New Link to Yehuda Lave live lecture on October 14 and another link to last week's zoom on You tube and Louis Pasteur: The Jewish Connection By Saul Jay Singer and The New, Strange Baseball Season By Irwin Cohen and Seventh-Century Shipwreck Excavated in Israel and the Commandment to set up the courts--Parsha Shoftim and the Yemenite Jewish Museum of Netanya
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
Last weeks live Zoom lecture on the Virus and Halacha
Museum of Yemenite Jewish Heritage in Netanya & a brief history of Jews in Yemen
During our stay vacation in Israel, we took the opportunity to visit little known museums and historical sites. On our trip to Netanya, we discovered, and I mean discovered as there were no signs or indications where the Museum of Yemenite Jewish Heritage was.
We were at Independence Square, the main section of town by the beach. The website gave us an address, but there was no sign to indicate where the museum was. It turned out to be on the fourth floor of an apartment building. A converted 4 bedroom apartment with a view of the beach houses the museum. The Secretary who took our money (only 20 schecks each), told us that there was a dispute with the municipality so they had to keep a low profile. I'll say, it was so low, most will never find it. We were only fortunate because we found a relative downstairs who gave us the Magic password on how to get in.
The Museum of Yemenite Jewish Heritage displays historic photos of Yemenite Jewish immigration and settlement in the Holy Land, an impressive display of antique jewelry brought over by the immigrants, and rich displays of the Yemenite way of life. A special section of the museum is also dedicated to Yemenite manuscripts that have been preserved for hundreds of years. For a truly unique museum experience, take the afternoon to visit this gem of Netanya.
Yemenite Jews or Yemeni Jews or Teimanim (from Hebrew: יהודי תימן Yehudei Teman; are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. The term may also refer to the descendants of the Yemenite Jewish community. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. After several waves of persecution throughout Yemen, most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, while smaller communities live in the United States and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen. The few remaining Jews experience intense, and at times violent, anti-Semitism on a daily basis.
Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that distinguishes them from Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and other Jewish groups. They have been described as "the most Jewish of all Jews".
Yemenite Jews are generally described as belonging to "Mizrahi Jews", though they differ from the general trend of Mizrahi groups in Israel, which have undergone a process of total or partial assimilation to Sephardic culture and Sephardic liturgy. While the Shami sub-group of Yemenite Jews did adopt a Sephardic-influenced rite, this was in no small part due to it essentially being forced upon them, and did not reflect a demographic or cultural shift.
Some Jewish families have preserved traditions relating to their tribal affiliation, based on partial genealogical records passed down generation after generation. In Yemen, for example, some Jews trace their lineage to Judah, others to Benjamin, while yet others to Levi and Reuben. Of particular interest is one distinguished Jewish family of Yemen who traced their lineage to Bani, one of the sons of Peretz, the son of Judah.
There are numerous traditions concerning the arrival of Jews in various regions in Southern Arabia. One tradition suggests that King Solomon sent Jewish merchant marines to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn his Temple in Jerusalem. In 1881, the French vice-consulate in Yemen wrote to the leaders of the Alliance (the Alliance Israelite Universelle) in France, that he read in a book by the Arab historian Abu-Alfada that the Jews of Yemen settled in the area in 1451 BCE.
Another tradition says that Yemeni tribes converted to Judaism after the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. The Sanaite Jews have a tradition that their ancestors settled in Yemen forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple. It is said that under the prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Jews, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen. Another tradition states that when Ezra commanded the Jews to return to Jerusalem they disobeyed, whereupon he pronounced a ban upon them. According to this tradition, as a punishment for this hasty action, Ezra was denied burial in Israel. As a result of this local tradition, it is said that no Jew of Yemen gives the name of Ezra to a child, although all other Biblical appellatives are used. The Yemenite Jews claim that Ezra cursed them to be a poor people for not heeding his call. This seems to have come true in the eyes of some Yemenites, as Yemen is extremely poor.
