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
When Saul was king for one year ... (I Samuel 13:1).
The literal translation of this verse is, "Saul was one year old when he became king." The Talmud explains that Scripture uses this wording to convey that when Saul assumed the throne, he was as free of sin as a one-year-old child.
People grow wiser as they mature, but some features of childhood should not be abandoned. Rabbi Shlomo Luria stated that when he recited the Shema, he could have meditated upon the profound hidden meanings and esoteric combinations of the Divine Name. He instead concentrated on the simplest meanings of the words, just as a small child would who knows only the literal translation, "Hear, O Israel, our God is Lord, our God is One."
God created man simple, but man made complex calculations (Ecclesiastes 7:29). The problems of life need not be anywhere near as complicated as we make them. In matters of faith and in following instructions, we would benefit greatly if we used childlike simplicity, trusting in the superior wisdom of our Father and doing what we are told instead of trying to analyze everything.
Today I shall ... ... try to keep things as simple as possible, and allow myself to be taught and guided by those wiser than myself.
The Jewish people are no weaker for these attacks. Synagogues are not about to empty out because of a handful of disturbed, poisoned minds—and much to the contrary. As for those whose lives were taken, all very special Jews, all missed terribly: Don't call them victims. There's an honored title in Jewish tradition for any Jew who lost his or her life simply for being a Jew: A Kadosh. A holy Jew. Jews don't die as victims, we die with dignity. That is why we are still alive.
My contention is that this is not a Jewish problem. It's the World's problem. Both these attacks, along with many other violent crimes of hatred in recent years are symptoms of a malicious disease spreading unabated in America, in Europe, and in the world at large.
But that's a problem that we, as Jews, are going to have to assist in healing. For our own best interest, as well as for the interest of this country, and for the entire world.
America is suffering. According to FBI figures, hate-crimes rose 17% last year, with similar increases over the previous two years. All this while other forms of violent crime continue to decrease. Something's wrong.
Jews are an obvious target. Like the canary in the coal mine, we tend to get hit the hardest. And yes, these are acts of rabid antisemitism. But if we want to solve anything, we need to take a broader perspective. Muslims, Christians and others have been under siege as well. Just a few days before the Poway shooting, a young war veteran plowed into a crowd crossing the street in Sunnyvale, California. He told police he thought they were Muslims.
Is there a medicine for this plague?
In the sixties, seventies and eighties, violence was increasingly on the rampage in America in a way not seen since the days of the Wild West. Ideas for quick fixes and long term solutions abounded. The Rebbe's prescription, unique and counterintuitive, was this: Fix the education system. How? Introduce a moment of silence every day into the school curriculum, and take it seriously.
Why do I think that's a good fit for today's plague of hate-driven violence?
Think about it: America is divided over gun law restrictions, yet there is one point that enjoys universal consensus: Gun restrictions alone are not enough. Because the problem is not the gun. The problem is the mind of the person that holds the gun.
What has the American school done for the mind of that criminal?
We taught him how human beings first appeared on the planet. Did we teach him to be a human being? Did we teach him to respect another human being?
We taught him to use his mind to solve problems with numbers. Did we teach him to apply his mind—rather than his fists—to solve problems with people?
We taught him anatomy. Did we teach him that a human life is more than the sum of blood, guts and bones? Or did we, perhaps inadvertently, teach him that the notion of a human soul has no place in the educated mind?
We taught him about laws and prisons. Did we teach him that even if you're so smart that you don't get caught, you're still wrong? Did we give him a conscience?
Did we ever demonstrate to him that these are the things that really matter in life—more than math, more than science, even more than the niftiest technology? Did we ever give him a chance to stop and think about himself, about his life, about his family, about everything that bothers him in life? Is there a space and time for thinking about life in his school?
That's all that a moment of silence in school is about. And, yes, it works wonders. Ask those who work in schools where it's been implemented. They will tell you that a moment of silence means that a child will go home and ask Mommy and Daddy what he should think about. It means that a child will share with his teacher the troubles he's going through. It means the school becomes a place not just for the child's mind, but for his heart and his soul.
Or take it from this 2013 report on the Moment of Silence program at Paul Robeson High in Brooklyn, N.Y., that described it as "an ongoing, transformative experience."
"…The Moment of Silence provided the students an opportunity to become more mindful and reflective of their experiences inside and outside the classroom. The students have become more introspective in their writing and have a greater appreciation, empathy, and understanding of their peers . . . Students have also gained a greater understanding of educational objectives."
Jews have to adapt to the times. The knee-jerk reaction, reinforced through thousands of years of history, has been to huddle down and strengthen the internal steel grid when under attack. But America in 2019 is not Shushan, not Rome, not medieval Spain, not Poland.
