Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

My blog didn't go out on time this morning due to my server having a glitch. At this point in our lives, it is like an act of G-d as we are always in his hands. My apoogies



Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

The new HOLY WATER-Alcohol-We’ve gone from drinking it to rubbing it on ourselves

The new HOLY WATER-Alcohol-We’ve gone from drinking it to rubbing it on ourselves

I am fascinated by how quickly people adapt their behaviors. The virus has made everyone nervous and willing to do almost anything to change, to get back to the old normal.

 For those of us that are Orthodox, we are not about to give up going to Minyans. It is engraved in our souls that we must go to shul from childhood until they put us in a box to take us to our graves.

The Bible teaches that praying in a Minyan is getting close to G-d. When we pray in a minyan, G-d does not judge us individually but collectively so that we become much more able to connect to G-d regardless of our sins.

So it was with great pleasure they reopened the synagogues. We only had to change a few minor behaviors. With the change in the behaviors, it was common sense that it was no more dangerous in the synagogue than on the bus or store.

Social distancing in the Synagogue now means that the formerly full synagogue is ¾ empty. No one can talk to each other, because no one sits next to each other, so there is no more talking in shul. This behavior of talking in shul was always a sore point in Orthodox shuls where many of the people who come to pray were disturbed by it. There were books written about and many of the bigwigs proclaimed that the reason for everything from the Mashiach not coming to everything negative that happens in the Jewish world, was caused by talking in shul. Well, if it was true or not, there is no more talking in shul, because you would have to yell to talk to someone

Even saying hello in the morning to everyone is frowned on by some people. Like everything else in Judaism, there is a reason for that as well. The Jewish law (Halacha) is that you are supposed to say hello to G-d first before you greet anyone else. Forget the fact that normally the only time you can say hello to anyone is the morning prayer (in the afternoon and evening people rush in and out of the synagogue like a race course). I have always had a problem with this one as I love to greet people with a rousing Boker Tov because there is also a teaching is that you are supposed to great everyone with a smile when you see them. So there is tension between these two teachings.

One of the more fun parts of the old ways were the kiddushes after praying on Saturday mornings and sometimes even Kiddush clubs.

What is a Kiddush club you ask? In between the two morning services (Shacharit and Mussaf), the Torah is read, then the Haftorah and a Rabbi’s speech. This usually takes at least 20 minutes. Enough time to go outside has some expensive alcohol (and the more expensive the better--the older single malt scotch at least 18 years old and everyone tried to outdo each other with the most expensive price. Not that anyone can really taste much difference between the brands--of course no one admits this).

And it you didn’t have a shot at the Kiddush club, there were usually plenty of bottles at the Kiddush itself. Enough to get good and drunk if you so desired. But all that is gone now. There are no kiddush clubs there are no Kiddushes. Only prayer and no talking. So no one can say that we in shul for any other reason except to connect with G-d.

But wait the Alcohol is not gone! It’s just in a different form. The history of hand sanitizer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do note that, when it comes to preventing the spread of coronavirus, “if soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.” 

And indeed, that is the primary ingredient in hand sanitizer: alcohol. Most hand sanitizers contain anywhere from 60% to 95% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol mixed with water and gels like glycol and glycerin in order to prevent drying out users’ skin. The resulting product is typically sold in a hand gel or liquid spray under brand names such as Purell or GermX.

But while alcohol has been in use as an antiseptic since the late-1800s least, the exact origins of hand sanitizer are up for debate. 

One version of the story points to Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student in Bakersfield, California in 1966, as the inventor of hand sanitizer after combining alcohol and gel for use by doctors in situations where they don’t have time to access soap and warm water before treating patients.

However, a recent investigation by the Smithsonian Institution historian Joyce Bedi was unable to turn up any trace of Hernandez, or any evidence of a U.S. patent for hand sanitizer under that name from the 1960s.

There’s also Sterillium, which the German company Hartmann claims was “the world’s first marketable alcohol-based hand disinfectant” when it hit European shelves in 1965. It’s made with glycerin and 75% alcohol. 

Still, others trace modern hand sanitizer back to Goldie and Jerry Lippman, the married couple that developed a waterless hand cleaner in 1946 for rubber plant workers who previously used harsh chemicals like kerosene and benzene to remove graphite and carbon black from their hands at the end of their shifts. The product, which they called Gojo (a portmanteau of their names) is a mix of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and less than 5% alcohol that’s still used today by auto mechanics and other workers to clean off substances like grease and oil.

