Friday, August 2, 2019

The Right of Every Jew to possess the Land of Israel and the protection of private property rights for those that lived here and a trip to the Negev for a star gazing experience

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

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

Love Yehuda Lave

A prayer to say for Israel and the Israeli soldiers fighting to protect the country and its citizens.

 Dear Beloved Readers:

 Many people have asked me for a prayer to say for Israel and the Israeli soldiers fighting to protect the country and its citizens.  Here is a prayer:  

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers' sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

Now let us respond: Amen

Annual Negev sky stargazing experience Monday, August 19

Join Shalom Polock for our annual stargazing experience in the Ramon Crater.We will be hosted by "Moshe the star guy" and his wonderful team of stargazing experts.

Moshe chose the date as the very best time of the month fora perfect experience
The gorgeous desert canopy of stars will take on new meanings as Moshe points how special and meaningful each one is.We will search the skies with his powerful telescopes and revel in his explanations and stories around a campfire.

We will be treated with refreshments as we enjoy a very special evening.Bring a light jacket or sweater.
We will leave from the Inbal hotel at 5:00  and return around midnight

The cost is 300 shekels per person.
 10% discount for families and groups

From my friend Shalom Pollack

Well, I am at home again.I spent the last two weeks on the road; plane, train, bus, foot.
I visited four countries; Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
The original and main purpose of my trip was to visit the places from which my grandparents came and left as teenagers just after the First World war and the Communist take over.Their parents understood full well that it was time to save as many of the family as they could.
It was illegal to cross the border from what was the USSR to Poland and then on to a ship in Danzig port.  Money for bribing border guards and other functionaries across a number of borders, lording over their little fiefdom was one of the main expenses in what was a very costly operation. The guide who would smuggle them to their destination was a major expense.Poor families used all their assets to save a member of the family from what was a bad situation clearly getting worse. No one could imagine how much worse it was to get in a few years.
My bubby left with her younger sister. The bumpy and dangerous wagon ride from her one-room, dirt-floor house in the tiny village of Svislich to the city of Bobruisk took a full day. (I did it in  an hour by car).She remembers how her father (her mother died when she was a child) kept waving long after the train pulled out of the station, knowing that this would be their last moment together.
 In 1941, the beautiful Svislitch river ran red with the blood of those left behind.Belarus as a country(it wasn't really a country but had its own language and complex history)suffered greatly in the war. Twenty-five percent of their population was killed; military and civilian. Of course, the almost one million Jews did not stand a chance.I was encouraged to learn that the Belorus population did not collaborate with the Nazis nearly as much as their neighbors in Ukraine and the Baltic countries.
My brother and I made this emotional pilgrimage to our "roots" Our guide took us to many places in this beautiful country. However, below the beauty, where ever you go is the blood of a million Jews and a Jewish civilization that came to an abrupt and terrible end. Old Jewish cemeteries are now grown over with an occasional headstone peeping up from the weeds. Hebrew letters cut in stone attesting to a Jew who lived and died in this foreign land that was to be the last stop for an entire civilization. Monuments with words engraved that can never tell the story of what was.
In Soviet times, most of the monuments did not mention that masses of Jews were butchered in any particular spot. Rather,  "Soviet " citizens were victims of "Fascists" in the "great patriotic war". No Holocaust Even in their grizzly deaths, the Jews were discriminated against and forcefully forgotten.
I prayed at the Chabad center. I was to experience something there that would repeat itself in the next three countries.First, Chabad is doing holy work. If not for them, the pitiful remnants of the once vibrant Jewish community would have nowhere to go to feel Jewish. There is a school and Jewish (often not fully, halachic  Jewish ) children attend.
I had to wonder about this community. Surely each person has their own story and one can not judge.But clearly, there is no future for Jews in this former mass graveyard of the Jewish people.What were they planning?Where ever I traveled, I felt the ghosts of great Jewish communities hover over the blood-drenched landscapes and alleys.In each of the four cities and Chabad centers were what seemed to me, the same small group of elderly Russian speaking men clinging to Chabad and each other.These were the sad, even pathetic last witnesses to a life long gone.I wondered, why would not have left these places of horrible memory and trauma long ago?Again, one can not judge individuals, but as a phenomenom, it is truly pathetic.
Another pathetic phenomena I encountered were young Israelis seeking their fortune or an easier life in these foreign lands. Clearly, these young Jews were not members of the Benai Akiva youth movement. These are some of the products of a very secular Israeli education system and popular culture that scoffs at "too much" Jewish identity. The sad results are found in any country that offers possible material gain or the illusion, which is often the case.; yes even in lands that murdered their people. They don't connect the dots. They were not taught to. Can one judge them? Chabad is out there in the wilderness helping the tatters of Jewish remains, while I hurried back to the one place where Jews can truly call home and not a temporary abode, no matter how comfortable it may seem at any given time.Diasporas never last forever.
God bless Israel. Am Yisroel Chai!
Please join me for my annual Negev desert stargazing tour on Monday, August 19.We will depart from the Inbal hotel at 5 pm and return around midnight.I have hired a professional team of Astronomists with their telescopes to host us in the Ramon Crater.They will educate and entertain us around a campfire(with tea and marshmallows) with entertaining stories and facts about the celestial world sparkling above us. There will be zero light pollution on this chosen night of the month for the most opportune time and place for this experience.
The cost is 300 shekels.There are family and group discounts.The last time I offered this tour we were one and a half buses. I am limiting it to only one bus this time.

