Sunday, September 22, 2019

Darwinism, Judaism and the Clash between Science and Religion By Melanie Phillips and Warsaw city tour and Jewish Museum 082619 and almost final election results

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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

The slides below are from my Brother and I on our trip to Poland, last month. Our first stop was in Warsaw, where we saw the town and the Polin Jewish museum on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. From there we went to Krakow, and Aushwitz, but this stop warmed us up for the main event.

Rav Binyamin Kahane Parshat Ki Teitzei WORSE THAN DYING

In Parsha Ki Teitzei, we learn that the offspring of converts from the nations of Edom and Egypt may marry into the Jewish people after three generations, but the offspring of Moabite and Ammonite (male) converts may never marry into the Jewish people.

That's right. the Egyptians who enslaved us for 210 years and the Edomites who refused to let us pass through their land are ultimately allowed to marry into the nation of Israel. However, the Ammonites and Moabites whose sin was passive--they did not offer us bread and water- are never allowed to marry into our people.

A topsy-turvy world, indeed!

The Midrash (Sifri, Ki Tetze 252), however, clarifies the matter: "Since the Ammonites and Moabites looked for ways to cause Israel to sin, they were banished by the Torah forever. This teaches us that causing someone to sin is worse than killing him- since killing someone only removes him from this world while causing someone to sin removes him from both this world and the next."The Kli Yakar explains that Bilaam told the Ammonites and Moabites not to offer bread and water to the Jews as part of his plan to corrupt them. Due to their hunger, the Children of Israel would eat from the altars of Moab's idols. And due to their thirst, the daughters of Moab would be able to ensnare them by giving them wine and then offering themselves on condition that they worship their idols first.

Bilaam understood that causing Israel to sin would be more fatal than physical death.A striking example of this axiom is the unprecedented case of the "rebellious son" in our parsha- the young man who has stolen relatively little from his father but must nevertheless be stoned. The Rabbis explain that the rebellious son is punished for what he is going to become. "The Torah knows where he is leading. He will eventually wipe out his father's property and then, seeking to maintain his accustomed habits, will go to the crossroads and rob people. The Torah therefore states: Let him die innocent and not guilty" (Sanhedrin 72a).

According to one opinion in the Talmud, an instance of the Torah's rebellious son "never occurred and never will occur." Why, then, does the Torah discuss the topic? So that we "study it and receive reward." In other words, even if all the conditions of the rebellious son never occur, one can still learn an essential lesson from this mitzvah. And what is the lesson? That death is better than a life without direction and laden with sin. In Judaism, life is a means and not an end in itself.

Without an aim, without a real purpose, there is no reason to live.For modern-day Hellenists who embrace Western culture, the "sanctity of life" trumps everything. For this reason we find individuals opposed to the death penalty for even the most heinous of criminals (such as Adolf Eichmann, whose execution was protested by some Jews.)But Judaism regards the content of one's life more important than life itself. That is why converts from Egypt and Edom- nations that harmed us physically- may ultimately marry into the Jewish people while converts from Ammon and Moab- nations that harmed us spiritually- may not.Darka Shel Torah, 1999

Almost final election results

With 99% of the votes counted, including soldiers, the Election Committee posted the (almost) final results of September 2019 elections for the 22nd Knesset.

Left Right Unaffiliated



Joint Arab List13


Liberman – Yisrael Beteinu8




Democratic Camp5


As a result, the Blue&White party confirms its lead with 33 seats over the Likud's 31, and the Arab parties are fixed at 13 seats, making them the third largest party in the Knesset.


The blocs remain the same, with the Right maintaining the largest unified bloc of parties, but not the 61 required to form a coalition.

At the same time B&W has a significantly smaller coalition, but can probably count on  Liberman and the Arab party to support them from the outside, at least for as long as it takes to dethrone Netanyahu – forming a "Just Not Bibi" blocking coalition.

President Rivlin has 2 options in front of him, give the first chance to form a coalition government to the largest party – Blue&White, or to the largest coalition bloc – the Right.

In order to bypass the largest-sized party problem, Netanyahu is considering unifying the 3-seat "New Right" faction in Yamina (Ayelet Shaked, Naftali Bennett, and Matan Kahane) into the Likud, which would put the Likud at 34 seats, making them the largest party.

