From Hysteria To Hysteria By Dennis Prager and 'Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state,' by Victor Sharpe and Remembering Purim 1953 when a Haman of our era collapsed and died 4 days later and the Question that everyone must answer
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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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The Question that must be answered
THE QUESTION THAT MUST BE ANSWERED
Animals never have to answer this question, children accept simplistic answers to this question, only adults that are blessed or cursed with curiosity must answer this question.
Many adults live their whole lives without reaching a point where they ask the question, so they never have to answer it. Others have been fortunate enough to decide as children their philosophy of life, and they never question their philosophy.
For those of us that have not been among the fortunate, I voice my version of the question, and leave the answer to those of you who ask the question for yourselves.
The question is and it is the ultimate question of life: What place does G-d have in your life? Now G-d is a word that means something different to each person who uses the word.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to a Jewish psychologist who insisted he was an atheist. Yet, he said, he went out into the woods and studied the Universe, and realized as he was looking up at the stars, how much of a speck of dust he was in the "Big Picture". He became very humble. Still, this man was insisting that he didn't believe in G-d. When I pointed out to him that his version of G-d was just the outside universe, he quickly accepted the fact that he did believe in G-d after all. Just a different version of what he had been taught as a child.
Another Jewish colleague, a physician, also insisted he did not believe in G-d. His version of spirituality was the power of self, the strength that he had in himself for taking care of his patients. After our discussion he had to admit he did believe in an all-mighty power, it was just himself instead of our Orthodox concept. His was a more limited concept of the fact we believe in a G-d that is one including ourselves.
An agnostic, the joke goes, is just an atheist who has gone soft. Every successful person that I have met and worked with in my life has developed a philosophy of faith in something. In order to be a functional human being, one must have faith in something.
This faith may be subconscious, or conscious. Children have it subconsciously, those who have not yet asked the question have it subconsciously, and those of us that want to seek the truth must both ask the question and then try to answer it consciously. Without answering the question, one does not how to act as to even the simplest decisions in life. This, then, is why it is the question that must be answered.
For a long time, after I studied evolution in my secular education, I thought it eliminated the possibility of an almighty power in my life. After studying alternative versions of belief in G-d other than what I was taught as a child, I have learned to see that evolution is a theory no more ridiculous or truthful that a belief that this whole large physical universe could exist without a master plan for it.
If one does walk out in the woods as my psychologist friend does, and observe the size of the universe, and the mysteries of natures and laws within it, then it is extremely difficult to believe that a world like ours could function without a maker. Just because we do not what the natural laws do not deny their existence. When Newton discovered gravity for the first time, he did not invent it. Gravity was always there. Similarly, every day scientists discover other natural laws, from the way our minds work, to the way diseases are transferred. This tells us how to survive more intelligibly in an orderly world.
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
Cumulative advantage: Social status snowballs in either direction because people like associating with successful people, so doors are opened for them, and avoid associating with unsuccessful people, for whom doors are closed.
From Hysteria To Hysteria By Dennis Prager
We go from hysteria to hysteria.
And even that's not quite accurate. We now endure multiple hysterias at once.
The latest, of course, is COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. In addition to China, where the virus originated, major cities in Italy and Japan are in lockdown mode, and Japan has closed all its schools. In the United States, where, as of this writing, six people – most, if not all, of whom were already ill – have died, the states of Washington (where all six deaths occurred) and Florida and the city of San Francisco have declared states of emergency.
Many international and domestic business conferences have been canceled, including:
* The Google News Initiative Summit in late April in Sunnyvale, California.
* The Microsoft MVP Global Summit March 15-20 in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington (now to be an online-only event).
* The Facebook Global Marketing Summit, March 9-12 in San Francisco.
* The MWC (Mobile World Congress) Barcelona, billed as "the largest mobile event in the world."
Amazon has asked its 798,000 employees to stop all non-essential travel, both domestic and international, immediately.
Meanwhile, according to Time, "U.S. stocks lost nearly 12 percent and $3.5 trillion was erased for U.S.-listed stocks. It was the worst week for stocks since the financial crisis in October of 2008."
And the "yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit a record intraday low [last] Tuesday as coronavirus rocked risk markets and investors flooded into safe-havens," according to Markets Insider.
If these trends continue, the world economy is likely to enter a recession, if not a depression.
Unless the coronavirus becomes a worldwide mass killer, it will be fair to say that the hysteria over coronavirus will cause much more suffering than the virus.
All this leads to three questions:
Why aren't we seeing a sober, measured reaction to the virus?
What has caused this hysteria?
Why are so many people in panic mode?
