Today is my first secular anniversary (we got married on April 10), I send my wife who is my teacher my love and respect.
Letting go of resentment:
Step 1: Instead of scowling at the offender, direct your gaze "upward."
The first step in letting go of resentment is to realize that whatever happens to you ultimately comes from God, whether directly as in the case of illness or hurricane, or indirectly through a human being.
The bedrock belief of Judaism, the actual meaning of "Jewish monotheism," is that God is the one and only operative force in the universe. "Monotheism" is more than rejecting belief in idols and pagan gods. The second of the Ten Commandments enjoins, "You should not have elohim aherim – other gods before Me." But the Hebrew word " elohim" also means "forces" or "powers." The Second Commandment means you should not believe in any force or power other than God. That includes: Wall Street, the IRS, bacteria, pesticides, Al-Qaeda, the meter maid, and your brother-in-law. The only operative force in the universe is God. Period.
The implication of this is that if I am suffering, God decided that I needed that amount of trial and tribulation for my spiritual rectification (which is the only reason one's soul comes down into this world). Another human being has no more power to hurt you than he does to make it snow. All the power comes from God. All the causal lines are vertical, from God to you, not horizontal, from another person to you.
So what about free will? Don't human beings have free choice to hurt or not hurt?
It works like this: It's past midnight. You are walking down a dark street in a dangerous neighborhood. A man standing at the intersection is deciding whether or not to mug you. He has free choice, and he is accountable for his choices (in the world of reward and punishment, after this world). Let's say he chooses to mug you. If God decides you should not have that trauma and financial loss, regardless of the mugger's choice, you will not be mugged. God can send a pair of policemen to that intersection at that moment. Or you can get a call on your cellphone and (if like me) it takes you several minutes to locate your cellphone in your pocketbook, and while you are standing there fumbling in your purse, a different victim reaches the intersection. Or two loan sharks that the mugger owes money to can be walking toward him, and he hightails it in the opposite direction. The mugger chose to hurt you, but since God decided otherwise, you were not hurt.
On the other hand, let's say the guy is standing there at the intersection as you approach, and he decides, "She looks like a nice lady. I'm not going to mug her." (Good choice, buddy!) But if God decides you need that amount of trauma and financial loss for your spiritual rectification, late the next night when you're driving on an isolated back road, your car's transmission will die and your cellphone battery will be dead, and you will suffer just as much trauma and financial loss. Human beings' free choice affects only themselves, not physical reality, which is totally controlled by God.
The Talmud illustrates this truth with a metaphor: When a dog is being beaten by a man with a stick, the dog will bite the stick, not the man. Similarly, when we are hurt, we focus on the agent of our hurt—our spouse, boss, friend, parent, co-worker, or neighbor—but they are merely the "sticks" in God's hand. Everything that happens to us comes—directly or indirectly—from God.
So the first step is to recognize that this is primarily between you and God, rather than between you and the person who hurt you.
Step 2: Ask: "What Am I Supposed to Learn from This?"
Recognizing that the situation came from God lowers your blood pressure more than hours of yoga. Only then will you have the emotional equilibrium to ask yourself The Spiritual Growth Question. In Judaism, this question is not "Why?" but rather, "What?" Not "Why did God afflict me with this painful situation?" but rather "What am I supposed to learn from this?" Or, "What should be my ideal response?"
God does not want my ego to swell and strangle my soul. So God sent me this humiliating experience to humble me, to knock me down a notch. I'm supposed to learn humility from it."
Step 3: The "Miscreant Melt": Recast the person who hurt you
Now it's time to focus on the person who hurt you, and see him or her as a whole person rather than just your torturer. He or she is also a soul with his or her own challenges, preoccupations, heartaches, and scars. A saying I read years ago proclaimed: "Remember, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." That does not exonerate them from their misdeed, but it replaces the caricature drawn by your hurt with a realistic portrait.
I call this step, "The Miscreant Melt," because you admit that human beings are complex, and the miscreant part of that person is only one dimension of a multi-faceted human being. The offender becomes a real person rather than just a vaudeville villain.
