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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Expect more from yourself and less from others.
No one can fully understand anyone else. No one can satisfy another person's dreams all the time. Allow people to be human. Allow them to be independent. Expect more from yourself and less from others.
It is interesting to know that in Hebrew the words fate and lottery have the same root.
A story is told about a pious man who lived in Dvinsk.
He was very poor and when the time came to marry off one of his daughters, he really didn't know how he would manage the situation.
At that time a man came to Dvinsk and offered lottery tickets.
The poor man thought that this could be a way out for him, he would invest one ruble in a lottery ticket and with God's help he might be able to win the lottery and get enough money to cover all the wedding expenses.
The lottery results were expected to be published within a few days. The pious man spent most of the time in prayers in hope he would win the lottery.
Another man lived at that time in Dvinsk, he was considered to be the "town crook".
He too decided to by a lottery ticket. And he spent most of the time in some crooked deeds. A few days passed, the lottery results were expected to be announced the next day.
This man thought to himself: I know the pious man bought a lottery ticket and God most probably will want him to wand not me.
So, the night before, he broke into the poor man's house and switched lottery tickets.
In the morning announcement was made and…
THE POOR MAN WON THE LOTTERY
He was very happy now that he had all he money needed to cover the wedding expenses.
But, the crook decided to sue the poor man. Yes, he admitted that he broke into the poor man's house and switched the tickets. But, after all, he claimed, it was his ticked – the ticket he bought that won the lottery, therefore he deserved to get the lottery money.
He case was brought to Rabbi Meir Simcha and his verdict was that the money should stay with the poor man.
Said the rabbi: You think that the ticket numbers won the lottery?
No, the providence wanted the poor pious man to win the lottery and all the circumstances turned so that he does win.
Thus it turned out that you broke into his house in the service of the providence will.
So, it is not your ticket, not the numbers on your ticket, but God's will that made the poor, pious man win the lottery.
This has been the poor man's fate.
It is interesting to know that in Hebrew the words fate and lottery have the same root.
Lottery in Hebrew is הגרלה HAGRALAH
It comes from the root גורל GORAL – fate
** Joshua used "Goral" to detemine how the Land of Israel would be divided between the tribes.
catfish catching fish with colgate and raw eggs
warning -in case you don't know, catfish are not kosher
Secrets and Lies: Scenes From the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine
A deep dive into the UN archive reveals a lively trade in ideas and plans that were thrown into the ring but ultimately left on the cutting room floor of history
Two states for two peoples, one state for both peoples or perhaps only a Jewish state or an Arab one? Behind the scenes of the Partition Plan the United Nations approved 72 years ago, which paved the way for Israel's establishment, there was a lively trade in ideas and plans that were thrown into the ring but ultimately left on the cutting room floor of history.
In this case, that floor is some 9,000 kilometers from Jerusalem, in the UN archive in New York. Thousands of documents — letters, memoranda and meeting minutes that lay unexamined for decades offer a glimpse into one of Zionism's foundational moments: the proceedings of the UN Special Committee on Palestine, which was appointed to decide the land's fate in 1947 and produced the Partition Plan.
Elad Ben-Dror, the head of Bar-Ilan University's Department of Middle East Studies, spent many hours poring through those documents in an attempt to follow the debates among committee members that preceded the historic recommendation. His doctoral dissertation, which has just been published in Hebrew under the title "The Road to November 29 – UNSCOP and the Beginnings of UN Involvement in the Arab-Israeli Conflict" (Ben-Zvi Institute), offers fascinating material.
One of his discoveries is that the committee chairman and some of its members opposed the plan to divide the land into two states. The chairman, Emil Sandstrom of Sweden, thought the territory's educated Arab population was anti-Semitic, so he proposed a different solution — establishing a Jewish state in part of the land while annexing the remainder to Jordan, rather than establishing a separate, independent Arab state.
"The committee later sought to cover up this disagreement," Ben-Dror said. "But the issue comes up clearly in the reports I read."
