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JDN
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« Reply #550 on: January 30, 2012, 09:21:32 AM »

"More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor."

Perhaps Rabbi Spero may want to read the New Testament......
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #551 on: January 30, 2012, 03:00:31 PM »

JDN:

The material you quote seems simple and obvious to me, yet your point is unclear.  What is it?



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JDN
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« Reply #552 on: January 30, 2012, 03:25:02 PM »

I'm not at a computer but my point is that Christianity (Jesus) suggested giving all your money to the poor. Further Jesus says "it is very difficult for a rich man to go to heaven" implying that capitalism is NOT the way to heaven. Jesus had no respect for those who sought material things. Rather he suggested sharing what you have.

My point is that the Rabbi I/you quoted ignores the teaching of the New Testiment yet he references Christianity.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #553 on: January 30, 2012, 04:08:43 PM »

"(Jesus) suggested giving all your money to the poor. Further Jesus says "it is very difficult for a rich man to go to heaven" implying that capitalism is NOT the way to heaven. Jesus had no respect for those who sought material things."

You will find some mixed messages on economics in the Bible if you dig deep enough. Quoting a different verse does not make the first one go away. Giving "all" seems a bit impractical as you would likely starve to death and therefore not give much.  Providing for your own family first is not IMO seeking "material things".  All Christian Bibles I have owned contained both testaments unless labeled 'New Testament' instead of 'Holy Bible'.

Beyond economics, Judeo-Christian liberals will have difficulty quoting where in the Thou Shalt Nots God distinguishes between killing off your young in the various trimesters, killing for gender selection or killing off black babies at 3 times the rate of white babies as is the effect of their policies in the U.S. today. 
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JDN
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« Reply #554 on: January 30, 2012, 04:26:44 PM »

Yes it is all one Bible, but it's the New Testiment that distinguishes and makes it "Christianity". I agree the Old and the New Testament believe in supporting your family, doing a days hard work, but the excess.... The millions, the giant houses, yachts, material things, etc. are frowned upon and advised against very strongly and consistently in the New (Christian) Testament.
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G M
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« Reply #555 on: January 30, 2012, 09:52:58 PM »

Where does the bible say no yachts?

Yachts are built by craftsmen. Are they better off having businesses/jobs, or charity from the wealthy?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #556 on: January 30, 2012, 10:40:25 PM »

Umm, , , for the record, the Torah (the Old Testament to you break way cults  cheesy ) has quite a bit about generousity to the poor.

Not being Christian, it is from a place of utter humility that I say this, but I am completely unaware of any efforts on Jesus's part to call for Caeasar to raise tax rates and redistribute wealth at the point of a sword.
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Rachel
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« Reply #557 on: January 31, 2012, 09:09:10 AM »

Rabbi Wolpe

https://www.facebook.com/RabbiWolpe
The Torah teaches God blessed Abraham with "everything" (Gen. 24:1). Yet Abraham left his native home, drove one son away, nearly sacrificed the other, was forced by famine to flee to Egypt, feared for his wife, fought a war and witnessed both wickedness and destruction. How is that "blessed with everything"?
To be blessed is not only to have comfort and ease. Blessing entails struggle and uncertainty as well as sweetness. "Everything" is a full palette life, all the colors -- sting and honey, loss and hope.


Each choice is also a rejection, each embrace an exclusion. Living offers continual lessons in drawing boundaries. "Art is limitation. The essence of every picture is the frame," said Chesterton. We can do much but not all. We can choose widely, and wisely, but choose we must.


We live in buildings we did not build, using technology we did not invent as we walk streets we did not pave, buoyed by an economy and society we did not create. A moment of thanks to those who came before us, who built and innovated, ploughed and paved, and enabled us to flourish that we might improve our world for those who will follow
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DougMacG
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« Reply #558 on: January 31, 2012, 11:38:49 AM »

"Where does the bible say no yachts?"

I thought the yacht was the centerpiece of one of the Bible's most famous stories.  You don't protect very many loved ones safely at sea in a dinghy.

"...but the excess.... The millions, the giant houses, yachts, material things, etc. are frowned upon..."

How can anyone devout buy a luxury classic recreational motorcycle and take a non-essential cruise through the mountains when there still are Americans in Alaska without air conditioning?

Regarding the millions, the yachts, etc:  a) There is also a clause about not coveting thy neighbor's house, and b) I am not aware of any provision in the New Testament saying the newer document shall supersedes any conflict that may arise with the 'Old Testament'.

"Millions" (plural) mean $2 million and up?  Is that alone enough to be financially secure for you and your family for the rest of your lives should something unexpected occur??  The answer is NO, not necessarily, and NO it is not determined by your judgment or the government's judgment or your neighbor's judgment as to what constitutes enough financial resources to fend off the future misfortunes and expenses that you may want to guard against.  Same goes for rightsizing our homes.

Crafty's point nicely covers the distinction between giving and taking.

All that about religion allegedly backing a political movement (when it doesn't) and no comment or excuse about the same political movement sanctioning the kill of innocent human life for convenience reasons in the name of 'personal freedom'. Scripture only used when convenient?
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JDN
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« Reply #559 on: January 31, 2012, 02:18:11 PM »

Doug, there is no "Christianity" without the New Testament.  It is a fulfillment of promises made in the Old Testament; the Old Testament merely sets
the stage.  As Christians we are followers and believers in Jesus.

As for "giving and taking" taxes due Rome were rather onerous at the time of Jesus.  Yet Jesus simply said, "render onto Caesar that which is Caesars..." 
He didn't mention reducing taxes.

A "yacht" is a luxury/pleasure item.  An ark is not nor is an oil tanker for that matter.  But then as a sailor you know the distinction.

You may give away or keep what your choose, but if you wish to follow Jesus he rejected material things and frankly revered the poor a lot more than he revered the rich.   Actually, on numerous occasions he specifically disparages the rich.

I have no interest in discussing abortion although if I recollect, Rachel indicated that Jews (Old Testament) believe life begins at birth.  I brought up "scripture" since Rabbi Spero, talking about capitalism, referenced Christianity incorrectly in my opinion.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #560 on: January 31, 2012, 03:39:40 PM »


"As for "giving and taking" taxes due Rome were rather onerous at the time of Jesus.  Yet Jesus simply said, "render onto Caesar that which is Caesars...""
 
"He didn't mention reducing taxes."

Nor did he mention using the force of the State to impose his recommendations.   Given this, I think the point you are attempting to make here fails.


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G M
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« Reply #561 on: January 31, 2012, 06:09:08 PM »

The whole point of "render unto Caesar" was Jesus' rejection of an earthly kingdom.
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JDN
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« Reply #562 on: January 31, 2012, 08:05:48 PM »

The whole point of "render unto Caesar" was Jesus' rejection of an earthly kingdom.

I agree; Jesus rejected all material things.  He instructs us too to forsake all material things and trust in the Lord.  Basically, he's anti capitalist.  Give away your belongings.  Help the poor. Etc.
That's why I objected to Rabbi Spero's incorrect inclusion of Christianity in his summary of the virtues of capitalism.

However, that said, I haven't quit my day job yet.   smiley  Or given everything I own away to those less fortunate.....
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G M
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« Reply #563 on: January 31, 2012, 08:19:29 PM »

No, Jesus rejected becoming a king on earth, he lived and worked with his hands for money, built things and existed within his society at that time. He rejected the wealth and material goods offered by the devil, but I'm not aware that he required christians as a whole to live lives of poverty or to avoid making money.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #564 on: January 31, 2012, 08:38:30 PM »

Stepping way out of my lane here, but just ask the Calvinists!  cheesy
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JDN
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« Reply #565 on: January 31, 2012, 08:43:45 PM »

No, Jesus rejected becoming a king on earth, he lived and worked with his hands for money, built things and existed within his society at that time. He rejected the wealth and material goods offered by the devil, but I'm not aware that he required christians as a whole to live lives of poverty or to avoid making money.

