Sunday, May 17, 2020

Wall Street Journal: Economic Lockdown Is the ‘Catastrophe and When it Comes to Sovereignty, Daniel Pipes is Wrong By Yishai Fleisher and The Jewish Voice is Calling For the Business Community to Go Back to Work and What’s Shemitah Got to Do With Mount Sinai? Shalom Pollock Trip to Jerusalem Hills

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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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What's Shemitah Got to Do With Mount Sinai?

What does Shmitah, the Sabbatical year, have to do with Mt Sinai?

Leviticus opens with "And the Lord called unto Moses, and spoke unto him out of the tent of meeting, saying ... " (Leviticus 1:1). From this point onward, Leviticus conveys God's words to Moses' ear in the tent of meeting, whose construction was completed in the final section of the Book of Exodus.

Last week's Torah portion, Behar (Lev. 25:1 – 26:2), the penultimate portion in Leviticus, states: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses in Mount Sinai, saying ..." (Lev. 25:1), as if the Torah was returning to what was said to Moses on Mount Sinai – that is, to the middle of the previous book in the Pentateuch. The Torah then continues with details of the mitzvah of observing shemitah, in which the land is allowed to lay fallow every seven years, and of the various laws connected with it.

In the Sifra, the Tannaitic Midrashic work on the Book of Leviticus, the sages ask, "What connection is there between shemitah and Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments conveyed on Mount Sinai?" (Sifra, Behar:1). The Midrash's question is cited by Rashi in his commentary and has entered modern Hebrew, where it is used to query the link between two items that have been stated in the same breath but seem completely unconnected.

This question was famously asked by one of the oldest Midrashim, Sifra (Behar 1), and it has been pondered over for centuries. The question arises from the way the portion about the Sabbatical year is introduced in the Torah (last week's Torah portion Behar): G-d spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai saying: Speak to Israel's children and say unto them: When you come to the land which I give you, the land will rest, a Shabbat for G-d...In the seventh year, it will be the Sabbath of sabbaths for the land, a Sabbath for G-d." (Lev. 25:2-4) 

If all the commandments were given at Mt. Sinai, the Midrash wonders, why is Mt. Sinai only mentioned here? And the answer that we can give today is deceptively simple: the whole purpose of the covenant at Sinai is to create a society that observed Shmitah. It is in a land where Shmitah is observed that human beings will learn to respect the Earth herself, by remembering that none of us can own the land. "For the land is mine," G-d declares, "and you are strangers and settlers with me." (Lev. 25:23) And if none of us can own the land, cannot sell it and buy it, then what we do own is ultimately not ours, then the difference between rich and poor is not "just the way things are," then a person cannot be owned and the difference between slave and master is not real and the slave is loved by G-d.

 In the Sabbatical year debts are canceled, and the land is ownerless. In the seventh sabbatical year, the Jubilee, all slaves are freed (including those who did not exercise their right to go free after the sixth year of their own service) and every family returns to its original landholding, becoming equal to every other family.

Only in such a society, where "property" does not designate the right to use up what one owns, but rather a kind of fleeting relationship to what one cares for, can people learn the true meaning of justice. Only in such a society can people learn to share their wealth, nurture the poor alongside everyone else, relieve debts, end hunger, and respect the fundamental human right to be free. 

Another answer is provided in another homily found in the Sifra. Toward the end of Parshat Bechukotai, the next – and final – weekly Torah reading in Leviticus, it is stated, "These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which the Lord made between Him and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses" (Lev. 26:46). The Sifra explains: "The statutes are the Midrashic interpretations, the ordinances are the laws, and the word 'laws' [torot] alludes to the fact that two Torot – that is, two Torahs – were given to Israel [at Sinai]: the Written Torah [the Written Law, that is, the Pentateuch] and the Oral Torah [the Oral Law, that is, the Talmud] ... The phrase 'in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses,' teaches us that the Torah – including its laws, and the details and interpretations of those laws – was given to Moses at Sinai" (Sifra, Bechukotai, end of section B).

