Breaking News: Coronavirus Israel Live: Vaccine Drive for Younger Teens May Begin Within a Month, HMO Chief Says ‘Four Keys of Kabbalah’: A Relatable Introduction to Jewish Mysticism and The Torah Portion "Va'Yakhel" in the book of Exodus and Most American Schools Are Damaging Your Child By Dennis Prager and for For over 40 years, this man bought millions of dollars of New York’s leavened bread products before Passover BY BEN SALES and this is the final day of Chul Hamoed Pesach in Israel with tomorrow (Shabbat) being The Seventh Day of Pesach with The Song by the Sea
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.
We find in the Passover Hagadah: "Rabbi Yose Hagalili says: What is the source which says that in Egypt the Egyptians were smitten with ten plagues while at the sea they were smitten with fifty plagues"?
In Egypt, it says " And the sorcerers said…it is the finger of G-d".
And at the sea, it says "And Israel saw the mighty hand ".
They were smitten ten times with a finger and five times ten with a hand.
And therefore in the Song, it says the word "yam" (sea) five times, each time signifying five plagues, relating to the five expressions of suffering which the Egyptians brought upon the Israelites.
The number five multiplies fivefold the plagues by the sea in comparison to what transpired in Egypt. This is alluded to by the crowns atop the letters "heh' in the words "hayad hachazakah" (the mighty hand).
(Sefer Harokeiach on the Torah)
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Most American Schools Are Damaging Your Child By Dennis Prager
I have been telling parents for decades that sending a child to almost any college is playing Russian roulette with his or her values.
But it is a different version of Russian roulette. In the traditional version, only one of the gun's six chambers contains a bullet. In the college version of Russian roulette, five of the six chambers contain a bullet.
If your child attends almost any university in America (or Canada or anywhere else in the English-speaking world), the odds are that your child's decency, intellectual acuity, faculty of reason, character, and moral compass will be damaged, perhaps permanently.
The worse news is that sending your child to almost any elementary school or high school – public or private – is fast becoming equally toxic. More and more schools are being taken over by left-wing ideologues and by non-ideologues who lack the courage to confront the ideologues.
Once infected with leftism, these schools teach children to hate reason, tradition, America, Christianity, whites, excellence, freedom, and masculinity. To cite one example, thanks to a million-dollar grant from Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Oregon Education Department has announced that teaching there is "one right answer" in math – yes, in math – is an expression of white supremacy. Why, then, would an Oregon parent who cares about his or her child's mind send that child to an Oregon school?
In addition to perverting education, teachers and their unions have exhibited a contempt for children that has taken even conservatives by surprise. Teachers' unwillingness to show up in class for more than a year is as unscientific as it is unprecedented.
On Feb. 3, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters during a White House news briefing that teachers do not need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before schools can safely reopen: "There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated. Vaccinations of teachers is not a prerequisite for safely reopening schools."
Nevertheless, in the country's major cities, these cowards and hypochondriacs – people who claim to care more than anything else about their students – have refused to return to school (while demanding to be paid). They have refused to teach, despite the facts that child-to-teacher transmission of the Covid-19 virus is extremely rare and a teacher being hospitalized, let alone dying, as a result of interaction with students is rarer than a teacher dying in a traffic accident on the way to school.
Why, then, would you send your child to be "taught" by people for whom you have – or should have – so little respect?
Why would you send your young child to a school that sponsors a "Drag Queen Story Hour" or that dwells on "non-binary" gender identity? Do you think such things do not damage your child's innocence? Do you want your child to be challenged about his or her sexual identity?
Why would you send your child to any school that teaches The New York Times' "1619 Project"? This project holds that America was not founded in 1776 but in 1619, with the arrival of the first black slaves in North America, and that the Revolutionary War was fought not to gain independence from Britain but to preserve slavery.
Virtually every leading historian specializing in American history – most of whom are liberals and Democrats, and some of whom were anti-Trump activists – have labeled "The 1619 Project" a lie.
Whenever I meet adults who hold traditional American values, I ask them three questions:
The first is, "Do you have children?"
If they do, my second question is, "How many of them share your values?" It is not common to meet people all of whose children share their traditional values.
If they respond that any of their children don't share their values, my third question is, "What happened?"
In every instance, these parents attribute the alienation of their child(ren) from their values to the college and, increasingly, the high school their child attended.
Moreover, not only are these children alienated from their parents' values; they are often also alienated from the parents. One thing you learn when you become left-wing is to have contempt for those who hold other beliefs.
