One Universal Ethical Basis For Us All

בסיעתא דשמיא

The world's existence is preserved through 3 things;Torah study, Prayer & Kind Deeds. For society to flourish mankind as a whole must come to appreciate the importance of, Truth, Justice & Peace & conduct itself accordingly. Within the great Family of Man, each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet there is ONE Universal ethical basis for us all. Accept upon yourself the responsibility for peace & oneness in our world - world peace as a value goal. That will herald in a new era & a renewed world. A world of truth, wisdom, harmony & peace!

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it ."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Lighthouse And The Tree

A source of guiding light

By Susan T.

My recovering addict friend says that she loves the image of a lighthouse. During one of our frequent telephone meetings, she shared her wish to envision herself as a lighthouse. Her home is full of photos and paintings of lighthouses. I didn't relate at first. But the very next day, my nine-year old son came home from art class with his lighthouse drawing. Coincidence? It made me think.

A lighthouse is steady and immovable. It is a tower that projects light, enabling ships to navigate the dark seas. The lighthouse is unaffected by powerful winds or strong waves - impervious to rain, snow or hail. Standing alone, proud and firm, the lighthouse calls out: Fear not the dark! My steady light illuminates the way.

We in recovery have certainly sailed some dark, stormy nights, groping blindly for direction and clarity. Sometimes we drifted, frightened or unconscious, not even aware of how we eventually washed up ashore. Today, we know that wherever we find ourselves, we can discover a source of guiding light. For some, it might be a meeting; for others, a program phone call, a reading or a prayer. Each one of us, however, burns with an inner light that we access when we turn to God. He is the One Who created that light within us when He breathed life into us. Our job is to plug in, and to ask Him to help us generate the infinite light within us. Our own light is capable of radiating beams of hope, penetrating the darkness around us, helping fellow souls find their way.

My friend wants to see herself as a lighthouse because she wants to be strong and bright in the face of life's inevitable storms. For me, however, the lighthouse arouses feelings of loneliness and isolation. Seas are scary and vast. The lighthouse radiates an illuminating beam, yet it stands completely alone.

My metaphor for recovery is a tree. It, too, weathers storms, winds and temperatures. A well-anchored tree does not budge. Its branches may sway, its bark may peel, but the tree itself stands strong and grounded, an impartial witness to life. It receives its nourishment from both below and above, like a person connecting Heaven and Earth through his/her very existence. The tree takes in what it needs, and gives back what it can offer - be it shade, fruit or shelter. It adapts to the seasons, proudly bearing itself in winter, as if to invite snow onto its firm branches. It awakens all to the miracle of rebirth with its buds in spring. It transmits the splendor of its lush green abundance in summer. And it proclaims God's majestic palette in fall. The tree is vibrant, connected with its source and with its environment. It is firm yet not rigid. But it needs to be healthy, or it, too, becomes vulnerable to disease and to the elements.

What keeps the lighthouse standing? What keeps the tree healthy? The lighthouse is anchored by cement, the tree by its roots. Each represents a different connection with God. The individual in recovery who has identified his/her source of strength has been working hard, one small drop of cement at a time, laying the foundation for what eventually becomes a tower of light. Every time one admits his powerlessness and surrenders to God, he adds cement to the base of his lighthouse. Each call for Divine Assistance, each abstention from an addictive substance or behavior, each return to program after a slip, each hand extended to help another - each of these add bricks to its tower.

The Torah compares a person to a tree, offering us insight into our own lives. Roots, trunks, branches and fruits of a tree are paralleled in the life of a human being. Faith is the roots of the tree that is a person. A tree with vibrant, strong roots is not easily felled - neither is a person with strong faith. What are our roots? Many of us come from dysfunctional families. We need to dig deeper to access our healthy, life sustaining roots. We are all children of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebeccah, Jacob, Rachel and Leah. We come from seeds that are pure and holy; our source is Godly. We can rely on our spiritual genetics. We can deepen, widen and strengthen our root systems by accessing the faith that is our inheritance. We can produce sweet, delicious fruit.

When we work our programs, we build lighthouses. When we nurture our faith, we build orchards. We are privileged to shine from within and without; we generously share our fruits. As people committed to recovery, we stand proud, strong and solid. We are lighthouses and we are trees.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Human Tree - Life's Roots

We are trees, living two lives at once. One life breaking through the soil into this world. Where, with all our might, we struggle to rise above it, grapple for its sun and its dew, desperate not to be torn away by the fury of its storms or consumed by its fires.

