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
We live in a world where unfortunately, the chances of finding a marriage partner with whom one can establish a stable happily married are very bleak.
I was recently shown a frightening statistic that said that 20% of marriages will be happy ones. The estimate is based on a 55%- 60% divorce rate, with only half of all those that remain responding that they would consider their marriages happy and fulfilling.
There are many books that have been written and solutions that have been offered and there is probably much wisdom in all of them. Yet the fundamental precept that the Torah makes us aware of is that for a man and woman to truly come together and create an environment that will be successful there has to be a basic appreciation of the differences that we have.
When we are able to recognize the innate nature and strengths that God, the Divine Matchmaker, gave each of us and to utilize each others strengths to complement and complete our own, then we will be on the track to creating the home where the Divine presence and the aura of all that is pure will eternally reside.
It is for this reason that the Torah knows best that we charged with the awesome responsibilty of making our own happy marriage, but constantlly rembering that our spouse is our direct connection to G-d in this day and age when there are no profits. Making a happy marriage and a happy life are up to us. Among the tools that G-d gave us to work on our relationship is the monthly cycle of the woman so that we can seperate each month and come together and Rosh Hodesh where we are supposed to renew the relationship with 1) G-d 2) Our spouses 3) other humans. We symbolize this by saying Shalom Alachim three times in the Kiddush Lavana (the welcoming of the new moon).
We just passed our first anniversary (April 10th on the secular calander) and we celebrated by touring Psfat and the Golan.
Love Yehuda Lave
Shalom Polock Pesach chol Hamoed, Monday, April 22
I recently went on my own to the Galilee and it was beautiful..It was a lot of driving and you have to be in good shape to do it. An alternative will be to go with Shalom Pollack who always gives a great tour.
The Galilee in full bloom after the blessed winter rains. the Kinneret brimming, the weather perfect!
We shall visit:
Kfar Nachum (Capernaum); a major Jewish town in the time of the Mishna.- amazing, unprecedented ancient Jewish art carved on stone, synagogue, study hall. etc..exceptional site.
We will visit the very quaint and picturesque "development " town of Hazor which was built to absorb the mass immigration of North African Jewry in the 1950s. We will visit the mystical tomb of "Choni Hamagal", the famous holy "rainmaker " of the Mishna.
We go on to the largest archeological "Tel" in Israel; biblical Hazor. We will be guided by an on-site archeologist and also visit the museum and be treated to the fantastic artifacts discovered in the famous dig.
Depart 9:00 from the Inbal hotel. Return approx. 7:00 bring a picnic lunch
the research and restoration site for ancient Israelite customs
Beged Ivri is the Levitical Ministry, established in 1983, for the research and restoration of ancient Israelite customs in preparation for rebuilding the Holy Third Temple in Jerusalem.
On the First of Adar we make proclamation concerning the shekel (Mishna Shekalim 1:1). Beged Ivri is proud to announce the launch of our new website ShekelIDF.org!
We invite everyone to sponsor a soldier in the IDF with a pure silver Holy Half Shekel. Please visit the site and join us on Facebook at FBI- Friends of Beged Ivri.
At this site you will find information and links relating to all aspects pertaining to the restoration of native Israelite culture and Judaica:
Holy Half-Shekel Welcome to the Holy Half-Shekel Site! On these pages you will find all the information relating to the restored Holy Half-Shekel -- from its history to its future, from the Exile to the Redemption -- the renewed availability of the Holy Half-Shekel will have an impact on all of contemporary Judaism, moving it one step closer to preparing for the Ultimate Redemption.
The Half-Shekel the ultimate manifestation of the equality of every Jew. The end of disunity. The beginning of redemption.
Beged Ivri Half Schekel 64th Temple Ceremony (three times a year at the festival for 21 years)
The Temple's fiscal year starts on the first of Nisan. Any funds remaining (in this case all of the last 21 year's worth) from the previous year take on a new status on the following 1st of Nisan called Motar Trumat HaLishkah [literally: The leftover of the Separation of the Office] (for New Shekels) and Motar Shearith HaLishka [literally: The leftover of the Remainder of the Office] (for Old Shekels) and the things they fund change.
