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
Just about everyone would like to make the world a better place- On Tisha B'Av we remember the Temple was destroyed for baseless hatred and evil speech
However, we are often stuck on the question, "What can I do?" One thing we can all do -- be more careful with how we speak. A wrong word can end a marriage, a friendship, a relationship. The Torah is very strong and direct in guiding us. The Torah uses the term Loshon Hora ("evil tongue") when admonishing us regarding derogatory speech.
The Torah has three classifications of Loshon Hora. The first, classical Loshon Hora -- what one says is true, but defamatory. The second, Motzie Shem Ra, ("bringing out a bad name") -- defaming through a lie. The third, Rechilus, ("tale bearing") -- telling someone what another person did or said about them. All of them are forbidden. One is not allowed to speak, listen to or believe Loshon Hora -- except for very specific situations to prevent loss and damage.
Loshon Hora destroys friendships, bankrupts businesses, ruins marriages and shortens lives. The Talmud tells us that we, the Jewish people, are in exile because of it (Yoma, 9b; Gitin 57b). There are 17 prohibitions from the Torah and 14 positive commandments which may be violated when one speaks or listens to Loshon Hora. Included amongst the negative commandments are: "You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people" (Leviticus 19:16), "You shall not utter a false report" (Exodus 23:1), "You shall not profane My holy name" (Leviticus 22:32). Amongst the positive commandments that may be violated: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18), "In righteousness shall you judge your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:15), "The Lord your God shall you fear" (Deuteronomy 10:20) and "Walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 28:9)
If you really care about the world, humanity, ecosystems, poverty, health, education, perfecting the world, being happy and creating happiness for others -- then the place to start is with your mouth, guarding your tongue.
The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, an organization established to promote proper speech puts it elegantly, "God desires that people live together in peace and unity, and the laws of proper speech are the Torah's way to achieve this. Actually, it is a simple principle: If one removes gossip, slander, divisiveness and anger from one's vocabulary, one automatically and dramatically improves one's own life and the lives of everyone in one's environment."
There is no way that I can give you everything that you need to know for the laws guiding speech. I highly recommend Guard Your Tongue by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.
Ours is an age of instant gratification -- or at least the desire for it. People also want instant spirituality. They want something that will give them instant communication with God and a feeling of Godliness. In the immortal words of the ages, there are no free lunches. Spirituality and Godliness take knowledge and work on oneself -- one's character traits. Being careful in one's speech IS a genuine way to be spiritual, to come close to God. Try it. See what it does for you, your family, your relationships -- and your relationship with the Almighty.
Love Yehuda Lave
ESSENTIAL LAWS CONCERNING SPEECH
You are forbidden to make a derogatory comment -- the person did something wrong, has faulty character traits or lacks a virtue -- even if it's true.
Any comment, even if not derogatory, that might ultimately cause financial loss, physical pain, mental anguish or any damage is forbidden.
Any method of conveying or implying derogatory information about others is forbidden: writing, hand motions, facial expressions.
One is not allowed to relate derogatory information even in jest.
Even if the derogatory statement won't cause damage or loss, it is forbidden.
When it is necessary for someone to know derogatory information for a constructive purpose, you are obligated to relate the information to him, i.e. someone is planning to cheat or harm another person.
Graffiti was sprayed on the cemetery all wall in Jadownik, a village located near Tarnow in southern Poland. The inscription says "The Jews eat children, Jadowniki eats the Jews".
Tarnow's Committee for the Protection of Jewish Heritage invited residents to come together to erase the anti-Semitic graffiti. "Most of Tarnow's residents are opposed to all forms of racism and anti-Semitism or any discrimination and humiliation of other people due to their origin, appearance, gender, age. We show that in our city, there is no place for this kind of racist act," the committee said.
For hundreds of years, Tarnow was home to thousands of Jews with the first mention of Jews living in the city in the 15th century.
At the beginning of World War II, there were about 25,000 Jews living in the city, making up almost half of its population. The entire community was deported to concentration camps, death camps or murdered during the Holocaust. The synagogues of the city were destroyed, leaving the cemetery as the sole remnant of Tarnow's rich Jewish life. In 2015, the wall of the Jewish cemetery was also vandalized by anti-Semitic and nationalist graffiti. A star of David crossed by a line and anti-Semitic slogans.