The right of Every Jew to possess the land of Israel

by Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne

The Torah portions at this time of year deal with Eretz Yisrael. Near the end we are told about the daughters of Tzlofchad. When discussing this affair, the Talmud declares that the land is in our possession after having been taken over by our ancestors (Bava Batra 119). But this is referring not only to the element of time - it also implies that the land belongs to us through a mechanism that was passed down to us through our ancestors.

This is important for us in our generation, for we must remember that Eretz Yisrael is not a private purchase by an individual in a specific generation but rather a general possession of the entire nation. Every Jew has a share in the "co-op" which is called "the community of Yisrael." This was expressed very well by Rabbi Y.D. Soloveitchik, as follows: "Eretz Yisrael does not belong to each and every individual Jew but rather to the community of Yisrael as an independent and free entity...

The link between Eretz Yisrael and the Jews is not in a private and individual way but is the privilege of the entire community of Yisrael. I myself, as a private person, have no specific claim or merits on the land. My personal rights stem from the fact that I am a member of the community of Yisrael, and since the land belongs to the entire community, it also belongs to me." The conclusion is that no specific generation has the right to surrender this possession to others.

This idea was also clear to the early Zionist leaders. Here is what David Ben Gurion, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, said in a speech at the Twentieth Zionist Congress in Basel: "No individual Jew is able to give up his rights to the existence of the Jewish nation and to Eretz Yisrael. No Jewish entity has the authority to do this. Even all the Jews living today do not have the authority to surrender any specific portion of the land. This is a right that has been preserved for the Jewish nation, throughout its generations...

The Jewish nation is not obligated or bound by any such surrender. Our right to this land, in its entirety, is valid for eternity, and until the complete redemption we will not abandon this historic right."

This was echoed in the papers of the Mandate that the League of Nations entrusted to the government of Great Britain at the San Remo Conference: "The Mandate authority is responsible that no land in Eretz Yisrael will be given permanently or leased to any foreign power... Together with the Jewish Agency, it will encourage... dense settlement of Jews on government land and on desolate land which is not required for public projects."

It is true that we must not impinge on the private property rights of individuals. This was emphasized by Rav Kook in a speech in honor of the Jewish National Fund, when he quoted the verse, "A righteous nation will come, which keeps the faith" [Yeshayahu 26:2]. We give charity to every individual, including people from other nations, as we also want our possession of the land to be on a charitable basis. Therefore: "We pay the full price for every piece of property in our own land, even though our rights to the holy land never ceased... As much as possible, our taking possession is only through peaceful means and purchase... so that the nations of the world will have no claims against us." [Ma'amarei Ha'Re'iya 252]. © 2012 Rabbi A. Bazak and Machon Zomet


Anger is an issue that the Sages discuss quite thoroughly.

The Talmud [Nedarim 22 A,B] offers a number of varied teachings about anger: The Shchinah (Divine Presence) is of no importance to those who get angry; one who gets angry forgets that which he has learned; all types of Gehinnom (Hell) rule over a person who gets angry.