Answer to question 1: Because people have lost all perspective.
This flu, like SARS and swine flu before it, has been given a name. Every year tens of thousands of people die of that season's generic flu. In the 2017-2018 flu season, in America alone, according to the CDC, about 61,000 people died of the flu. But because that flu didn't have a special name, no one other than individuals close to those who died from the flu knows or cares about any no-name flu.
In 2003, there was hysteria over SARS, which also originated in China, and which killed a total of 774 people in 29 countries.
In 2009, the World Health Organization, which should be renamed the World Hysteria Organization, raised the worldwide pandemic alert level of the swine flu (a variant of the H1N1 virus) to Phase 6, the highest alert level.
According to the CDC, the swine flu infected approximately 61 million Americans, of whom 12,269 died. To put that into perspective, also according to the CDC, the next season's flu, that of 2010-2011, killed about 37,000 Americans; in 2012-2013, 43,000 died of the flu; and as noted, in 2017-2018, 61,000 died (the CDC's upper figure was 95,000).
Answer to question 2: Overwhelmingly because of the news media. The news media have been breathlessly reporting virtually every new diagnosis of the coronavirus 24/7. Typical of media reporting is this from Canada's most widely read newspaper, The Globe and Mail: "COVID-19 spreads so rapidly that one Harvard researcher has warned that 40 to 70 per cent of the world's adults will be infected." But they never bother to tell you that being "infected" is, for almost everyone, not remotely life-threatening.
Answer to question 3: This one is perplexing.
I am not certain why people panic so easily. Perhaps it is built into human nature. Perhaps it is the power of the media to influence people. Perhaps it is because life is so easy in the modern world that people have come to expect a life without deadly illness or premature death from any cause. Perhaps it is because of the lack of perspective noted above.
There are things about which people should be panicked. For example, the contempt for America and capitalism taught to a generation of young Americans from elementary school through college is worthy of panic. The extreme levels of economy-collapsing debt we are irresponsibly piling onto the backs of future generations to maintain "entitlements" is worthy of panic. So is the premature sexualization of children – encouraging them to choose their own gender. But such things hardly register with most Americans.
I feel awful for kids today. They are relentlessly told that global warming poses an "existential threat" to life on earth. They are relentlessly told that President Donald Trump poses an "existential threat to America" – the words used, for example, a few weeks ago by Frank Rich in New York Magazine, and used by the "moderate" Michael Bloomberg repeatedly in his speeches. And now they are told their families had better stock up on toilet paper because only G-d knows when they will be unable to leave their homes.
It was a Democratic president who told Americans – during World War II no less – that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." He is a liberal idol, in part for saying that. That is more or less exactly what Trump has been saying. Yet he's an "existential threat" to our country.
PURIM IN TEL AVIV 1934
Watch the Tel Aviv Purim Parade with Mayor Meir Dizengoff on his Mare Mehira By David Israel
Meir Dizengoff was one of the founders of the Ahuzat Bayit Company, organized to establish a modern Jewish quarter near the Arab city of Jaffa in 1909. Dizengoff became head of the town planning in 1911, a position that he held until 1922. When Tel Aviv was recognized as a city, Dizengoff was elected mayor and remained in office until his death in 1936
Dizengoff is associated in our memories of Israel's early years with the Adloyada parade – the name coming from the mitzvah of Purim to become so inebriated "ad lo yada" – until one cannot distinguish between Cursed be Haman and Blessed be Mordechai.
The first Adloyada parade was held in Tel Aviv in Purim of 1912. The Tel Aviv Adloyadas were the place to be in the 1920s and '30s, complemented with luxurious Purim balls. Over the years, the parades were expanded and their path was moved from Herzl Street to Allenby Street, then, after 1948, to Ibn Gabirol boulevard.
Thousands gather at the 1934 Tel Aviv Adloyada parade. / Zoltan Kluger (1896–1977), National Photo Collection of Israel
The 1933 Adloyada featured a puppet of Adolf Hitler riding a horse with a sign saying "kill Jews" on its neck. Next to it marched two bleeding European Jews. The German consul in Jerusalem sent a letter of protest to Mayor Dizengoff and demanded an apology, but Dizengoff replied that on Purim free speech reigns. A year later, a huge Hitler puppet marched in the Adloyada with a swastika on its back.
In one of the 1960s Adloyadas, a group of Tel Avivian marchers were dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, to protest racism in the United States.
'Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state,' by Victor Sharpe
Book review update By Joan Swirsky March 6, 2020 The word politicide was first coined by Abba Eban – Israel's foreign minister in 1967 – to describe the attempted murder of the sovereign, independent State of Israel by enemies both within and outside of the fledgling state.