Gee where does it say Jesus worked with his hands during his ministry in the Gospels unless you count doing miracles?   I suppose you could call him a wine maker   smiley
His father was a carpenter.  Maybe Jesus helped out a little as a kid, but Jesus as an adult didn't seem to have any income...  He accepted money and food from others....  He was a teacher....

‘You are not to call yourselves Rabbi for you have one Rabbi (Teacher), Who is the Messiah and you are all brothers’ (Matthew 23:Cool. He called Himself a Teacher. ‘You call Me Teacher and the Lord. You have done so correctly, for that is what I am’ (John 13:13). Jesus was called ‘Rabbi’ sixteen times, and ‘Teacher’ forty-seven times, and there are fourteen verses that tell us He taught in the synagogues.

As to the best life to lead, Jesus said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

Basically, give your money away and follow Jesus....

As I said, I haven't done so yet...   smiley

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G M
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« Reply #566 on: January 31, 2012, 09:03:32 PM »

**If it matters, this is a LDS website.

http://jesus.christ.org/13/was-jesus-a-carpenter

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ is identified as a tekt?n, often translated as “carpenter” in many New Testament versions (Mark 6:3). In Matthew, Joseph is also indentified as the same (Matthew 13:55). It was not uncommon for a son or dependent to follow in the trade of his father or guardian, so it is not surprising that Joseph and Jesus are identified with the same trade in the Gospels. Additionally people were some times identified with their trade (see Acts 10:5).
 
Tekt?n has been interpreted in various ways since New Testament times, including the generally accepted terms “carpenter” or “builder.” Joseph and Jesus may have built household furniture or homes working specifically with lintels and joists (the main wood components in a first-century house). Later traditions describe his employment as “making plows and yokes” for oxen (Didache 88:Cool. Another tradition prefers interpreting the word for carpenter as a homebuilder (Gospel of James 9:3). Some modern scholars point out the tekt?n can also mean a stonemason. In a small village like Nazareth, we could expect Joseph and Jesus Christ to use their talents in various ways, including working with wood and stone.
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JDN
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« Reply #567 on: January 31, 2012, 09:57:07 PM »

Yes, I'm aware he is called a carpenter in Mark, but no where does it talk about him building household furniture or anything else for that matter.  Rather, most scholars
refer to the term "carpenter" because his father was a carpenter and it was typical that sons followed their father.  For all I or anyone knows, he may have
helped his father when he was a boy, but there is no verse or passage to confirm that. 

Rather, he spent his adult life teaching, not woodworking....  Since I like wine, I'll call him a winemaker, but in that instance, back to our point, he didn't make any profit.   smiley
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G M
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« Reply #568 on: January 31, 2012, 10:17:49 PM »

From memory, very little is known about Jesus from childhood to age 35. I think it's reasonable to assume he was working as a youth and adult in that time period.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #569 on: February 08, 2012, 09:57:50 AM »


The Custom That Refused to Die   Shevat 14, 5772 • February 7, 2012
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

There’s an enthralling story about the Ten Commandments and the role they played in Jewish worship and the synagogue.
It begins with a little-known fact. There was a time when there were not three paragraphs in the prayer we call the Shema, but four. The Mishnah1 tells us that in Temple times the officiating priests would first say the Ten Commandments, and then the three paragraphs of the Shema.

We have several pieces of independent evidence for this. The first consists of four papyrus fragments acquired in Egypt in 1898 by the then secretary of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, W. L. Nash. Pieced together and located today in the Cambridge University Library, they are known as the Nash Papyrus. Dating from the second century BCE, they contain a version of the Ten Commandments, immediately followed by the Shema. Almost certainly the papyrus was used for prayer in a synagogue in Egypt before the birth of Christianity, at a time when the custom was to include all four paragraphs.
Tefillin from the Second Temple period, discovered in the Qumran caves along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, contained the Ten Commandments. Indeed a lengthy section of the halachic midrash on Deuteronomy, the Sifri, is dedicated to proving that we should not include the Ten Commandments in the tefillin, which suggests that there were some Jews who did so, and that the rabbis needed to be able to show that they were wrong.

We also have evidence from both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds that there were communities in Israel and Babylon who sought to introduce the Ten Commandments into the prayers, and that the rabbis had to issue a ruling against doing so. There is even documentary evidence that the Jewish community in Fostat, near Cairo, kept a special scroll in the ark called the Sefer al-Shir, which they took out after the conclusion of the daily prayers and read from it the Ten Commandments.

So the custom of including the Ten Commandments as part of the Shema was once widespread, but from a certain point in time it was systematically opposed by the sages. Why did they object to it? Both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds say it was because of the “claim of the sectarians.”

Jewish sectarians—some identify them as a group of early Christians, but there is no compelling evidence for this—argued that only the Ten Commandments were binding, because only they were received by the Israelites directly from G d at Mount Sinai. The others were received through Moses, and this sect (or perhaps several of them) held that they did not come from G d. They were Moses’ own invention, and therefore not binding.

There is a midrash that gives us an idea of what the sectarians were saying. It places in the mouth of Korach and his followers, who rebelled against Moses, these words: “The whole congregation are holy. Are you [Moses and Aaron] the only ones who are holy? All of us were sanctified at Sinai . . . and when the Ten Commandments were given, there was no mention of challah or terumah or tithes or tzitzit. You made this all up yourself.”

So the rabbis were opposed to any custom that would give special prominence to the Ten Commandments, since the sectarians were pointing to such customs as proof that even orthodox Jews treated them differently from the other commands. By removing them from the prayer book, the rabbis hoped to silence such claims.

But the story does not end there. So special were the Ten Commandments to Jews that they found their way back. Rabbi Jacob ben Asher, author of Tur (14th century), suggested that one should say them privately. Rabbi Joseph Caro argues that the ban applies only to reciting the Ten Commandments publicly during the service, so they can be said privately after the service. That is where you find them today in most prayerbooks—immediately after the morning service. Rabbi Shlomo Luria had the custom of reading the Ten Commandments at the beginning of prayer, before the start of Pesukei de-Zimrah, the Verses of Praise.

That was not the end of the argument. Given that we do not say the Ten Commandments during public prayer, should we nonetheless give them special honor when we read them from the Torah, whether on Shavuot or in the weeks of Parshat Yitro and Va’etchanan? Should we stand when they are being read?

Maimonides found himself involved in a controversy over this question. Someone wrote him a letter telling the following story. He was a member of a synagogue where originally the custom was to stand during the reading of the Ten Commandments. Then a rabbi came and ruled otherwise, saying that it was wrong to stand, for the same reason as it was forbidden to say the Ten Commandments during public prayer. It could be used by sectarians, heretics and others to claim that even the Jews themselves held that the Ten Commandments were more important than the other 603. So the community stopped standing. Years later another rabbi came, this time from a community where the custom was to stand for the Ten Commandments. The new rabbi stood, and told the congregation to do likewise. Some did. Some did not, since their previous rabbi had ruled against doing so. Who was right?

Maimonides had no doubt. It was the previous rabbi, the one who had told them not to stand, who was in the right. His reasoning was correct also. Exactly the logic that barred it from the daily prayers should be applied to the reading of the Torah. It should be given no special prominence. The community should stay sitting. Thus ruled Maimonides, the greatest rabbi of the Middle Ages. However, sometimes even great rabbis have difficulty persuading communities to change. Then, as now, most communities—even those in Maimonides’ Egypt—stood while the Ten Commandments were being read.

So, despite strong attempts by the sages—in the times of the Mishnah, the Gemara, and later, in the age of Maimonides—to ban any custom that gave special dignity to the Ten Commandments, whether as prayer or as biblical reading, Jews kept finding ways of doing so. They brought it back into daily prayer by saying it privately and outside the mandatory service, and they continued to stand while it was being read from the Torah despite Maimonides’ ruling that they should not.