Rabbi Akiva's many homilies can be found throughout the Talmud, many of them are radical interpretations that are incongruent with a reading of the Torah's verses in their actual context. He extracts from those verses new "literal" readings that are actually very far from literal in their understanding.

The only way in which Rabbi Akiva could anchor his radical, innovative interpretations in the biblical text from a theological standpoint was by using the ideological argument that the entire Torah – as well as its extensions, its laws, its Midrashic and non-Midrashic interpretations, including, of course, the rabbi's own interpretations – was given at Sinai. All that Rabbi Akiva does is "simply" to reveal what was previously concealed.

Rabbi Akiva sees the details of the mitzvahs presented in the tent of meeting as a reflection of his own method of interpreting the Torah: The details of the commandments were given at Sinai and were written down only later in Leviticus, and the same applies to the interpretation of the Torah.

In order to continue interpreting the Torah, Rabbi Akiva creates an absolute picture of its granting at Sinai; in that picture, the entire Torah was given as well as all its layers and interpretations. Theoretically, Rabbi Akiva eliminates any possibility of introducing anything new in the Torah; however, this theoretical elimination actually enables infinite innovations because, according to this approach, all of the Torah's interpretations – not just Rabbi Akiva's – were given at Sinai: "Even what an experienced scholar will one day say before the teacher. Everything was given at Sinai, as it is written, 'Is there a thing whereof it is said: "See, this is new"?' And, as the next part of that verse replies, 'it hath been already, in the ages which were before us' (Ecclesiastes 1:10)" (Vayikra Rabbah 22:1).

According to Rabbi Akiva, everything was given at Mount Sinai, including what is discussed today in every beit Midrash (study hall) where the Torah's words are renewed.

The Sabbatical year was the guarantor and the ultimate fulfillment of the justice that Torah teaches us to practice in everyday life, and it was a justice that embraced not just fellow human beings, but the land and all life. 

The Sabbatical year was the ultimate meaning of rest, which we practice every week in the observance of Shabbat. It was the Sabbath of sabbaths, Shabbat Shabbaton.

After telling us outright that Sinai is about Shmitah, the Torah also gives us other pointers to Shmitah's ultimate significance. Failure to let the land rest is one of only two mitzvot that are described as being the cause of exile from the land (the other being idolatry), while the purpose of exile itself is described as a way to force human beings to let the Earth rest. If we do not observe Shmita, still "the land will enjoy her Sabbaths...All the days of her being emptied she will rest what she didn't rest during your Sabbaths, when you were dwelling on her." (Lev. 26:34) The Torah is clear: It is possible for us to have Shabbat without giving the land rest, but doing Shabbat just for ourselves, even just for God, is not enough. Exile happens because the land's right to rest comes before our rest. There's another clue to the importance of Shmitah, a more subtle one. During the Shmitah year, we are commanded to let the wild animals eat freely from our fields. "The Shabbat of the land (what the land grows while it is resting) will be for you for eating: for you and for your servants and hired-workers and for your settler living as a stranger with you, and for your beast, and for the wild animal which is in your land, all of her produce will be for eating." (Lev. 25:6-7) The rabbis further expanded the meaning of this law, so that everyone was required to leave any gates to their fields open so that one could not even eat in one's house food that was not also growing in the fields—so that human beings and wild (and domestic) animals were eating the same food.

Think about the two other times when humans and all the animals ate alongside each other in peace according to the Torah. When, and where, did it happen? First It was in the Garden of Eden before so many tragedies befell humanity. Before the flood. Before the relationship between humans and animals was torn asunder; before humans exiled themselves from the Earth. Second, during the one year on the ark, the animals and Man existed together.

