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
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My ordinances you shall do, and My statutes you shall observe, to walk with them, I am the Lord, Your God." (Leviticus 18:4).
___What does the Torah mean "to walk with them?"
___The Ksav Sofer, a famous Hungarian rabbi, commented that the words "to walk with them" mean that a person needs to walk from one level to the next level. That is, a person should constantly keep on growing and elevating himself.
___It is not enough to keep on the same level that you were on the previous day. Rather, each day should be a climb higher than the day before. When difficult tests come your way, you might not always appreciate them. The only way to keep on elevating yourself is to keep passing more and more difficult life-tests. View every difficulty as a means of elevating yourself by applying the appropriate Torah principles. At the end of each day, ask yourself, "What did I do today to elevate myself a little higher?"
___If you cannot find an answer, ask yourself, "What can I plan to do tomorrow to elevate myself?"
Jews and Baseball
Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers star, will likely best be remembered (by Jews at least) for the game he didn't play: on Yom Kippur.
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Four Husbands . . .
The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation.
"He's a funeral director," she answered. "Interesting," the newsman thought.
He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.
She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now - in her 80's - a funeral director.
The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.
She smiled and explained, "I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."
The Wandering Jew
(The Story of the Jew in the Present Exile)
July 14, 1972
"These are the travels of the children of Israel by which they went forth out of the land of Egypt…And they journeyed from Rameses and they camped in Sukkot and they camped in Eitam…And they journeyed from Refidim and camped in the Sinai Desert and they journeyed from Hazerot and they journeyed from Hazerot and camped in Ritma and they journeyed from Ritma and they camped in Rimon Paretz and they journeyed from Rimon Paretz and they camped in Livna and they journeyed from Livna and they camped in Risa,,," (Numbers 33)
The wanderings of the Jews on their weary desert journey home. The weary journey of the wandering Jew through history. It is not relegated merely to this one forty-year period of the Jewish epoch. It is repeated constantly. It is the story of the Jew in Exile never knowing more than a transitory peace, never feeling more than a fleeting insecure moment of security. It is a story repeated endlessly, in every generation – not the least our own. It is tragic when the Jew is forced to journey from one camp to another. It is ludicrously pitiful when his wanderings assume the shape they do in the America of our times.
Thus will future chroniclers write of the mad wanderings of the American Jew.
These are the travels of the American children of Israel by which they went forth from the land of Europe…And they journeyed from Poland for Russia or Galicia or Lithuania or Hungary or Rumania or Syria or Turkey and they camped on the Lower East Side. And they camped in Williamsburg. And they journeyed from Crown Heights and they camped in Boro Park. And they journeyed from Boro Park and camped in Forest Hills. And they journeyed from Forest Hills and camped in Nassau County. And they journeyed from Nassau County and camped in Suffolk County. And they journeyed from Suffolk County and were last seen clinging to the lighthouse on Montauk Point for there were no more camps left…"
I am not ashamed to admit it. I do not understand the Jew. I am at a loss to understand a man who is so clever in business; so keen in science and the professions; so intellectually bright in debate – and so incredibly stupid when it comes to saving himself.
The wanderings of the American Jew are legendary. He moves into a new neighborhood and begins his predictable – almost inevitable – flight just a few short years later to a new neighborhood. His flight from fear of crime, Blacks, falling property values and his decision to move into precisely the same kind of a situation, which one must see a repetition of the old one in the space of an absurdly short time and a time that grows progressively shorter. He flees Brownsville leaving behind all his property and Jewish institutions and moves where? To East Flatbush where he must inevitably suffer the same fate. Burned twice, he will proceed to throw himself into the flames yet again by moving to Staten Island where a new yeshiva is being built after the old one collapsed under the pressure of a changing neighborhood. And he will not be in Staten Island six months before the specter is upon him again and he will unconsciously wonder how much time it will take to get to work in Manhattan from the wilds of New Jersey…
It is not a peculiarly American problem. It is indigenous to affluent and 'healthy' Jews in every "New Paradise" on earth. I once met a Jew from Montreal. He was a survivor of Auschwitz who had gone through the seven circles of Hell. In Montreal he had become very wealthy. Suddenly, the French separatist movement threatened his economic future if not his physical safety. He told me he was thinking of moving. I looked at this survivor of the gentile hell in Europe and the budding victim of its fury in Montreal and asked him where he contemplated going:
"Toronto…." Was the answer. And after that Vancouver, not doubt, and after that Australia. Any place but not the one logical, sane place. Home, Eretz Yisroel.
We are indeed stricken with some form of madness. It is as if the words of the Prophet Isaiah have risen to smite us with a vengeance:
"Hear ye indeed but understand not, and see ye indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes…" (Isaiah 6:9 –10).
