Wednesday, June 10, 2020

How the spies, like the media today, frightened the people from coming to Israel and Degas And Bizet: The Jewish Connection By Saul Jay Singer -and French-born Philadelphian Stephen Girard, and Sabo Street Art Calls Out California, L.A. Coronavirus Lockdown Overreach and LA Rabbi: Black Lives Matter Pogrom Was Like Kristallnacht

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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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How the spies like our media today scare people from doing the right thing.

How the spies like our media today scare people from doing the right thing.


What did the spies do wrong?

1-They scared and demoralized people.

2-They doubted G-d's power. 

But spying for military preparations is OK. The Torah does not tell us to rely on miracles. It's the spies' presentation that was not OK.

3-They thought G-d may have changed His mind. The spies reasoned that since Israel had sinned with the Golden Calf and in many places, God may not honor His promise of the land.

They asked themselves: "Why is G-d Treating us like royalty when we are not deserving of such treatment?" Because of their sense of unworthiness the Jewish people could not have absolute trust in G-d.

4-They did not do a thorough job. -Moses had tasked the spies: Find out if the people who inhabit the land are strong or weak. Implies physically and morally. They did not report (or did not try to find out) what the inhabitants thought of them.

 Forty years later, Rahav in Jericho tells the spies sent by Joshua that the inhabitants feared the Jews: I know that the Lord has given you the land and that a great fear of you has fallen upon us. All the inhabitants of the land faint because of you... As soon as we heard [of the miracles G-d performed for you] our hearts melted, no courage remained in any man, because of you. (Joshua 2:9-11).-And the Jews themselves knew that. Earlier, in their Song at the Sea, they had said: The people of Canaan will melt away. Terror and dread will fall on them. (Ex. 15:15-16)-

5-They wanted to continue to live in the desert, in isolation with a direct spiritual connection to God. The spies did not doubt Israel could win battles, they just did not want to lose their unique relationship with God in the desert, removed from civilization and its problems. They did not want to become just another nation. They were not ready to "leave home and launch". But God wanted engagement with the world, not retreat from it. (RabbiSchneur Zalman of Liadi)

6-They went beyond their mission. Spies are only supposed to provide hard information dispassionately. They have no business coloring their report with alarmist language or advising on a course of action. (Ramban on Num. 13:1,)

7-They reported to the whole people. Spies are supposed to report only to the leaders, not to the whole people! The leaders then decide what to disclose, to whom, and when. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, 19th century Germany)

8-They spoke lashon hara against the land and God. The Talmud says:-It was taught: Rabbi Eleazar ben Perata said, "Come and see how great is the power of an evil tongue! From where do we know its power? From the spies, because if this is what happens to those who bring an evil report against wood and stones, how much more will it happen to one who brings an evil report against his neighbor!"

9-They were affected by their people's attitudes. When one represents another, he is affected by the mindset of that other. Israel was distrustful of Hashem, and this colored the spies' judgment

After the Meraglim (spies) spoke badly about Eretz Yisrael, Kalev wanted everyone's attention so that he could speak.

He knew what the people wanted to hear, so he pretended to be sharing more negative content against Moshe and Eretz Yisrael.

But once Kalev silenced everyone, he did a 180 and told everyone that they should indeed go forward into Eretz Yisrael "for we can surely do it!".

We know that history repeats itself, and we see the alarming rise of Antisemitism all over the world.

Before Hitler rose to power, many Jews had the ability to leave, but they didn't think things would ever get so bad.

Many Jews did manage to leave before the war - some to the UK, Canada, Asia, Palestine, the USA…

Some tried to leave but were not welcome anywhere, so they were turned back.

But most stayed and we know the rest of the story...

The big difference between now and 80 years ago, is that now we have Israel - a country that we Jews can call our own.

Israel, with all of its faults, is the Jewish Home - one of the few remaining places where Jews never need to hide their identity and can live as Jews - with pride.

So what's stopping most Jews from moving to Israel today, before things get worse?

Obviously, like many thought 80 years, most don't think things will ever get that bad.