Elsewhere in the Talmud [Pesachim 66B], Raish Lakish taught that if a chacham (wise person) gets angry, his wisdom will leave him. This idea is proven from an event that occurred in the Torah. Back in Parshas Balak we learned that the daughters of Midyan had seduced some men of Bnei Yisroel (The Children of Israel), leading them to serve their idolatry. This led to the death of twenty four thousand members of Bnei Yisroel. In Matot, Bnei Yisroel are commanded to wage a retributive war against the nation of Midyan. After the victory, Moshe met with the officers. "And Moshe became angry with the officers: You have kept the women alive??? They (the women), following the instructions of Bilaam, caused Bnei Yisroel to transgress against Hashem in the matter of P'or (their idolatry), thus causing a plague amongst the congregation of Hashem! [31:14-16]"

A few passukim (verses) later, the Torah discusses the laws of kashering (making kosher) a vessel that was used for unkosher items. This was immediately applicable to the spoils of war taken from Midyan. These laws are introduced in a very unusual manner. "And Elazar the Kohen said to the men of the army: This is the law that Hashem commanded Moshe...[31:21]" Elazar then tells them the specific laws of kashering different types of vessels. Moshe was standing right there! Why did Elazar speak out and teach them these laws that he himself had learned from Moshe?

Rashi explains that because Moshe became angry, he couldn't recall those laws of kashering the vessels. The nation was standing in front of Moshe waiting to hear from him the laws that he heard from Hashem Himself. But Moshe remained silent. He didn't know how to instruct them. He needed Elazar to step forward and teach the nation these laws. He had gotten angry and as a result, his wisdom left him. Rav Chaim Shmuelovitz zt"l writes that we all know that anger is counterproductive and harmful. Yet we still allow ourselves to get angry. We resolve this apparent contradiction by justifying our anger.

They really did a terrible thing and therefore I was correct in getting angry. From the case of Moshe we see how incorrect this attitude really is. Moshe's anger at the officers was completely justified! This war was a payback to Midyan because of the harm they caused Bnei Yisroel. It was through the women that this harm was caused. How could they avenge Midyan and at the same time keep the women alive? Nevertheless, although Moshe's anger was totally justified, he forgot the laws.

It is not a punishment for wrongful use of anger but rather the nature of anger itself. One loses wisdom. Simple and automatic. Ideally a person's focus should be that if things haven't gone one's way, not only won't anger help but it will only serve to exacerbate the situation. The story is told of a certain Tadzhik (righteous individual) who was extremely poor. On the day before the holiday of Succos the opportunity came before him to purchase a stunningly beautiful esrog (citron fruit used on Succos). His yearning to fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) with that esrog was incredible but he didn't have money for the usual holiday expenses and certainly not for the esrog.

His pure desire to fulfill the mitzvah brought an idea to his mind. He had a beautiful and expensive pair of tefillin (phylacteries) that he had inherited. "I've already fulfilled today the mitzvah of tefillin and that mitzvah won't return for another eight days," he reasoned. "On the other hand, the mitzvah of esrog starts tomorrow and if I won't buy one now, I won't be able to fulfill it. The mitzvah of esrog should therefore take precedence over the mitzvah of tefillin!"

He immediately ran, sold his tefillin and used the money to buy this beautiful esrog. The exuberant and pure happiness that this Tadzhik felt was incredible. With this glow of pleasure and bliss emanating from his face he came home with his prize. His wife, curious to know what was making him so happy, asked where he had been and he told her the entire story. "You sold your beautiful pair of tefillin???" she asked him with pain in her voice. "And you didn't save any money for food for the holiday???" she demanded with her pain turning into anger. In a fit of rage, she grabbed the esrog and threw it hard to the ground, rendering it passul {unfit for use}. The Tadzhik looked at this esrog, with which he could have fulfilled the mitzvah in such a beautiful way, lying broken and worthless on the ground. How did he react?

"My tefillin-I no longer have the merit of that mitzvah. My esrog-I no longer have the merit of that mitzvah. Should I therefore 'merit' in the tremendous sin of anger? Should I allow my mitzvah to lead to an aveirah (sin)?" He then walked away as if nothing had happened. Though the level of this Tadzhik might be unattainable to us, I think the story might be helpful when we feel our blood-pressure rising

Enormous Fortifications Found in Ancient Gath, Goliath's Hometown

A new layer of massive structures was exposed this summer at Tell es-Safi at the Gath Archaeological Project, igniting the researchers' imagination on the ties between the findings and the Biblical-story.

The Biblical-era site, said to be the home of the giant Goliath, may give a glimpse into Goliath's origins.

The massive structures unearthed at the dig date back to the period of King David's battle with Goliath, as depicted in Samuel I. The new findings are older than previous findings at the site. A quarter-century of excavations at the Philistine site have uncovered a later biblical city that dates to the 10th and 9th centuries BCE. The new fortifications date back to the 11th century BCE and coincide with the Biblical era in which the battle with Goliath is believed to have taken place.