The Lippman’s mixed their first batches of Gojo in a washing machine in the basement of Goldie’s parents’ Akron, Ohio home, where the couple was living at the time, according to The New Yorker. They put the resulting product in pickle jars and sold it out of the trunk of their car.

Over the ensuing decades, Gojo continued selling their products as industrial cleaners. Then, in 1988, the company invented the hand gel Purell, which consists of 70% ethyl alcohol as its primary ingredient, along with propylene glycol. While Purell is now the world’s best-selling hand sanitizer, it took some time for stores to carry the product that most everyday customers weren’t really asking for. As such, Gojo did not release Purell onto the consumer market until 1997.

And like the Kiddush club, the more alcohol in the hand sanitizer the better, for killing germs. To watch people in shul take a hit every time they touch something or get called up for an Aliyah (being called to the Torah) is surreal. They feel it is a magic potion that will push off the virus and keep them safe. And they rub it on themselves as if it was holy water.  I have no idea whether it will or not, I just couldn’t help noticing that the alcohol is not gone, it is now just in another form!

The Israel Airports Authority has informed all airlines that the COVID-19 restrictions for passengers entering the country are being extended for an additional month.

(June 28, 2020 / JNS) The Israel Airports Authority has informed all airlines that the COVID-19 restrictions for passengers entering the country are being extended for an additional month.

The ban on foreigners arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport—and the requirement for Israelis returning from abroad to self-quarantine for 14 days—was scheduled to expire on July 1, but will now continue until August 1, amid a rise in coronavirus infection in Israel and other countries.

Some carriers, such as United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines, continued flying to Israel throughout the pandemic, however. Others, such as Turkish Airlines and Wizz Air, have resumed flights to and from Israel, with destinations including London, Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest, Globes reported on Saturday.

According to the report, Israeli airlines El Al and Israir have not resumed full operations, but have conducted flights based on demand, while Arkia completely ceased all flights.

Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Pay Up

Morty Applebaum had a very unpleasant appointment scheduled with an IRS auditor who had come to review his records. At one point the auditor exclaimed, "Mr. Applabaum, we feel that it is a great privilege to be allowed to live and work in the USA. As a citizen you have an obligation to pay taxes, and we expect you to eagerly pay them with a smile."

"Oy, thank God," said Morty with a sigh of relief. "I thought you were going to want cash."

Evangelical leader: Condemn Black Lives Matter’s attacks on synagogues and churches

Laurie Cardoza-Moore: Black Lives Matter cannot lead the charge against racism while advocating the destruction of the only Jewish state.

A leading Evangelical Christian leader has spoken out publicly against the Black Lives Matter movement’s anti-Semitic manifesto and silence after synagogues and churches were attacked and defaced during their protests last week.

Laurie Cardoza-Moore decried the hypocrisy of the movement, which has led the charge against racism while standing by anti-Semitic positions and remaining quiet as houses of worship were vandalized and desecrated across America during the recent riots.

“All true American patriots wept bitter tears at the brutal and needless death of George Floyd. Jews, Christians and people of conscience understand the inherent problems within our society that need to be addressed and healed. Racism of any kind does not belong in America and must be relegated to the annals of history. On the same token it would be hypocritical of Christian leaders to support the Black Lives Matter movement while ignoring their past calls to boycott the one and only Jewish State, outrageous claims that Israel has perpetrated a genocide and their total denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. We are reminded in Deuteronomy 16:20; Justice, justice, thou must pursue. These positions are anti-Semitic to their core and cannot go unmentioned,” said Cardoza-Moore.

She added, “Synagogues and Churches were vandalized and defaced with anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-Christian slogans during Black Lives Matter riots across the country. Destroying holy books or defacing houses of worship will not move forward the cause of Black America. These are hate crimes that must be called-out by the leaders of the movement if they want to retain any gravitas as anti-racists. Black Lives Matter cannot lead the charge against racism while advocating the destruction of the only Jewish State and staying silent when churches and synagogues come under attack during their protests.”

