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.
Remembering The 1947 World Series By Irwin Cohen
The 2022 baseball season has had its ups and downs for most clubs in the early going, except for the Yankees, Mets and Dodgers. And some teams, especially the revamped, improved on paper, expected to win more often than losing, Detroit Tigers had a horrible start and many players were hit by injuries and batters were having their worst year of their career.
However, it's a long season and many surprises are ahead. One thing is for sure, the Yankees and Dodgers are the best teams in baseball roster-wise and will be playing deep into the post-season playoffs. The Mets aren't as deep in talent as the Dodgers but a great start could translate to another subway Series such as the World Series of 75 years ago in 1947 when the Yankees in Yankee Stadium with more than double the capacity of the Dodgers had then playing in Ebbets Field on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, beat the Dodgers four games to three and it was the first World Series to be televised.
The year 1947, however, was best-remembered as the season Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier and became the first black player in the major leagues. At the time, most newspapers referred to him as "colored." Reggie Jackson told me that when he was born he was "colored." When Jackson signed a pro baseball contract he was considered a "Negro." When Jackson's playing days ended he was "black." When Reggie was voted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, he was "African American."
The Jackie Robinson story is well-known through books and movies. In the first movie released in 1950, Robinson played himself and did a good job. He also did a good job in his first season as a player in '47, batting .297, with 12 home runs and stealing 29 bases for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It's hard enough to be a good player in the major leagues, But Robinson had to listen to racial taunts from other teams and fans in the stands when the Dodgers played on the road.
Calling the games on radio that year for Brooklyn was Red Barber, a man steeped in the prejudices of his era and place of birth. Barber was born in Mississippi and moved with his family to Central Florida when he was ten. "I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan and had grown up in a completely segregated world." Barber recalled in his book, "1947 – When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball."
Barber thought about quitting his play-by-play job. After all, a Southern gentleman in 1947 shouldn't be expected to work for an organization that would treat a black man as an equal. But Robinson wasn't an equal; he was superior to most as a player and as a man and even more educated than most players of his era.
Robinson went to college and starred at UCLA in basketball and football before serving in the army where he became an officer, serving in Kansas and Texas where white officers wouldn't give him a chance to try out for the baseball team. After military service and with doors closed to blacks in many fields including professional baseball, Robinson decided to play for the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the top teams in the Negro Leagues in 1945.
Robinson did well and attracted the attention of Branch Rickey, one of the owners of the Brooklyn Dodgers and general manager of the team that would sign him to a professional contract in early 1946 where he would be assigned to Brooklyn's top minor league club in Montreal. In Jackie's first game in pro ball in '46, he homered and as he rounded the bases he wondered if any of his new teammates on the Montreal Royals would even want to shake his hand. Outfielder George "Shotgun" Shuba, aptly named for his rifle arm, met Jackie at home plate and became the first player in pro ball to ever shake a black player's hand. The pair would advance together to Brooklyn and be teammates for eight years.
Red Barber was also following Robinson's progress. It was just a matter of time before Jackie would be up with the Dodgers and Barber was mulling over quitting announcing Dodgers games. "I didn't quit, of course," Barber related in his book.
Barber wrote, "I made myself realize that I had no choice in the parents I was born to, no choice in the place of my birth or the time of it. I was born white just as a Negro was born black. I had been given a fortunate set of circumstances, none of which I had done anything to merit, and therefore I had best be careful about being puffed up over my color."
Besides paying tribute to Jackie Robinson here and there this season and at the All-Star festivities at Dodger Stadium, baseball will be celebrating the 100th birthday of baseball's first lady July 19, the still regal, eloquent Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife. Jackie was only 53 years old when he died 50 years ago in 1972 when Rachel was 50.
I have a dog that I love dearly. She has brought joy to my life and brought smiles to the faces of many. I've heard many people say that animals don't have souls or that their souls are different from ours. When I look at my dog I feel as though her soul is on a higher level than a lot of people I've met, partially due to her selfless nature. There is no question in my mind that she knows right from wrong and she will do everything in her power to cheer up someone who needs it. Animals think, express emotion, and feel pain and pleasure. Many humans aren't even sensitive enough to know when another person needs emotional support!
How does Judaism view the spirituality of animals – and specifically dogs? Do animals have souls? Is there a special place in Heaven for precious animals? I hope you can shed some light on this issue.
The Aish Rabbi Replies
You are asking a very deep question.
The great kabbalists explain that all living things – human and animal – have souls. However, not all souls are created equal. As described in Genesis 2:7, every human being has both a "nefesh" and a "neshama." The nefesh is defined as an animal soul – the life force, the instinctual, animalistic drives. The neshama, in contrast, is a purely spiritual component, a divine spark that distinguishes man from animal. This is the part of us that yearns for spirituality and closeness to God.
Humans and animals all engage in emotional responses such as love, fear, loyalty, imagination, memory, intelligence, etc. We run from danger, have survival instincts, and are driven to procreate. This all emanates from the lower animal soul.