Although there was an academic discussion regarding the exact location of ancient Gath, most scholars now believe that it was located at the site known as Tell es-Safi. The site, situated approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon, is one of the largest biblical sites in Israel.

The site has been settled continuously from the Chalcolithic period (5th mill. BCE) until modern times and is, therefore, an important source of archaeological evidence from all periods.

The settlement that has been uncovered throughout the decades-long dig was finally destroyed in the 8th century BCE. The Bible depicts this destruction in Kings II when the Aramean King Hazael sacked the city of Gath. This layer was long thought to have been the biggest, but the new findings show the earlier periods of the city were more impressive, and that the grand city had magnificent fortifications.

The newly uncovered fortifications are nearly double the size of the previous fortifications found at the site, measuring 4 meters (13 feet) wide, compared to only 2-2.5 meter (6.5-8 feet) of the newer layer.

The stones used to build the older layer are much larger and fit nicely with the biblical narrative, which presents the site as the home of a giant and his family.

Living and Possessing the Land Part Two (part one in previous post)

The portion of Masei includes the sentence that speaks to the commandment of living in Israel.

The key phrase is "and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein." (Numbers 33:53)

Rashi is of the opinion that this sentence does not constitute a command to live in Israel. It is rather good advice. Take possession of the land from its inhabitants, otherwise you will not be able to safely live there.

Ramban (Nahmanides) disagrees. In his addendum to Rambam's (Maimonides) Book of Commandments, Ramban notes that Rambam failed to mention living in Israel as a distinct mitzvah.

Ramban writes: "We have been commanded in the Torah to take possession of the land which G-d gave to the patriarchs and not leave it in the hands of others or allow it to remain desolate, as it says 'and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein.'" (Addendum, Mitzvat Aseh 4)

Some commentators argue that implicit in Rambam is the commandment to live in Israel. So basic is the mitzvah, writes the late former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, that it need not be mentioned, as it is the basis for all of Torah. But whether or not one maintains that Rambam believes it is a mitzvah to live in Israel, doesn't this commandment, as certainly understood by Ramban, fly in the face of our mission to be an or la'goyim? How can we be a light to the nations of the world if we don't live amongst Gentiles and are ensconced in our own homeland? One could argue however, that the mandate to live in the chosen land of Israel is crucial to the chosen people idea.

Being the chosen people doesn't mean that our souls are superior. Rather it suggests that our mission to spread a system of ethical monotheism, of G-d ethics to the world, is of a higher purpose. And that can only be accomplished in the land of Israel. From this perspective, the significance of the modern state of Israel is not only as the place of guaranteed political refuge for Jews; or as the place where more mitzvot can be performed or where our continuity as a Jewish nation is assured.

Rather it is the only place where we have the potential to carry out the chosen people mandate. In exile, we can develop communities that can be a "light" to others. But the destiny of the Jewish people lies in the State of Israel. Israel is the only place where we as a nation can become an or la'goyim.

In the Diaspora, we are not in control of our destiny; we cannot create the society envisioned by the Torah. Only in a Jewish state do we have the political sovereignty
and judicial autonomy to potentially establish the society from which other nations can learn the basic ethical ideals of Torah. As we near Tisha B'av, the fast commemorating our exile from the land, this position reminds us of our obligation to think about Israel, to visit Israel, and, most important, to constantly yearn to join the millions who have already returned home. Only there do we have the potential to be the true am hanivhar (chosen people). © 2012 Hebrew Institute of Riverdale & CJC-AMCHA. Rabbi Avi Weiss is Founder and Dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Open Orthodox Rabbinical School, and Senior Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

Google Honors Japanese Diplomat Who Saved Jews during Holocaust By Aryeh Savir

Google has honored the late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sempo Sugihara, who worked to save Jews fleeing the Nazis in the Holocaust, by dedicating Monday's Doodle to him.

A Google Doodle is a logo or picture that appears temporarily on special occasions in place of Google's permanent logo on the homepage and is intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

As vice-consul at the Japanese Consulate in Kovno, Lithuania's capital, Sugihara risked his life to save thousands of Jews. He issued between 2,100 and 3,500 transit visas and saved some 6,000 Jews, papers which later came to be known as "visas for life."

In 1984, Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, recognized Sugihara as Righteous Among the Nations.

In 2016, Israel named a street in the coastal city of Netanya after the late Japanese diplomat to mark 30 years since his death. Many of those saved by Sugihara ultimately came to reside in Netanya.

See you Sunday--Shabat Shalom

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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