Step 4: Objectively evaluate the misdeed
Now you're ready to objectively evaluate the deed that was committed.
What the offender did was wrong, but how wrong? In our hurt, we tend to inflate the malevolence of the offender's action. To clearly regard the misdeed, you have to take the "personal" out of your "personal injury lawsuit."
One way to reduce your righteous indignation is to ask yourself, "If this had had happened to a different person in a faraway location, how irate would I be?
Step 5: Forgive
Now that you have admitted that your pain came from God, through the person but not from the person, and you have calmed down enough to empathetically regard the person and to shrink the gravity of their action, you're ready for the final step: You forgive the offender. Not because their offense is so small, but because you are so big. Any petty judge in any lower court can condemn a prisoner. It takes the Governor or President to pardon his crime. Recast yourself not as the victim, but as the victor over your own lower self.
So the steps are:
Realize that your pain came from God; the offender was merely the agent.
Ask the Spiritual Growth Question: "What am I supposed to learn from this?" Or "What would be the ideal response to this situation?"
The Miscreant Melt: See the offender as a multi-dimensional person.
Disinflate the wickedness of the deed either by asking, "If this had happened to a different person in a faraway location, how indignant would I be?" or by remembering when you committed a similar deed.
Forgive the offender.
Letting go of resentment is like putting down a 60-pound backpack. But there's another benefit to forgiving those who have hurt you. The best way to gain forgiveness for your own misdeeds is to forgive those who have sinned against you. Resentment is not only a weight on your back; it's a wall between you and Divine forgiveness.
Love Yehuda Lave
World's Longest Salt Cave Discovered In Israel – Bigger than Iran's
Photo Credit: Anton Chikishev / Hebrew University
World's longest salt cave discovered in Israel
Following the biblical recounting of Lot's Wife who was turned into a pillar of salt, Israel's Dead Sea region is now famous for a second salt phenomenon: Malham Cave, the world's longest salt cave.
For thirteen years, this title was held by Iran's Cave of the Three Nudes (3N) on Qeshm Island. Now, an international expedition led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)'s Cave Research Center (CRC), Israel Cave Explorers Club, and Bulgaria's Sofia Speleo Club, along with 80 cavers from nine countries, has successfully mapped the Malham salt cave in the Dead Sea's Mount Sedom which, at 10 kilometers long, now bears the title of world's longest salt cave.
World's longest salt cave discovered in Israel / Photo credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University
Salt caves are living things, geologically speaking. They form mostly in desert regions with salt outcrops, such as Chile's Atacama Desert, Iran's Qeshm Island and Israel's Dead Sea. What helps them form is water—even arid climates see the occasional rainstorm. When it does rain, water rushes down cracks in the surface, dissolving salt and creating semi-horizontal channels along the way. After all the rainwater drains out, these dried out "river beds" remain and salt caves are formed.
Fitting this description is Israel's Mount Sedom, an 11km long mountain that sits 170 meters below sea level at the southwestern tip of the Dead Sea. Underneath a thin layer of cap rock, this mountain is made entirely of salt (just like the kind we season our food with). Two factors protect this mountain from dissolving away: the sturdy cap rock that covers its salt, and the arid climate of the Negev Desert. Mount Sedom gets roughly 50mm of rain a year, mostly in short but dramatic rain bursts. As Professor Amos Frumkin, director of the CRC at HU's Institute of Earth Sciences, explained, "The Malham Salt Cave is a river cave. Water from a surface stream flowed underground and dissolved the salt, creating caves – a process that is still going on when there is strong rain over Mount Sedom about once a year." In this way, the Malham Salt Cave is "alive" and continues to grow.
