Wednesday, September 4, 2019

ESSAY: Ever Thought That G‑d Hates You? and Qiryat Shemona and Haifa cable car

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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 young religious man, Shmuel, lived with his wife and children in an apartment in a poor section of Jerusalem.

One day a non-religious brash, bullying hoodlum, Moshe, moved into his building with his wife and family. When Shmuel realized how quick to anger and how violent Moshe was, he called together his kids. "Listen up. If you love your father and don't want to be orphans, then you always play nicely with Moshe's children and NEVER ever ever get into an argument or fight with them!"

Every Shabbat Shmuel would send a pot of cholent (a hot dish with meat, potatoes and beans) to Moshe's family. After six months Moshe asked Shmuel if he could bring his family to eat with Shmuel's family on Shabbat eve. Scared to say no, but quivering at what might happen, Shmuel said, "Sure!" Moshe and his wife came with the children who were clean, dressed nicely for the occasion and well-behaved.

A few weeks later Moshe asks Shmuel, "Would it be OK if I came to synagogue with you? It's been a long time since I was in a synagogue. When they got there Moshe asked Shmuel to show him where they were in the siddur (prayer book) during the service. Shmuel taught Moshe the siddur and soon Moshe and his family were regularly coming to services.

After several more months Moshe koshered his home and started sending his kids to a religious school. Right before Yom Kippur Moshe knocked on Shmuel's door and asked to come in. With tears in his eyes he says, "How can I thank you? Without you I'd still be living the wild and violent life I used to lead. You've saved my life!" And then he threw his arms around Shmuel and gave him a big hug.

Shmuel later told a friend, "Look at what happened! He thanked me for saving his life - and all I wanted to do was to save MY life!"

When the Jewish people stood at Mt. Sinai and accepted the Torah from the Almighty, part of our covenant with the Almighty is that we are responsible for each other - to help each other with our needs, to help each other improve, especially with our connection to the Almighty, the Torah and the Jewish people.

The Torah and Talmud teach us that all Jews are guarantors for each other, we are responsible for each other - "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18), "You shall not stand idly by the blood of your fellow man" (Leviticus 19:16), "You shall correct your fellow man" (Leviticus 19:17).

No matter what level we are on in our observance of Torah and mitzvot, there are people we meet every day who are Jewish and have no idea of the beauty, meaning and pleasure they can have for themselves and their families from the 3,500 years of wisdom of our heritage. Nine out of ten Jews are unaware that Judaism will make their lives more pleasurable and meaningful.

Why don't we reach out? Three reasons: (1) There's not another moment in the day - no time! (2) What would I say? I have no idea what to say or do. (3) It's not my personality - I'm more introverted.

So, what can you do? Here are some ways to ignite the spark in others:

  • Excite them, by sharing what excites and inspires you about Torah.
  • Show them the wisdom that Torah principles bring to relationships.
  • Love your neighbor and be a friend. Call, send a gift or go out for a coffee!
  • Use books, tapes, CD's and more to encourage them to read and discover.
  • Invite them to experience Shabbos, or connect them with a family who can.
  • Introduce them to inspirational websites (, downloads, films and articles.

For additional ideas and specifics, go to - the official website of Project Inspire, a website developed to help Jews who wish to share the pleasure they get from a Torah way of life.

ESSAY: Ever Thought That G‑d Hates You?

By Rochel Holzkenner

Joe and Gertrude were bickering loudly as they drove down I-95 in their '82 Cadillac. "Look at us now," shouted Gertrude, clutching the passenger door. "I sit on one end of the seat and you on the other." She sighed with nostalgia. "Remember when we'd drive as newlyweds? We'd sit closer together."

"Gertrude, my dear," her husband interjected, "I've been sitting in the same spot for the past 30 years—right in front of the steering wheel. You're the one who's shifted over . . . "

Don't all dynamic relationships have their ups and downs? I'd think it would be no different in our relationship with G‑d. There are moments of love and gratitude, and moments of anger and frustration.

During the Israelites' 40-year trek through the Sinai Desert, there were great times and there were painful times.

What a radical thing to say: "G‑d took us out of Egypt because He hates us!"Before Moses passed away, he took the time to reflect upon the tumultuous experience they'd shared. As a life coach, he analyzed their most challenging experiences and drew profound life lessons for the future.


One such painful drama that Moses rehashed was the negative report about the land of Israel given by 10 of the spies who scouted the land 38 years earlier. Frightened that they'd be unable to conquer the land, they discouraged the people from even trying. Pandemonium spread. The thought of an impossible, even suicidal battle against the strong Canaanite nations was petrifying.

Moses vividly paints the atmosphere of fear and paranoia:

You spoke slanderously in your tents. You said, "G‑d took us out of the land of Egypt because He hates us! [He wishes] to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites and destroy us!" (Deuteronomy 1:27)

What a radical thing to say: "G‑d took us out of Egypt because He hates us"! Yet, when the story of the spies played out in real time (in the book of Numbers), the Torah doesn't mention this radical accusation.

Here's how the Israelites' reaction is described in Numbers (14:2):

All the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the entire congregation said, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this desert."

Although pretty despondent, there's no mention of G‑d hating them.

So, come Deuteronomy, and Moses is not just repeating the story, he's adding a new element to the crisis.

Notice that Moses qualifies his words: "You spoke slanderously in your tents." They didn't make this ridiculous, slanderous claim publicly; they didn't dare. It was only after everyone had gone back to their tents that they furtively whispered and complained that G‑d hated them.

