Tonight-On Zoom-ENGLISH LANGUAGE MEMORIAL FOR THE 30TH YAHRZEIT OF RABBI MEIR DAVID KAHANE and Parsh/as Noach–” Survivors of Trauma” By Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and 'Little Western Wall' thoroughly cleaned for the first time And my Jewish Press Article Overcoming the Past with Noah as an example and Thoughts of a person in quarantine too long and President Trump narrates a short piece "The best is yet to come!"
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.
Tonight-On Zoom-ENGLISH LANGUAGE MEMORIAL FOR THE 30TH YAHRZEIT OF RABBI MEIR DAVID KAHANE
Wednesday, eve of 18 Cheshvan/4 November Where: On your computer(As with the Hebrew program the following day, due to the ongoing corona crisis we are presenting the program on ZOOM.) Schedule:7:45 pm - Levi Chazen: Updates on the Yeshiva8:00 pm - Rabbi Yehuda Richter: Business as usual with an enemy 8:30 pm - Lenny Goldberg: Rabbi Kahane's outreach 9:00 pm - Baruch ben Yosef: The doers or the learners? Which way to go? 9:30 pm Menachem Gottlieb: "Whoever controls Har Habayit controls Israel" (Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D) And other reasons to ascend Part 1 9:45 pm Avraham Sheinman: "Whoever controls Har Habayit controls Israel" (Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D) Part 2
PLEASE NOTE: All times given for both the English and the Hebrew program are in Israeli Standard Time. Example: For the English program, the first speaker is scheduled for 7:45 pm Israel = 12:45 pm NY/9:45 am Calif./5:45 pm England/6:45 pm Germany
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Over coming Knockdowns
The First Knockdown of the Bible-Noah on the Ark-and five Biblical figures that overcome Adversity (and one that didn't)
In this age of lockdowns (or Knockdown), it is interesting to look at the first lockdown of the Bible. It occurs in Parsha Noach, Chapter 7 verse 16. The English translate the word 8ויסגר as the Lord shut him in.
In Israel, the lockdown is called a סגר, a shutdown from the root of סגר which means to close. And we have been closed down twice. And Knocked-down.
In the Oral Torah, we learn many stories that fill in the Written Torah with more details. This is one reason it takes many years to understand the Bible, there is much more to do it than just the written word.
There is a midrash (an Oral Torah story that fills in the details called Bereshis Rabbah 30:8) that states the word היה (was) is used to describe five individuals in the Bible (all 26 books). These five individuals overcame Lockdowns or dramatic changes in their lives as we are facing now.
The first is Noah, who saw a world destroyed by his lockdown and then saw it rebuilt. The second was Joseph, who was enslaved and was in the lowest possible place, prison, and rose to become King of Egypt. The Third is Moses, who also had to flee with his life in danger and later watched the entire Egyptian army drown in the Red Sea (I don't think the Egyptians have forgiven the Jews yet). The fourth is Job (Iyov) who suffered terrible losses with his family and life and was eventually blessed with being able to rebuild it. Finally, Mordechai of the Book of Esther was nearly hanged by Haman and ultimately witnessed Haman being hanged on the very tree that was prepared for him.
There is a deeper meaning in the use of the word "hayah" (was) with each of these individuals and the way they were able to handle dealing with a new world after their own individual lockdowns.
There are two types of stories to inspire in the Bible. Some people are able to overcome a seemingly hopeless situation, while others become obsessed with their troubles, romanticize over how wonderful the past was and it becomes impossible for them to move on. The midrash is teaching that these five individuals let the past "hayah" stay in the past and were able to experience a "new world" and let the past stay in the past.
The Torah itself gives an example of a one that can not let go of the past.
In his revolt against the authority of Moshe and Aharon, Korach was supported by Datan and Aviram and by ON Ben Pelet. This opening verse of Parshat Korach is the only place where ON Ben Pelet is mentioned. His name does not occur at all in the more detailed narrative that follows.