Cardoza-Moore concluded, “Historically Jews and Christians of all backgrounds stood toe-to-toe in the American civil rights struggle. The late Reverend Martin Luther King was a Christian minister who stood alongside Rabbis in his peaceful marches for justice. Allowing the legacy of Reverend King and this movement to be hijacked by anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-American forces is a great injustice in itself that needs to be rectified for the sake of our shared Judeo-Christian values and the future of these United States. There is a vacuum of spiritual leadership in this movement and it's time for Jewish and Christian leaders to unite publicly to call upon the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement to fully renounce all hate from their platform and condemn hate crimes perpetrated in their name immediately so that the process of healing and restoration can begin.”

11 Kippah Facts Every Jewish Guy Should Know By Yehuda Altein

 Kippah Facts Every Jewish Guy Should Know 

1. A Kippah Is a Head-Covering

A kippah is a head-covering traditionally worn by Jewish men and boys as a sign of reverence and respect to G‑d.

2. It Is Also Called a Yarmulke or Koppel

Kippah (lit. dome) is the Hebrew word for skullcap. It is also referred to in Yiddish as a yarmulke, or less frequently as a koppel (lit. little cap).

According to many, yarmulke is a contraction of the Aramaic words yarei malka, “awe of the King” (referring to G‑d), since wearing it reminds us that there is a Higher Being above us.

Read: What Does Yarmulke Mean?

3. It Is a Reminder of G‑d’s Presence

Wearing a kippah helps us remember that there is a Higher Being to whom we are held accountable. Wearing a kippah is required by Jewish law for reasons of modesty and to distinguish ourselves as Jews,1 reminding us of our responsibility and privilege as members of the Chosen Nation.

Read: The Kippah: A Philosophical Perspective

4. Kippahs Come in a Variety of Sizes, Materials, and Designs

Kippahs come in various colors and designs, and are made from materials as diverse as velvet, suede, leather, and knitted yarn. Many sites offer personalized embroidering services and will add the images or words of your choice. (It is not uncommon to spot a boy with a kippah featuring his name.)

Some communities have developed kippah designs that are highly intricate works of art, such as those made by Jewish artisans from Yemen and Georgia, most of whom now live in Israel.

5. It Is Worn at All Times

The Talmud states that one should not walk the distance of four cubits bareheaded.2 A head-covering is also required when praying, reciting a blessing, or entering a synagogue.3 According to many authorities, head-coverings are required at all times (even when sitting in place and doing nothing).4

Read: My Son’s Badge of Honor

6. It Is Sourced in the Talmud

The practice to wear a kippah at all times comes from an anecdote in the Talmud in which a woman was told by astrologers that her son was destined to become a thief. To prevent this from happening, she insisted that he keep his head covered at all times, to remind him of G‑d’s presence and instill within him the fear of heaven. Once, while sitting under a palm tree, his head-covering fell off. Suddenly overcome by a burning desire to eat fruit from the tree which did not belong to him, it was in that moment he realized the strong effect wearing a kippah had on him.5

Read: What’s Up With the Kippah?

7. Some Cover the Head Completely

In certain communities, it was customary to wear large, tall kippahs that covered the head completely. Many Lithuanian scholars of yesteryear are pictured wearing such headgear. The kippahs of Bukharian Jewry are similarly famous for their large size, as well as for their intricate embroidery.

8. Some Also Wear Hats When Praying

In addition to wearing a kippah, many men also wear a hat when praying. Donning a hat is viewed as an act of respect; as recently as a few decades ago, when men went out in public, they would make sure to wear a hat. A hat is also reminiscent of the turban worn by the priests during the Temple service.

Read: Why Wear Both a Kippah and a Hat?

9. Women Do Not Wear Them

Women and girls do not wear kippahs. One reason for this is that the kippah is there to remind us of G‑d’s presence (see above). Women, who are more spiritually intuitive and possess more powerful faith, do not require a constant reminder.

Married women do cover their heads, albeit not with a kippah, and for different reasons.

Read: Why Do Jewish Women Cover Their Hair?

10. It May Be Discarded and Replaced

When a prayer book or other sacred object becomes worn out and unusable, it may not be discarded. Instead, out of respect for the object’s sanctity, it is carefully buried in a Jewish cemetery. (Many synagogues provide this service on behalf of their congregants.)

Despite the kippah’s special role in Jewish life, it does not possess any inherent holiness, and it may be discarded and replaced with another as needed.

Read: Proper Disposal of Holy Objects

11. A Printer Favored Lashes Over Walking Without a Kippah

Rabbis Pinchas and Shmuel Abba Schapiro, brothers and chassidic printers in the town of Slavita, were falsely accused of murder and arrested by the czarist police in 1839. As punishment, they were forced to run the gauntlet. While being led through two rows of vicious soldiers, Rabbi Shmuel Abba’s kippah fell off. Despite the ongoing blows, he refused to proceed until it was returned to him.