Sabo Street Art Calls Out California, L.A. Coronavirus Lockdown Overreach

The Los Angeles street artist known as Sabo is no fan of Gov. Gavin Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and has plastered the L.A. area with posters depicting the Democrat governor as a character out of American Psycho.

Sabo put up his latest street art series in Venice Beach, Hollywood, and other high-traffic destinations around L.A. County. One poster shows Gov. Newsom as the Christian Bale character from the 2000 movie American Psycho, renamed "California Psycho."

Another poster on Hollywood Boulevard near the Dolby Theatre depicts Newsom as a plastic-surgery enhanced monster named "Gruesom," inspired by the horror movie Saw.

"They want us to all wear masks," Sabo told Breitbart News. "How fitting, because they wear them all the time."

Unsavory Agents

Gov. Newsom has put the country's most populous state on indefinite coronavirus lockdown, though some non-essential businesses have been allowed to re-open, such as malls, but only for curbside pickup. The governor hasn't announced a date when his shelter-in-place order will lift, except to say that testing and contact tracing will be major factors.

Smaller cities throughout California have pleaded the governor to allow them to re-open their economies as major metropolitan areas including L.A. and San Francisco continue in lockdown mode. L.A. County recently extended its stay-at-home order for an additional three months, until August.

LA Rabbi: Black Lives Matter Pogrom Was Like Kristalnach

While some LA synagogues are shamefully pandering to Black Lives Matter, one Rabbi is telling the truth about the BLM pogrom.

In Los Angeles, Congregation Beth Israel's walls were defaced with graffiti reading, "F___ Israel" and "Free Palestine".

Elan Carr, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, visited the synagogue, and stated, "This graffiti is yet more evidence that anti-Zionism is Antisemitism."

BLM's platform includes BDS.

The largest sustained burst of synagogue vandalism took place in Los Angeles. The Fairfax area, home to both leftist hipsters and traditionalist Orthodox Jews, was heavily targeted by the rioters who, in addition to looting stores, defaced multiple synagogues, including the aforementioned Congregation Beth Israel, Beit Medrash Kehilat Yaakov (Congregation of Jacob), the synagogue of Rabbi Gershon Bess, the most important Jewish religious leader in the city, as well as Congregation Tiferes Tzvi and the Young Israel of Hancock Park. Three religious schools, Bais Yaakov School for Girls, Bnos Devorah High School, and Ohr Eliyahu Academy, were also vandalized.

Locals reported thugs shouting, "F___ Jews" at them. While too many Modern Orthodox organizations, including the OU and RCA, have issued statements pandering to the racist Black Lives Matter movement, and too many local synagogues have joined the anti-police mob, a Chabad Rabbi has some strong words for the ugly hatred on display in Los Angeles with the full complicity of the authorities.

The Rebbe said that he saw in Germany, a place of culture, science, music and many laws including laws forbidding cruelty to animals, cruelty and violence on a scale unparalleled in history. The reason that an advanced culture could keep their culture active and intact while at the same time creating a cruel holocaust is because their culture was secular and G-dless. This allowed a complete disconnect to develop between an awareness of a higher power and moral behavior and barbarism.

The Rebbe said then that if we don't educate our children to have a belief in a higher power and don't institute a moment of silence in public schools this is G-d forbid where we can end up. This is what we have come to and where we find ourselves today.

On Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938 people stood by passively and watched the destruction and the violence. It's no coincidence that the riots here escalated in Fairfax, the icon of the Jewish community. I saw the Watts and the Rodney King riots. They never touched a synagogue or house of prayer. The graffiti showed blatant antisemitism. It's Kristallnacht all over again. Today during the riots in America people were breaking into stores looting and burning down buildings and the police were just standing idly by. They stood idle by orders of the leadership, the mayor, and the governor. These are the same people that forbade public prayer because of the coronavirus. They require many guidelines of distancing, only allowing 10 to 12 people, at the most 1/3 of regular congregants to attend davening (prayer). At the very same time, they turn a blind eye to the thousands of people that are protesting without any distancing and ignoring the riots and even defending them. 

