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
Love Yehuda Lave
The Greatest mystery-Where is the Ark of the Covenant?
The greatest mystery-where is the Ark of the Covenant?
The missing gilded wooden Ark of the Covenant has fascinated adventurers, historians and Hollywood filmmakers for ages.
Topped with golden cherubim, this chest, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in the Book of Exodus containing the Second tablets of the Ten Commandments (the broken pieces of the First Set where kept in another Chest) and occupied the desert Tabernacle and the First Temple.
Babylonian invaders destroyed the Temple around 586 BCE. Most people say that the list of treasures they took doesn't include the ark. Most likely it had been hidden or sent away for safekeeping. By the time the Second Temple was built, nobody knew where it was.
Contrary to the Indiana Jones film "Raiders of the Lost Ark," it has never been found. Some treasure-hunters believe it's sealed in a Qumran cave near the Dead Sea, or that it's far away in Ethiopia, or in the sealed tombs of the Vatican.
Others believe the Ark of the Covenant is hidden behind an ancient man-made stone wall of a cistern beneath Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Political-religious sensitivities have kept archeologists from investigating.
Why is it so important? It is unlikely that it was destroyed. First of all, it has divine protection as it came directly from G-d. Second, it is the most powerful symbol of G-d on this earth.
Imagine its value! The closest thing we have to this symbol is the Dead Sea Scrolls, written about 1300 years later. They were written by man, but they take the proof of the written Torah to 2000 years ago. The Dead Sea Scrolls are so important because they back up the Torah and show that the people had not forgotten the tablets 1300 years later. The tablets would be unquestionably holy and by themselves would give tremendous credibility to the written Torah. The discovery of them alone would change the world.
In this new coronavirus world where anything goes, I don't suspect it will be long before the Ark with the tablets shows up!
Another bible story
One day, Eve was walking in the garden with God. She said, "God, the garden is wonderful, and the animals and birds provide such joy, but I am still lonely sometimes."
"No problem!" the Lord replied. "I will make you a man for a companion. He will desire to please you and to be with you. But I have to warn you, he won't be perfect. He'll have a difficult time understanding your feelings, will tend to think only of himself and will stay out late with his bowling buddies."
"What's bowling?" Eve asked.
"Oh... never mind. I was just getting ahead of myself, sorry."
"That's OK. I think I can handle this 'man'," Eve replied.
"Great, I'll get right to it!" God said, and started grabbing some mud and shaping it.
Suddenly, the Lord stopped and said to Eve, "Oh, there's one other thing about this man I'm making for you."
"What's that?" asked Eve.
"You'll have to tell him he was here first."
65% Of Small Israeli Start-Ups May Fail Due To Coronavirus Lockdowns
Restrictions imposed during coronavirus pandemic could end up killing off nearly two-thirds of small Israeli startups, study shows.
Around 65 percent of small Israeli start-ups expect to cease operations in the next six months due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, a poll released Sunday said.
The survey, conducted by the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA) -- a state agency that finances start-ups -- and a consortium of tech industries, paints a gloomy picture of future in the self-styled "start-up nation".
"The results of the survey show that many early-stage technology companies are facing bankruptcy, and the industry is not receiving sufficient assistance from the Israeli government," said Karin Mayer Rubinstein, CEO and President of Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI).
The high-tech sector accounts for 10 percent of jobs in Israel.
The country's economy was in full swing with unemployment at 3.4 percent in February, before the coronavirus pandemic struck a devastating blow to the global economy.
Joblessness has since surged to a peak of 27 percent, a trend that has not spared Israel's technology sector.
According to the survey of the heads of 414 high-tech healthcare, software, hardware and communications companies, more than a third have put staff on leave of absence during the pandemic.
Israel has recorded more than 17,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 280 deaths out of a population of nine million.
Despite an initial easing of measures put in place to contain the contagion, the morale of some start-ups remains low.
Some 65 percent of high-tech companies with one to 10 employees believe they do not have sufficient resources "to continue beyond six months", according to IIA chief Aharon Aharon.
Rubenstein said that an already approved emergency package of 1.2 billion shekels ($346 million) for the sector "is not sufficient".
Without new public investment, "we are gravely concerned for a potential collapse of the high-tech industry as we know it, which would lead to an undermining of the entire economy", she added.