This story sent waves through the Russian Jewish community, inspiring many to disregard their discomfort and wear a kippah at all times.

Footnotes 1.

Shulchan Aruch Harav, Mahadura Batra, Orach Chaim 2:6.


Shabbat 118b and Kiddushin 31a.


Shulchan Aruch Harav, Orach Chaim 91:3.


Shulchan Aruch Harav, Mahadura Bastra, Orach Chaim 2:6.


Shabbat 156b.

By Yehuda Altein Rabbi Yehuda Altein is a writer, translator and editor specializing in Jewish subjects and handwritten family material. A former researcher for JLI’s Machon Shmuel Research Institute, he has written on Jewish history, scriptural exegesis, halachah, and chassidut. Yehuda resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his family and enjoys collecting antique Judaica and exploring natural history in the Torah. He can be contacted at Art by Rivka Korf Studio, a Miami-based art design studio run by Rivka Korf, a coffee lover and mother. Rivka uses her expertise and creativity to run a team that creates masterful compositions and illustrations for corporate and large nonprofit organizations. More from Yehuda Altein  |  RSS © Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.

A Grief Therapist Faces Grief

6 Truths for When the Pain Cannot Be Contained By Yehudis Karbal

s a therapist, I’ve learned that ultimately, all therapy is grief therapy—the knowledge that in this lifetime, we’re always dealing with loss of some kind: loss of identity, loss of innocence, loss of dreams, loss of a loved one.

When the coronavirus hit the world and it became evident that this was a pandemic of epic proportions, I, like everyoneAll therapy is grief therapy else on this planet, was thrown into a new reality. I wondered if all of my personal and professional work during the past 40 years could possibly sustain me and my loved ones and my beloved “students” (aka clients). I knew that this global crisis was of a totally different nature. And so, would I be able to hold onto the “rope” of faith and trust in G‑d that was now shaking and challenging our reality?

Then came the news that my son-in-law, Shalom, in Monsey, N.Y., had been hospitalized. Not being able to travel to be there to be with my daughter and grandchildren (who were also sick with the virus) added to the anxiety. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness overwhelmed our family as we tried desperately to hold onto any ray of hope. That week of his hospitalization was lost in panic, anxiety and dread, begging for any shred of possibility that he would recover and regain his health.

That was not to be. My son-in-law passed away on Shabbat, the 10th day of Nissan. The dreaded call came right after a Shabbat of intense praying. Impossible! This was supposed to be a month of miracles? The month of redemption—of going from slavery to freedom? Shalom? My son-in-law, who for 33 years was more like a son to me ... whose very presence represented shalom, “peace,” to all who knew and loved him. He was truly a rock to his family and friends—a responsible, reliable and respectful mensch. How could our world exist without him?

To add to our anguish were the restrictions against travel. We couldn’t support each other physically with our presence, our collective grief, our hugs, and the strength of family love. The following day was the funeral, which we witnessed on Zoom (from all over the world: England, Australia, Israel). It was almost an insult to our senses—the coldness of technology, and yet the relief of somehow seeing each other and being able to go through this nightmare “together.”

Three days later, we needed to celebrate the holiday of Passover. Always, these days have been such a beloved time for our family. Now they passed like a blur. Being alone, apart, afraid; still, we went through the motions somehow. I found that all I could do was put myself on automatic, wondering if there were enough tissues in the world to wipe away the tears.

The weekly Torah portion recalled theThree days later, we needed to celebrate Passover untimely deaths of the two sons of Aaron, the High Priest. Aaron’s response was vayidom, he was silent. That resonated with me. No words. Silence. The magnitude of this loss was so overwhelming that no thought or feeling could even be expressed. I waited. I waited patiently and impatiently for time to pass, for the ability to breathe consciously in the present moment. I turned to the painstaking work of allowing both the tears of grief and trauma, and of training and retraining my brain to stay away from the would/should/could of the past and the insistent anxiety of the future.

Being in the mental-health field (probably since I was 5 years old!), I have always tried to find the philosophy and the psychology behind the mysteries of life—to give reason and meaning to people, places and events that seemed so random—when it all seemed so desolate. And, of course, to learn how to function when the pain cannot be contained.

