Gruesome experiments carried out in WW II in the name of science and Who said wine “gladdens G-d and man”? and Scientists Find Millipede With 1,306 Legs – and of Course, It’s in Australia and Rabbi Binyamin Kahane "Sometimes It Is Good To Be Deaf" Parshat VaYechi and Happy Secular New Year
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.
Scientists Find Millipede With 1,306 Legs – and of Course It's in Australia
The newly discovered subterranean arthropod is the first true millipede ever found, even if it looks like a worm with dainty feet
For the first time science has found a true millipede, one with over a thousand legs, and of course it's in remote Australia. In fact, it isn't much like most of the other species of millipedes known and loved around the world, being subterranean. This new species was found during drilling for minerals in Australia's Eastern Goldfields region.
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane "Sometimes It Is Good To Be Deaf" Parshat VaYechi
Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat VaYechi
SOMETIMES IT'S GOOD TO BE DEAF
When Jacob died, his sons took his body to Canaan for burial in Me'arat HaMachpela. When they arrived, however, they found Esav waiting for them with some "news"- "The remaining burial plot in the cave belongs to me," he said.
The stunned sons tried reminding Esav that he sold the spot to Jacob. Nothing doing. After an exchange of words (see Sotah 13a for details), they agreed that Naftali would run to Egypt and bring the document confirming that the burial plot was indeed sold to Jacob. In the meantime, they waited.
One of those waiting was Chushim, son of Dan. Chushim was deaf and therefore did not hear the discussion between his uncles and Esav. At a certain point, he asked his uncles what was causing the delay. They replied that Esav was holding up the burial until Naftali returned from Egypt.
Chushim was shocked: "Should my grandfather lie here in dishonor until Naftali returns?!" He immediately grabbed a stick, ran up to Esav, and killed him with a blow to the head. The Talmud relates that Esav's eyes fell out of their sockets and rested next to the legs of Jacob- an event memorialized by the verse, "The righteous one shall rejoice when he sees vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked" (Psalms 58:11).
This story is very strange. Why was Chushim the only one present who was shocked at what was happening? Why was he the only one who rose up to put an end to the disgraceful situation? Didn't anyone else care about Jacob's honor? Where were the zealots Shimon and Levi? Where was the mighty Yehuda?
The answer to these questions teaches us an awesome lesson. The difference between Chushim and the rest of Jacob's progeny was that Chushim was the only one not involved in the negotiations with Esav. Psychologically, the moment you hear out the other party and consider his point of view, even the most outrageous claim begins to be "understood." The very act of discussing it desensitizes you as you get accustomed to ideas that previously seemed absurd.
Without a doubt, if someone had told Jacob's sons beforehand that Esav was waiting for them at Me'arat HaMachpela to prevent their father's burial, they would have boiled over with holy rage and made sure they knew how to handle the situation. But what happened was, the moment they arrived, Esav made his case: "It's mine." Sure, Jacob's sons were shocked and angry, but it is human nature not to want to leave an argument or claim unanswered. And so they reminded him that he had sold the birthright. Esav immediately countered, "I never sold my burial spot."
At this point, the brothers knew Esav was wrong, but the fact is he had made an argument, and an argument demands some kind of answer. More importantly, at this stage Jacob's sons found themselves in the heat of a negotiation process. A neutral observer could easily get the impression that both sides were making reasonable claims. He would certainly have great difficulty realizing that before him stood a scoundrel whose entire goal was to disgrace Jacob.
Chushim, meanwhile, did not hear any of the back and forth. He knew only one thing: "My grandfather is lying here in disgrace!" Jacob's sons certainly knew exactly the kind of derelict, cheater, and murderer Esav was. But since they had entered into negotiations with him, they began to think that he was perhaps being sincere this time, and said to themselves, "All we need to do is convince him that we are right and everything will be okay." But Chushim did not have the opportunity to become "convinced" of Esav's sincerity and did not understand how the brothers were allowing this low-life to delay, even for a moment, the burial of Jacob, the father of the nation. And so, he stood up and took action!
Sometimes it is forbidden to negotiate. "What's wrong with it?" people ask. "After all, you're only talking?" But it's not so. When you hear out the other person- even if you know he is a liar with evil intentions- you will begin to "understand" him and think there might be something to what he is saying, after all.
Unfortunately, for years now we have been exposed to the lies of our enemies. Recently, even those faithful to Eretz Yisrael have begun to "adjust to the reality." We have grown used to things that would never have entered our minds only a few years ago. Heaven forbid it! Let us be zealous for the truth, and not have inferiority complexes when facing false claims from the lowest of peoples. WE ARE RIGHT! IT IS OUR LAND, AND NO FOREIGN NATION SHALL DWELL IN IT!
Darks Shel Torah, 1997
Who said wine "gladdens G-d and man"?
And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers; and he spoke to them, and to all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying:
2"Speak now, in the ears of all the men of Shechem; What is better for you, that there rule over you seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, or that one man rule over you? Now remember that I am your bone and flesh."
7And they told it to Jotham, and he went and stood on the peak of Mount Gerizim, and he raised his voice, and called; and he said to them, "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.
16And now, if you have dealt in truth and with sincerity, in that you have made Abimelech king, and you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and you have done to him according to the deserts of his hands.
18And you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have killed his sons, seventy men upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maid servant, king over the inhabitants of Shechem, because he is your brother.
20But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and consume the inhabitants of Shechem, and Beth-millo. And let fire come out from the inhabitants of Shechem, and from Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech."
24That (there) might come the injustice done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, and their blood (which he shed, now) to be placed upon Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and upon the inhabitants of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.
28And Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem that we should serve him? Is (he) not the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul (is he not) his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem, but why should we serve him?
33And it shall be, in the morning, as soon as the sun is shining, you shall rise early, and spread out upon the city; and behold, (when) he and the people that are with him come out against you, then you shall do to him whatever you can."
43And he took the people and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field. And he saw, and behold, the people were coming out of the city; and he rose up against them, and struck them.
48And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him: and Abimelech took the axes in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, lifted it, and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the people that were with him, "What you have seen me do, hurry and do like me."
49And all the people also cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them nearby the forest, and set the forest on fire upon them; so that also all the men of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.