Nearly half of Israelis oppose 3rd lockdown, a new poll shows and Havdalah by Rabbi Berel Wein and my Jewish Press story=Shave and a haircut=two bits AND We have to stop hating each other by Shmuley Boteach and Study: Wearing a used face mask can increase the danger of COVID infection and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef: COVID-19 vaccine mandatory according to halachaThe coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage Israel, with a notable rise in cases among the ultra-Orthodox population.
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.
Nearly half of Israelis oppose 3rd lockdown, new poll shows
Opposition to coronavirus lockdowns mounting, with Israelis now roughly evenly divided on the issue, new poll shows.
A growing number of Israelis are opposed to the government's use of lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows, as Israel prepares to enter its third lockdown in nine months.
On Friday, Ma'ariv released a poll conducted by Panels Politics which shows that Israelis are nearly evenly divided on the question of whether the government was right to vote to impose a third lockdown.
A narrow plurality of 43% said they agreed with the decision, compared to 40% who said the decision was wrong. Among those with an opinion, 51.8% said the government's decision was justified, compared to 48.2% who said it was not.
That marks a steep decline from the level of support enjoyed by the two previous lockdowns.
In September, 63% of Israelis backed a total lockdown, the Guttman poll found.
The Panels Politics poll released Friday morning also found that despite widespread criticism of the decision to impose the lockdown, most Israelis plan to adhere to the regulations.
Just 5% said they do not plan to follow the rules, compared to 68% who said they plan to follow the rules completely, and 21% who said they will follow some of the rules.
The Israeli government voted Wednesday night to impose a two-week lockdown nationwide, beginning on Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Shave and a haircut- Two Bits- Parsha Miketz
"Shave and a Haircut" and the associated response "two bits" is a 7-note musical call-and-response couplet, riff, or fanfare popularly used at the end of a musical performance, usually for comic effect. It is used both melodically and rhythmically, for example as a door knock.
"Two bits" is an archaism in the United States for 25 cents; a quarter. "Six bits" is occasionally used. The final words may also be "get lost", "drop dead" (in Australia), or some other facetious expression. In England, it was often said as "five bob" (slang for five shillings), although words are now rarely used to accompany the rhythm or the tune.
JOSEPH SHAVED. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.–Genesis 41:14
Two full years after Pharaoh's butler was returned from prison to his job as the butler, Pharaoh had two dreams that bothered him. Pharaoh called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. But no one could interpret Pharaoh's dreams. Then, finally, the butler remembered Joseph. Three days before the butler had been released from prison, he also had a dream that Joseph correctly interpreted to mean he would be restored to his job as a butler. The chief baker of Pharaoh also was in prison with the butler, and the baker also had his dream correctly interpreted by Joseph.
When the butler told Pharaoh about Joseph, Pharaoh called for Joseph to be brought to him. But Joseph had been in prison for a long time. He was in no shape to see Pharaoh. He probably had not shaved for many days, if ever, while in prison. He probably would also have been wearing whatever clothes were common for Egyptian prisoners. Even though he was "quickly" brought out of the dungeon, he took time to shave and change his clothes. It would not have been right for him to be presented to Pharaoh without a clean face and clean clothes.
The verse marks an important change, transition, and passage in Joseph's life. The language connotes movement; Joseph is literally made to run in a causative form of the verb (וַיְרִיצֻהוּ, "they made him run," translated "rushed" above), and he comes to Pharaoh.
The reference to changing of clothes utilizes the important motif of clothing, which already made its appearance in the story's opening (ch. 37), with Joseph's special robe. There, his robe marks him as his father's favorite, one with greater status than his older brothers. In reaction to this, and to his troublesome dreams about dominating his brothers, they eventually dispose of Joseph, stripping him of his robe, which marks his loss of status.
Joseph loses his clothing entirely, when it is ripped from him by his master's wife: Gen 39:12 She caught hold of him by his garment and said, "Lie with me!" But he left his garment in her hand and got away and fled outside.
As a consequence of this, Joseph is thrown into prison. Thus, he becomes the marginal or liminal figure whose transition between former and future status is symbolized by nakedness, an absence of bodily symbols.
From Jacob's Robe to Pharaoh's Robe. Joseph's change of clothes in Genesis 41, then, is an important step in his return to prominence, which is completed upon his elevation following his successful interpretation of Pharaoh's dream:
Gen 41:42 And removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph's hand; and he had him dressed in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. 41:43 He had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command, and they cried before him, "Abrek!" Thus he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
So Joseph moves from his father's robe, to being without a robe, to being without proper clothes, to being properly clothed again, and finally to being dressed in Pharaoh's robe.
Joseph not only changes his clothes but shaves. The emergence from a prison-like state to freedom is often symbolized by the cutting or shaving of hair, while the state of exile, imprisonment, or immersion in chaos is symbolized by out of control hair.