This is the only explanation I can muster for the mad refusal of the American Jews to understand that – in the end – there are no neighborhoods which will be safe and secure for him and that no journey will bring him to a final camp of security. There is no other explanation for Auschwitz survivors convincing themselves that neighborhood Y will give them greater safety than neighborhood X which in turn they thought would give them safe haven from neighborhood Auschwitz. There is no other explanation for the decision to build a multi-million dollar yeshiva in Staten Island rather than in permanent Jerusalem. There is not other explanation for the moving of kaftan, shrtreimal and Rebbe from Warsaw, Samz and Sigit to Boro Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg rather than Eretz Yisroel. We must surely be all stricken mad with the rage of Heaven not to realize that the eternal wanderings of the Jew will not stop for the Boston refugees in Brookline, for the Philadelphia refugees in Elkins Park, for the Cleveland refugees in Shaker Heights, for the Chicago refugees in Skokie, for the Detroit 0refugees in Oak Park and for the New York refugees to Nassau, Suffolk, Monsey or Staten Island.
There comes a time when there are NO MORE CAMPS LEFT EXCEPT THOSE OF TERROR. There comes a time even the most blind, deaf and stubborn among us learn that there are many camps but only one home. Generally that time comes too late.
It is not yet too late however to lift the veil from our eyes, the veil that grows not from lack of understanding but from REFUSAL to understand – not from true blindness but from UNWILLINGNESS to see. We are a generation that fulfills the words of our rabbis in Ruth: "Woe into the generation that judges its judges…" Indeed, woe unto a generation so lacking in men of greatness that it wanders around lost, rudderless and uncomprehending. We are such a generation and I know that never in the history of our people has such a massive community as the American Jewish one is – been so utterly and completely devoid of one single man of greatness. The Jews of the desert wandered but had, at least, the consolation of a Moses who knew clearly where he was taking them. The American Jewish wanderers do not have even that. I can only repeat what I have said so many times: It is time to stop wandering and go home.
Why the UN Needs the Bet Hamikdash by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher
One of the 13 Principles of Faith listed by the Rambam is the belief that Mashiach will come and build the Final Temple. Why is the belief in the rebuilding of the Holy Temple an Essential of Judaism? The Bet Hamikdash was much more than just a magnificent physical building in which G-d's Holy Divine Presence dwelt. The Bet Hamikdash was the place where every human being, not just a Jewish person, could connect with G-d, and form a unique, special bond of love and closeness with Him. The concentration of Holiness that was contained in the abode of G-d's Glory enabled EVERY person to develop a special closeness and love that nourishes one's G-dly soul and spiritual existence. The Holy Temple was the spiritual center of the ENTIRE world, which served as a conduit through which every human being's prayers ascended to G-d in Heaven. And through which an abundance of Divine Grace and bounty descended to the physical world. The Holy Temple was truly the Stairway to Heaven for ALL mankind. This is why G-d tells Yeshayahu in ch. 56 "…for My House will be called a House of Prayer for ALL the (United) Nations." G-d is not just the G-d of Israel but He is the G-d of ALL mankind, and He calls all peoples to acknowledge and worship Him. The Talmud in Menachot 53 states that the Bet Hamikdash has to be built by a person who is called a YEDID, which means a lover of G-d. That is why King Solomon, who built the First Temple, was called Yedidiyah by G-d, which meansG-d's Lover. And that is why the first two Temples and the Final Temple are all located in the territory of the Tribe of Binyamin, because Binyamin is the only son of Yaacov who is called The Yedid Hashem, the Lover of G-d (Devarim 33). Why is Binyamin so special? After all, he is the youngest of Yaacov's 12 sons. The Ramban answers that he is the only son of Yaacov who was born in the Holy Land. Therefore all the Holy Temples are located only in his territory. The message to us is to appreciate and cherish the merit of dwelling in G-d's Holy Palace!
Hamburger Helper only works if the hamburger accepts the fact that she needs help! Don't wait until you are rich to be happy. Happiness is free! I'm learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things that are not good for me. We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. I always thought copper nitrate was what policemen earned for overtime. (think like a word person) i Not only does my mind wander--somedays I cannot find it. John is having a bad day. He tried to button his shirt and a button fell off. He picked up his briefcase and the handle fell off. He went to open the door and the doorknow fell off. Now he's afraid to pee. Fall in love with the process of becoming the best person you can be. Chickens with a senior moment do not remember why they crossed the road. I want to be buried with my old 33 rpm records. It will be my vinyl resting place. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside you. John Maxwell
Parasha Poetry: Mattos/Masei "Nothingness and the Cures" By Evelyn Haies
An oath is an obligation, a vow to perform And the tribes of Gad and Reuben acted to conform With their fellow tribes And to subscribe to be partners in the war with the Midianites And they went to war for a peace to settle the Land for their inheritance They fought valiantly as they recognized their destiny They did not lose a single soldier in the resistance And they merited and possessed their entity. Each had a mission and a directive To drive out all the inhabitants But how could they kill the women, let live the seductive Thus, they failed in winning by keeping the tainted. They did not rid the Land of the corrosive and fully slaughter So the Canaanite presence was a pin in their eyes and a thorn in their sides Having journeyed for 40 years they didn't abide by Hashem's orders The idol factor multiplied have into nothingness, nullified holiness. The tribes had gone forth on their journey from Ramses to HashmonahThe tribes were seduced and gave their seducers freedom. The tribes conquered but floundered in their sanctification to Torah A mikveh led to the purification of the gold, silver, copper and iron "My people have exchanged their glory for that which cannot avail" They have forsaken Me and the source of living waters. They failed for nothingness, suffered raging storms and hail Hashem lives in truth, justice and righteousness. Moses rebuked the leaders and ordered a cure The Land of Gilead was their inheritance Their objective was to remain pure Following His commandments and His ordinances. With clarity of purpose there would be a cure to their malady Winning wars with enemies demanded controlling oneself Aaron and Moses passed on, Yehoshua and Elazar acted correctly Their leadership held a blessing of physical and spiritual wealth. The story is history but the lesson is for blessings Passing His test has a royalty to realize the pure. Failing is sinking into the waste of the cursingsHASHEM created good for the good. Settlements mean cure.