World's longest salt cave discovered in Israel / Photo credit: Anton Chikishev / Hebrew University
Malham was initially discovered by the CRC back in the 1980's. Later, tens of CRC expeditions surveyed Mount Sedom and found more than 100 salt different caves inside, the longest of which measured 5,685 meters. Subsequent carbon-14 tests dated the cave as 7,000 years old, give or take, and successive rainstorms created new passages for the cavers to explore. When the international expeditions returned to Malham in 2018 and 2019, their surveys discovered the cave's record-breaking, double-digit length. "Thirty years ago, when we surveyed Malham, we used tape measures and compasses. Now we have laser technology that beams measurements right to our iPhones," Frumkin recalled.
Notably, Malham is the world's first salt cave to reach a length in the double-digits. By comparison, Iran's Qeshm Island salt cave, now the world's second largest salt cave, measures only 6,580 meters. In addition to its length, the Malham Cave contains a stunning array of salt stalactites and salt crystals within its chambers. These salt icicles hang from the cave's ceiling and grow longer and fatter as each drop of water rolls down before evaporating into the salty air.
World's longest salt cave discovered in Israel / Photo credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University
Currently, the survey team is processing final data from the new Malham Cave surveys to create an electronic map of the cave and to publish its findings.
The international cave expeditions that worked together to map Malham Cave include Israel's Cave Explorers Club, HU's Cave Research Center, and Bulgaria's Sofia Caving Club & Speleo School. The survey team included cavers from Israel, Bulgaria, France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Boaz Langford, Member of HU's Cave Research Center and head of the 2019 Malham Cave Mapping Expedition: "Israel's salt caves are a global phenomenon. My colleagues around the world are always amazed at what we find here. Returning to survey Malham Cave allowed us to reveal its full dimensions and rank Israel as first among the world's longest salt caves."
World's longest salt cave discovered in Israel / Photo credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University
Yoav Negev, Chairman, Israel Cave Explorers Club and project leader of the Malham Cave Mapping Expedition: "This entire project began with a call to Antoniya Vlaykova at Bulgaria's Sofia Caving Club & Speleo School. From the very beginning they showed real interest in collaborating with us and in taking on a central role in the project. Soon we had a 50-member delegation—half international, half Israeli. The Malham Cave is a one of kind expedition that demonstrated the power of international caving delegations coming together to achieve something remarkable. The fact that we came away with a new world record is icing on the cake."
Efraim Cohen, Member of HU's Cave Research Center: "Mapping Malham Cave took hard work. We cavers worked 10-hour days underground, crawling through icy salt channels, narrowly avoiding salt stalactites and jaw-dropping salt crystals. Down there it felt like another planet. Our next and final step is to map the tightest spots and the most difficult ones to reach. When we're all done, it's likely we'll add a few hundred meters to Malham's impressive 10 kilometer length."
The 2018 and 2019 Malham Cave expeditions were supported by the Bulgarian Federation of Speleology, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Bulgaria, the European Federation of Speleology (FSE) and its sponsors Aventure Verticale, Korda's, Scurion, and Bulgaria Air.
Old City Jerusalem Now Largest Accessible Historic Site in World
Photo Credit: Jerusalem Municipality
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly inaugurated accessibility project led by the East Jerusalem Development Company was attended by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and other officials, in addition to many of the residents it was geared to help.
By Shlomo Deutch
The newly inaugurated, 10-year, 20 million shekel (about $5.5 million) project led by the East Jerusalem Development Company has delivered accessibility to all three of the city's holy sites—the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The project included adjusting four kilometers of streets in the Armenian, Christian and Muslim quarters; installing two kilometers of handrails along staircases; and providing a free, wheelchair-accessible, shuttle from Jerusalem's First Station to the Old City's Dung Gate.
Speaking at the site on March 18, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said "this was not an easy task."
In ancient Israel, the main means of transportation was freight animals, such as camels, mules and horses. The steep paths, narrow streets, and twists and turns of the stoned city of Jerusalem were built according to natural topography; in fact, the difference between the highest and lowest points of the Old City is about 180 feet.
Beginning as a project to help people more efficiently navigate these challenging aspects of the Old City, organizers initially met with disabled residents to develop plans that would make the area better suited to their needs.
