A disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin was walking on the road to visit his rabbi. All of a sudden, a heavy rain came pouring down, and the disciple began to sing and dance.
He explained: "When people would walk to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, no inconvenience along the way could deter them - because of their joyous anticipation of being in Jerusalem. Similarly, I greatly anticipate being near our great teacher - and therefore any difficulty simply increases my joy!"
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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 engagment
Couple takes walk, finds 1,700-year-old stone busts
Two Roman busts were found in early December near the Israeli city of Beit She'an by a local resident who spotted the top of one sticking out of the ground as she was walking with her husband.
The couple called the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit, and inspectors were quickly sent to the site. Together, they unearthed the first bust and found another one right next to it.
It's not unusual for Israelis out hiking to come across archeological treasures. As ISRAEL21c reported in 2016, even children have stumbled upon relics out in nature.
By law, antiquities belong to the state and may not be hoarded, sold or traded. Those who turn them in to the Israel Antiquities Authority get a certificate of good citizenship, special tours and media attention.
The statues found in Beit She'an, which date to the Late Roman period (3rd–4th centuries CE), were taken to the Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories for preservation.
According to Eitan Klein, deputy head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit: "These busts were made of local limestone and they show unique facial features, details of clothing and hairstyles. It seems that at least one of them depicts a bearded man. Busts like these were usually placed near or in a burial cave, and they may have represented the image of the deceased along general lines."
Klein said similar busts have been found in the past in the Beit She'an area and in northern Jordan. "But not one resembles another, and that's the importance of these finds. These busts are in the Oriental style, which shows that at the end of the Roman period the use of Classical art had subsided, and local trends came into vogue."
According to Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit inspector, the ancient figurines were exposed following a recent heavy rainfall in the area.
The discovery of the busts fills in another piece of the puzzle in our understanding of the material culture of the people of this land in the past," said Distelfeld. "It's important to note that heavy winter rains can bring other finds to the surface and we call on people to report them to us."
Over 1/3 Of Israelis Rent Their Homes
For First Time Since the 1970s, More Than a Third of Israelis Are Renters
The decline in home ownership has been slow but consistent for several years, particularly for people in their 30s and married couples.
For the first time since the 1970s, more than a third of Israeli households do not live in homes they own, figures released Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed.
The decline in home ownership has been slow but consistent for several years, particularly for people in their 30s and married couples. In 2017, the CBS said, the percentage of households living in their own homes fell to 66.5%, down from 71% at the start of the 2000s.
The decline reverses many years of increasing homeownership in Israel. According to the CBS, in the mid-1950s, 57% of Israelis lived in homes they rented, including for "key money," in which buyers pay an initial lump sum and token monthly rent, in exchange for the right to remain in the apartment for life. By 1975-76, however, the rate of home ownership rose to 71%, where it remained for the next 25 years.
The rate of households renting their homes, which reached a low in the 1980s, rose from about 25% 15 years ago to 27.9% in 2017. The rest of the population lives in other forms of housing, such as retirement homes or homes owned by others (such as relatives) without paying rent.
The figure for renters includes people who rent their home even though they own, which they typically have rented out to others as investment or because it is inappropriate for their current needs. However, that is a minority, according to a 2009 Bank of Israel report that estimated only 9% of renters owned another home.
According to the 2016 CBS survey among all householders, 27.4% don't own a home, 62.9% own and the other 9.7% own two or more. The rate of multiple home ownership has from just 3.2% in 2003 due to a friendly tax regime and a paucity of other investment alternatives, especially in the post-2008 era of low interest rates.
Yaron Hoffmann-Dishon, a researcher at the left-leaning think tank Adva, said the government had been ignoring the needs of renters, including by failing to expand public housing.
"You can't ignore what's happened to the rental market. The government has instituted the Mahir Lemishtaken program so that people can buy homes, but dies the rental market have to look after itself? Even after the Fair Rental Law, the government's involvement in the market is minimal," he said.
The drive to build more long-term rental housing has also achieved minimal results. In a country where some 2 million people rent apartments, construction on only 900 long-term rentals had been completed as of November this year and only 6,000 rentals are in the planning stages.
Hoffmann-Dishon said the rental market was contributing to income inequality in Israel, most notably by age. "When half of your pay goes to [landlords in] the top decile, this is a transfer of capital to the wealthy mainly from young families from the lower deciles."
The CBS also published figures on housing costs, which account for a steep 24.4% of household income on average, whether they are owners or renters. Tel Aviv residents paid the most (33.2%) but in Haifa the rate was just 20.5%.