 After the flood, the animals live in mortal terror of human beings. After the flood, God makes a covenant—not with human beings, but with all the animals—a covenant to not destroy the Earth because of humanity. It is the Sinai covenant which is meant to bring back into harmony a world twisted by human greed and violence. It is the Sinai covenant that is meant to restore the fellowship of humans and animals and to reorder our values so that the well-being of the land and the community of life takes precedence over our own perceived needs. This is what it means to "choose life so you may live, you and your seed after you." (Deut. 30:19)

This is what it means to"increase your days and your children's days on the ground for as long as the skies are over the land." (Deut. 11:21) In modern parlance, we call it "sustainability," but that's just today's buzzword. It's called Shmitah in the holy tongue, "release"—releasing each other from debts, releasing the land from work, releasing ourselves from our illusions of selfhood into the freedom of living with others, and living for the sake of all life. How is it, then, that our generation is the one that can answer the question, "Mahinyan Shmita Etzel Har Sinai? How does Shmita emanate from Mt. Sinai?"It is because it is only now when we see that human beings can really "ruin My world" and that there may be "no one who will come after you to repair it,"(Kohelet Rabbah 7:13) only now can we understand what Shmita means. Only now can we see that the meaning of Mt. Sinai is Shmita. May it beHashem's will that we are seeing this in time to fulfill the vision, to "proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all her inhabitants,"(Lev.25:10) to all those souls traveling together with us on this planet.

Shalom Pollock Trip to Jerusalem Hills

What do the following have in common? Bible, great homemade wine, chocolate, honey, sheep, beautiful Jewish neshamot, amazing vistas, a blooming landscape, sacrifice, memorial, Zionist vision?Answer: Our amazing tour on Sunday, May 31, God willing.We shall begin our day with a visit to "Oz Vagaon" and meet with a woman who walks in the footsteps of our greatest heroines. Nadia Matar ("Women in Green") will host us in the new Jewish development dedicated to the "three boys" HYD, abducted and murdered by Arab terrorists, We will see the entire breathtaking area from atop the very new overlook built. in memory of Aryah Fuld HYD.From there we will visit the home and vineyards of Yossi Zwebner, "Illegal settler", professional chef, wine expert, and former Israeli commando. (He might share some of his adventures with us.).We will enjoy a wine tasting and an opportunity to purchase.We are invited to visit Iris the chocolate mavin who makes chocolate in her home. She will tell us all about chocolate and show us her own delicious creations and designs. We will sample her delights and may take some home (if you pay..).Finally, we travel to southern Mt Hevron to Negahot. Shira, an early pioneer of this young community will show us around this front line outpost. The views of the coast are unmatched. The Biblical hills are alive again with Jewish building. agriculture, flocks and children.We will sample their homemade honey and of course, want to bring some home. Suggestion: Bring an extra bag for all the goodies we will collect today.We will leave from the Inbal Hotel at 8:30Please bring a picnic lunch. The cost is 200 shekels.Seating on the bus is limited due to Corona

Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Subject: Paraprosdokian (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop at train stations. On my desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

18. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

20. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

21. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

26. Where there's a will, there are relatives.

Finally: I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns in New York. John Minchillo/AP

Wall Street Journal: Economic Lockdown Is the 'Catastrophe

By Eric Mack (NEWSMAX)

Those saying we had to sacrifice the economy to save lives have succeeded in only the former, according to The Wall Street Journal ;opinion piece in a scathing rebuke of lockdowns at all costs amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

"The tradeoff isn't between lives and livelihoods," the Journal editorial board concluded. "The policy goal has to be to protect both as much as possible.

"Deploy more personal protective equipment, greatly increase testing, build surge capability to handle flare-ups, and isolate society's most vulnerable to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

"But for heaven's sake reopen the economy so we don't consign millions to years of poverty."

The op-ed was in response to those denouncing a past call back on March 19, "Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown," when the shutdowns were only beginning.

"Well, after Friday's horrific jobs report, how do you like the shutdown now?" the Journal wrote. "The people who said we have to sacrifice the economy to crush the virus have succeeded in the former even as the virus will be with us for many more months or longer."

April's unemployment rate showed 14.7% of Americans out of work, the highest rate in record U.S. history, until 6.4 million workers were added to the unemployment line.

"Much of the media continue to treat the economic destruction as a sideshow and present a false choice between saving lives and jobs," the board wrote. "But this is the fastest jobs collapse in modern history. The Great Depression drove millions of Americans into poverty and caused many suicides, and there's a substantial risk this could happen again."

And, most notably, even hospitals are cutting essential frontline workers, as elective surgeries have put healthcare facilities on life support.