“Leave Israel alone,” said Hillel, “for even if they are not prophets, they are still the children of prophets.” Ordinary Jews had a passion for the Ten Commandments. They were the distilled essence of Judaism. They were heard directly by the people from the mouth of G d himself. They were the basis of the covenant they made with G d at Mount Sinai, calling on them to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Twice in the Torah they are described as the covenant itself:
Then the L rd said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the L rd forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.2

Then the L rd spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which He commanded you to follow, and then wrote them on two stone tablets.3

That is why they were originally said immediately prior to the Shema, and why, despite their removal from the prayers, Jews continued to say them—because their recital constituted a daily renewal of the covenant with G d. That, too, is why Jews insisted on standing when they were being read from the Torah: because when they were being given, the Israelites “stood at the foot of the mountain.”4 The Midrash says about the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuot: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the Israelites: My children, read this passage every year, and I will account it to you as if you were standing before Mount Sinai and receiving the Torah.”

Jews kept searching for ways of recreating that scene, by standing when they listened to it from the Torah, and by saying it privately after the end of the morning prayers. Despite the fact that they knew their acts could be misconstrued by heretics, they were too attached to that great epiphany—the only time in history G d spoke to an entire people—to treat it like any other passage in the Torah. The honor given to the Ten Commandments was the custom that refused to die.
FOOTNOTES

1.
Tamid 5:1.
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ccp
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« Reply #570 on: February 18, 2012, 01:49:53 PM »

Certainly I have had some conflicts with my fellow Jews, particularly those who are liberal but nothing like this from one of the first openly lesbian celebrities who was a life long Republican, anti Roosevelt an New Deal dissenter.   Interesting since she was gay and female at a time when that was far more taboo than now.   Yet to nominate Hitler for the Nobel Peace prize in part for ridding Germany of Jews??  Wow. 
What was that all about?   
She later speaks of Roosevelt along with Trotzky, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin in the same breath.  She certainly sounds like she believed in personal responsibility and freedom of thought and I think, at least later on from government.

****Institute for Historical Review

Gertrude Stein's Complex Worldview
Nobel Peace Prize for Hitler?
By Mark Weber

Scholars of the life of Gertrude Stein were recently startled to learn that in 1938 the prominent Jewish-American writer had spearheaded a campaign urging the Nobel committee to award its Peace Prize to Adolf Hitler. This was disclosed by Gustav Hendrikksen, a former member of the Nobel committee and now professor emeritus of Bible studies at Sweden's Uppsala University, in Nativ, a political magazine published in Israel. (Reports about this appeared in the New York Jewish community weekly Forward, Feb. 2, June 14, and Oct. 25, 1996.)

Hendrikksen, an avowed friend of Israel who is now in his late 80s, recalled that the Nobel committee rejected Stein's proposal "politely but firmly, citing among their reasons the attitude of the Nazi regime toward the Jews."

In the decades before her death in 1946, Stein was a widely acclaimed literary icon. As monarch of the "lost generation" of American expatriates in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, she cultivated and influenced such literary figures as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as such artists as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Her Paris home was a mecca for writers and artists. Stein's own "modernist" novels, memoirs, lectures and plays -- once celebrated as stylishly avant garde -- have not aged well. Today she is remembered almost as much for who she was as for what she wrote.

Born in Pennsylvania of a wealthy German-Jewish family, she was raised in the United States, and attended Radcliffe and Johns Hopkins universities. But it was during her years of expatriate living in France that she made her lasting mark.

'Hitler Ought to Have the Peace Prize'
Stein's seemingly paradoxical views about Hitler and fascism have never been a secret. As early as 1934, she told a reporter that Hitler should be awarded the Nobel peace prize. "I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace ... By suppressing Jews ... he was ending struggle in Germany" (New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934).

As astonishing at it may seem today, in 1938 many credited Hitler for his numerous efforts to secure lasting peace in Europe on the basis of equal rights of nations. After assuming power in 1933, he succeeded in quickly establishing friendly relations with Poland, Italy, Hungary, and several other European nations. Among his numerous initiatives to lessen tensions in Europe, the German leader offered detailed proposals for mutual reductions of armaments by the major powers.

In a 1940 essay, Stein wrote positively of the appointment of "collaborationist" Henri Philippe Petain as France's Chief of State, comparing him to George Washington. As late as 1941, she was urging the Atlantic Monthly to publish speeches by Marshal Petain, which she had translated into English. In spite of her background, Stein continued to live and write in France during the years of German occupation (1940-1944).

She also maintained a friendship with Bernard Fay, who headed France's national library, the Bibliotheque Nationale, during the Petain era. According to a new biography of Stein, Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and Her Family, by Linda Wagner-Martin, Fay and Stein often discussed "the Führer's qualities of greatness" in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939. Even after the war, when he was convicted as a collaborationist, Stein and her close companion Alice Toklas remained good friends with Fay and lobbied to free him from prison.

Conflicted Sense of Jewishness
Like many of this century's Jewish American intellectuals, Stein's relationship to her own Jewishness was complex and conflicted. She was sensitive to anti-Jewish sentiment, and sometimes expressed criticism of Hitler. In 1936 she wrote: "There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing. Everybody now-a-days is a father, there is father Mussolini and father Hitler and father Roosevelt and father Stalin and father Trotzky ..."

Estranged from the organized Jewish community, in part because of her eccentricity and lesbianism, she nevertheless retained an acute and proud sense of her Jewishness. According to Wagner-Martin, Stein once said, "all men of genius had Jewish blood," and even developed a theory that Abraham Lincoln was part Jewish.

During the first decade of this century, Stein became enamored of Austrian-Jewish psychologist and philosopher Otto Weininger, whose major work, Geschlecht und Charakter ("Sex and Character"), had tremendous influence on European thinking. Following its first publication in 1903, the book was quickly translated into various languages, and went through 30 editions. Weininger contrasted the masculine "Being" of Aryanism and Christianity with the feminine "non-Being" of Judaism. Jesus was the only Jew to overcome Judaism, he argued. Zionism, in Weininger's view, is the negation of Judaism, because it seeks to ennoble what cannot be ennobled. Whereas Judaism stands for the world dispersion of Jews, Zionism strives for their ingathering.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From The Journal of Historical Review, Sept-Oct. 1997 (Vol. 16, No. 5), pp. 22 ff.
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Rachel
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« Reply #571 on: February 21, 2012, 06:45:28 PM »

Weekly Sermonette
Giving or Getting?

By Yossy Goldman
http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/346094/jewish/Giving-or-Getting.htm

The very first United Jewish Appeal was launched this week. Our Parshah deals with the first fundraising campaign in history. Moses initiated it in order to build the Sanctuary in the wilderness as well as all to acquire all the materials needed for the special utensils required for the sacred services. This is, therefore, a good time to talk about the art of giving.

The holy Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin said that while some people claim that "If you give you are a fool and if you take you are clever," Jewish tradition teaches us that those who give and think they are only giving are, in fact, the fools. But those who give and understand that they are also receiving at the same time are truly wise.

The truth is that in giving, we actually receive more than we give. And not only a slice of heaven in far-away paradise, but even in the here and now. Certainly, in our relationships--whether family, business or social--our generosity is often reciprocated and we find the other party responding in kind. But it goes beyond giving in order to get back. The very fact that we have done good, that which is right and noble, gives us a sense of satisfaction. "The takers of the world may eat better. But the givers of the world sleep better."

This explains the unusual expression in our G-d's words to Moses in our Parshah: v'yikchu li terumah--"and they shall take for me a contribution." Why take? Surely, give would be the more correct term. But because in giving we are also receiving, the word take is also appropriate. For the same reason we find that the Hebrew expression for "acts of loving kindness" ("gemilut chassadim") is always in the plural form. Because every time someone performs a single act of kindness, at least two people are benefiting--the receiver and also the giver.

I have seen people over the years who were good people, giving people, who shared and cared for others. Then, after years of being givers, they stopped. Why? They became frustrated at the lack of appreciation for all their hard work. After all they had done for others, they never even got a simple "Thank You." So they were disappointed, disillusioned, and in some instances, even bitter. They resigned from public life and from whatever community services they were involved in.