"We had a wonderful collaboration with the citizens here and all the businesses," says director general of the Ministry of Tourism Amir Halevy.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old City of Jerusalem is home to about 40,000 residents, and is the most visited place in Israel with about 10,000,000 tourists a year. The improvements have helped both residents and tourists, who once had to climb hundreds of stairs each day to make their around the city.
Jewish Quarter resident Esther Mendlowitz said, "We have a lot of stairs on our street, and they built three new ramps. The ramps have really helped one of the residents with a family member in a wheelchair. Whenever she came for Shabbat, the family had to build a makeshift ramp over the steps, which was very difficult. Now, thank G-d, it's much easier for her to come."
The project mainly focused on the New Gate and the Jaffa Gate because they are "an intersection between the Armenian, Jewish, [Christian] and Muslim quarters," said Yitzchak Sabato, director of the Social Development Fund. The project, he added, "is a symbol of integrating people from all kinds, no matter from where they come." Paving the way for other ancient cities
However, while the accessibility issue has been solved, a new problem has arisen. The ramps have made the Old City so easy to get around that motor-vehicle drivers have begun using them to speed through the streets and alleys of the city.
George Sandrouni, a shop owner in the Old City's Christian Quarter, expressed some dissatisfaction with the project, telling JNS, "Unfortunately, we have seen that a lot of [the newly installed ramps] have been used by motorcycles … that are really making a mess and jam up the city."
"We don't need that in the Old City," he said with a heavy sigh. "It's a good thing to make it accessible to [disabled] people, but it should also be buffered by some laws and regulations about all those motor vehicles that the roads weren't designated for in the first place."
Along with the physical improvements to the city, the project included the development of an app to navigate the city's accessible roads. Ruvi Lang, one of the app's developers, spoke about a key feature, saying "disabled people can choose sites, and the application automatically calculates to give the best, fastest and shortest accessible way to each site."
Lang also mentioned that given the uniqueness of the technology, the company is in talks with Berlin and Barcelona about implementing such advances to help disabled citizens and residents in those cities as well.
As for Lion, he said the completion of the project was crucial because it demonstrates Jerusalem's leadership in accessibility, for literally "paving the way for ancient cities around the world.
Just Assume The Left Is Lying
rom the beginning, I repeatedly said the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election was a lie. The president's description of it as a "witch hunt" was accurate.
I regularly acknowledged that I was putting my credibility on the line by stating that it was all a hoax. But how did I know that? After all, I wasn't privy to any confidential intelligence.
One answer is: I used common sense. The Trump-Russia collusion charge and the Donald-Trump-is-an-agent-of-the-Kremlin charge struck me – and tens of millions of other Americans – as absurd. Vladimir Putin's influence on the 2016 election was negligible, and, as president, Trump has been harder on Russia – in supporting Ukraine's anti-Russian government, in fighting Syria's pro-Russian government, and in confronting Iran's pro-Russian regime – than Barack Obama was.
But the biggest reason I never believed the Russian collusion charge was that the charge emanated from the left, and the left lies about everything. Truth is a liberal value, and truth is a conservative value, but it has never been a left-wing value. People on the left say whatever advances their immediate agenda. Power is their moral lodestar; therefore, truth is always subservient to it.
The left wanted to undo the 2016 presidential election from the day Trump won. So they made up the Russian collusion story. This was obvious to every conservative – except for "Never Trumpers," who, with regard to Trump, have been indistinguishable from the left and were therefore as prepared as any leftist to believe the Trump-Russia collusion tale.
We conservatives knew that a) the left wanted to invalidate the election and b) the left lies when it is in their interest to do so. So we knew the collusion charge was a fabrication.
We also suspected that the collusion hoax may well have been an effort to divert attention from the real crimes here: American intelligence agencies being used to spy on a presidential candidate for the first time in American history; getting Clinton off the hook for her illegal use of a private server while serving as secretary of state; her use of that office to enrich herself and her husband; and her destruction of the evidence once her hidden e-mails were subpoenaed.
