Thursday, March 5, 2020

It takes two people to fight, you are always somewhat at fault and Paula Paulstone comedian and Just how contagious is COVID-19? This chart puts it in perspective. And Chief rabbi forbids kissing mezuzahs due to coronavirus

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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.

Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

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Chief rabbi forbids kissing mezuzahs due to coronavirus

Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau called on the public on Wednesday to refrain from kissing or touching mezuzahs, due to the spread of the coronavirus."You most definitely should not kiss mezuzahs or come in contact with them at all," said Lau. "It is enough for one to think about the contents of the mezuzah upon their arrival or departure and it will accompany them further down the road."




Paula Poundstone is an American stand-up comedian, author, actress, interviewer, and commentator.

I don't have a bank account because I don't know my mother's maiden name.

Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.

I get in fewer arguments when I'm alone.

My parents got carried away with the letter P when they were naming the kids in our family. There's me, Paula, my sisters Peggy and Patty, and my brother Pjimmy, spelled with a silent P.

I don't believe for a second that weightlifting is a sport. They pick up a heavy thing and put it down again. To me, that's indecision.

"People need each other. Our well-being is tightly tethered to the well-being of people we do not know, most of whom look nothing like ourselves. Happiness, I realized right there in breathing class, requires engagement." ― Paula Poundstone,

 The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods. — Christopher Hitchens,

Dogs have masters. Cats have staff. — Anonymous

I hold their paws like I'm holding hands with them. — Marisa Dupras17 Ways People Seriously Don't Get How My Cats Are Like My Children

Partners come and go, but love from big, fluffy cats is forever. — Bryanna Cappadona

"Deep-rooted happiness may require a sense of purpose. If I don't feel that I am in some small way contributing to the greater good, holding on to happiness is like carrying water in my hands." ― Paula Poundstone, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

"People need each other. Our well-being is tightly tethered to the well-being of people we do not know, most of whom look nothing like ourselves. Happiness, I realized right there in breathing class, requires engagement." ― Paula Poundstone, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

Just how contagious is COVID-19? This chart puts it in perspective.

Everything epidemiology can tell us about the new coronavirus.

Matthew R. Francis

Scientists, medical professionals, and governments around the world are working to understand how the new respiratory disease ravaging Hubei province spreads—and how bad it could be for the rest of the world. Part of this effort is epidemiology: the study of how infections move through populations and how to control them.

Epidemiology incorporates everything from geography to complex mathematics in its effort to understand the spread of disease. Here are some basic epidemiological concepts that can help you get past the panic, misinformation, and xenophobia that tend to drive conversations around a newly emerging illness.

Spread it out

One quantity scientists use to measure how a disease spreads through a population is the "basic reproduction number," otherwise known as R0 (pronounced "R naught," or, if you hate pirates, "arr not"). This number tells us how many people, on average, each infected person will in turn infect. While it doesn't tell us how deadly an epidemic is, R0 is a measure of how infectious a new disease is, and helps guide epidemic control strategies implemented by governments and health organizations.

If R0 is less than 1, the disease will typically die out: Each infected person has a low chance of passing the infection along to even one additional individual. An R0 larger than 1 means each sick person infects at least one other person on average, who then could infect others, until the disease spreads through the population. For instance, a typical seasonal flu strain has an R0 of around 1.2, which means for every five infected people, the disease will spread to six new people on average, who pass it along to others.

Measles is a champion disease in this respect. Its R0 is usually cited between 12 and 18, meaning each person with measles infects between 12 and 18 new people in an unvaccinated population. In the era before widespread vaccination, measles could easily sicken an entire school's worth of children. Vaccinate your kids!

"Herd immunity" also depends on R0. The more people immune to a disease in a population, the fewer are available to be infected. If immunity reaches a critical level through vaccination or just naturally running out of new people to infect, the disease is starved out. Herd immunity is easier to achieve for lower R0 values because the disease doesn't spread as readily.

But it's important to remember that R0 is a statistical estimate of how a disease spreads in a particular population if it's left unchecked. SARS had a higher R0 values (between 2 and 5) than the seasonal flu, but never spread widely enough to become a worldwide epidemic. Flu, on the other hand, is always widespread despite having a relatively small basic reproduction number: the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate between 3 and 11 percent of the US population gets sick with the flu every year.