According to Ben-Dror, Sandstrom "didn't believe in the chances for Jewish-Arab cooperation," and that is also apparently why he objected to the idea of one state for two peoples. In addition, the UNSCOP chairman thought the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea could not support two states economically; he said the economic problems would have to be solved in another way, though he didn't elaborate.
David Ben Gurion testifying before the UNSCOP members in Jerusalem. Hans Pinn / GPO
It was while he was trying to determine what this other way was that Ben-Dror discovered Sandstrom's view that the areas the Partition Plan assigned to an Arab state should instead be annexed to Jordan and made a district or province of that kingdom.
To promote this idea, Sandstrom organized a visit to Jordan, where he "heard clear support from King Abdullah for the idea of dividing [the land] and then annexing the rest of it to his kingdom," Ben-Dror said.
During that visit, Sandstrom also spoke with British officers of the Arab Legion, the military unit Britain set up for Jordan, to hear their assessment of the legion's ability to conquer and hold the Arab portion of the land. The answer he got evidently bolstered his support for this solution.
Another idea, which never generated much interest or support, was presented to the committee by Rabbi Judah Magnes, president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Instead of dividing the land between two states or between a Jewish state and Jordan, he supported a single, binational, Jewish-Arab state. In his testimony before the committee, he argued that Jewish-Arab cooperation was not only essential for making peace in this part of the world, but also possible.
Moreover, Magnes said, the Land of Israel is neither exclusively Jewish nor exclusively Arab. The Arabs have significant natural rights to this land, because they have lived there for generations and cultivated it throughout those generations, and it holds both the graves of their ancestors and relics of their culture, he argued.
Yet at the same time, the Jews also have historical rights. The Jews have never forgotten the Land of Israel, Magnus said, and since they began returning a generation ago, they have created a national home there — through their fallen, their scientific talents, their love of the land and their hopes for the future — of which, in many respects, they have a right to be proud.
He therefore proposed a binational state in which all citizens would have equal rights regardless of which people constituted the majority and which the minority. Under his plan, Jews and Arabs would have separate "national committees," with a supreme governing council above them.
Magnus also argued that it would never work to have one people in charge and the other oppressed, as it would lead to wars, unrest and rebellions.
But the committee was unimpressed by Magnes' proposal, Ben-Dror said. Members had many questions about how it would work in practice to which they didn't receive persuasive answers.
Jewish Agency and executive members David Horowitz and Moshe Sharett (1st and 2nd from left) appearing before UNSCOP members in Jerusalem.Hans Pinn / GPO
A brutal occupier
Another plan was proposed to the committee by Ahmed al-Khalidi, head of the Government Arab College in Jerusalem. At his meeting with committee members, he sought to rebut Jewish arguments.
Khalidi alleged that the Jews had never had an independent state in the Land of Israel, that they had always been a minority there and that the historical rights claimed by Jewish speakers were a falsification of the facts. Regarding the Zionist argument that Jewish settlement had led to accelerated development of the land, he argued that this didn't give the Jews any rights to it.
The problems between Jews and Arabs, Khalidi said, began when the Jews announced their desire for an independent Jewish state. He illustrated with a personal story. His father had a good friend who was Jewish, he said, but he himself had no Jewish friends, and his son never even sees a Jew.
The Khalidi family, he continued, had been in Palestine for 700 years and knows every inch of the land. The Jews, in contrast, are strangers: Of the 600,000 Jews then living there, only 100,000 were considered citizens of Mandatory Palestine, he said; all the rest were citizens of the lands from whence they came.
"In Khalidi's view, the solution was clear — an independent Arab state that the Arabs would control democratically," Ben-Dror said. No more Jews would be allowed to enter it, and the Jewish refugee problem created by World War II would be solved with the help of other countries. The United States, for instance, could absorb 300,000 Jews without undermining its economy, Khalidi argued, and the Arabs shouldn't suffer for what the Nazis did.
The committee also sought to hear competing views. Therefore, members met with Menachem Begin — the head of the pre-state Irgun militia, who became Israel's prime minister three decades later – even though he was wanted by the British.
