The NOSE POLICE and Why the Big and Small Letters in the Torah? By Yehuda Shurpin and Seven Branches, Seven Truths By Nechoma Greisman and Rep. Crenshaw: Defunding Police ‘Worst’ Way to Help Cities and Exploiting the Floyd Protests to Demonize Israel By Alan M. Dershowitz and Democrats circulate letter that proposes cutting US assistance to Israel over sovereignty plans
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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The NOSE POLICE
The Nose Police
People being intelligent beings have an amazing ability to adapt to new circumstances.
The change from landlines to move around phones (what used to be called mobile phones in the house--those without a cord) was easy for people. "Look Ma-no cords".
Around the same time, true mobile phones came into existence and you couldn't take people off of them anymore. Everybody remembers the stories of how you couldn't get a clerk in an Israeli store because they were too busy on their phones to service the customer.
Then came the internet with youtube and music to go along with the phone calls and it was all over. People's attention was moved to their nose which is now constantly stuck in their phone.
Well, now thanks to the coronavirus, we now have a new thing for where you stick your nose-THE NOSE Police.
I have no idea whether the masks we wear are necessary or not or whether they do anything to protect our health or not. It would be common sense that if someone is sneezing or coughing, that any type of barrier would stop the germs from spreading.
But does wearing the cloth mask or plastic shield stop me from inhaling it? I have no idea and neither does anyone else. Differing opinions from all over the world, are telling me that the masks are either good or bad for me and I have no idea.
What I do know, is that the masks have become part of Israeli society in a matter of months. Who would have believed that people could be trained in changing their behavior so quickly, but we have seen it before our eyes?
I am more exposed to the change than most people because I go to synagogue three times a day. The rules are that masks or visors (which I have changed to since it lets me breathe) must be worn and there is a designated policeman who enforces the wearing of the mask or you get thrown out of shul.
Now it was necessary to reopen the synagogues that we agree to the same untested behavior that we have on the street. Whatever logic we have had to the lockdown (and there has been precious little logic--who knows if the lockdown accomplished a single thing except single handily changed the world in three months) showed that if we have the same behavior in the shul as we do outside, the shul can't be any more dangerous. And so far they have been right, nothing has happened in the synagogue that hasn't happened outside.
But we now have the NOSE Police in the shul as we pray watching us constantly and telling us our nose mask has slipped down a centimeter and to push it back up.
Some people G-d created for this job and they do it well with courtesy and a smile. What was ironic tonight was the Gabi who is the nose policeman went over to someone to tell him something and as soon as he saw him, the person felt his nose to see if his mask was up, because now when he sees the Gabi all he can think is where is his mask!
The people change with the times as we become accustomed to the new normal!
Exploiting the Floyd Protests to Demonize Israel By Alan M. Dershowitz
As usual, anti-Israel extremists, especially some on the hard left, are trying to exploit the tragic and inexcusable death of George Floyd to level their typical baseless charges against Israel. Signs and chants at several protests have either tried to blame Israel – falsely as it turns out – for training the policemen who are responsible for Floyd's death, or to compare police brutality in America with legitimate efforts by the Israel military to prevent acts of terrorism against civilians.
A cartoon that is being circulated on social media shows an American policeman with his knee on the neck of an African American man and an Israeli soldier with his knee on the neck of a Palestinian man. The policeman and soldier are embracing. The caption above reads: "Black Lives Matter," though there is no evidence that the organization has anything to do with this bigoted cartoon. A painting of George Floyd wearing a Palestinian keffiya is also being circulated, and BDS proponents at the University of California are accusing Israel of training racist American policemen. Anti-Israel graffiti – "F…K Israel," "free Palestine" – has been sprayed on synagogue walls in Los Angeles during anti-racist demonstrations.
This "blame it on Israel" or "blame it on the Jews" bigotry is common throughout the world at demonstrations for legitimate causes, that are unrelated to the Mid-East. Anti-Israel extremists from the hard left try to promote the intersectionality propaganda that all the evils of the world are produced by privileged white democracies, such as the US and Israel. Islamic extremists – who are hard to classify as left or right – use any excuse to demonize Israel. Antisemitic extremists from the hard right have always tried to blame the Jews for all of the world's evils. An old Polish expression summarized it well: "If there is trouble in the world, the Jews must be behind it." Today that has been expanded by the hard left and Islamic extremists to include the nation state of the Jewish people among those who cause the world's problems, ranging from capitalism, to destruction of the environment, to police violence.