Where did these ideas come from? How have we gone so far afield from simple logic and basic moral clarity and common sense? This is the product of a corrupt educational system. An educational system that says whatever you feel is what is right. When there is no G-d, no moment of silence, no awareness of a higher power, they don't feel beholden to moral standards. It has become a free-for-all..

A question is asked about Matan Torah. Why did Hashem have to come down on Har Sinai to teach us about simple common laws such as not to bear false witness, not to steal or murder and to honor our parents? Aren't these things obvious and common sense? The answer is that it's only going to work if we first follow the first two of the Ten Commandments. Only if we first recognize the first two, the existence of a Creator and not having false gods will the following eight commandments be sustainable. Otherwise, over time our behaviors will devolve into indecent behaviors that defy common decency. The world will devolve into a free-for-all. of stealing murdering mayhem, and a distorted media and propaganda that manipulates the masses. Just like we saw it in Germany so too again are seeing it again today in America.

Good and dedicated working class people are picking up the tab by dutifully paying their taxes to support a corrupt educational system. Yet often it is the professors of the universities, that have no awareness of a higher power, who are paid from taxes that are instigating riots. This is what taxes are paying for in the year 2020. 

These are strong and powerful words of moral truth that cast a harsh light on the cowardice of those members of the Los Angeles Jewish clergy who have become complicit with Black Lives Matter. While liberals cheered a Chabad Rabbi who stood up to a Neo-Nazi gunman in California, I don't think they'll be cheering this Chabad Rabbi for standing up to leftist fascists in California.

French-born Philadelphian Stephen Girard,

Today's encore selection -- from Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich by Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen. French-born Philadelphian Stephen Girard, an international merchant and trader, was perhaps the richest man in America in the late 1700s and early 1800s. With assets of $7 million at his death ($200 million in today's dollars), he was also one of America's greatest philanthropists. In 1793, a yellow fever epidemic forced George Washington, the U.S. government and almost every citizen of means in Philadelphia to leave. Girard, richest of them all, stayed behind saving lives:

"Unlike many philanthropists, Girard did not wait until he died to start helping others. His finest hour occurred during Philadelphia's great yellow fever epidemic in 1793. That episode, largely forgotten in American history, was one of the greatest disasters to befall any American city. The gravity of the epidemic increases when one realizes that Philadelphia was at the time the nation's temporary capital. Yellow fever, so named because the victim's skin turns a yellowish hue, is fatal to as many as half of those who contract it. If the afflicted does not successfully resist the disease, he dies a tortuous week-long death filled with bouts of high fever, chills, black vomit and diarrhea. Were this not awful enough, the alleged cure for the malady, the one pushed by Philadelphia's leading physician, the famed Dr. Benjamin Rush, involved bloodletting and mercury purges. Rush, like Girard, bravely stayed in town and tried his utmost to aid the sick. Unfortunately, Rush's harsh treatment plan caused untold deaths.

"In 1793, the population of Philadelphia and its suburbs was approximately 45,000 [the largest in America]. ... Before the epidemic ended with the November frosts, some four to five thousand Philadelphians, about 10 percent of the city's population, lay yellowed and dead in pools of vomit and excrement. In a typical day, just prior to the plague, an average of three Philadelphians died. On October 11, at the peak of the plague, 119 persons met their excruciatingly painful end. ...

"No one great or small was immune to this plague. None other than Alexander Hamilton caught the fever on September 5. Soon thereafter, his beloved wife Betsy also became ill. Dr. Edward Stevens saw to their recovery, which became instant front-page news. Stevens's treatment was much milder than the aggressive bloodletting and purging that Dr. Rush espoused. Soon, controversy over the proper course of treatment divided Philadelphia's doctors and leading citizens. ...