Then there are our roots, deep under the ground, unmoving and serene. They are our ancient mothers and fathers.

They lie deep within us, at our very core. For them, there is no storm, no struggle. There is only the One, the Infinite, for Whom all the cosmos with all its challenges are nothing more than a fantasy renewed every moment from the void.

Our strength is from our bond with them, and with their nurture we will conquer the storm. We will bring beauty to the world we were planted within.

The tree's primary components are: the roots, which anchor it to the ground and supply it with water and other nutrients; the trunk, branches and leaves which comprise its body; and the fruit, which contains the seeds by which the tree reproduces itself.

The spiritual life of man also includes roots, a body, and fruit. The roots represent faith, our source of nurture and perseverance. The trunk, branches and leaves are the body of our spiritual lives -- our intellectual, emotional and practical achievements. The fruit is our power of spiritual procreation -- the power to influence others, to plant a seed in a fellow human being and see it sprout, grow and bear fruit.
Roots and Body
The roots are the least glamorous of the tree's parts--and the most crucial. Buried underground, virtually invisible, they possess neither the majesty of the tree's body, the colorfulness of its leaves nor the tastiness of its fruit. But without roots, a tree cannot survive.

Furthermore, the roots must keep pace with the body: if the trunk and leaves of a tree grow and spread without a proportional increase in its roots, the tree will collapse under its own weight. On the other hand, a profusion of roots makes for a healthier, stronger tree, even if it has a meager trunk and few branches, leaves and fruit. And if the roots are sound, the tree will rejuvenate itself if its body is damaged or its branches cut off.

Faith is the least glamorous of our spiritual faculties. Characterized by a simple conviction and commitment to one's Source, it lacks the sophistication of the intellect, the vivid color of the emotions, or the sense of satisfaction that comes from deed. And faith is buried underground, its true extent concealed from others and even from ourselves.

Yet our faith, our supra-rational commitment to God, is the foundation of our entire tree. From it stems the trunk of our understanding, from which branch out our feelings, motivations and deeds. And while the body of the tree also provides some of its spiritual nurture, the bulk of our spiritual sustenance derives from its roots, from our faith in and commitment to our Creator.

A soul might grow a majestic trunk, numerous and wide-spreading branches, beautiful leaves and lush fruit. But these must be equaled, indeed surpassed, by its roots. Above the surface, there might be much wisdom, profundity of feeling, abundant experience, copious achievement and many disciples; but if these are not grounded and vitalized by an even greater faith and commitment, it is a tree without foundation, a tree doomed to collapse under its own weight.

On the other hand, a life might be blessed with only sparse knowledge, meager feeling and experience, scant achievement and little fruit. But if its roots are extensive and deep, it is a healthy tree: a tree fully in possession of what it does have; a tree with the capacity to recover from the setbacks of life; a tree with the potential to eventually grow and develop into a loftier, more beautiful and fruitful tree.
Fruit and Seed
The tree desires to reproduce, to spread its seeds far and wide so that they take root in diverse and distant places. But the tree's reach is limited to the extent of its own branches. It must therefore seek out other, more mobile couriers to transport its seeds.

So the tree produces fruit, in which its seeds are enveloped by tasty, colorful, sweet-smelling fibers and juices. The seeds themselves would not rouse the interest of animals and men; but with their attractive packaging, they have no shortage of customers who, after consuming the external fruit, deposit the seeds in those diverse and distant places where the tree wants to plant its seeds.

When we communicate with others, we employ many devices to make our message attractive. We buttress it with intellectual sophistication, steep it in emotional sauce, dress it in colorful words and images. But we should bear in mind that this is only the packaging--the fruit that contains the seed. The seed itself is essentially tasteless--the only way that we can truly impact others is by conveying our own simple faith in what we are telling them, our own simple commitment to what we are espousing.

If the seed is there, our message will take root in their minds and hearts, and our own vision will be grafted into theirs. But if there is no seed, there will be no progeny to our effort, however tasty our fruit might be. [The Rebbe]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recipe For Living


First, plant three rows of Peas:
Peace of Mind

Next, plant four rows of Squash:
Squash Gossip
Squash Grumbling
Squash Selfishness
Squash Apathy

Then, plant three rows of Lettuce:
Let us be kind
Let us be responsible
Let us be respectable

No garden is complete without Turnips:
Turn up with a smile and
Turn up with a healthy attitude

Water regularly with confidence and love and let your garden bring forth much fruit.

