Breaking news: THERE IS A GOD AND THERE IS A CHANUCHA!!! No Lockdown for now!! andG-d and the Pfizer Vaccine By Rabbi Benjamin Blech and Having a laugh with Joseph Bau and ARTIST OF THE WEEK-- ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER and Gold bead, apparently lost on Temple Mount 3,000 years ago, found by 9-year-old and there is no free Press--Facebook And Twitter Add Anti-Trump Labels To Trump’s “Most Important Speech” Ever, not giving the President of the United States the ability to speak without being censored
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.
Night lockdown will not be imposed on Hanukkah after all
Due to 'legal difficulties' in imposing nightly lockdown, cabinet meetings postponed; traffic restrictions remain unclear.
following "legal difficulties that have arisen" in approving a night lockdown, said intended to prevent a general closure, alternatives are now being examined that will allow gatherings on Hanukkah and towards the end of the civil year, the Prime Minister's Office said.
The Health Ministry continues to work on the draft resolution, and therefore the cabinet meeting scheduled for tonight will be postponed and is expected to take place tomorrow.
The legal difficulties arose after the Health Ministry refused the legal advisor's request to issue a clear professional opinion supporting the imposition of night lockdown.
The Health Ministry estimates that in any case, Israel will enter tight restraint within a week or two, which will include significant traffic restrictions.
However, it is still not clear what traffic restrictions will be imposed during Hanukkah itself.
The announcement comes after the Cabinet decided Monday night to institute a nighttime lockdown over the Hanukkah holiday, which itself followed denials by officials regarding any lockdown during Hanukkah, saying instead a lockdown was being considered after the eight-day holiday.
Speaking to Israel News Talk Radio's Tamar Yonah show, Attorney Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Smithtoday responded to the zig-zagging governmental announcements denying and then warning of a Hanukkah lockdown, saying: "Let's pay attention to the fact that it's a textbook situation of a psychological manipulation, psychological operations in a control situation, where a prison warden is trying to get greater and greater control on the prisoners and tightens down, then lessens up, tightens down, lessens up; and it makes everyone more and more subjugated, because what happens is: every time they loosen up on something, you, by definition, accept whatever has become the normal until then.
"So for example, if they'll loosen up on a particular decree about synagogues, or about gathering in houses of worship, then you will suddenly feel such relief you'll say, 'it's okay; I can handle the social distancing and the masks, because at least I can now go to my synagogue or my house of worship, or, 'I could send my kids to school, so if they have to be tested, at least it's better than having the schools closed.'
"This is Psychological Warfare 101," concluded Rabbi Smith.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Gold bead, apparently lost on Temple Mount 3,000 years ago, found by 9-year-old
When Binyamin Milt uncovered the bead as he sifted earth for Temple Mount Sifting Project, it was so well-preserved that archaeologists initially didn't realize its unique nature
A first ever First Temple-era gold granule bead was discovered during wet sifting of earth from the Temple Mount by a nine-year-old. Jerusalemite Binyamin Milt uncovered the perfectly preserved minute cylinder, created by four layers of tiny gold balls.
The bead was in such outstanding condition that it was initially dismissed as a modern "invader" into the jumbled earth and artifact bucket that the Milt family was sifting.
The family was sifting through dirt for the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which salvaged tons of dirt that were discarded in the Kidron Valley between 1996 and 1999 by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement during a large-scale building project on the Temple Mount, a site holy to all three monotheistic religions. Volunteers have for the past 16 years been sorting through the jumble of debris and earth that was illegally excavated from the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism and site of the third holiest shrine in Islam.
Nine-year-old Milt found the bead in August, but its unique nature was only recognized recently, the Temple Mount Sifting Project said on Thursday, after project co-director Prof. Gabriel Barkay took a closer look. The dating of the bead has now been drastically adjusted back to the First Temple period, based on examples Barkay had excavated at Ketef Hinnom, located next to the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem.
In the late 1970s, Barkay recovered several almost-identical silver beads that were manufactured using the same "granulation" technique as the newly found gold bead at the site where the silver priestly blessing scrolls — considered the oldest written example from the Hebrew Bible — were uncovered, along with troves of jewelry and other artifacts. According to Barkay, granulation is a decorative technique also known from Phoenician and Etruscan jewelry.
