How safe is the Covid-19 vaccine? What are the risk factors? TAKE THE VACCINE AND LIVE AND Who should be vaccinated? How is Israel able to provide the vaccine so quickly? Shaare Zedek is at the forefront of the mass vaccination program underway in Israel. Hear the latest info from Prof Jonathan Halevy here.Covid-19 Vaccine: Update from Shaare Zedek on Vimeo-- Do you know what happened to us when we came out of Auschwitz? by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and High Time to Stop Treating Israel Differently By David Harris and Parsha Vaeira
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.
How safe is the Covid-19 vaccine? What are the risk factors? Who should be vaccinated? How is Israel able to provide the vaccine so quickly? Shaare Zedek is at the forefront of the mass vaccination program underway in Israel. Hear the latest info from Prof Jonathan Halevy here. Covid-19 Vaccine: Update from Shaare Zedek on Vimeo --cut and paste https://vimeo.com/497554299
Samaria capital of the Shomron two of two
Samaria (Hebrew: שומרון, Shomron; Ancient Greek: Σαμάρεια, Samareia; Arabic: السامرة, as-Samira) was an ancient capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries BC. The ruins of the city are located in the Samaria mountains of Palestine, almost 10 km (6.2 mi) to the northwest of Nablus. Israelite Shomron (lit. "watch-tower"; also written "Shomeron") was located in the heart of the mountains of Samaria, a few miles northwest of Shechem. The ruins of the Israelite town, as well the ruins of towns built at this same location later in history, are all adjacent or within the modern Israel village of Sebastia. The "hill of Shomron" is an oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long flat top. According to the Bible , Omri, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel (reigned c. 870s BC), purchased this hill from Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomron", i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages. Omri resided here during the last six years of his reign.
Omri is thought to have granted the Arameans the right to "make streets in Samaria" as a sign of submission (1 Kings 20:34). This probably meant permission was granted to the Aramean merchants to carry on their trade in the city. This would imply the existence of a considerable Aramean population.
It was the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria bears in Assyrian inscriptions, "Beth-Khumri" ("the house or palace of Omri"). (Stanley)
According to Biblical tradition, Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad II came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1–21). A second time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed, and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (1 Kings 20:28–34), whose army, as compared with that of Ben Hadad, was no more than "two little flocks of kids."
The Bible teaches that in the days of Jehoram, Ben Hadad again laid siege to Samaria. But just when success seemed to be within their reach, they suddenly broke off the siege, alarmed by a mysterious noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving their camp with all its contents behind them. The famished inhabitants of the city were soon relieved from the abundance of the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gates of Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1–20).
According to Josephus, the ancient name of the site Shomron (Samaria) was changed to Sebaste by King Herod the Great, in honor of Augustus Ca
The Portion of Va'era
To Call For…and To Call To…
The Children of Israel are suffering under Pharaoh's cruel decrees. The Almighty sends Moses to negotiate with Pharaoh. With great courage Moses stands before Pharaoh and warns him that if he does not free the Children of Israel, Egypt will begin to feel G-d's wrath in the form of destructive plagues.
The threats of Moses and Aaron do not phase Pharaoh and the plagues begin. Blood, frogs, lice, wild animals- Pharaoh can no longer leave the safety of his palace and so he calls Moses and Aaron to appear before him.
As opposed to the plague of frogs where the Torah says that "Pharaoh called to Moses and Aaron", when it came to the plague of wild animals the Torah says "And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron".
Calling "for" by means of a messenger is not a command; it is a request. It is up to the one who receives the message to decide on how to respond. Calling "to" is different. Pharaoh sends a messenger and calls to Moses, knowing full well that if Moses will come then Aaron will join him.
There are two kinds of "calling"- one which is obligatory and the other which is similar to an invitation.
All of the above is alluded to by the addition of two extra "tagim" (crowns) atop the letter "kuf" in the "Vayikra" ("and he called for Moses and Aaron").
(Sefer Harokeiach and Rabbi Samson Refael Hirsch)
High Time to Stop Treating Israel Differently
By David Harris
The recent spate of annual anti-Israel resolutions at the UN is a telling reminder that Israel is treated according to a totally different standard than all other countries in the international system.