That brings us back to the coronavirus now known as COVID-19. Because the disease is fairly new to medicine, researchers are still tabulating the data required to calculate R0 more or less in real time. As of February 19, 2020, estimates placed R0 above 1.4 but below 4, well within the range for other coronaviruses like SARS. (See this excellent Lifehacker article for more about the issues surrounding COVID-19 and R0.)

Deadly serious

Another important number for understanding diseases is the "case fatality rate" or CFR: What percentage of people who have a disease die from it? On one extreme, we have rabies, which has a 99 percent fatality rate if untreated. On the other is the common cold, which has a relatively high R0 but is almost never fatal (the exceptions being mostly immunocompromised people). The seasonal flu has a low CFR, but enough people get it every year that the CDC estimates as many as 30,000 Americans may have died from it between October 2019 and February 2020.

Similarly, measles is extremely infectious, but rarely fatal (though its spooky effect on the immune system can make victims susceptible to other life-threatening diseases). Smallpox was less infectious with an R0 of 5 to 7, but its CFR of roughly 30 percent made it devastating. Measles, though less serious, has such a high infection rate that it needs a much larger vaccinated population for proper herd immunity; smallpox vaccines achieved herd immunity at much lower rates, and wiped the illness out entirely by 1980.

The CFR for an emerging disease like COVID-19 is remarkably hard to estimate accurately, simply because all the numbers involved are relatively small. A preliminary calculation from February 8, 2020 estimates CFR of about 1.4 percent—meaning out of 1,000 infected people, around 14 will die—but that's based only on cases from outside China, since the data from that nation's government has been unreliable. The numbers will likely shift over the next weeks and months, but the CFR for COVID-19 seems to be lower than for SARS and MERS. However, the high concentration of cases in one region of China is putting a huge stress on the healthcare infrastructure, which is a concern for any major epidemic.

Knowing what we don't know

Epidemiology is a game of "ifs" and approximations. Case fatality rates, basic reproduction numbers, and other quantities are derived from real-world data using mathematical models of disease. Because infections depend on a complex set of conditions, including things like weather and holiday travel, two outbreaks of the same virus might result in different-looking epidemics. That's why R0 is usually given as a range of numbers and we hedge our language: not because our models are bad, but because reality itself is messy.

At the same time, epidemiology demystifies disease and guides how we deal with it. It both models how diseases jump from nation to nation in our interconnected age, and shows that citywide quarantines and travel bans don't curtail the spread of an infection very much—while seriously disrupting the lives of the people who aren't infected, along with their respective economies. And finally, epidemiology lets us compare COVID-19 to other epidemics, to inform us how bad it currently is and how widespread it might become if governments don't handle it properly. We might not know everything about COVID-19 yet, but the knowledge from epidemiology helps us understand what it will take to beat it.

I can't copy the chart, so here is the original site I took the article from that has the chart:



Do cell phones give you cancer? There's no evidence for it, says US's FDA

When G-d Sends You Help … Don't Ask Questions.    A lady hurried to the pharmacy to get medication for her sick daughter.  When she got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside.    The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She looked at it and said, "I don't know how to use this." She bowed her head and asked G-d to send her some HELP.    Within 5 minutes a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.    She said: "Yes, my daughter is sick. I've locked my keys in my car. I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?   He said, "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.    The lady hugged the man and through tears said, "Thank You, G-d, for sending me such a very nice man"  The man heard her little prayer and replied, "Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday; I was in prison for car theft."    The woman hugged the man again, sobbing,  "Oh, thank you, G-d! You even sent me a Professional!" 

It takes two people to fight-So G-d splits the blame

Children Fight. Couples fight. Parents and children Fight. Relatives Fight. Animals Fight. Who's to blame?

The Parsha section of Mishpatim, which comes right after the Ten Commandments, deals with the Laws of Damages, many of which relate to damages done by animals, especially oxen.

One of the laws deals with a tame ox, called the "shor tam". The Torah states that in a case of an attack by an ox (or any animal) against another animal, the owner of the attacking animal will pay only half of the damage cost.

That said, provided that the ox is not a serial attacker. Serial attacker usually pays the full amount of its damages.

This type of "compromise law" is difficult to understand. If the owner is to blame for not guarding his animal - he should have to pay the full amount, and if he is not to be held guilty – assuming he couldn't have anticipated the attack – he should be exempt from any payment whatsoever!