Gradually, over the years, I developed some direction, some tools and a set of beliefs that allows me to “hold these truths to be self-evident.” Now, in a deeper way, I needed to come back to them. Perhaps they will also be helpful to others.

  1. Know that I don’t know. Maimonides says the highest knowledge is “to know that we don’t know.” That certainly keeps us humble and puts everything into perspective. What can we really know about this lifetime? Past lifetimes? Our soul’s journey? It’s an eternal tease to have a brain that naturally wants to know and yet at so many points in life, we are blocked from knowing.
  2. Listen to the body. The mind-heart-body connection is so real. Listening to what the body is saying is vital for our mental and physical health. Physical symptoms beg for recognition and understanding. I couldn’t budge my body beyond what it was capable of doing. Nausea, loss of appetite, uncontrollable crying, indifference, despair—all became my new companions.
  3. Accept without judgement. This is one of the hardest. The phrase, Bauch Dayan ha-emet, “Blessed is the true Judge,” is easy to say, but not to internalize. G‑d does not serve me and my limitations. I am here to serve Him. I know that I can and will struggle with my response to pain and grief, it will be anger, denial, fight, flight, fear, etc. But in the end, my mental health depends on my ability to accept reality without judgement.
  4. No comparing or competing. Everyone grieves in his or her individual way. There isn’t a right or wrong way to respond to loss; we must honor our own feelings. For guidelines and perspective, we need only look to the Torah for help and even inspiration.
  5. There will be questions, but no answers. There are so many questions: Why me? Why us? What could we have done to prevent this? Was there enough care when he went to the hospital? Will there be recovery from this chaos—this inconsolable heartbreak in our lives? Can there ever be healing? What can we expect from ourselves, our world, our future?
  6. Living with the duality of grieving and moving forward. The utter duality of this world becomes so poignant. When thrown by a tragedy, things seem unreal. Trauma often hijacks our connection to reality. Should we be able to enjoy a sunny day? The smell of spring? A new little life blessing this family? The pendulum of feelings and thoughts swings back and forth, sometimes violently, often with surprise, and without notice or time to adjust. At the same time, it is imperative that grieving doesn’t hold us back from moving forward and living the life I know my son-in-law would want us to have.

Written for the shloshim of my dear son-in-law, Shalom Halevy A”H ben Shmuel Gurewicz

Dearest Shalom, you are sorely missed by all who know and love you. That love is eternal, and we pray for the time when our tears will turn to joy, and once again we can be united.

By Yehudis Karbal

Man Bites Dog: Jerusalem Police Bans Islamic Guard for Praising Terrorist By David Israel

The Jerusalem Police on Thursday issued a rare five-month ban from the Temple Mount compound to an Islamic Waqf guard who praised arch-terrorist Ramadan Shalah over the Waqf’s radio system.

Ramadan Shalah, former leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, died this past Saturday after battling a long illness. In 2006, Shalah was placed on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list (Ramadan Shalah Who Turned Islamic Jihad into Iran’s Proxy Dies of Stroke).


“On behalf of the Al-Aqsa guards, we mourn the passing of the late great of our nation and of Palestine, Ramadan Shalah,” the Waqf guard said on the group’s radio system.

The Temple Mount, although under Israeli sovereignty, is administered by the Jordanian Islamic charity known as Waqf.

The police were notified by Tom Nisani, head of the Arab Desk at Im Tirtzu and founder of Students for the Temple Mount, who uncovered a video of the incident on the Facebook page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency.

Nisani wrote the Jerusalem Police on Sunday that under Article 24 of Israel’s Counter Terrorism Law it is illegal to commit “an act of identification with a terrorist organization, including by publishing words of praise, support or sympathy.”

The Jerusalem Police responded on Monday that they were investigating the matter.

Nisani noted that “while we are pleased that this radical member of the Waqf will not be able to spew his anti-Israel venom on the Temple Mount for the next five months, he should be banned permanently. The time has come for Israel to assert its sovereignty over the Temple Mount once and for all. It’s absurd that the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – is the only place in the Western world where Jews can’t pray, and where Jewish visitors are at the mercy of the thuggish Waqf.”

In fact, the Bible states that the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem have all been purchased by our forefathers, and therefore the gentiles can’t claim that the Jews don’t have the right to possess them – and these three sites have seen the worst clashes over the validity of their Jewish ownership.

See you tomorrow, We need Mosiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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