If we all remember to cultivate this, no challenge would be too great, and what a wonderful world this would be!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Everything About You Is An Essential Part Of The Vast Cosmic Plan

The world, and your life, only exists at this moment for one simple reason – because God consciously and intentionally wants it here. Creation is not a passive process; it is active, dynamic and intentional, purposeful in every detail.

Actually, Kabbalah explains that the natural state of the universe is non-existence. Although our world and all of its creatures do exist, our true nature isn't that separate, solid state of being that it seems to be. Our inner essential being is Divine intention – active, fluid and infinitely alive.

This gives the old slogan "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" a whole new meaning. In point of fact, this moment is the first moment of your life. You have literally just been created… and now again… and again… and again. And as you read these words, God is purposefully bringing your body, your memories, your tendencies, and your circumstances into finite being out of infinite Divine potential, because everything about you is an essential part of the vast cosmic plan. Although you do have the choice between right and wrong, good and evil, the results of your choices are not up to you. At every moment, your circumstances, and the growth that they inspire, are orchestrated from Above.

Everything that has happened and will happen for you is on behalf of this plan. You are here for one reason – because you have a specific Divine mission that you and only you are meant to fulfill. For this mission, God created you with your basic nature and tendencies, your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes. He placed you in the family you were born to and gave you all of the experiences that influenced you from then until now.

Since we are gifted with free choice, we certainly have the power to do the wrong thing. But in the deepest sense, nobody has the power to derail God's plan. We will all get where we're destined to go. But what we encounter along the way will unfold, in large part, according to the choices we make. So, although your choices can't change your destiny, they can definitely change your life.

The point is not that it doesn't matter what you do – quite the opposite. But when you internalize the deep awareness that no matter your mistakes, no matter how difficult your challenges, you are exactly where you need to be right now, you can approach the challenges of life with a profound and encompassing sense of peace, and the awareness that nothing is really wrong. And here's the secret: When you're at peace with what is now, you have the greatest power to create something new. [Shifra Hendrie]

Monday, May 23, 2011

Double Rainbow Appears Over Joplin Missouri After Tornado

Amazing double rainbow seen over Springfield MO just after a deadly tornado rips through Joplin.

Thank you God for the pain
that, like rain,
when filtered through sunshine
paints a rainbow
giving life a touch of beauty,
while reminding me of your promise
that you would never again
destroy mankind through a flood.

And that I need to remember
because sometimes
I feel overwhelmed
by floods which threaten
to engulf me and destroy me,
and leave me sore afraid
when my cries for help
seem lost in the storm.

And then behind me
where I couldn't see
I turn and see a rainbow
adding a touch of beauty to my life
and then I see even if
I don't understand
that as rainbows are painted
by raindrops
so faith, hope, and love
are somehow all painted by pain.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

People Are Not Angels

There are different ways that parents praise their children when they are being really good. One compliment parents often give their child is: "you are such an angel."

We use this form of praise because in our minds we have an image of angels as perfect holy beings that never do anything wrong. However, while it is true that angels are very special beings, calling someone an angel is not such a compliment.

We are taught that despite the fact that angels are holy and pure they are stationary beings. They never grow, never improve and never change. Each angel is created with a specific spiritual mission, which it constantly maintains without ever improving or failing. There are angels that serve God with love and those that serve Him with awe. Whatever spiritual personality they are given is the one they will always have, without making it better or worse.

People are not angels. We are not always perfect. We make mistakes, do what we shouldn't and sometimes fail in our mission. But the unpredictability and inconsistency of our personality is also our strength. It means that we never have to stay the same. Just like we can fail, we can also change and improve. Just as we can do that we shouldn't, we can also do more good that we originally expected. We are the only beings that are not limited by our natural instincts or personality. Our potential for growth, improvement and change is endless.

Don't expect your children or others to be angels. We should hope for them to be real humans - people who sometimes make mistakes, but who can always bounce back and become stronger than ever before.

Don't be an angel - just be a good decent human being.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The "Terrorist" Within

by R' Feige Twerski

The war on terrorism needs to be waged on all fronts. We may not have the power to determine world policy, but we can take charge of our internal landscape.

I recently heard an interview with a microbiologist who gave a frightening description of the new microbes, germs, and organisms that appear to be surfacing. He voiced great concern that, in large measure, due to the overuse of antibiotics, these agents have already become more resistant to effective treatment. And as they mutate they will present an even greater threat.

Listening to these disturbing facts, the interviewer exclaimed, "Wow! How frightening must be your world of microbiology!"