Because of Yemenite Jewry's cultural affiliation with Babylon, historian Yehuda Ratzaby opines that the Jews of Yemen migrated to Yemen from places in Babylonia. Archaeological records referring to Judaism in Yemen started to appear during the rule of the Himyarite Kingdom, established in Yemen in 110 BCE. Various inscriptions in Musnad script in the second century CE refers to constructions of synagogues approved by Himyarite Kings. According to local legends, the kingdom's aristocracy converted to Judaism in the 6th century CE.
By 380 CE, Himyarites' religious practices had undergone fundamental changes. The inscriptions were no longer addressed to El Maqah or 'Athtar, but to a single deity called Rahman. The debate among scholars continues as to whether the Himyarite monotheism was influenced by Judaism or Christianity. Jews became especially numerous and powerful in the southern part of Arabia, a rich and fertile land of incense and spices and a way station on the routes to Africa, India, and East Asia. The Yemeni tribes did not oppose the Jewish presence in their country. By 516, tribal unrest broke out, and several tribal elites fought for power.
Byzantine emperor Justin I sent a fleet to Yemen and Joseph Dhu Nuwas was killed in battle in 525 CE. The persecutions ceased, and the western coasts of Yemen became a tributary state until Himyarite nobility (also Jews) managed to regain power.
There are also several historical works that suggest that a Jewish kingdom existed in Yemen during pre-Islamic late antiquity. In Yemen, several inscriptions dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries CE have been found in Hebrew and Sabaean praising the ruling house in Jewish terms for "helping and empowering the People of Israel".
The Portion of Shoftim
Introspection of Public Figures
The portion of Shoftim opens with the command to establish courts and appoint judges who will impartially judge the people. Collective responsibility of the judges and the elders for what transpires under their leadership is not to be taken lightly. We see this most clearly at the end of the portion where we find the commandment of the "Eglah Arafah"- the decapitated calf- the ceremony which takes place when an unidentified corpse is found in the open.
The taking of a life is a tragedy that demands the introspection of the judges and other public figures. And it is for this reason that they gather and publically proclaim "Our hands did not shed this blood".
Bereshit Rabah (portion 14) lists five synonyms for the word soul: nefesh, Ruach, neshamah, yechidah, and chayah. Take note that the word "shafchu" (shed) is spelled with the letter "heh" at the end instead of the more commonly used letter "vav"- an allusion to the five synonyms listed above (the numerical value of the letter "heh" is five).
Additionally, as seen in the accompanying picture, the letter "pay" has five concentric circles (an additional allusion to these five synonyms), thereby emphasizing the obligation of introspection required of communal leaders where blood has been shed. (Sefer Harokeiach
Seventh-Century Shipwreck Excavated in Israel
HAIFA, ISRAEL—Exploration of a 1,300-year-old shipwreck just off the coast of Israel is offering new insights into life in the region at a time of transition from Byzantine to Islamic rule, according to a report
Researchers from the University of Haifa's Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies began excavating the wreck in 2016. They have found that its cargo included more than 100 amphoras filled with products including olives, dates, figs, fish, pine nuts, grapes, and raisins. The researchers believe the ship made stops in Cyprus, Egypt, and possibly at a port along the coast of Israel before it sank. The size and richness of its cargo appear to contradict the generally accepted belief that commerce in the eastern Mediterranean was limited during the transition from Byzantine to Islamic rule in the seventh to eighth century A.D. The excavations have also turned up several Christian crosses and the name of Allah written in Arabic. "We do not know whether the crew was Christian or Muslim, but we found traces of both religions," said the University of Haifa archaeologist Deborah Cvikel. Given that the wreck occurred close to shore and that no human bones have been found, the researchers believe everyone on board survived the ship's sinking. To read in-depth about a Byzantine shipwreck off the coast of Sicily, go to "Shipping Stone."
Even though spring training abruptly ended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was long enough to realize the best two teams in baseball were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
A Dodgers/Yankees World Series after a normal 162-game season would have garnered the highest television ratings in years as Los Angeles and New York are America's two biggest metropolitan population centers. The Dodgers and Yankees also have the two largest stadiums in terms of number of seats, which would have meant more tickets sold.
