05 July 2020

Here We Go Again!

13 Tammuz 5780
Deputy health minister: Second wave worse, more dangerous than first

..."We are in a second wave that is worse and more dangerous than the first one," Kish said at a Knesset Coronavirus Committee session. "We are in a long war of attrition. A sharp rise in the rate of confirmed patients was recorded from 1% mid May to 5% of all tests today."

According to Kish, "the number of confirmed carriers doubled in ten days. There is a large number of new critical patients." The deputy-minister said the outbreak is "spreading across the country."

The rate will "rise to hundreds of new infections," Kish added.
With the ongoing threat of renewed total "lockdown" and increasing ferocity of the authorities in enforcing unreasonable adherence to questionable health orders, it is important to continue to monitor the real trends in this pandemic and to evaluate for ourselves with our own seichel whether the current environment of fear and totalitarianism is justified.  Here is the statistical overview as presented by the World Health Organization:

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Looking only at the graph of the numbers of confirmed cases, one would have to agree that a clear "second wave" is in progress; but as we already know, those numbers are easy to manipulate as we have no way of knowing the rate of increase in testing as compared to the first time around as well as how many are asymptomatic. While the number of serious cases has doubled over the past week - from 40s to 80s, the number of those on ventilators is still in the 20s range [and that number is included among the seriously ill count].  If these 86 "serious" cases are the only ones hospitalized, that averages to two coronavirus patients per hospital in Israel, so don't believe any dire warnings of overwhelming the health care system!
Israel hits new high for active coronavirus cases, with 11,189 currently sick

...The Health Ministry reported that 804 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Saturday, bringing the total number of active patients to 11,189, the highest since the start of the epidemic in Israel.

The Health Ministry said another nine patients were hospitalized in a serious condition, bringing the total number of serious cases to 86, with 29 of them in need of ventilator support.

According to health officials, since midnight Sunday, 130 people tested positive for coronavirus.

...The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center ... put the number of tests conducted on Saturday at slightly above 15,000,....
The numbers of dead are a more reliable indicator in this case and as can be seen, these numbers do not at all indicate a "second wave more dangerous than the first." With nearly the same rate of reported daily infection back in March, there were 19 dead in one day at the worst of it. With a similar reported infection rate for July, four have died from Friday to Sunday.

The second WHO graph above is the true indicator of whether there is currently a second wave.  Do you see it?  I certainly do not.

It is the nature of novel viruses to be more deadly at their initial onset and then to mutate as time goes on to be less lethal.  This is because it is not advantageous for the virus to kill its host.  The goal is to be as infectious as possible for as long as possible so as to replicate and spread far and wide.  That is the job the Creator gave it in this world.  Even when mankind attempts to weaponize a virus in the lab by editing its genetic makeup to make a more lethal killing machine, the Creator is still ultimately in control of it.

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR FEAR IN THE HEART OF THE JEW WITH FAITH IN HKB"H!

The best advice is still to eat and drink nutritionally so as to boost your own natural immune system.  Stay away from obviously ill people, just as you would to avoid any other disease, and pray to be spared the illness and its consequences.  This is your hishtadlut - not a mask! and not closing synagogues! and not stopping weddings!  No one can hide from a virus.  Hashem alone decides who will live and who will die as He has since the beginning of time.

The War Going on Right Under Our Noses

13 Tammuz 5780

Back on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, I wrote the following:
Were you aware that Israel and Iran are at war and have been for the past month?

For the entire month of Iyyar, Iran and Israel have been openly engaged in a major cyber war.