"Stephen Girard could have, indeed should have, simply left town. But instead, he chose to risk his life to save others. ... He rolled up his sleeves and plunged into the fight, the fight against the disease itself, the fight against physicians with quack cures, the fight for the honor of the French refugees who many blamed for the scourge, and the fight for his business and reputation. Unlike some fifty merchants who ran away and reneged on their financial obligations, Girard defended his credit, his honor, his people, his city. ... When the call went out for volunteers, only thirty-seven stepped forward. Clearly the hospital at [Philadelphia's] Bush Hill was no place for the faint of heart; the stench of death, vomit and excrement filled the nostrils, overpowering even the strongest. After inspecting conditions at Bush Hill, Girard realized that such a small number of volunteers would prove insufficient unless they were efficiently organized. Therefore, at the September 16 meeting of the emergency plague committee, Girard and fellow Philadelphian Peter Helm offered to supervise the volunteers. Girard's actions, which many viewed as a death sentence, took observers aback.

"But Girard was not suicidal. ... Like Hamilton, Girard, who was conversant with the principles of medicine due to his youthful experience as a sailor, shunned Dr. Rush's harsh treatments in favor of the milder approach of Dr. Stevens. Moreover, Girard did not believe that the disease was contagious, attributing the far-reaching nature of the epidemic instead to the widespread distribution of the city's filth. ...

"For sixty straight days Girard managed the makeshift hospital and cared for the ever-growing number of sick. ... A contemporary observer noted that Girard had to perform 'many disgusting offices of kindness for (the patients), which nothing could render tolerable, but the exalted motives that impelled him to this heroic conduct.'"

 author: Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen title: Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich publisher: University of Chicago Press

Degas And Bizet: The Jewish Connection By Saul Jay Singer -

The infamous Dreyfus Affair, which divided France and much of the world at the turn of the 20th century, became a metaphor for anti-Semitism and, in one of the most unlikely and ironic sequences of events in Jewish history, Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a wholly assimilated Jew, played a critical, if an unintended, role in the rebirth of the State of Israel.

The affair made a powerful impact on the outlook of world Jewry. In particular, Herzl's confidence in liberalism, badly shaken when he personally witnessed Dreyfus' disgrace, led him to the Zionist idea. Jews everywhere realized that if such hatred of Jews in general – and against a wholly assimilated Jew in particular – could occur in France, the "homeland of liberty," then Jews were not safe anywhere and assimilation was no defense against anti-Semitism.

While these basic facts are generally well known, few are aware of the Dreyfus Affair's fundamental role in creating the seismic split amongst the French Impressionist painters that led to the decline of the Impressionist movement.

In fact, anti-Semitism caused the first defection from the Impressionist movement when the deeply prejudiced Pierre-Auguste Renoir broke off all contact with Jews and ended his relationships with Jewish patrons. Rather than exhibit his work alongside Jewish Impressionist Jacob Abraham (Camille) Pissarro, Renoir refused to participate in the 1882 independent salon and, much like the Nazis who followed him some 40 years later, Renoir characterized art of which he disapproved as "Jew art."

Another Impressionist, Paul Cezanne, who ironically had always referred to himself as a pupil of Pissarro, cut off all relations with him, and also denounced Emile Zola – who had been a close friend – complaining that he "had been taken in" by the Dreyfusards, and ostracized him and attacked his supporters.

The greatest anti-Semite amongst the Impressionists, however, was undoubtedly Edgar Degas (1834-1917), one of the founders of the Impressionist movement who produced bronze sculptures, prints, and drawings, but is best known for his pastel drawings and oil paintings of ballerinas. Renowned as an inspired draftsman, he was a master at depicting movement, particularly in his renditions of dancers, and his portraits are distinguished by their psychological complexity.

Degas was a savage and cold-blooded Jew-hater who in the wake of the Dreyfus Affair not only severed all his friendships with Jews, whom he characterized as belonging to "that terrible race," but even broke off all contact with non-Jews who happened to be Dreyfus supporters. He was not embarrassed about expressing his keen interest in "anti-Semitic reading and conversation" and unabashedly declared, "I detest them, those Jews! An abominable race that ought to be shut up in Ghettos. Or even totally eradicated." In one infamous instance, he entered an art gallery and joyfully announced that he was going to visit a Parisian court, not to attend a trial, but "to kill a Jew."

