WATCH: Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler on the Temple Mount andCOVID-19: 11 ways to differentiate real, fake news about pandemic - opinions there no way to differentiate between truth and falsehood in today’s hyperpolarized media environment? and Mental health and the world’s sukkah moment - opinion and Rabbi Moshe Tendler Dead at 95, Influenced Revolutionary Rulings of Father in Law’s ‘Igros Moshe
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.
Video of the Day For many years it was the custom of Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler, famed posek, professor, and son-in-law of the great Rabbi Moshe Feinstein to perform the commandment of "Mora Mikdash" - showing reverence to God at the place of the Holy Temple, by ascending the Temple Mount in strict accordance with halacha - Jewish law.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
COVID-19: 11 ways to differentiate real, fake news about pandemic - opinion Is there no way to differentiate between truth and falsehood in today's hyperpolarized media environment?
(August 27) came fast and furious – and was not particularly kind. I'll spare you the brunt of the comments, except for one in particular that has stuck with me."We have no way to know what is truly 'false' and what is truly 'true,'" the letter writer stated, referring to my rant against science skeptics who deny the efficacy of the vaccines.
"Anyone can say anything they want. Just because a website says
something is false doesn't make it false. Who knows who's paying them off?"Really? Is there no way to differentiate between truth and falsehood in today's hyperpolarized media environment?
For those of us trying desperately to navigate the astonishing amount of pandemic-related breaking news, I've put together an 11-point guide to becoming a better media consumer. My hope is that this can help contain the plague of medical antagonism that is driving communities, friends and families apart.
Start framing everything through the lens of 'How can I help my fellow human being?' (credit: Ivan Diaz/Unsplash)1. Check the domain.
Is an article posted on a site like "abcnews.com.co"? Sites peddling falsehoods often add "co" at the end. The Boston Tribune (now shut down) sounded serious but listed only a Gmail address as a contact.2. Does a news item seem too good to be true? Is it from a site you've never heard of?
Do a Google search for the same article and see if any mainstream news sites come up. Or explore other articles on the same site. If any of them seem outright fabricated ("Are globalists controlling the weather
to cause agro-terrorism?" is one I found), that's a sign that you should steer clear.
3. Does an article use provocative language?
Any site or article that calls COVID-19 "the flu" has an agenda. A site using all caps in headlines ("REVEALED!" "GENOCIDE," "DEAD") should immediately be suspect. Read past the clickbait; headlines are often written to bring in revenue and may bear little resemblance to the story itself.
4. Does a news item reference a study that has since been clarified or debunked?
That's the case with Dr. Ryan Cole, a prominent COVID anti-vaxxer in Idaho who, in a widely viewed viral video, cites a 2018 paper that, he says, claims, pre-COVID, that mRNA vaccines cause cancer and autoimmune diseases. The author of the paper subsequently responded to Cole, noting that the research he conducted does not support such claims at all.
5. Is there a financial incentive?
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, an Ohio-based osteopath, runs webinars on why people "should not take the shot." The cost: $165. Her in-person "Freedom Crusade" event in August had a ticket price of $57. The IRS says she owes more than $500,000 in back taxes. After Tenpenny fraudulently claimed that COVID-19 vaccines "magnetize" recipients, YouTube banned her.
6. Don't pay attention to what celebrities think about science or public health.
When talk show host Joe Rogen contracted COVID, he claimed that the controversial drug Ivermectin cured him in a matter of days. While there are a few small studies supporting the use of Ivermectin for COVID (including one from my own travel medicine doctor, Prof. Eli Schwartz, in Israel), the overwhelming majority of epidemiologists and health organizations have cautioned against its use.
7. Similarly, don't listen to politicians pontificating on stuff they don't understand.
US Sen. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, not an epidemiologist by training, implored in a recent video, "It's time for us to resist. They can't arrest all of us. We don't have to accept the mandates, lockdowns and harmful policies of the petty tyrants and bureaucrats." Like Sherri Tenpenny, Rand was suspended from YouTube for his COVID militancy.
8. Watch out for wild, over-the-top claims.
Cole insists that vaccines, social distancing and masks are all unnecessary. All you need is vitamin D, which he says can decrease the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 by a whopping 90%. That sounds wonderful and, midway through the pandemic, my own doctor's office sent out an email recommending that all their patients begin taking vitamin D as a preventative. But repeated studies haven't backed up vitamin D as a COVID therapy. I trust the Mayo Clinic over Ryan Cole.