Had these parents known how their children would turn out, they would never have sent them to college – or even to the high school they attended. It appears, however, that no matter how many people lose their children's hearts and minds to left-wing indoctrination, and no matter how much information accumulates about the perversion of education in American schools, parents continue to take risks with their children they would never take in any other sphere.
I am well aware of the enormous obstacles. If your child wishes to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or law, college remains a necessity. Otherwise, it isn't.
As for elementary and high school, parents must either find a school that teaches reading, writing, and arithmetic rather than America-hatred, or they should home-school their child. This, understandably, sounds terribly daunting. However, it is becoming considerably easier to do so as home-school groups and quality home-school curricula proliferate around the country.
Whatever your decision, don't say you weren't warned.
Coronavirus Israel Live: Vaccine Drive for Younger Teens May Begin Within a Month, HMO Chief Says
Deal to purchase 36 million vaccines is an 'insurance policy,' Health Ministry director says ■ Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe, effective on adolescents in the trial
Months into its mass coronavirus vaccination campaign, Israel sees a drop in COVID infections and in the number of serious cases. Israel has reopened commerce and culture for vaccinated people, but some restrictions remain on inbound and outbound flights. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 6,201 Israelis have died of the virus.
Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have received 30,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by Israel, as well as a shipment of over 160,000 vaccines via the COVAX scheme. A total of 2,236 people have died of COVID in the West Bank, while 598 have died in Gaza.
8:00 A.M. HMO head says children may be able to be vaccinated within a month
Ehud Davidson, the CEO of Clalit Health Services health maintenance organization, told Army Radio this morning that vaccination for children aged 12 to 15 may start within a month.
"It's not a matter of supply, the issue is that we're waiting for FDA and Health Ministry approval," Davidson said. "And from what I hear it's coming up, within a month."
He added that while the HMO is preparing for the next stage of the vaccine campaign, "the numbers are a lot lower than what we already carried out." There are about 600,000 children within that age bracket in Israel, he said, about half of whom are insured by Clalit. "I don't see a problem. It's the opposite, in fact: We can have a quick campaign."
2:55 P.M. Health Ministry says Israel ready to vaccinate teens upon regulatory approval
Israel is primed to begin vaccinating teens as soon as the Pfizer vaccine receives FDA and EMA approval, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
The official statement from the ministry said it was awaiting regulatory approval to confirm that the inoculation is "effective and safe for children."
"Pfizer's announcement is amazing news for the citizens of Israel," Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said. "Nothing is more timely than the acquisition of additional vaccines, so we can immediately begin vaccinating teens upon FDA approval," he added.
Sources in Israel's health maintenance organizations said that they are prepared to immediately enact a mass vaccine drive in adolescents and would only need several days notice. (Ido Efrati)
2:40 P.M. Israel Pediatric Association says it has already made preparations for vaccinating children
Following the announcement by Pfizer that their COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and extremely effective in children aged 12 to 15, the Israel Pediatric Association recommended vaccinating this age group as soon as FDA approval is finalized.
"The association prepared a list of underlying medical conditions in children two months ago," the association said. "We urge all parents of children with underlying medical issues to call their pediatricians now and find out if their children can be vaccinated." (Ido Efrati)
1:49 P.M. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe, effective on adolescents in trial
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday their COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12 to 15-year olds, paving the way for them to seek U.S. emergency use authorization in weeks.
Pfizer's vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16. The new study offers the first evidence of how the vaccine will also work in school-age adolescents.
In the trial of 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15, there were 18 cases of COVID-19 in the group that got a placebo shot and none in the group that got the vaccine, resulting in 100 percent efficacy in preventing COVID-19, the companies said in a statement.
The vaccine was well tolerated, with side effects in line with those seen among those aged 16 to 25 in the adult trial. It did not list the side effects for the younger group, but the adult trial's side effects generally were mild to moderate and included injection-site pain, headaches, fever and fatigue.
The companies also studied a subset of teens to measure the level of virus-neutralizing antibodies a month after the second dose and found it was comparable to study participants aged 16 to 25 in the pivotal trial in adults.
After Israel's successful vaccine drive in adults, it faces its next big challenge in vaccinating 600,000 young people.