Noting the absence of the name from the subsequent account, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 109b) states that ON Ben Pelet was saved from the consequences of his foolish rebellion by the wisdom and sound common sense of his wife.
Mrs. Ben Pelet pointed out to her husband that he had nothing to gain from the rebellion against Moshe, because no matter who the leader would be, Moshe or Korach, ON would remain simply a follower. He took her advice, withdrew from the rebellion, and his life was saved.
The Midrash (oral Torah) finds allusions in ON Ben Pelet's name to his initial involvement in Korach's mutiny. He is called ON from the word, "Aninut", which means mourning, or "Onein", a mourner, because he did not cease from mourning for having sided with Korach. He is named Ben Pelet from the word "Pele", a wonder, because it was a wonder that he listened to his wife and survived the Korach disaster.
The Midrash understands the words of Mishlei 14:1, "The wise among the women builds her house", to refer to ON's wife whose wisdom saved her husband and her household from destruction. The continuation of the verse, "but the foolish woman overthrows it with her own hands", refers to Korach's wife, who in encouraging her husband to rebel against Moshe, caused her own death and that of her husband.
Getting back to ON, who spent the rest of his life in Aninut – mourning for his folly, is this the proper way to Teshuva? Interestingly, Korach's sons also did Teshuva. So why were they not also called ON for their act of mourning for their sin of initially supporting their father's rebellion?
The answer is that while both ON and Korach's sons showed remorse, Korach's sons acted upon their remorse. They resolved to change for the better. They did not remain in mourning, in "Aninut", feeling sorry for themselves, regretting the past but refusing to contemplate the future. The sons of Korach composed some of the most beautiful and inspiring chapters of Tehilim as a Tikun (a positive correction), for their sin.
What a profound idea! How many of us regret our sins and errors, show remorse over our past mistakes, even become depressed for a while over our misdeeds, but do not progress from this point. We continue to berate ourselves over our negative behavior but can't get past it. That is all we do. For some, this mourning and depression become an end in itself rather than being part of the process of spiritual growth. Remorse and guilt are an essential prerequisite for Teshuva, but they do not comprise the only contributing factor.
One must proceed to triumph over remorse, to overcome the symptoms of depression, and to accept the challenge of spiritual growth, advancement, and progress. Korach's sons succeeded in this challenge by growing spiritually and composing some of the most beautiful Tehilim, which have inspired, rejuvenated, and given courage and spiritual strength to countless generations of Jews and gentiles. The Five heroes of the bible we discussed above did the same and left the past in the past and moved on.
On the other hand, On was too preoccupied with his shameful past to confront the future and change himself for the better. As the Rambam states, the Baal Teshuva has to become a new person and cease to wallow in past transgressions.
Therefore, the Torah tells us that as Lot was being saved from the destruction of Sodom (B'reishit 19:17) "And he [the angel] said, "To save your soul, don't keep looking back' ". Thus, the message for us is to not keep looking over our shoulder at past misdeeds but to focus on improving ourselves in the future.
We are all currently experiencing very challenging times. Even those that haven't lost a loved one or their job, have had their daily routines dramatically changed with the lockdowns (knockdowns). No matter how difficult and challenging the current environment, we can not allow ourselves to dwell on the past and what was. We have to focus on the future and what we do have and rebuild.
President Trump narrates a short piece "The best is yet to come!
The American age, The American epic, The American adventure has only just begun
Thoughts of a person in quarantine too long
For my intellectual and curious friends......
Excellent Questions Looking for Answers!
1. If poison passes it's expiration date, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous? 2. Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?
3. Do twins ever realize that at least one of them is unplanned?
4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?
5. Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.
6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
7. The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims"
8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars.
Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
Six great confusions still unresolved.
1. At a movie theater, which arm rest is yours?
2. If people evolve from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?
3. Why is there a 'D' in fridge, but not in refrigerator?
4. Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?
Vagaries of English Language!