The cemetery in Tarnow that was restored last month, contains about 3000 tombs, and dates back to the 17th century, with the oldest legible tombstone dating back to 1688.
Staircase of 3,500 years old biblical palace revealed in Tel Hatzor
The revelation of the staircase in Hatzor proves once again that there is Hatzor and there are all the other archaeological sites," Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor exclaimed. By ALON EINHORN
A rare, well-preserved staircase belonging to a 3,500-yearold palace has been uncovered at the Tel Hatzor archaeological site.
The palace is believed to have been destroyed in the fire that ravaged Canaanite Hatzor, which is depicted in the Bible as part of the conquest of Israel (Joshua 11:10-13).
The staircase, which had not yet been completely uncovered in full, is believed to have led from the paved courtyard into the main entrance of the palace, which included walls towering over two meters (which were also preserved). The stairs are 4.5 meters in width and made of basalt plates.
Professor Amnon Ben-Tor and Doctor Shlomit Behcar at the archeological site at Tel Hazor (Credit: John Rinks)
The archaeological site is a project led by researchers from the Hebrew University, 2019 Israel Prize winner Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor and Dr. Shlomit Bechar, as part of the Keren Zelts excavations at Hatzor in memory of Yigal Yadin, who led the first delegation to the site in 1955.
"The revelation of the staircase in Hatzor proves once again that there is Hatzor, and there are all the other archaeological sites," Ben-Tor exclaimed.
The staircase revealed at the Tel Hazor archeological site (Credit: The Keren Zelts excavations at Hazor in memory of Yigael Yadin)
Bechar added that "the staircase tells us of the power of the palace itself, which is yet to be unveiled. The staircase tells us of the splendor that is due to be revealed."
Ben-Tor and Bechar were joined by dozens of students and volunteers, including a group of students from the Archaeology Institute, a group of students from France, and volunteers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the United States, Canada, Finland, Australia and China. Most of the volunteers have worked there in the past and returned for another round of excavations.
The Tel Hatzor excavations were been in progress from 1955-1958, again between 1968 and 1970, and finally continued from 1990 onward under the supervision of Ben-Tor.
It is considered the biggest and most important archaeological site in Israel, and as such had been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Arabs of Israel: No Surprise - 1988
Once again, Israeli leaders and Jewish Establishment groups are "surprised." In the wake of the riots which saw Arab citizens of the Jewish state stone Jewish buses, attack a police station and firebomb security vehicles — the one word which Jewish leaders, intellectuals and news media used over and over again was "surprise." Suddenly, all the years of efforts by Israeli and Jewish leaders to persuade the world — but more important, themselves — that the Arabs of Israel were loyal citizens of the Jewish state exploded in the wake of the Arab riots — not in the territories, but inside the Israeli cities of Jaffa, Lydda, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth, Um el Fahem and, of course, Jerusalem.
The most surprising thing about all this is the fact that Jews are surprised. It is this "surprise" and shock which is the direct result of decades of deliberate efforts to avoid dealing with the real, root cause of the problem, a madness that continues to this very day. All the absurd "explanations" and rationalizations: the problem, we were told, is that the Arab economic and social position is not equal to that of the Jew. Or the problem is that the "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza is causing anger and upset among the Israeli Arabs. As if those are the reasons Israeli Arabs take to the streets and cry "Palestine! We will free the Galilee with blood and spirit!" As if giving Israeli Arabs more sewers and more indoor toilets will put an end to the problem. As if a "Palestinian" state in the territories will send the Israeli Arabs back to their homes, happy and satisfied.
The root of the growing Israeli Arab revolt does not lie in economic inequality. It lies in a problem that is so basic and so painful and so terrifying for secular Israeli and Jewish leaders that they flee from confrontation with it — thus assuring that it will grow to proportions that will threaten the very existence of Israel.
