Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah starts tonight, and One-Quarter of American Restaurants Won’t Reopen, Open Table Magazine Says, and Katherine Hepburn quotes and puns and Jerusalem Smart3D System by Simplex Mapping Solutions
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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Shavuot the Receiving of the Torah
Shavuot the Receiving of the Torah
Shavuot is a one-day holiday (two in the Diaspora) with many names, dozens of traditions, and recipes galore. It celebrates the Giving of the Torah in the Desert in 1312 BCE.
The hype surrounding the holiday in Israel — agricultural festivals at kibbutz and moshav communities, special lectures at synagogues and community centers, sales on everything white at shopping malls, cheaper dairy products at the supermarket, school plays, and child-oriented festivals — make it seem as though Shavuot is a much longer holiday.
On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. During the few weeks of traveling in the desert under Divine protection, with daily miracles, such as the manna and the birds, the miraculous sweetening of the water, the defeat of Amalek, and the crossing of the Red Sea, the Jewish people had become more and more conscious of G‑d. Their faith grew more intense daily, until they attained a standard of holiness, solidarity, and unity, never achieved before or after by any other nation.
Moses returned from Sinai and called for the elders of the people and put all these words of G‑d before them. Unanimously, with one voice and one mind, the people answered: Naaseh Venishma - "Everything G‑d has said, we will do." Thus they accepted the Torah outright, with all its precepts, not even asking for a detailed enumeration of the obligations and duties it involved. When Israel had voiced its eagerness to receive the Torah, G‑d spoke to Moses again (Exodus: 20:17): "Go to the people and prepare them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their garments. And they shall be prepared for the third day, for on the third day, the L-rd will descend before the eyes of all the people upon Mount Sinai. And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.' No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn-out blast, they may ascend the mountain."
Here are facts you may not have known about the holiday:
Shavuot, which means "Festival of Weeks," There are four names for the holiday. It also goes by Harvest Festival (Chag HaKatzir), Day of the First Fruits (Yom Habikurim), The Stoppage/Restrain (Atzeret – a reference the sages use to highlight the prohibition against work on this day), and Time of the Giving of the Torah (Z'man Matan Torah).
Shavuot commemorates the day when the Israelites received the Torah during their desert wanderings 3,332 years ago and is the only Jewish holiday mentioned in the Torah without a specific calendar date. Rather, it is to be celebrated 50 days after the second day of Passover. The rabbis say that Passover and Shavuot are really one holiday – the Exodus from Egypt was only complete with the giving of the Torah. This is why we count 50 days of the Omer from Passover to Shavuot.
Shavuot is the only Jewish holiday with a dairy menu. The Bible refers to Israel as "the land of milk and honey," and Shavuot puts Israel's world-famous dairies in the spotlight.
The Torah that Moses brought to the Israelites included the commandment to keep kosher. It was much easier to celebrate the receiving of the law with a dairy smorgasbord than to immediately set into motion kosher slaughtering techniques. Moreover, the gematria (numerical value) of the word chalav (milk) is 40, the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah.
Israel boasts more than 1,000 locally made dairy products.
In Israel, you know Shavuot is coming when you pick up your newspaper, and recipe booklets drop out. About three weeks prior to the actual date, Israeli newspapers come replete with brand-sponsored recipe booklets and pamphlets promising the "easiest cheesecake" and "fastest blintzes"
Shavuot is "the" holiday for the farming communities of Israel to show off their agricultural prowess. The symbols of the holiday are the seven species with which the Land of Israel is blessed — wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
Tradition holds that in ancient times, Shavuot was the day to bring offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks.
Staying awake all night is not just for teenagers. For centuries, it has been customary to study through the night as payback for the Israelites' error in oversleeping in the morning they were supposed to receive the Torah. This year nearly all of the learning marathons were canceled as the synagogues were closed. There will be zoom sessions on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights before Shavout instead.
Tikkun Leil Shavuot, or the "Repair of Shavuot Night," draws people from all denominations to synagogues, community centers, theaters, and schools for white-night group learning sessions. Most people come decked out in white (the color of purity). And while top rabbis and Torah scholars may have started the custom, today you can find speakers from all walks of life – singers, actors, professors, writers, spiritual guides, entrepreneurs – presenting lectures on this night.
Whether it is because of this custom or just because Israelis love to celebrate festivals, the days around Shavuot offer a dazzling array of child-oriented events, happenings, and fairs.
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I'd swear I've never met herbivore.
You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish
I know a guy who's addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
A will is a dead giveaway.
Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now.
A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.
He had a photographic memory, but it was never fully developed.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Acupuncture is a jab well done. That is the point of it.
I did not like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.
