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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The Portion of Miketz
After Joseph had been sent to prison by Potifar he deciphered the dreams of Pharoh's Chief Butler and Chief Baker. When Pharoh learned of Joseph's ability to interpret dreams, he immediately had Joseph brought to him and asked him to explain his dreams of the 7 sheaves and the 7 cows.
Joseph interpreted Pharoh's dreams and Pharoh appointed him to the position of the viceroy and changed his name to Tzafnat Paneiach (he who reveals hidden things).
In Torah scrolls, scribes emphasize the letter "Pei" in the words "Tzafnat" and "Paneiach" to call attention to Joseph's special attributes.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative" November 28, 2019, https://bit.ly/2QVMGip
In 1993, 1995 and 2005, Israel retreated from 40% of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges (West Bank) and the entire Gaza Strip. It transformed these regions into platforms of unprecedented Palestinian terrorism and missile launches, supported by Iran, Turkey and North Korea. Moreover, it has intensified lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes, bolstering their security ties with Israel, which they perceived to be the most credible "life insurance agent" in the region. As expected, gestures to rogue regimes and terrorists fuel further violence!
"In November 1994, the peace process had seemed to be in full swing…. [But], an organized campaign began in the US against the idea of stationing US troops on the Golan Heights as 'peace keepers', in the event of an Israel-Syria [peace] agreement. The campaign was orchestrated by right-wing organizations and individuals in the Jewish community, with occasional participation of visitors from Israel… [such as] the former Minister for Congressional Affairs in our Washington Embassy, Yoram Ettinger…. The organizers conveyed the message that sending US troops as peacekeepers to the Golan was bad for the US [and that the Syrian armored mechanized divisions stationed between the Golan Heights and Damascus would be deployed to the border with Jordan, aiming to topple the pro-US Hashemite regime]…. The US could lose the lives of its soldiers and become entangled in a dangerous foreign arena…. That would no doubt lead to a rise in anti-Semitism in the US…. Senator Jesse Helms, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations [a friend of Bobby Jacobs] was openly critical of the Assad regime…. The Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, Benjamin Gilman, was under pressure from voters in his own constituency…. This Congressional opposition had at least some negative impact on Assad's motivation to move forward in his peacemaking with Israel…." (Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and Chief Negotiator with Syria, The Brink of Peace, 1999, pp. 164-167).
Since 1967, Israel's control of the strategically-commanding Golan Heights - over-towering northern Israel - has constrained and monitored the Russian, Iranian, North Korean, ISIS and Turkish strategic profile in Syria. Furthermore, the Israeli posture of deterrence has bolstered the national security of Jordan's Hashemite regime and all other pro-US Arab regimes (hence the unprecedented cooperation between Israel and these regimes). For instance, the September 1970 pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of the pro-US Jordan was rolled back, primarily, due to Israel's deployment of troops to the Golan Heights, 37 miles from Damascus. The Syrian invasion aimed at toppling the Hashemite regime and producing a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Thus, Israel's control of the Golan Heights spared the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to save its Jordanian ally, while preventing a potential super-power confrontation, and denying the USSR a geo-strategic bonanza.
The significance of Israel's control of the Golan Heights for the national security of the US has been intensified due to the following phenomena:
*The raging civil war in Syria which erupted in 2011; *The escalation of Iran's involvement in Syria and Lebanon, aspiring to extend its dominance to the Mediterranean and Europe; *The entrenchment of ISIS cells in Syria, irrespective of their recent setbacks; *The growing involvement in Syria by Turkey's Erdogan, who aims to resurrect the Ottoman Empire; *The inherent Russia-Syria alliance, with Russia expanding its presence in the Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East. *Since the 1960s, North Korea has been a leading ally of Syria, engaged in illicit military and technology cooperation, including ballistic missiles and chemical warfare. Pyongyang facilitated the construction of a Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed, by Israel, in 2007.
In November 2019, the explosive potential of Syria transcends the boundaries of the Middle East, triggering ripple effects throughout the globe. Since 2010, it has been exacerbated by the Arab Tsunami, which has further destabilized the inherently unpredictable and violent Syria and the Middle East. Thus, the pro-Russia, pro-Iran, pro-North Korea and anti-US Damascus – which provided safe haven to Nazi war criminals - has become a global epicenter of proliferation of anti-US global terrorism and drug trafficking.
The endemically turbulent reality of Syria, in particular, and the Middle East, in general, highlight the self-destructive nature of the attempts to get Israel off the Golan Heights, the potential damage to US interests, and the prospective setback to the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes.