The experts are in agreement that vaccinating this younger cohort will require targeted preparation and a public information effort. First of all, that's because Israel, which has led the world in vaccinating its population against the coronavirus, will be the first country to begin vaccinating those under 16 at a time when most of the rest of the world is still focusing on older people. That is expected to prompt some concern among parents. (Reuters and Ido Efrati)
The Torah Portion "Va'Yakhel" in the book of Exodus.
In this Torah portion, we are told about Shabbat laws.
In the existence of "Space-Time", Shabbat is like an island in time, a day of rest in the rush of activity that engulfs the other six days of the weekly cycle.
From sundown Friday evening to nightfall Saturday night — we cease all activities that considered to be "creation".
We transcend the worries and struggles of our daily routine, and enjoy the divine tranquillity of G‑d's "day of rest".
What Shabbat does is to create space within our lives and within society as a whole in which we are truly free.
Shabbat brought to the world a new concept about time.
People used to measure time either by the sun – the solar calendar of 365 days aligning us with the seasons – or by the moon, that is, by months of roughly thirty days.
The concept of the seven-day week was introduced to the world by the People of Israel.
The world has:
Years, because of the natural phenomenon - Sun
Months, because of the natural phenomenon - Moon
Weeks, because of the People of Israel.
Shabbat is an ever-lasting reminder of the seven days of the creation of the world.
The Torah was first translated into another language – Greek, around the second century BCE, in Egypt.
The translation was done by a team of seventy Jewish sages.
The Talmud notes that at various points the sages deliberately mistranslated certain texts.
The reason being is that they believed that a literal translation would simply be unintelligible to a Greek readership.
"On the seventh day God finished all the work he had made."
Instead the translators wrote, "On the sixthday God finished..."
The ancient Greeks could not grasp the seventh day, Shabbat, as itself to be part of the work of creation.
The idea seemed to make no sense at all to them.
For the people of Israel, who cease to create on Shabbat, Shabbat itself becomes the source of renewable energy.
This is that "portion" in the dimension of time that gives us the energy to continue creating during the other portions of time.
In our tradition Shabbat is called:
Shabbat The Queen
There is a custom to relate to the word שבת as an acronym:
שינה בשבת תענוג
"It is a pleasure to sleep on a Shabbat".
And indeed, many people have a good sleep during the day on Shabbat.
It is told about Rabbi Neta of Avrotch that his custom was not to sleep at all through the entire day of Shabbat, including the night.
People asked him:
Why don't you sleep on a Shabbat? One needs to have pleasure, not suffer!
Rabbi Neta replied:
It is told about Napoleon that he never took a nap during the day – he only slept at night.
Napoleon used to say: When I am asleep – I am not an emperor and I do not want to miss my status of being emperor even for a short while…
The Shabbat is a Queen, said rabbi Neta, and I do not want to miss its Royalty even for a short while…
In Hebrew the word 'Week', שבוע - SHAVUA is derived from the root שבע (SHEVA), meaning seven.
The holiday שבועות - SHAVUOT (the day on which People of Israel received the Torah) has its name from the fact that it occurred exactly seven weeks after People of Israel left Egypt on their way to freedom.
In Hebrew weekend is סוף שבוע - SOF SHAVUA
Currently, people in Israel just use the shortcut סופ"ש - SOFASH
It is interesting to note that the word "full" (for food) in Hebrew has the same root שבע (but with the letter Sin, instead of Shin)
Full (for food) - שבע - SAVEA
Satified - שבע רצון - S'VA RATZON
Now listen to a nice Shabbat song in English and Hebrew.
Its not often that an author hides such a wide-ranging and impressive work behind a title as simple and unassuming as "The Four Keys of Kabbalah" by Rabbi Yisrael M. Rice, longtime Chabad emissary to Marin County in Northern California.
Couching Kabbalistic and Chassidic concepts in relatable language and analogies, Rice deftly lays out the purpose of creation, human suffering and everything in between, and then goes on to draw direct lines between these big-picture concepts and how these truths are to be incorporated into everyday life.
Chairman of the editorial board and member of the executive committee of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), Rice has been on the forefront of Jewish adult learning for decades, and this book does not disappoint, bringing fresh perspective and relevance to timeless Torah wisdom.
Here, Rabbi Rice shares some of the genesis of the book, as well as what he hopes it will accomplish for readers:
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: I came to Marin County in 1987 and was excited to share Chassidism with the people I met. But I was disappointed. I would teach something I found earth-shatteringly revolutionary, and people would shrug and say, 'What does this have to do with me?' I realized that there was a problem with the messenger (me). I set about looking for a better way to convey these concepts which I have found to be so powerful and empowering. This eventually became a seminar, which gave birth to a series of JLI courses, and then this book.
