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.
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
Moses vs. the Gaslighter By Aharon Loschak
You may have heard the term "gaslighting" before. It describes a particularly cruel and pernicious form of emotional abuse.
The term originates from a 1944 film about a vile husband who, for personal financial gain, seeks to convince his own wife that she is insane. So what did he do?
Each night, he went to his neighbor's house and from there, crawled through a window into his attic, where he would rummage around. He would also turn on the gas lights, blocking the flow of gas to the floor below and causing the lights there to dim.
When he would officially "come back home," his wife would tell him that she heard noises from the attic and had noticed the gas lights flickering and dimming. He would insist that it couldn't possibly be true, and that she must be going mad if she really thought so. And so the pattern continued until he almost succeeded in his cruel plot.
I won't spoil the end of the story. What's relevant for us is identifying this particularly terrible form of abuse: One party knows the truth and seeks to rob the other party of their own reality, or at least make them question it. With time, this can seriously wear down a person's psyche and literally drive them mad.
As it turns out, we all have a classic gaslighter inside of us.
Parshat Shelach tells the sorry story of the Spies. Despite G‑d's promise to deliver them the Land, the people send scouts ahead, and they return with a dastardly report. "The fruits are huge, and the people gargantuan!" the spies wail. Everyone starts wringing their hands, saying things like, "They're too strong for us, G‑d can't help us with this one!" and the future look terribly bleak.
Long story short, the people are punished and relegated to 40 years of wandering in the desert. The spies die a horrific death, and Moses gives the people a what-for.
The next event is quite surprising. These very same cowards get up early the next morning, make an about face, and say:
"We are ready to go up to the place of which G‑d spoke, for we have sinned."1
Granted it was too late, but what just happened? Yesterday they were quaking in their boots, and overnight they turned into mighty warriors?
If you look at the verses in between, it only seems more bizarre. The only thing on record are Moses's words to the people. And they aren't pretty: Moses sternly tells them off, informing them that G‑d is furious with them and has promised not to let them enter the land.
Let me ask you: does that sound very inspiring? Is that an effective way to turn someone around? To scream at them? Apparently, it worked for Moses. But how? What was the formula that magically turned an entire nation overnight from meek cowards to fearless warriors of G‑d?
The answer is, "Yes! It absolutely worked!"
Because Moses knew that he was dealing with a massive, overgrown, gaslighter gone wild.
Don't Engage the Gaslighter
Moses knew that the internal voice whispering, "They're too strong and G‑d can't do this" was really gaslighting the people. It's the voice of the yetzer hara, who tries to sway a Jew off the true path. We each possess a soul that's a literal piece of G‑d and always connected with Him. We believe in G‑d and wish to follow His will in our deepest selves, and to suggest otherwise is simply ridiculous. All temptations to the contrary are just that: temptations planted by G‑d to test our resolve and see if we will remember who we really are.
So when the spies came back with their negative report and sent the people into a hapless tizzy, Moses knew that it was all a fake. It was an internal voice trying to rob a believing people of their own truth.
Moshe saw the elephant in the desert: a big gaslighter.
Do you know what you're supposed to do when someone is gaslighting you? Do you engage, trying to prove that the lights really did dim? Do you show screenshots and email proof?
Absolutely not! The more you do so, the more you walk right into their trap. "See, you really are crazy! You even think this screenshot is real! Ha! You're ridiculous!" the gaslighter shoots back at you. And you start tearing your hair out.
Don't do it. Your mother and your therapist will tell you one simple rule: Don't engage. Tell them, "You're ridiculous. I don't have time for you, so get out of my life. I know the truth, and you will never rob that from me. Goodbye."
This is something you must always remember: The gaslighter is not real. The entire point of their game is for you to engage, lose energy, and eventually question your own truth.
The people in the desert were being gaslit, and big time. So what did Moses do? He yelled at them: STOP! Enough of this nonsense! Stop listening to these ridiculous fakers and start remembering your own truth! He was not just screaming at them, but screaming at their inner collective gaslighter: "Buddy, the game's over. Get out of our lives."
And just like that, overnight, the people turned into fearless believers. With the gaslighter out of the way, truth prevailed.
Remember Your Own Truth
So many people spend way too much time battling inner demons. But often, the remedy is quite simple: Don't engage; scream at the demons instead!
This is especially true with matters of faith. Too often, that inner voice comes along and tells you, "You don't really believe in all this stuff. You're a practical person, and abstaining from lobster because of some ancient verse is absurd. Come on, do you really think that anything will happen if you don't keep Yom Kippur this year, or stop putting on tefillin, or miss a Shabbat candle-lighting one time? Give me a break!"
When the voice comes swinging, don't make the mistake of engaging. "Maybe he's right? Perhaps I really don't believe? Maybe I'll pass up Yom Kippur this year and see what happens?"