HE PROBLEM OF GOING HALF WAY / YISHUV HA'ARETZ HAS A DARK SIDE
While it is true that the national religious movement in Israel has put for th great efforts in the fulfilling of the mitzvah "Yishuv Ha'Aretz" (the settling of the land), it is important to point out that they are familiar with only half of the mitzvah. For the mitzvah of "Yishuv Ha'Aretz" has two sides to it. Well known to us all is the first side – the establishing of settlements. That's the "nice" part of the mitzvah. But it is the other side that hs been totally ignored by those who proudly wave the banner of "Yishuv Ha'Aretz". Obviously, we are speaking of the mitzvah of expelling the gentile from the land. The word used in the Torah and numerous times in our parasha is "horashtem הורשתם", which literally means "you shall disinherit". Rashi defines that "ugly" word "horashtem" as "gerashtem", meaning, "you shall expel". In any case, it is an inseparable part of the mitzvah of "Yishuv Ha'Aretz".
"GET OUT OF HERE!!!"
Settling the land and expelling the gentiles in it are not only two sides of the same mitzvah, but each side is actually dependent upon the other. The Torah constantly warns us about the impossibility of fulfilling just half of the mitzvah: "If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, those who remain shall be barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, causing you troubles in the land you settle." (Numbers 33:55) The Sforno adds: "If you don't burnt them out (the gentile inhabitants), even though you have conquered the land, you won't merit to inherit the land for your children". And here are the prophetic but painful words of the Ohr HaChayim: "Not only will they hold unto the part of the land that you weren't able to conquer, but even the parts that you succeeded in conquering, they will say to you, 'get out of here!'" In short, one is dependent on the other - there is no inheriting without disinheriting!
THEY CAME UP SHORT
Let us now jump to the dramatic moment when Israel crossed the Jordan River. Here we witness an incredible event. While still in the middle of the Jordan, Joshua tells them: "Know why you are crossing the Jordan – so that you expel the inhabitants of the land from before you as the verse says, 'and you shall disinherit the inhabitants of the land from before you...' If you do, fine. And if not, these waters will come down and sweep away you and me..." (Sota 34) Once may ask: While the thrashing waters of the Jordan were standing 12 miles high about to swamp the Jewish People, was this a time for Joshua to deliver a speech? The answer is that Joshua knew that a lack of understanding of the importance of the mitzvah of expelling the gentile would post a constant threat to the Jews, placing their entire mission in jeopardy. Thus he warned them. Know, that if you do not intend on throwing out the gentile from the land, there is no reason to continue. It is better that the waters drown us now. Indeed, a rather effective way to convey a difficult message.
In spite of all this, the Jewish People failed in their task, and allowed many gentiles to continue to reside in the land. As a result, they were severely chastised for their sin by the angel of G-d: "Moreover, I said I will not drive them out from before you, but they shall be as snares to you and their G-ds shall be as a trap to you." (Judges 2) As this stage begins the description of the spiritual deterioration that characterized the times of the Book of Judges. Indeed, as G-d warned, the root of the evil was the lack of expulsion of all the gentiles from the land, their mere presence causing the Jews to learn from their evil ways.
IT'S US OR THEM!!!
And now history repeats itself before our very eyes. The leaders of the settler movements made a tragic mistake in thinking all these years that they can build on yishuv after another and in the meantime ignore the existence of two (2) million Arabs who surround these settlements and dream of the day when they can throw them into the sea. No less tragic is their absurd reaction to Arab terror – that they will build another yishuv. Nonsense! The very opposite is true. Another settlement is not the answer to the Arab terror, but rather the Arab terror is a result of our being content with making settlements and not completing the entire mitzvah – which is the expulsion of the Arabs! The solution to the terror is the fulfillment of the entire mitzvah of "Yishuv Ha'Aretz!"
Here is the choice: Either all those faithful to Torah and Eretz Yisrael overcome their fear of "what will the left say" and adopt for themselves a new agenda which includes fulfilling part two (2) of the mitzvah "Yishuv Ha'Aretz", or they pathetically refuse to fulfill this Torah commandment and thereby bring about the dismantlement of all that they have built for the past twenty years. How ironic. All those who refused to listen to Parashat Masay are forced now to listen to the left's argument, "You can't occupy a foreign people". The left is basically correct, only their conclusion is warped. But the logical Jewish approach is clear: EITHER US OR THEM! The time has come that we decide once and for all!