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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The story is told by Rabbi Yisroel Reissman of a man in a small Russian village observing the sale of a horse for the unbelievably cheap price of 500 rubles. After the conclusion of the deal, the man approaches the seller and asks, "That horse was worth at least 2,500 rubles! How could you possibly sell it for so little?" The seller sneered, "You idiot! That horse is so lame that in 2 blocks he'll have to carry it home on his shoulders!"
___The man runs to the buyer and breathlessly asks him, "Do you realize that the horse you bought is lame?" The buyer guffaws, "Fool! Of course I know he's lame! He has a nail in his hoof. As soon as I get it out, I'll have a perfectly good horse for only 500 rubles!"
___Running back to the seller, the man exclaims, "The horse has a nail in his hoof! Once he takes it out it will be perfectly fine." The seller laughs, "You're a bigger idiot than I thought! No one is going to buy a lame horse. I put the nail in the hoof to trick the buyer!"
___Huffing and puffing back to the buyer, "You've been swindled! He put the nail in the hoof to deceive you!" The buyer shrugs and throws up his hands, "It doesn't matter. The rubles are counterfeit anyway!"
___What does the Torah say about deceiving or cheating someone in a business deal?
"And if you sell anything to your fellow or buy anything from the hand of your fellow, you shall not wrong one another" (Leviticus 25:14)
___The Torah is a handbook for life. The word "Torah" means "Instruction." It is our guide for perfecting ourselves, being more God-like and coming closer to God. It governs three areas: between a person and the Almighty, a person and his fellow human being and a person and himself or herself. The laws governing business are an important part of living righteously and building a better world.
___The above verse forbids us to cheat others when buying or selling. The laws of this prohibition are sometimes complex, An halachic authority (an expert in Talmudic law) should be consulted whenever a question arises.
___The Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, informs us that you are obligated to inform the buyer of any defect in an item you are selling, even if the price is reasonable. (Choshen Mishpot 228:6).
___Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato writes: "It is very easy for a person to fall prey to sin in regards to deceiving a customer. A person might consider it proper to attempt to make his merchandise attractive and to use sales talk on his customers to make them more receptive. However, if a person is not careful, he will violate the prohibition against deceiving others. Someone who deceives others is considered 'wrong,' 'hateful,' 'abominable,' 'despised,' and 'detested' (Sifra 19:35). Our Sages have stated, "Whenever someone steals even the value of the smallest coin from another person, it is considered as if he has taken his soul" (Bava Kama 119a).
___"If you ask: 'How is it possible not to try to influence a prospective customer to buy my merchandise?' you should know that there is a big distinction in the methods one might use. When you try to show a customer the true value and beauty of an article, it is good and proper. However, what is done to conceal the defects of an item is deceitful and forbidden. This is a basic principle in business integrity.
___"Someone who perfects himself in matters pertaining to the desire for acquisition has reached a very high level. For there are many who achieve righteousness in other areas, but do not achieve perfection in despising dishonest gain." (Mesilas Yesharim, Ch. 11)
___There are a number of excellent books available in English from your local Jewish bookstore
___Is this important? The Talmud, Shabbos 31a, teaches that after a person dies, on Judgment Day he will be asked 6 questions - the first of which is, "Were you honest in your business dealings?"
WORD OF THE DAY
Senescencesi-ˈne-sᵊn(t)s Part of speech: nounOrigin: Latin 1 The aging process 2 In nature, a cell's loss of the ability to divide Examples of Senescence in a sentence "Senescence comes with aches and pains, but it's also a time to look back on your life." "The oak tree in the backyard has reached its senescence; we'll have to have it removed before it falls on the house."
A shipload of forty Jews arrived on this day to settle in Savannah, Georgia. They were led by Dr. Samuel Nunez (1668–1744), a Portuguese Jewish physician who had been tortured by the Portuguese Inquisition and escaped to England. When the group arrived, Savannah was in the grip of a severe yellow fever epidemic that had killed its local doctor. Though the Jews were initially denied entry into Savannah, after Dr. Nunez treated the townspeople and slowed and eventually halted the epidemic, local citizens appointed him official colonial physician and permitted the Jews to stay.
In our parsha, in Deut. 35:27 the accidental murderer in a refuge city has no דם DahM, blood, which means he has no liability for his crime, no "blood-guilt." It does not mean that he has no red fluid in his veins.