How foolish to fall into this trap! You are being denied your own truth by a gaslighter inside your own head. Don't do it. Instead, keep your eye on the prize, remember the truth and tell that inner voice what it needs to know:
On June 17, 1967, today 55 years ago, then Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan solely made one of the most important and fateful decisions in the history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Just days after the end of the Six Day War, Dayan agreed to establish the new "Status Quo" regarding the Temple Mount. Fearing open discussion about his decision, Dayan's agreement was not positively ratified by Israel's government of the day or by any government since.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site. It is the biblical Mount Moriah where Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac. It is the site at which King Solomon built the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 BCE. It is the site at which the Jews, 70 years later, built the second Temple. As a pamphlet for tourists published in 1924 by the Supreme Muslim Council openly declares: "This site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute."
The Temple Mount is also holy to Muslims, who refer to it as Al-Haram Al-Sharif ("The Noble Sanctuary"). The Muslims added two dominant structures to the site: The Dome of the Rock, built in 691, that stands in the middle of the mount directly over the ruins of the inner sanctuaries of the two temples; and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built in 693, in the south western corner of the mount. In the 1990's the Waqf excavated the area known as "Solomon's Stables", turning it into a new mosque referred to as the El-Marwani Mosque. It is located 12 meters below the current courtyard, and the Supreme Muslim Council pamphlet notes that the area of the Stables "dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon's Temple. According to Josephus, it was in existence and was used as a place of refuge by the Jews at the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 A.D." It was Titus who destroyed the second temple.
After Israel liberated Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from the illegal Jordanian occupation (1948-1967), a decision needed to be made as to what access to the Temple Mount would be given to Muslims and Jews.
Seeking to placate the Muslims after their unequivocal defeat, Dayan offered the Jordanian Waqf control of activities within the walls of the mount itself while Israel would be responsible for external security and public order. Dayan further conceded that Muslims would be granted free access to the site. He further agreed that while there would be no limitations on the number of Jews entering the mount, they would not be allowed to pray there. The argument has been made, that in ceding the internal activities on the mount to the Waqf, Dayan sought to neutralize the religious ingredient of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
However, secret documents released by the Israeli archives and reviewed by Palestinian Media Watch, provide a unique opportunity to expose the authentic and official "status quo" instituted in 1967.
On August 15, 1967, to mark the day which Jews commemorate as the day of the destruction of both temples (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av) then IDF Chief Rabbi Major General Shlomo Goren arranged that Jews would go up to the Temple Mount to conduct prayers.
A meeting of the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Safeguarding of the Holy Places convened, on August 13, 1967, to discuss Rabbi Goren's plans. The committee specifically rejected a suggestion to ban Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, preferring to instruct the head of the committee to meet with Rabbi Goren and inform him that he should desist arranging prayers. A similar instruction was given to Minister of Defense Dayan to convey to Rabbi Goren through the IDF Chief of Staff. Interestingly the written summary of the decision made in the meeting is dated August 16, 1967. The original protocol of the decisions of the meeting and its translation appear below.
Reneging on pre-election promises of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, to allow Jews to openly pray on the Temple Mount, no change was made.
For certain periods of time, the Temple Mount was entirely closed to Jews, predominantly during and after eruptions of Arab violence and terror. In contrast, the site is almost never closed to Muslims, except in exceptional circumstances, such as in July 2017, when the mount was closed for a few days, after terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on patrol on the site.
While no Israeli government ever ratified Dayan's agreement, to this day, the "status quo" on the Temple Mount is that the internal part of the site is run by the Waqf and Israel is responsible for the external security and maintaining public order. Muslims are allowed to freely visit the site, in unlimited numbers, subject to fine tuning to take into account safety and security precautions. Jews are only permited to enter the site for limited hours of the day, and in limited numbers and are mostly not allowed to conduct individual or communal prayers.
Since its creation, the Palestinian Authority has continuously and consistently used the Temple Mount as a means to inflame religious fervor and as a rallying call for violence and terror. Repeatedly claiming that Israel is planning to destroy the "Al-Aqsa Mosque" which it deceivingly defines as being 144 dunams in size – i.e. the entire area of the Temple Mount – the PA misleads the Palestinians, and indeed the entire Muslim world, into falsely believing that "Al-Aqsa is in danger."
While documents and 55 years of reality clearly demonstrate that Israel has no intention to even undermine, let alone destroy, any part of the site, the PA still claims, as shown by PMW, that "Since the June War (i.e., the Six-Day War in 1967) – we are talking about its 55th anniversary – there are [Israeli] intentions to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged Temple." [Official PA TV, June 6, 2022]. For the PA, which has no say whatsoever regarding the manner in which the site is run, allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount would be no less than declaring World War III. Similar empty rantings were also made by the PA before the US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Since 1967 a lot has changed. Over the last decades, most western societies have developed and adopted a much more heightened sense and value of personal freedoms and rights, including freedom of religion and religious practice. The idea that the decision of one person alone –Dayan – could prevent all Jews from praying at Judaism's most holy site would, today, be inconceivable. At the same time, over the years, the desire and willingness of Jews to enter the Temple Mount has increased dramatically.