How sad that they didn't realize that even if human beings are notoriously unappreciative, G-d Almighty takes note of every act of kindness we perform. And He responds with infinite blessings in his own way. Our sages taught that if we express regret over the good that we have done, we might well forfeit all the merits we would have otherwise deserved.

The rabbinate is one of the helping professions. Anyone involved in a congregational position doesn't only make speeches and teach Torah. One is called upon to serve in a pastoral role--visiting, helping, counseling, comforting. While it can be very taxing and often emotionally draining, it is without doubt a source of deep satisfaction; particularly when one is able to make a real difference in people's lives.

There are, of course, many people I have been privileged to help in one way or another over the years. One feels a very profound sense of purpose knowing that you were able to help someone through a crisis, or lift their spirits in a hospital, or give them hope and solace in a time of loss. Sure, I was the giver. But I received so much back in return. My life was rendered so much more meaningful, more worthy, for having helped a person in need.

I shall never forget the look on a young woman's face when I gave her the good news that I had managed to locate her wayward, absentee husband and convinced him to sign on the dotted line to give her the long awaited Get that would finally free her to get on with her life. She was so radiant, absolutely beaming with joy. Whatever efforts I had made on her behalf were well worth it just to see her feel the freedom.

So whenever you think you're a big deal because you did something for a good cause, remember; you are receiving much more than you are giving. Let us all be givers and be blessed for it.

      
   
   By Yossy Goldman   More articles...  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Rabbi Yossy Goldman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a distinguished Chabad family. In 1976 he was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, as a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to serve the Jewish community of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is Senior Rabbi of the Sydenham Highlands North Shul since 1986, president of the South African Rabbinical Association, and a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.

The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
   
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Rachel
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« Reply #572 on: February 23, 2012, 11:40:43 AM »

  Judaism’s Bill of Obligations in Marriage
A daily reminder on what it means to be a mensch.
http://www.aish.com/f/m/Judaisms_Bill_of_Obligations_in_Marriage.html

Judaism is a system for living that is built on obligations as opposed to rights. This is especially true with respect to the Jewish approach to marriage. Obligations foster responsibility and giving. Rights foster a sense of entitlement which can lead to irresponsibility. In Judaism, one is not entitled to anything. Everything good we have is a gift.
So with this in mind, I present Judaism’s Bill of Obligations in Marriage:
I have an obligation to:
1. To be a mensch. (Need I say more? Then let me spell it out for you…)
2. Strive to give my spouse pleasure, not pain.
3. Avoid blaming and attacking my spouse for things that bother me..
4. Express what I need and not expect my spouse to mind read.
5. Take my spouse’s feelings and needs seriously.
6. Make sure that my spouse feels emotionally safe with me.
7. Give my spouse a consistent and enjoyable physical intimacy.

Continue Reading at
http://www.aish.com/f/m/Judaisms_Bill_of_Obligations_in_Marriage.html
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JDN
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« Reply #573 on: February 24, 2012, 01:16:56 PM »

I have a question for Rachel; I have learned a lot about the Jewish faith from your post; and, a lot about life in general.

In spite of GM's accusations, I am not anti-semetic (although sometimes I do disagree with the policies of Israel) I have nothing against people of the Jewish faith; in fact, I admire them greatly for their achievement and their response to adversity.  I used to work for Cantor Fitzgerald; a Jewish firm.  I still remember Bernie (Cantor) saying when I asked him who is Fitzgerald he said, "I just made him up.  It was good for business to have an Irish name along mine."  I remember being in his office in Beverly Hills and the World Trade Center; I admired his business acumen and his love for Rodin.  His offices will filled with sculptures; it was like being in a museum.  It was tragic what happened; many people I knew died, however I had already left the firm by then.

Anyway, often times I am not PC.  Yet I mean no insult. So my question is, with all due respect, in casual conversation, is the word "Jew" offensive? i.e. He is a "Jew" for example?  I mean I often say, Christians, I don't say Christian faith, etc.  I think you get my question.  Of course, context is important, but as a generalization, is it offensive?  I mean I have heard Jewish people say, "I am a Jew" and be proud of it.  Why not?  What's wrong with that?

I look forward and will respect your opinion.
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G M
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« Reply #574 on: February 25, 2012, 03:22:28 PM »

In spite of GM's accusations, I am not anti-semetic (although sometimes I do disagree with the policies of Israel)

Of course not, you just hold the only Jewish state in the world to impossible standards as they struggle to survive the constant war waged against them by the same people that cheered and celebrated when the towers came down.
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ccp
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« Reply #575 on: February 27, 2012, 11:24:26 AM »

"is the word "Jew" offensive?"

Of course I only speak for myself.  As for me the answer is no.

Anymore than I would think calling one Irish, Mormon, Catholic, Polish would be offensive.


Let me ask you this though:

"Cantor Fitzgerald; a Jewish firm"

I am not sure what this means.  Was Cantor Fitzgerald owned and run by Jews as a "Jewish" firm?

Fitzgerald?  WHy not a Jewish/Irish firm?

You worked there and are not Jewish.


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JDN
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« Reply #576 on: February 27, 2012, 11:44:01 AM »

""Cantor Fitzgerald; a Jewish firm"

I am not sure what this means.  Was Cantor Fitzgerald owned and run by Jews as a "Jewish" firm?

Fitzgerald?  WHy not a Jewish/Irish firm?

You worked there and are not Jewish."
____

I guess what I meant was the the vast majority of the employees were of the Jewish faith.  There were no Irishmen in management
to my knowledge; as I mentioned Fitzgerald was a fictional name added by Bernie for PR purposes.

And yes, I did work there and am not Jewish.  It's an outstanding firm, fine brilliant people, especially on the trading desk; that said, to be honest,
if you are not Jewish, it is hard to rise in management.  When I worked there, I bet 3/4's+ of the employees were of the Jewish faith and 100% of management.
Please note, that was quite some years ago.  I don't know the current environment.

As a side note, the firm's generosity to families of those who died in the World Trade Center is truly amazing.

I'm glad to hear you don't think the word "Jew" to be offensive.  If you search for "Jew" under Google a little while ago you received
an apology message along with your search as if you are saying something offensive.  It bewildered me.

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Rachel
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« Reply #577 on: February 27, 2012, 01:32:55 PM »

I have a question for Rachel; I have learned a lot about the Jewish faith from your post; and, a lot about life in general.

In spite of GM's accusations, I am not anti-semetic (although sometimes I do disagree with the policies of Israel) I have nothing against people of the Jewish faith; in fact, I admire them greatly for their achievement and their response to adversity.  I used to work for Cantor Fitzgerald; a Jewish firm.  I still remember Bernie (Cantor) saying when I asked him who is Fitzgerald he said, "I just made him up.  It was good for business to have an Irish name along mine."  I remember being in his office in Beverly Hills and the World Trade Center; I admired his business acumen and his love for Rodin.  His offices will filled with sculptures; it was like being in a museum.  It was tragic what happened; many people I knew died, however I had already left the firm by then.

Anyway, often times I am not PC.  Yet I mean no insult. So my question is, with all due respect, in casual conversation, is the word "Jew" offensive? i.e. He is a "Jew" for example?  I mean I often say, Christians, I don't say Christian faith, etc.  I think you get my question.  Of course, context is important, but as a generalization, is it offensive?  I mean I have heard Jewish people say, "I am a Jew" and be proud of it.  Why not?  What's wrong with that?

I look forward and will respect your opinion.


JDN,

Thank you for your kind words

You would have actually have to ask an anti-Semite that question.   

Jew is more often used derogatorily than jewish so it has negative connotations. It  is not  that Jew is necessarily an insult but that the person using word Jew instead of Jewish is more likely being insulting.

Google Jew and Jewish for example.