The first definition of DAMAGE is the noun and verb of destruction. This is traced to Old French dam,loss and Latin damnum… which is closer to the Biblical Hebrew original meaning, and further from the word's mere current usage -- given top priority by dictionaries. The second definition of DAMAGE is the legal requirement of compensation to a crime victim. Even in colloquial usage one can say, "What was the DAMAGE for those front-row tickets?" DM originally means "cost" or amount due -- not destruction."
In Edenic the first meaning of דם DahM is the red ( אדם ADoaM ) LIQUID, like the דם DahM (juice) of grapes in Genesis 49:11. Blood is forbidden to consume because it carries the essential likeness, דמיון DiMYOAN, of a living creature. See our "DUMMY" entry for the likeness of a store dummy. Returning to legally due compensation, DAMN and דין DeeyN, law (see DAMNATION at "DAMN"), the innocent blood of the murder victim in Torah is far from דמם DaMaM, silent. See "DUMB."
In parshat מסעי Mas'ei the accidental murderer can run to refuge cities to avoid being avenged by the גאל הדם Goel haDahm (Redeemers of Blood), the blood-relatives of the accident victim (Numbers 35:9-12). How strange that the Torah (which gave the world "innocence before proven guilty" and exacting laws of warnings and cross-examination of witnesses before capital punishment) would allow, say, a drunk driver who kills to be killed by the furious relatives of the victim. Perhaps this is a concession to overwhelming passion (like the woman captive of the warrior -- Deut. 21:10-14) or a strong incentive for the careless to avoid irresponsible behavior around vehicles and deadly tools.
But the theme of innocent blood crying out for justice runs deep in Torah, long preceding the giving of the Torah laws at Sinai. You probably caught the reference to the cying blood of Abel at the hands of Cain (Genesis 4:8-12). After the mega-death of the Flood this is reiterated in the seven laws for all humankind in Genesis 9:5. Genesis 9:6 expresses the eventual murder of the murderer with the finality of the Law of Gravity.
This powerful, pre-Torah demand of blood paying the sheddingof innocent blood has reverberations that carry into Torah, and into our parsha. In the accidental murderer remains in a city of refuge or a Levitical city where he will be taught Torah and become a better person, there will never be blood to pay for the original crime, right? Wrong. The High Priest shares responsibility for injustices on his watch, and he must die before the murderers can return to their ancestral hmes (Numbers 35:27, 28). Later in Torah (Deut. 21: 1-9) comes the difficult case of finding an unidentified murdered corpse. In a mysterious חק K[HoaQ (law with no rational explanation) the elders of the nearest towns have to declare their innocence in this shedding of blood in their juridictions. They pray for forgiveness, but what blood can be repaid for this crime of an unknown victim, victimizer or motive? No person's blood. But a young calf is killed, a valuable long life is wasted, to symbolically answer the blood-guilt of this unsolved crime
This stealth boat can self-right itself if it capsizes.
14 Facts You Should Know About Daily Rambam Study
A few weeks ago thousands of communities and countless individuals worldwide concluded—and are beginning anew—the annual study of Maimonides' 14-volume Mishneh Torah. In conjunction with this milestone, we present you with 14 facts about this foundational work of Jewish law and the annual study cycle.
1. Rambam Is Studied Daily by Jews Worldwide
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204), known in the Jewish world by the acronym "Rambam" and to the world at large as "Maimonides," is one of the most important figures in the history of Torah scholarship. His magnum opus is his Mishneh Torah, a systematic codification of Jewish law.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, called for a revolutionary addition to the core studies of Jewish people worldwide. He urged that every Jewish person study a portion of the Mishneh Torah daily—a suggestion that has since been actualized by people across the globe.
In the entirety of Torah literature that follows the Bible, there is not a single work that encompasses the totality of Jewish law. The sole exception is the Rambam's Mishneh Torah.
The Rambam was the first to index the entire body of Oral Law and compile it in a logical and systematic fashion. He even included laws that will only be relevant in the Messianic era, such as the Jubilee Year and the Temple service. To this very day, the Mishneh Torah remains the only work of this scope.
By following the daily Rambam cycle, every individual has the ability to study the entire body of Jewish law, a goal otherwise out of reach for most..