I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just cannot put it down.
Surgeon General Doubles Down: Masks Increase Virus Risk
Surgeon General Doubles Down: Masks Increase Virus Risk U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks to members of the press on the White House ground March 20, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 31 March 2020 08:48 AM
Masks also can give the wearer a "false sense of security" and can encourage people to be too close to each other, said Adams, and further, there are still mask shortages nationwide.
People who are sick should wear masks, said Adams, but acknowledged that if healthy people feel better by wearing a mask, "by all means, wear it" but they should not touch their faces.
He also insisted the general public should not wear medical-style N95 masks, because they must be fitted properly to avoid infection.
"There may be a day where we change our recommendation, particularly for areas that have large spread going on, about wearing cotton masks but again the data is not there yet," said Adams.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams Tuesday doubled down on his advice against healthy people wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus, saying that wearing one improperly can "actually increase your risk" of getting the disease.
"What the World Health Organization and the CDC have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks," Adams told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "There was a study in 2015 looking at medical students. And medical students wearing surgical masks touch their faces on average 23 times. We know a major way that you can get respiratory diseases like coronavirus is by touching a surface and then touching your face."
One-Quarter of American Restaurants Won't Reopen, OpenTable Says
Nationwide reservations still down 95% from a year ago
Arizona, Texas cities gain most after coronavirus shutdowns
One in every four U.S. restaurants will go out of business due to the coronavirus quarantines that have battered the food-service industry, according to a forecast by OpenTable.
The bleak projection underscores the widespread pain for American restaurants as lockdowns have forced people to cook at home or order takeout rather than eat out. Total reservations and walk-in customers from OpenTable's network were down 95% on May 13 from the same day a year ago, according to data from the service, which is owned by Booking Holdings Inc.
This has been calamitous for the industry. Restaurants lost more than $30 billion in sales during March and $50 billion in April, according to National Restaurant Association estimates. In 2019, U.S. Bureau of Labor data showed 9.6 million Americans working in food service.
OpenTable, which provides services for almost 60,000 restaurants, surveys about 20,000 of them for online and phone reservations as well as walk-in customers. Take-out and deliveries are excluded from the data.
The company's data shows that there are growing signs that patrons are willing to dine out again in states like Arizona and Texas where it's allowed, though the numbers are still far below where they were last year.
Scottsdale showed the greatest improvement. It had zero reservations almost every day since March 21, but on May 13 this eased to a down 72% from reservations on the same day in 2019. The next most significant recoveries were in Houston and Phoenix.
Changes in reservations, by cities
While it was Arizona and Texas cities that improved the most, Florida showed the most statewide gain, reporting restaurant foot traffic down 83% year-on-year. Florida began a phased reopening May 4, with restaurants allowed to operate at one-quarter capacity.
Changes in reservations, by states
Indiana started the second phase of reopening its economy on May 4, allowing restaurants to operate at 50% of capacity. It is targeting a full reopening by July 4. Tennessee also allows restaurants to operate at half their normal capacity.
Even where they're allowed to reopen, some restaurants have not done so.
"Restaurants are complicated beasts," Steve Hafner, chief executive officer of Booking Holdings' OpenTable and Kayak, said in an interview. "You have to order food and supplies. You have to make sure you've prepped the kitchen and service areas to be easily disinfected."
Hafner also cited state unemployment benefits and federal supplements as to why it's been hard to hire help in an industry that relies on hourly workers making tips. "A lot of people are making $1,200 a week doing nothing. That's good pay," he said.
To help, OpenTable has waived fees and subscription costs for restaurants that list on its platform. On Thursday, it also opened up use of the site to bars and wineries that need to comply with capacity controls and distancing rules.
A Mother's Approval
A young Jewish man excitedly tells his mother he's fallen in love and that he is going to get married. He says, "Just for fun, Ma, I'm going to bring over three women and you try and guess which one I'm going to marry."
The mother agrees.
The next day, he brings three beautiful women into the house and sits them down on the couch and they chat for a while. He then says, "Okay, Ma, guess which one I'm going to marry."
She immediately replies, "The one on the right."
"That's amazing, Ma. You're right. How did you know?
"I don't like her."
Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress who was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years. She appeared in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and she received a record (for any gender) four Academy Awards for Lead Acting Performances, plus eight further nominations.
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
Life is hard. After all, it kills you.
Enemies are so stimulating.
Plain women know more about men than beautiful women do.
Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything.
Only the really plain people know about love - the very fascinating ones try so hard to create an impression that they soon exhaust their talents.
Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.
It's life isn't it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels. What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.
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See you on Sunday bli neder. First is Shavout on Friday and then Shabbat