 Wikipedia has an explanation as well

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_%28word%29
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Rachel
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« Reply #578 on: February 27, 2012, 01:38:38 PM »

Weekly Sermonette  The Missing Moses

By Yossy Goldman

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/346413/jewish/The-Missing-Moses.htm

A seemingly dubious distinction belongs to this week's parshah, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10). It is the only reading in the Torah where the name of Moses is not mentioned, from the first parshah of the Book of Exodus (in which he is born) until the end of the Book of Numbers.1 Tetzaveh's opening words are V'atah tetzaveh -- "and you shall command." The you is Moses and G‑d is telling him what to instruct the Jewish people. But the verse only says "you" -- no name, no "Moses."
Why?
Some explain that the day of Moses' passing, 7 Adar, almost always occurs in this week, and the absence of his name is an appropriate symbol of his demise. Others suggest that it is as a result of Moses' own words. Remember the Golden Calf episode? The people had sinned and G‑d was going to wipe them out and start over again with Moses and his own dynasty. Moses defended his errant flock before the Almighty arguing for their forgiveness. And if not? Well, Moses used some very strong words there. Micheini noh misifrecho -- "Erase me from your book that You have written!" Moses himself said his name should be erased from the Torah if G‑d would not forgive His people. So even though G‑d did forgive them, the words of a tzaddik (perfectly righteous person) are eternal and leave an impression. The effect of those words, therefore, was that somewhere in the Book, in Torah, his name would be erased. Moses would be missing where he normally should have appeared. Thus it is that in the week when we remember his passing, Moses' name is gone.
So say a variety of commentaries. But, characteristically, the Chassidic commentaries, reflecting the inner dimension of Torah, go a step further -- and deeper. What's in a name? they ask. Who needs a name? Does a person require a name for himself? Not really, he knows who he is. So a name is essentially for other people to be able to attract his attention, so they can call him, address him, etc. In other words, a name is only an external handle, a vehicle for others to identify or describe a person; but it is all outside of the person himself and peripheral to his own true, inner identity. Names are secondary to the essence of an individual. The essence of every person, who he or she really is, is beyond any name, beyond any title.
So why is Moses' name not mentioned? Because he said, “Erase me” at the Golden Calf? Because he spoke with chutzpah before the Almighty? You think it is a punishment? Not at all, says the Rebbe. On the contrary, this was perhaps the greatest moment in the life of our greatest spiritual leader.
What would we imagine to be Moses' finest hour? Receiving the Torah? Leading the Jews to the Exodus? Splitting the Sea? Would you be shocked if I told you it is none of the above? Indeed, Moses' finest, most glorious, absolutely greatest moment on earth was when he stood his ground before G‑d, pleading for his people, fighting for their forgiveness. His most brilliant, shining hour was when he put his own life and future on the line and said: "G‑d, if they go, I go! If you refuse to forgive these sinners, then erase my name from your holy Torah!" It was through Moses' total commitment towards his people that the faithful shepherd saved his flock from extinction. And G‑d Himself was pleased with His chosen shepherd's words and acceded to his request.
So the absence of Moses' name this week, far from being a negative, carries with it a profound blessing. It does not say the name Moses, but "v'atah" -- and You. A name is only a name, but here G‑d talks to Moses in the second person directly. You. And the You represents something far deeper than a mere name; it is the You symbolizing the spiritual essence of Moses. And what is that essence? His unflinching commitment to his people, come what may -- even if it be at his own expense.
This is the very soul of Moses, the faithful shepherd. The You that goes beyond the superficial and beyond what any name could possibly encapsulate. It represents the deepest core of his neshamah, deeper than any appellation or detailed description could hope to portray.
Moses' name may be missing, but his spiritual presence is felt in a way that no name could ever do justice to. May all our leaders take note and be inspired.

FOOTNOTES1.The Torah's last book, Deuteronomy, consists wholly of Meses' closing words to the people of Israel before his passing. By Yossy Goldman   More articles...  |   Rabbi Yossy Goldman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a distinguished Chabad family. In 1976 he was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, as a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to serve the Jewish community of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is Senior Rabbi of the Sydenham Highlands North Shul since 1986, president of the South African Rabbinical Association, and a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
About the artist: Dovid Brook lives in Sydney, Australia, and has been selling his art since he was in high school. He is currently painting and doing web illustrations. To view or purchase David’s art, please visit davidasherbrook.com.
The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
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ccp
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« Reply #579 on: February 28, 2012, 10:02:49 AM »

JDN

Sure Jew could be used in a way that is more of an insult.   Like "that Jew".  Could be for anything I guess.  Like that "American".

Like that "Arab".   Like that "Communist"  that "Nazi". 

Fitzgerald - made up by founder.

I forgot you did mention that.

Yes it does sound like the firm may have been run with faith based nepotism in mind.  Perhaps it just gravitated that way.

As for labels many inferences are best understood only in context.

Like calling one a liberal could just be a form of adjective describing/summarizing one's political views.

OTOH when I call someone a liberal I am clearly thinking derrogatory thoughts.   wink
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Rachel
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« Reply #580 on: March 01, 2012, 09:12:03 AM »

http://www.aish.com/f/p/The_Facebook_Parent_A_Response.html


How to really help your troubled teen.
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

The Facebook Dad got over 28 million views on You Tube.

He sits on a lawn chair, his smoking cigarette dangles at his side, looks straight into the camera and speaks to us all.

“This is for my daughter Hannah and all her friends who think that her rebellious post on Facebook is cute.”

This father spent six hours and $130 fixing his daughter’s laptop only to discover her secret post on Facebook, cursing him out. [The following quote has been cleaned up for this family site.]

“To my parents: I am not your slave….It’s not my responsibility to clean up your garbage...You could just pay me for all the stuff I do around the house…I am tired of picking up after you…. I need to clean, do work around the house, chores, and school work. I’m tired of this garbage. I have no life.”

Dad takes a moment and then responds to his daughter’s obnoxious words.

To read the rest of the article go here
http://www.aish.com/f/p/The_Facebook_Parent_A_Response.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #581 on: March 02, 2012, 07:40:58 PM »

May I suggest that this one would be better on the Parenting thread?

Also, it was a semi-auto, not a revolver.  cheesy cheesy cheesy
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« Reply #582 on: March 22, 2012, 12:56:35 PM »



The Illustrated Guide to World Religions:  A Guide to our Wisdom Traditions  From the subchapter on Judaism entitled "Meaning in Morality": 
     "Human beings are social creatures.  Without other people they fail to become human; yet with other people they often act barbarically.  The need for Morality stems from this double fact.  Nobody likes rules any more than they like stop lights, but without constraints, human relations would become as snarled as traffic jams.  The Jews compiled their law to stipulate the constraints they thought life requires.  Rabbinic Law contains 613 commandments, but four will suffice for our purposes.  The four ethical precepts of the Ten Commandments, they were enacted to control the four principal danger zones in human relationships, which are force, wealth, sex, and speech.
     What the Ten Commandments prescribe in these areas are the minimum standards that make collective life possible.  Regarding force they say in effect:  you can bicker and fight, but killing within the in-group will not be tolerated, for it instigates blood feuds that rip the community apart.  "Thou shalt not murder."  Similarly with sex.  you can be flirtatious, even promiscuous, and though we may not approve, we will not take action unless the parties are married.  Then we will step in, for infidelities there rouse passions the community can't stand.  "Thou shalt not commit adultery."  As for posessions, you may make your pile as large as you please and be shrewd and cunning in the enterprise, but direct pilfering off someone else's pile is tabboo; for this violates the sense of fair play and generates animosities that get out of hand.  "Thou shalt not steal."  Finally, regarding the spoken word you may dissemble and equivocate, but there is one time when we require that you tell the truth.  If a dispute reaches such proportions as to be brought before a tribunal, its judges must know what happened.  If you lie then, while under oath, the penalty will be severe.  "Thou shalt not bear false witness."  The importance of the Ten Commandments in their ethical dimensions lies not in their uniqueness but in their universality.  They do not speak the final word on the topic they address.  They speak the words that must be spoken if others are to follow."
   Huston Smith "is widely regarded as the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authority on the history of religions.  A leading figure in the comparative philosophy of religion, he has taught at Washington University, MIT, and Syracuse University.  He currently teaches at the University of California-Berkley."

