Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The future for Israel Living and Happy Third day of Chanakuh

Their tongue is like a sharp arrow (Jeremiah 9:7).

Some people would never physically injure another person. The sight or even the thought of violence makes them cringe.

They may not realize that their words can cause more damage than their fists ever could. A physical injury eventually heals and may even be forgotten, but an insulting word can penetrate to the depths of someone's being and continue to reverberate, long after a mere physical wound would have healed.

Many children are spanked by their parents. Still, with the exception of cases of severe abuse,the children if ever, mention the spanking as a trauma. Not so with degrading words. After thirty or more years, people will remember having been called "stupid," "rotten," or "a no-good bum." A child who was not spanked, but was instead disciplined with shame and made to feel that he or she was a disgrace, is likely to retain that feeling for decades and may harbor an attitude of shame that affects everything that he or she does.

While we are taught to refrain from striking out in anger, we are far less restrained when it comes to verbal lashings. Whether we direct them towards spouses, children, or peers, we should be aware of the impact that words can have. The verse cited above correctly describes the tongue as a sharp, penetrating arrow, which can be every bit as lethal as any physical weapon.

Some people have a wise custom. When they become angry, they clamp their lips tightly. The anger will safely dissipate and the words which could have stung for years never come out.

Today I shall ...
... try to avoid words that may be injurious to another person.

Love Yehuda Lave

Dystopian Vision 

98% of Israelis Will Live in Giant Apartment Towers by 2050, Report Finds
Study by an institute for national policy predicts that by 2050 nearly all Israelis will also be doing everything else underground because the population will double
Apartment towers in Tel Aviv.

The Israel of 2050 will be a land of apartment towers, with nearly all other activity from shopping to manufacturing to road travel taking place underground. In the entire country, there will be no more than 700,000 dunams (175,000 acres) of open space.

This dystopian vision of Israel just 33 years from now is contained a report released this week by The Forum for Population, Environment and Society,  "Zafuf" in Israel. The research team behind the report says Israelis will need to be living in towers and doing everything else underground because there will be more than twice as many people living in the country.

"In the Israel of 2050, 18 million will be living in the country and 98% of them will live in giant towers," the team predicts. "The few villages that are left will be artificial ones, products of preservation policies."

The report was drafted by Prof. Rachelle Alterman of the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, Prof. Dan Ben-David, Iris Hann, the CEO of The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, and Prof. Shlomo Bekhor.

Dan Perry, a former head of Israel's Israel Nature and Parks Authority and a contributor to the study, said a doubling of buildings and infrastructure will make Israel's landscape almost unrecognizable.

"This multiplication, with all the infrastructure and roads, will result in a single concrete carpet stretching [along Israel's coast] from Ashkelon to Nahariya, with metastases to the north and south, which have direct implications for population growth," he writes.

He said intelligent, long-term planning can mitigate the damage but not eliminate it. "Even with ideal planning, which is light years from the planning under way today, the expected damage [to the environment] will be severe," he warned.

Perry faulted the government's current policies, in particularly the rush to build new homes to stem the sharp rise in housing prices, which hasn't acted to deter low-rise housing or exploit all the land in urban areas. He said open land was being developed at a rate of 7,000 dunams annually, a pace that will leave Israel with between 600,000 and 700,000 dunams by the time Israel marks its 100th anniversary in 2048.

Some countries have already adapted to life in apartment towers, but Israelis will have a much harder time.

"Towers aren't appropriate for the way Israeli families are structured," it said. "While people in Singapore, Hong Kong and other developed, populous countries enjoy a high quality of life living in towers, their birth rate is completely different than that of Israel. Our families have an average of 3.1 children while in Singapore the rate is 0.9. It's a crowded country, but it's a different kind of crowding. It's very hard to maintain a proper family life in a tower."

The study warns that tower-living deters residents from forming strong community ties, either with fellow residents in the tower or between towers. There will also be the problem of maintaining the towers both inside and outside because of the high cost.

Perry said that even though Singapore itself is extraordinarily crowded, with an average of 8,000 people per square kilometer versus Israel's 400, Singapore is a city. It draws on open land available in neighboring Malaysia for food, water and leisure activities — something Israel can't do.

Prof. Bekhor of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology said another important difference between Israel and the most crowded Asian countries is living space. Israeli families on average enjoy 150 square meters of living space, compared with just 30 in Japan.

He expressed doubt that Israelis would be willing to adapt the lifestyle of Singaporeans or Japanese. Israel's government is not in a position to force the change either, he said.

"Singaporean society is significantly different from Israeli society and Singapore's government isn't democratic. To buy a car there you have to overcome all kinds of restrictions," Bekhor explained. "In these conditions, it's much easier to manage transportation in a crowded society, but the price is a loss of personal freedom."