It was Rosh Chodesh Iyyar I and II (April 24-25) when Iran attacked Israel's water system...
6 facilities said hit in Iran’s cyber attack on Israel’s water system in April

Six facilities were hit in an Iranian cyber attack last month on the country’s water infrastructure that succeeded in impacting some systems but did not cause any disruption in the water supply or waste management, the Ynet news site reported on Tuesday.
It was the 15 Iyyar (May 9), the day after Pesach Sheini, when Israel made a counterattack against the Shahid Rajaee port facility in the Iranian coastal city of Bandar Abbas...
Israel reportedly responded to the incident with a sophisticated cyber attack on an Iranian port facility, causing widespread chaos in the Islamic Republic.
On Thursday last, 27 Iyyar, Al Quds Day in Iran and celebrated as Yom Yerushalayim in Israel, Iran attacked again...
Israeli Websites Hacked in Cyberattack: ‘Be ready for a big surprise’

300 sites defaced with clip of Tel Aviv burning; security agencies have been bracing for Iran-linked attack for Quds Day, after port hack blamed on Israel
Just so you know, it's still going on and it has notched up another level this week...
Were Iran blasts triggered by ‘Son of Stuxnet’?

Five recent explosions in Iran may have been caused by computer viruses similar to the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iranian centrifuges in 2010.

Two of the blasts took place at power plants, one at a missile research, development and production site, one at a new uranium enrichment centrifuge center, and the last (if it can be considered part of the attacks) in downtown Tehran at a medical facility that could have been a cover for nuclear operations, such as a hidden command center.

Iran says that in the case of the Shiraz Power Plant the facility was hit by a cyberattack, which poses the question: Is this “the son of Stuxnet?”

Iran under pressure after fourth mysterious explosion


On Saturday yet another massive fire damaged a power plant in its restive Khuzestan province. Iran said, once again, this was an accident. But quietly Iran is letting it be known that there are concerns, including through commentary at its major media suggesting it might respond to the attacks.

...This is what Iran must weigh today: If Iran says it is under attack it must respond or be humiliated. It would also show that its systems are compromised at its most sensitive sites. If it says that all these are accidents then it must explain why there are so many accidents. Neither choice is enviable. Either it will show weakness in its defenses, or failing infrastructure.

Air defenses respond to rocket attack on US Embassy in Baghdad

...The rocket attack on Saturday took place after a number of rocket attacks near the US Embassy in Baghdad and other US military sites in recent weeks. In June, there were six rocket attacks on the US Embassy, the airport and US forces at a base.

Two weeks ago, the Iraqi military said that its forces had raided a base in southern Baghdad used by militiamen suspected of firing rockets at foreign embassies in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and its international airport.
Iraqi authorities were questioning the 14 men detained during the raid, the military added. A number of those arrested were later released.
The raid was the most brazen action by Iraqi forces against a major Iran-backed militia in years and targeted the Kataib Hezbollah group, which US officials accuse of firing rockets at bases hosting US troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Iranian-backed militias in Iraq push their gains on July 4
The Iranian-backed militias have been increasingly expressing anger at the US and Saudi Arabia and Israel.
How long until this simmering pot boils over?

03 July 2020

"Blessings and Curses"

11 Tammuz 5780
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Balak

Parashat Balak: Blessings and Curses

by Daniel Pinner

Jewish history began on the day that “Hashem said to Abram, Get yourself out from your country and from your homeland and from your father’s house, to the Land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Leaving his birthplace, tearing himself away from everything that was known and familiar when he was 75 years old and starting out on a journey to an as-yet-unknown destination, demanded such great faith and was so difficult that it was one of the ten tests with which God tested Abraham (Pirkei Avot 5:3, Avot de-Rabbi Natan 33:2, Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 26 ).


Abraham passed this test, and God continued: “I will bless those who bless you, and he who curses you I will damn, and in you will be blessed all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3).


The Targum Yonatan paraphrases this blessing: “I will bless the Kohanim (Priests) who will spread their hands in prayer and bless your children, and Bil’am (Balaam) who curses them, I will curse – they will kill him by the decree of the sword, and in you will be blessed all the families of the earth”.


464 years later Balak, king of Moab, would send his messengers to Bil’am, the non-Jewish prophet who lived some 700 km (435 miles) to the north in Aram. Balak, whether consciously or subconsciously, tried to emulate this blessing in his words to the prophet-for-hire: “Now go and curse this nation for me – because it is greater than me – maybe I will be able to smite it and drive it out of the country; because as I know, he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you damn is damned” (Numbers 22:6).


