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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On my first trip to the Most Deadly and famous murder concentration camp, I learn the difference between Auschwitz and Birkenau. Auschwitz was at the beginning of the war, with the Nazis just learning how to murder. At Birkenau they became experts of Human Slaughter. Both are now a museum with over 44 million visiotors since 1945
One of the great lessons which I can remember learning from Reb Shlomo Carlebach is his recommendation on how we should approach the month of Elul. Elul, as I have heard from Reb Shlomo Riskin, is a time for each individual to look at him/herself and deal directly with a personal fixing. Rosh Hashannah, on the other hand, is The Judgement Day for the entire world. It is undoubtedly a day of togetherness and community, while Elul, in a sense, is about me. During this month we can become preoccupied thinking about sins which we may have transgressed throughout the year past. After all, we read," Selichot," prayers of forgiveness, we approach other to ask for personal forgiveness, simply we feel ourselves getting closer to Rosh Hashannah, The Judgement Day so it is natural that "regret" finds its place in the process. This is not the focus of Elul, teaches Reb Shlomo. This month, instead of only looking at what I did wrong this year, I need to recall to myself those areas which I did right. I must look at both my "mitzvot bein adam la'Makom(between man and God) and "bein adam la'chavero" ( between man and his friend) , itemize where , thanks to God, I contributed in a positive way to the world and work on strengthening those areas. The more I upgrade my positive traits, the better equipped I will be to pray for the world on Rosh Hashannah. I take my strengths and use them as holy tools of prayer. In this month of Elul, God is close to us. "Hamelech basadeh," The King is in the field, teach so many of our Chassidic Masters. "Dirshu Hashem b'himatzu," Seek Hashem where He is found, "karuhu b'heyoto karov," call out to Him when He is close (Yeshayahu 55.6). All year we are busy and find it difficult to stop and check in with ourselves and thus to look for Hashem, to listen to what He is saying to us. In Elul I use my spiritual strengths and accomplishments to feel a sense of worthiness that indeed I can call out to Hashem who has made it clear that He wants to be close to me. "Ani l'Dodi v'Dodi Li," I am to beloved and my beloved is to me. It is a two-way street. The speaking to and the listening are both traits that take place between myself and Hashem. As a part of this essential spiritual practice of "checking in," I started to think about those practices which many of us our privileged to take upon ourselves regularly in our lives and began to look for ways to up them a notch for the coming year. For this again I turn to the wisdom which we were blessed to receive from Reb Shlomo. I go to pray three times a day. Very commendable, but am I on fire when I have the awesome privilege to converse with my Creator? I keep Shabbat without ever questioning any other option and even appreciate the beauty of having this family day, cut off from the rest of the week, but am I investing in the honor of being able to come even closer to Hashem on that day every week? I travel through Yerushalyim a few times weekly. Do I realize what an honor it is to be able to be there? Do I understand that with each few steps which I take anywhere in Israel, for that matter, I am once again fulfilling the "mitzvah of Yishuv Ha'Aretz," of settling in the Land? Finally, am I doing all that I can to mamash be the personal address for "caring central?" We need to care about each other in every way. This is especially blatantly true in these times where there is so much bickering, name calling, finger pointing and literally slanderous, murderous words being spoken within earshot of us all. We must fight this with strong and positive opposition. No I won't listen to the hurtful negative things you want to say! Instead I will fill the airwaves with only positive vibes and words, with no exception. Rebbe Nachman when teaching about the verse in tehilim, '…haboteach ba"hasehm chessed yesov'venhu," the one who puts his trust in Hashem , kindness will surround him, gives over that positive traits attract other positive. If I can only put out positive and happy vibes that is what will come running towards me. May we all be blessed to contribute to the new day's creation of a positive, happy, caring loving world.
Shalom Pollock speaks on death of Bassam a Sheihk
The Israel Prison Service has announced that Hamas security prisoner Bassam a-Sheikh died of cancer early Sunday at Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center.