The Temple's daily operation can only be funded from New Shekels, which means that from the first of Nisan only the new proceeds can be used. Funds remaining from the previous year cannot be used. They take on this new status and among other things are used to make Ministering Vessels, etc.
When Otzar HaMikdash (The Temple Treasury) was established about 18 years ago my first battle was to get them to take responsibility for the collection and safeguarding of the collected Holy Half Shekels, which had been safeguarded for the previous three years in the vault of the Chief Rabbinate (a government ministry) against their will. The fear of taking responsibility for Hekdesh (Sanctified Property - Temple Holy property) scared the bejeebers out of half the rabbis and they left the organization. Those who remained became Otzar HaMikdash. My first and overriding priority was to establish a group of respectable 'others' to take responsibility for the collection and safeguarding the Hekdesh. As the distributor of the coins I cannot have anything directly to do with the collection and safeguarding of the donated coins so it could never be said 'he's taking them for himself and reselling them,' G-d forbid. Now its one thing to get them to sit on the coins, its a whole nother bunch of bananas to get them to start using them for permitted usage in their Motar state, i.e., making Ministering Vessels, which could be stored at The Temple Institute until the Temple is built when they could be used. Problem is, the vessels then take on the status of Hekdesh - Temple Holy - in other words REAL - and not even the Temple Institute will allow any of their restorations to be called REAL - they call them zecher (remembrance or educational) and will not take on Hekdesh. Not wanting to tip over the boat, i haven't pushed for them to start using the Hekdesh for what it can be used for today. So the coins are stockpiling. At some point it will be too much to ignore.
The Restored Holy Half Shekel
Blessed are you, My Lord, our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, who has sustained us in life, and provided for us, and brought us to this time!
The very fact that you are reading these words is cause for celebration. We are witness today, actual participants in the greatest Bible story ever written, the generation that ushers in the Geulah Shleimah (Complete Redemption).
It is with this small coin, a coin of fire, that we make the move from Exile to Redemption. When the barriers of Exile, the disunity, melt away to reveal a unified people, a people ready for Redemption.
Production began on 14 Adar II, March 23, 1997 of the first independently motifed ceremonial Half-Shekel in 1,927 years. The first minting of 1,000 coins is currently under production. The coins should be ready for delivery around Shavuot, in early June, 1997. (See our directly from this website or from your local synagogue or whatever Jewish institution services the needs of your community. If your synagogue has not yet signed on as a participating institution, please download the Institutional Application bring it to the institution's office, have it filled out and return it to us in Jerusalem.
We anticipate that this first year issue will quickly become a cherished heirloom, and we will produce a quantity according to the number of orders received. Cut off date for purchase of this issue will be Rosh Chodesh Adar 5758 (2/27/98).
From Rosh Chodesh Adar we will hold an international competition for the coin design for the following year. You may submit designs from Rosh Chodesh Adar until Erev Pesach 5758 (4/10/98). The ten best designs will be posted on this website and everyone can E-mail in their choice for best design. The winning design will be used for that year's coin. We will post more information as we get closer in time.
Disposition of the donated coins. Hekdesh, Sanctified property.
Once the coin is placed in the shofar-shaped recepticle and the Blessing is recited with the accompanying "Yehei Ratzon", the coin takes on the status of "Hekdesh", or Sanctified Property. It now belongs to G-d, and any misappropriation is to be avoided, and failure to safeguard it unthinkable. We are creating a network of Levites to handle the transference from the individual minions to regional collection points from which Brink's will pick up the shofars and transport them back to Jerusalem.
We have instructed Brink's that we want the coins delivered to the Offices of the Chief Rabbinate on the 25th of Adar, annually. Brink's trucks will line up in front of Heichal Shlomo, or wherever the Chief Rabbinate sits, and one by one they will unload their trucks placing the shofars full of coins in the foyer of the Chief Rabbinate's Office. They will get back in their trucks and drive away. Its Hekdesh, and the Rabbinate is just going to HAVE to deal with it. Ready or not- here we come!