This would be a dream come true for Bennett and Shaked, who want to be part of the Likud so they can compete for national leadership, instead of sectoral leadership of the National-Religious sector. Shaked is reportedly weighing the offer.

If accepted, the President would more likely have to give Likud the first opportunity to form a coalition.

Channel 13 revealed the offer that Netanyahu supposedly made to Amir Peretz's 6-seat Labor-Gesher party to join his coalition: Ministry of Finance + 2 more ministries, increasing the minimum wage to NIS 6000 a month, passing the pension law, free college degree to all discharged IDF soldiers.

Peretz reportedly rejected the dream offer which was made through intermediaries.

After the previous election, Netanyahu made a similar dream offer to former Labor leader Abi Gabay, who rejected it. The Labor party replaced Gabay soon after that.

In the current constellation, unless one or some parties jump ship to the other side, neither side can form a coalition government.

Shas and UTJ have been questioning their rabbinical leadership if they can sit with the anti-religious Lapid of the Yesh-Atid party within Blue&White. This can be in anticipation of a unity government where Blue&White joins their coalition with the Likud, or if they jump ship to the Blue&White side of the ideological divide.

Blue&White has one advantage over Netanyahu in that they create a majority blocking coalition with Liberman and his Arab partners, and begin dismantling Netanyahu's interim  government piece by piece, starting with Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein.

If Israel goes to elections again, which is possible, the mostly likely date would be the end of March.

The committee still has to reexamine 14 voting stations that showed irregularities.

UPDATE: 14 out of 15 voting stations in Yarka, a Druze village in northern Israel, were not yet included in the official count. It is unclear if this will affect the final seat distribution, though it might, in favor of the Likud.

Darwinism, Judaism and the Clash between Science and Religion By Melanie Phillips

Yale University professor of computer science David Gelernter has renounced his previous belief in Darwinian evolution.

Writing that he was sad to give up on "a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory," he said he had concluded that it couldn't explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of existing species, but the emergence of new ones.

Whether or not his argument is well-founded is a discussion for another time. The point here is that it's unsayable by anyone who isn't prepared to risk professional and social suicide.

Darwinism, said Gelernter, had passed beyond a scientific argument. Although his Yale colleagues had treated him in a courteous and collegiate manner, people took their life in their hands to question Darwinian evolution.

"They will destroy you if you challenge it," he said. There was nothing approaching free speech on this topic. "It's a sort of bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged, violent rejection, which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion."

Gelernter's conclusions about Darwinism have derived principally from his analysis of the statistical probability of the evolution of new species. Yet anyone who queries Darwinism is immediately labeled "anti-science" and accused of being a religious nut.

Indeed, the pushback against Gelernter's apostasy has included the observation that he is a religious Jew. Apparently, the only reason he could possibly have come to this "denialist" conclusion, says one pro-evolution website, is that he views science through "Old Testament goggles."

In fact, a belief that's unchallengeable has the characteristic of religious faith. That's why Gelernter calls Darwinism a religion.

There are plenty of other unsayables in our thought-policed society. Human-made global warming, for example, is considered beyond challenge because the science of that theory is said to be "settled." This is in fact anti-science dogma because nothing is ever settled in science, which is always open to fresh challenges.

So how come our scientific age promotes anti-science ideas more akin to religious doctrine and calls them science?

Our era is supposedly devoted to promoting individual freedom, tolerance and an end to prejudice. So why are so many views being silenced? Why has debate been so widely replaced by hateful insult? And how come this has been accompanied by an upsurge in anti-Semitism, often among precisely the same subscribers to the liberal anti-racist "woke" agenda?

There may be a connection here that is generally overlooked. And it involves the Jews.

At the core of all this moral and intellectual confusion lies an onslaught against the core principles of Western civilization on the grounds that these are innately exclusive, prejudicial and oppressive.

That's because they are rooted in biblical values that are held to be cruel, obscurantist and inimical to reason, enlightenment and generosity of spirit.

By contrast, the secular agenda is believed to stand for all good things associated with modernity, such as kindness, rationality and progress.

The West tells itself that modernity sprang from a repudiation of religion in the 17th-century Enlightenment.

In fact, as a new book points out, Christianity remains at the core of contemporary Western thinking even among those who disdain it. Dominion, by the British historian Tom Holland, is a magisterial analysis of the way in which Christian values have shaped the West and still do so even in the most unlikely places.