Of course, Israel deserves attention and scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less.
First, Israel is the only state whose capital city, Jerusalem, with which the Jewish people have been umbilically linked for more than 3,000 years, is not recognized by almost all other countries, with the notable exception of the United States and a handful of others.
Imagine the absurdity of this. Foreign diplomats live in Tel Aviv while conducting virtually all their business in Jerusalem, an hour's drive away, where the prime minister's office, the Knesset (Parliament), the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are all located.
In fact, look at listings of world cities, including places of birth in passports (with the exception again of the U.S., thanks to the current administration), and you'll see something striking– Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Pretoria, South Africa; Lima, Peru; and Jerusalem, sans country – orphaned, if you will.
Second, Israel is the only UN member state whose very right to exist is under constant challenge.
Notwithstanding the fact that Israel embodies an age-old connection with the Jewish people, as repeatedly cited in the most widely read book in the world, the Bible; that it was reborn based on the recommendations of both the League of Nations and UN; and that it has been a UN member since 1949, there's a relentless chorus denying Israel's very political legitimacy.
No one would dare assail the right to exist of many other countries whose basis for statehood is infinitely more questionable than Israel's, such as those that were created by brute force, occupation, or imperialist mapmakers. Just look around at how many nations fit those categories – including, by the way, quite a few Arab countries. Why, then, is it open hunting season only on Israel? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that it's the one Jewish-majority country in the world?
Third, Israel is the only UN member state that's been targeted for annihilation by another UN member state.
Think about it. The leadership of Iran, together with Iran-funded proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, has repeatedly called for wiping Israel off the map. Is there any other country facing such a stated goal of genocidal destruction? Meanwhile, a majority of UN member states continues to conduct business as usual with Tehran, as if this threat to another nation was either welcome or somehow irrelevant. Fourth, the UN has two agencies dealing with refugees. One, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), focuses on all the world's refugee populations, except for the Palestinians. The other, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), handles only the Palestinians.
But the difference goes beyond the anomaly of two structures, two bureaucracies, and two budgets. In fact, they have two strikingly different mandates.
UNHCR seeks to resettle refugees; UNRWA does not. When, in 1951, John Blanford, UNRWA's then-director, proposed resettling up to 250,000 refugees in nearby Arab countries, those countries reacted with rage and refused, leading to his departure. The message got through. NoUN official since has pushed for resettlement.
Moreover, the UNRWA and UNHCR definitions of a refugee differ markedly. Whereas the UNHCR services only those who've actually fled their homelands, the UNRWA definition covers "the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948," without any generational limitations.
Fifth, Israel is the only country that has won all its major wars for survival and self-defense, yet is confronted by some defeated adversaries who have insisted on dictating the terms of peace.
In doing so, ironically, they've found support from a number of countries which, victorious in war themselves, demanded – and, yes, got – border adjustments. A quick glance at, say, earlier maps of Europe and today's amply illustrates the point.
Sixth, Israel is the only country in the world with a separate – and permanent – agenda item, #7, at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.
No other member state, including serial human-rights violators like Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela, gets its own agenda item. Only the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East is treated in this blatantly biased manner because that's the way it works –the bad guys circle the wagons to protect one another, and, at the same time, gang up on Israel, creating an automatic majority against it.
Seventh, Israel is the only country condemned by name at the World Health Organization as a "violator" of health rights.
This canard happens despite the fact that Israel has achieved one of the world's highest life expectancy rates for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike; is among the very first medical responders to humanitarian crises wherever they may occur; and is daily advancing the frontiers of medicine for everyone, including in response to COVID-19, something that can't be said for too many other nations.
Eighth, Israel is the only country that's the continuous target of three standing UN bodies established, staffed, and funded solely for the purpose of advancing the Palestinian cause and bashing Israel – the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People; and the Division for Palestinian Rights in the UN's Department of Political Affairs.
Ninth, Israel is the only country annually targeted by double-digit UN General Assembly resolutions and countless measures in other UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council.
Indeed, astonishingly, every year Israel is pretty much on the receiving end of more such efforts than the other 192 UN member states combined. No one can seriously argue that this is remotely warranted, but it's a reality because in every UN body except the Security Council, where each of the five permanent members has a veto, it's all about majority voting.