The root of the Israeli Arab hostility and, indeed, hatred of Israel, lies in the very definition of Israel as a "Jewish state." It lies in the very basis of Zionism, which arose to recreate the "Jewish state" that twice stood in the land. And Israel which, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, was to be "a Jewish state in the Land of Israel," by definition could never allow the Arabs to be equal. It could never allow the Arabs the opportunity to become the majority — albeit peacefully — and democratically change a Jewish state into an Arab one, an Israel into a Palestine. Indeed, the root of the problem and of the liberal Jewish nightmare is that there is a basic, immutable contradiction between Western democracy and a Jewish state.
Western democracy eliminates all such concepts as national background or religion. Whoever are the majority rules, and both Arabs and Jews have the right to become the majority in Israel — under this Western democratic credo — and do with the country what they, the majority, will. Certainly, such a basic law as that passed by the socialist Zionist government of David Ben-Gurion in 1950, the Law of Return, that allows Jews automatic right to immigrate and become Israeli citizens, is not what Western democracy would adopt.
But that is exactly the kind of law that Zionism and a Jewish state did adopt and must adopt, for the Jewish people's main dream is that of a Jewish state, and all that can be done to insure the Jewishness of that state is not only proper but mandatory. A Jewish people, for 1,900 years, lived in involuntary exile, as a minority in Christian and Moslem countries. It enjoyed such minority benefits as Crusades and Inquisitions and pogroms and, of course, Auschwitz. It decided that never again would it be trampled upon, spat upon, gassed to death and burned alive. It decided that it would have a Jewish state in which the Jew was master of his fate, never dependent on others.
That is Zionism and that is Israel — the Jewish state — and there is nothing for any Jew to be ashamed of. But let him never deceive himself. A Jewish state can never be a Western democratic one, and it can never allow the Arab political equality with the Jew, no matter how much the liberal and Left in Israel and the Jewish Establishment refuse to face it.
And that is why the Arab in Israel riots and hates the Jewish state. Because it can never be his, by virtue of the stark fact that he is not a Jew. It is the contradiction between Zionism and Western democracy that is at the heart of the inevitable Arab hostility. And all the economic benefits and all the Palestinian states in the world will never remove the reality of the Israeli Arab who will never accept the Jewish state. It will get worse. Much worse. The Arab birthrate and the new generation of young, educated and hostile Israeli Arabs guarantee that in the years to come, the world will watch on its television screens rioting and shooting of Arabs in the Galilee and the cities of Israel.
The Arabs of Israel joined with the Arabs of the territories in rioting, for the simple reason that they are ONE. For them there is no nonsensical "Green Line," of 1967. The Arabs of Israel and the territories, both, are logical and normal. They know and proclaim what normal Jews such as Kahane do. They believe and proclaim that there is but ONE "Palestinian" people and that all of the land — "West Bank" and Israel — is really ONE, "Palestine." To be sure, the Arabs of Israel have no intention of leaving Israel, but surely not because they love Israel. The contention of so many vapid Israeli leaders that the Israeli Arab is caught in the dilemma of being a member of the Palestine nation and citizen of Israel is ridiculous. There is no dilemma for the Arab. His identity is not dual; it is clear and unmistaken. He considers himself to be a member of the Palestinian Arab nation. The fact that he is also a citizen of Israel and lives in the Jewish state is not a dilemma for him, but rather an unfortunate tragedy that he must live with at the moment, but which he strives, daily, to change.
The problem in getting Jews to understand all this lies in the basic dishonesty of the Jewish leadership and the 'gentilized', liberal views that surround them, and from which they spring. It lies in the basic dishonesty of the Jewish news media, intellectuals and clergy (both non-Orthodox and, in great degree, Moderdox Modern Orthodox). This dishonesty is rooted in the terrible fear of admitting the fundamental contradiction between their beloved Western democracy and gentilized social values, and the values and definitions of Zionism and authentic Judaism. None of them has the courage to face up to this contradiction and choose!
It is this cowardice that threatens the very existence of Israel, for the vacillation, the hesitation, the flight from the obvious and only choice — expulsion — sees the enormous growth of Arab population as well as the radicalization of an educated and boldly brazen new generation of Israeli Arabs. The cowardly refusal to choose and to act sees a growing sense of uncertainty and then guilt among young Israeli Jews, young people who — in any event — are naked of Jewish values, thanks to the 'gentilized', secular education they receive.