Degas refused to employ Jewish models, and he once hurled anti-Semitic epitaphs at a model and threw her out his studio before she could explain that she was actually Protestant. He railed against Jews to the point of tears of fury, and he lent his name to The League of the French Fatherland, a group founded in response to Zola's J'Accuse! to facilitate the assembly and coordination of the anti-Dreyfusard effort. He would sometimes attend pro-Dreyfus rallies hoping to, in his words, "knock down a Dreyfusard."

Anti-Semitism was all the rage in France at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, but Degas may have had additional incentive to join the anti-Semites because of his family's entrepreneurial difficulties due to Jewish competitors. In the wake of the American Civil War, the Degas family sustained serious financial losses when its cotton brokerage, import-export business, and banking enterprise failed, for which Edgar blamed "big Jewish bankers" such as the Rothschilds.

Degas' keen interest in portraiture led him to study carefully how a subject's social stature could be determined from his appearance, features, posture, and dress. His anti-Semitism began to manifest itself in his work in General Mellinet and Chief Rabbi Astruc (1871), where the artist portrays an insolent-looking rabbi daring to predominate over the Parisian general, reflecting the growing sentiment in France that Jews did not know their place.

Postcard of Degas' anti-Semitic Portraits at the Stock Exchange

In Portraits at the Stock Exchange (1879), Degas, copying the facial characteristics of Jewish bankers directly from French anti-Semitic cartoons popular at the time, portrays Jewish banker Ernest May with a grotesque hooked nose, swollen eyes, and bulging lips. May's head is tilted toward his Jewish colleague, M. Boltare, suggesting a secret exchange pursuant to which the Jews are conspiring to uncover confidential stock information so as to engage in insider trading.

The message of the exaggerated anti-Semitic caricature could not be clearer: Jewish bankers – like the nefarious Rothschilds – perpetrate financial conspiracies and are the treacherous enemies of society in general and traitors to the French public in particular.

Before the Dreyfus Affair, Degas had painted a number of Jewish subjects and had executed several gelatin silver prints of numerous members of the family of Ludovic Halévy, a close and lifelong friend for over 40 years who had been more like family to him. Nonetheless, even his friendship with Halévy could not overcome his anti-Semitic expression in Portrait of Friends in the Wings (1879) in which, consistent with his view that Jews are aliens in French cultural life (in this case, the opera), he depicts Halévy against a vivid and colorful background as a gloomy, haggard, and colorless character, complete with hooked nose and full beard, an unmistakable anti-Semitic stereotype recognizable to all.

Degas correspondence to Ludovic Halévy

Shown here is a rare handwritten Degas correspondence to Halévy, undated but undoubtedly written prior to the Dreyfus Affair, in which he informs his (then) friend that he will be unable to attend dinner but promises that he will come to visit.

During the Dreyfus Affair, Degas terminated his relationships with Jewish friends, including Pissarro, the only Jew among the Impressionists, and Halévy, even though he had converted to Catholicism. (After breaking with Halévy in December 1897, Degas never saw him again until he paid his final respects to his former friend in 1908.) He also refused to continue his attendance at soirees hosted by Genevieve Strauss (Georges Bizet's widow – see below – and Halévy's cousin) because she was Jewish.

Ludovic Halévy's grandfather was Élie Halévy (1760-1826), a renowned Talmudic scholar, cantor, and a nationally-renowned Hebrew poet who earned a place in Jewish history as secretary-translator of the Parisian Jewish Community and as co-founder of L'Israélite Français, the first Jewish journal published in France.

Elie's son and Ludovic's uncle, Jacques Fromental Halévy (1799-1862), who composed 32 operas – including most notably La Juive ("The Jewess"), a tragedy of religious intolerance which, uniquely at the time, presented Jews sympathetically – was the father of Geneviève Halévy, who married Georges Bizet. (Bizet and Ludovic were thus cousins).

Ludovic, who is perhaps best known for writing the libretto to Carmen (1875), lived for a time with Georges and Geneviève and was very close to both. Elie Delaunay's Portrait of Mme. Georges Bizet (1878), which portrays Geneviève clad in mourner's black and evidences both her ethereal beauty and her pain at the loss of her husband, remains one of the most beloved paintings in the French oeuvre.

