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.
I explained the reasons for the starting of the prayer for rain tonight on my blog of December 3. Check back on it on my blog site (YehudaLave.com) if you have any questions.
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Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, totally dark, if you light one small candle, its light will be seen from afar; its precious light will be seen by everyone.
Intolerance lies at the core of evil. Not the intolerance that results from any threat or danger. But intolerance of another being who dares to exist. Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us, because every human being secretly desires the entire universe to himself. Our only way out is to learn compassion without cause. To care for each other simple because that 'other' exists.
One who loves must learn fear. One who fears must learn love. The thinker must do. The doer must think. The pacifist must fight, the fighter must find peace. If you flow as a river, burn as a fire. If you burn as a furnace, flow as a river. If you fly as a bird, sit firm as a rock. If you sit firmly, then fly as a bird. Be a fire that flows. A rock that flies. Love with fear and fear with love. For we are not fire, not water, not air, not rocks, not thoughts, not deeds, not fear, not love. We are G-dly beings.
The man took a golden ring, a half-shekel in weight; and two bracelets of ten shekels' weight of gold for her hands. (Genesis 24:22)
A half-shekel—to allude to the shekalim contributed by the people of Israel, a half-shekel per head (Rashi ad loc).
The first marriage of which we read in the Torah is the marriage of Adam and Eve. Theirs, of course, was a marriage wholly made in Heaven: G‑d Himself created the bride, perfumed and bejeweled her, and presented her to the groom. The first instance in which the Torah tells the story of a marriage achieved by human effort is in the chapter that describes the search for a bride for Isaac. Here are detailed the workings of a conventional shidduch: a matchmaker (Abraham's servant Eliezer), an investigation into the prospective bride's family and character, a dowry, the initial encounter between the bride and groom, and so on.
The Torah, which often conveys complex laws by means of a single word or letter, devotes no less than 67 verses to the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca. Many of the details are related twice—first in the Torah's account of their occurrence, and a second time in Eliezer's speech to Rebecca's parents. For here we are being presented with a prototype to guide our own approach to marriage—both in the conventional sense as the union of two human beings, and in the cosmic sense as the relationship between G‑d and man.
Half of Twenty
One of the details which the Torah includes in its account is the fact that a ring, a half-shekel in weight, was one of the gifts that Eliezer presented to Rebecca at their meeting at the well in Rebecca's hometown of Aram Naharayim. Our sages explain that this was an allusion to, and the forerunner of, the half-shekel contributed by each Jew towards the building of the Sanctuary. As G‑d instructs Moses in the 30th chapter of Exodus:
Each man shall give the ransom of his soul to G‑d. . . . This they shall give: . . . a half-shekel. . . . A shekel is twenty gerah; a half-shekel [shall be given] as an offering to G‑d. . . . The rich man should not give more, and the pauper should not give less, than the half-shekel . . .
Why half a shekel? Maimonides writes that as a rule, "everything that is for the sake of G‑d should be of the best and most beautiful. When one builds a house of prayer, it should be more beautiful than his own dwelling. When one feeds the hungry, he should feed him of the best and sweetest of his table. . . . Whenever one designates something for a holy purpose, he should sanctify the finest of his possessions, as it is written (Leviticus 3:16), 'The choicest to G‑d'" (Mishneh Torah, Hil. Issurei Mizbe'ach 7:11).
Indeed, in many cases Torah law mandates that the object of a mitzvah (Divine commandment) be tamim, whole: a blemished animal cannot be brought as an offering to G‑d, nor can a blemished etrog be included in the Four Species taken on the festival of Sukkot. Even when this is not an absolute requirement, the law states that whenever possible, one should strive to fulfill a mitzvah with a whole object. For example, it is preferable to recite a blessing on a whole fruit or a whole loaf of bread, rather than on a slice (hence our use of two whole loaves at all Shabbat and festival meals).
Why, then, does the Torah instruct that each Jew contribute half a shekel towards the building of a dwelling for G‑d within the Israelite camp?
The Torah's repeated reference to this contribution as a "half-shekel" is all the more puzzling in light of the fact that in these very same verses the Torah finds it necessary to clarify that a shekel consists of twenty gerah. In other words, the amount contributed by each Jew as "the ransom of his soul" was ten gerah. Ten is a number that connotes completeness and perfection: the entire Torah is encapsulated within the Ten Commandments; the world was created with ten Divine utterances; G‑d relates to His creation via ten sefirot (Divine attributes); and the soul of man, formed in the image of G‑d, is likewise comprised of ten powers. But instead of instructing to give ten gerah, the Torah says to give half of a twenty-gerah shekel, deliberately avoiding mention of the number ten and emphasizing the "half" element of our contribution to the Divine dwelling in our midst.