Yet in today's world, in the car accident field, this is many times the result in what we call no-fault insurance. Assuming that the person wasn't drunk, who really knows who was at fault, unless one person admits it (which rarely happens). Since neither or both are to blame, we split the costs 50/50.

The Oral Bible (the Gemara) attempted to tackle this issue (Bava Kama 15a) and disputed about the logic behind this legal compromise:

One opinion suggested that the owner of the attacker isn't responsible at all, but nonetheless still needs to pay 50% as a "warning fine" which will teach him to guard his animal in the future.

The opposing opinion claimed that the owner is fully responsible and should really been made to pay the full amount, but receives a "first time" 50% concession.

This is called the one free bite rule, in the sense that the owner really didn't know the dog was going to bite, but we have to either settle the case or warn him for the future.

A novel and original alternative explanation to this unique ruling is suggested by R' Chizkia ben Mano'ach, the Chizkuni (France, 13th century), and reiterated hundreds of years later by R' Samson Raphael Hirsch: They claim that the reason the owner of the attacking animal needs to compensate for only half of the damages is not because of a fine or concession, but rather because the payment is split between the two parties involved in the fight – they are both equally held responsible for the situation and its consequences. The reason for that is because when a tame animal attacks another, without any prior violent history, no party can be blamed any more than the other. Does one know what or who caused the fight, who was the main aggressor that led to the attack?

When the two kids are fighting, we weren't there. They both blame the other.

For all we know, the specific outcome may have been only sheer chance, and could have ended with an exactly opposite result. In other words – says the Chizkuni, "it takes two animals – or people – to fight", and therefore one cannot put the blame entirely on one side.

Now there are situations when there is no one to blame, and therefore both sides have to take the responsibility upon themselves and not throw it on others. I believe this ruling is referring not only to animals and damages, but also teaching us a very important lesson about human nature and proper social behavior.

Too many  times, when things go wrong we tend to exert too much effort into searching for someone to blame when there may be no such person.

Instead of blaming each other – tells us the Torah – we should rather share our responsibilities and positively combine efforts to solve our problems and deal with the challenges that face us every day.

As a marriage counselor, in nearly all cases I can testify that it takes two people to have a fight. Why does someone get mad? Because he can not control the circumstances. Feelings of anger arise due to how we interpret and react to certain situations. Everyone has their own triggers for what makes them angry, but some common ones include situations in which we feel: threatened or attacked. ... like people are not respecting our feelings or possessions.

Specifically, that people become angry when they perceive something as unpleasant, unfair, blameworthy, etc.

To start, let's look at the simplest part of this formula: the trigger event. There is always some sort of event that happens right before someone gets angry that serves as the trigger (e.g., being cut off in traffic, being insulted by a coworker, your wife sleeping on Friday night when you come home from the synagogue, instead of being ready). Typically, people think that their anger is caused by these situations and they say things like, "I got mad because I got cut off by the driver in front of me" or "that guy made me so mad." The implication here is that those events caused their anger directly, and there were no other mitigating factors. Of course, we know that can't be true. If it were, everyone would respond the same way to such situations. In other words, we would all react the same when we were cut off in traffic or when we were insulted, or when your wife drives you nuts.

The second part of this, the preanger state, includes how the person was feeling physiologically and psychologically right before the situation. When people are tired, anxious, or already angry, they are more likely to respond with anger. Some of this has to do with simple physiological arousal. A nervous person already has an elevated heart rate so doesn't have as far to go to become angry. 

If you feel yourself getting angry, what should you do?

  • Tell yourself to calm down. Slowly repeat gentle phrases to yourself like "take it easy," "cool off," or whatever works for you.
  • Force yourself to leave the situation. Take a time out, walk away, and avoid coming back too soon. Take a walk or go for a run.
  • Use visualization to calm down. Close your eyes and picture yourself in your favorite place.
  • Count to 10 (or 50… or 100) if you feel like you're about to do or say something harmful. It's a quick, easy way to separate yourself mentally from the situation.
  • Splash some cold water on your face.
  • Slow down and focus on your breathing. Conscious breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose, and slowly out through your mouth.
  • Phone a friend. Do you have a supportive friend or family member who can lend an ear and calm you down?
  • Try to replace negative, angry thoughts with positive, rational ones. Even if you're feeling upset, remind yourself that getting angry isn't going to fix the way that you're feeling.
  • Remember as the Bible teaches it Takes to Tango

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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