When Victor Sharpe first read the word, he told me how it resonated in "the deepest parts of my heart and soul."
A passionate student of Jewish history, biblical and post-biblical – as well as a prolific writer on contemporary Jewish and geopolitical issues – Sharpe was mobilized into action, believing that his determination to protect and defend Israel and to illuminate the wider public about the tiny state's chronically imperiled status, demanded that he write a book about...politicide!
His first politicide book was published in 2006, with a second book following in 2009, and a third book in 2011. Now he has written his fourth opus: Politicide, Volume Four: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.
In these riveting volumes, Sharpe describes in painful detail the annihilating historical attacks upon the ancient Jewish homeland by the immensely powerful Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman empires, which, significantly, no longer exist.
He also describes the inexpressible suffering endured by the stateless Jews throughout their 2,000 years of exile in the diaspora, during the Crusades and the Inquisition, through the cruel expulsion of Jews from various countries including England, Spain, and Portugal, the bleak pogroms in Poland and Russia, and the worst crime in human history, the genocide during the 1940s of six million Jews in Hitler's German-occupied Europe.
But to counter this painful history, Sharpe describes in vivid detail the exceptional history of Jewish life from its beginning with Abraham the first Jew – the Holy Convert – who left his idol-making father after discovering the existence of the one-and-only God, thus establishing monotheism for the entire world.
He describes how Abraham and his wife Sarah, along with Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Leah and Rachel, became the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish People in the eternal and Covenanted Land of Israel to which God brought them.
And finally, Sharpe tells the story of the miniscule but powerful 14 million Jews who now exist – half of them in the miraculous and flourishing State of Israel – in a world of seven-and-a-half billion people, including over a billion Christians and over a billion Muslims.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted on Resolution 181 to declare the establishment of a Jewish State in the land to be known as Israel. Ironic, yes, that the UN today is a virtual cesspool of virulent anti-Semitism run by tin-pot dictators and rancid racists.
On May 14, 1948, the man who would become the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who was then the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. On that very day, U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized the new nation!
"In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city...is Israel's capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law's waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.
"Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital...."
And yet, in the mere 72 years since Israel's establishment, a resurgence of anti-Semitism is sweeping the globe in what can only be described as a pandemic. This is not surprising for the European countries where it once flourished or for the Muslim countries where their "holy" book mandates the death of all they arrogantly call infidels, Jews particularly.
But it is very disheartening that this obsessive Jew hatred is also rampant in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress, where, according to American Thinker's Thomas Lifson, no less than seven Democrats embrace the Hitler-admiring racist "Reverend" Louis Farrakhan, whose recent remarks include that "the powerful Jews are my enemy." Now added to the miscreants in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives are the Islamists who routinely spew anti-Jewish hatred – Rep. Ihlan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rahida Tlaib (D-MI) – and their fellow "Squad" member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Other prominent anti-Semites in the U.S. are Islamic activist Linda Sarsour, the "official surrogate" of Democrat Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign; and British rocker Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, a "Jew-hater-on-steroids" – the list of Democrat-aligned Jew haters is endless.
All this makes Victor Sharpe's book downright urgent for readers who are interested in historical facts and not inflammatory and hateful rhetoric. Perhaps by serendipity, it is also the ideal primer for students in the not-so-hallowed halls of American academia – both Jewish and non-Jewish youth alike – whose leftist, anti-Semitic professors expose them to the obscene Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement to destroy Israel and other malevolent anti-Israel indoctrination.
In short, these are terrific, illuminating, and vitally important books that readers will learn from, share with their friends, and cherish for their richness.
Remembering Purim 1953 when a Haman of our era collapsed and died 4 days later
Russia became increasingly antisemitic after 1948.
Assassinations of leading Jewish writers, show trials and large scale antisemitic plans followed, including the so called Prague "Slansky trial", the planned Russian "Doctors trial" and the planned so called "Zionist trial" and "Wallenberg trial" in Hungary. (The creative sinister script's theme was that Hungary's Jewish leaders and two loyal aids of Raoul Wallenberg murdered him in Budapest in 1945….) The accused were arrested and severely to tortured to "coach" them how to perform the scripts in what may have become their last act…
Hitler's one time allya and co-rapist of Poland, Stalin, had bigger plans for Russian Jews and maybe Jews in the Soviet colonies: large scale deportations or worse. Jews in the USSR lived in fear.
Stalin collapsed (possibly assisted by secret police chief Beria) shortly before his plans could be put into effect.