The removal of hair clearly marks transition and transformation. It is, moreover, a key motif in the plot of ancient Near Eastern court narratives.
The beard marks Joseph's membership in a particular social group, the loss of hair marks his separation from that identity, and the need to conform to that of his conquerors.
Gen 41:14 employs the active form of the verb; he shaves rather than is shaved. He changes his clothes rather than have his clothes changed. Joseph takes preemptive action, anticipating the modes of behavior most likely to find favor with his new patron rather than waiting to be asked to conform later.
The member of the court who advises Pharaoh to seek Joseph's help in interpreting his dreams, in fact, refers to the foreigner as "Hebrew," a term often used in the Hebrew Bible when a non-Israelite refers to an Israelite who would more likely call himself "a son of Israel."
In any event, for Joseph to become an "insider"—and he does become the consummate insider without whom Pharaoh makes no decision—he must shave and become like those who enslave and dominate him.
Egyptian Name and Egyptian Wife: Pharaoh does not merely dress Joseph in an Egyptian robe and necklace, but he gives him a new, Egyptian name as well as an Egyptian wife:
Gen 41:45 Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. Thus Joseph emerged in charge of the land of Egypt.
As we are in the middle of a census in the United States, it is a good idea to hear this story.
Count Me Out
Old Chaim Yankel Wasserstein was sitting on his porch, when a young man walked up with a pad and pencil in his hand.
"What are you selling, young man?" Chaim Yankel asked.
"I'm not selling anything, sir," the young man replied. "I'm the census taker."
"A what?" Chaim Yankel asked.
"A census taker. We are trying to find out how many people live in New York."
"Well," Chaim Yankel answered, "you're wasting your time with me; I have no idea."
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef: COVID-19 vaccine mandatory according to halacha
The coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage Israel, with notable rise in cases among the ultra-Orthodox population.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, during his weekly lesson, urged Jews to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying that doing so is obligatory according to halacha. These sentiments were shared by Rabbi Meir Mazuz, head of Yeshivat Kisei Rahamim, who argued that any allegations against the vaccine were built on "imaginary" evidence.
The coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage Israel, with notable rise in cases among the ultra-Orthodox population. This has led to the government calling for a third lockdown, to begin Sunday at 5 p.m.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have already been vaccinated against the virus, with the Clallit health fund having carried out its 100,000th vaccination on Saturday.
"Maturity requires an ability to parse the good from bad in people, things and ideas. Immaturity is where you simply reject -in totality_ something you find distasteful, even when it has things that deserve to be applauded or embraced"
Americans have gone insane hating each other - opinion
Ordinarily, we could have blamed such American insanity on the paranoia that comes from a global pandemic. But then we'd just be shifting responsibility away from ourselves.
Last week I attended the White House Hanukkah party. You would think I had opened fire on a school bus. The amount of hatred that my attendance unleashed on my social media pages was unprecedented.
"You're an enabler. You enabled Trump's denial of
his election loss to [President-elect] Joe Biden." Actually, I attended a
White House Hanukkah celebration."You participated in a super-spreader event." Actually, I attended a White House Hanukkah party."You allowed Trump to get away with trying to steal the election." Actually, I ate latkes. The irrational, near-demonic hatred for US President Donald Trump has now been extended to anyone in his vicinity, including those who simply celebrate Jewish holidays in the people's house. In my career as a rabbi, I have experienced lots of controversy and hatred, from those who opposed my publishing Kosher Sex, to those who fought me on the publication of Kosher Jesus, to those who way back in the early 90s thought I had lost my mind when I appointed a young Cory Booker as my student president at Oxford University.
"You made a non-Jew the head of a Jewish student organization? You're promoting intermarriage."But nothing I have done seems to have been as controversial as being in Trump's orbit on Hanukkah. It's time to respond. Now that he has exhausted all legal recourse, Trump should concede the election. And the Republicans should embrace Biden's "time to heal" approach in trying to unify the country. But the political left has got to halt the cancel culture they're fostering. If not for the sake of decency, then for the sake of the country.