Ben-Dror described how committee members switched cars in Tel Aviv several times before they finally reached the secret meeting place. Ralph Bunche, an American member of the committee who later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work mediating between Israel and the Arab states in the run-up to Israel's War of Independence, later described this trip as his most exciting adventure in the Land of Israel.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann and his wife Vera at a UNSCOP session in Jerusalem.Hans Pinn / GPO
Begin had no creative solutions for the complex problem. But in his address to the committee, he termed Britain a brutal occupier and predicted that the Jews would soundly defeat the Arabs if the Arabs launched a war against them after the British left.
When word of the meeting with Begin leaked to the press, the British were furious. Members of Parliament demanded to know how the chairman of UNSCOP had managed to find Begin without any problem when the British had been searching for him for five years without success.
A merry band
Ben-Dror also found evidence of the problems that afflicted the committee's work, including internal wrangling, politics, ugly dynamics, lack of discipline and conduct that, in the words of its chief administrator, damaged the UN's reputation.
For instance, Ben-Dror said, Australian committee member John Hood wrote that he preferred to spend his time having fun. He and his deputy often went out drinking at night and returned to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, singing and generally raising a ruckus; this resulted in them being absent from the committee the next morning.
Ben-Dror even discovered that Bunche's patience ran out one night as he was trying unsuccessfully to sleep. So he called the local police in an attempt to restore peace and quiet.
The Dutch representative, Nicolas Blom, sprained his ankle shortly after arriving in Jerusalem, so he missed almost all the committee's tours of the area. As for the Guatemalan representative, Jorge Garcia Granados, and his Uruguayan colleague, Enrique Rodriguez Fabregat, they "were exceptional in every respect," Ben-Dror said, "riding roughshod over the committee's rules of secrecy" and giving the Jewish Agency information about internal committee discussions.
There can be no doubts about their contribution to the Zionists' success in getting the Partition Plan passed, Ben-Dror added. Their information arrived almost in real time, enabling Jewish Agency personnel to wage their diplomatic campaign more effectively.
The committee's critics had various names for it, Ben-Dror said, of which one of the least crude of which was "the YMCA summer camp," after the hotel where its members stayed in Jerusalem. Granados, the Guatemalan, said that rather than UNSCOP being an 11-member committee, it was more like 11 separate one-man committees.
The paper trail of the committee's work has never before been studied as thoroughly as Ben-Dror did. Not only historians, but also committee members themselves "had trouble dealing with the plethora of material sent to them," he explained.
For instance, Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann once invited the committee to dine at his home. He couldn't understand why no one ever responded, until he discovered that his letter had been placed in a large pile of documents that hadn't yet been sorted. It was finally found just a day before the proposed dinner was to take place.
13 Hanukkah Facts Every Jew Should Know By Menachem Posner
Eight Nights=Miracle Lights The ceremony, free of charge and open to all, draws thousands of attendees each year to the Ellipse in front of the White House lawn
Why is Chanukah (Hanukkah) eight nights long? The Talmud asks and answers:
The Sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev, the days of Chanukah are eight. One may not eulogize on them, and one may not fast on them. This is because when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils that were in the Sanctuary. And when the Chashmonean monarchy overcame them and emerged victorious over them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil that remained with the seal of the High Priest. And there was sufficient oil there to light the candelabrum for only one day. A miracle occurred, and they lit the candelabrum from it for eight days. The next year, the Sages instituted those days and made them holidays with the recitation of Hallel and prayers of thanksgiving.1
But there's more. Seven represents all that is found within this world. There are seven days of the week, seven classical planets and seven musical notes. In fact, the world itself was created in seven days.
Then there is the number eight, which represents that which is above, that which does not fit into the neat slots that hold the bits and pieces of our lives. The number eight evokes the transcendent and the G‑dly. Eight is the number of miracles.
2. Light After Dark Artist Dominic Alves captured this image of a snowy Chanukah in Brighton, UK.
The Chanukah candles must burn after night falls, since their purpose is to bring light into darkness. But they need to be lit early enough that someone will be around to see them. The lights need to be seen so they can serve their function of reminding others of the great miracle G‑d wrought.