There were two types of slander. The claims that they made publicly were based on a reality—the odds would be against them if they battled for Israel. But in private, they spoke a slander that was patently untrue. G‑d didn't hate them; He loved them, and He'd shown His love for them countless times.

Why does Moses feel the need to disclose their furtive remarks? According to the biblical commentator Rashi, Moses was telling them the following: "He [G‑d] loved you, but you hated Him, as in the common saying: 'What is in your heart about your beloved is in his heart about you.' "

It was really you who were disappointed and angry at G‑d, Moses explains.

In order to mask your resentment towards Him, you projected the hatred onto HimBut in order to mask your resentment towards Him, you projected the hatred onto Him. You whispered that G‑d hates you, that He's out to get you.


But does not the very aphorism that Rashi cites—"What is in your heart about your beloved, is in his heart about you"—contradict the present context? The Jews here "hated" G‑d, while G‑d maintained His love towards them. By all accounts, their hearts were far from reflecting one another!

But here's how the Jews mirrored G‑d's heart: "How unfair," they lamented. "G‑d hates us, even though we love Him." The crisis over the spies' negative report wreaked havoc. On the surface of their consciousness, the Jews felt that G‑d had rejected them, hated them. Lying under the surface was intense resentment towards G‑d for promising them a land that seemed impossible to conquer.

In fact, the opposite was true: G‑d loved them despite their resentment towards Him. Here's where Rashi's rule plays out precisely. "What is in your heart about your beloved is in his heart about you."

Moses is making a powerful point. G‑d loves you even if you're angry, resentful or even hateful towards Him. And if you have a hard time believing this possible, remember your own experience: You, who thought that G‑d hated you even though you loved Him, know what it's like to love unconditionally.

Moses wanted to bring this dynamic to their attention. G‑d's love is unconditional. This knowledge is not only heartwarming, it's also healing.

How often does this play out in our lives? Life is disappointing or frightening, and we immediately point the finger at G‑d: You hate me even though I have nothing against You!

Moses brings a little objective self-awareness to the table.

Flip around your perspective and you'll be able to empathize with G‑d's experience.

Flip around your perspective and you'll be able to empathize with G‑d's experienceHe has nothing against you; in fact, He loves you, despite the fact that you currently hate Him.


When we're able to realize that G‑d loves us, despite the disappointments in our life, and despite our palpable bitterness towards Him, then the anger begins to melt away in the face of warmth and care. The circumstances may remain painful, but the anger begins to dissipate.

If we can experience this classic epiphany—that G‑d loves us, even as we wallow in pain and resentment—we will have no choice but to love Him back.1


Based on the Rebbe's teachings, recorded in Likkutei Sichot, vol. 34, pp. 17ff.

By Rochel Holzkenner    More by this author
Mrs Rochel Holzkenner is a mother of four children and the co-director of Chabad of Las Olas, Fla., serving the community of young professionals.

Tel Aviv Parking Just Got Even Tougher

Finding street parking in Tel Aviv has for a long time been an almost impossible task. One consolation for the city's frustrated drivers has been that Tel Aviv Municipality has 'turned a blind eye' to cars parked at night by red and white curbsides and even on the sidewalks of certain streets, providing they caused no obstruction to traffic and the sidewalk is still wide enough to let pedestrians, especially those in wheelchairs, get past.

But this week Tel Aviv residents have woken up to a new reality. For example, whoever parked overnight on the sidewalk of Shaul Hamelekh Boulevard, which is usually full of cars at night, found a ticket on their car this morning. The good news, however, was that it was not a ticket for NIS 500 - the usual fine for parking on a sidewalk - but a 'warning ticket,' explaining about the city's new parking enforcement policy.Full Story (Globes)

More Israelis Becoming Workaholics, Study Shows

You might not think it based on a typical encounter with an Israeli call center or bank teller, but a lot of Israelis work unusually hard – or at least put in a huge number of hours at their jobs every week.

The National Insurance Institute, in a study released on Monday, found that 44.6% of Israeli workers worked more than 45 hours a week for the period between 2010 and 2016. Of those, 31.9% worked 45-59 hours a week and 12.7% over 60 hours. Moreover, it found that the number of people overworking has risen from 37% of those who are their household's primary breadwinner in 1991 to 46% in 2016, the last year the study covers. That happened as the percentage of Israelis working at full-time jobs fell.

Full Story (

Qiryat Shemona and Haifa cable car

On a warm summer day, we take a road trip. Rabbi Sprecher, Yoseph Mayo, Hanoch, and Yehuda take an all-day trip on the roads of Israel to fulfill the mitzvah of walking the roads of Israel. Driving works too. We try to get to the cable car in Qiryat Shemona but it has been down three months so settle for the short ride in Haifa. It is usually packed, but today on 080519 we make it without a wait.

Safed, Israel's mystical holy city

Take a walk with us through the ancient cobblestoned city that is infused with art, music and spirituality.

Licensed tour guide Adam Budenstein calls Safed (Tzfat) a "beautiful, mystical, magical place. Every stone has a different story to it."

Surrounded by the mountains and forests of the green Upper Galilee, Safed is world-famous for its winding alleyways and old majestic synagogues, its Artists Quarter and its musicians, its history of kabbalah and spirituality.

"But we're not disconnected from the rest of the world at all," says Budenstein. "This is a place where people actually come to connect and I would invite you to come and connect yourselves."

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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