The prisoner, age 46, was terminally ill with the disease and was hospitalized for some time. He was imprisoned in Israel since 2015 for murder, offenses against the IDF, attempted murder, stone-throwing, kidnapping, coercion, false imprisonment, membership in a terror organization, and contact with the enemy.
That was the press announcement
Specifically, this deceased cancer patient murdered Rabbi Henkin and his wife in front of their children. The children were spared because the killer's weapon jammed.
The passing of this monster naturally attracted attention and responses.
A father of different terror victim forced the prison authorities to share information with him, under the freedom of information act:
He found much about the five-star conditions that the murderers enjoy. He found out specifically that the murderer of Rabbi Henkin and his wife received medications for his cancer treatment that are denied, Israeli citizens. I will explain:
In Israel, there is what is referred to as "a basket of medicines" which means that there are some very expensive medicines that are "not in the basket" of medicines provided by "the system" Israelis who need them must find a way to personally finance them.
In Israeli prisons, Arab murderers are given better treatment than Israeli citizens including the victims of those very Arab killers. They get every medicine, no matter which.
Just think for a moment. Does this make sense?
Does it make you think of places like Chelm or perhaps Sedom?
Of course, the Palestinian Authority(our very own creation) is howling about how Israel killed the terrorist and revenge will come...
I expect no different from the PA - monster that we (Rabin//Peres) created.
Unlike some Israelis, I never believed that we can buy our enemies' acceptance, let alone their love.
However, It was a bit more jarring when a prominent Leftist personality of the extreme Left Meretz party, Mr. Mossi Raz, expressed his feelings about the death of the terrorist.
He bemoaned the lonely death of a man who died without family or emotional support in a prison cell.
Read that again.
Now tell me who is our bigger problem, the wild dogs circling us, or the ones who let them off their leashes?
Please join me on our amazing Sukot tours
Wednesday - Oct. 16 - The Hula bird reserve
Thursday, Oct 17 - Tel Aviv as you have never thought existed.
Visitors to the Auschwitz-Birkeanu Site
Auschwitz is the most recognizable symbol and place of genocide in the world.
More than 44 million people from all over the world have visited Auschwitz since 1945.
Visitors to Auschwitz in 1945-1957
The Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army troops on 27 January 1945. The camp grounds could be visited already in 1945, although visits were relatively limited at that time. After the beginning of organizational work to establish the Museum, the visits became more popular and in 1946 the number of visitors reached 100 thousand. The following year, in 1947, the number reached 170 thousand. During the first ten years of its existence, the Memorial was visited by two million people.
The highest number of visitors
For several decades the former camp was visited annually by approximately 500-600 thousand people; from the beginning of the 21st century that number began to grow. More than a million people from all over the world visit the Museum annually since 2007.
The highest number of visitors was registered in 2014, when more than 1.5 million people visited Auschwitz.
In 2014 most visitors came from: Poland (398 thousand), Great Britain (199), USA (92), Italy (84), Germany (75), Israel (62), Spain (55), France (54), the Czech Republic (52), and South Korea (41).
Guides to the Memorial
Almost 300 licensed guides-educators, specially trained for this purpose by the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, and speaking a total of 19 languages, help visitors to get to know the history of Auschwitz. No other museum in the world offers this kind of service.
Who visits Auschwitz Site?
Most of the visitors are young people, many of them come within various educational programmes. It is evident that over the last decade Auschwitz has become the fundamental Memorial Site for the entire continent of Europe. This fact reflects the actual significance of the history of the Holocaust and the trauma of concentration camp prisoners for the understanding of the history of Europe and its present face.
The growing educational dimension of the site indirectly reveals the challenges the contemporary world still faces. Therefore, many politicians and state leaders come to pay tribute to the victims of the Nazis in Auschwitz. They deem it to be their moral responsibility to visit this place – one of the greatest warnings for humanity.