To which the professor responded, "It is not only my world. It's your world -- it's our world. The only difference between us is that given my expertise and resources, I'm able to see what's out there and you cannot. But nonetheless, you are subject and susceptible to the same dire consequences."

Terrorism has always been out there, but now it has tragically reared its ugly head on our territory. Gone forever is the golden age of innocence. Gone is our sense of security and belief that despite what goes on everywhere else, we are safe and invincible.

We, along with the rest of the free world, have become vulnerable to the evil that lurks out there that can, God forbid, strike at anytime.
As we applaud President Bush's "war on terrorism," we wonder what our individual role in all of this might be.

The Jewish perspective has always been that when things occur in macrocosm, in the world at large, we need to look to the microcosm, into our internal world, for a corollary.

The "terrorist" within seizes control and seeks to undermine and destroy that which we have built.

Many parallel insights have been offered. My son, R' Ephraim Twerski of Chicago, suggested to his congregation that as we begin this new Jewish year, we need to combat the "terrorist" within. All of us, by the decisions we make in life, are major players in the structuring of life around us. When we make choices based on morality, decency and honesty we effectively build the structure of our world. Brick by brick we add to the strength and well being of the context in which we live.

Bottom line, we are the architects of both the material and spiritual parameters of our existence. Towards this end we are invested with an inner compass, a pilot if you will, to keep us on course, to negotiate the turbulent winds i.e. the alien values that threaten our values.

All too frequently, the "terrorist" within seizes control. He comes as a voice inside of us that seeks to undermine and destroy that which we have built and that which have the potential to build. It tries to convince us in subtle and not so subtle ways that we are failures, that we cannot rise above past mistakes, that our flaws and blemishes condemn us forever to the dark side.

The "terrorist" within knows our weak points and hence its arguments are compelling. It seeks to stifle our growth and viability. Our response needs to be swift and decisive.

The cardinal sin is to underestimate our heavenly invested and incorruptible essence that exhorts us to lift ourselves out of our past mistakes, assume responsibility and move forward towards the legitimate excellence and majesty that is our birthright as God's children.

Every positive act of compassion, empathy, guarding our tongue, resisting verbal assaults, curbing anger, diffusing envy, etc. is a brick and a contribution with our name on it to the strength of the structural configuration that is our world. Conversely, a deliberate destructive deed, a negative belief about ourselves and others, is an assault, an act of terrorism, an act of killing our potential.

The war on terrorism needs to be waged on all fronts. But the global efforts will ultimately be only as effective and successful as the sum of its individual parts. And this means you and me - the struggle, the conquests, and victories on our internal battlefield.

We may not have the power to determine world policy, but perhaps more significantly we can take charge of our internal landscape.

Consider the following cases:
  1. Kate, a tall attractive 19-year old blonde considered herself a total failure. Her reputation at college had not been the best. Her limited attempts at finding employment were not very successful. Her group of friends was, as she put it, "more messed up" than her and her parents were greatly disappointed in her. Her greatest desire was to sleep all day.
    Kate's "terrorist," the negative voice inside of her, had assumed control of her life, convincing her that the only refuge was a pillow. He cast his pall on every area of her life and she was in great danger if she didn't rouse the pilot, the better part of herself to take control of her journey.
  1. Isabelle suffered the untimely loss of her young mother. At first, denial did not allow her the comfort of mourning. But this eventually gave way to a total break down. She was unable to interact with people, to work, eat, or function in any normal capacity. Her "terrorist" consisted of her inability to open up and share her feelings. Her misguided "private" stance kept her bottled up with her enormous pain and grief unresolved. Healing that is so dependent on openness and sharing of feelings, became impossible. Without immediate intervention, she was in real danger of self-destructing.
Each of us has our own internal "terrorist" bent on thwarting the good and the positive in our relationship to ourselves and our relationship to others. If we are not vigilant and wise in identifying its tactics and rooting it out, our personal, internal world may be at great risk.

The war on terrorism begins on very personal ground, inside each one of us. As one world leader put it, "You have to be the change that you would like to see."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why Is It So Important To Keep The Seven Noahide Laws?

Why isn’t it enough for me to live by my own personal values and morals?

The Seven Noahide laws are the laws that God gave to the world, in order for the world to be a civilized and peaceful place. If every person would make his own laws, according to his own intelligence, they would change according to the person’s maturity and changes in circumstances.