Now, though, everything is different. Normally, teams with the most pitching depth make the playoffs. The shortened 60-game season, though, makes it easier for teams who usually end up closer to the bottom of the standings to be closer to the top. All a less-talented team needs this year is a hot streak, the longer the better.
"This season is a sprint," Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "In a sprint, anything happens. Players get hot and momentum gets going. Anything can happen this season."
We're going to see only a few pitchers this season winning more than seven games and only a few players hitting more than 15 home runs. But we could see a player batting over .400.
I like the three rule changes this season: designated hitters will be part of the roster of both American League and National League teams, every pitcher must now face a minimum of three batters, and every extra inning (i.e., any inning past the ninth) will start with a runner on second base. The runner will be the player who made the last out in the previous inning. The latter two rules are designed to shorten the length of games.
Several key players, such as David Price of the Dodgers and Buster Posey of the Giants, have opted not to play this season. Major League Baseball has given any player the right not to play if he fears bringing the virus home to his family. Players are tested regularly; those who test positive must be temporarily removed from the team roster.
The Washington Nationals, winners of last year's World Series, lost super duper star third baseman Anthony Rendon via free agency to the Los Angeles Angels. Rendon batted .319 and hit 34 home runs besides being a defensive whiz. I don't expect to see Washington in the 2020 World Series.
It will be interesting to follow Mets first baseman Peter Alonso, who batted .260 with 53 home runs in his rookie season last year. Will anybody hit 20 or more homers in this shortened season?
MLB made a major mistake in canceling this year's All-Star Game. The star-studded mid-season classic was scheduled for Dodger Stadium on July 14. The game should have been played in November after the World Series. An All-Star Game after the season based on final averages would truly have showcased the most deserving players.
The 2021 All-Star Game is scheduled for Atlanta's Truist Park, home of the Braves. Los Angeles would get the next available All-Star Game, which is in July 2022. L.A. has not hosted the mid-summer classic since1980.
When 2022 rolls around and the Dodgers realize it's been 42 years since they hosted an All-Star game, they can do a big tribute to Jackie Robinson, who wore number 42 when he made his debut as a Dodger 75 years earlier in 1947.
So the numbers work out for selling merchandise. How about a 42 T-shirt – "42" on the back and "42 years since the last All-Star Game" on the sleeve? The front could have "75 years since Jackie Robinson broke into the major leagues wearing number 42."
Louis Pasteur (1822-95) – known as "the father of microbiology" – was a French microbiologist and chemist who confirmed the germ theory of disease, pursuant to which microorganisms do not develop absent contamination, and is renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination and microbial fermentation.
He is also celebrated for his historic breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease; for creating the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax; and for "pasteurization," his method for treating milk and wine to prevent bacterial contamination.
Less known are Pasteur's contributions in chemistry, which were fundamental to understanding the structure of organic compounds, and his scientific debunking of the theory of spontaneous generation, the supposed production of living organisms from non-living matter.
Also less known is the fact that Pasteur owes his greatest discoveries to a chance reading of the Talmud, which, 1,500 years before he was born, actually advanced the notion that the administration of a weak form of a disease to humans could cause immunity to its virulent version.
The story begins with Rabbi Dr. Israel Michel Rabinowitz (1818-93), a Russo-French translator, essayist, and author of Hebrew, Polish, French, and Latin Grammars. The descendant of a long line of rabbis, he pursued his rabbinical studies in Grodno and Brest and, after earning his semicha, studied Greek and Latin and entered the University of Breslau, where he studied philology and medicine.
He went to Paris in 1854 to complete his medical studies, served there as a hospital intern, and earned his M.D. in 1865, but he never practiced medicine.
Rabbi Rabinowitz earned lasting fame for being the first to translate parts of the Talmud into French (integrating critical commentaries into his translation) in such works as Civil Law of the Talmud (1873-80) and Criminal Law of the Talmud (1876). He also wrote Medicine in the TalmudandTalmudic Principles of Ritual SlaughterandTreif from the Medicinal Point of View (1877), but most important for our story was his Mevo She'arim ("An Entry to the Gates"), published posthumously in 1894.