9-year-old Binyamin Milt at the Jerusalem-based Temple Mount Sifting Project, August 2020. (courtesy)
Similar beads were also found at other Holy Land sites in contexts ranging from the 13th century BCE up to the 4th century BCE, with the overwhelming majority dating to the Iron Age (12th century BCE up to the 6th century BCE), according to the Sifting Project.
Tel Aviv University Prof. Benjamin Sass said that such granule beads are known from the Late Bronze Age and even potentially from the Middle Bronze Age. They are found in all stages of the Iron Age, in the Helenistic era, through possibly the Roman era.
Project co-director Zachi Dvira said that what makes this unique find even more curious is that it is extremely rare to find gold jewelry outside of graves or treasure troves.
Dvira acknowledges that when looking at the tiny, 6 mm diameter and 4 mm high bead, "It's difficult to explain why a bead is so interesting and important. But it's very curious whose bead it was," he explained to The Times of Israel. "It's not like today when everyone can have gold jewelry, back then it was very rare, and not for the common people."
Gold jewelry was usually recycled from generation to generation, said Dvira, such that the discovery of even a small gold bead is rare in archaeological contexts.
Archaeologist Zachi Dvira on the Temple Mount, June 18, 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
Though the bead is itsy bitsy, he described it as "heavy" due to the purity of the metal and the highly specialized granulation methodology used to form it. This handmade bead is fashioned from four layers, each made of tiny gold balls that adhere to each other, but more simple examples were made of a single circular layer.
According to Dvira, the process of granule formation used by artisans of the time was complex, involving several stages and a number of components. It requires the ability to melt the metal at high temperatures, and a high level of skill from the artisan. He told The Times of Israel it is still unclear whether this level of skill was found in the Land of Israel during the First Temple period, but that research is ongoing.
To create the bead, Dvira said, "The granules are shaped from tiny metal pieces which are melted on a bed of charcoal or charcoal powder, which adsorbs air, preventing oxidation. Once the metal melts, [the] surface tension of the liquid creates ball-shaped drops. An alternative method involves dripping the liquid metal from a height into a bowl and constantly stirring the drops."
A First Temple-era gold bead discovered in earth from the Temple Mount Sifting Project. (courtesy)
The technique of wet sifting used by the project may be the key to the small bead's discovery.
"Because we are sifting, we find relatively a lot of jewelry," said Dvira, but not a lot of gold, especially not from such an early period. In the past 15 years, through the help of some 200,000 paying volunteers, the project has recovered over 500,000 artifacts, including 5,000 coins, inscriptions, mountains of pottery, Egyptian-era cultic items, jewelry, and remnants of warfare.
Dvira emphasized that the project is continuing its work at its new home at the Masu'ot Lookout in spite of the the coronavirus crisis, under the government social distancing guidelines ("Tav Sagol") and through the help of American Friends of Beit Orot and the Israel Archaeology Foundation. The project works under the scientific auspices of Bar-Ilan University and a revolving staff of a dozen archaeologists supervise the volunteers working from the 20 tables set up for the wet sifting.
Dvira is hopeful that the bead was part of a bracelet or necklace that may have left behind other beads.
"If there's a bead from gold, the person didn't have just one bead, he or she had a whole piece of jewelry from gold," Dvira said.
Facebook And Twitter Add Anti-Trump Labels To Trump's "Most Important Speech" Ever
This afternoon President Trump gave a speech that he introduced with, "This may be the most important speech I've ever made." In the 45-minute long address, President Trump gave his rationale for the campaign lawsuits and gave many examples of the voter fraud behind the lawsuits and the proof. Not just for the 2020 election but for the future of American elections (the entire video is embedded below) Both Twitter and Facebook added an anti-Trump label to the President's video post of the speech.
The President previewed the speech on Twitter which added its own comment saying that Trump's claims are disputed. Hey Jack–DUH! If they weren't in dispute the campaign wouldn't have to sue. Your only reason to add the tag at the bottom of the tweet was to disparage the President.