Q: A reader of this book is immediately struck by how you begin with universal "macro" concepts, the Keys of Kabbalah, but you don't stop there, tracing those ideas into actual mitzvah observance and going into the specifics of the various mitzvahs.
A: That's right. I worked very hard to build a bridge between very big ideas and very small changes we can make in our lives, painting with broad strokes but filling in the fine details as well. To me, the two poles are both crucial and have a symbiotic relationship. Without the big picture, our Jewish observance—our very lives—lacks vitality and purpose. On the other hand, if it does not lead to action, the big picture is stunted. In other words, meaning is discovered through both deep understanding and doing something with that understanding.
Q: It's clear that you paid a lot of attention to how you convey the book's concepts, and there is a lot of rich storytelling, vivid analogies, as well as a touch of humor. Who is the book intended for?
A: My intention is to reach any person who is looking for deeper meaning behind Judaism. But it is applicable to any person, Jew or non-Jew, and most of it is perfectly understandable with minimal background information.
Q: Without giving away too much of the book, can you share what the Four Keys are?
A: Sure. They are:
Everything that exists is brought about by a Divine spark;
The Divine spark is concealed;
The purpose of this hiddenness is for us to discover and uncover the spark;
Only through discovery do we have ownership, and that gives meaning and value to us and our life's work.
But spelling out the Four Keys is only the first part of the book. I then go on to demonstrate how these four keys unlock meaning in our everyday lives, including the performance of various mitzvahs.
Q: What has it been like to release a book during Covid, when conventional book signings and speaking engagements are virtually impossible?
A: You just said the key word: virtual. I have had Zoom speaking engagements where Chabad Houses or community centers bring together 50, 100 people for a conversation and we then share a link where people can buy the book. I have had Zoom book-signings showing people as I inscribe the book for them and then pack it up for shipping.
And there have been hidden blessings as well. Chabad emissaries are giving out a lot of care packages these days. Some have purchased cases of books to put into the packages, which is something I would have not expected.
Q: How does this relate to the very popular JLI courses you have authored? Is the book a product of the courses?
A: I would say it's really the other way around. Over the course of decades, I wrote down and refined the ideas in the book. Along the way, a separate tributary opened up in the form of the JLI courses. Perhaps these courses will fuel future books.
Q: Do you have any final thoughts for readers?
A: The profound mystical idea is simple and elegant. More importantly, it's waiting for you to bring to life in your own unique way.
For over 40 years, this man bought millions of dollars of New York's leavened bread products before Passover
For decades, dozens of Orthodox rabbis would gather in a New York City synagogue on the morning before Passover and, one by one, sell millions of dollars worth of bread, pasta and other leavened products to one man.
That man, a real estate agent named John J. Brown, acted as the linchpin of a Jewish legal process that is crucial to those who keep the strict laws of Passover, which forbid Jews from owning or benefitting from hametz, or any products containing leaven. Because most observant Jews don't want to throw away all of their hametz ahead of Passover, they sell it to a non-Jewish person, who sells it back when the holiday ends.
For thousands of Jews, Brown was that non-Jewish buyer. Every year from 1977 to 2019, he bought hametz from the congregants of dozens of synagogues in and around New York City, completing the sales via the synagogues' rabbis.
Last year, the tradition was suspended because of the pandemic. This year, someone else will have to pick it up: Brown died in February at age 88.
"It meant an awful lot to him," said Paul Jacobs, Brown's son-in-law, who is Jewish and would often make the trip to New York City with him. "There was an extremely high level of mutual respect. It was a business transaction and John treated it as a business transaction, so that was part of it. John had this commitment to real estate and contracts and all that."
But Jacobs said that to Brown, it was more than just another business deal. Brown, Jacobs said, had a lot of intellectual curiosity and would pepper his speech with Latin phrases as well as Yiddishisms he picked up in New York.
"There's an element of fun to it," Jacobs said. "He was trying to follow the rules of the Torah and the Talmud, but there was some creativity there."
The respect was mutual. Rabbi Gidon Shoshan, the son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai Willig, who orchestrated the sales with Brown, wrote on Facebook that Brown "was a legend in the Willig family, in the Riverdale Jewish community, and — for those that knew his name — actually an important role player in the lives of many thousands of Jews each Pesach for decades."
Willig, who rarely speaks to the media, did not respond to a request for comment.