We have had extensive correspondence with the Chief Rabbinate over the last three years, and they are begrudgingly responding. Any lack of preparedness will quickly be rectified once the reality of the situation sinks in.
What happens with the coins?
As in ancient times, the coins will be emptied out of the shofars into a large vault room. From the pile of silver coins, nine baskets full are removed in a special ceremony. These "Appropriations" known as "Trumat Halishkah" went in ancient times to cover the expenses of the Temple Service throughout the year. The Appropriations are done on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the eve of the new month of Nisan. The Appropriations of today will be stored away, although perhaps we might yet get to use them already this year.
The remainder of the coins, called "Shearei Halishkah", or the "Remainder of the Office", are turned over to the municipality of Jerusalem to prepare the city for the Pilgrimage Festivals and to build and repair the walls of Jerusalem, and they may not, by the very strictest Halachah, be misused for any other purpose. The very dealing with Hekdesh will reintroduce absolute fiscal integrity, and noone has to worry that the Half-Shekel funds will go to any particular group or cause. Absolute integrity! Or they have to return it with an added fifth!
What does the Half-Shekel mean to me?
First and foremost, the giving of the Half-Shekel is an atonement for your soul.
The rich cannot give more, nor the poor less. Whether that speaks of material wealth or ritual observance, all are equal in the fulfilment of this Commandment. Everyone has to fulfil this Commandment with exactly the same amount, you can not do it better than the next person, only the same, equally.
The Half-Shekel comes to remind the unaffiliated that they are at least half a shekel, and it comes to remind the very observant that they are only half a shekel. When you internalize this precept in the deepest reaches of your soul, it will change your personality. When you see yourself as half a shekel, mamash, then you will start to see every other Jew as also half a shekel. Even if there is a Jew that you hate in your heart, G-d forbid, when you see yourself as only half a shekel, you will see that the other person is also at least half a shekel, and you can no longer really hate them, because we are all equal, and one can not hate someone who is equal. Only when people think themselves a whole shekel, where no one else is worth a prutah (an ancient penny) can disunity and hatred exist. When you give the Half-Shekel you are saying, "I am also Half a Shekel, count me amongst the House of Israel!"
By giving your Half-Shekel you also establish a personal participatory relationship with Jerusalem on an annual basis. These half shekels are going to your city, Jerusalem!
What does the Half-Shekel mean to Klal Yisrael?
The Half-Shekel is the ultimate manifestation of the equality of every Jew. The end of disunity. The beginning of Redemption.
The restoration of the Half-Shekel, coinciding with the half-century celebrations of the State of Israel, signifies the move from Exile to Redemption. With the giving of the Half-Shekels on Purim of 5758, we will have reintroduced "Hekdesh" to planet Earth. Hekdesh is a level of Holiness that has not existed on our planet for 1927 years. With the re-emergence of Hekdesh, a new level of religious activity begins that will have an influence on the whole of contemporary Judaism. What has been studied as learning "for its own sake" for the last nineteen hundred years will now be as an instruction manual as custom after custom comes back on-line.
What does the Half-Shekel mean for local Synagogues?
Many Synagogues and Jewish Institutions are finding that a relatively small percentage of members are giving the majority of funds each year, and are interested in expanding their donar base. By becoming a participating institution, you will be able to significantly increase your donor pool, year after year.
As part of the Half-Shekel project, an unprecedented outreach program will be undertaken by all streams within Judaism. Our eventual goal is 100% participation. Every congregant will reach out to friends, relatives, co-workers, fellow students, associates and acquaintences to encourage everyone to give the Half-Shekel. For those accustomed to being "once a year" Jews, where that one day is Yom Kippur, the most un-fun day of the year, let us introduce Purim, the most fun day of the year, and the day that we give the Half-Shekel.
Congregations are encouraged to break up family memberships so that every person in the family has their own "membership", including the children. The congregation should provide every individual member with a Half-Shekel as part of their membership dues, thereby preparing the children to get used to giving to the congregation, creating continuity into the next generation. On Purim, everyone comes to give their Half-Shekel to Jerusalem and hear the Megillah reading and participate in the celebrations. We anticipate that this will greatly enhance your Purim attendance, and greatly energize your congregation.