Virtual contact with Auschwitz
Although personal visits to the Memorial Site and direct contact with its history and authenticity cannot be substituted, many people benefit from the Museum's presence online. In 2014, the number of unique visits to the official Museum website at www.auschwitz.org was 12 million. Additionally, each day, thanks to social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram i Pinterest – the Auschwitz Memorial reaches almost 200 thousand people on every continent. The Memorial can be also visited virtually at: panorama.auschwitz.org.
Partnership of Interest by Rabbi Meir Orlean
John McNally ran a loan business. His Jewish neighbor, David Birnbaum, was an investor who also maintained a large gemach (interest-free loan fund).
"I'd like to expand my business," John said to David. "I'm looking to add a partner. I know you're involved in lending. Would you consider joining me?'
"I'm not sure that I can," said David. "There is a problem lending with interest to other Jews."
"I have no problem, though," said John. "If we lend to Jews you can 'blame it' on me."
"It doesn't work that way!" David laughed. "If we're partners, when the partnership lends, I've got a share in the prohibited loan."
"You mean that Jews really lend without any interest?!" exclaimed John.
"Very often we do on a personal level," said David. "In most Jewish communities there is a charity fund for providing interest-free loans, like the one I operate."
"That's very thoughtful," said John. "I wish we had something like that, but I've never heard of anyone lending on a significant scale without interest. Do you provide interest-free loans also to non-Jews?"
"Interest-free loans are a special brotherly arrangement between Jews," replied David. "Just as you charge interest when you lend to a Jew, you are expected to pay interest when a Jew lends to you" (Y.D. 159:1).
"How do businesses operate, though?" asked John. "There are Jewish banks and loan businesses, even owned by observant Jews."
"There is something called heter iska, which enables a return on the capital," said David. "It redefines the loan as an investment. If it becomes relevant, I can explain it in further detail."
"Can you find out whether there is an option?" asked John. "Is there a Rabbi you can ask?"
"There is," replied David. "I'll consult with him."
David called Rabbi Dayan and asked: "Can a non-Jew and a Jew who have a partnership lend to Jews with interest? Does a heter iska work?"
"Melamed L'hoil (Y.D. #59, by Rabbi D.Z. Hoffman, zt"l, 1843-1921) addressed this question," replied Rabbi Dayan. "He cites from responsa of Maharit that if a Jew invests money with a non-Jew as a silent partner, he may share the interest profit that the non-Jew earns, even from Jewish clients. This is because the non-Jew operates on his own and the invested money is under his control, so that the Jew cannot restrain him from lending as he wishes.
However, Melamed L'hoil concludes that if the Jew is an active partner in the business and the money is also under his control, it is not permissible for them to lend with interest to Jewish clients."
"Does he provide any solution?" asked Mr. Birnbaum.
"Melamed L'hoil provides two options," answered Rabbi Dayan. "One is that the non-Jew accept full liability to the partnership for the loan to a Jew. In this case, it is as if the non-Jew took money from the partnership and he alone lent to the Jew. Conversely, if the partners want to borrow money from a Jew, the non-Jew must take full liability to the Jewish lender, so that he alone is borrowing.
"The second option is for the partners to arrange from the beginning that all loans to Jews should be from the share of the non-Jew, and loans to non-Jews from the share of the Jew. A similar arrangement is mentioned regarding Shabbos, whereby partners can arrange that all profits from Shabbos belong to the non-Jew, and from Sunday belong to the Jew. If the partners didn't do so initially, they can dissolve the partnership and reformulate it as such (O.C. 245:1-4).
"In addition, if the Jewish partner arranged a heter iska for the partnership, it is permissible. The terms are binding also on the non-Jewish partner who agreed to it" (Bris Yehuda, Ikrei Dinim 20:)."
Ruling: The partnership may not lend to Jews with interest, unless the non-Jew undertakes full liability for those loans, the initial partnership was formulated so that loans to Jews are from the non-Jew, or there is a heter iska.
Israeli Team Finds Evidence of 500,000-Year-Old Purposely Recycled Tools
The Acheulian culture survived in the Levant for over a million years during the Lower Paleolithic period (1,400,000 to 400,000 years ago). Its use of large cutting tools like hand axes and cleavers is considered a hallmark of its sophistication.