Separated at Birth
For such is the essence of marriage. If each partner approaches the marriage with a sense of his or her self as a complete entity, they will at best achieve only a "relationship" between two distinct, self-contained lives. But marriage is much more than that. The Kabbalists explain that husband and wife are the male and female aspects of a single soul, born into two different bodies; for many years they live separate lives, often at a great distance from each other and wholly unaware of the other's existence. But Divine providence contrives to bring them together again under the wedding canopy and accord them the opportunity to become one again: not only one in essence, but also one on all levels—in their conscious thoughts and feelings and in their physical lives.
Marriage is thus more than the union of two individuals. It is the reunion of a halved soul, the fusion of two lives originally and intrinsically one.
To experience this reunion, each must approach his or her life together not as a "ten," but as a half. This half-shekel consists of ten gerah—each must give their all to the marriage, devoting to it the full array of resources and potentials they possess. But each must regard him- or herself not as a complete being, but as a partner—a part seeking its other part to make it whole again.
The half-shekel ring given to Rebecca for her marriage to Isaac was the forerunner of the half-shekel contributed by each Jew towards the building of the Sanctuary, the marital home in the marriage between G‑d and man.
The soul of man is "a part of G‑d above"—a part that descended to a world whose mundanity and materiality conspire to distance it from its supernal source. So even a soul who is in full possession of her ten powers is still but a part. And even when G‑d fully manifests the ten attributes of His involvement with His creation, He is still only partly present in our world. It is only when these two parts unite in marriage that their original wholeness and integrity is restored.
So to build G‑d a home on earth, we must contribute half of a 20-gerah shekel. We must give ourselves fully to Him, devoting the full spectrum of our ten powers and potentials to our marriage with Him. But even as we achieve the utmost in self-realization in our relationship with G‑d, we must be permeated with a sense of our halfness—with the recognition and appreciation that we, as He, are incomplete without each other.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TERRIBLE MISOGYNIST JOKES OF THE WEEK
Google is definitely a woman. It makes suggestions before you even finish what you're trying to say.
""Then Bing is definitely a man, since it tries to convince everyone that it's superior while it does a horrible job of pleasing users."
What to give a man who's got everything? A woman. She'll tell him how everything works.
Everyone says the world would be better off if it was run by women. Sure, maybe there wouldn't be violence and territorial conquests fueled by male testosterone. But instead, we'd have a bunch of jealous countries that aren't talking to each other.
For all the guys who think a woman's place is in the kitchen, remember that's where the knives are kept.
Newlyweds wake up one morning on their honeymoon and the man suggests: "Darling, why don't you brew us some coffee?"Wife looks confused: "But that's your task, honey.""What? Why?" "It's all over the Bible, dearest." "The Bible says nothing about who's supposed to be brewing coffee!"The wife grabs hold of a copy and starts flipping pages at random: "See? Everywhere: Hebrews, Hebrews, Hebrews."
A little boy looks at his mum at a wedding and says, "Mummy, why is the girl dressed all in white?"His mum answers, "The girls is called a bride and she is in white because she's very happy and this is the happiest day of her life."The boy nods and then says, "OK, and why is the boy all in black?"
Honey, do you think I gained weight? No, I think the living room got smaller.
A man noticed his credit card has been stolen - but he never reported it. The thief was still spending considerably less than his wife.
An investigative journalist went to Afghanistan to study the culture and was shocked to discover that women were made to walk ten paces behind the men. She asked her guide why and he said, "Because they are considered of lesser status." Outraged the journalist went home. A year later she returned covering violence in the region and was surprised to see the women walking ten paces ahead. She turned to her guide and this time asked, "What has changed?" The guide answered, "Land mines."
At a medical check-up: Do you do dangerous sports? Well, sometimes I talk back at my wife.
Q: Why did God create Adam first and Eve as second? A: Because he wasn't interested in listening to anyone telling him how to make Adam.
A boy asked his father, "Dad, how much does it cost to get married?"Father grimly replied, "I wouldn't know son, I'm still not done paying for it."
85% of married life consists of yelling "what?" from the other side of the house.
One easy step to lose an argument with a wife: 1) Argue.
Men who ignore their wives' raised eyebrows are losing valuable time in which to escape.
In any argument, a wife has the last word. Anything the husband says after that last word is the beginning of a new argument.
Yankel approached his Rosh Kollel and asked him if the 1000 year prohibition and ban of Rabbeinu Gershom for an Orthodox Man to take a second wife is already over. The Rebbe noted that is was still in effect but asked the young man why he was interested in taking another wife?Yankel answered "It's hard to make it on one income these days…"
Caroline Glick "The Joint Arab List is Unified to Wipe Israel Off the Map"
The Joint Arab List is a political party in Israel's parliament. It currently has 13 seats.
The only way the Anti-Bibi Netanyahu forces can form a government without Netanyahu is if it has the support of this Joint Arab List party. Yet how can any Israeli, or Israel supporter, support having this list or these politicians in an Israeli government or even in Israel's parliament?
Nobody else is saying the truth about this party like Caroline.