Friday, December 20, 2019

New Initiative Seeks to Remember the ‘Forgotten’ Mideast Jewish Refugees and Fabulous photos of 5 picturesque places to visit in Israel and Who Was Deborah the Nurse? And Why Did Jacob Mourn Her Death? By Levi Avtzon and Happy Hanukkah 2019, starting Sunday night

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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

Hanukkah 2019

In 2019, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 22 and lasts until sundown on Monday, Dec. 30.

Find a Hanukkah checklist here.

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for "dedication," is the Festival of Lights.

It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp.

The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.


How Do You Celebrate Hanukkah?

We celebrate Hanukkah at home by lighting the menorah (each night we light one additional candle to the number from the previous night), playing dreidel, and eating special foods unique to Hanukkah. Some people also sing Hanukkah songs or exchange gifts after lighting the menorah, which is also called a hanukkiah. Many people host and attend Hanukkah parties.

What Are Hanukkah Foods?

Many Hanukkah foods are deep-fried in oil, symbolizing the oil from the menorah used in the Temple. These include latkes, or potato pancakes, and jelly doughnuts. Other favorites include the Sephardic delicacy bimuelos and use, of course, applesauce as a latke topping. Chocolate gelt, a candy that gets its name from the Yiddish word for money, is another popular Hanukkah treat.

Fabulous photos of 5 picturesque places to visit in Israel

I can't copy the pictures onto the blog, but if you go to this web site you can see them all!


The beauty of this little land is so paradoxically vast that sometimes it's best to focus on a few outstanding spots at a time. By Abigail Klein Leichman

How To Play Dreidel

Who Was Deborah the Nurse? And Why Did Jacob Mourn Her Death? By Levi Avtzon

The Torah portion of Vayishlach is dedicated to the epic journey that Jacob and his family took to Israel, and their challenges in settling there. One verse seems out of place: "Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, died, and she was buried beneath Beth-El, beneath the plain; so he named it Allon Bachuth ('the Plain of Tears')."1

Who was Deborah, and why is her death mentioned? What was so significant about this woman that her death moved Jacob to tears? And what possible life lesson is there to be found in this anecdote?

This is not the first time we read of Rebecca's nurse. We were introduced to her 11 chapters prior (albeit not by name) when Rebecca left her home to travel to the future Land of Israel and marry her soulmate, Isaac: "So they sent away Rebecca their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men."2

The previous mention of the nurse can be easily explained. At the time of her marriage, Rebecca was very young, so sending a nurse along was appropriate.

But this latter episode happened about 120 years later. Jacob was 98 years old,3 Rebecca was at least 23 years older than Jacob,4 and the nurse was obviously older than Rebecca. This would make her a very old woman. What was she doing out on the road with Jacob's family?

Rashi: An Agent

Rashi explains that she was there because Rebecca was fulfilling a promise she made to Jacob 36 years earlier. As her son was departing to Charan, she told him, "I will send for you and bring you from there [and bring you home]."5 Sending Deborah to her son was her way of keeping her promise to send for him and bring him home.

Nachmanides: A Dedicated Caregiver

Nachmanides offers three possible explanations for Deborah's presence during Jacob's travels:

  1. After bringing Rebecca to Israel many years earlier, she returned home to Charan. Now she was using this opportunity to visit and check on her former charge. Unfortunately, she didn't make it, and was buried on the road.
  2. She had gone to Jacob in Charan to help him raise his children, due to her love for Rebecca and her desire to help educate the grandchildren.
  3. She was an entirely different woman than the woman who came with Rebecca years ago. This was another nurse that Jacob was bringing along with him to help his elderly mother.

Jonathan: An Expert Teacher

Targum Jonathan renders the word we translated as "nurse" to be pedagogue, a teacher. This was Rebecca's teacher. When Rebecca was a young girl living in an immoral society with her deceitful father and brother, she had a support system. Deborah helped her stand strong and pious in the face of immorality and deprivation.

This (and the second answer of Nachmanides) explains why Jacob was so affected by her passing. His tremendous gratitude to this woman who was his mother's support system and his "spiritual grandmother" (and educator of his children) was immense, and the tears flowed.