President Trump posted his speech on Facebook. The conservative-hating social media first added a note to claim that Joe Biden won the election, and a few hours later changed the note to basically say there's no such thing as voter fraud.
Something has to be done about these social media giants. The President has threatened to veto the defense spending bill if a provision removing social media's section 230 protection against lawsuits. I doubt that a Section 230 removal will be added to the defense spending bill. But even if Congress doesn't add the provision, don't believe President Trump will veto a defense spending authorization—rebuilding the military is such a key part of his agenda it would be like cutting off his own nose to spite himself.
But while that is being fought out in the beltway, watch the video below that President Trump said may be the most important speech he's ever made. It's embedded below (unless Facebook decides to take it down completely).
Something has to be done about these social media giants. The President has threatened to veto the defense spending bill if a provision removing social media's section 230 protection against lawsuits. I doubt that a Section 230 removal will be added to the defense spending bill. But even if Congress doesn't add the provision, don't believe President Trump will veto a defense spending
People like to put you into a box. I'm afraid I don't sit in a box. Andrew Lloyd Webber You're the luckiest person in the entire world if you know what you really want to do, which I was lucky enough to know when I was very young. And you're the luckiest person in the world if you can then make a living out of it. Andrew Lloyd Webber
Tel Aviv's Joseph Bau House Museum struggles to stay open
The Tel Aviv landmark contains the story and works of a remarkable life
By BARRY DAVIS NOVEMBER 25, 2020 20:37
If there are any Hollywood moguls out there looking for a real-life character to serve as the central character in a superhero-type blockbuster, they could do a lot worse than to read up on Joseph Bau.
There is no need to engage in hyperbole or florid epithets when sketching a profile of Bau, who died in 2002 at the age of 81. In fact, he was fortunate to make it past his mid-20s, surviving several ghettos, a concentration camp and all manner of other horrific tests of his mettle along the way.
Some of that is today commemorated, nay, celebrated, at Joseph Bau House Museum, an independent boutique museum in downtown Tel Aviv that tells the extraordinary life story of an extraordinary person. The repository – which is run by Bau's daughters Hadassah and Clilah Bau – has somehow managed to survive over the years on a shoestring budget, but is now running out of funds and may be forced to close down. The Baus have instigated a Headstart drive (headstart.co.il/project/60369) that is aiming to raise NIS 100,000 to keep the museum afloat, and to continue to enlighten the public about their father's incredible journey on terra firma.
Bau was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1920 and died in Tel Aviv in 2002. Between those two temporal goalposts, he managed to wriggle his way out of numerous life-threatening situations, and even found love en route.
I first encountered Bau's name, and learned of some of his amazing achievements, 20 years ago when I met his daughters at his studio on Berdichevsky Street off Rothschild Boulevard. It felt like stepping into an Aladdin's cave. The cozily proportioned premises were stuffed to the rafters with specimens of Bau's wide-ranging graphic work, including posters he crafted for early Israeli movies, such as the iconic 1964 dark comedy about aliyah and absorption Sallah Shabati, starring Haim Topol. There were also examples of his animation work, paintings, caricatures, graphics, copies of the nine books he has put out over the years, and evidence of his immersive research into the Hebrew language.
For Bau the latter was a labor of love, which helped him bond with the country and culture he had dreamed about almost all his life.
"Reaching Israel was the fulfillment of an ambition he had since the age of 13," says Clilah. "He talks about that in his book Shnot Tarzach." Typically, the title of the book is a play on words. By slightly altering the punctuation you get tirzach, which translates as "you shall murder," while as an abbreviation, the four letters in Hebrew spell out the year 5698, which equates to 1938-39 in the Gregorian calendar and possibly references the outbreak of World War Two. The tome contains Bau's recollections of the Holocaust and his life in Israel, and is liberally seasoned with comical word play, and dark and sometimes raucous humor. It has been translated into seven languages, including English, Arabic and Chinese.