When close to two-thirds of the world's nations belong to the Non-Aligned Movement, and when member states in recent years elected chairs from Iran and Venezuela, that just about says it all.
And tenth, Israel is the only state targeted by the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement.
Has anyone seen any significant campus activity that targets true human rights offenders, including some in Israel's neighborhood, who have dropped chemically-laced barrel bombs on civilians; taken aims at Christians; denied Palestinians full rights; persecuted LGBT communities; and used capital punishment, even for minors, with abandon?
Would a student government official be forced to resign over her support for the existence of any country other than Israel, as happened at University of Southern California? Would any campus tolerate a student senate president who likens any other country's government to Nazi Germany, as happened with Israel at Florida State?
Have the Democratic Socialists of America tried to prevent New York City Council members from traveling to any country other than Israel? Has anyone seen any flotillas or flytillas organized by European far-left groups that don't involve an anti-Israel angle? Has anyone seen movements demanding entertainers pull out from scheduled performances in any country except Israel?
Turkey, to take just one example, has brazenly and illegally occupied more than one-third of the island nation of Cyprus for 46 years, deployed an estimated 40,000 Turkish troops there, and transferred countless settlers from Anatolia, yet not a peep about Ankara from those who purport to act in the name of "justice" and against "occupation." Given political realities, tackling any of these instances of egregious double standards and blatant hypocrisy can be a daunting challenge. And, still worse, this list is not complete.
The old advertisement proclaimed that you don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Jewish rye bread.
Well, surely, you don't have to be a pro-Israel activist to be troubled by the grotesquely unjust treatment of Israel. All it takes is a capacity for moral outrage that things like this are happening in today's world.
David Harris is the CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC). Please join 77,800 others and follow him on Twitter @DavidHarrisAJC.
Reb Shlomo's Torah
THE DEATH OF HUMANITY …the king of Egypt died…(Sh'mos 2:23)
Do you know what happened to us when we came out of Auschwitz?
We didn't walk out completely free. We still thought, "What's so bad about our world, about Western civilization?" Now don't get me wrong. Our world is okay if you know how to take it. Medicine is good but you have to know how many pills to take.
The Rambam was a wonderful doctor. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a great engineer. But this is not what I mean by "western civilization." In m talking about what the world thinks about humanity.
According to the Ishbitzer, the Torah says, "vayamas Melech Mitzrayim" – "And the king of Egypt, died." But really Pharaoh was still alive. That says, and only he can say such a thing. The Ishbitzer says – and only he can say such a thing – that "vayamas Melech Mitzrayim" means that everything human in him died. Everything human died. He was not a human being anymore.
All the Rebbes say that before we left Egypt, G-d had to show us how bad Pharaoh was. We still thought: "Okay, maybe he's harsh, but he does give us Shabbos off." Or we thought: "Okay, he's cruel but at least he gives us straw to make the bricks."
So Pharaoh decreed, "For three days there will be no straw for bricks and no Shabbos." During those three days, the Yidden worked for Pharaoh during the day. But after the daytime work was done, any Egyptian had the right to force a Yid to work all night. How long can anyone function like this? It was not human!
So G-d said, "I have to take them out from the depths. I want them to know there is another way."
Please don't get me wrong. I love the world and I know there are a lot of good people. But even their own goodness in some way comes from G-d speaking to us on Mount Sinai and teaching us the right way to live. In the same way that G-d's voice is still being heard all over the world today.
When we look at the world it has to be clear to us. Which side are we on…which side are we on?
I want to bless you and me that G-d should take us out of the abyss, the abyss of inhumanity. What was the beginning of Yiddishkeit? It was with Avraham Avinu . What a human being he was. What a person! Avraham Avinu had a heart for everyone…even for the lowest pagans in the world. But the other side - those on the other side - don't care if millions of people are dying. And not only the peoples of other nations, they don't even care about their own people. They don't care about anyone or anything. Nothing!
We all have to stand up for the good. We have to thank the Master of the World for choosing us from all the nations and giving us His Torah. And we have to hope and pray that one day, one day soon, all the nations of the world will join us, so that together with all the good people of the nations, we can create a world that mamesh cares.