It's that attitude that prompted some Jews to believe that if Judaism were to be safe in America, G‑d had to be kicked out of public school. They failed to realize that, in the times we live in, the opposite is true. A moral society demands a notion of an objective, supreme Judge, an "eye that sees and an ear that hears"—even if you don't get caught by the police or the media. When that notion is lost, so is America's soul. And that's when the madness begins.
A moment of silence doesn't impose prayer or belief in a Creator on anyone. But it opens the child's mind to search for meaning, and hopefully, for G‑d's presence in the world. And there's a good chance the child will talk to parents and grandparents and discover that they once had faith in their lives.
True, anti-semitism never died, even in America. But here we have a voice, a well-respected voice, and therefore a responsibility to our host country. Isn't this why we were given a Torah? Isn't this the core mission of our people here in this world—to be a light to the nations, who will finally come to realize that the world has a Creator who cares about how we treat His world?
We can use our voices to heal America. Let America's schools nurture the humanness of America's children. Let children know the meaning of silence, just enough silence that they can hear their own hearts pounding inside. Let America have a soul again.
P.U.! What's that smell? Turns out, it's p-YOU. Body odor starts with sweat—but your perspiration itself isn't what stinks. Your skin's microbiome mix and interact with compounds within your sweat—and that is your B.O.
Producer/Video by: Jason Lederman
Narrator: Claire Maldarelli
Researcher: Jess Boddy
Music: APM Music
Special Thanks: Chris Callewaert (aka "Dr. Armpit")
Since we talked about bad smells here is a story about how paper towels came about
We as Jews have two issues with electric hand dryers. The first is a time concern, as we are always in a rush. It takes longer to air dry our hands it takes to use a disposable paper towel. But all kidding aside, the second, and real issue is Shabbos. We can't use the electric blower; we need to use those good old-fashioned paper towels. Before we get to the obvious problem with the electric blower, what is the story behind the 'paper towel'?
Scott Paper Company was founded by brothers Irvin and Clarence Scott in Philadelphia in 1879. SCOTT® Brand Tissue with 1,000 sheets was introduced at a cost of 10 cents per roll. It was considered a medical item; print ads were used to increase awareness and address embarrassment. One day, Arthur Scott, head of the paper products company, had big trouble. An entire railroad car full of paper, unloaded at his plant, wasn't good for anything because the paper had been rolled too thick for toilet tissue, its intended purpose. Was he going to send the whole load back?
Meanwhile, Scott heard about a certain teacher in the city school system who had developed a novel idea to help fight colds in school. She gave every runny-nosed student a small piece of soft paper to use. That way the roller towel in the toilets would not become contaminated with germs. Scott decided he would try to sell the carload of paper. He perforated the thick paper into small towel-size sheets and sold them as disposable paper towels. Later, he renamed the product Sani-Towel and sold them to hotels, restaurants, and railroad stations for use in public washrooms. In 1931, Scott introduced the first paper towel for the kitchen, creating a whole new grocery category. He made perforated rolls of "towels" thirteen inches wide and eighteen inches long. And that is the story of how paper towels were born. It was to take many years, however, before they gained acceptance and replaced cloth towels for kitchen use.
The main issue with dispensing paper towels on Shabbos is the prohibition of tearing. I don't know about you, but invariably after washing my hands in the washroom or prior to eating bread, the paper towel rips as I am pulling it out of the dispenser. This usually occurs when the towels are packed in tightly together. (When there are only a few sheets left, they fly out in enthusiastic bunches – far more than you need.) For me, this has been a problem of tearing on Shabbos, albeit accidentally and not wanting it to happen. Nevertheless, even though I am probably exempt from the violation of Shabbos, it is still a desecration of Shabbos. Perhaps we should seek guidance from the Torah on this matter and see if there are any recommendations… After perusing through the Torah, we see numerous references to the concept and application of water and washing, but not one word about drying. The issue of drying hands is addressed in the laws of washing for bread, but such washing is a rabbinic decree, not a biblical one.
The Gemara Bava Metzia 85b tells a story about washing hands. Eliyahu HaNavi used to frequent Rebbi's academy. One day it was the New Moon and Rebbi was waiting for Eliyahu HaNavi, but he failed to come. Rebbi said to him the next day: 'Why didn't you come yesterday?" He replied: "I had to wait until I awoke Avraham, washed his hands, he prayed and I put him to rest again; likewise to Yitzchok and Yakov." "But why not awake them together?" Eliyahu replied, "I feared that they would wax strong in prayer and bring Moshiach before his time.
Here's what's in your bottled water (Marketplace)
Ever wonder what's lurking in your bottled water? Marketplace asked a lab to test five of the top-selling brands of bottled water in Canada, and microplastics were found in all of them. To read more: http://cbc.ca/1.4575045
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States