Hopefully that will answer some of the questions you had Guro Crafty.  This book is the best and most informative one I have come across as an unbiased introduction into world religion.

http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Worlds-Religions-Wisdom-Traditions/dp/0060674407/ref=sr_1_1/104-1654534-1222333?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188484266&sr=8-1

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #583 on: April 06, 2012, 11:43:39 AM »



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_salute
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G M
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« Reply #584 on: April 13, 2012, 05:43:26 PM »

A democrat I like! Who knew?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcsfYgFfP1s

Note how he doesn't need a teleprompter. I hope he is as good as he seems to be.
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JDN
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« Reply #585 on: April 13, 2012, 09:48:38 PM »

Heck, I'ld like him even if he was a Republican.   smiley

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/13/us/new-jersey-mayor-rescue/index.html?hpt=hp_c1
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« Reply #586 on: April 22, 2012, 03:28:29 PM »

The Thick Lagoon of Ego
=======================

He has an opinion of how each person should be, how each thing should be done. Those
who follow his choreography are his friends, those who dare dance their own dance
are his enemies; and few, if any, are left without a label.

In truth, he has neither enemies nor friends. He has only himself, for that is all
that exists in his world.

"If you don't want to be so lonely," we tell him, "make some room for the rest of us."


A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
-words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman
Nissan 30, 5772 * April 22, 2012
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bigdog
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« Reply #587 on: April 23, 2012, 08:10:51 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/education/robo-readers-used-to-grade-test-essays.html?_r=1&ref=us


A recently released study has concluded that computers are capable of scoring essays on standardized tests as well as human beings do.

Mark Shermis, dean of the College of Education at the University of Akron, collected more than 16,000 middle school and high school test essays from six states that had been graded by humans. He then used automated systems developed by nine companies to score those essays.

Computer scoring produced “virtually identical levels of accuracy, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable,” according to a University of Akron news release.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #588 on: April 24, 2012, 10:18:37 AM »

 shocked shocked shocked
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JDN
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« Reply #589 on: May 06, 2012, 01:48:49 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gapay-holocaust-father-20120506,0,4625482.story
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 02:52:03 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
bigdog
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« Reply #590 on: May 09, 2012, 08:05:30 AM »

Does this go here???

http://www.livescience.com/16585-psychopaths-speech-language.html

How words give them away
 
To examine the emotional content of the murderers' speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the "uhs" and "ums" that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying.
 
With regard to psychopaths, "We think the 'uhs' and 'ums' are about putting the mask of sanity on," Hancock told LiveScience.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #591 on: May 09, 2012, 11:00:44 AM »

BD:

I'm thinking here http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2314.0 would be better.
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bigdog
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« Reply #592 on: May 15, 2012, 05:52:41 AM »

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/05/08/the_crazy_invented_worlds_of_maurice_sendak_.html
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« Reply #593 on: May 22, 2012, 01:14:09 PM »



Jew Forever   Sivan 1, 5772 • May 22, 2012
By Sarah Zadok
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We recently moved away from a neighborhood where virtually everyone wears their Judaism on their long sleeves. Black hats; headscarves; yarmulkes of every size, color and texture. Long, flowing skirts; straight, kick-pleated skirts; stockings in the summertime; and, of course, the ever-present tzitzit a-flying. If there is a piece of Jewish regalia that exists, you can find it there.
When the sun sets on Friday evenings in the small city where we used to live, it’s like someone pushed a communal Sabbath button. Presto! The cars disappear, and the streets fill with men and boys in clean white shirts, and women and girls dressed to the nines in their Shabbat finery. There is even a loudspeaker that blasts a very upbeat “Oy, yoy, yoy, yoy, yoy Shabbes!” tune 18 minutes before candle-lighting, just to help get us fired up.
Even from afar, he looked a little scary
It helped a little.
We have moved to a much smaller and more diverse country town in Northern Israel, with Jews of all shapes and sizes. A good portion of the folks here are committed to Shabbat observance, while an equal-sized portion are not. There are no “oy yoy yoy's" on loudspeakers, no instant cessation of cars driving on the streets Friday nights; but there is a very special and authentic Jewish energy that pulses through this place.
That pulse just about smacked me over the head recently, when a holy Jew crossed my path and reminded me that being a Jew goes far beyond what we look like or how we dress.
I was out for a little Shabbat stroll with my kids. We were headed for the park down the hill, and a young, shirtless man was walking towards us. Even from afar, he looked a little scary. He was heavily tattooed, had a large chain swinging from his pocket, and was smoking a cigarette. He walked with a swagger that gave off an “I dare you to pass judgment on me” vibe.
I started to feel just the slightest bit anxious, so I tried my best to channel my inner “We’re all beautiful in G d’s eyes” vibe. As he got closer, I decided I would make eye contact with him and wish him a “Shabbat Shalom.” But before I could, my eight-year-old daughter, a budding reader with a tendency to read anything in bold print aloud, pointed to the man and said, “Jew forever.”
Stunned by her total acceptance and her incredible depth, I said, “That is so beautiful, love.”
“No, it says on his chest, ‘Jew Forever.’”
Oh.
Indeed, this young man had big, bold, capital Gothic letters that spelled the words “Jew Forever” tattooed across his chest. I must have been in information overload when we actually passed each other, because I don’t remember if we exchanged “Shabbat Shalom's or not . . . but something was exchanged, something I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
For the record, tattooing is explicitly forbidden according to Jewish law. If it is possible to put that aside for a moment, I would like to assert that this man’s commitment to his Jewish identity absolutely amazed and inspired me. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to speak to him and ask him for his backstory. I can only imagine what inspired such a wanton expression of Jewish pride. But, as the Baal Shem Tov teaches, we are meant to learn from the things that G d puts in our paths. I learned several things from that tattooed man.
1.   Jews are hardcore.
2.   Being a Jew is way more about who you are than what you look like.
3.   I understood then, in a way that I hadn’t understood before, how deep my commitment needs to run.
This young man had big, bold, capital Gothic letters that spelled the words “Jew Forever” tattooed across his chest
There is an unfortunate word that is part of modern Israeli vernacular. The word is chiloni. (I’m not going to spell it phonetically for you, because I don’t want you to say it.) It’s a word that is intended to describe any Jew who doesn’t adhere to Jewish law, who doesn’t keep Shabbat or kosher, for example.
Now the root of the word is chol, which means “mundane” or “ordinary”—it is a word that is intrinsically juxtaposed with the word kodesh, which means “holy” or “separate.” An example of its use is in the havdalah prayer, which we say at the conclusion of Shabbat: “Baruch atah . . . hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol”—“Blessed [are You, G d,] who separates the holy from the mundane.”
The Jewish people were chosen by G d to be an am kadosh, a holy nation. All Jews, regardless of upbringing or behavior, were given uniquely Jewish souls in order to fulfill that mission. The Alter Rebbe, the first Chabad Rebbe, writes in his Tanya that a Jewish soul is “an actual piece of G d.” There is nothing that a Jew can do to destroy his soul, his actual piece of G d. It is an impossibility.
So to call one’s self, or another Jew, a chiloni is downright blasphemy. Ironically, had this special Jew studied a little Tanya, he would have known that “Jew forever” is already tattooed on his heart.
While there may be folks out there who opt to look at that tattooed Jew with disdain or pity for his blatant disregard for Torah law, I have a feeling that G d sees things from a much wider lens. I think it was precisely his holy Jewish soul that inspired his pectoral declaration. While his medium of choice may be misguided, I imagine that his intention was very well received.
I have a feeling that G d sees things from a much wider lens
We now are preparing to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the day the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Our sages explain that while we camped at the foot of the mountain waiting for the big day, we were k’ish echad belev echad, like one man with one heart. We looked different from one another, we chose different words to express ourselves, had different ideas about how to speak with our children and how to cook a steak . . . but we knew who we were: one, big, fat, inseparable family.
This Shavuot, as we prepare to receive the Torah anew, may G d give us the strength to push past the outer layers that threaten to separate us, and allow us to see straight into each other’s core—to the place inside all of us that is all G d, all the time.
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bigdog
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« Reply #594 on: May 28, 2012, 09:26:09 AM »

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/may/27/keegan-opposite-loneliness/?cross-campus

The piece below was written by Marina Keegan '12 for a special edition of the News distributed at the class of 2012's commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
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« Reply #595 on: July 11, 2012, 10:00:58 PM »

•         A sweet lesson on patience.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.  Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.  What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
 

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #596 on: July 22, 2012, 01:52:28 PM »

http://www.jlaw.com/Commentary/solomon.html

http://www.jlaw.com/Commentary/solomon.html


The Brilliant Wisdom of King Solomon
By: Baruch C. Cohen1

The Book of Kings [Melachim 1 3:12] states that Israel's great King Solomon was twelve years old when God promised him that he would be granted great wisdom. He turned out to be the wisest man ever to live. As an illustration of the fulfillment of this blessing of wisdom, the Book of Kings reports the following account of a case that was brought before King Solomon's court in Jerusalem.