The organization "Black Lives Matter," which does much good, is not immune from this bigotry. Its own platform blames Israel for police violence against African Americans, and compares such violence to what it falsely calls the "genocide" of the Palestinian people. Many good people who support the organization are unaware of its gratuitous demonization of Israel, and would oppose such distractions from its core mission. George Zeiden, a Palestinian activist, has urged his followers to "leave Palestine out of the current protests lest it take attention away from "this watershed moment in Black American history." Not everything is about the Palestinians, despite efforts by intersectionalists to make it so, and not everything is about Israel and Jews despite the obsessive focus of the hard left and hard right on these tiny elements of the issues facing the world.
Historically, the Jews have always been caught between the black of Fascism and the red of Communism. This was true in the 1920's and 1930's in Europe, and there is a danger that it could now manifest itself during this time of extremism, when bigots on both sides are prepared to scapegoat the Jews and their nation state.
Those of us who are both Jewish and Liberal – who support Israel and oppose unjustified police violence – must be willing to participate and encourage legitimate protests against police violence, such as that caught on video in the Floyd case. We must stand up and be heard in condemnation of such violations – but we must stand up and be heard against those who would exploit tragedies to foment violence against Jews and the nation state of the Jewish people.
We should not generalize: the vast majority of protesters are focused on the injustices of police misconduct. But we cannot ignore those – even if they are relatively few in number – who would turn these protests into bigoted attacks against Israel. Bigotry unanswered grows in size and intensity.
Why the Big and Small Letters in the Torah? By Yehuda Shurpin
although you cannot tell from the translations if you look at a Torah scroll, certain letters are written larger or smaller than the rest of the letters. These letters have been carefully copied by scribes in a chain of tradition1 that, according to some opinions,2 can be traced all the way back to Sinai.3
Fascinatingly, the oversized and undersized letters of the Torah make up the entire aleph-bet.4 According to the sages, each of these letters hints to deeper meanings and secrets of the Torah.
What Do the Differently Sized Letters Mean?
The mystics explain that the Divine energy flows into this world through the Hebrew letters of the Torah. The oversized letters represent the Divine attribute of chesed ("kindness"), and the small letters are associated with the attribute of gevurah (often translated as "might," which is associated with restraint and withholding of His radiance).5
To illustrate some of the deeper meanings behind these letters, we'll bring just a few examples, with the understanding that each example really has multiple layers of meaning, well beyond the scope of this article.
The Small Hei of Creation
When recounting the creation of the world, the verse states, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, on the day that the L‑rd G‑d made earth and heaven." The word בְּהִ֣בָּֽרְאָ֑ם, "when they were created," is written with a small hei. The mystics explain that the world was created through G‑d's hiding His Divine energy.6 Thus, the word can also be read as "be'hei baram," "He created [the world] with the [truncated] letter hei."
Big Aleph vs. Small Aleph
The aleph in the first word of Leviticus, וַיִּקְרָ֖א, "He called," is small. In contrast, we find that aleph in the word "Adam" at the beginning of the book of Chronicles is large. The Chassidic masters explain that the small aleph alludes to Moses' humility even as G‑d called upon him to take an exalted role in human history. In contrast, the aleph in Adam's name is written larger than usual, alluding to Adam's self-esteem as the acme of G‑d's creation. Although it is both necessary and good to be aware of one's positive qualities, Adam allowed his self-esteem to degenerate into conceit, and this caused his ultimate downfall with the sin of the forbidden fruit.
Moses rectified Adam's mistake. He recognized his greatness but nevertheless remained humble. His humility was not self-delusional, but the result of simple reasoning. "I cannot take any credit for any of my gifts or accomplishments," he thought, "since they are all G‑d-given."