It all began when R. Rabinowitz, then living in Paris, showed his translation of the Talmudic Order Mo'ed, which deals with Jewish festivals, to his good friend, Louis Pasteur. The biologist became fascinated by the Talmudic discussion on page 83b of Tractate Yoma where the rabbis accurately describe the five signs of a rabid dog: open mouth, dripping saliva, tail between paws, abnormal gait, and droopy ears.
He became intrigued by the rabbis' ancient Hebrew wisdom, particularly their prescribed cure for a person infected by the bite of a rabid dog: "If someone was bitten by a mad dog [affected with rabies], one should feed him the lobe of that dog's liver." (Even though a dog is a non-kosher animal, the rabbis considered eating the dog's liver to be a legitimate cure to a serious illness and therefore permitted it to be eaten.)
Pasteur understood the Talmud to be teaching that the way to cure infectious ailments was to introduce small amounts of the infection into the organism, and he hypothesized that an infected body produces antibodies, which could then attack an invading infection.
To test his theory, he cultivated cholera bacteria in chicken broth, exposed a sample of chickens in a pen to the cholera, found that he could not thereafter infect them with fresh bacteria, and concluded that the weakened bacteria had rendered these chickens immune to the ravages of the disease.
Pasteur next applied this immunization method – he coined the term "vaccines" for his artificially-weakened bacteria – to prevent anthrax, a feared killer of cattle, which is often fatal to humans who come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. He cultivated bacteria from the blood of animals infected with anthrax, injected a sample of the animals with the bacteria, and proved that the bacteria caused the disease.
When he was advised that the carcasses of sheep that had died of anthrax were buried in fields, Pasteur hypothesized that earthworms were bringing bacteria to the surface, and he was proven correct when his experiments found anthrax bacteria in the earthworms' excrement. After he advised farmers not to bury dead animals in fields, the spread of anthrax was significantly stemmed.
Pasteur next produced the first successful vaccine for rabies by growing the virus in rabbits, then weakened it by drying the affected nerve tissue. The success of all the cholera, anthrax, and rabies vaccines paved the way for the manufacture of many other vaccines, and the ultimate result of Pasteur's Talmudic knowledge was the development of a science that has saved, and continues to save, countless millions of lives.
In 1887, Pasteur brought together leading scientists with various specialties spanning a variety of microbiological disciplines and commenced worldwide fundraising for what would become the Pasteur Institute – which many at the time called "The Rabies Palace" – whose stated purpose was "the treatment of rabies according to the method developed by M. Pasteur" and "the study of virulent and contagious diseases."
Construction of the facility was financed through national subscriptions and private donations, and the edifice, which included an apartment and research laboratory set aside for Pasteur, was inaugurated on November 14, 1888, the precise date of our correspondence, discussed below.
According to a contemporary issue of Le Figaro, approximately 600 people attended the inauguration ceremonies, which were held in the Institute library where a podium surrounded by marble busts of major donors had been added. Noteworthy sponsors included Russian Emperor Alexander III and Brazilian Emperor Pedro II. French President Sadi Carnot presided over the inauguration ceremony along with Charles Floquet, the French prime minister, and Jacques-Joseph Grancher, one of Pasteur's colleagues.
In the original and historic handwritten October 28, 1888 correspondence exhibited here, Pasteur writes in French to Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-96), one of the Institute's major benefactors:
The Administration Council of the Pasteur Institute has set, before yesterday, next November 14 for the inauguration ceremony. Mr. President Carnot and Mr. President Floquet, whom I had the honor to see this morning, will attend.
Permit me, Madame, to remind you of the promise you made to Mr. le Professor Grancher and to me, to offer a bust of yourself to be placed in our Chamber of Honor near those of the other principal donors. M. le [illegible] is ready to send us the bust of the tsar which was commissioned by order of the Emperor himself. If we cannot count on your bust for 14th Nov…we hope at least that you would be able, Madame, to give us the plaster [cast], and upon your departure, authorization to print your name on the temporary pedestal….