Some Interesting Footnotes
On February 20, 1997, while in the US, I received the donation covering the master dies enabling us to begin production. On February 26th I faxed a copy of the check to Jerusalem to the offices of the minter, and I asked that he please meet me in his office on March 23, on Purim, because I knew I needed to begin production on that date for historical reasons. Little did I know.
I returned to Jerusalem on Thursday, March 20. Rested Shabbat. And early Sunday morning, the 23rd, I set out to deliver the check and begin production. As I handed over the check and received the receipt, and we began to get down to details concerning the coin, I knew deep in my being that I had just founded the Third Temple. The same feeling Herzl had exactly 100 years ago when he left the first Zionist conference in Basle and knew that he had just founded the Jewish State, I had that day.
I came home and turned on CNN and lo and behold I see the Haters of Israel meeting in Islamabad that very same day, seeking a decree against Jerusalem. With the waving of hands and with words of arrogance, the Haters of Israel sought from Heaven a decree against the Holy City.
Later that evening, Shushan Purim in Jerusalem, I went to hear the reading of the Megillah. As we got to the part where Haman offers his shekels to purchase the Jews' annihilation, I thought immediately of the teaching that is brought down about how the shekels we gave in the wilderness not only atoned for our involvement in the golden calf, but they also atoned for us in the future by cancelling out Haman's shekels, thereby saving us in the future. It then hit me as a revelation that once again the Half-Shekel saved us. The work of one little Levite in Jerusalem beginning production of the Half-Shekel overturned the decree that was sought in Islamabad that day!
On April 8th, I received an E-mail that informed me that two other events occured on March 23rd. A lunar eclipse, and the appearance of a coin of fire in the heavens. The light of the moon was covered over, the decree sought in Islamabad. The appearance of the comet, a coin of fire as shown by G-d to Moses.
In researching out the Torah of exporting and re-importing relative to VAT (value added tax) and duty concerning the Half-Shekels, an interesting scenario has evolved.
Whereas exporting the Half-Shekels poses no problems, we have learned that the laws of Israel require the charge of VAT on any item imported into the country. Now this creates a unique problem. Once the coins are Sanctified on Purim, they obtain the status of "Hekdesh", Sanctified to G-d, G-d's property. Now, when those coins come back into Israel, according to current law, the VAT authorities would have to charge VAT. The problem arises; who are they going to present the bill to? G-d?
Special legislation is required to recognize, in law, the status of Hekdesh as being exempted from VAT.
Likewise, any attempt by the tax authorities to hold up delivery even to the extent of holding charges at the port, would be considered misappropriation of Sanctified property. Therefore immediate legislative work is required.
This is a personal note of ackowledgement. There is a man who unbeknownst to himself has played an incredible role in bringing this project to fruition. Never having seen the slightest proclivity to "religiousness" in him, it did not hit me until six weeks ago, while in the Atlanta airport, that this man had in fact been on angel duty preparing the way for this project already 28 years ago. I didn't see it at the age of ten when he got me a job at the coin shop owned by a friend of his, nor on February 28, 1997 when he handed me two one hundred ounce silver bars for the production of the first coins. Yet those two events, the first preparing me with the whole Torah of coins, silver bullion, minting and distribution, and the second, giving me the silver to begin production, were the two key elements that made me a vessel able to bring this to fruition. Without this man's input, I would not stand ready to meet the challenge. That man is my dad. On behalf of all of Israel, thank you! May you mamash experience Nachas, and may Heaven grant you continued health and prosperity, all of your days.
In Second Chronicles 24:4-16 we read of an earlier generation that restored the custom of giving the Half-Shekel. In that generation it was the government that turned to Levi to bring about the restoration.
"But the Levites did not hasten it."
"And the King called for Yehoyada the chief, and said to him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Yehudah and out of Jerusalem the tax of Moshe the servant of the Lord, and out of the congregation of Yisrael...?"