Bizet (1838-75), was a French Romantic composer best known for his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most beloved and frequently performed works of the operatic repertoire. Sadly, the opera was panned by both the critics and the public; Bizet tragically died prematurely only a few months after its premiere and never lived to experience the acclaim accorded him by later critics as a composer of brilliance and originality.

Bizet letter to Ludovic Halévy

In the letter to Ludovic Halévy exhibited here, Bizet writes:

My dear Cousin, Please send and address your sketches to Monsieur Bizet (Georges), at the time at Monsieur Hippolyte Rodrigues, 3 Avenue Mathilde a Saint Gratien près Enghien les Bains – Seine et Oise. They will let me know and inform me as soon as it arrives. As for me, I'm invisible right now but I will read it with the utmost care and will write to you immediately.

A May 30, 1938 Time magazine article notes that Bizet "is generally credited with some Jewish blood" but, in fact, there is ample evidence that his maternal grandparents were Spanish Jews and, thus, according to Jewish law, Bizet was Jewish. Notably, though he defended Wagner as a composer, he pointedly dissociated himself from the musician's anti-Semitism.

Georges Bizet – Jewish?

Interestingly, the Halévys did not consider Bizet to be Jewish at all, and they were unhappy with his marriage into their family for that very reason. However, though he was baptized at age two, Bizet disavowed all organized religion, and he was particularly disrespectful to Christianity. In one amusing instance, when he received an assignment as a music student to write a Mass, he submitted a short comic opera and, when admonished, he offered to write a pagan service instead.

The Jewish Geneviève, whom many analysts claim was the prototype for Carmen, refused to convert to Bizet's Catholicism, claiming that she had "too little religion to change it." Fourteen years after Bizet's death, she married lawyer Emile Strauss, became an ardent Dreyfusard, and her salon became the center for pro-Dreyfus forces, thereby earning Degas' eternal enmity.

Another person who apparently did not consider Bizet to be Jewish was Adolf Hitler. Carmen maintained its great popularity in Nazi Germany notwithstanding a campaign by some to characterize Bizet as a Jewish composer.

The most likely reason for the historical suppression of Bizet's Jewishness is the rampant anti-Semitism that characterized French society and the desire of many aspiring politicians, artists, musicians, writers, and other public figures to remove any impediment to their careers relating to their being Jewish. Many converted to Christianity, not because they believed in its doctrines but, rather, to facilitate their acceptance in French society and elite social circles. Nonetheless, Jean-Baptiste-Francois Jouvin – noted French journalist, music critic, and editor of Le Figaro – denounced Bizet for his "Jewishness."

It is not surprising that Bizet was influenced by the Jewish music around his wife's family, and Carmen has definite Jewish modalities throughout the score, particularly its use of the augmented second, a melodic interval distinctive in Jewish music but uncommon in traditional classical music. In particular, the "fate" theme in the opera is evocative of a cantor's prayer.

Scholars have theorized that Bizet's intentional and repeated use of the minor second interval – which would have been a foreign melodic element for a French composer to highlight at the time – can be directly attributed to the composer's general familiarity with Sephardic music and, specifically, with the cantorial melodies that Bizet might well have heard the elder Halévy chant.

Another generally unknown Jewish tie to Carmen relates to one of the key literary influences that inspired the opera: the tale of Petenera, the Jewish temptress who, holding fast to her Jewish identity and beliefs, refused to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. Knowing that she was the object of men's desire, Petenera seductively tempted her suitors, and those who were drawn to her were spiritually and romantically destroyed. Ultimately, she was murdered by a jealous suitor who decided that, if he could not have her, no man would. This is virtually the identical finale presented in Bizet's work, with Don Jose stabbing Carmen to death.

In Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen (1845), upon which Bizet based his opera, the narrator initially mistakes Carmen the Gypsy for a Jewess. It is not coincidental that the entire Carmen narrative takes place against a lengthy cultural history of the Jewish and Gypsy communities, both of which were seen as "other" – outsiders who communicated in their native tongues, who were considered purveyors of depravity and corruption, and who were required to "know their place" as inferior peoples. This philosophical approach tragically culminated with the destruction of both communities in the Nazi genocide.

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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