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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Take advantage of the open houses in the Jerusalem this week. Whjile the reservation system doesn't work (trust me, I wasted a lot of time on this--the open house without reservations are a lot to see--I am even going to the grave yard on Emeck Refaim this week, which is normally not open to vist it and see the sites....I heard they were dying to get in!!
48 Wise and Deep Sayings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk By Menachem Posner sent to me by David Kra
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kotzk (1787-1859) was a legendary reclusive and acerbic leader of Polish Chassidic Jewry. He never wished to become a leader of the masses, yet, the more he shied away from fame, the more people flocked to him, eager to glean from his greatness. A brilliant and insightful scholar who valued the truth above all, he couched many of his teachings in witty exegetical lessons on Scripture and the writings of the sages. Here, we have collected 48 sayings that have been attributed to the Rebbe of Kotzk.1
1. A horse walks down the middle of the road. A human being, on the other hand, sticks to one extreme or the other.
2. People tend to look upwards, contemplating the mysteries of the heavens. They would do well to look inward and examine what's happening within themselves.
3. When people ask me what not to do, I can tell them. But to know what they should do, that's something they need to ask themselves.
4. I've never wanted to serve a G‑d whose ways would be understandable to mere mortals.
5. He who doesn't see G‑d everywhere isn't capable of seeing Him anywhere.
6. Where is G‑d? Wherever He is allowed in.
7. The way of the world is such that parents feel the pain of their children, but the children are oblivious to the suffering of their parents. Likewise, G‑d feels our pain, but we are blind to His misery.
8. "I" is a thief, which must be banished from the heart.
9. Serving yourself is a form of idolatry.
10. If you say something you don't truly believe, even if you emit a sigh that does not come from the depth of your heart, any motion that is not entirely true—you are guilty of perjury.
11. If you need to hide something—something is wrong.
12. If a person maintains his faith when he is in trouble and sees no solution, is his faith true? What choice did he have? But if a person has all that he needs and still chooses to place his trust in G‑d—that's true faith.
13. I never regretted telling the truth.
14. I never feared getting sick, but I dreaded the coddling that follows.
15. The loftier the soul, the greater the challenges and darkness surrounding it, like the most valuable pearl which is set in the largest encasement.
16. The body finds it easier to accept all kinds of suffering than to accept the yoke of Heaven.
17. G‑d made the human upright, unlike the animal who walks on all fours. While the beast sees only the earth, man can also look up toward the heavens.
18. The heavens will always remain heavens. But the earth we can elevate and make heavenly.
19. Why do you call out to G‑d and beseech that He have mercy on Israel? Better to call out to the people that they have mercy on G‑d!
20. Elijah the Prophet will not enter through the door or even the window. He will come by way of your heart and your mind.
21. Silence is the most beautiful of all sounds.
22. When a person has reason to cry, and he wants to cry, but is not able to cry—that's the greatest cry of all.
23. A great generation can make do with petty leaders. But a lowly generation needs great leaders.
24. Even a wagon driver is a leader. And woe is to the wagoner whose horses take control.
25. The most dangerous thing of all is habit.
26. Not every thought should be said. Not every speech should be written down. And not all writings are fit for print.
27. If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you—then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I—then I am not I and you are not you.
28. Death is but a change of circumstances, like moving homes. But a wise person sees to it that the new home is better and nicer than the old one.
29. Don't fool yourself and don't imitate your fellow.
30. So and so, he is amazing, he learns so much. When does he have time to know anything?
31. In Torah scholarship, there are geniuses. But there are no geniuses in Chassidism. To become a chassid, one must toil.
32. There are rebbes who are so great that they can revive the dead. But reviving the dead is G‑d's business. A rebbe needs to be able to revive the living.
33. There are not enough sacks in the world to contain the wily arguments of the evil inclination.
34. I want people to refrain from wrongdoing, not because they fear sin, but because they don't have the time.
35. There is nothing more complete than a broken heart, and there is nothing more upright than a crooked ladder.
36. "I will"—this is bad "I want to"—this is neither here nor there. "I am"—this is good.