Willig and Brown met when Brown worked on the 1975 purchase of the Young Israel of Riverdale, where Willig was the rabbi. In 1977, the synagogue was looking for a new hametz buyer, and Willig thought of Brown, figuring he would understand the complex legal processes involved in the hametz sale.
"In Jewish law, real estate is a powerful lever for legal transactions," said Rabbi Shmuel Hain of Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale/Yonkers, who sold his synagogue's hametz to Brown for more than a decade and is close with Willig. "So Rabbi Willig liked to have someone in real estate because they understand the power of real estate and the overall significance of real estate in Jewish law."
Willig also was a leader at the Yeshiva University rabbinical school, and those he had trained also would come to sell their congregations' hametz to Brown. The transactions would take place at around 10 a.m. on the morning before Passover, the last possible time when Jews are allowed to have hametz in their possession. Dozens of rabbis and Brown would crowd around a conference room table at the Young Israel of Riverdale while Willig read through the contract.
Afterward, Brown would pay for the hametz with bundles of coins — a few cents for each of the thousands of households whose food he was purchasing. This token sum was meant as an ostensible down payment on the goods he was buying.
Brown would then signify that he completed the transaction under Jewish law in a few other ways — by picking up and placing a pen down on the table, signing a document and shaking the rabbi's hand. He repeated the same process with each rabbi. Eventually he became so experienced in the particulars of the Jewish practice that he began to teach newer rabbis how it was done.
"He always took an interest in them and would correct the novice rabbis who mixed up the order of the transactions, who would shake his hand before lifting up the pen," Hain recalled.
In addition to buying the leavened products stowed away in people's homes, Brown would symbolically purchase shares that people owned in businesses, such as hotels, that sold hametz over Passover.
Year after year, he also took temporary ownership of people's pets: Jews are not allowed to benefit from hametz in any way, so they are not allowed even to feed it to their pets. To get around that restriction, many people sell their pets along with their hametz, so that the animals eating the forbidden food on Passover do not technically belong to them.
"A number of years ago, we started saying to Mr. Brown, you're going to own a certain number of dogs, a certain number of cats," Hain said. "[He] had good humor when it came to some of the more silly, some of the lower-stakes kinds of issues."
Even after Brown retired and moved from Riverdale to Minerva, a town far upstate in New York, he would make the nearly four-hour trip back to New York City each year to buy hametz and see his old neighborhood. In return, Willig plugged Brown's real estate business — telling people to mention his name when they called his former agency so he would get a cut. And rabbis who sold hametz to Brown would also give him a bottle of liquor as a gesture of goodwill.
As he was listing the kinds of leavened foods prohibited on Passover during the 2015 sale, which was filmed, Willig mentioned fermented products and said, "I would daresay, Mr. Brown, the alcohol fermentations are probably the more valuable of the items that are being sold to you."
"Judging from the quality that I've seen around here, I would agree," Brown replied.
Jacobs said that some years, Brown would return from the sale "with a box of booze, but John liked to drink and he had friends who drank. So did he have a huge bar? No, because it was enjoyed."
(Jacobs pointed out, however, that though Brown's spirit of choice was Irish whiskey, the rabbis would often buy him single-malt scotch, which he saved for his guests.)
Some years, the hametz sale was only the beginning of Brown's Passover observance. After the sale, Jacobs said, he would drive down to Jacobs' house in Washington, D.C., where the family would have a seder meal that night.
"It is kind of funny that, as the designated goy, he still did go to seder," Jacobs said. "John always had a lot of respect for the Jewish community and the tradition."
Brown particularly liked the coda to the process at the end of Passover, when he would sell the hametz back to its original owners — always feigning regret at not being able to complete the original multimillion dollar sale.
"He would describe some delight in the process by which he would appear in the final ceremony and apologize that he couldn't come up with the money for the final transaction, so he had to give it back," Jacobs said.
Last year, due to the pandemic, Brown was unable to come to Riverdale. When Willig attempted to reach him this year, he learned of his death. He's now looking for someone to carry on Brown's legacy.
"He said we have to find someone together to do this going forward, and hopefully this person will outlast my tenure in Riverdale," Hain said of Willig. "For him, this was a moment where he sees it as an end of an era."
See you Sunday bli neder -Shabbat Shalom and happy 7th and final day in Pesach -the day we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea and the exodus from Egypt
We need Moshiach now-he/she is supposed to come on Pesah-if, not this year, maybe next