Two women came to King Solomon and stood before him. One woman (#1) said: "My Lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while with her in the house. On the third day after I gave birth, she also gave birth. We live together; there is no outsider with us in the house; only the two of us were there. The son of this woman died during the night because she lay upon him. She arose during the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep, and lay him in her bosom, and her dead son she laid in my bosom. when I got up in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead! But when I observed him (later on) in the morning, I realized that he was not my son to whom I had given birth!"

The other woman (#2) replied: "It is not so! My son is the live one and your son is the dead one!"

The first woman (#1) responded: "It is not so! Your son is the dead one and my son is the living one!"

They argued before King Solomon.

King Solomon said: "this woman (#2) claims 'My son is the live one and your son is the dead one, 'and this woman (#1) claims 'Your son is the dead one and my son is the living one!"'

King Solomon said, "Bring me a sword!" So they brought a sword before the King. The King said, "Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other"

The woman (#2) turned to the King, because her compassion was aroused for her son, and said: "Please my Lord, give her the living child and do not kill it!"

But the other woman (#1) said: "Neither mine nor yours shall he be. Cut!"

The King spoke up and said: "Give her (#2) the living child, and do not kill it, for she is his mother!" All of Israel heard the judgment that the King had judged. They had great awe for the King, for they saw that the wisdom of God was within him to do justice. [I Melachim 3:16 - 27]. The woman was rightfully awarded custody of her son.

It should be noted, that King Solomon's was the first major recorded and published decision in the history of legal jurisprudence, and I believe that with the help of the commentaries, one can begin to appreciate the magnificent depth of his wisdom.

OBSERVATIONS
Some say that King Solomon truly knew who was the real mother as soon as he saw the two women. This was the nature of the special divine wisdom that God gave him. As King Solomon was able to understand the speech of the animals and the birds, so he could see the truth in someone's face. His knowledge was of Divine origin. It was infallible.

According to the Abarbanel and Metzudas David, King Solomon studied the countenance of each woman as they presented their claims and counter-claims, and by means of his penetrating and heavenly wisdom, understood which of the two women was telling the truth.

Still, to prove this to the people, he had to demonstrate it in a way that everyone would acknowledge. Perhaps that is why he pretended not to know who said what, and repeated their arguments in reverse order, by repeating Woman #2's argument first, and Woman #1's argument second.

He even pretended to apply the well-known law of dividing disputed property. If two people come to court holding on to the ends of a piece of clothing, and each claims it to be his, the court divides it and gives each one half. King Solomon seemed to pretend to be ignorant of the many complicated details of this law, and to think that it applied to babies as well, which would have been ridiculously simpleminded. No judge would ever make such a foolish mistake. Yet, he succeeded in convincing the two women that he was serious.

Nonetheless, he was careful not to let the trick go too far. He specifically commanded his servants to bring the sword to him, not to give it to one of the guards. They too, were no doubt fooled and he did not want them to divide the baby before he had a chance to stop them. In fact, the King's ministers said "Woe to you Oh Land, whose king is but a boy!" They thought "what has God done to us to give us such a king? How long will we have to suffer with such foolish judgments?" But afterwards, when they saw the women's reactions they knew that he had recently received Divine inspiration and rejoiced saying "Happy are you, oh Land, whose king is a free man!" - i.e., one who studies Torah (Koheles - Ecclesiastes 10:16-17).

King Solomon's trick succeeded. The imposter revealed herself by her heartless cruelty. After all, no mother would have let her own child be killed just to spite another woman.

But how could King Solomon have been sure the other woman would not also have mercy on the child? Wouldn't most people break down in such a situation and relinquish their claims? What sort of person would want to be responsible for the death of an innocent child, even if it were not her own?

Perhaps this was an aspect of the depth of King Solomon's insight - he knew that no normal mother lies on her own child and crushes him in her sleep. Babies always sleep with their mothers and fathers, yet this never happens, for perhaps God implants within a human being an innate sensitivity that prevents her from doing such a thing. A woman who lies on her child must be lacking basic human feeling, and such a person would certainly have no mercy on the child of another. According to the Abarbanel, perhaps such a woman developed a blood lust and possessed a cruel desire to see another life snuffed out.

And what of the compassionate one? Was it not possible that she was acting cunningly to impress the King with a false sense of motherly commiseration?

WHO HAD THE BETTER ARGUMENT?
Notwithstanding the outcome, many believe that Woman #1 still made a convincing and persuasive argument. She made it clear that there were no witnesses because they lived alone. Perhaps she suspected that Solomon would be able to tell how old the baby was and identify the mother. According to the Radak and the Metsudas David, her argument was bolstered by the claim that no one else knew the identities of the babies, nor had one been sick, that the neighbors might remember whose baby it was. When she first got up, it was still dark. She could not recognize the baby, so she did not suspect that it was not hers. All she knew was that it was dead. But when it got light, she saw it and realized what had happened. She asserted that her baby boy was born three days earlier, and therefore there was some reliable distinction available.

Woman #2 had only a brief presentation and did not claim to have any proof. She simply said that the child was hers. All she did was state her case.

Based on the first round of oral arguments, it would appear that Woman #1 had the better claim, and that she was the real mother.

It is noteworthy, that the women did not bring the corpse of the dead child for further identification. Perhaps the child was buried already, or its features were already changed making recognition difficult.

SUBTLE TRUTHS BEGIN TO UNRAVEL
Yet, as the women's dispute continued, their respective positions seemed to change ever so slightly. There was something disturbing and disingenuous about the way in which Woman #1 continued arguing her case, in that she subsequently seemed less concerned with having a live child and focused more on the other having the dead one. The fact that she mentioned the dead child first, in itself, was an indication of this ("It is not so! Your son is the dead one and my son is the living one!").

Woman #2, by contrast, always spoke of her own son first ("No. my son is the living one and your son is the dead one"). It seemed as if her heart was with her son. She spoke out of love and was apparently heartbroken at the thought of potentially losing her child.

According to the Devorim Rabah, King Solomon then repeated the arguments of both women, verbatim, without adding anything, making sure that he properly understood the arguments of both sides, listening carefully, and if there was anything that he misunderstood, the women had an opportunity to correct him.

ODD DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STORY
King Solomon's wisdom surely gave him the insight to foresee that the real mother (#2) would recoil in terror when she heard of his intention to kill the infant, nevertheless, could his wisdom have possibly predicted the liar (#1)'s response - to comply with this grotesque compromise?

Second, the woman who was lying (#1) was initially interested in taking the living child for herself, otherwise she never would have asserted such a bold and aggressive claim.

As soon as the real mother offered to let the liar keep the child in order to spare its life, the liar should have accepted the real mother offer's and kept the child. She could have played up her victory by saying: "Aha! She admits that the baby was truly mine all along! She is a kidnapper but not a murderer. The baby is mine." Instead, she did something totally unpredictable. She refused saying "Neither mine nor yours shall he be. Cut."

I have always wondered what made her suddenly lose interest in having the child for herself?