Maturity requires an ability to parse the good from bad in people, things and ideas. Immaturity is where you simply reject – in totality – something you find distasteful, even when it has things that deserve to be applauded or embraced
I need not vote for Biden to agree that in a fifty-year public career he has displayed decency and humanity. And I need not agree with all of Trump's policies to concede that in four years he has not only emerged as Israel's greatest-ever friend in the Oval Office but utterly reshaped the Middle East. Just a day after even some of my closest friends were castigating me for being at the White House, Trump announced a peace deal between Israel and Morocco.Let's not forget that Secretary of State John Kerry swore that Israel would never have peace with its Arab neighbors or the Gulf states unless they first made peace with the Palestinians.Kerry could not have been more wrong. It turns out that the Arab states were as weary of Palestinian intransigence as were the Israelis. Far from Trump and senior advise Jared Kushner having been wrong about ignoring the unmovable Palestinians, their initiative lead to the breakthrough that no one else had achieved before. None of us would have believed the miracles that are taking place in the Middle East. Those who hate Trump so much that they will give him no credit are as blind as those who are pretending that Biden did not win the election. I am grateful to Trump for having secured a lasting peace for Israel with so many previously implacable foes. And I'm grateful to have been invited to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah at the White House. I hope that Biden will continue Trump's policies of unrivaled support for Israel which has led so many Arab countries to conclude that Israel's around to stay and it's time, therefore, to embrace an entity which is not transient, God forbid, but permanent. It's a challenging time in America because so many Americans have gone insane with hatred, both on the left and the right. And we're talking real hatred. It's disgusting, embarrassing, inane, and depressing. Ordinarily, we could have blamed such American insanity on the paranoia that comes from a global pandemic. But then we'd just be shifting responsibility away from ourselves when we know we're the ones to blame. Each of us. Every single one of us.The Trump haters – including some close friends – who told me they won't speak to me anymore because I went to the White House Hanukkah party should be ashamed of themselves. My Republican friends who told me that they will never accept a Biden presidency – just as so many of the Democrats never accepted Trump – should likewise be embarrassed. They're harming the country. And humiliating themselves.Because the only thing worth hating in life in unalloyed, unconditional evil.
Mass murderers, perpetrators of genocide, and those who destroy human life warrant what I call "Kosher Hate," the kind of emotional revulsion that causes us to resist and fight them. But your political opponents? Hating them as if they were murderers and terrorists? Seriously?Hating mere political opponents is not only wrong because it destroys a nation, it also allows the true evildoers to go unchecked. We misdirect our revulsion away from the legitimate targets.The US was a bystander for more than two years after the Third Reich launched the Second World War and had Japan not attacked Pearl Harbor,
America would certainly have delayed its entrance in the war even longer if not stayed out altogether.For some reason, we as a nation could not summon sufficient hatred of the Nazis to fight them even as they conquered all of Europe and began the annihilation of the Jewish people.After the Holocaust, Jews and others adopted the slogan, "Never Again," and yet the slaughter of innocents has happened again and again in the 70 years that have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz.The history of the modern world is a history of genocide and the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent men, women and children. Historian Paul Johnson estimates that at least 100 million civilians were murdered in the 20th century alone by murderous tyrants. This is a staggering number. The world could not summon enough hatred of these individuals, or their dastardly deeds, to stop them and bring them to justice.Depressingly, the trend has continued into the 21st century. December 9, 2004, was the 56th anniversary of the approval of the Genocide Convention by the UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, genocide was taking place in Sudan.In this, the sixth millennium that Judaism counts since creation and the third Christian millennium, evil still has not been subdued and seems to be growing with increasing strength, with brutal regimes continuing to control hundreds of millions of lives and terrorism striking throughout the world. Seventy years after Hitler's demise, madmen run countries; gas their own people, torture men, women and children and fill mass graves with the bodies of innocents.Amid the world's protests of "Never Again!" and the ratification of the treaty against genocide which was supposed to commit the great powers to step in to stop mass murder, no fewer than five genocides have occurred – perhaps as many as 5.4 million people were killed in the civil war in the Congo, two million Cambodians were murdered by the Khmer Rouge, 800,000 Tutsis died at the hands of machete-wielding Hutus in Rwanda, tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims were ethnically cleansed by the Serbs, and at least 400,000 poor black Africans were slaughtered by the Islamic Janjaweed militias in Sudan.Those genocides were in the recent past. Now one is taking place before our eyes in Syria. Since 2011, dictator Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has murdered more than 500,000 Syrians and used chemical weapons against his own people. Other than a missile strike launched by the US following one of the chemical weapons attacks and for which Trump – unlike former President Barack Obama – deserves the credit, the world has been a bystander.Instead of "Never Again!" the reality has been "Again and Again!"And one of the principal reasons? We have to learn not only to love the victims of murderers but to hate and resist the murderers themselves.
And when we spend all our time directing our hatred toward one another, we allow those who are truly deserving of our revulsion to be overlooked.It's time for Americans to stop hating each other and instead work together – amidst legitimate political differences – toward making the world a place that is bereft of injustice and filled with the light of love and peace.
The writer, described as "America's Rabbi," whom The Washington Post calls
"the most famous Rabbi in America," is the author of The Israel Warrior
and is an international best-selling author. Follow him on Twitter and
Study: Wearing a used face mask can increase the danger of COVID infection
Research showed that masks alter the manner of inhalation and promote respiration of Covid-19-carrying aerosols.
Authors of a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and California Baptist University (published in Physics of Fluids, December 15, 2020) have concluded that wearing a previously used the three-layer surgical mask may be worse than not wearing a mask at all.
