Welcome to the special issue of Beams Weekend Magazine, a new idea that we'd like to do more of in the future. This week, we have three departments: news and outlook, entertainment and Torah. We hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your feedback.
News and Outlook: Throw the Terrorists in the Trash
According to the "Chafetz Chaim" - the laws governing the wholesomeness of the spoken and the written word, any person who spreads hate and hearsay, purveying gossip and social venom in the world, has no place in the world to come. Therefore, be extra careful about what you say, read and write. Stay away from the gossips, for spiritually, they're like terrorists.
The holy Tanna Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach was the Av Beit Din, the Chief Justice of all of Israel. He saw a person with a drawn sword chasing another person. He ran after the two until he reached an alley-way. The victim was already on the ground, fluttering and about to die. Blood dripped from the assailant's sword. Rebbe Shimon told the assailant, "You evil person, who killed this man, you or me? What can I do, for I cannot bring you to trial, for the Torah demands two witnesses" (Talmud, Sanhedrin 37b). Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach could not try the murderer, but that doesn't mean he went free. When a court down here can't try a person, the Heavenly Court tries the person and justice is much more severe. It wasn't long before the killer suffered an excruciating death after being bitten by a poisonous snake.
If Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach couldn't convict a person despite the overwhelming evidence, then why do we allow ourselves to repeat hearsay, gossip and things that haven't been proven in a court of law or a Bet Din? That's dangerous.
Virtually nothing in the newspapers today has been proven in a halachically-legitimate court of law with two halachically- acceptable witnesses. There's no way that the Chafetz Chaim would allow reading any of today's newspapers, whether printed or electronic.
Newspapers and journalists judge people and print hearsay all the time. They too are required to observe the Chafetz Chaim. Any person who spreads hate and hearsay, purveying gossip and social venom in the world, has no place in the world to come. Therefore, be extra careful about what you say and write. Stay away from the gossips, for spiritually, they're like terrorists. It's easy to dispose of the printed-paper terrorists - just throw them in the trashcan where they belong. Better yet, don't read them in the first place. Why?
Don't you cherish your time? Why squander it on lies and half-truths? What's more, with the politicians' manipulation of the media, every rag has its agenda and you can't believe a thing.
This weekend, why not try reading something meaningful. Talk about the lessons of this week's Torah portion rather than what Bibi and Noni (why don't they refer to themselves as Benjamin and Arnon?) are saying about each other or what the CNN (Certified Nonsense News) is writing.
Like other terrorists, newspapers are dangerous to your body too! Unpleasant stories trigger cascades of a steroid hormone by the name of cortisol, aka the "stress hormone". This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High cortisol levels impair digestion as well as cell, hair and bone health. They also cause nervousness, susceptibility to infections and render weight-loss virtually impossible!
Only the evil inclination would tell you to indulge in something so harmful to both body and soul. Don't listen to it; dispose of it in the nearest waste bin together with the newspapers.
Entertainment: Dudi Knopfler Sings "The Priestly Blessing"
Our very dear friend Dudi Knopfler, one of the rising stars of Jewish music today, has come out with a lovely rendition of the Birkat Cohanim, the Priestly Blessing, which is customarily said to greet the bride and groom as they arrive under the chuppa in Sephardic weddings. We're delighted to feature it, and may these beautiful words and exquisite melody invoke Divine blessings on you and yours.
Torah: The Left-handed Blessing
Have you ever heard of a "left-handed" compliment? There's a left-handed blessing, too. In this week's Torah portion, Vayichi, our forefather Jacob teaches us exactly what it is, how to use it and the extent of its power. Enjoy, and have a lovely Shabbat!