Born into a well-respected Sephardic family, Cécile Furtado-Heine (1821-96) was a French Jewish philanthropist renowned for providing financial assistance to many charitable causes. Her grandfather was Joseph Furtado, the rav of Bayonne, and her father was the nephew of Abraham Furtado, a Parisian banker who also served as secretary of the "Grand Sanhedrin" that Napoleon famously convened.
In 1838, she married Frankfurt banker Charles Heine, the cousin of German poet Heinrich Heine, and, upon the death of her husband in 1865, she inherited a vast fortune and began her significant philanthropic activities.
Cécile's charitable works include supporting the Red Cross and funding and organizing an ambulance service for the repatriation of the wounded during the Franco-Prussian War; creating an annuity for a children's hospice; financing a Bayonne nursery school; donating her villa in Nice as a convalescent home for ailing French expeditionary forces returning from Madagascar; and, as we see from our featured correspondence, endowing the Pasteur Institute (where a plaster cast of her likeness still adorns the hall).
She was also active in supporting Jewish charities, including making important contributions to the construction of a new synagogue in Versailles. During the service for the dedication of the synagogue, Parisian Grand Rabbi Zadok Kahn extolled her virtues, stating that her name belongs on the list of virtuous Jewish women who should be remembered for all time, and the front cover of the dedication book published in honor of the occasion contains the famous verse from Proverbs 31 in her honor: "Many daughters have done valiantly, but you have exceeded them all." Two plates of red marble, one in Hebrew and one in French, are located at the synagogue's entrance as a tribute to her.
Cécile's philanthropy earned her the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor (1896), a very rare honor for a woman at the time. Her death was marked by a public mourning that included French President Felix Faure, and Rav Kahn delivered the eulogy at her funeral.
Another important Jewish patron who helped launch the Pasteur Institute was Daniel Iffla-Osiris (1825-1907). Born in Bordeaux into a Jewish family of Moroccan origin, he made his fortune in Paris investing in the Spanish railways, which earned him the citation of the Order of Isabella. A student of archaeology who collected Egyptian relics, he changed his name to Iffla-Osiris after the Egyptian god of light and health.
Iffla-Osiris not only was a major supporter of the Institute during his lifetime but also bequeathed it much of his incredible fortune along with his impressive collection. He attributed his passion for philanthropy – which commenced in earnest after his wife died a year after the birth of his two children (1855) – to the mitzvah of tzedakah.
Like Cécile Furtado-Heine, he also built several synagogues, including the Buffault Synagogue in Paris and shuls in Vincennes, Tours, Tunis, and Lausanne (per a posthumous bequest). "Place Daniel Iffla-Osiris," a square in Paris, was officially dedicated on June 27, 2018.
* * * * *
Beginning in 1891, the Pasteur Institute opened facilities in different countries, and currently there are 32 institutes in 29 countries in various parts of the world. The Pasteur Institute for Health, Medicine, and Biology in Palestine was founded in Jerusalem in 1913 by Leo (Aryeh) Boem, a young Zionist physician who had made aliyah from Russia and commenced operations with the support of the World Zionist Organization.
Boem's ambition was to establish the Institute consistent with Zionist aspirations to develop a national entity incorporating a strong scientific foundation. The importance of a biological lab in Eretz Yisrael found expression even in early discussions at the Zionist Congresses; in fact, Professor Steineck – a character in Herzl's novel Altneuland (1902) – was head of a bacteriological laboratory modeled after those of the Parisian Pasteur Institute.
The Pasteur Institute (Boem adopted the name without the knowledge of the original entity in Paris) was part of a health complex that included a mother-and-child health center operated by Hadassah and sponsored by noted Jewish philanthropist Nathan Strauss. Notwithstanding complications created by the British Mandate Authority, it performed standard microbiological activities, including the production of cholera, smallpox, and rabies vaccines for the population of Eretz Yisrael (which were also used by the Ottoman military forces).
In 1928, chafing under the British Administration, it claimed independence and was increasingly denied support by the British Department of Health in Eretz Yisrael.
See you tomorrow bli neder
We Need Moshiach now
Love Yehuda Lave
Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor
Jerusalem, Jerusalem Israel
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