Czech Jewish Community To Invest A €1m To Renovate Grave Of Respected Rabbi
The Jewish community of Brno in the Czech Republic will invest €1 million in the renovation of the 17th century grave of Rabbi Shabbatai HaKohen, the Jewish news portal Jewish Heritage Europe reported on May 22. HaKohen was famous for his 1646 book Lips of the Priest (Siftei Kohen), and the Hebrew abbreviation of it, Shakh, became synonymous with the person. His was buried in Holešov, the town he served as a rabbi until his death. Full Story (The Jerusalem Post)
| Arab Describes Haredi Who Found And Returned His Money: 'He's A Holy Man'
Yosef Chaim Machlouf, a haredi religious Israeli from the Givat Ze'ev area, noticed a bag on the road in the neighborhood a few days ago.
Picking up the bag, he discovered 40,000 shekel ($11,347), along with checks for more. Later, it turned out that the bag belonged from an Arab residing in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
Commander Winter, Chastised for Reciting Shema in Gaza Battle, to Lead Paratroopers Division By David Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, in consultation with IDF Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, on Sunday announced the appointment of Brigadier General Ofer Winter to commander of the 98th Paratroopers Division, a.k.a. the Fire Brigade.
Winter spent the past year and a half in the post of Secretary to the Minister of Defense. He took office in October 2018 and in that short span worked under three different defense ministers: Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Naftali Bennett.
The IDF's 98th Paratroopers Division is a reserve-service infantry division, subordinate to the Central Regional Command.
On July 9, 2014, as Commander of the Givati Brigade, Winter issued a message to his soldiers before engaging in the battle of Gaza, saying: "History has chosen us to be at the forefront of fighting the fierce terrorist enemy, who curses the God of Israel. […] I raise my eyes to the heavens and call out with you, 'Hear, oh Israel, the lord Is our God, the Lord Is One.' Please bring us success as we are going to fight for your nation of Israel against the enemy who despises your name."
The commander's message was published in the general media and sparked controversy as to whether a religious commander should involve God in his leadership of his soldiers. During the ensuing operation, the brigade unveiled terrorist tunnels and infrastructure used by Hamas, and participated in the battle of Rafah. Gantz was part of the IDF brass that delayed Winter's professional progress, pinning him for the misdeeds of a subordinate but, everybody knew, teaching him a lesson for that Shema Israel thing.
According to a Ynet report in 2019, Gantz and his successor, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, were determined to bury Winter's career, and it was the new IDF chief, Aviv Kochavi, who recognized his considerable skills and demanded his return to active command duty.
The Nuns of the Torah
The Portion of Beha'alotcha
The Source of Parenhthesis and their Significance
Our portion begins with G-d's commandment to Aaron the High Priest concerning the lighting of the menorah in the Tabernacle. This is followed by the description of the work of the Levites and their preparations for transporting the Tabernacle from place to place in the desert. The portion also describes the erection of the Tabernacle, the divine cloud which covers it when it is ready for use, the means of transporting it and one other matter not directly connected to all of the above- the people's complaint to G-d concerning their desire to eat meat.
Between these two sections we find two verses consisting of 85 letters: "So it was, whenever the ark set out, Moses would say: Arise, O Lord, may Your enemies be scattered and may those who hate You flee from You. And when it came to rest he would say, Repose O Lord, among the myriads of thousands of Israel." (Numbers 10;35-36)
These verses are not in any way connected to the section which precedes it nor to the section which follows it and therefore they require an explanation as to their seemingly strange placement.
The Talmud (Tractate Shabbat 115b) presents two opinions. Rabbo Yehudah Hanasi's opinion is based on a verse in Proverbs (9;1) "Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven pillars". This refers to the seven books of the Torah. In other words even though we are used to referring to the Torah as a compilation of five books, Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi divides the Torah into seven books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers until these two verses, the two verses themselves, Numbers following these two verses and Deuteronomy. In his opinion, these two verses by themselves constitute a complete book of the Torah!
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel offers a different explanation. He says that these two verses come to separate two calamities- the first being the hasty departure fro Mt. Sinai and the second being the complaints concerning the lack of meat.
All this is alluded to by the fact that these two verses are set apart from the rest of the text by "signs"- one before and one following. Says the Talmud "G-d made signs before and after".
What are the signs? We find an inverted letter "nun" before the first verse and a similar inverted "nun" following the second verse, as if they were parenthesis. This is the only place in the Torah where G-d placed "signs" such as these. There are some who say that since there cannot be extra letters in the Torah one is to invert the letter "nun" in the word "nasa" and the letter "nun" in the word "mitonenim", thereby creating the first set of parenthesis in the history of the world!
(For an explanation of the 12 different methods of writing the two "nuns", see the Torah Shleimah of Rav Kasher, chapter 11, page 124.)