The world would be a jungle, each person living according to his/her changing values. God created the world and wrote a manual by which we need to live. Just as any electronic device company writes a manual for every device it sells.
God gave a manual for all the nations of the world. This is the code that never changes, since it is a Godly one.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Cards We Are Dealt In Life

So What If Life Isn't Fair? - Learning To Play The Hand You Were Dealt.

The cards we are dealt in life, are the cards we are dealt. It’s our decision how we play our hand.

Blasphemy - One of the more sober realities of life is that it isn’t fair. No matter how much we try to right the wrongs in the world, life will still be unfair for someone somewhere. It may seem unfortunate, but that’s just the way things are and complaining about it does no good. The cards we are dealt in life, are the cards we are dealt. It’s our decision how we play our hand.

Sometimes, when we are doing everything we can to make things go our way, something totally out of our control will punch us in the stomach. It just doesn't seem fair. Well guess what, sometimes it isn't fair, at least from a human perspective. That's the very painful truth about our lives.

No matter who we are, there will be times when something unfair will happen, or be done, to us – something that feels so unjust that our heads spin for days, or even weeks. We live with these little thoughts of disbelief. Sometimes we lose control of our emotions and even fantasize about getting even. When our balance is momentarily kicked sideways, it can be difficult to get a good sense of direction. But anger or revenge seldom make it any better.

Some of us are born leaders. Some of us are followers. Some of us have unique talents. Some of us don't have any. Some of us have great confidence. Some of us are forever burdened with inferiority complex. Some of us care only what we're thought of; others couldn't care less.

Fairness is not necessarily part of the bargain. When fairness seems to fly out the window, we must not allow our inspiration to go with it. There is always a new path that oftentimes proves to be better than the one we were on. Once we come to grips with this reality; when we stop asking why me – how come this one is richer than me, or that one is smarter than me – our lives become much happier.

There are many examples of people who got passed over for a promotion, lost the love of their lives, or had to change their lifestyles drastically, who found a way to reinvent themselves, move forward, and turn things around. History is replete with people that have, against all odds, made themselves into a success story. Their challenge was the catalyst for their success, not failure. They didn’t blame others for their issues, and instead took action regardless of the circumstances.

The answer is that victim or not, one does not have the right to lash out against others as a result of their misfortune, and certainly not against God, not only because it is non productive or beneficial, but because it is downright destructive. It breeds a pernicious atmosphere, which leaves a noxious void in its wake. The venom of those who consider themselves accountable to no deity – who worship only human reason and feelings as a moral compass, has brought us the Holocaust and the horrors of Stalin.

Worse even is the combination of religious extremism added to the rampant secularism. While such a combination may appear contradictory,  often it is.

It is one (albeit terrible) thing to ignore or even deny the existence of God. However, it is even worse to accept the existence of God, only to curse Him. This is the most harmful manner to undermine religion. To actually accept the existence of God, but to claim that He poorly manages the world and to attribute to Him acts of evil.

At a superficial glance, such a claim may to some extent be understood, if mistaken. A believing person may, even must, question God in his struggle to decipher His unknowable ways; but that questioning must not lead us away from Him, and certainly not serve as permission to curse Him. The mantra of a person must be that “He is a faithful God, never unfair, righteous and moral is He”( Deutronomy 32:4).

The severity of blasphemy is such that it is considered one of the Seven Universally binding Noahide laws, for which (theoretically) the penalty for violation is death.

“Who blasphemes the name of G-d shall be put to death” (24:16) and a seemingly unrelated law, one which the scripture has stressed previously and appears to need little reinforcement: “One who takes a human life must be put to death” (24:17), appears to be implying that a murder is an inevitable byproduct of a society that can curse the Creator. Human life is a reflection of the image of God, and once we deny that image, it is easy to justify murder. It is, after all, just the destruction of a cluster of cells that make up the mass of matter we call a human being.

We must be extremely wary of the inescapable relationship between blasphemous speech and blasphemous action. It is rare for evil to flourish without being preceded by an ideology of hate and propaganda.

One must always sanctify the name of God. We are bidden to sing the praises of God, to give thanks to Him for all of our blessings even while simultaneously praying for the fulfillment of our needs. That is a critical safeguard to society.

The blasphemer seeks to repudiate everything through his blasphemy, including the very existence of God – as if there is no Law and Judge. In other words, scripture first teaches us at length about the significance of sanctity in  society and then presents us with the blasphemer – the arch-desecrator of the sacred.

A society which concentrates on promoting the quest for sanctity, he asserts, will necessarily express its revulsion when that sanctity is desecrated. Such a society will certainly understand blasphemy as a most extreme form of deviance.