In our own generation it was Levi that turned to the government to bring about the restoration. And the government failed to hasten it.
So this time Levi made up for last time. Kol HaKavod to Levi!
"And all the (government) Ministers and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they made and end."
[Each Minister in the government today is going to receive one of the proof specimens in a special presentation box inscribed "And the Ministers Rejoiced". G-d willing, we will post the photos of the expressions of joy on the face of each Minister as they receive their Half-Shekel.]
As the Torah specifies that if G-d forbid, Hekdesh is stolen, it must be returned with an added quarter (homesh). In presenting this to Brink's we were informed, "No problem! You can insure the Hekdesh for 125% of its value!" Unbelievable.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S MARRIAGE QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them."- Ogden Nash.
"Love is blind and marriage is the Institution for the Blind"- James Graham
"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me"-Winston Churchill
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S FUNNY PESACH YOUTUBE CLIPS OF THE WEEK John Stewart pesach yiddishisms pretty funny joke-will never look at seder plate the same way
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL GEMATRIA OF THE WEEK In this weeks Torah portion in describing the spiritual phenomena of tzora'as the Torah prohibits shaving it off and and says one must shave around it. The word V'Hisgalach has a large GIMMMEL in it. (Leviticus, 13:33. Also see Rashi's commentary). Many of the Chasidic masters connect this large Gimmel who's gematrai is 3, of course with the Jewish custom of Upsherin; waiting until the 3rdbirthday for a Jewish boy to have his first haircut, which similar to the process of metzora is cutting the hair and in the process leaving over the payot/sidelocks and not cutting them thereby introducing the boy to the mitzvah of not shaving the corners of his head. Three is also the age of stability our sages tell us where a table with two legs is not balanced but a three legged one achieves that balance and can begin to have things placed upon it. The letter Gimmel also means to bequeath and the child can now start being bequeathed his beautiful heritage. Finally it is interesting that this is verse 33 and that the custom for the upsherin according to the Ari'zl (whose son was the first to have his haircut and from where the custom developed) took place on the 33rd day of Omer/Lag Ba'Omer, of course in Meron!
RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL PLACES IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK- Maresha/ Beit Guvrin- a fantastic excavated city in the foothills of Judea Maresha/ Beit Guvrin is a city that was given to Caleb in biblical times this was his reward (like Joshua's last week cool place of the week) for not speaking evil by the sin of the spies. The city was eventually destroyed by the destruction of the first temple. Yet it was later relocated on a neighboring hill and built up as an Edomite city (Idumeans). They were eventually conquered by the Chashmonaim kings and forcibly converted to Judaism-(the only time in Jewish history this occurred which led to tragic results-which culminated in the descendants of one of these converts becoming the king of Israel-Herod- who was not such a nice guy…Today Beit Guvrin is a fantastic site where one can explore ancient underground caves, quarries and columbariums-which are pigeon raising nesting areas underground where they were used to help fertilize the land for planting. There's also a great amphitheater where gladiators fought (and many people were killed) as well as oil and wine presses and the former great city ruins.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOP TEN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS JOKE OF THE WEEKTOP TEN THINGS THAT HAPPEN AT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
1. The timer on the coffee pot isn't set right, and there is no coffee
.2. You try to fix the clock on the microwave and set the timer instead – you wonder why a microwave needs a clock anyhow?
3. You decide this is really all a secret plot by "morning people" to get "night people" out of bed earlier
.4. The clock in your car has the right time for the first time since last October.5.
5 You arrive for Shul an hour late - just as everyone else is leaving.
6. Your computer clock sets itself ahead, but you forget and set it ahead again
7. Half the office arrives an hour late, saying they forgot to change the clock. You secretly wonder why they did not arrive an hour early in October
.8. You take a two hour lunch break and say you forgot to change your wristwatch. ("getting even time.")
9. You go to bed at your regular time, but you're not sleepy yet, so you stay up an extra hour.
10. You wonder where all the energy is that we are conserving because you sure could use some of it.
See you tomorrow which in the evening will be Pesach
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States