But there exists in humans another spiritual entity that is very different and much higher. Humans also have a divine, spiritual soul. Only this soul has the ability to forge a relationship with the Divine, transcendent dimension of existence. This is where humans enter the unique realm of making a free will and moral decisions. Only humans have the ability to choose higher "soul pleasures" – like helping the poor, even at the expense of lower "body pleasures" like hoarding more food for ourselves. You'll never see a hungry dog say to his friends, "Let's not fight over this," or "Let's save some for Fido who came late."
As human beings, we are locked in a constant battle over which soul will lead our lives. The measure of true "humanity" is the degree that which one controls the animal soul because otherwise, a person is acting like an animal. (Actually, as the Sages explain, he is worse than an animal. Wasting spiritual potential is something that only a human is held accountable for.)
In light of this, the Torah prohibits the consumption of blood (see Leviticus 7:26). The Talmud explains that the "animal soul" resides in the blood of the beast, and since the animal soul is essentially coarse and unrefined, eating blood internalizes that trait. The Torah's message is "Don't take the animal instinct, the animal life force, and increase its prominence within your personality. Minimize that part of you, and maximize the aspect of you which is spiritual."
(For meat to be kosher, the blood must be removed either by a process of soaking the meat in salt and then rinsing it out or by broiling it in a flame. Ironically, Jews throughout the ages have been accused of the "Blood Libel" – i.e. killing Christian babies in order to use their blood to bake matzah. As absurd as this claim is, it is even more so in light of the Torah prohibition against eating blood!)
All this is not to demean animals in any way. That is how they were created, and of course, they serve an important purpose in the world. They are mentioned throughout the Bible and the Talmud for their great qualities. For example, a dog in Hebrew is called Kelev – a contraction of the words Kol Lev –meaning a "full heart." Thus we can learn from a dog the meaning of loyalty.
Interestingly, one verse in the Torah says that if a Jew has a piece of non-kosher meat, he should "throw it to the dogs" (Exodus 22:30). Another verse says that at the Exodus from Egypt, no dog barked (Exodus 11:7). The Midrash explains that dogs are singled out for non-kosher meat as a special reward for not disturbing the Jewish Exodus.
There is another great difference between animals and humans. The divine-human soul is completely independent of any physical substance. For a human being, when the body expires, the divine spiritual soul lives on eternally. Whereas since animals lack a divine soul, when the body expires, their animal soul expires, too. So even though they have an important place in this world, there is no heaven for animals.
Inspired by the success of the McDonalds brothers, Keith J. Kramer and his wife's uncle Matthew Burns decided to open their own, similar restaurant in July of 1953.
This first restaurant was named Insta-Burger King and was located in Jacksonville, FL.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S CHUTZPAH JOKES OF THE WEEK
The definition of chutzpah:
Is the man who killed his parents who asks for mercy from the court.
The judge asks "On what grounds should we grant you mercy?"
Man "On the account of I'm an orphan!"
What is the definition of chutzpah – it's when someone is being treated for a multi-personality disorder and wants a……..group discount
Q: Did you hear about the Jewish ATM? A: When you take out some money, it says to you, what did you do with the last $50 I gave you?
A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for a dollar each. Every day a young man would leave his office building at lunchtime and as he passed the pretzel stand he would leave her $1.00, but never take a pretzel.
This offering went on for more than 3 years. The two of them never spoke. One day as the young man passed the old lady's stand and left his dollar as usual, the pretzel lady spoke to him for the first time in over 3 years. Without blinking an eye she said: "They're $1.25 now."
2 Jewish guys are walking down a street when they see a Catholic church with a sign out front that says "Convert today and get $1000 dollars". The first Jewish guy says "Can you believe their chutzpah, thinking someone would convert for money?!".
The other Jewish guy says "A thousand dollars?! I'm gonna go for it!" and runs into the church.
Well the first guy is shocked, he stands outside waiting for his friend who comes out 30 minutes later counting hundred dollar bills. The first guy says to his friend "I cannot believe you! How can you turn your back on your religion, your family, forsake every spiritual thing you held dear, for $1000 dollars?!"
The other guy looks up from counting his money and says "Wow, it's always about money with you people, isn't it?"
A little Jewish grandmother gets on the crowded bus and discovers that she doesn't have the correct change for the fare.
The driver says, "I'm sorry ma'am but without the correct fare you can't ride."
She places her hand gently on her chest and says, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me."
He lets her ride. She tries to move down the crowded aisle, but people won't make way for her. She places her hand gently on her chest and says, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me."
The crowd parts like the Red Sea. She reaches the back of the bus where there are no seats. No one gets up. She places her hand gently on her chest and says, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me."
Several people jump up and insist that she take their seat. She settles into a good one by the window.
A woman leans over to her and says, "I know this is none of my business, but just what is it that you've got?"
The little Jewish grandmother grins and says, "Chutzpah."
Issy is walking down the road with his friend Max after listening to him go on and on kvetching for an hour. when he suddenly says.
You know what, Max, You're a walking economy".
Whatever do you mean by that?" Asks Max.
" Well , it's likely this…. your hair line is in recession, your stomach is a victim of inflation and the combination of these factors about you is putting me into a depression!"
Yankel from Williamsburg puts up a sign that says "Boat for sale"
Yoily, his friend says, "But Yankel you only own a house and a car"
"Dat's right" Yankel responded "And dey are boat for sale"