May we take to heart the lessons and accept our lot in life with love and respect for the giver of life and our particular mission in life. [R' Yoseph Kahanov]

Friday, May 6, 2011

“Osama's Body Buried At Sea” Ridding The World Of Polluted Waters

Ridding The World Of Polluted Waters

Monday the 2nd of May 2011 was a historical day in world events: Osama bin Laden had allegedly been killed by a team of US Navy SEALS in Abbottabad Pakistan. After getting over the excitement & jubilation of this long awaited news, many had started to wonder where Osama's body was and what would or had happened to it, the headlines that followed were quick to announce that  “Osama's Body Buried At Sea” .

If we search beyond the headlines Osama Bin Laden's final resting place was Divine "Measure for Measure". Osama bin Laden lived to destroy, kill, taunt and incite fear around the world. Inevitably, “the brimming sea destroys, kills, conquers" thus as in life so in death, Osama was cast to drown in the depth of the sea to eternity. 

To quote Micah: 
"The "depths of the sea" refers to the verse, "He will return, He will have mercy on us; He will conquer our iniquities and cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19)

 The phrase "the shadow of depth" refers (among others) to the verse, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; Your rod and Your staff comfort me." (Psalms 23:4)

God granted man control of the wheel that sealed or opened the dam.
At the time of its creation, our newborn world contained no true evil.

There were "external forces" which are presently evil, yet at that pure point they were simply neutral. Our sages compare these forces to "a guard in the courtyard" and "a shell that protects the fruit within." Like an ocean that surrounds a continent and provides a natural defense.

The "external forces" also acted as a butler who serves and arranges; the Snake in Genesis has been described as "a great attendant," much like a sea carries cargo from port to port. The Midrash relates that the snake used to have two characteristics that elevated it above all other creatures, in order for it to attend to mankind: It walked upright on legs and had the power of speech. (When it failed in its function, it lost these two advantages, becoming the creature with no legs at all, nor can it speak, roar or bellow--just hiss.) Death, suffering, hatred and hardship did not exist to shape existence as it does nowadays.

Man changed all that. He activated the destructive potential that transformed the external forces into the evil forces. The floods of evil, the tides of misfortune, had been restrained by the command of God: Do not eat from that tree! With but one divine commandment God granted man control of the wheel that sealed or opened the dam. He was told not to open it, lest death and destruction rush into the world. Man had but this one solitary wall with which to protect himself and his future generations; his wall was his obedience to the command of God.

Yet this wall proved inadequate. Man did not built his obedience strong or high enough. His loyalty was compromised, his defense was lacking. No sooner did the forbidden fruit slide down his palate, when the levee tumbled down on the world. It was like inviting a rock band into the contemplation of a library, or inviting hordes of terrorists to live in your land.

Evil instantly swamped and overwhelmed the planet. Pain and grief invaded the very character of life itself. The solitary wall had been breached by the two lone humans on earth.

This empowerment of evil is analogous to a slave who rebels and enslaves his master. Or as the mast of a ship that was designed to hold its sails; yet should the mast snap and fall sideways, it will capsize the very ship it was made to support.

The slow process of draining the waters of evil and constructing a new and unshakable barrier that will return the ocean to its location and innocence has fallen to the descendants of that first couple. But this time, God has not given us the luxury of a single commandment; that has proven too risky.

Instead, we must place load after load of "sandbags" into the gap. We have Seven Universal Commandments to combat the invasion and to restore our dwellings. Every goodly act causes the ocean to recede.

Our tractors and helicopters have been active for generations, and the barrier is almost restored. Yet at times we may wonder: We've piled countless divine commandments into the breach, yet the breach still exists. If this vast amount of material has not done the job, my dropping another deed or two will certainly not have any effect! Why bother?

The truth is, however, that if we already have so many bags in position, then we only need a few more to complete the task. These last deeds are the ones that'll stop the flood.

Mankind has no reason to despair of ridding the world of polluted waters. Those many years of effort will be crowned with our positive actions and usher in the Messianic era . Then the "external forces" will once again become a "guard for our homes," for our universe. "There will be peace in your wall (and therefore) tranquility in your buildings" (Psalms 122:7). The very potential for evil and hurt will be forever purged from our lives, "And the spirit of impurity I shall remove from the earth" (Zachariah 13:2).