I met Bau in his apartment after visiting the studio with his daughters. He was a slight, gentle-looking, well-groomed character, with a full head of snow-white hair, but he had lost his power of speech following the death of his wife, Rivka (née Tennenbaum), three years earlier. Rivka was the love of his life who, in fact, saved his life by giving him her place at Oskar Schindler's factory in Krakow, which employed hundreds of Jews, and saved around 1,200. Happily, Rivka subsequently survived Auschwitz and was reunited with her husband in Krakow, where they lived until they made aliyah in 1950.
They met in Plaszów concentration camp near Krakow. It was love at first sight and, incredibly, the couple contrived to get married there, after Bau snuck into the women's quarters, with the other female inmates standing guard. The nuptials were immortalized in Steven Spielberg's Oscar Award-winning epic Schindler's List, which Joseph and Rivka went to see, notwithstanding their daughters' remonstrations.
"WE DIDN'T want our parents to see the movie, but they said it was their duty, toward all those who were murdered," Hadassah recalls. "We were very concerned and sat on either side of them [in the cinema]. During the movie, when they showed something terrible, we asked dad, 'Was it like that?' and he replied, 'It was 10 times worse!' Dad also said that the movie was a work of genius, and that if Spielberg had shown all the horrors, no one would have gone to see it."
One of the more remarkable aspects of Bau's unimaginable life odyssey is the fact that he not only got by in Hebrew, he mastered it to such an extent that he was able to sculpt it, and mine its nuances and vagaries to a level achieved by few born into the language. That comes across succinctly in, for example, his 1987 book, Brit Mila, again a play of words that can reference the Jewish circumcision ceremony for male babies or translate as Covenant of a Word.
As a trained graphic artist who studied German Gothic lettering before the Holocaust – a skill that also helped him to survive by providing that service to German officers in Krakow Ghetto and later at Plaszów – he was also, naturally, drawn to its aesthetics. He also used his graphic skills to save the lives of many Jews by forging papers for them. Those heroic efforts were recently recognized by the B'nai Brith World Center in Jerusalem when it posthumously awarded Bau its Jewish Rescuers Citation.
He created a number of Hebrew fonts that found their way into the country's earliest animation works and commercials. As he was there at the very inception of the field in the young State of Israel, he had to start from scratch. That included crafting the lighting, cameras and other requisite equipment out of old X-ray apparatus and refitting all kinds of machinery to get the job done.
Although Hadassah and Clilah say their parents were not coy about their Holocaust experiences, Bau kept one aspect of his work to himself. It was only several years after his death that the Bau daughters learned of their father's espionage work for the Mossad.
"His work included forging papers for spies," says Clilah. "That included documents for [Israeli spy in Syria] Eli Cohen and the whole team that went [to Argentina] to capture [Adolf] Eichmann."
Bau might have had an easier life in the States, but opted to stay here.
"Our father's dream was to make animated films, but there was no awareness of cartoons in Israel then, so he worked in graphics and creating fonts for movies," Hadassah explains. "His brother wanted him to come to New York to work as an animator, but he didn't want to leave Israel, which was everything to him."
His expertise in that field was also put to good use by the Israeli security forces.
"We discovered he made classified animated films for the IDF and Mossad, but they are not willing to show us the movies."
Our chat is interspersed by lots of laughing, and the daughters say there was plenty of merriment at home.
"He taught me to write songs, all with humor, and he taught Clilah to tell jokes," Hadassah notes with yet another peal of laughter.
Now the Baus just want to keep the memory of their parents' amazing life, and their father's invaluable work, alive. Prior to the pandemic, tours of the studio included theatrical enactments of some of Bau's experiences.
"Dad said we should turn the studio into a theater. Today it is a museum/theater where we perform and tell the story of the place and the wonderful life story of our parents, illustrated by his paintings and drawings of the Hebrew language."
The idea is also to convey some much-needed positive vibes, particularly in these trying times.
"Our father always wanted to make people happy," says Clilah. "He always said, 'If we were happy in the darkest of times, everyone can learn the meaning of happiness and love from us.' That's what we do."
As Covid-19 cases skyrocket around the globe with the current pandemic, the recent announcement by the drug maker Pfizer that its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective and has no serious side effects at last offers us hope that we may be at a turning point in our present nightmare.