Ever wonder why the word funeral starts with FUN?
Why isn't a Fireman called a Water-man?
How come Lipstick doesn't do what it says?
If money doesn't grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches?
If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?
How do you get off a non-stop Flight?
Why are goods sent by ship called CARGO and those sent by truck SHIPMENT?
Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the Cupboard?
Why do doctors 'practice' medicine? Are they having practice at the cost of the patients?
Why is it called 'Rush Hour' when traffic moves at its slowest then?
How come Noses run and Feet smell?
Why do they call it a TV 'set' when there is only one?
What are you vacating when you go on a vacation?
Did you know that if you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them?
'Little Western Wall' thoroughly cleaned for first time
Jerusalem and Heritage Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz orders cleaning of the Kotel Ha-Katan after years of neglect at prayer site.
At the initiative of Jerusalem and Heritage Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, the Kotel Ha-Katan, or 'Little Western Wall,' has been thoroughly cleaned.
The Kotel Ha-Katan is located north of the Western Wall plaza, next to the Iron Gate, and is a place of worship for many as it is one of the closest points to the Holy of Holies where Jews can pray freely.
Despite the many visitors, the site was neglected and the level of cleanliness was poor. Following an assessment of the situation, Minister Peretz ordered a cleansing of the site to be conducted so that the place would be worthy of the prayers which are held there.
For the first time since the Six Day War, the site was thoroughly cleaned of the mountains of garbage which had piled up. Later, the site will be upgraded and prepared to be a central place of worship in the Old City.
Rabbi Rafi Peretz said: "Israeli sovereignty must be exercised throughout Jerusalem. The Kotel Ha-Katan is an important place of prayer and is a step from the Temple Mount and the Holy of Holies. We will continue to develop and make the place accessible and worthy of prayer and visitation."
Parshas Noach–"Survivors of Trauma" By: Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
There are many words in the English language that originally had great power but have become watered down over the years to the point of meaninglessness. One such word is "survivor." Another is "trauma."
When I think back to my early adult life, I remember the word "survivor" being reserved for those who endured a severe crisis but, either because of their exceptional skills or good fortune, emerged from it with minimal physical harm. They resumed relatively normal lives but had to cope with a variety of practical and emotional challenges.
Nowadays, the word "survivor" is applied freely even to those who have experienced the normal and expected daily difficulties which all human beings face and who have simply gone on living. "Survivor" has thus become a term that easily fits all of us.
A similar observation could be made about the word "trauma." It was originally used to describe catastrophic conditions of great suffering, such as war, life-threatening illness, and natural disasters. Nowadays, the term is used freely to describe far lesser events. So much so that I recently overheard an ardent sports fans refer to her favorite team's loss of several consecutive ball games as a "recurring trauma."
Just last week, we began to reread the Pentateuch, the Chumash or "Five Books of Moses." This week, we read the second of a year-long series of weekly Torah portions, Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32). Throughout the coming year, we will search for the common themes of all of these readings.
There is one theme which, I suggest, pervades not only the Chumash, but the entire Jewish Bible. Indeed, it pervades all of Jewish history, down to this very day.
This theme is the story of the "survivor;" the person who lives through trauma and who copes, one way or another, with life as a survivor, with life after trauma.
One such person is the hero of this week's Torah portion, Noah. Noah survived the destruction of all of civilization. In the words of our Sages, he lived to see "a built-up world, a destroyed world, and a rebuilt world." Noah was a "survivor of trauma," no doubt about it.
There are many other candidates in the Bible who merit the term "survivor of trauma," Adam and Eve suffered trauma. They lived in paradise. But they lost it. That's trauma. They survived and went on to make lives for themselves. That's survival.
King David suffered trauma and was a survivor. So was Job, and so was Jeremiah. In a sense, so was Jonah.
Names of survivors in the long history of our people come readily to mind and include rabbinic sages such as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Maimonides suffered trauma and survived mightily, as did Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel, who writes at length about the several traumas that he lived through and survived.