If Balak knew of God’s blessing to Abraham and its wording, then this message to Bil’am is surely rank cynicism. And if Bil’am knew of God’s blessing to Abraham – which he may well have done, being a prophet who hailed from Aram, Abraham’s birthplace – then his acceptance of Balak’s parody of God’s promise to Abraham is even worse.


Indeed, the Midrash quotes Bil’am as saying to Balak, “We are both equally ungrateful: had it not been for their father Abraham, then Balak would never have existed, as it says ‘And it happened when God destroyed the cities of the plain [of Sodom and Gomorrah] that God remembered Abraham and He sent Lot out from the midst of the turmoil’ (Genesis 19:29). Had it not been for Abraham, Lot would not have been saved from Sodom, and you are descended from Lot! And had it not been for Jacob their father, I myself would not be in the world, because Laban only had sons in Jacob’s merit… He that damns, damns himself; for thus it is written, ‘he who curses you I will damn’” (Bamidbar Rabbah 20:19).


Bil’am knew only too well which nation he was going against and what the implications of his attempted attack were. He was, after all, a prophet on the level of Moshe himself (Bamidbar Rabbah 14:20; Tannah de-Vey Eliyahu, Eliyahu Zuta 10; Yalkut Shimoni, Numbers 765 et. al.).


Some 20 years after the episode with Balak and Bil’am, after the prophet Joshua had led us in conquest of the Land of Israel and apportioned it among the twelve Tribes, Joshua delivered his farewell address to the nation in Shechem (Joshua 24). Inter alia, he recalled those events: “Thus said Hashem:…Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and called to Bil’am son of Beor to curse them. But I did not deign to listen to Bil’am, and he blessed you with a blessing – and thus I saved you from his hand” (vs. 9-10).


And almost a millennium later, at the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon, Persia and Media to the Land of Israel, Nehemiah reminded the nation of how Moab “hired Bil’am against it to curse it, but our God reversed the curse into a blessing” (Nehemiah 13:2).


The inference is that Bil’am really did have the power to bless and to curse – which was why King Balak had called on him in the first place: “…as I know, he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you damn is damned” (Numbers 22:6). We can speculate: for a regional king to speak like this, how many historical precedents did he have to rely upon? How many nations had Bil’am already blessed and cursed, how many battles and wars had he already won and lost for other kings, in order to build up so solid a reputation?


No record seems to exist, neither in Jewish sources nor in outside sources, of anything that Bil’am had done previously. Yet the fact that a king would call on his help from so far away implies very strongly that Bil’am had a formidable history.


It is also worth noting that both when God addressed Bil’am (Numbers 22:9-12, 20) and when His angel addressed him (31-35), he was not particularly fazed. Now the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 45:7) points out that Manoah feared that he and his wife (Samson’s future parents) would die because the angel appeared to them (Judges 13:22), whereas Hagar related with equanimity to the angel who appeared to her (Genesis 16:7-13). This was because it was Manoah’s first ever encounter with an angel, whereas Hagar, who had lived for so many years in the tent of Abraham and Sarah, was already accustomed to seeing angels.


Evidently this was not Bil’am’s first encounter either with God or with His angel.


And yet, in spite of this, when Joshua wrote the history of his era (“Joshua wrote his Book and the final eight verses of the Torah” – Bava Batra 14b), he recorded that “the Children of Israel killed Bil’am son of Beor, the magician, by the sword” (Joshua 13:22).


The Talmud picks up on Joshua’s wording. “‘Bil’am son of Beor, the magician’ – a magician?! He was a prophet! Said Rabbi Yochanan: He began as a prophet and ended up as a magician” (Sanhedrin 106a). Rashi comments on this, “When he set his eyes on cursing Israel, prophecy was taken from him and he became a magician”.


Let us see the context in which Joshua described Bil’am as “magician”. Joshua was already “old, advanced in years” (Joshua 13:1), and he had already led the conquest of great parts of the Land of Israel. Chapters 13 to 21 of the Book of Joshua delineate the borders of the Land of Israel, the internal borders of the territories of the twelve Tribes, the Cities of refuge, and the Levite Cities.