The Rebbe explained that one of the principal elements in the study of the Mishneh Torah is the unification of Jewry. When everyone studies the same material on the same day, their learning is united across continents, and thus achieves a compounded unity of the full breadth of Torah learned by the full span of the Jewish people. Additionally, when different people study the same topic, they will come to discuss and debate it, ultimately bringing them closer to each other.
For those unable to study three chapters every day, the Rebbe suggested a parallel track at a more modest pace of one chapter daily, which lasts nearly three years.
For those who find even that too difficult, the Rebbe instituted yet a third track. Paralleling the three-chapter-per-day regimen by learning daily about the same commandments being studied there in detail, this one explores the Rambam's significantly shorter Sefer Hamitzvot ("Book of Commandments"), concluding all 613 mitzvot each year.
Sefer Shoftim, the Book of Judges. Laws delegated to the Jewish court, such as administering punishment and receiving testimony, and laws relating to the king and his wars. Included also are the laws of Moshiach and the Messianic era.
6. It Is Presently Being Started for the 39th Time
The Rebbe initiated the daily study of Rambam in the spring of 1984. The Rambam has since been studied by men, women, and children from across the spectrum of Jewish observance. The participants are presently concluding the 38th cycle and immediately continuing with the 39th.
7. Conclusion of Cycle Celebrated Annually
Every year, special siyum (completion) celebrations take place, recognizing and celebrating the achievement of those who have studied over the past year. Siyum HaRambam events take place annually in numerous locations across the globe.
The Rebbe would conduct the yearly completion by giving in-depth expositions on the final chapter of the Rambam's work, linking it with the first chapter.
8. Celebrations in Tiberias, Fez, and Cairo
Among the numerous locations where celebrations are held, special mention should be made of those places associated with the Rambam himself. In Israel, major public events are held annually at the resting place of the Rambam in Tiberias. Celebrations have also been held in Fez, Morocco, where the Rambam lived after escaping with his family from Spain, as well as in Cairo, Egypt, where he wrote the Mishneh Torah.
It has become a tradition for Moroccan Jews to travel to Fez to celebrate the conclusion of Mishneh Torah near the home of the great scholar, who lived in the city for some time. This group photo is from 2009. (credit: Chabad of Morocco) 9. It Has Three Names
The Rambam named his work Mishneh Torah (lit., "second to the Torah," or "study [of the entire] Torah"). In his introduction to the book, he explains the reason for this name: "A person will be able to study the Written Law and then study this text and comprehend the entire Oral Law from it, without needing to study any other text between them."
The work is also referred to as the Yad HaChazakah (lit., "The Strong Hand," echoing the words of Exodus 6:1). It is so called because the Hebrew word for hand – יד – is numerically equivalent to 14, the number of books in the Mishneh Torah.
The most common method of referring to the book is simply as "the Rambam," after its author. The word Rambam itself is an acronym (in Hebrew) for R. Moshe ben Maimon, Moses son of Maimon.
The Rambam authored many other works, most notably his Commentary on the Mishnah, Sefer Hamitzvot, and Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed). However, all his other works were originally written in Judeo-Arabic (the language of the masses in the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, where the Rambam lived), and were subsequently translated by others into Hebrew and other languages. The Mishneh Torah is the Rambam's only work which he himself penned in Hebrew.
A page from an early draft of Maimonides's "Guide for the Perplexed," written in Judeo-Arabic 11. Hundreds of Commentaries Have Been Written on It
Hundreds of commentators have elucidated the text of Mishneh Torah, beginning with the Rambam's contemporaries (some of whom wrote critical commentaries to disprove some of his rulings). Indeed, commentaries on Mishneh Torah continue to be written to this day, uncovering the endless depths of his words.
12. It Incorporates Philosophy, Health, and Astronomy and Much More
The Rambam's work covers a wide range of topics, beyond what one might naturally assume relates to Jewish law. The first section of Mishneh Torah presents the basics of Jewish thought and belief, such as G‑d's unity and freedom of choice. There is a chapter with guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, teaching learners that all our actions should be permeated with holiness and G‑dliness. The Rambam also explains at length the astronomical calculations used to determine the appearance of the new moon, which serves as the basis of the Jewish calendar.
Among the distinctions of the Mishneh Torah is that it concludes with two chapters describing the personality of Moshiach, his coming, and what life will be like after his arrival.
The Rambam concludes the final chapter with these words:
In that era, there will be neither famine nor war, envy nor competition, for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d. Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: "The world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover the ocean bed."