Finally, the horrific Holocaust, the ultimate trauma, left numerous survivors, some of whose memoirs are world famous, such as Victor Frankel, Primo Levy, and Eli Wiesel. I, for one, and many of the readers of this column, have known quite a few survivors.
In a sense, we are all survivors. Who can teach us the skills of survival?
Let us conceive of Noah as the archetypal survivor. What can we learn from this week's Torah reading about the way he coped with the challenges of survival in the wake of the world's nearly total destruction?
You know the story. Noah and the members of his immediate family find refuge in the Ark from the Great Flood. The flood ends, the waters recede, and finally the Almighty speaks to Noah and says, "Come out of the ark, together with your wife, your sons, and your sons' wives." They exit the ark. They survive the trauma.
But then, what does Noah do? What are his first actions as a survivor? He starts off on the proverbial right foot. "Noah built an altar to the Lord… He offered burnt offerings on the altar." Noah expresses his gratitude to the Almighty.
The Almighty responds in kind. He says, "Never again will I doom the earth because of man… Nor will I ever again destroy every living being, as I have done."
The Almighty does not stop there. He goes on to bless Noah and his sons and He establishes an everlasting covenant with them.
So far, so good. But we abruptly learn of Noah's weakness. We read: "Noah, the tiller of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and he uncovered himself within his tent. (Genesis 9:20-21)"
Noah resorts to drink to deal with the challenges that face every subsequent survivor of trauma. He was the first survivor to resort to intoxicating substances to cope with the aftereffects of trauma, but he most certainly was not the last.
Is intoxication the only coping method available to survivors? It is here that I'd like to bring an insight of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch into play.
He notes that the Hebrew word in our verse for "became drunk" is vayishkar. The root letters of this word are sh-kh-r. Rav Hirsch notes that there are several other words in Hebrew with similar root letters. Two of them are sh-y-r, song or poem, and sh-k-r, falsehood. He proceeds to explain that these three terms represent three different modes of relationship between truth and reality.
For Rav Hirsch, truth is not synonymous with reality. Reality is what is, whereas truth is what can be. The person who uses sh-y-r, the poetic imagination, knows that he can transform the truth which often lies hidden in the present into a new future reality. He need not live forever in a condition of post-traumatic stress. He can use the truth of his poetic imagination, of his hopes and dreams, to construct a new and better reality. This is the preferred mode for the survivor of trauma.
Noah, however, chose a different mode entirely. He chose sh-kh-r, drink. Faced with a traumatic reality, he creates for himself a fantasy reality, stimulated by intoxicating substances. He opts for a reality distorted by drink, an artificial reality, an illusion which fades rapidly with time. This is not a solution to the problem of post-traumatic survival.
Then there is a third mode, the mode of sh-k-r, of falsehood. This mode comes in many varieties. We now have a vocabulary for those varieties: denial, false ideologies, alternate facts, fictitious memories. These mechanisms will not dissipate the pernicious effects of traumatic experiences.
Clearly, Rav Hirsch recommends the method of sh-y-r, the cultivation of the positive processes which we all possess, but of which we are seldom aware: Creative imagination, enlisting the cooperation of others, courage, and above all hope.
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is wont to explain, "Hope is not optimism and optimism is not hope. Optimism is the conviction that things will be better. Hope is the conviction that we can make things better."
The survivor who effectively deals with the traumas of his or her past strives to make things better, and in the process not only survives but thrives, transcends the painful memories of the past, and painstakingly constructs a better future.
Noah failed as a survivor. Perhaps that is perhaps the essential distinction between him and the hero of next week's Torah portion, Abraham. He too survived traumas, ten trials by the count of our rabbis, but he was able to employ the mode of sh-y-r, not sh-kh-r and not sh-k-r.
He utilized truth to create a new reality, the reality of monotheism and, eventually, the reality of the Jewish people.
See you tomorrow bli neder
We should know the results of the election tomrrow