Chapter 13 defines the borders of trans-Jordanian Israel, the areas which had been settled by Moab and which are currently occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan. “Moshe had given to the Tribe of the children of Reuben, according to their families, and their border was from Aroer…and all the cities of the plain, and the entire kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites…whom Moshe had struck – him and the princes of Midian: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, rulers of Sihon, who dwelt in the Land; and Bil’am son of Beor, the magician, the Children of Israel had killed by the sword” (Joshua 13:15-22).


The fact that Joshua slips this historical detail in at this juncture tells us something important. When settling the Land of Israel, when defining its borders – remember our enemies who fought to prevent us from entering our Land, and remember how we dealt with them!


And understand that those who fight against us, even if they acknowledge the One true God, even a prophet among them, are to be killed.


When Joshua led us across the River Jordan into the Land of Israel, he followed a sound military strategy. He began by conquering Jericho, on the border of Israel, then proceeded to Ai, and by conquering those two cities he subdued the entire Jordan Valley. He then proceeded to Shechem, which controls a strategically invaluable mountain pass, and which by extension controls the north of the country.


He then advanced southwards, and it was there, in the battle for Gilgal, that Joshua, needing extra hours of daylight to complete the battle, “said in the eyes of Israel: Sun in Gibeon stand still, and Moon, in the Valley of Ayalon! And the sun stopped, and the moon stood still, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies… The sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and did not begin moving towards sunset for a whole day” (Joshua 10:12-13).


Though the Tanach does not indicate when exactly the battle for Gilgal and the miracle of the sun standing still occurred, the Midrash (Seder Olam Rabbah 11) records that this miracle occurred on the 3rd of Tammuz.


(In memory of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah Hy”d, who were buried side-by-side in Modi’in on the 3rd of Tammuz.)



~ SHABBAT SHALOM ~

02 July 2020

Help YouTube Clean Its House

10 Tammuz 5780

It was widely reported yesterday that Youtube removed three entire channels of white supremacists.  There is a particular Christian supremacist channel I'd like to see removed.  It is full of hatred, and incitement to hatred, of Judaism as you can see from the comments to a recent video posted here.

The organization is called One for Israel and is endorsed by people like "Friends of Israel" former Governor Mike Huckabee and former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.  The people behind it are messianic Christian "Jewish" and Arab Israelis.  They are the most anti-Judaism sect of Christianity in Israel and the same people behind that Shelanu station on HOT cable which we just got taken off the air, B"H!!

As I said, I would like to see the entire channel removed, because rather than promote the "joys" of Christianity, it attempts to draw in Israelis by poisoning their minds with lies about Judaism and "the rabbis" in the exact same way that the neo-nazi sites do.

But, because this one about women is so vile, I'm starting with trying to get this one video removed called: Myth #12 - The Oral Torah sees women as The daughter of the King? - (Viewer Discretion Advised)

You don't even have to watch it, just read the comments.  

I have already reported it as "hateful or abusive content - promotes hatred or violence."  Now, I'm asking my readers to do the same.  Underneath the video, on the right, you can see an option to "share" or "save" - to the right of that are three dots.  Click on those and choose "report."  I suggest you use the same category that I did.  It seems to be the one best suited to this instance.  

That's really what this whole channel is about, advancing the interests of Christianity by fomenting hatred of Judaism.  This fight with the messianic Israelis (both Jew and Arab) is not over.  In fact, it is just getting started.

Thanks in advance to those who will volunteer to help.  And may HKB"H bless our continuing efforts with success.

01 July 2020

Viral Outbreak Statistical Update

9 Tammuz 5780 

I have never implied in any way that the virus is not real or that it is a minor ailment.  What I have said from the very beginning is that it is being hyped and fear-mongered by the media - beyond all reason - in order to fulfill a greater agenda that we must be wary of, especially when all the evidence proves that it is being used to curtail religious liberties.

Think about why our sages have warned us NOT to be ruled by FEARHKB"H controls even a virus and no one can hide from a virus.  Now, the news is full of horror stories about people who did everything as instructed to avoid infection but got sick anyway.  Others have never followed the official instructions and yet have avoided it.  It's ALL in HKB"H's hands!!