The Big Yud of the 10 Tests
After the episode of the spies returning from the Land of Israel and giving a bad report, G‑d was angered and wished to punish His nation. Moses implored G‑d to spare them, and before invoking G‑d's 13 Attributes of Mercy, he said: "Therefore, I pray, let my L‑rd's forbearance be great, as You have declared, saying . . ."7 The word יִגְדַּל ("be great")is written with an oversized yud, which has the numerical value of ten. Thus, the commentaries explain that Moses was in effect saying to G‑d, "The Jews may have tested You in the desert ten times, but remember our righteous forefather Abraham, whose faith you tested with ten trials and he withstood them all."8
The Large Ayin and Dalet of Shema
The Shema prayer is an affirmation that G‑d is the only true existence: "Hear, O Israel: G‑d is our L‑rd, G‑d is one." Not only is there a biblical commandment to recite the Shema twice daily, but this succinct statement has also become so central to the Jewish people that it is the climax of the final Ne'ilah prayer of Yom Kippur, and is traditionally a Jew's last words on earth.
The last letters of the first and last words of Shema are oversized letters: שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל ה אֱלֹקינוּ ה | אֶחָֽד. One explanation is that the large letter ayin, which has the numerical value of 70, alludes to the idea that all 70 nations should hear (שְׁמַ֖ע) this message. The dalet, with the numerical value of four, represents the four directions of the world, alluding to the imperative that G‑d's oneness be revealed in all places. Another explanation is that together these letters make up the word עד, "witness," for when we testify to G‑d's oneness, G‑d, so to speak, "testifies" to our unique role in the world.9
This is but a very small sampling of some of the explanations behind the abnormally sized letters of the Torah, which are among the countless examples of how every nuance of the Torah is perfect, rich with meaning, and deep beyond our understanding.
See Mesorah Gedolah, beginning of Genesis, Leviticus and Chronicles. Some say (see Machzor Vitri,p. 683) that both in the Torah itself as well as in the Neviim and Ketuvim, one can find a set of all of the aleph-bet in oversized letters.
IT'S BETTER TO HAVE LOVED A SHORT MAN THAN NEVER LOVED A TALL.
GIVING UP ON A GOAL BECAUSE YOU HAD A SETBACK IS LIKE SLASHING YOUR OTHER 3 TIRES BECAUSE ONE GOT A FLAT.
YOUR DIET IS NOT ONLY WHAT YOU EAT. IT'S WHAT YOU YOU WATCH, WHAT YOU LISTEN TO, WHAT YOU READ, THE PEOPLE YOU HANG AROUND WITH, BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY-- EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY.
EVEN THOugh CHANGE CAN BE SCARY, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FOLLOW THE SAME OLD PATH AND REACH A NEW DESTINATION.
MY WEIGHT GOAL IS ONE CHIN.
MY BRAIN, SKIN, AND HAIR CELLS KEEP DYING. BUT MY STUBBORN FAT CELLS LIVE FOREVER.
COURAGE DOESN'T MEAN YOU DON'T GET AFRAID. COURAGE MEANS YOU DON'T LET FEAR STOP YOU.
Seven Branches, Seven Truths By Nechoma Greisman
The candelabra in the Tabernacle and in the Holy Temple had seven branches. One of the major daily services of Aaron, the high priest, was kindling the candelabra. The verse, however, uses an unusual expression for this task—"when you will raise up the lamps," rather than the more common expression, "to light the lamps." The commentator Rashi explains that the priest had to coax the flame "until it rises up on its own."
Based on a verse in Zechariah which compares the Jewish people to a golden candelabra, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that each of the seven lamps of the candelabra corresponds to one of the seven holy character traits: kindness (chesed), austerity (gevurah), compassion (tiferet), etc.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that one of the conclusions we must draw from this is that there are really several different paths in Judaism. There are seven different ways. We are not all the same, and we are not all meant to be the same. Just as there are seven basic character traits, so too there are seven legitimate and valid ways to be a candelabra—a luminary. You don't have to be a carbon copy of somebody else to be a good Jew. The critical issue is, are you kindled? Are you lit up? If you are lit up, and you are illuminating the surroundings as a candelabra of Judaism, then your way is valid. The Torah teaches us this by the fact that the candelabra does not have one branch, but seven, so that everybody can be themselves and serve G‑d according to their own personality and way, provided that they are illuminating the world in the way G‑d wants.
The windows of the Temple in Jerusalem were very unusual. Most of the time, when you build a house, you make the windows in such a way that the light from the outside will come into the house. But in the Temple, the windows were built in such a way that the light from inside could shine out, but not vice versa. This, too, is a lesson to every person—that he is not supposed to be influenced by the "outside" world, by what the street has to offer. Rather, he must kindle his own candelabra and illuminate the world around him, even the street outside.