3. The Silent Holiday
Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday not mentioned in the 24 books of the Bible. That's because the canon was sealed by the Men of the Great Assembly, who flourished two centuries before the Chanukah miracle. Nor does it have a tractate in the Talmud that discusses its observances. Instead, it gets a by-the-way mention in Tractate Shabbat. In the context of discussing Shabbat candles, the Chanukah candles (and by extension, the Chanukah holiday) get their time in the Talmudic sun.
4. Before There Were Potatoes There Was ... Cheese!
Today, there is a widespread custom to enjoy potato latkes on Chanukah, since the oil they are fried in reminds us of the miracle of the flames on the Temple menorah burning for eight days. But there is an older custom to eat cheese pancakes on Chanukah, which is reminiscent of the dairy (and intoxicating) meal that the brave Judith fed the Greek general before she decapitated him in his sleep, saving her village. Apparently cheese latkes morphed into potato latkes (potatoes were unknown in the Old World until the late 16th century), and a new custom was born.
5. You Light a Hillel Menorah A Chanukah menorah on the eighth night, using oil.
In the days of the Talmud, there were two major academies of learning: Hillel and Shammai. The House of Hillel taught that every night of Chanukah we add another candle—as we do today. The House of Shammai, however, maintained that we begin with eight lights on the first night and light one less flame every night, ending Chanukah with a single flame.2 Tempted to try the Shammai template? The time to do that is yet to come. Tradition tells us that when Moshiach comes, we will follow the rulings of the House of Shammai. But until then, there is a beautiful lesson to be learned from the Hillel model. Add more light every night. Every little bit of lights add up to create something brilliant.
6. Syrians, Greeks, Hellenists or Yevanim?
We sometimes hear of Greeks, Syrians or even Hellenists in the Chanukah story. So who exactly were the interlopers who were expelled by the Maccabees? All of the above! After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was broken up: the Seleucid Greek Empire was based in Syria, and the Ptolemaic Empire had its base in Alexandria, Egypt. The soldiers stationed in Judea belonged to the Syrian Greeks. And who are the Hellenists and the Yevanim? The very same people: Hella is the Greek word for Greece, and Yavan is how we say it in Hebrew.
(Now, just to make things a bit more confusing, there were also the Hellenized Jews, or "Mityavnim" in Hebrew, who sided with the Greeks/Yevanim/Hellenists/Syrians/Seleucids and posed an even greater threat to the survival of traditional Jewish life.)
7. Menorahs Everywhere
On the first Chanukah, candles were lit all over the courtyard of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This brought the Chanukah light from the inner sanctum of the Temple, the holiest spot on earth, out into the open. As Jews continue to observe Chanukah all over the globe, the ripples of holiness continue to widen and expand.
8. Lots of Choices
Most Jewish holidays begin on only four out of seven days of the week. For example, the first day of Rosh Hashanah can be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Shabbat—never Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. However, since the month preceding Chanukah (Cheshvan) can have 29 or 30 days, Chanukah can actually begin on any day of the week besides Tuesday.
9. Were the Maccabees Really So Great?
Any kid who attends Chabad preschool can tell you that the heroes of the Chanukah story are the Maccabees, the clan who led the brave insurgency against the Greek invaders. But it was not all good. Judah Maccabee and his family were Kohanim, members of the priestly tribe chosen by G‑d to minister in the Holy Temple. Judah Maccabee's successors took the kingship for themselves, something that rightfully belonged to the descendants of King David from the Tribe of Judah. Indeed, it did not take long until the monarchy of Judea was dragged down into a series of unending power grabs and bloody intrigue, with the king after king trying to imitate the very same Greeks their ancestors had ousted from the land.
10. Chanukah in the USSR Avraham Genin, a leading figure in the network of underground Jewish institutions run by Chabad in the USSR (photo: Nathan Brusovani (Bar), www.brusovani.com)
For most of his life, Avraham Genin lit the menorah in the privacy of his own home, or in the synagogue. A former soldier in the Red Army, he lost his foot to a German bomb. But that didn't prevent him from walking to synagogue every week—an effort that took him an hour and a half. A stalwart Chassid who refused to bow to Stalin and his minions, he served bravely as a mohel and a teacher of Torah, a beacon of light in a G‑dless communist era.