From the very beginning I've simply asked people to keep it all in proper perspective.

Times of Israel is reporting the following today...
The Health Ministry says there are now 25,547 confirmed coronavirus cases, a jump of 859 new cases since Tuesday morning.

The 24-hour tally would appear to be the largest since the start of the outbreak.

...The death toll remains at 320 [averages 1-2 per week!]. The number of serious cases is up to 56 [an increase of 9] though the number of patients on ventilators remains at 24.
I pointed out in my last post on this subject that the numbers of serious cases and ventilator-supported are a better indicator of whether the virus is "out-of-control."  And those numbers are remaining consistently low even when the reported numbers of infections rises, which includes false-positives as well as many who are asymptomatic, i.e. not ill.  But, if you don't trust my word for it, then listen to Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli:
...As the author of the first guidelines for a major biological event, I look on with a considerable amount of concern at the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
I'm looking at reports saying that Israel's "second wave" is imminent, but can't find Health Ministry data supporting this horror scenario.

...We must present the public with the facts: wearing a mask has some value in closed spaces. Out in the open though, where the danger of infection is zero, a mask is not necessary.

......Another question that is being asked these days is, "are we on the verge of a second wave?" The semantics are not important.

There is a certain increase in infection rates, which is to be expected as the economy reopens gradually and people return to their routines.

What matters is not the total number of patients, but the number of severe illnesses and intubated patients. As long as these figures are under control, the situation is good.
There is room for caution, but not for fear.
This is especially important to internalize as the media today abounds in wild threats to lock everyone up again.
_______________________________

RELATED:  As virus spreads, South Korea may crack down on houses of worship

...Israel, which has looked to South Korea as a model, has allowed houses of worship to reopen under social distancing guidelines. A[n unpublished] study of infection zones in March had found synagogues to be the largest culprit of helping the disease spread.
There is no scientific basis for such a phenomenon.  It's illogical and unreasonable to take this report at face value.  I do not believe it.

28 June 2020

The Statistics Speak for Themselves

7 Tammuz 5780

Deeply meditate on the following numbers.  

According to the most recent report out today, after a sudden increase in cases reported over the previous week (up to 504 cases in 24 hrs on Thursday), as of Shabbat, there has been a more downward trend with 398 cases being reported, and it's down again today to 183.

There has also been a decline in the number of serious cases (from 45 to 39 over the same time period) while those in moderate condition increased from 50 to 60.

There are currently 211 people hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19 and 22 (down from 24) are on respirators.

Please note that even while the number of infected was increasing, likely due to increased testing (a certain percentage of which will be false positives!), the numbers considered serious and critical (on vents) remained stable throughout.

A grand total of 318 people have died of COVID-19 in Israel since statistics began to be counted (at least four months).

Out of a total population of 8,655,535, that is a percentage of 0.004.  Statistically speaking, that is a very negligible number.  By comparison, in 2016, 11,077 people in Israel died of cancer, lo aleynu!

Can anyone explain to me how these following headlines can be justified in light of what we see from these statistics?
Health minister urges new restrictions, warns Israel entering 2nd virus wave
Edelstein insists public gatherings, weddings must be scaled back; says limitations are ‘unpleasant’ but necessary; ministers to resume discussions on Monday

Country losing control of virus, Israel Society for Infectious Diseases warns
Medical union says average age of patients rising, effective action required immediately; PM: Ministers will approve new restrictions; death toll at 318
Propaganda only succeeds with a population that doesn't pay attention, does not bother to ask questions, and either won't or can't connect the dots.

DO NOT LET "THEM" CONTROL YOUR MIND!  THINK FOR YOURSELF!!

UPDATE: "SHELANU" SHUT DOWN

6 Tammuz 5780

It is now being widely reported across Israel that the missionary GodTV's Shelanu channel airing over HOT cable has been shut down by the Ministry of Communications for not being in compliance with the claims on their license application.  B"H!!!  And thanks to all who helped.  

"I Can't Breathe"

6 Tammuz 5780


Those protesting aggressive police restraints that have resulted in the unjustified deaths of many black men in America are carrying signs on which are written the final words these men were able to voice - "I can't breathe."  Their pleas for relief were ignored.