Since it is now unreasonable to believe that Muslims are inherently incapable of recognizing the legitimate rights of Jews to pray on the Tempe Mount and expressing the religious tolerance required, maybe the time has come for Israel's government to finally clarify, what exactly the "status quo" on the Temple mount was, is, and should be.
The following is the protocol of the decisions of the Ministerial Committee for Safeguarding of the Holy Places followed by its translation:
Male fertility: The best age to become a father, as per studies
Men often think that their age doesn't matter when it comes to having a child and the biological clock is important only for the child-bearing mother. However, the number and quality of the sperm declines with your age. From a biological standpoint, experts recommend a man is best suited to fatherhood from his late 20s to early 30s.
It is still possible for men to father a child in their 50s and older. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest man to father a child was 92 years old at the time of the birth. Still, researchers have found that a man's age can affect a couple's chances of becoming pregnant. Males over 40 years of age have a lower likelihood of success.
02/10Men's biological clock
Men typically never stop producing sperm but that doesn't mean they don't have a 'biological clock' like women. As a man ages, his sperm undergoes genetic mutations which increases the likelihood that the DNA of his sperm may be damaged. This can influence fertility and also create potential impacts on the health of his future children.
Studies have shown that fathers of an 'advanced paternal age' may be more likely to have children with neurodevelopmental disorders. A study done in 2010 observed the offspring of men over 40 had a five-fold risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder compared to the general population.
03/10At what age men stop producing sperm?
Men typically never stop producing sperm, but there is a decline in sperm quality with age. The World Health Organization has set semen parameters which are benchmarks for healthy sperm. These include count, morphology (shape), and motility (movement). Starting around the age of 35, men may see their semen parameters getting worse.
04/10Sperm health and fertility
Sperm health can depend on various factors which influence chances of fertility. In terms of quantity, fertility is most likely if the semen discharged in a single ejaculation contains at least 15 million sperm per milliliter. Too little sperm in an ejaculation might make it more difficult to get pregnant. When it comes to sperm motility, pregnancy is possible with less than 40% of the sperm in ejaculate moving, with 40% being the threshold since the more the better chances of fertility.
05/10What window are you most fertile?
The age where a man is most fertile is between 22 and 25 years. It is suggested to have children before the age of 35. After this age, the male fertility begins to worsen. After 35, the sperm might result in pregnancies where mutations can occur. Going further, if the age of the man is above 45 years, then the chances of having a miscarriage are much higher, irrespective of the age of the pregnant woman.
06/10How long should you wait
What age is too young too young to become a father? A research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that becoming a father before the age of 25 could lead to serious health consequences and may even lead to untimely death in middle age. The study found that men who became fathers earlier in life were more likely to have poor health and die younger than those who delayed fatherhood until they were 30 to 44. Apart from this, there is a considerable amount of psychological and financial stress that can come with having a child in your early adulthood when you are not fully prepared for it.
07/10Lifestyle factors that hamper fertility
There are many lifestyle factors that can hamper your sperm quality. These include a poor diet, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs and obesity. Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move efficiently through the woman's reproductive tract to reach and fertilise the egg. Smoking has been associated not just with a decrease in the sperm quality, but also their amount and motility.
08/10What are the fertility tests available for men?
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while to no avail, then you must visit a doctor. For men, there are a wide range of tests to find out whether or not you're infertile.
Start with getting an evaluation by a urologist. You'll have to undergo a physical exam and the doctor will ask you of your medical history and lifetsyle habits.
A physical exam will include examining your testicles, where the doctor will look for varicoceles, abnormal formations of veins above the testicle.
You can also get a sperm and semen analysis, wherein the expert will check your sperm count, their shape, movement, and other characteristics.
In addition, one can also opt for hormone evaluation, in which the doctor will assess the level of testosterone and other hormones in the body.
Other tests include, genetic testing, anti-sperm antibodies, retrograde ejaculation, etc.
09/10How to produce optimum sperm
In order to produce optimum sperm, it is essential to eat healthy foods. If you're overweight, losing a few kilos will make it easier for you to conceive. Some studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants can also help. Cut back on alcohol and smoking to improve your sperm quality. Quitting both gradually is the best option. Keep your groin cool as your testicles make the best sperm when they're slightly cooler than the rest of your body. To do this, avoid wearing too tight clothes, resting a laptop in your lap for long, spending a lot of time in a hot environment, or sitting for long periods of time.
10/10How to preserve your fertility
A healthy lifestyle is a great way for improving your overall sperm health. However, there is no guarantee that it will prevent the effects of your old age on your fertility. If you want to protect your fertility, you can consider freezing your sperm while it's at its youngest and healthiest quality. Sperm freezing is the process of collecting, analyzing, freezing and storing a man's sperm. This can provide you with more flexibility when it comes to when you want to have children.