37. Poverty and hunger are nothing to fear, for they come from G‑d. I fear only the callousness and cruelty that come along with hunger.
38. Through money, even the incorruptible can become corrupted.
39. Joy is wonderful. Through it, one can escape the worst of circumstances.
40. Something that can be acquired in a single hour can be lost in half an hour.
41. A person has two eyes—one to see the greatness of G‑d and the other to see his own smallness.
42. A person isn't a goat, whose every movement is heralded by the bell on his neck.
43. Even the greatest person—who has never sinned—must pray to G‑d that he not come to believe in himself, for self-aggrandizement is worse than the worst sin.
44. There are three inns that a person visits during his earthly journey: The Inn of Jealousy, the Inn of Desire, and the Inn of Glory. I managed to leave the first two fairly quickly and have never returned. But the third, the Inn of Glory, I struggled mightily to leave, until I felt that my very veins were snapping.
45. Blaze your own path. You can be sure that it has not been sullied by others.
46. More important than writing is erasing.
47. Some people speak words of Torah in order to climb to the seventh heaven. I sought words of Torah in order to crawl into the innards of the listener.
48. If you have no tallit, wrap yourself in the four corners of the earth and pray.
A Dutch carpenter, who is a devout Christian and a staunch supporter of Israel, reconstructs the biblical ship; now it is on its way to the 'land of God,' carrying life-size plastic animals.
Dutch carpenter who built his own replica of Noah's Ark has announced plans to sail the 2,500-ton vessel to Israel (though, minus the animals).
The ark's builder, Johan Huibers, 60, a devout Christian from the Netherlands, said it looks like the original: "I created a replica true to the original ark described in Genesis."
The vessel took over four years to build. Huibers began working on the ark's construction back in 2008, with the help of seven assistants. The cost of its construction was $1.6 million, a sum covered entirely by donations.
Huibers says he built the ship according to ancient dimensions detailed in the book of Genesis: "three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits" (Genesis 6).
The final product is 125 meters long, 29 meters across, and 23 meters in height. Weighing about 2,500 tons, the boat even contains life-size figures of animals.
Currently anchored in the port city of Dordrecht in the Netherlands, the ark instantly became a tourist attraction."We want to tell people about God," the Dutchman, who worked with a team of 50 employees, told AFP during construction. "We wanted to build something that can help explain the Bible in real terms."
In an interview with the Jewish news agency JTA, the devout Christian said he intends to sail the ship to Israel.
"My preferred destination for the ark is Israel… this is a copy of God's ship. It only makes sense to take it to God's land," he said, holding a copy of the Bible in Dutch. Since the ship doesn't have an engine, it will have to be towed, the total cost of which is estimated at $1.3 million—but the designer believes he would be able to raise all of it.
"I love the county, I love the people. They don't obey, they do what they want, and they drive like mad, shove while waiting in line and don't listen to anyone. Just like me," Huibers quipped.
Fragment of Herculaneum scroll is fixed in place at a Diamond Light Source experimental station after it was scanned using bright x-rays in Didcot.
Ancient scrolls to be deciphered using light beams brighter than the sun
LONDON — Scientists at Britain's national synchrotron facility have harnessed powerful light beams to virtually unwrap and decipher fragile scrolls dating back some 2,000 years in a process they hope will provide new insights into the ancient world.
The two complete scrolls and four fragments — from the so-called Herculaneum library, the only one surviving from antiquity — were buried and carbonized by the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and are too fragile to be opened.
The items were examined at the Diamond Light Source facility in Oxfordshire, home to Britain's synchrotron, a particle accelerator in which beams travel around a closed-loop path to produce light many times brighter than the sun.
"The idea is essentially like a CT scanner where you would take an image of a person, a three-dimensional image of a person and you can slice through it to see the different organs," said Laurent Chapon, physical science director of Diamond Light Source.