At the same time, you've got nations worldwide requiring, under force of law, the wearing of surgical masks in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  The mask, especially in the summertime heat, makes it very difficult for many people to breathe.  

Not to mention the fact that the coronavirus attacks the lungs and that those who contract it suffer breathing difficulties as a result with many being put on oxygen and even ventilators.



Now,  there's another reason for Americans to have trouble breathing...
Saharan dust cloud cloaks U.S. Gulf Coast in choking haze

What's been called the most significant dust cloud in 50 years has now shrouded the U.S. Gulf Coast in a thick, dusty haze. The dust layer, which originated in the Sahara desert and drifted across the Atlantic, is forecast to continue moving north and east through the weekend, impacting areas from Texas and Florida all the way up to as far north as the Canadian border.

For most people, the dust will merely be a nuisance, but for many who have breathing issues the extra particulates in the atmosphere can cause complications. The timing couldn't be much worse, considering that a recent Harvard study shows that long-term exposure to fine particles of pollution in the air, much like dust, may be linked to higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

Currently the dust is thickest from Texas to Florida. [Reportedly the two states currently showing the greatest increase in COVID-19 infections.]
HOUSTON SKYLINE (MY HOMETOWN)
Clearly, the Master of the Universe is trying to tell us something. Of course, no one can survive if they can't breathe.  But did you ever think about why this is so?  Why did the Creator make it this way?  What does He want us to understand from this?  Here are some clues that I found which may help us reach a conclusion.
The Spiritual Side of Respiratory Problems

The Hebrew word for lung, “re’ah” is an anagram for “r’iyah,” (to see), ”aryeh,” (lion), and especially “yir’ah,” (awe) of God. The two levels of the lungs are yir’ah (awe), and simcha (joy). The spiritual rectification for respiratory problems is in the verses, ” Serve God with awe,” combined with “serve God with joy.” Fear of anything other than God is the opposite of proper respiratory function. A person suffering from respiratory problems should strengthen his faith in God, his pleasure in Torah and mitzvot, and his will to fulfill the mitzvot immediately, thus bringing pleasure to God, himself and the entire world.
Also...
...In addition to his material self,...man possesses a soul which is unique among all of God's creations. In describing the creation of Adam, the Torah says, "God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils a soul-breath of life (Nishmat Chaim). Man [thus] became a living creature (Nefesh Chaya)" (Genesis 2:7).

The Torah is teaching us that the human soul came directly from God's innermost Essence in the same way that a breath issues forth from a person's lungs and chest cavity. The rest of creation, on the other hand, was created with speech, which is a lower level, for just as sound waves are generated by a person but do not contain any air from the lungs, so the rest of creation emanates from God's Power but not from His Essence.

Three Parts

The soul consists of three parts which are called by the Hebrew names, nefesh, ruach and neshama. The word neshama is a cognate of nesheema, which means literally "breath." Ruach means "wind." Nefesh comes from the root nafash, meaning "rest," as in the verse, "On the seventh day, [God] ceased work and rested (nafash)." (Exodus 31:17).

God's exhaling a soul can be compared to a glassblower forming a vessel. The breath (neshama) first leaves his lips, travels as a wind (ruach) and finally comes to rest (nefesh) in the vessel. Of these three levels of the soul, neshama is therefore the highest and closes to God, while nefesh is that aspect of the soul residing in the body. Ruach stands between the two, binding man to his spiritual Source. It is for this reason that Divine Inspiration is called Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew.

The neshama is affected only by thought, the ruach by speech, and the nefesh by action. (Source)
From all this we can understand that mankind is losing its connection to the Creator and thereby bringing about its own demise. And we can see further the connection between the difficulty breathing and the sin of lashon hara.- that it is literally a matter of life and death.

We are in the final hour.  There is not much time left to make corrections.  The world is dying for each breathe even as I write this.  Strengthen your connection to your Creator through obedience to His Will and you will be able to take nice, deep, cleansing breaths and fill your lungs to their capacity.  And don't forget to thank Him for it!!