In its place, "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the ocean bed" (Isaiah 11:9). [By Yaakov Paley]

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Navy SEAL Dog Helped Take Down Osama Bin Laden

By Michael Flood McNulty

We've heard just how hard it is to become an elite member of the U.S. Navy Seals. Now there's news of a super dog who managed to make the cut: He came along on the now infamous mission into Pakistan and helped take down the world's most wanted man, according to the Sun newspaper in Britain.

The dog, who was strapped to one of the human assault-team members, was brought along for its explosive-sniffing capability and ability to relay images to troops. It had armor to protect against knives and an infrared night-vision camera. []

According to the Sun newspaper:

A FEARLESS four-legged recruit joined US Special Forces as they stormed Osama Bin Laden's secret lair. 

The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to an assault team member as they took on one of their greatest challenges to date.

He was part of the operation in which the elite US Navy Seals lowered themselves down ropes from three Black Hawk helicopters into the terrorist supremo's hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.

The world's most wanted man, 54, was shot dead by a Special Forces marksman during the raid.

Heavily armoured hounds — equipped with infrared night-sight cameras — have been used in the past by the top-secret unit.

The war dogs wear ballistic body armour that is said to withstand damage from single and double-edged knives, as well as protective gear which shields them from shrapnel and gunfire.

German Shepherds have been leading the way in SAS raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wearing oxygen masks, the pooches have been trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft, before seeking out insurgents in hostile environments.

The animals will attack anyone carrying a weapon and have become a pivotal part of special operations as they crawl unnoticed into tunnels or rooms to hunt for enemy combatants.

The cameras on their heads beam live TV pictures back to the troops, providing them with critical information and warning of ambushes.

Dogs were also used in the capture of Saddam Hussein and in the killing of the Iraqi dictator's two sons. []

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Did Osama Bin Laden Hate America? Was It Because Of Israel?

By Alex Safian, PhD

Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan by US forces, it is important for the media and the general public to remember just what triggered his anti-American obsession – hint, it wasn't Israel.

In fact, as bin Laden made abundantly clear in his writings and statements, his primary grievance was with Saudi Arabia, the Islamic holy land, and the presence and influence there of infidels, namely the armed forces of the United States.

What really sent bin Laden over the edge was the Saudi decision to invite in U.S. troops to protect the Kingdom right after Saddam had invaded Kuwait. Bin Laden urged against what he saw as a deep sacrilege and betrayal – Saudi Arabia is the holy land of the Muslims, and non-Muslims are not even allowed to step foot in Mecca and Medina.

Rather than accept US troops, he implored Saudi leaders to depend on his Afghan mujahadin instead. But Secretary of State James Baker and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell visited the Kingdom and convinced Saudi rulers to turn him down and allow in the American army. For inviting in the infidels, the “Crusaders,” as bin Laden put it, the Saudi rulers would never be forgiven.

Indeed, in bin Laden’s famous Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places, August 23, 1996, the Israelis are given only a few mentions, while the Americans and the Saudis are the primary villains:

The latest and the greatest of these aggressions, incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (ALLAH'S BLESSING AND SALUTATIONS ON HIM) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places [Mecca and Medina] -the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka'ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims- by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies. (We bemoan this and can only say: "No power and power acquiring except through Allah")...

Through its course of actions the regime has torn off its legitimacy:
(1) Suspension of the Islamic Shari'ah law and exchanging it with man made civil law. The regime entered into a bloody confrontation with the truthful Ulamah and the righteous youths (we sanctify nobody; Allah sanctify Whom He pleaseth).

(2) The inability of the regime to protect the country, and allowing the enemy of the Ummah - the American crusader forces- to occupy the land for the longest of years.

Now, bin Laden's deputy, who is likely to succeed him as the head of al Qaeda, is Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri. Dr. Zawahiri is really the operational leader and chief strategist of the organization, so it is crucial to understand his thinking as well.

Zawahiri is from Egypt, and was arrested there more than twenty five years ago for his involvement in the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Of course, the assassination of Sadat, who had so bravely made peace with Israel, failed to destroy the Egyptian government, and failed to achieve its goal, an Islamic revolution. Instead the Islamist plotters who were lucky got long prison sentences; the rest got their heads chopped off. Zawahiri was one of the lucky ones, and he concluded while in jail that the coup failed because Egypt was massively supported by the United States, and therefore that the Egyptian regime and the other infidel Arab states will only be overthrown after the US is humiliated and forced to withdraw from the Middle East. Then the corrupt governments can be toppled by the Muslims, the Arab states can be unified and the caliphate restored. With their control of the Arab world’s oil and wealth, and large populations, al Qaeda and its followers would then be poised to rule the world.