"We… shine very intense light through (the scroll) and then detect on the other side a number of two-dimensional images. From that we reconstruct a three-dimensional volume of the object… to actually read the text in a non-destructive manner," Chapon said.
The ink on the scrolls is difficult to see, even through a synchrotron, because it is carbon-based like the papyrus it is written on. But scientists hope the density of the paper will be different where written characters are present.
By scanning the fragments where characters are visible, they hope to create a machine-learning algorithm that will decipher what is written on the scrolls.
The data generated by the process will be analyzed by scientists at Kentucky University in the United States using advanced computing techniques to decipher the scrolls' contents.
"The library at Herculaneum was the only library that survived from antiquity and because of that the material inside is extremely valuable," said Brent Seales, professor of computer science at Kentucky University.
"Texts from the ancient world are rare and precious, and they simply cannot be revealed through any other known process."
FOR WHAT SIN SHOULD WE REPENT?
In these days when Jewish blood is spilled like water, there exists a most confounding attitude nurtured perhaps by our growing sense of frustration and helplessness. In reaction to our worsening security situation, many say that the only solution is for us to do teshuva. What do they mean by this? That we must be more stringent in the laws of modesty, lashon hara, and the like.
To what can we liken the situation? To a group of people who go on a journey of several days in the desert. A few hours go by, and people begin to faint. Why? There is no water. They simply didn't bring water. Problem.
So they sit themselves down and ponder: Why are we suffering so? Why are we fainting? And they arrive at a conclusion: Our deeds are tarnished. And, indeed, they are right. Along the way they had spoken lashon hara, were not completely stringent in all the rigors of modesty, and slackened in intensity during prayer. So, they decide to do teshuva for these sins.
How would we characterize their response? Is it logical? Of course not. First of all, they should have realized that the source of their problem was their failure to bring water. That was their real sin. Next, they should have obtained water as soon as possible for they were in the desert and members of the group were liable to start dying. Only those not searching for water should have started thinking about repentance, asking G-d to forgive the group for the sin of putting themselves in danger by criminally neglecting to bring water, along with any other sin they may have committed. They should have taken upon themselves to mend their ways in the hope that G-d would answer their prayers, accept their penitence, and quickly assist those who were busy obtaining water for the group to survive.
But all this only after the group starts searching for water! If no one searches for water, the rest is meaningless!
And now for the moral of the story: When Arabs kill Jews, we must understand that the source of the problem and root of the sin is the fact that when there was enough time to deal with the Arab time bomb, we sat by indifferently, talked about coexistence, and gave them guns. This is not only a sin according to logic, it is a sin according to the Torah which clearly states, "And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you...But if you do not drive out the inhabitants, then those whom you allow to remain will...torment you in the land in which you dwell" (Numbers 33:52-55).
All those who arrive at this understanding must then begin to act at this late stage-- after years of Jews being murdered-- and explain that he who refuses to carry out the above commandment out of fear of the nations has the blood of innocent Jews on his hands. Only after does it become possible and necessary to immerse in soul-searching regarding Shabbat observance, modesty, and lashon hara.
In truth, the parable does not perfectly match our situation in Israel. For in the parable, the sin was limited to not bringing water and thereby placing lives in peril. Our sin of not expelling the Arabs, however, not only places Jewish lives in peril but stems from lack of faith in G-d and fear of the nations.
We are speaking of a sin far more serious than the desecration of Shabbat. We are speaking of the most fundamental of sins. G-d gave us the land through great miracles, demonstrating His wondrous power on our behalf, and yet after all His help we basically turned to Him and said, "Excuse us, but we'll do just fine without Your miracles because we are of the opinion that the nations are stronger than You are. Goodbye, drop by another time."
Can there be a greater slap in the divine face than this???!!!
Darka Shel Torah, 2000
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane HY"D
See you tomorrow bli neder. Parsha Noah is this Shabbat