Pfizer said the company plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization in the next few days and a working vaccine could soon be distributed – a truly historic moment in the history of science in terms of speed of development of a preventative measure to halt the spread of the devastating worldwide killer of millions.
Let's hope the vast majority of Americans – and the world – are convinced of its safety and will take it (a September 2020 Pew poll recorded that almost half of the American population would consider not taking the vaccine). It is important to understand what Maimonides long ago emphasized as the clear understanding of the Torah's statement, "I am the Lord, your healer" (Exodus, 15:26), which specifies God's promise to heal us:
Based on the same logic [that if God wills us to be sick we dare not interfere with his will and we therefore may not practice medicine] we could say, "Don't eat. If God has decreed that one must die, he will die even if he eats. And if God has decreed that one must live, he will live even if he does not eat. So don't eat!" Obviously, that is nonsense. Certainly God does all, but He does it by way of His emissaries, both His destructive angels, like sickness, and His ministering angels, like the physicians. And if you refuse to let God's benign emissaries help you, you deserve your punishment – the ministering angels will abandon you and the destructive angels will harm you. Rambam, Perush Mishnayot, Pesachim, 4:10
God is the ultimate healer of course. But He demands of us the partnership that defines all of human achievement and progress. The fact that God is the Doctor par excellence does not exclude us from that profession but rather demands of us to imitate the Almighty. It is, again from the works of Maimonides that we are taught that our primary obligation is imitatio dei – using the ways of God as motivation and inspiration to all that we do as well.
The Talmud puts it beautifully: God at the beginning of the Bible clothes the naked. At the end of the Torah, God buries the dead. So too must we perceive the care of others as ultimate mitzvot – as well as all the other acts of the Almighty we are taught in the Torah.
From a Jewish perspective, Pfizer's amazingly quick development of a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 is a fulfillment of the biblical imperative to continue the divine act of creation as well as the Almighty's role of healing.
In a fascinating historic comparison, the earliest published Torah material concerning vaccination was in 1785. Alexander ben Solomon Nanisch of Hamburg, who had lost two of his own children to smallpox, published a work entitled Aleh Terufah in London containing a responsum concerning the permissibility according to Jewish law of inoculation against smallpox. There had been a significant amount of public opposition to Jenner's new inoculation and this was not a risk that most people were prepared to take. It did not take long however for the Jewish majority opinion that stressed not only permissibility but even obligation for vaccination to prevail. So much so that Rabbi Yisroel Lifshitz, one of the most prominent religious leaders in the early part of the 19th century, author of the commentary "Tiferes Yisroel" on the Mishnah, wrote of his certainty that several non-Jews were assured of a great portion in the world to come for their positive contributions to human kind. In addition to Guttenberg who invented the printing press which made possible the unprecedented spread of knowledge, he added Edward Jenner who invented the smallpox vaccination.
What is particularly intriguing is that both Pfizer and Jenner used an approach that was not only daring but in fact seems at first to be counterintuitive. Yet it has a striking parallel to an event recorded in the Torah – the very event which concludes with God identifying himself as "I am the Lord your healer."
In Exodus Chapter 15 we read how the Jews who had just fled from Egypt were faced with the potentially fatal reality of the lack of drinking water. At a place called marah, bitter, so named because of its bitter and undrinkable waters, the Jews pleaded for divine assistance. God's advice was to take a small part of a bitter tree and cast it into the water. Miraculously from the bitter itself came sweetness. The cure was somehow in a small portion of the very same essence that caused the problem!
Edward Jenner conquered smallpox when he carried out his famous experiment to insert pus extracted from a cowpox pustule on the hand of milkmaid into a healthy boy who gained immunity from his minimal exposure. Today, Pfizer, as well as Moderna, developed vaccines that both use a synthetic version of coronavirus genetic material to program a person's cells to churn out many copies of a fragment of the virus. That fragment sets off alarms in the immune system and stimulates it to attack if the person is exposed to the real virus.
It is an incredible – and profound – scientific reality: It is "the bad" – the bitter – that contains the key to its elimination. And it is precisely in the aftermath of that biblical revelation that God identifies himself as divine healer.
Let us hope that the time of healing has at last arrived – through the partnership of human ingenuity together with divine inspiration and assistance.