If you always doubt a leftist claim, you will almost always be closer to the truth. I employed that rule in concluding the collusion story was a fraud, and it served me well.
Name the issue and you will likely find a left-wing lie. The left claims our universities are saturated by a "culture of rape." Not only is that a lie, but deep down, leftists know it's a lie. The proof? Every left-wing parent who speaks about the "culture of rape" on college campuses sends his or her daughter to college. As no parents would ever send their daughter to an actual rape culture, left-wing parents who send their daughters to college know it is not really a rape culture.
They say it is a rape culture solely to buttress the feminist argument that American males are misogynists and to provide young women with the highest status in the left-wing value system: that of a victim.
Although I haven't been a student or taught at a college in many decades, that's how I knew American colleges were not rape cultures. I knew it because the left said they were. Again, just assume the left is lying and you will be close to arriving at the truth.
How do I know there are only two sexes? The most obvious reason is, again, common sense. But the second most powerful reason is the left denies there are only two sexes and claims there is no such thing as a sex, only a subjective "gender." Last week, a writer for the left-wing magazine The Nation defended the victory of two high school male-bodied trans women who defeated all the female-bodied women in a Connecticut track competition because, in his words, "trans women are in fact women."
But they are not, in fact, women. They consider themselves women despite the facts. Again, assuming the left is lying to advance its agenda leads one to truth.
Similarly, when the left tells us the Earth has 12 years left because of global warming, I assume they are not telling the truth. One bit of proof is that almost no one on the global-warming-will-destroy-life left advocates the safest, cheapest, and most practical non-fossil-based source of energy: nuclear power. If they really believed life was existentially threatened by fossil-based fuel, they would be building nuclear reactors as fast they could make them. One reason I don't believe man-made global warming will destroy the Earth is because the left does.
So, while the latest left-wing lie – Trump-Russia collusion – is now exposed, there is little to cheer about. Without missing a beat, the left – the Democratic Party, the media, and academia – will move on to another lie. And there will be no soul-searching on the part of the media or the rest of the left.
Why won't there be? Because no leftist acknowledges the collusion story was a lie. Truth has never been a left-wing value. Like "gender," it is whatever you want it to be.
Let's face it, it looks like someone doesn't like the Otzma Yehudit party and they are doing their best to kill the party ahead of the upcoming elections (Otzma is running in a technical block with the United Right Party).
One of their party members (a former MK) has been disqualified by the High Court because the court said he is a racist, and now the Election Committee is not allowing Otmza Yehudit to run one of their ads – which is only making the ad more popular on social media.
Of course, the more they get disqualified and censored, it seems the more popular the party gets.
Below is the ad that Israelis aren't supposed to see. It portrays a soldier who is about to be attacked by a terrorist, but is unable to act because of the over-legalization of the army. The party is fighting the ban as well as the over-legalization of the army.
Can you see any reason why this ad should be banned?
ועדת הבחירות פסלה לשידור את התשדיר הזה של עוצמה יהודית, עד להחלטה בעתירה שהוגשה נגדו
A college campus should be an accepting place. It should be a place of learning and growth. A place to learn about yourself and others; to meet people from different cultures. But this video of a rally at Brooklyn College is tragically just like many other college campuses across the United States. College campuses have become a platform for hate against Israel – with words and with actions. No one – including Jews – should have to feel unsafe on their campus.
What the Rally Was Supposed to be
This rally was supposed to be a rally to support Muslim victims of violence. It is sad when people specifically target the innocent of ANY race or religion, including Muslims. And it is fair for people to rally in support of these Muslim victims. But when it takes a wrong turn and becomes a place to chant "long live the Intifada," then they must be stopped. This cannot and should not ever be allowed on any college campus. The Intifada was a terrible time for the Jewish people living in Israel with many being killed and injured. Palestinian Arab terrorists blew up countless buses and restaurants. And these students are calling for more Jews to be killed. What have colleges become?