We mentioned before that there are seven paths, there are seven approaches to Judaism. There is the way of love (ahavah), and the way of fear (yir'ah)—austerity or severity . Everyone is probably familiar with both approaches. We've all gone through school, and have probably experienced teachers who teach with love. The kids love them; they love the kids. There's a feeling of joy and participation. Then we have all had teachers who were very strict disciplinarians. If you made one move, you were out of the room, or standing in the corner, or writing lines a hundred times. Both of them were teachers; both of them were trying to do the same thing—teach children. But they had different approaches—one with love, the other with fear. Now you might say, "What's the difference? Do it with love, do it with fear, as long as you accomplish your goals. What's the difference what method you use?"
However, the Rebbe says that there is a difference. Even though the way of the person who kindles you with fear is legitimate, nevertheless how much better, how much more pleasant it is when your way of kindling is with love . . .
Calls to defund police departments nationally are more than an undercurrent or a fringe opinion, but as the demands grow, "it's hard to imagine a worse way to help the communities of color that you're seeking to help," Rep. Dan Crenshaw said Wednesday.
"Fundamentally, a neighborhood needs safety to thrive," the Texas Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "If anybody is going to invest, if anybody is going to have a thriving business, if anybody is going to get a good education, the community needs to be safe. There are no examples of a community becoming safer with less policing."
Meanwhile, there are "smart ways" to reform police departments, said Crenshaw, and he believes bipartisan change is possible.
"Even the bill that was proposed by Democrats has problems but there are certainly elements in there that we can all agree upon and that we should agree upon and get going," said Crenshaw.
Some Democrats are saying that rather than taking money away from police departments, they want to allocate some of the budgets and redirect money, but Crenshaw said that still means defunding departments.
"They like to hold up the example of Camden, New Jersey," said Crenshaw. "They actually increased the number of police officers on the street. Now what they did is break up policing and that was costing the city too much, but then they used that money and hired more police. He added that there is only one outcome when a city pulls back on police, and that's an increase of crime, which will "hurt these communities of color the most."
"That has been borne out in every single piece of data and evidence and over the last few years, where violent crime and crime, in general, has gone up across major cities, and that is a result of police having to pull back," said Crenshaw. "It's the exact opposite outcome that we want if we're trying to help the people that we're claiming to help."
"Shmueli," said Mrs. Robinson the 3rd grade math teacher, "if coal is selling at $6 a ton and you pay your provider $24, how many tons will he bring you?"
"A little over three tons, Mrs. Robinson," said Shmueli.
"Why, Shmueli, that isn't right," said the teacher.
"No, Mrs. Robinson, I know it isn't," said Shmueli, "but they all do it."
Democrats circulate letter that proposes cutting US assistance to Israel over sovereignty plans
The letter has been issued by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) addresses the Women's March on NYC 2019.
(June 29, 2020 / JNS) Four Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been circulating a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, threatening the conditioning or even cutting off of U.S. assistance to Israel if the Jewish state goes ahead with its plans to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank in what many have said would be an annexation of the area, also known as Judea and Samaria.
The letter has been issued by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).
In the letter, the progressive members of Congress, citing unspecified "leading human rights experts," warn that "annexing parts of the West Bank will perpetuate and entrench human rights violations against Palestinians including limitations on freedom of movement, mass expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land, further expansion of illegal settlements, continued demolitions of Palestinian homes, and a loss of Palestinian control over their natural resources."
The letter accuses Israel of "paving the path toward an apartheid system" since it won't grant citizenship to Palestinians living in annexed territory," despite the Palestinians being under the control of the Palestinian Authority, known for corruption, human-rights abuses and supporting terrorism against Israelis.
"The U.S. should work to build a future in which all Palestinians and Israelis live under full equality by upholding a foreign policy that centers human rights and dignity for all people," states the letter. "We therefore call on you to use a combination of pressure and incentives to stop Israel's plans to illegally annex the West Bank, which would ensure a worsening of the situation for all Palestinians and Israelis."
The Congress members warn that if Israel were to go ahead with annexation, which the Israeli government has said it will do some time after July 1, "we will work to ensure non-recognition as well as pursue conditions on the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel, including human rights conditions and withholding funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them."
In an action alert email on Monday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee called the letter "one-sided" and "directly threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship," "supports conditioning and cutting America's security assistance commitment to Israel" and "would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel and make a two-state solution less likely."