Outrage over the Murder of George Floyd Doesn't Justify Intersectional Myths By Jonathan S. Tobin
The outrageous murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, by local police is a crime that cannot be tolerated or excused. Efforts by extremist agitators to hijack peaceful demonstrations and turn them into violent riots should also be condemned and not falsely rationalized as a form of legitimate protest or part of a necessary path to progress.
Sensible people know both those things can be equally true, and that concerns about the anarchy in the streets of major cities shouldn't diminish our anger about Floyd's death or any other crime that appears rooted in racism.
This perilous moment in American history should have created a consensus about the need to address both injustice and nihilist violence that ought to transcend partisanship. That is why Jewish organizations and religious groups have joined with people of faith throughout the denominational spectrum to express their dismay about what happened to Floyd, as well as their desire to combat prejudice.
But not everyone is prepared to observe the political ceasefire most Americans would prefer to observe in the wake of these traumas. And, as always, some of those looking to exploit tragedy are attacking Jews.
That was made clear when a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized in Los Angeles with pro-Palestinian propaganda. In and of itself, that would be terrible, but those buildings were just a few out of the innumerable places around the country that suffered the same indignity or worse.
The context for that incident—and the spate of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate that has flourished in recent days on the Internet—is not random anger that could have been directed at any target, no matter how removed it might be from the incident that set off this crisis. Such incitement is the direct product of an intersectional movement that has continued to attempt to link crimes committed on American streets against African-Americans with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And just like other forms of prejudice for which there should be no tolerance, the effort to blame Israel or Jews for what rogue American cops might do needs to be clearly labeled as a form of hate speech.
The effort to manufacture a connection between slayings of African-Americans with Israel isn't new. The notion that the struggle for civil rights in the United States is connected to the Palestinian war on Israel has become a staple of the BDS movement. It is rooted in intersectionality, an idea that has gained popularity in certain sectors of academia. It asserts an affinity between the struggles of people of color or indigenous populations against imperialist and racist hierarchies. So if you think all Jews in Israel are the moral equivalent of white European settlers in Africa, the notion that blacks who oppose systemic racism in America are fighting the same good fight as Palestinians resisting Zionism makes sense.
That is what is behind the cartoon that has circulated on social media showing an Israeli soldier sitting on the neck of an oppressed Arab next to the image of rogue Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin suffocating a dying George Floyd under the caption "black lives matter." The same disingenuous analogy was behind the tweet by a group calling itself the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which attempted to claim that U.S. police departments are sending personnel to Israel to be trained to attack unarmed blacks.
This false meme further argued that Israel is helping to "militarize" American law enforcement.
The Black Lives Matter movement has made these arguments before, but the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace group has particularly embraced this canard. JVP's "Deadly Exchange" program fits into its efforts to promote boycotts of Israel. Asserting that Jewish groups that have facilitated trips to Israel by American first responders and police are somehow responsible for killings of unarmed blacks by U.S. cops is not only untrue, it's a classic example of an anti-Semitic blood libel since it seeks to blame Jews for gruesome crimes for which they bear no responsibility.
The training Americans get in Israel has little to do with the attacks that JVP and other BDS groups claim to oppose. It actually focuses on the antithesis of stereotypical police brutality by seeking to promote community engagement and nonviolent policing that would make confrontations less likely.
The willingness to buy into the big lie about Israelis teaching Americans to kill minorities is based in ignorance of the true nature of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror groups. Contrary to the intersectional myth, Jews are not colonial oppressors in Israel. Jews are not only indigenous to the country that is their ancient homeland. A majority of Israelis also fall into the category that left-wing ideologues would term "people of color" since their families came to the country from homes in Arab and Muslim lands from which they fled or were expelled after 1948.
The mission of the Israel Defense Forces is not racial oppression. It's to defend the people of Israel against foes, which have not given them a day of peace in the 72-year history of the country. Its record in protecting civilian lives, including Palestinians who are used as human shields by terrorists, is unmatched.
Stripped of its mendacious rhetoric, intersectionalism is a thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism. So it comes as little surprise that anti-Israel groups are breathing new life into these falsehoods whose purpose is fueling hate against Jews, rather than seeking justice for George Floyd and African-Americans.
We can embrace a crusade against racism and police misconduct without endorsing the notion that all police are equally guilty of such crimes, or that the American nation is irredeemably guilty of intolerance. Similarly, it is vital that all decent people should reject the attempts to smear Israel and its American friends by associating them with incidents like the Floyd murder. Though some wrongly associate it with anti-fascism, intersectionality is hate masquerading as advocacy for the oppressed.