An agreement concluded with Damascus can be no less tenuous than the policies of the transient, rogue regime which signs them (would you buy a used car from Assad?!). The politically-correct assumptions that "a state of peace was the best security arrangement…. the end of occupation would eliminate the motivation to wage wars, and Syria's record of keeping its commitments was excellent…. (ibid. page 169)" clash with reality, ignoring the rogue and non-compliant nature of Syria as demonstrated by its systematic violation of agreements, domestically and regionally.
For example, since 1953, Syria has violated all water supply agreements with Jordan (from the Yarmouk River). Notwithstanding the official state of peace with Jordan, Syria invaded Jordan in 1970, threatened to invade again in 1980 and 1989, and periodically supports anti-Hashemite subversion and terrorism.
For 30 years (1976-2006), Syria has violated a series of international and intra-Arab commitments to evacuate Lebanon, until it was forced to withdraw by domestic and international factors.
In 1973, Syria violated the 1967 armistice agreement with Israel, as well as the 1974 Disengagement Agreement with Israel, terrorizing Israel through Palestinian and Shiite terrorists in Jordan and Lebanon.
Israel's control of the Golan Heights, just like its control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, has bolstered Israel's posture of deterrence, extending the strategic hand of the US, with no need for additional US soldiers. Israel's retreat from the Golan Heights would erode its posture of deterrence, relegating the Jewish State from a national security producer/asset to a national security consumer/liability, to the detriment of the US.
Guinness World Records certifies world's most valuable dreidel
The $70,000 dreidel made of 18K yellow gold and encrusted with 220 round brilliant diamonds created by Estate Diamond Jewelry in New York City was named the world's most valuable dreidel by Guinness World Records. (Courtesy of Estate Diamond Jewelry)
(JTA) — Jewelers in New York City have created the world's most valuable dreidel, according to Guinness World Records.
The custom-designed piece created by Estate Diamond Jewelry is valued at $70,000. It includes the diamond-encrusted Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hay and shin, and a 4.2-carat diamond on its tip.
The 18K gold dreidel stands 10.8 cm high. The letters are made of white gold and are encrusted with 222 round brilliant diamonds, according to Guinness. It was created in the artistic style of Art Deco, according to the jewelers, who said the final design was heavily inspired by the Chrysler Building located a few blocks from the company's showroom.
Estate Diamond Jewelry has collected rare and vintage engagement rings for over 40 years.
"The inspiring message of Chanukah (aka Hanukkah) has always resonated with us and we love whimsical jewelry, so naturally, we have always tried to get our hands on an important antique dreidel to add to the collection," the company said in a blog post.
"A few months ago, however, we decided that we wanted to create our dream-dreidel all by ourselves, inspired by the artistic designs of the vintage jewelry from our collection. We had no idea how fun this journey would be."
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S JEWISH WINE JOKES OF THE WEEK
A guy came to a rabbi, and said: "please save my marriage."The rabbi asked what happened? And the man said: "I was honest."I was out for a drink with the wife last night. I finished two bottles of wine. And I said, 'I love you.'"'She asked me, 'Is that you talking, or the wine talking?'"I said, 'It's me........I'm talking to the wine!'
Berel was the town shikkur/drunk. Once he got on a bus one day and sat down next to a priest. The drunk stank of wine, his shirt was stained, his face was all red, and he had a half-empty bottle of wine sticking out of his pocket. He opened his newspaper and started reading. A couple of minutes later, he asked the priest, "Father, what causes arthritis?"The priest replied, "Mister, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, and contempt for your fellow man."Imagine that," the Berel the drunk muttered. He returned to reading his paper. The priest, thinking about what he had said, turned to the man and apologized. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?"I don't have arthritis, Father," said Berel, "but I just read in the paper that the Pope does."
What did the grape say when it was crushed? Nothing, it just let out a little wine.
It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full. There's clearly room for more wine.
Every box of raisins is a tragic tale of grapes that could have been wine.
The secret of enjoying a good bottle of wine:
Open the bottle to allow it to breathe.
If it doesn't look like it's breathing, give it mouth-to-mouth.
A priest was driving down the road one day when got stopped by a cop. The cop smelled alcohol on the priest's breath and saw an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He said to the priest, "Father, have you been drinking?"The priest replied, "Only water, officer."The cop then asked him, "Then why can I smell wine?"The priest looked at the bottle and said, "Good Lord! He's done it again."