A brilliant and original answer to these questions is offered by Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld of

Har Nof Jerusalem, of the Shmayisroel Torah Network (www.shemayisroel.co.il), who cited two 13th century commentators: Rav Yehoshua Ibn Shu'ib in his Drasha for Parshas Mishpatim, and Rav Menachem HaMeiri in his commentary to Yevamos 17a; and another 14th century commentator, the author of Shemen Rokeach and Sha'arHachazokas. They believe that in order to understand the real story behind King Solomon's decision, an understanding of the laws of Yibbum is necessary.

THE LAWS OF YIBBUM.
The Torah describes the practice of Yibbum in the Parsha of Ki Setzei (Devarim 25:5,7,9):

"If there are brothers, and one of them dies without children, the wife of the deceased man may not marry out to another man. Her brother-in-law (her deceased husband's brother) must marry her and thus perform Yibbum on her ... If the man does not want to marry her, she shall approach the elders and declare 'My brother-in-law refuses to establish his brother's name in Israel; he does not consent to perform Yibbum on me'

... Then she shall approach him in the presence of the elders and remove his shoe from his foot, and spit in front of him and proclaim "Such should be done to a man who would not build up his brother's house!"

Yibbum is a Halachic rite which must be performed when a man who has a living brother dies childless. If this uncommon situation occurs, the widow must not remarry unless one of two actions are taken - either she must marry the brother of the deceased or she must be released from the obligation of marrying her brother-in-law by having him perform the Chalitzah ("removing" of the shoe) ceremony.

It is obviously uncomfortable for a woman to be trapped in this situation, wherein she would be subject to the will of another man. Her brother-in-law may not be locatable, compliant or appealing.

There are several fundamental laws concerning the childless nature of the deceased and the age of the bother that control whether Yibbum applies:

LAWS CONCERNING THE CHILDLESS NATURE OF THE DECEASED
1. Rule #1: The man must die childless. According to the Talmud Yevamos 87b, Dying childless includes instances where a man once had children, but these children were already dead at the time of his own death. 
2. Rule #2: Grandchildren: According to the Talmud Yevamos 70a, if the deceased man has no living children but he does have living grandchildren, he is not considered to be childless, and therefore, there is no Yibbum obligation. 
3. Rule #3: Offspring: According to Talmud Yevamos 11 lb and Shabbos 136a, if the deceased left behind any offspring at all, there is no Yibbum - even if the offspring is only one day old. Even if the offspring is still a viable fetus at the time of the husband's death, its mother is exempted from being bound to the living brother. If the fetus is a stillborn or is aborted, or dies, or is killed before it lived for thirty days, it is not considered to have ever been a viable offspring, and Yibbum would be required. 
LAWS CONCERNING THE AGE OF THE DECEASED'S BROTHER 
4. Rule #4: Brother-In-Law: According to the Talmud Yevamos 17b, the widow is obligated to marry her deceased husband's brother. If the deceased husband does not leave a living brother, his wife is free to marry whoever she pleases. 
5. Rule #5: Minor: According to the Talmud Yevamos 1 05b, if the brother of the deceased is a minor, the widow is still bound to him, and does not have the option of freeing herself through Chalitzah since a minor lacks capacity to perform the ceremony. Instead she must wait until the brother reaches the age of majority (Bar Mitzvah 13) in order for him to render Chalitzah at that time. Only then may she remarry. According to the Talmud Niddah 45a if she wants to marry him, she must wait until he reaches 9 years of age. 

APPLICATION & CONCLUSION
We now return to King Solomon's judgment.

The Midrash (Koheles Rabah 10:16) tells us that the reason both of these women were so desperate to have the living child declared theirs was that they were both potential Yevamos (widows subject to Yibbum). Neither of the two had any other offspring. Whoever would be judged to be the childless woman would not only lose the infant, but would also be trapped in the unpleasant status of Yevamah, being dependent upon her brother-in-law's good will.

The Midrash (Yalknt Shimoni 2:175) asserts that the husbands of the two women were father and son, making the two women, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law to each other.

According to the Meiri in his commentary to Yevamos 17a, the two Midrashim may be complementing each other - thanks to our 5-rule Yibbum analysis.

The two women - mother-in-law and daughter-in-law - had just lost their husbands, and needed a live child to exempt them from the status of a Yevamah. Both women gave birth to babies. However, these two babies were still less than 30 days old at the time that one of them died. The mother of the dead child would therefore be subject to the laws of Yibbum (Rule #3). This was the lying mother's motivation for taking the other woman's child.

If it were the mother-in-law's child who had died, she would have no incentive to kidnap her daughter-in-law's child. Even though her son (the deceased husband of her daughter-in-law) had passed away before her own husband had, and therefore he would not exempt her from Yibbum (Rule #1), nevertheless, she would be exempt from Yibbum for another reason. The living child was her son's child, and a grandchild exempts one from Yibbum (Rule #2).

Only the daughter-in-law had the motive to lie and try to claim that the child was hers. If it was her baby who had died within 30 days of its birth, leaving her childless, she would have been bound to her husband's brother as a Yevamah (Rule #4) - and that brother would have been -none other than the living baby (who was in fact her mother-in-law's child - i.e., her deceased husband's bother)! Since her brother-in-law was a newborn, the daughter-in-law would have had to wait 13 years before this baby would be able to perform Chalitzah on her and free her to remarry (Rule #5).

King Solomon realized all of this and suspected that since the only one with a strong motive to lie was the daughter-in-law, the child must really belong to the mother-in-law.

Perhaps this also explains why King Solomon ordered that the child be cut in half.

If the remaining child were to be killed, this too would free the daughter-in-law from her Yevamah status - since the living baby was her only brother-in-law (Rule #3). From the daughter-in-law's perspective, in fact, killing the child would result in a better solution for her. By just kidnaping the child she might have convinced the earthly court that she was not a Yevamah. However, she herself would know that the child was not really hers and that she really was not permitted to remarry, until Chalitzah was performed. By having the baby killed, though, she would truthfully be released from the bonds of Yibbum.

This is the reason the daughter-in-law suddenly lost interest in keeping the child when she saw that King Solomon was ready to cut the child in half. This would serve her interests even more if she took the child for herself. Therefore she insisted: "Cut!"

Young King Solomon guessed that this would be the woman's reaction. By tricking her into making a seemingly ludicrous statement, he revealed her true motives and that she was lying.

This is why, "All of Israel heard the judgment that the King had judged. They had great awe for the King, for they saw that the wisdom of God was within him to do justice."

Respectfully,
BARUCH C. COHEN

FOOTNOTES
Baruch C. Cohen's practice includes all aspects of creditors' and debtors' rights, corporate reorganizations, personal bankruptcies, and all types of bankruptcy litigation in state, federal and bankruptcy courts.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #597 on: July 27, 2012, 08:26:00 AM »

Practice Makes Perfect   Menachem Av 8, 5772 • July 27, 2012
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
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Any human being can climb higher than this world. But it’s not a flash from above that will take you there.
Every day, from the time you open your eyes until the time you close them, teach your eyes to see the world as it is seen from above. Teach your eyes to see wonder.
In Hebrew, this is called emunah. Already, you are living in a higher world.
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Rachel
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« Reply #598 on: September 03, 2012, 09:47:05 PM »

But you didn't

Remember the day I borrowed your brand
new car and dented it?
I thought you'd kill me, but you didn't.

And remember the time I dragged you to the beach,
and you said it would rain, and it did?
I thought you'd say, "I told you so." But you didn't.

Do you remember the time I flirted with all
the guys to make you jealous, and you were?
I thought you'd leave, but you didn't.

Do you remember the time I spilled strawberry pie
all over your car rug?
I thought you'd hit me, but you didn't.

And remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance
was formal and you showed up in jeans?
I thought you'd drop me, but you didn't.

Yes, there were lots of things you didn't do.
But you put up with me, and loved me, and protected me.

There were lots of things I wanted to make up to you
when you returned from Vietnam.

But you didn't.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #599 on: September 07, 2012, 11:41:02 AM »

Welcome back Rachel!
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