Jordan.
Likewise, the fertile soil would have been stripped of nutrients by the high heat, and waves of the Dead Sea's briny anhydride salts would have — tsunami-like — washed over the surrounding area. At the same time, the explosion's fallout caused blisteringly hot, strong winds, which deposited a rain of mineral grains, which have been found on pottery at Tall el-Hammam.
Five large sites in the region which have also been excavated offered additional evidence of an immediate end to settlement at the same time of the proposed Tall el-Hammam disaster. According to Science News,
radiocarbon dating of organic archaeological evidence has shown that structures' mud-brick walls "suddenly disappeared around 3,700 years ago, leaving only stone foundations."
Contemporary potsherds's glazes apparently experienced temperatures high enough to transform them to glass, "perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun," Silvia told the news source.
Unraveling a mystery
The study was born of a historical riddle: "That the most productive agricultural land in the region, which had supported flourishing civilizations continuously for at least 3,000 years, should suddenly relinquish, then resist, human habitation for such a long period of time has begged investigation," states the excavation's .
Archaeologist Philip Silvia (via LinkedIn)
As listed in the published abstract, Trinity Southwest University's Silvia was joined by a roster of multi-disciplanry scientists.
The team of scientists from New Mexico Tech, Northern Arizona University, NC State University, Elizabeth City (NC) State University, DePaul University, Trinity Southwest University, the Comet Research Group, and Los Alamos National Laboratories analyzed samples from 12 seasons of Tall el-Hammam excavations to conclude that the most logical explanation for the settlement's demise was a meteor explosion.
"This paper surveys the multiple lines of evidence that collectively suggest a Tunguskalike, cosmic airburst event that obliterated civilization — including the Middle Bronze Age city-state anchored by Tall el-Hammam — in the Middle Ghor (the 25 km diameter circular plain immediately north of the Dead Sea) ca. 1700 BCE, or 3,700 years before present (3.7kaBP)," write the authors.
"Based upon the archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover sufficiently from the soil destruction and contamination before civilization could again become established in the eastern Middle Ghor," they write.
A biblical explanation
Could this massive disaster offer an explanation for the biblical story of Sodom?
According to a 2013 Biblical Archaeology Review article by TeHEP co-director Dr. Steven Collins, the Tall el-Hammam site is a strong candidate for the biblical city of Sodom due to a multitude of factors. The discovered disaster, and its precise location, which he ties to biblical references of "ha-kikkar" (or idiomatically, the plain).
In the article, among other biblical citations, Collins quotes from Genesis 19:24–25: "Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities — and also the vegetation in the land."
On the ground at the site, Collins witnessed such destruction first-hand. In a vivid description he writes, "The violent conflagration that ended occupation at Tall el-Hammam produced melted pottery, scorched foundation stones and several feet of ash and destruction debris churned into a dark gray matrix as if in a Cuisinart."
Could it really be that this destruction, hypothetically caused by the proposed meteor explosion and its catastrophic fallout, are the natural causes of the divine wholesale razing of the city recorded in the Bible?
Biblical Implications," the authors write, "The physical evidence from Tall el-Hammam and neighboring sites exhibit signs of a highly destructive concussive and thermal event that one might expect from what is described in Genesis 19."
Further based on studies by atomic energy researcher Samuel Gladstone, the authors write that, "an airburst yield of 10 megatons over the northeast corner of the Dead Sea would be sufficient to produce the physical damage observed 10 km away at Tall el-Hammam. Note that this is only one-half the yield of the Tunguska airburst event (in Siberia), well within 'recent' human experience for meteoritic airbursts!" they write.
"The destruction not only of Tall el-Hammam (Sodom), but also its neighbors (Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain) was most likely caused by a meteoritic airburst event," the authors conclude.
In his Biblical Archaeology Review article, Collins writes that the massive disaster was seared into collective cultural memory and preserved in the biblical tradition.
"The memory of the destruction of ha-kikkar, with its large population and extensive agricultural lands, was preserved in the Book of Genesis and ultimately incorporated into a traditional tale that, drawing on the layer of ash that covered the destruction of one of its major cities, remembered a place consumed by a fiery catastrophe from 'out of the heavens' (Genesis 19:24)," he writes. "The Bible gives the city's name: Sodom."
A Young Shlomo Singing his heart out
For your enjoyment
Marines - the last to let you down
Lance Cpl. Jamen Miller is a Marine Corps Body Bearer. He has laid to rest nearly 200 Marines. Body Bearers go through rigorous physical training and ceremonial drill practice to perfect their movements for the funerals of fallen Marines. *Correction Other service details also operate as a six-man team, as well as eight-man teams during funerals. The Marine Body Bearers only ever carry out their duties as a six-man team. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Sgt. Tony Nardiello)
See you tomorrow, Happy Secular New Year on Tuesday
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
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