But then the unthinkable happened. By Chanukah of 1991, cracks had formed in the Iron Curtain and, in the presence of approximately 6,000 Jewish people, Avraham Genin kindled a giant menorah inside the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. (It was the second year that a large public menorah had been lit in the USSR; the previous year, a menorah had been placed near Russia's White House.)
Public Chanukah menorah lightings have been a staple of Jewish Russian life ever since.
In December of 1993, Space Shuttle Endeavour was sent into space to service the Hubble Space Telescope. One of the astronauts to bravely perform a spacewalk to repair the telescope was Jeffrey Hoffman.
Knowing that he would be stuck in space over Chanukah, Hoffman made sure to bring along a dreidel and a traveling menorah so that he'd be able to celebrate (because of lack of gravity and safety concerns, there was no way to light candles).
Then, via live satellite communication, he showed his Chanukah supplies, gave his dreidel a twirl in the air, and wished Jews everywhere a happy Chanukah
12. Is Your Menorah in the Doorway or at a Window?
The most common custom (outside of Israel) is to light the menorah at a window. In Mishnaic times, however, the menorah would be placed outside, on the left side of the door leading in from the street.
This led to a unique law. Normally if a person placed a candle in the street, and a straw-bearing donkey brushed by too close, the owner of the candle would be responsible for the ensuing conflagration. On Chanukah, however, he would be exempt because he was doing a mitzvah.
Why was the menorah placed to the left of the door? Because the mezuzah is placed on the right side. With the mezuzah on one side and the menorah on the other, you are literally surrounded by holiness.
The harsh realities of the diaspora, both sociopolitical and meteorological, forced the menorah to an indoor doorway, and some communities developed the custom to put it on the windowsill instead. Even today, many people (including Chabad) prefer to light in a doorway, surrounding ourselves with the mitzvahs of mezuzah and the menorah, just as in ancient times.
13. How Chanukah Went Public in Three Years
The purpose of the menorah is to spread awareness to as many people as possible. This is why the menorah is also lit in the synagogue every night. But in recent years, the mitzvah of menorah has rippled out even further.
Rabbi Moshe Hecht with students at the New Haven Hebrew Day School in Connecticut, 1987.
During Chanukah of 1973, some Chabad-Lubavitch yeshivah students were planning to go to Manhattan to distribute menorahs. They figured that if they could put a giant menorah on top of a car, many more people would notice them and take the menorahs they were distributing. Using wooden scraps and cinder blocks, they manage to make a large menorah and tie it down to the roof of a station wagon. The menorah turned out to be a success.
By 1974, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov had the unusual, perhaps wild, idea of lighting a menorah right in front of Independence Hall, which houses the Liberty Bell, the icon of American freedom.
In 1975, Chabad Rabbi Chaim Drizin in San Francisco made arrangements to light an oversized wooden menorah in the city's Union Square. Bill Graham—a child survivor of the Holocaust and a well-known music promoter—donated funds for the construction of the 22-foot-tall mahogany menorah. To this day, it's called the Bill Graham menorah. (Photo: www.billgrahammenorah.org)
In 1975, on the opposite U.S. coast, Rabbi Chaim Drizin in San Francisco had made arrangements to light an oversized wooden menorah in the city's Union Square. Bill Graham—a child survivor of the Holocaust and a well-known music promoter—donated a 22–foot-tall mahogany menorah, and the tradition grew into its current form.
In 2016, Chabad-Lubavitch set up more than 15,000 large public menorahs. Public lightings and Chanukah events were held in more than 90 countries around the world. Additionally, 5,000 menorah-topped vehicles roamed the roads, creating holiday awareness in cities, towns and rural areas around the world.
Israeli Researchers Decipher Rock Hyrax's Vocal Communication By David Israel
In nature social living is strongly connected to the ability to communicate with others. Maintaining social ties and coordinating with group mates require frequent communication. Therefore, complex social systems are usually associated with well-developed communication abilities. The apex of communication complexity is undoubtedly human language. However, intensive and informationally rich communication comes at a cost in terms of time spent transmitting information and muscular effort invested in articulating signals.