Their study focused on the effect of masks (both new and old) on airflow and the inhalation and deposition of particles in the respiratory tract, and showed that masks altered the way in which particles entered the nose and mouth in significant ways.
"It is natural to think that wearing a mask, no matter new or old, should always be better than nothing," said co-author of the study, Jinxiang Xi. "Our results show that this belief is only true for particles larger than five micrometers, but not for fine particles smaller than two and a half micrometers." Given that Covid-19 virions are between 0.06 and 0.14 micrometers in size, this should certainly give us pause for thought.
However, that wasn't all the study found. More critically, they discovered that the very action of a surgical mask, in distributing airflow throughout the entire mask rather than in a directed stream toward the nose or mouth, actually enhanced the respiration of aerosols, those particles responsible for coronavirus transmission.
The researchers designed a computational face mask model based on a person wearing a surgical, three-layer pleated face mask and used numerical methods to track the process of particles through the layers, investigating where they were ultimately deposited. What they found was that the speed at which the particles traveled was lower than without a mask, and that this actually promoted the inhalation of aerosols into the nose and eventually into the respiratory tract.
When comparing brand new masks with used masks, the findings were also disturbing. A new mask could filter around 65% of larger particles, but a used mask only achieved a 25% filtration rate. Taking the findings in combination, the conclusion of the study's authors was that wearing a used mask is worse than not wearing one at all.
It should be noted that the study only investigated the correct or recommended manner of wearing a face mask i.e. well-fitted and entirely covering the nose and mouth. Improperly fitted masks will certainly have a far lower rate of filtration.
At the conclusion of the Sabbath the rabbis ordained an additional short service to mark the end of the holy Sabbath and the beginning of the weekday. I have always been emotionally affected by this service. It is the genius of Judaism to be able to differentiate between the holy and the mundane, between what is special and unique, and what is essentially ordinary and usual. In fact, it was always the ability of Judaism and the Jewish people to draw distinct lines between the sacred and the profane, between being a holy nation and just another minority people on the face of the planet.
It is reported that when the great Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin visited the United States in the 1920s and then returned to Europe, when asked what his opinion of American Jews was, he profoundly stated: "They know how to make kiddush, but they do not know how to make havdalah."
By this, he correctly foretold how assimilation and Americanization would lead to a demographic disaster and the loss of Jewish identity amongst American Jews in the future. We have all unfortunately lived to see that making kiddush is insufficient to guarantee Jewish continuity. Rather, it is the ability to recognize and make havdalah that is the key to a Jewish future and Jewish generations.
Retaining Jewish identity always requires the ability to draw lines of differentiation between Jewish values, knowledge, and practice, and those of general society, its ideals and milieu. That has always been the key point in understanding the miracle of the survival of the Jewish people throughout the ages.
The havdalah service itself consists of four blessings. One is over a cup of wine or other special beverage. The second is regarding the fragrance of spices, flowers, or other plants. The third is over a two wicked flame and finally, the fourth blessing is the one that differentiates between the Sabbath and weekdays. The blessing over the wine is a traditional way to introduce any service of importance: as the sanctification of the Sabbath itself, the holidays, a wedding ceremony, circumcision, or the redemption of the firstborn son.
In the ancient world, and in our world as well, wine occupies a place of honor and special significance. It is, perhaps, the oldest agricultural product that humans created – certainly from the time of Noah – that has always been valued. By making a blessing on the wine we are indicating that the service itself is one of importance. It is not to be treated lightly or in an offhand fashion. The Torah always emphasizes that what can be treated as mundane and everyday can really be unique and important, and deserving of honor and special treatment.
The end of the Sabbath and the beginning of the workweek is such a special time. It moves us from one realm of spirit and behavior to another. To help us realize this, it is the blessing over the wine that alerts us to this change by impressing upon us the importance of the occasion, and the significance of the service itself.
The blessing over spices was enacted because when the holy Sabbath departs from us, our soul skips a beat, so to speak. The spices serve to strengthen our soul, just as smelling salts serve to strengthen our bodies when we feel inexplicably weak. Spice boxes have long been the province of Jewish artistry and creativity. There are literally thousands of different types of spice boxes that Jews have used for this service over the centuries. It is the fragrance that reminds us, once again. of the sweet serenity of the Sabbath day itself, and that in another six days there will be another Sabbath. The fragrance of the Sabbath past lingers with us and supports us during our workday week, and during our more mundane activities. It also lends a sense of drama and importance to the occasion.
Finally, the last blessing is the one that emphasizes the differences that exist in our world, as it marks the separation between light and dark, between sacred and ordinary, and between the Jewish people and the rest of humanity. By recognizing these differences, one gains the appreciation of the necessity to separate the seventh day of the week from the other six and reinforces the message of the Sabbath even as it departs from us.