This cowardly fear of deciding for Zionism and a Jewish state, and rejecting Western democracy, is nothing short of criminal. The signs and the evidence of Israeli Arab hatred of the Jewish state have been there to see for decades! In recent years not even the most blind of people could fail to see it. When Arab Communist Party Knesset Member Tewfik Ziad hears Labor M.K. David Libai speak of Jews defending the right of the Arab minority, he calls out: "The minority that will be the majority, in the future" (Knesset minutes, Dec. 9, 1986).
And when Muhamad Mussarwa, the Israeli Consul General in Atlanta (chosen by Israel as some Uncle Ahmed to show the greatness of Israeli token democracy), tells a group of Atlanta rabbis (come to drink from his feet): "Israel is my country. I do not perceive it as a Jewish state" (Atlanta Jewish Times, Nov. 20, 1987) — he is merely proclaiming what every Arab sees as the most logical strategy. Unable to demand a "Palestine" at this moment, proclaim Israel to be a Western democracy in which Jews and Arabs are truly equal, i.e., Israel is not a Jewish state and Arabs have the right to become the majority and create the kind of state they desire.
This is exactly what the openly pro-PLO Arab M.K., Mohamed Miari (Progressive List), meant when he said: "The State of Israel is not the state of the Jewish people but rather of the citizens who are there by virtue of being citizens of the State of Israel" (Knesset minutes, Oct. 15, 1985).
And this is what Na'ama Saud, an Israeli Arab teacher, tells the newspaper Ma'ariv (May 28, 1976): "Today, I am in the minority. Who says that in the year 2000 we Arabs will still be in the minority? Today, I accept the fact that this is a Jewish state with an Arab minority. But when we are the majority I will not accept the fact of a Jewish state with an Arab majority."
And Muhamed Muhareb, chairman of the Arab students at Hebrew University, tells Ma'ariv (January 20, 1978): "I am first and foremost a Palestinian, resident of Lydda. My Israeli citizenship was forced upon me. I do not recognize it and do not see myself as belonging to the State of Israel. With the final solution common to the Arabs of Palestine and of Judea, Lydda will be in the sovereign boundaries of the democratic state. What will that state be called? Palestine, naturally." And that is why Arab mobs in the Israeli town of Taibe shout: "Katyushas will yet fall again on Kiryat Shemona," and some 6,000 Israeli Arabs come to the Knesset to demonstrate and shout: "We will free the Galilee with blood!"
The Arabs of Israel are a hostile, hating minority in the midst of a Jewish state they hate and despise and dream of overthrowing. The absurd shibboleth that is waved on high again and again by the 'gentilized' cowards to the effect that "the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arabs have never been involved in anti-state acts" is worse than stupidity. One could as well prove that the French or Dutch or Norwegians enjoyed living under the Nazi occupation because so few joined the underground against the Germans. Most people do not risk life and limb by attacking authority. It takes courage to join an underground or a terrorist group. Most people do not relish being caught and serving long prison sentences. That does not mean that they do not admire the PLO or support it. And even those who are against violence are of that mind for the pragmatic reason that they feel it will not work. But all of the Israeli Arabs reject a "Jewish state," reject the Zionist concept of a Jewish state in which they — the non-Jews — must, of necessity, be strangers.
The Jewish leaders in Israel; the Jewish Establishment in the Exile; the Jewish news media and the intellectuals — all are bound to Western democracy as some Prometheus, to which their Hellenism so gravitates. All are too terrified and too weak to choose a Jewish state over Western democracy. That is why they doom Israel to years of slow and agonizing torture; to years of Arab rebellion within the country; to years of bloody confrontation with Arabs inside the Jewish state; to years of world condemnation of Israel.
If we do not want that, we must throw off the yoke of the present Jewish leadership in Israel and the Exile. We must reject the sterile anger and protests of sterile Jewish liberals, who are the most dangerous enemies that Israel faces.
If we do not want tragedy, let us throw off our fear of facing the contradiction of Western democracy and a Jewish state. And let us choose a Jewish state, with no guilt. The answer, the inevitable answer is — remove the Arabs to any of their 22 states, and Israel will remain the one Jewish state for the Jewish people. Without liberal guilt or apologies.
Want to Live Longer? Get More Sleep
Your late nights and early mornings have way more consequences for your health and memory than you think.