"The Jewish Chronicle had heard that Benjy was coming up to his 108th birthday so they sent one of their reporters to interview him. "How do you account for your longevity?" asked the reporter. "You could say that I am a health nut," Benjy answered. "I have never smoked or drunk alcohol, I am always in bed by ten o'clock, I've been going to Israeli dance classes since I was a teenager and I've always walked three miles a day, even in rain or snow." "But," said the reporter, "my uncle Shlomo followed exactly the same routine and he died when he was 70. So how come it didn't work for him?" "All I can say," replied Benjy, "is that he didn't keep it up long enough."
The drunken wino was stumbling down the street with one foot on the curb and one foot in the gutter. A cop pulled up and said, "I've got to take you in, sir. You're obviously drunk" The wasted wino asked, "Ociffer, are ya absolutely sure I'm drunk?" "Yeah, buddy, I'm sure," said the copper. "Let's go.". Obviously relieved, the wino said "That's a relief - I thought I was a cripple.
"There's nothing to whine about with these wine jokes - they're grape! In fact, they're di-vine; a barrel of laughs, you might say!
Avraham Itzhak HaCohen Kook z"l, 1865-1935--and the Kook shul where you can see where he sat and prayed
Avraham Itzhak HaCohen Kook z"l, 1865-1935 and the Mitzvah to Live in Eretz Yisroel
Avraham Itzhak HaCohen Kook z"l, 1865-1935, was the first chief rabbi of Israel, before the modern state was born, a Talmudic genius and the ultimate Zionist. Many wonderful stories is told about him and how he he fought for Israel with love. It is much thanks to Rav Kook's teachings that I have my love for Israel. Rav Kook's house in Jerusalem still stands exactly how it was when he lived there; his chair is in the room where he used to study and write his books, his synagogue, still there.
Ones he was studying a Talmudic passage in his usual chair when there was knock at the door. A short Yemenite, came in, his hair and beard all white. He closed the door behind him and remained standing in the doorway, his face to the ground, as though he were afraid. Rav Kook looked up and told the man in a pleasant tone, "Come closer, my son." Slowly, the man stepped toward Rav Kook's desk. "What is troubling you?" Rav Kook asked him. "Honored rabbi," the man said "I have come to ask an important question."
"For twenty-five years I have worked hard, morning to evening, uprooting weeds from orchards, planting saplings, digging up rocks, and excavating to build houses. But after all that, I still barely make enough money to support my family. I would like to ask: Would I be allowed to leave the Holy Land and move to America? Perhaps I will be more fortunate there, and I will be able to support my family more honorably."
For a few seconds, Rav Kook sat quietly thinking. Then he stood up, pointed at his chair and told the man: "Sit in my chair." The man began trembling, and stammered: "Honored rabbi, no one else may sit in your chair!" But Rav Kook again said "Sit!" With small, hesitant steps, the man circled the desk and sat down on Rav Kook's chair. As soon as he sat down, his head drooped on the desk and he fell asleep. A short while later, he woke up, seemingly very moved. "What happened when you fell asleep?" Rav Kook asked him.
The Yemenite Jew replied: "I dreamed that I was leaving this world. When my soul went up to heaven, an angel at the gates of heaven directed me to the heavenly court. At the front of the court were the scales of justice. "Suddenly, horse-drawn carriages rode up, filled with all sorts of packages, small, medium-sized and large and angels began to put them onto one side of the scale, which dipped down lower and lower, until it almost touched the floor. "I asked the angel who was standing at my side, what are these packages"? - "These are the sins that you committed on earth. In the end, everything is taken into account." I was shaken.
"Then, other horse-drawn carriages rode up, heavily laden with clumps of earth, stones, boulders and sand. And now the angels loaded all of these onto the other side of the scale, which began dipping down. "And what are those packages?" I asked the angel. - "Those are the stones, boulders and dirt that you removed from the Holy Land. They will defend you regarding the part that you have taken in building the land." "Trembling, I stood and gazed at the side of the scales where my merits were being placed. The scale went down little by little, until it was heavier than the scale of guilt."
When the man finished speaking, Rav Kook replied, "You see, my son, your question has received an answer from heaven. They have come to speak in your defense, for your part in settling the Land of Israel." - Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!
Mayan Hot Chocolate from my friend Rodger Mayo
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed 5 cups light cream, or whole milk or nonfat milk 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate 2 tbsp granulated sugar or honey or to taste 1 tbsp almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
Add chile pepper to 2 cups boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain for stray seeds, and set aside.In a medium-size saucepan, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium flame until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves.Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, stir in ground almonds or hazelnuts. Add chile pepper infusion, a little at a time, making sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.