A new Tel Aviv University-led study published in Nature's Scientific Reports reveals that these early humans also crafted tiny flint tools out of recycled larger discarded instruments as part of a comprehensive animal-butchery tool kit. This suggests that the Acheulians were, in fact, far more sophisticated than previously believed.
The international team of researchers, led by Dr. Flavia Venditti and Prof. Ran Barkai of TAU's Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures together with colleagues from La Sapienza Rome University, discovered tiny flint flakes in the Lower Paleolithic Late Acheulian site of Revadim.
In the past, this site yielded various stone assemblages, including dozens of hand axes, animal remains, primarily those of elephants.
The research is based on analyses of 283 tiny flint items some 300,000-500,000 years old.
"The analysis included microscopic observations of use-wear as well as organic and inorganic residues," explains Venditti. "We were looking for signs of edge damage, striations, polishes, and organic residue trapped in depressions in the tiny flint flakes, all to understand what the flakes were used for."
The findings showed that the tiny flint specimens were not merely industrial waste left over from the production of larger tools. They were deliberately produced from recycled discarded artifacts and intended for a specific use.
"For decades, archaeologists did not pay attention to these tiny flakes. Emphasis was instead focused on large, elaborate hand axes and other impressive stone tools," said Barkai. "But we now have solid evidence proving the vital use of the two-inch flakes."
"We show here for the first time that the tiny tools were deliberately manufactured from recycled material and played an important role in the ancient human toolbox and survival strategies," added Venditti.
The Acheulian culture, which was prevalent also in Africa, Europe and Asia at the time, was characterized by the standard production of large impressive stone tools, mainly used in the butchery of the enormous animals that walked the earth.
"Ancient humans depended on the meat and especially the fat of animals for their existence and well-being. So the quality butchery of the large animals and the extraction of every possible calorie was of paramount importance to them," Barkai explained.
According to the study, which was conducted over the course of three years, the tiny tools were used at for precision cutting, such as tendon separation, meat carving, and periosteum removal for marrow acquisition.
Some 107 tiny flakes showed signs of processing animal carcasses. Other flakes revealed organic and inorganic residues, mainly of bone but also of soft tissue. Experiments carried out with reproductions of the tools showed that the small flakes must have been used for delicate tasks, performed in tandem with larger butchery tools.
"We have an image of ancient humans as bulky, large creatures who attacked elephants with large stone weapons. They then gobbled as much of these elephants as they could and went to sleep," Barkai says. "In fact, they were much more sophisticated than that. The tiny flakes acted as surgical tools created and used for delicate cutting of exact parts of elephants' as well as other animals' carcasses to extract every possible calorie.
"Nothing was wasted. Discarded stone tools were recycled to produce new tiny cutting implements. This reflects a refined, accurate, thoughtful, and environmentally conscious culture. This ecological awareness allowed ancient humans to thrive for thousands of years," he concluded.
California Enacts Landmark 'Mezuzah Bill,' Enhancing Religious Liberty
New law gives boost to public Jewish observance in response to growing anti-Semitism By Tzemach Feller
The state of California has taken what lawmakers and religious-rights activists around the nation are calling an enormous step forward in ensuring that Jewish residents are able to practice their faith freely with the governor signing into law a bill that protects their right to place a mezuzah on their doorposts.
As the rise in openly anti-Semitic attacks continues in the state and across the nation, sponsors say that the bill will embolden Jewish Californians to live more proudly as Jews.
While the Equal Housing Act prevents overt discrimination regarding real estate sales and rentals, property owners and managers have invoked homeowner association laws or property covenants that create difficulties for Jewish tenants or condo owners wishing to display a symbol of their faith. A commonly used contrivance is prohibiting the placement of a mezuzah on the front door, citing aesthetic concerns or similar reasons.