In the 1930s American linguist George Kingsley Zipf popularized this concept by articulating the Law of Brevity, a linguistic rule stating that word length is negatively correlated with its frequency of use in language. This principle was verified in almost a thousand languages and is regularly observed in the process of language evolution, where frequently used long words are often shortened, such as television to TV. Thus, while signalling systems have improved, informational content has been preserved.
Does the existence of the Law of Brevity in human language stem from the evolutionary origins of animal communication? The relationship between call duration and usage frequency has been tested in several animals, but results differed between species. A proposed explanation for the lack of a clear fit of animal repertoires to the brevity principle is the abundance of long-range calls. Humans mostly communicate within short range (< 3.5 meters) while animals frequently need to transmit their signals much further. Longer calls are more efficient for long-range communication, as they are less likely to be masked by noise. This might have resulted in contradicting pressure against shortening of vocal signals. Additionally, long-range calls need to be louder, which is likely adding to their production effort.
With this in mind, researchers set out to examine whether call amplitude, rather than call duration, might be the main factor by which animal vocal repertoires are optimized. By adopting the "least-effort" logic, i.e., frequent calls should require the least effort to produce, they hypothesized that softer calls would be more frequent than louder ones.
The researchers tested this in rock hyraxes, a medium-sized mammal native to Africa and the Middle East. Rock hyraxes live in groups of up to 30 comprised of multiple females and their offspring, and usually with just one adult resident male. Within the group, hyraxes frequently communicate, using an extensive repertoire of calls. But the bachelor adult males, who lead predominantly solitary lives, interact with females only briefly during the short mating season and with other males mainly through aggressive encounters. Males frequently sing complex and loud self-advertisement songs, transmitting their individual quality to both females and neighboring males.
The hyrax population studied lives in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea in Israel. Since 1999 this wild population has been monitored continuously as part of a long-term study of hyrax behaviour and communication led by Prof. Eli Geffen, of Tel Aviv University, and recently also by Dr. Amiyaal Ilany and Prof. Lee Koren, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. As part of this study, 19 male and female hyraxes were fitted with individual, miniature audio recorders and all of their calls were logged for approximately one week. By listening and labelling all recorded calls, the researchers created full rock hyrax vocal repertoire. Using this extensive dataset, they calculated usage frequency of all call types and measured the average duration and amplitude for each one. This allowed them to examine if hyrax vocal repertoire corresponds with the classic Law of Brevity (call duration/usage) relationship, or, whether the optimization factor of the vocal performance is call amplitude.
In their study, just published in the journal Evolution Letters, the researchers demonstrate how changing necessities can affect the development of different voices for various purposes, and provide clues as to how the complexity of human language began to develop. They compared male and female repertoires and found that females produce more call types in general and more affiliative call types, such as a coo, in particular. According to one of the study's lead authors, Dr. Amiyaal Ilany, of Bar-Ilan University's Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, this was not surprising, as hyrax females maintain stable social relationships within a group, while bachelor males have only limited communication opportunities.
The research team, which included Dr. Vlad Demartsev and Naomi Gordon, also discovered sexual differences in relation to the Law of Brevity. In females, longer calls are actually the more frequent ones, in contradiction to the Law of Brevity's prediction. In contrast, amplitude seems to follow the "least effort" paradigm, as soft calls (requiring less effort to produce) are more frequently used. The male repertoire, on the other hand, is characterized by minimized duration, as well as amplitude. Male vocalizations are heavily influenced by the unique requirements of their self-advertisement songs, which must be loud in order to reach remote listeners.
"This raises the question of why human language isn't optimized by amplitude," says Dr. Ilany. "Could it be because the development of artificial signaling means for long-range communication made high amplitude calls less needed? Perhaps the high pressure for increased informational content in the emerging human languages capped the amplitude of the vocal signals, as loud calls have less capacity for informational content. Both scenarios could lead to duration-based optimization that is now widespread," he added.