At 49.4%, Tel Aviv also had the hugest percentage of renters among householders, CBS figures showed. By contrast in Bnai Brak, whose population is overwhelmingly ultra-Orthodox, home ownership is a high 76.9%,
Some 39.5% of Israelis who own their home are still paying a mortgage on it. Ashkelon is the mortgage king, with about 62% of households still paying, but repayments are low because of the low price of the city's housing.
The pasuk writes in the Navi regarding Avraham Aveenu, "Titen Emet L'Yaakov, Chessed L'Avraham".
The pasuk emphasizes Avraham's exceptional level of Chessed, goodness, benevolence, charity, and kindness. I heard from the current Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rav Shlomo Amar, may he live and be will, the following explanation to show how Avraham's Chessed and kindness were boundless. In Parashat VaEra we read the story of how Avraham Aveenu prayed on behalf of the plight of Sedom even though its inhabitants sinned and morally went against all that Avraham believed in. The people of Sedom were corrupt and sinful, and they were simply cruel people. We can say that the people of Sedom were the exact opposite of what everything Avraham Aveenu stood for. While Avraham Aveenu was the epitome of kindness, the people of Sedom were the epitome of cruelty. Moreover, the people of Sedom held fundamentally that their way of life was correct. They didn't give charity on purpose. They didn't help others on purpose. Maybe it was because they didn't want a welfare society on their hands, or maybe it was because they did not want to create parasites. Or maybe it was because they did not want to take away motivation from people, and wanted to make sure that everyone learned how to fend for themselves and support themselves. This way of life differed completely from Avraham Aveenu's approach to life. To Avraham Aveenu, Chessed and helping others was everything. When one is defeated, it is the nature of the victor to rejoice and state how he was right all along. In the case of Sedom, Avraham should have been thrilled at the outcome and the repercussions faced by Sedom. Avraham could have said that his methodology was right and that Sedom deserved to face the consequences. Avraham could have gloated that his Chessed approach was right and that selfishness and cruelty of Sedom was wrong. It is the nature of a person to bask in glory when he sees his adversary lose. But Avraham Aveenu was so great and his Chessed was so limitless that he started to pray for these people, rather than revel in victory. These people were his enemies in ideology and in way of life, but yet, Avraham Aveenu prayed for them that they should have life. Avraham Aveenu did not get swayed from Chessed even when it involved people who held the exact opposite of his own beliefs. The Midrash says that we have an obligation to emulate our forefathers-Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. So the lesson we learn today is about Chessed. It is not enough to simply perform acts of kindness when justified, but we must rather follow Avraham's lead and perform acts of kindness even when it is not justified, and when it goes beyond rationale and beyond understanding. That is what it means in the pasuk "Chessed L'Avraham". It is declaring the unique caliber of Chessed exhibited by Avraham Aveenu. And it is his character trait in this regard that we must follow.
AS HEARD FROM RABBI AVIGDOR MILLER Z'TL
"In order that you should know that I Hashem am in the midst of the world". 'Bekerev Haaretz'. ( 8:18)
Here we learn the purpose of all of the miracles, not only in Egypt but throughout history. The open demonstrations of Hashem's presence come to teach that even when not openly visible, yet it is Hashem's presence that constantly fills the world and maintains the existence of the world and manages all the events of the world. Just as these miracles were wondrous demonstrations of Hashem's deeds, so are all the "natural" processes and all the events and even all objects are demonstrations of Hashem's deeds. Every process or object or event is a wondrous miracle, and it is solely due to the blindness of habit that men fail to recognize the miracles that constantly fill the world around us. Seeing is a miracle, hearing is a miracle, thinking is a miracle, eating and digesting are miracles, the birth of a child is a miracle, an enzyme is a miracle, DNA is a miracle, a chromosome is a miracle and an atom is a miracle. Thus every miracle is intended for the purpose to demonstrate that "I HASHEM AM (ALWAYS) IN THE MIDST OF THE WORLD" and that every phenomenon should be studied to discern in it the miracles of Hashem's wisdom and power and kindliness. The Rav taught that the Ten Plagues were especially brought by Hashem for Israel to gain Yirat Samayim. As it states, "He is Hashem Our G-d, in all of the world are His judgments" (Tehillim). That all of the happenings in the world are only being brought by Hashem in His capacity of 'Hashem Our G-d'. The Makot were ten vitamin pills of Emunah for our Jewish Nation in order for us to gain a sensory perception and a heightened Awareness of Hashem The G-d of Yisrael, the only One we can depend on.
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
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