May 06, 2016

Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter One - Texts

Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter One - Texts



Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter One

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1. Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgement. Establish many pupils. And make a safety fence around the Torah.
2. Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great assembly. He would say: The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G‑d, and deeds of kindness.
3. Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.
4. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah, and Yossei the son of Yochanan ofJerusalem, received the tradition from them. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah would say: Let your home be a meeting place for the wise; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words.
5. Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be members of your household. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory.
6. Joshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.
7. Nitai the Arbelite would say: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor, do not cleave to a wicked person, and do not abandon belief in retribution.
8. Judah the son of Tabbai and Shimon the son of Shotach received from them. Judah the son of Tabbai would say: When sitting in judgement, do not act as a counselor-at-law. When the litigants stand before you, consider them both guilty; and when they leave your courtroom, having accepted the judgement, regard them as equally righteous.
9. Shimon the son of Shotach would say: Increasingly cross-examine the witnesses. Be careful with your words, lest they learn from them how to lie.
10. Shmaayah and Avtalyon received from them. Shmaayah would say: Love work, loath mastery over others, and avoid intimacy with the government.
11. Avtalyon would say: Scholars, be careful with your words. For you may be exiled to a place inhabited by evil elements [who will distort your words to suit their negative purposes]. The disciples who come after you will then drink of these evil waters and be destroyed, and the Name of Heaven will be desecrated.
12. Hillel and Shammai received from them. Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of Aaron--a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.
13. He would also say: One who advances his name, destroys his name. One who does not increase, diminishes. One who does not learn is deserving of death. And one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish.
14. He would also say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
15. Shammai would say: Make your Torah study a permanent fixture of your life. Say little and do much. And receive every man with a pleasant countenance.
16. Rabban Gamliel would say: Assume for yourself a master; stay away from doubt; and do not accustom yourself to tithe by estimation.
17. His son, Shimon, would say: All my life I have been raised among the wise, and I have found nothing better for the body than silence. The essential thing is not study, but deed. And one who speaks excessively brings on sin.
18. Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel would say: By three things is the world sustained: law, truth and peace. As is stated (Zachariah 8:16), "Truth, and a judgement of peace, you should administer at your [city] gates.''

February 12, 2016

Salon publishing more anti-Jewish racism

Online magazine Salon published an article ("74% of Gaza homes destroyed by Israel in summer 2014 war have not been rebuilt, as violent repression escalates," Feb. 9, 2016) that contained little news but instead rehashed many anti-Israel falsehoods. Author Ben Norton, who seems to have a penchant for anti-Israel rants as numerous Salon items indicate, uses a January U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report as his news hook but cherry-picks details and quotations from it and then veers completely off into old and disproven claims about the 2014 Gaza war. Problems with the article include:
  • Ignoring the fact that the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is due to poor Hamas governance and the failure of international donors to fulfill their commitments.

  • Omitting mention of Hamas' use of construction materials and funds to rebuild and enlarge its network of terror tunnels.

  • Inflating both the number of Gaza fatalities in the fighting and especially the proportion of civilians killed.

  • Parroting bogus charges that Israel targeted civilians and disregarding the unprecedented efforts of the Israeli military to avoid civilian casualties.

  • Falsely claiming Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal when even the U.N. has found it “complied with the requirements of international law.”

  • Blaming Israel for the poor choices made by Palestinian leaders, their followers, supporters and funders.

February 03, 2016

At the United Nations Nothing Justifies Terrorism, Except Palestinian 'Frustration'

For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2016
Contact: info@humanrightsvoices.org
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At the United Nations Nothing Justifies Terrorism,
Except Palestinian 'Frustration' 

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on National Review.
The United Nations played the Holocaust game last week so it could play another lethal game this week. The ruse consists of making a big deal about the gas chambers for Jews back then, while stoking the fires of anti-Semitism burning right now.

On January 31, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon penned a New York Times op-ed to say at one and the same time that “people will always resist occupation” and “nothing excuses terrorism.” That follows a statement he gave to the Security Council on January 26, in which he said “Palestinian frustration is growing” and “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as an incubator of hate and extremism.”

Reaction to the claim that it is human nature to stab pregnant women and mothers in front of their children — as Palestinians had done the week before — has been unanimous across the Israeli political spectrum. In the words of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 26: “The secretary-general’s remarks give a tailwind to terrorism.”

Nevertheless, the spokesman of the secretary-general doubled down in a press briefing on January 27 with these words: “Absolutely nothing justifies terrorism. . . . At the same time, if we want to see an end to this violence . . . we must address the root causes, the underlying frustrations.”

In short, for the United Nations, nothing justifies terrorism except Palestinian frustration.