Yael Darel

Yael Darel

Haaretz Contributor

  Phantom Of The Opera Comes To Israel

Phantom of the Opera, the legendary musical that has been seen by millions around the world over the last 32 years, is finally coming to Israel.

Expect to be wowed by this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, which has been enjoyed by over 130 million people in 145 cities across 27 countries! And yes, it is still running in London (we got to see it a few years back in London) and New York!

The tale of a reclusive, disfigured musical genius who becomes obsessed with a beautiful soprano singer is of course, very well-known – and is now heading to knock Tel Aviv for six in the summer of 2019!

Eight shows are lined up, from August 12-17, 2019 – for ticket info (tickets start from 199 shekels only!) and further details call *2207.


A person does not sin unless he is seized by a spirit of folly (Sotah 3a).

Some people try to defend a misdeed by claiming "temporary insanity." The Talmud is telling us that while all wrongdoing does result from temporary insanity, people are still held accountable for their behavior.

No sane person would do things that are self-destructive. Small children who do not know any better may eat things that are harmful, but when adults submit to temptation and eat things that are harmful, they have essentially taken leave of their adult senses. This form of temporary insanity accompanies every wrong act.

Civil law does not accept ignorance as a defense, and although Jewish law does consider ignorance a mitigating factor, it holds a person responsible for being derelict in not having obtained the requisite knowledge and information necessary to act properly.

Jewish law holds that while true psychosis may be an exonerating factor, a non-psychotic person is capable of overcoming the "temporary insanity" that leads to wrongdoing. The Talmud states that in evaluating any act, we should calculate the gain from the act versus the loss it entails. A reasonable person will conclude that a brief pleasure of indulgence is certainly not worth the price, whether it is in terms of negative physical effects or of spiritual deterioration. People are certainly accountable for failure to exercise their reason and come to correct conclusions.

Today I shall ...

exercise my rational powers to avoid making foolish decisions, especially when subjected to temptation.

Wedding Dates

I am planning my wedding for next year and I want to make sure that we don't schedule it in conflict with any Jewish holidays, etc. What days on the calendar are off-limits? And what day of the week is good to get married? I heard that it is good luck to get married on a Tuesday or Thursday.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The general rule is that we do not have weddings on Shabbat (Friday evening or all day Saturday) nor on the Jewish holidays -- which includes Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

In addition, many do not schedule a wedding on the eve of Shabbat or a holiday, lest friends and relatives travel home from the wedding on Shabbat or the holiday itself.

In the summertime, for the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 10th of Av, there are no weddings. This is a period of national mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temples.

In the springtime, we do not have weddings for approximately one month during the Omer period. There are two major customs: either there are no weddings 1) from the second day Passover until Lag B'Omer, or 2) from the first day of Iyar until Shavuot. (source: "Code of Jewish law" OC 493, with Mishnah Berurah 14). In this regard, one may change from one custom to another in different years (Igrot Moshe OC 1:159). Thus, a wedding may be scheduled between the second day of Passover until Rosh Chodesh Iyar, or from Lag B'Omer until the day before Shavuot, as long as one observes the Omer restrictions during the other period.

As for the day of the week, a couple may marry freely from Sunday through Thursday. However, some prefer Tuesday, because on the third day of creation, the words "it is good" appears twice. (Genesis 1:10, 12)

Some prefer to marry on Thursday, because on the fifth day of creation, the living things were blessed to be "fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:22)

Mazel tov on your upcoming wedding. May it be at an auspicious time!

God's Promises

Has God failed us? I have read repeatedly where God promised the Jews to be a great nation, yet today Israel is struggling for survival, and Jews in the Diaspora are assimilating in record numbers. I don't understand and my faith is faltering. Please explain.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

God made a covenant with Abraham, and that pact is not able to be broken. However, God assures us that our ability to flourish, or conversely to suffer, depends on how well we fulfill our end of the bargain: which is to observe the mitzvot and be a holy people that inspires the world to recognize God's existence and dominion over all.

Even in the darkest times, God is with us. But that in itself is a test of our connection to Him, to be able to see His guiding hand even within the darkness. In Deuteronomy 31:16-18, God says that if the Jewish people rebel, "I will hide My face from them."

That is the test. A Holocaust survivor said it like this:

"The quintessential element that distinguishes this event (the Holocaust) was the search for God. Every Jew who remained in the ghettos and the camps remembers 'the God Syndrome' that shrouded everything else. From morning till night we cried out for a sign that God was still with us... We sought Him, but we did not find Him. We were always accompanied by the crushing and unsettling feeling that God had disappeared from our midst." (Machshavot Magazine, Vol. 46)

So no, God has not failed us. He is waiting for us to come back to Him, so that we can get on with our job of leading the world back to sanity. We need to do our part - be faithful to the Torah, and find solutions to the problems that confront us. Aish HaTorah was created to respond to the key issues facing the Jewish people.

When you feel unclear about that, pray to God for... clarity!

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave
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