His book is not merely a fascinating account of the extraordinary reach and persistence of Christianity, which has evolved and adapted down through the generations and across societies. He also argues that Christian values, which have sometimes led to slavery, empire and war, nevertheless lie at the core of what makes the West civilized and good.

This has startled people for whom it is axiomatic that only secularism produces goodness while religion produces only bad stuff. But Holland points out that even attacks by secular liberals on Christian thinking are motivated by Christian values of tolerance and fairness.

Of course, there's an elephant in this particular room. For although these core Western principles were introduced and spread by Christianity, their origin lay in the Hebrew Bible.

Holland pays due regard to the Jewish foundations of Christianity and also to the terrible way Christianity has behaved in the past towards the Jews.

But what so many overlook is that moral principles assumed to have been invented by Christianity, such as compassion, fairness, looking after the poor or putting others first, were all introduced to the world by the Hebrew Bible.

It is Judaism's Mosaic code that gave the West its conscience and the roots of its civilization by putting chains on people's selfish appetites. And strikingly, every contemporary ideology that aims to undermine or transform the West is based on opposition to Jewish religious beliefs, Jewish moral codes or the Jewish homeland in Israel.

Deep green environmentalism, for example, wants to knock human beings off their pedestal in Genesis as the pinnacle of creation; sexual lifestyle choice negates Judaism's moral codes; scientific materialism repudiates belief in the Divine creator of the world; anti-Zionism denies the Jews' right to their own homeland; and liberal universalism is an innate challenge to Judaism which, as a stubbornly and uniquely distinct set of beliefs, always stands in the way of any universalizing ideology.

Much of this secular onslaught goes back to the central Enlightenment idea of a world based on reason, which French Enlightenment thinkers in particular perceived to be in opposition to religion.

But the West's concept of reason actually comes from the Hebrew Bible. Ideas such as an orderly and rational universe structured on a linear concept of time were revolutionary concepts introduced in the book of Genesis.

These ideas were essential to the development of Western science. Early scientists believed that natural laws necessarily presupposed a law-giver. As Galileo Galilei said: "The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics."

The opposition between religion and science that is assumed to be fundamental by secular liberals is in fact foreign to Judaism. With so much of the Hebrew Bible interpreted over the centuries as allegory or metaphor, Judaism has never seen science as a threat.

The 12th-century Jewish sage Maimonides was the great exemplar of the belief that science and religion were complementary. He wrote that conflict between science and the Bible arose from either a lack of scientific knowledge or a defective understanding of the Bible.

Without the Hebrew Bible, there would have been no Western rationality or principles such as justice or compassion. But secularism holds that the rule of reason divorced from biblical religion would banish bad things like prejudice or war from the world and the human heart.

Impossible utopianism like this invariably results in oppression. So it proved with medieval apocalyptic Christianity, the French Revolution, communism and fascism; and so it is proving today with the cultural totalitarianism of the left.

Like all utopians, the left believe their ideas are unchallengeable because they supposedly stand for virtue itself. All who oppose them are therefore not just wrong but evil. So heretics like Gelernter must be stamped out because no quarter can ever be given to any challenge to secularism.

What secular liberals don't understand is that in attacking the Jewish concepts at the core of the Christian West, they are not merely repudiating their own supposed ideals of tolerance and rationality, but are sawing off the branch on which they themselves are sitting.

Warsaw city tour and Jewish Museum 082619 Two of Two

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polish: Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich) is a museum on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The Hebrew word Polin in the museum's English name means either "Poland" or "rest here" and relates to a legend about the arrival of the first Jews to Poland.[1]

The museum's cornerstone was laid in 2007, and the museum opened on 19 April 2013.[2][3] The core exhibition opened in October 2014[4] and features a multimedia exhibition about the Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years up to the World War II Holocaust.[5]

The building, a postmodern structure in glass, copper, and concrete, was designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki

President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the POLIN Museum, 26 June 2007

The idea for creating a major new museum in Warsaw dedicated to the history of Polish Jews was initiated in 1995 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.[7] In the same year, the Warsaw City Council allocated the land for this purpose in Muranów, Warsaw's prewar Jewish quarter and site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, facing the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. In 2005, the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland established a private-public partnership with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw. The Museum's first director was Jerzy Halbersztadt. In September 2006, a specially designed tent called Ohel (the Hebrew word for tent) was erected for exhibitions and events at site of the museum's future location.[7]