Realistic or not, that was Zawahiris' thinking. And America – not Israel – stood in the way of that goal.

That is, we were attacked on 9/11 not because of our support for Israel, but because of our support for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Egypt and Jordan.

That's why through all the attacks by al Qaeda against the US up till 9/11 – the first WTC attack, Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole in 2000 – there was not a single attack against Israel or Israeli interests. al Qaeda and bin Laden have much larger goals, and to them Israel is just a small sideshow. Or as the Iranians put it, the US is the “Great Satan,” Israel is the “Small Satan.”

"There Goes The Neighborhood" The Guy Who Unknowingly Liveblogged The Osama Bin Laden Raid

Photo Credit:Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Sohaib Athar: Accidental Witness To History as he sent out a stream of live updates on Twitter about the movement of helicopters and blasts outside his house, unaware the hunt for the world's most wanted man was coming to a bloody end in his sleepy hills

A computer programmer, startled by a helicopter clattering above his quiet Pakistani town in the early hours, did what any social-media addict would do: he began sending messages to the social networking site Twitter.

With his tweets, 33-year-old Sohaib Athar, who moved to the sleepy town of Abbottabad to escape the big city, became in his own words 'the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it'.

His first tweet was innocuous: 'Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).'

Soon the sole helicopter multiplied into several and gunfire and explosions rocked the air above the town, and Mr Athar's tweets quickly garnered 14,000 followers as he unwittingly described the U.S. operation to kill one of the world's most wanted terrorists.
The noise alarmed Mr Athar, who moved to the upmarket area of Abbottabad to get away from city life after his wife and child were badly injured in a car accident in the sprawling city of Lahore, according to his blog in July.

Nestled in the mountains around 60 miles north east of the capital, Abbottabad is a quiet, leafy town featuring a military academy, the barracks for three army regiments and even its own golf course.

As the operation to kill Osama bin Laden unfolded, Mr Athar 'liveblogged' what he was hearing in real time, describing windows rattling as bombs exploded.

He questioned whose helicopters might be flying overhead.
'The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani,' he tweeted.

Mr Athar then said that one of the aircraft appeared to have been shot down. Two more helicopters rushed in, he reported.

Throughout the battle, he related the rumours swirling through town. It was a training accident. Somebody was killed. The aircraft might be a drone. The army was conducting door-to-door searches in the surrounding area. The sound of an airplane could be heard overhead.

Mr Athar did not respond to media requests for comment - he explained in another tweet that a filter he set up to stop his email box from flooding could be culling out requests for interviews.

Soon, however, the rumbling of international events far beyond the confines of this quiet suburb began to dawn on Mr Athar, and he realised what he might be witnessing.

'I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected,' he tweeted.

Eight hours and about 35 tweets later, the confirmation came: 'Osama bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan,' Mr Athar reported.

'There goes the neighbourhood.' []

Monday, May 2, 2011

Every Happening Is An Integral Piece Of A Huge Jigsaw Puzzle

There is a ladder which extends from Heaven and reaches even the lowest points on Earth. Loyal angels constantly scurry down the ladder to fulfill their Divine mission, and then hurry back up to await new orders. No matter where you may be, the angel-filled ladder will shadow you; God's protection will always be with you.

There are no coincidences; whatever happens is orchestrated from Above and implemented by the angels descending the ladder.

The Baal Shem Tov explained that not only is everything by design on the local level, but every happening is an integral piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle.

The "butterfly effect" is a perfect example for this point. Every occurrence, as trivial as it may seem, is part of God's grand scheme which encompasses all of creation. The finite human mind, or the most powerful super computer for that matter, cannot begin to comprehend how the trillions upon trillions of events from the dawn of time until today can all be part of a singular vision and plan. I daresay that if we did understand, we'd be God ourselves...

God makes the choices for the entire world, but He empowered each of us to makes the choices in our own lives; our own "worlds". He made known His method of managing the world, so that we can adopt this modus operandi in the management of our own lives.

When faced with making decisions, we often take the "local" route in order to arrive at a choice. The primary factors which determine our choices are typically short-term convenience and expediency. If we are to be God-like we must train ourselves to look at the larger picture and think on a larger scale. Our major goals and aspirations must be the dominant factor when making any decision, big or small. Will this action bring me closer to my goals or not? Is this deed part of the dazzling picture which the puzzle pieces of my life are meant to complete?
 [Naftali Silberberg]