"Congress has appropriated $175 billion to shore up hospitals, but this won't help small physician practices much," the board wrote. "Many healthcare providers warn they may not survive if their privately insured patients lose jobs and sign up for Medicaid, which doesn't cover their costs."

The board even rebuked Democrats' plan to keep paying Americans' unemployment indefinitely, until a vaccine that may or may not come.

"The crowd that demands the economy remain locked-down until there's a vaccine, miracle therapy or daily testing of everyone in the country seem to think the government can replace the private economy," the board wrote. "That's a fantasy, and they are betraying the very low- and middle-income workers they claim to represent. Average wages in April rose sharply because so many low-income workers were laid off."

The Journal went as far as sharing President Donald Trump's mantra, "Americans need to work to make a living, and they want to work," even amid the desire to "blame President Trump for the economic pain."

"It is important to stress that the strict lockdowns were a government policy choice," the board wrote. "But the damage is done, and our focus isn't on recriminations. The issue is what to do now, and the public is wise enough to know that public health can't be sustained without a healthy economy.

"Americans can see the destruction all around them. They know the virus will be with us for a long time unless there's a vaccine, so we have to learn to live with it and have a functioning economy."

When it Comes to Sovereignty, Daniel Pipes is Wrong By Yishai Fleisher

In a recent New York Times article, noted Middle East scholar and pro-Israel pundit Dr. Daniel Pipes warns that Israeli application of sovereignty in parts of the "West Bank," known as Judea and Samaria, would be a grave mistake for the Jewish state and backs up his thesis with six reasons.

However, while Pipes sees himself as pragmatic, the article is riddled with one consistent flaw: It's entirely founded on needlessly fearful conjecture.


Fear #1: President Trump's fury

Right off the bat, Pipes reveals his phobic perspective: "First, President Trump could well erupt in fury at Israel for unilaterally taking that step."

What? What is the basis for this concern? The annexation Pipes thinks will set off the president is in Trump's very own "deal of the century" plan. Moreover, President Trump's constituency supports Israel, and his administration is filled with officials who have openly backed Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, as they did in the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem.

And with regard to the commander-in-chief's fury, it is clear that Trump respects strong leaders, not fearful weaklings.

So what is the basis for this terrified speculation that President Trump will "erupt in fury"? All indications are that the only "erupting" America's president will do is the laughter he emits when he reads Pipes's assessment.

Fear #2: Alienating Europe and the Democrats

For his second point, Pipes warns that "annexation would alienate and weaken Israel's diminishing number of friends in the Democratic Party and in Europe."

But "annexation" is just the latest excuse for the distance between Israel, on the one hand,  and some Western European countries and much of the Democratic Party on the other. For these self-styled progressives, the very idea of nationalism has become abhorrent (except Palestinian nationalism), and the Zionist project, no matter what it does, is therefore distasteful. This mindset minimizes Israel's accomplishments—military victories, impressive national economy, scientific and technological innovations. For progressives, the real heroes are perceived victims, not people who actually bring progress, liberty and freedom.

At the United Nations, Israel, the most liberal country in the Middle East, is regularly maligned as the world's leading "human-rights abuser." There is no way for Israel to please the radical progressives in Western Europe and the Democratic Party.

So while Pipes is right that Israel is losing the progressives, it has little to do with annexation.

Fear #3: Provoking Sunni Arab states

Third, Pipes warns that "the Israeli government has successfully managed to expand ties with the Sunni Arab states," and "this working relationship has been premised on the Arab governments de-emphasizing the Palestinian issue."

The truth is that for many Arab states, the Palestinian leadership and their endless whining, corruption and support of terrorism are a source of instability in the region and a financial bottomless pit. The Palestinians are seen as a hurdle to overcome on the road to regional realignment with Israel, which the Gulf States view as a key security and stability force.

Moreover, the progress Pipes warns that Israel stands to lose occurred precisely in the environment of America's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, its recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and Israel's obvious preparations to announce its sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Israel's growing self-respect and military activities against Iran and its proxies are driving the Sunni states to improve their ties. Annexation is a manifestation of that same principle. It does not sabotage it.