An international architectural competition to design the building was launched in 2005, supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. On June 30, 2005, the winner was announced by the jury as the team of two Finnish architects, Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma.[8] On June 30, 2009, construction of the building was officially inaugurated. The project was completed in 33 months at a cost of 150 million zloty allocated by the Ministry and the City, [a] with a total cost of 320 million zloty.[10][11] It is financially supported by annual funds from the Polish Ministry of Culture and Warsaw City Council.[12]

The building opened and the museum began its educational and cultural programs on April 19, 2013, on the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. During the 18 months that followed, more than 180,000 visitors toured the building, visited the first temporary exhibitions, and took part in cultural and educational programs and events, including film screenings, debates, workshops, performances, concerts, and lectures. The Grand Opening, with the completed Core Exhibition, took place on October 28, 2014.[13] The Core Exhibition documents and celebrates the thousand-year history of the Jewish community in Poland that was decimated by the Holocaust.[4][5]

In 2016 the museum won the European Museum of the Year Award from the European Museum Forum.[14]

Salesmen Quotes from my sister

  I like to think of sales as the ability to gracefully persuade, not manipulate, a person or persons into a win-win situation. Bo Bennett

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect. W. Clement Stone

Vesta Kelly: Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.  

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Bill Gates  

The easiest customer to sell is the customer who is happy with what he just bought from you. Larry Winget    

The amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems. Stephen Covey    

Marketing is not something you do to people, it's something you do for people. Marketing is the service of helping people make the best possible decision. George Silverman    

A salesman minus enthusiasm is just a clerk. Harry F. Banks

The best of merchandise will go back to the shelf unless handled by a conscientious, tactful salesman. James Cash Penney

The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it. Oscar Wilde

Rabbinic Court Reevaluates Ketubah: How Much Is 200 Zuzim?

By David Israel 

40 years ago, at their wedding, an Israeli couple decided that the amount the husband would pay his beloved at their divorce (tfu, tfu) would be 6 million Israeli pounds (liras), which at the time was double the going rate for Ketubahs. Four decades later, according to a Channel 12 News report this week, love between the two has subsided considerably, the marriage deteriorated and it was time to divide the assets and go their separate ways. All they still needed to do was evaluate how much was the husband supposed to pay for the Ketubah. How much is 6 million 1979 lira in 2019 shekels?

Wait, some necessary background information.

The rabbinical text in a Jewish Ketubah, the prenuptial contract between husband and wife, obligates the husband to pay "200 zuz" should the two be divorced. This amount apparently was large enough to enable a divorced woman survive in an agrarian society after having to either strike it out on her own or return to her father's home. But how much is that amount in today's money, and once you've solved that, how much would be the value of a decades-old Ketubah, set in Israeli Pounds?

One way to approach the subject was suggested by an anonymous Aish HaTorah rabbi online, who cited the price of a goat's kid in the Hagada's Chad Gadia song to be 2 zuzim: a Ketubah should equal the price of 100 baby goats. The top rate of a baby goat at US pet stores is $300 – making the Ketubah be worth $30,000. It's not great as prenups go enough for a very humble subsistence for about a year, if the wife were to sell her car.

Another approach, even less generous, cites rabbinic sources as to the ancient value of 200 zuz, which was 701.565 grams of pure silver, or 24.7466 ounces of pure silver, which, at $30 per ounce in today's value nets the ex-wife approximately $750, or enough for three days in a low cost hotel.

The rabbinical judges at the regional court ruled the ex-husband must pay the ex-wife 150,000 shekels ($42,634.83) – a completely random amount, not related to either grams of silver or a hundred goats.

The ex-wife's attorney argued that the index-linked worth of 6 million 1979 lira would be exorbitant, which is why the ex-wife is not asking for it, demanding instead only 360,000 shekel – half the value of their house.

The court responded that without the index-link, the same 6 million lira was worth about 600 shekel ($170.54).

The rabbinic judges finally came up with an intriguing, possibly ingenious solution: since the husband's intent back in 1979 was to give his wife double the common sum in a Ketubah, let him pay her double the current common sum in a Ketubah, which came to more than 300,000 shekel, or about $85,270.

See you tomorrow, bli neder

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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