When Meir Lang moved into a new apartment in Mountain View, Calif., with his wife a few years ago, they affixed an ornate glass mezuzah case on their doorpost. Soon afterwards, the building management informed them that they had to take it down or be found in violation of their lease agreement. "Had the bill been in place," Lang told Chabad.org, "I'm guessing it would have saved us the trouble we had to go through with the leasing office."
Known as the "Mezuzah Bill," Senate Bill 652 establishes that property owners "shall not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant or any other restriction that prohibits one or more religious items from being displayed or affixed on any entry door or entry door frame of a dwelling."
As the bill made its way through hearings and floor votes, Lang's story was one of many used to illustrate the need for such legislation. And while Lang believes that the leasing company asked him to remove the mezuzah not due to anti-Semitism, but simply out of ignorance, he thinks the bill will be valuable as an educational opportunity for leasing companies and others. "At the time, I didn't know how to deal with the situation, and it felt like it didn't make sense at all," he said. "This bill can help bring clarity to other people in the future."
Mitzvahs as a Response to Anti-Semitism
A mezuzah is a parchment scroll, upon which verses from the Torah are handwritten by an expert scribe, a precept mandated twice in the Torah and observed by Jews for millennia. Its placement on the doorpost designates the home as Jewish and symbolizes G‑d's watchful care over the household's inhabitants. In recent history, its message of protection and Jewish identity in the face of adversity was re-emphasized by the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—when he launched a campaign in 1974 to encourage the mitzvah's observance.
Following the Ma'alot massacre in 1974, when 26 people were murdered in northern Israel by terrorists from nearby Lebanon, the Rebbe redoubled efforts to promote the placement of kosher mezuzahs on the doors of Jewish homes. After "Operation Entebbe" in 1976, the Rebbe wrote that the events are "an indication that Jews must, at the earliest possible, strengthen all aspects of their security and defenses—first and foremost in their spiritual life," by protecting the home with a mezuzah.
In the aftermath of some of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitic violence targeting Jews and synagogues across the United States, activists have called for more public observance, not less—echoing the Rebbe's call.
Rabbi Dov Wagner helps a University of Southern California student affix a mezuzah on the doorpost of his dorm room. Sponsors hope that the new legislation will inspire more Jewish people to respond to anti-Semitism with public affirmations of Jewish pride.
Bill Had Widespread Support
The bill was authored by Sen. Ben Allen, chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, and every member of the caucus—comprised of seven state senators and nine assembly members—signed on as co-authors. It has received widespread support from local communities and organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, a co-sponsor of the bill.
"Posting a mezuzah is not a decorative choice for Jews. Rather, an observant Jewish person would be unable to live in a home where placement of a mezuzah on an entry door frame is not allowed," said Nancy Appel, ADL's California Legislative Director, who was active in the ADL's support of the bill. "Enforcement of otherwise neutral and generally applicable rules that prohibit altering the appearance of an exterior doorway has posed a unique hardship for some Jews in California who have been ordered to remove their mezuzahs or face a daily fine. Although ADL has successfully advocated for affected Jews to enable them to post their mezuzahs on a case-by-case basis, this bill guarantees that they won't have to face this impossible dilemma in the first place."
The bill enjoyed bipartisan approval, passing four committee hearings as well as floor votes in the Senate and the Assembly without a single vote cast in dissent. Having passed both houses of the legislature, it was sent to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose signing introduced the bill into law.
"I hope it just means that no one will ask tenants to take down their mezuzahs," said Lang. "And that if they do, people have a way to show it's not OK to ask for them to come down."
Following the bill's passage, the Legislative Jewish Caucus celebrated by placing mezuzahs on their own office doors.
Rabbi Mendy Cohen, co-director of Chabad of Sacramento, was approached by David Bocarsly, a consultant to the LJC. "He called me up and he said, 'We're doing this. Would you be willing to put up mezuzahs for all the senators and assemblymen who don't have them yet?' " Cohen told Chabad.org. "I said, 'Not only am I willing, but I will donate those mezuzahs!' "