9. Check your biases.
Do you want what you're reading to be true because it agrees with what you already believe or what you want to happen? Or do you want it to be false because it's about someone or something you love or have voted for?
(from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center) and NewsGuard can help determine if a site or story is legit. The latter features an interactive quiz to test your COVID myth-busting prowess. For example, "Based solely on domain names, can you tell which of the
following sites – Vaccines.gov, VaccineImpact.com, Immunize.org or ScientificAmerican.com – is an unreliable source?" (It's VaccineImpact.)
11. Finally, did a story make you angry?
Then it was probably designed that way (and likely not true). If you're not sure something is real, absolutely never, ever share it on social media – every comment or retweet is essentially a thumbs-up for Internet algorithms to amplify the message.IT'S IMMENSELY frustrating to have to look beyond the headlines all the time to figure out what's real and what's not these days. Being on guard doesn't make for pleasant media consumption.But when confronted by what journalist and political scientist David Rothkopf has dubbed an "infodemic," we all have to step up our game – or risk getting sent to a time-out or, worse, a round of sudden death. The writer's book, Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World, is available on Amazon and other online booksellers. brianblum.com
Mental health and the world's sukkah moment - opinion
The festival of Sukkot provides a path forward to people of conflicting political ideologies to agree on the sanctity of nature without making it into a political football.
ritual booth, used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot in their yard, in Jerusalem October 14, 2019. Picture taken October 14, 2019.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
The weather this summer in New Jersey has been insane.
Few doubt that the climate is changing, even as political partisanship seems to determine whether you believe this is man-made or natural.Oh, how I wish we in America could agree on something, anything!But the festival of Sukkot
provides a path forward to people of conflicting political ideologies
to agree on the sanctity of nature without making it into a political
The Jewish faith has long been connected to natural settings, even as religious Jews have wrongly been associated with urban sprawl. We need not go all the way back to the wanderings of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness to make the point.More
recently, the great Jewish mystics like Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari,
dwelled in the wooded North of Israel in Safed. In communing with nature
they found God. And why would one think otherwise? Michelangelo said it
best: "My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through
is the supreme Jewish moment when nature connect us with the divine. As
humanity becomes more reliant on the sturdiness of permanent
structures, the possibility of hubris ensues. Preempting naturalist
thinkers like Rousseau, the Torah was profoundly concerned that people
should not become so consumed by their own creations that we become
desensitized to the beauty of nature.Thus
there are laws that govern the building of cities, ensuring that they
never grow to become concrete jungles, where people can no longer see
green grass or flowers in bloom. The Torah spells out how all the Levite
cities were to look. There was to be a double surround to each town.
First a green belt of 1,000 cubits, and exterior to that, a
2,000-cubit-wide belt for "fields and vineyards" (Num. 35:2–5).Although
some exegetes maintain that the 1,000-cubit band was for pasture, Rashi
explains that it was not for use, but "for the beauty of the town, to
give it space." Maimonides reflects this idea by legislating that there
be a certain distance between trees and residences, and that a strict
proportion of each be maintained so that residences are not constructed
nature? Behind their strong wooden doors, surrounded by their strong
brick walls, humans feels invincible and impregnable. We feel immune
from danger as we relax in man-made abodes.But
all that security is insubstantial and easily lost, as we've all
discovered through the pandemic. By embracing vulnerability we remove
the protective layers and artificial barriers that wall us off from one
another and from God.Once
a year, a husband must take his wife into his mud hut. So many men want
to show women that they are kings who live in castles. They relate to
women through shining body armor. They misguidedly believe that only
strength and honor are to be respected. Confessing fault or
acknowledging insecurity is to be disdained.So
men especially hide their emotions and never speak of their fears.
They're strong and invulnerable and have no trepidation or fright.But
a wife also wants to know that her husband needs her, relies on her,
confides in her, confesses to her. She wants to meet him not in the
sturdy castle but in the open sukkah. Husband and wives grow closer when
they are out of their protective enclosures and dependency.Humanity
must experience and express emotional vulnerability. A man and a woman
fall in love with each other when they get emotionally naked. For that
to happen, we must sometimes expose the leaks in our hearts and the
cracks in our egos.The world is finally experiencing its sukkah moment. Simone Biles rejected a citadel made of gold for a sukkah made of emotion. Naomi Osaka and Michael Phelps came and added branches.Dwelling
in a sukkah is no longer stigmatized. Admitting that you are human and
frail is no longer seen as pathetic but strong, not weak but courageous.