It is hardly a secret that the UN agenda is to find reasons for treating the Jewish state differently — notwithstanding the UN Charter’s promise of equality for nations large and small. The settlements bandwagon is one of many.

In effect, the “occupation” rant is the PC version of ISIS’s “Allahu Akbar.” It has been the Arab cry since the minute of Israel’s birth in 1948 and is the verbiage that presages destruction, not peaceful coexistence. It is the complaint about Jews living on Arab-claimed land, despite the fact that ultimate ownership of this land — according to legal agreement — is to be decided by negotiations, not UN fiat.

The bigger picture tells the story. The UN just wrapped up a year in which there were a total of 26 General Assembly resolutions condemning specific countries for human-rights abuse: 19 — that’s 73 percent — against Israel and one, for instance, against Syria. In 2015, the UN Commission on the Status of Women adopted one resolution condemning a country for violating women’s rights: Israel — for violating the rights of Palestinian women.

Finding excuses for demonizing Jews, discriminating against Jews, delegitimizing Jewish self-determination, and just plain old Jew-hatred, is thousands of years old. It has a name, anti-Semitism.

Which is where the UN’s international Holocaust Remembrance Day comes in. At the UN, it provides cover. So on January 27, Ban Ki-moon showed up at the General Assembly’s annual commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

After checking-off “present” in his Holocaust remembrance speech, the secretary-general could manage to mention anti-Semitism only once, and only together with “anti-Muslim bigotry.” His UN secretariat also used the day to promote the claim that there were multiple Holocausts, adding for the first time to the rostrum of the annual event a Sinto speaker, who repeatedly referred to “the forgotten Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma.”

The occasion was further desecrated by the Palestinians and their UN collaborators, who managed to hijack the day to hold the annual kickoff of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). The secretary-general delivered his anti-Semitism/anti-Muslim-bigotry speech at the Holocaust(s) event and then walked into the CEIRPP event and delivered another speech on Israel’s international crimes.

Here is Ban Ki-moon on Holocaust Remembrance Day when he was not in the presence of survivors: “Palestinians are losing hope. Young people especially are losing hope. . . . If we hope to see an end to this violence . . . we must address the underlying frustration.” He said nothing about the “frustration” — actually the deep psychological burden — of necessary and mandatory military service for millions of Israelis throughout the prime of their lives. Nothing about Palestinian responsibility for their own lives, or their choice of more terror over more land, or their refusal to negotiate, or their installation of a terrorist organization to govern the land they already occupy in Gaza.

In late November 2015, Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour announced at an exhibit opening held in the public lobby of the UN: “We are so proud that in this popular uprising, the backbone of this uprising are the youth of Palestine.” On January 17 a 16-year old Palestinian stabbed to death an Israeli mother of six — a.k.a. a “settler” — in front of her children. And now the UN secretary-general expresses his empathy and understanding of this normal, to-be-expected, “youthful frustration.”

We know what comes next, because that’s a straight line if there ever was one.


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Anne Bayefsky is the Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and President of Human Rights Voices. Follow her @AnneBayefsky.

January 21, 2016

Why I Am Supporting Mike Huckabee

I love Sarah Palin and we all owe her a debt for taking the abuse and standing up to the establishment many times. 

Now that the race has seemed to tighten, I have decided to support Governor Mike Huckabee I am supporting him even though I disagree strongly with some of his positions as I am strongly in support of the 10th Amendment and states rights and he is less so on some social issues. But I am supporting him for several reasons.

 1. He is an adult in his demeanor. As a Jew, I have strong prohibition against Lashon Hora (negative speech, gossip, etc) and Mike seems to be careful about what he says. 

2. He was governor of Arkansas for, I think, about 10 years, and has great administrative experience so I know that if he is in the Oval Office from day one he will know how to start managing the government and change the terrible direction it is currently going in.

 3. He is very clear and unapologetic about fighting evil.

 4. He knows from long experience on how to fight the Clinton machine. 

5. He is a very good speaker and when given the opportunity does well in debates and all public speaking. 

6. He has been clear that he will not allow personal politics to stop him from supporting whoever the Repub nominee is, that to me is being an adult. 

7. His Fair Tax has a reasonable chance of being done, and even though I am more supportive a flat tax, I know that Huck understands the poor and middle class need some tax relief and that we can do it without demonizing folks that are very wealthy. His Fair Tax will eliminate the payroll tax which will great for the economy. 

Finally, I think he is a man who really knows who he is, knows he must listen to everyone and not be arrogant, and I think he can relate to most Americans, even those that have many different political views. 

Now, at this time it does not look hopeful for his nomination. But, things can change quickly, I think we all know that.