This is a lesson on gratitude, a lesson on the power of a good teacher, and a lesson on how impacting one person (Rebecca, matriarch of the Jewish people) can transform history forever.

Midrash: Rebecca

Alternatively, the Midrash6 says that the Torah is referring to the death of Rebecca. For why would Jacob cry so much for a nurse? Rather, it was his mother, who died three days after Deborah,7 that caused his tears, as he never merited to see her before her passing.

The reason the Torah doesn't mention Rebecca's passing overtly is that her burial was done quietly, as there was no one to bury her. Abraham had passed on. Isaac was blind and couldn't leave the home. Jacob was away. The only one left was Esau, and his presence at the funeral would be an embarrassment, for people would say, "There goes the woman who carried and gave birth to Esau." Hence the silence. And because the family kept it quiet, the Torah chose to keep it quiet as well.8

Deborah the Prophetess

The authors of Tosafot9 opine that the tree next to Deborah's grave was the same tree where the prophetess Deborah sat and judged the Jewish people half a millennium later. The two women were connected in name, in place and in heart. These two incredible Deborahs made an everlasting impact on the Jewish people through their strength, their teaching and their character.

Footnotes 1.

Genesis 35:8.


Genesis 24:59.


He left home at 63, then spent 14 years in yeshivah, then 20 years by Laban, and then a further 1½ years on the journey.


According to Rashi, she married at 3 and waited 20 years for children.


Genesis 28:45.


Bereishit Rabbah 81:5. Nachmanides brings this interpretation as well.


Yefeh To'ar, as quoted by Me'am Loez.


Midrash Tanchuma, as quoted by Me'am Loez.


Quoted in Hadar Zekeinim.

By Levi Avtzon

New Initiative Seeks to Remember the 'Forgotten' Mideast Jewish Refugees

More than that, an effort is underway to recognize centuries of contributions of Jews in the Middle East and North Africa, and to foster relations for the future.

By: Israel Kasnett & JV Staff

The nine young Iraqi Jewish men hanging in the center of Tahrir Square (also known as "Martyrs' Square) in Cairo in January 1969 after being accused by the Ba'athist regime of espionage were the subject of great interest that day, as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis came to view their corpses—not only causing a terrific traffic jam in Baghdad, but also sowing deep fear throughout the millennia-old Jewish community there. Seven months later, three more Jews were executed.

The horrific episode was part of the history of the estimated 900,000 Jews born in Iran and the Arab world who were forced to flee their ancient homes during the mid-20th century.

Iraqi Jews leaving Lod airport in Israel on their way to the Ma'abara transit camp, 1951. Source: Israel Government Press Office.

Few Jews remain in Arab countries and Iran; nevertheless, a new effort is underway to set a global day of commemoration to remember the Jewish communities throughout the Middle East, in addition to the graves that cannot be visited by family and for whom no one recites Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for mourning the dead.

In 2014, Israeli Knesset member Shimon Ohayon first introduced a law to make Nov. 30 the official day to recall the ordeals of Jews from Arab countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

On Nov. 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 recommending a partition of British Mandate Palestine, and called for a Jewish state and an Arab state, which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected. Immediately after the vote, the Arab countries turned on their Jewish populations, confiscating their businesses and stripping them of their rights, much like the Nuremberg laws of 1935. Many Jews were persecuted and murdered, and thousands were forced to flee their homes. For this reason, the next day, Nov. 30, was chosen as a day to remember.

This past weekend, more than 50 synagogues in the United States and Canada, as well as in the United Kingdom, France and Israel, all recited the prayer composed by Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in London, in commemoration of the people who were persecuted, exiled or killed for being Jewish. Last year, only 12 synagogues participated in the effort; the initiative is clearly gaining traction.

Part of the text reads: "We have seen with pained hearts the murder of our brothers and sisters and the burning of our synagogues and our Torah scrolls by the hands of our Arab neighbors amongst whom we have dwelt for generations. … Lord full of mercy … give rest on the wings of the Divine Presence … to the souls of our brothers and sisters who died and who were murdered by the hands of cruel enemies in the Arab Lands. Our dwelling places became fiery furnaces and our friends turned to foes."

In addition to the aspect of remembering those Jews whose stories have been forgotten, this effort simultaneously exposes the history of the Jews who lived in these lands long before the advent of Islam.

When Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE, he exiled many Jews to Babylon, what is today known as Iraq. Thus, Jews called Baghdad their home for more than 2,500 years.

Affirming the prominent Jewish presence there, a 1917 British intelligence document records that the Jews of Baghdad once comprised 40 percent of the population. Interestingly, the report insists on the validity of the numbers "in anticipation of racial claims which are sure to be made sooner or later." Two years ago, a delegation of heads of Iraqi cultural organizations asked to meet with heads of the Jewish community of Iraq in London. They were impressed by how much success Iraqi Jews have had in the United Kingdom and asked why they can't replicate their success in Iraq.

In his eloquent address at the day long seminar entitled, "The End of Jewish Communal Life in Arab Lands" held at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan on Monday, December 2nd, Rabbi Eli Abadie, MD of the Sephardic synagogue in New York City, said:  

 "The issues surrounding the Palestinian refugees are frequently addressed at the UN, in the news media and in legal journals. Very little has been written about the Jews displaced from Arab lands. Out of almost 1120 UN resolutions on Israel and the so called Palestinians, almost 200 resolutions deal specifically with Palestinian refugees, by contrast, not a single one deals exclusively with Jewish refugees displaced from Arab lands. 

"Jews constituted a stable and historic community in these countries dating back at least 3,000 years, centuries before Muhammad. The Aleppo Syrian Community dates back to King David 3,000 years ago, the Yemenite community to King Solomon 2,900 years ago, the Iraqi and Iranian community dates back to the first Babylonian exile 2,500 years ago, and the Egyptian Community over 1,000 years ago."

"Jews were known as believers and as such were not given the choice to either adopt Islam or death, but they were given the third choice –  that of submission. Therefore, coexistence between Jews and Muslims required that the Jews be submissive to the Muslims. This coexistence dated back from the time of Muhammad and his late successor Caliph Omar. 

People subjected to Muslim rule were given protection from death and conversion as the Dhimmis. This protection required that the Dhimmis pay a poll tax known as Jiziya or fine.  The Dhimmis were forbidden from testifying against Muslims, owning a home, holding office, bearing arms or drinking wine in public, they could not build their houses higher than Muslim houses, they could not ride on saddles, they could not display their Torah except in their synagogues, neither could they raise their voice when reading or blowing the Shofar, and were required to wear a special emblem on their clothes, yellow for Jews (the yellow star was not a Nazi invention). It was their duty to recognize the superiority of the Muslim and accord him honor." (

Iraqi Jews leaving Lod airport in Israel on their way to the Ma'abara transit camp, 1951. Source: Israel Government Press Office.

Israeli UN Mission to call for recognition of Jewish refugees

The new resolution will be asking the United Nations to recognize the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran. By OMRI NAHMIAS

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, will announced on November 29th his intention to file a resolution recognizing Jewish refugees from Arab countries, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Danon will announce the resolution during a General Assembly discussion to mark 72 years since the November 29 partition plan.

During the event on Tuesday, the Palestinian representative to the UN is said to introduce a series of pro-Palestinian resolutions, including a resolution supporting the Palestinians' right of return. A similar session with similar resolutions will be taking place every year. According to the Israeli Mission to the UN, the new resolution, asking the United Nations to recognize the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran, is aimed to undermine the proposed Palestinian resolutions.The Israeli Mission will also host an event to formally launch the new initiative in New York on Wednesday, featuring US Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr. "The international community, like so often, is comfortable focusing only on Palestinian refugees while erasing the story of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the history pages," Ambassador Danon said. "But the State of Israel will give voice to the truth and correct the historical injustice by putting an end to the deafening silence on the part of the international community."

Best Eel Fishing | Boy Catching Eel Using Salt and Fishing Oil

Hi guys welcome to our another eel Fishing video. Today we are catching eel fish from mud-hole using salt & fishing oil. From primitive times people used to catch this eel fish by hand from the hole near pond like this. This eel fish looks alike snake but they cannot bite, they have no poison in their teeth. Catching them by hand is very tricky. We use fishing oil to make them out & then catch them from mud. In this way we can always catch eel fish.

See you Sunday, Sunday Night starts Chanukah, Shabbat Shalom

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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