Fear #4: Palestinian fury

For the fourth point, Pipes warns of "Palestinian fury that could well destabilize Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza" in which "residents of the West Bank could start a new intifada—uprising—costing Israeli lives."

Hamas and Fatah have been feeding us this Palestinian intifada rhetoric for decades, and (strangely) Pipes seems to have bought right in. The sad truth is that those Palestinians who engage in violence don't need justifications. And violence has increased as Israel has made concessions.  Israel  fought three wars with Hamas-controlled Gaza after surrendering land to them.

Instead of recoiling in fear of possible Palestinian violence, Israel should tell the Palestinians the simple and clear truth. This is our land. We intend to hold on to it forever. If you start an intifada, we will end it.

Fear #5: Israel's vicious infighting
But if you're not afraid of Arabs, maybe you will fear the Jews. So, Pipes turns to internal Israeli politics:

"Fifth, annexation is sure to alienate Israel's Left, which would lead at a minimum to a vicious political battle and probably to a contingent of Israeli Zionists turning anti-Zionist, with some Israelis leaving the country in disgust."

The "vicious political battle" is called the ballot box. The Israeli right has achieved victory after victory for almost 20 years. The coalition that is about to be formed—the one which is about to apply Israeli sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria—is going to be one of the biggest and most politically diverse ever. And Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley has long enjoyed consensus support.

In short, Pipes's apocalyptic prophecy of Israeli civil war is misguided.

And Israeli Jews are not about to increase immigration. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel is seen as one of the safest places on earth, with Israeli scientists making progress on creating a vaccination. The economy is also expected to make a strong recovery. Israeli startup Moovit was bought by Intel for $900 million just as the quarantine was ending. And on the eve of Israel's 72nd year of Independence, the population stands at over 9.1 million, with Israelis consistently polled as enjoying high levels of happiness and life satisfaction.

Nobody is thinking of leaving Israel because of annexation. Indeed, a recent survey of Israeli opinion found that "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was low on the list of issues that the Israeli public cares about." In other words, Pipes's theory of civil unrest and flight is pure imagination; there is no indication that Israelis are poised to abandon the country if their representatives apply sovereignty to communities in the West Bank which are already filled with Israelis.

Fear #6: The threat of Arab citizens

Then there is the demographic argument.   Pipe's final warning is t that "annexation would be likely to make more Palestinians eligible to become citizens of Israel. That would be a profound mistake since its Arab citizens constitute … the ultimate enemy of Israel's status as a Jewish state."

On the simple technical level, the proposed "deal of the century" annexation is meant to bring Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, into a normalized Israeli status. The mapping that is being done is precisely meant to assert sovereignty over Jews and not Arabs. While Pipes is right about the dangers of possibly seditious Arab citizens, the application of Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities will not add to that problem.

Bonus Fear #7: Israeli sovereignty will achieve nothing

While not numbering it, Pipes sneaks in a seventh fear: that Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is merely "a symbolic move, a gesture towards Israelis living on the West Bank in legal limbo" and will achieve nothing except trouble.

But Pipes forgets that symbolism is a powerful force in the ancient Middle East. Sending a signal that Israel intends to stay in its historic heartland forever will do much to deflate jihadist intentions. Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria will also broadcast a message of Jewish historic rights to all those who claim that Israel is merely a European colonizer.

Far from achieving nothing, Israeli sovereignty in the ancestral homeland and the annexation of strategic positions will have a much-needed positive impact for both Israeli identity and Israeli security.

Daniel Pipes's latest article serves as a boon to enemies who wish to weaken Israel through exaggerating the very fears he mentions. To be fair, he has written many strong articles in favor of a robust Israeli policy; this one seems to be a departure.

The real Israel, thankfully, is not afraid because it shouldn't be. There is a buoyant sense of prosperity in the air, and a healthy embrace of tradition is permeating Israel's consciousness. Thousands of new housing units were just green-lighted in the Etzion block in Judea. Israel's birth rate continues to be high, and the GDP per capita is above even that of the United Kingdom. Now is not the time to be gripped by fear. Now is the time for Israelis to gather strength and confidence from all we have been through and all we are becoming, and to take control—of our land through sovereignty and of our future.