Fear of confessing vulnerability is a manifestation of true insecurity.What
a shame it has taken this long. How many generations of men were lost
because they were told that only sissies feel? How many generations of
women felt condemned because they were not supposed to show cracks?In
2008 I published my book The Broken American Male where I argued that a
culture that falsely teaches men to project invulnerability is causing
them to crack under the strain of an increasingly toxic masculinity.I want to segue back to nature.I
feel most alive when I am in the outdoors. I love nothing more than
being on a bike or on a hike and watching a beautiful sunset. And I love
traversing America in an RV. I took our family to five national parks
this summer where we camped, walked and rode.Which is why I want to end with a plea to our elected officials.In
the entire northeastern United States there is only one National park,
Acadia in Maine. Can you imagine? Utah has five national parks. Alaska
has eight. California has the most, with nine.But
in all of New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, etc.
there is only one, in Maine. That's nuts. There is so much beauty. Why
hasn't the government given us more national parks?West
Virginia just got a national park, the New River Gorge. I can see the
Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Adirondacks of
New York, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the White Mountains of New
Hampshire all becoming national parks. Or even just one of them! If
only Congress would make it so.The world is becoming more sukkah-friendly. Not just seven days of the year but all year long.Happy Sukkot.The
writer, "America's Rabbi," is the author most recently of Holocaust
Holiday: One Family's Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on
Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.
Rabbi Moshe Tendler Dead at 95, Influenced Revolutionary Rulings of Father in Law's 'Igros Moshe'
Rabbi Moshe David Tendler passed away at age 95 on Shmini Atzeres, September 28. He was ordained at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from Columbia University, but was one of those great historic figures who will forever be remembered for their share in the achievements of an even greater historic figure, in his case, his father-in-law, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), commonly referred to as "Reb Moshe," the preeminent halakhic posek of the 20th century, who was probably also the most daring posek in many generations.
The most controversial ruling by Rabbi Feinstein Zt'l, the one that stands out to this day concerns brain death and the allowance to remove a beating heart from a patient whose brain death was verified, for a transplant to another patient.
After I wrote him a long answer explaining finding out the patient's medical condition, mainly the fact that his brain is destroyed because the oxygen does not reach his brain because of the cessation of blood flow, which is what causes brain death, the Gaon (R. Feinstein) wrote me on the 22nd of Tevet 5752, and it was printed in the Nishmat Avraham (published by Israeli physician A. S. Abraham):
In my humble opinion, it seems that a patient who needs a transplant in the United States may not be committing murder (by benefiting from a heart transplant – DI) because according to Rabbi Tendler's description, the donor receives a radioactive injection … to see if the bloodstream reaches the brain … And if the doctors really do that, my humble opinion is that this would depend on the results, since if it turns out that there is no brain at all … a pregnant woman who is attached to a respirator may continue to grow the fetus in her womb … and this issue can become clear in a few days … Therefore, I think that if the doctors maintain and make the above injections, it seems to the above-mentioned patient is considered as if he has been decapitated, or he is like an old man whose neck was broken, who is considered dead even when most of his flesh is intact."
An expert on Jewish medical ethics and Halakha, Rabbi Tendler was the posek for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and served as its president. He served as a senior Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University's RIETS and the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and Professor of Biology at Yeshiva College.
Rabbi Tendler was the rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Monsey, New York, where he was renowned for his unannounced visits to the homes of his congregants during Passover to check on the condition of their chametz which he had sold to a non-Jew on their behalf.
Rabbi Tendler translated various medical-oriented responsa of his exalted father-in-law into English, even though the latter allegedly forbade such translations. He wrote extensively on euthanasia, infertility, end-of-life issues, organ donation, and circumcision. He advocated strongly for the use of a tube when performing metzitzah b'peh—suction of blood after circumcision. He was an enthusiastic supporter of stem cell research and criticized the Bush administration's ban on government funding for it.
Rabbi Tendler's wife, Shifra, died in October 2007.