Work on yourself

When you find yourself feeling impatient, irritated with yourself or others, remind yourself, "This is understandable. This is what happens to me when I'm bothered. True, I don't like this. It's uncomfortable, but I can tolerate it. I can use this even to become more tolerant of people's flaws and inadequacies--which will help me be more tolerant of my own

Williamsburg synagogue receives 'cease and desist' order from city health department

Congregation Kahal Tolaas Yaakov in Williamsburg, New York, on Friday was served by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with a cease and desist order.

The order came after the synagogue continuously violated New York State's executive order regarding gatherings and religious services.

Last week, the congregation held a large funeral for Rabbi Chaim Mertz, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to "name and shame" the city's entire Jewish community.

This week, a second event, this one with at least 100 participants, was held, leading the city to issue the order.

Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokesperson for the de Blasio's office, told the Jewish Insider: "While we know how important faith is during this time of crisis, this behavior is unacceptable, dangerous and reckless. If this house of worship continues to defy the City and State's executive order, the building will be shut down."

The Jewish Voice is Calling For the Business Community to Go Back to Work

Put the Jewish Voice on record as calling on our officials to give American businesses the green light to open their shuttered factories, storefronts, offices, and get back to work. When we talk about "businesses" we are also thinking in terms of the employees, their incomes, and the consumers who'll throw their earned salaries back into the economy with their purchases. We can no longer survive with a nose-diving economy that just three months ago was thriving. Each day that sees this near-total shutdown continues just makes it that more difficult to start the ball rolling again when the starter's whistle is blown.

The April unemployment rate surged to a record 14.7% and payrolls dropped by a historic 20.5 million workers, wiping out a decade of job gains in just one single month. Those hardest hit with job losses were those who are on the bottom of the economic ladder; women, college dropouts, blacks, and Hispanics. We'd have to go back to 1939 to see a similar catastrophe of job losses due to business closures.  President Trump, eyeing these figures seems to be considering unlocking the American economy from the grasp of the Chinese virus. His words: "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself!" We agree.

Steve Hilton, a former advisor to Britain's prime ministers chimed in: "Our ruling class and their TV mouthpieces whipping up fear over this virus, they can afford an indefinite shutdown. Working Americans can't. They'll be crushed by it." It is time to start discussing the need for an absolute date when the economy can turn back on. Our political leaders and medical experts have already taken bold public health and economic measures to address the virus but businesses, their workers, and production lines have assumed the worst and need the checkered flag to start the race to reach the heights they aspire to.

And what disastrous effects will our crashing economy have on our health care system that is now already being tested to its extremes? You can't keep hospitals open without the economy supporting them with funding, masks, gloves, ventilators and the manpower to make more. We're being told that we can't fight the virus without shutting down the economy yet we can't fight the virus without the economy. The warnings of thoughtful shutdown skeptics warrant careful consideration, not doomsday-like condemnation.

Here is our quandary: Why is it not possible for all businesses to begin functioning again under stringent guidelines that ensure that our collective health remains a top priority? Today, millions upon millions of Americans are now back to work full time. If all business owners would submit to a Coronavirus test then we can determine if our economy can rise from the ashes and truly thrive again as it had been prior to the dreadful emergence of the virus. If business owners test negative and they wear masks and gloves and strictly enforce social distancing, then why in the world would it be inconceivable for them to open?

If such public businesses as laundromats which are considered essential remain open and which normally have a sizable number of people in their locations, then why can't we open other businesses on a day by day basis? Case in point: In certain states outside of New York, barbershops and tattoo parlors are open. If they feel confident functioning, then why can't hardware stores, pet shops, shoe repair businesses, book shops, and others open? If newsstands are open, then why can't a crafts store open? If a shoe store can be open, then why not other apparel stores?

We do not suggest that all of the aforementioned businesses open all at once and on the same day but if we can stagger their openings; then we can and will succeed

See you tomorrow bli neder We need Moshiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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