How To Look Like a Mentch

Influence, Persuasion, and Personal Presentation: Why and How to Look Your Best When Interacting with Others

Are you purposely sabotaging your presentations?

Are you setting yourself up for failure as an instructor?

Hopefully, the answer is no.

Yet the vast majority of men I see who want to be influential fail to master the three tips I’ll share today. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Men spend a lot of time, money, and effort learning to be more persuasive speakers and negotiators. And for good reason — mastering these skills can reap huge returns when it comes to business and personal success.

But what if there were something you could do that would dramatically increase your persuasiveness without any extra effort or training on your part?

Would you take advantage of it?

If the answer is yes, it’s time to start thinking more about your personal appearance and how it relates to the art of persuasion and influence.

Continue reading

From The Art of Manliness, here.

No Point to Torture in Capital Cases

Forced Self-Incrimination: Just Plain Wrong

8 Shevat 5776

Credit here.
דברים י”ז, ט”וDeuteronomy 19:15
טו  לֹא-יָקוּם עֵד אֶחָד בְּאִישׁ, לְכָל-עָו‍ֹן וּלְכָל-חַטָּאת, בְּכָל-חֵטְא, אֲשֶׁר יֶחֱטָא:  עַל-פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים, אוֹ עַל-פִּי שְׁלֹשָׁה-עֵדִים–יָקוּם דָּבָר.15 One witness shall not rise up against any person for any iniquity or for any sin, regarding any sin that he will sin. By the mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be confirmed.
מקור: מכון ממריSource: Chabad
ואין אדם משים עצמו רשע…And a person may not incriminate himself…
מקור: סנהדרין ט, ב, תלמוד בבליSource: Sanhedrin 9b, Babylonian Talmud

The whole world (or maybe just the United Nations) is still in an uproar over the burning of a house in the Arab village of Duma in Israel about six months ago. “Beginning the morning after the murders, as the investigation was just beginning, Israeli officials and media began claiming that the perpetrators were “Jewish terrorists.”” (Abu Yehuda summarizes the background well here.) “The firebombing was quickly attributed to the movement Israelis call “price tag,” in which extremist Jews attack Palestinian holy places or property in retribution for their own government’s actions regarding settlements,” said the New York Times shortly afterwards, on 1 August 2015. Here is more background on the story from a Jew who participated in a condolence call on the community (Arutz 7).

I deliberately linked to early accounts, so that we can recall how it was then, before young Jews — both men and underage boys — were formally accused, taken into custody and, by some accounts, treated worse than Arabs in their place would be. None of this would have happened if self-incrimination and forced confessions were not allowed air time or print space in any medium in Israel — never mind in a court of law.

The Jewish Division of the Shaba”k (Israeli Security Agency) claimed that there was a need to take young, even underage Jews into administrative detention due to a “ticking time bomb” situation (possibly to be discussed in a separate post – to read the full article, I suggest the search phrase “jewish ticking time bomb” if you don’t subscribe to HaAretz. Here’s another article where the ISA admits to treating “Jewish extremists” as ticking time bombs.).

Everyone knows that the American Constitution has what is famously known as the Fifth Amendment:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

How many have internalized what the Torah and Talmud say on the matter? It is not a matter of amendment — or a tacking on, if you will — to the law for these works of Jewish law, but part of its central body: It starts with the 9th commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” and goes on to say, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses…” The repetition of the Hebrew word edim there is deliberate; there is no unnecessary word in the Torah. Could witnesses be so important that the Torah appears not to even consider not having them in a case where the accused’s life or future is at stake?

Here’s a potential hiddush: Could one say, in easy legalese, that the Torah and Talmud together imply that a person of whom a confession is demanded or required is automatically considered to be in a conflict of interest and is therefore automatically recused?

The Talmud puts it more concisely and understandably for modern readers, with the exception of the phrase mesim atzmo, which I have translated as “impute on oneself” due to its (as I perceive it) mixed verb-direct reflexive object relationship1.

A lot of people, especially women, long ago stopped considering Torah law and governance a viable alternative to what we have now because of issues such as the plight of the agunah. I hope that now, considering the environment we live in, where the entry of Muslim men en masse all over the world is creating far worse conditions for a much greater number of women (who were accustomed to going out freely to attend to their errands, visit friends and so on virtually without concern, but now must go out, if at all, in groups, always with an eye out for trouble and, if this occurs, no help from authorities), we in Israel can look at other problems where Torah clearly shines for everyone, such as the abolishing of self-incrimination and the requiring of witnesses to acts that could land a person in jail for life or dead, whether male or female. (In fact, since there seems to be no support at all from the feminists on issues where rape and other misogynistic acts by Muslims are concerned, they have rendered themselves and their philosophy irrelevant – this news story took 20 years to break.)

There is a lot more to be discussed, which is why I have collected many Torah sites on this blog and plan to add more as I find them. In the meantime, though, it seems that making Arabs and Jews “equal” is having the effect of making Arabs “more equal” than Jews. It might be time for the pendulum to swing strongly towards advocating, and achieving, Torah governance in Israel. Until then, if the Israeli government has any sense of true democratic justice — let alone Torah justice — the case against Amiram ben Uliel should be thrown out due to his inadmissible confession.


1 the phrase masim atzmo (משים עצמו) in my eyes combines a hif’il (causative) verb form with a reflexive object (refers to oneself; nay, means “oneself”). Impute means to attribute or ascribe, as to a person, or in its obsolete meaning, to charge (a person) with fault. If you still have questions about this, please, feel free to go to the native Hebrew/English speaker-scholar of Talmudic Hebrew, of your choice.

I have already taken my advice and asked Reb Yehudah B. Ilan of Forthodoxy about my explanation. If and when I should receive a reply, be”H I will post it here as an update.

UPDATE: Reb Yehudah replies:

Your translation is okay, but I think that you may be over-thinking this a bit and analyzing a passage from the Gemara using the intricacies of Hebrew grammar is not usually the correct method of study. The reasons for this are that (a) the language of the Gemara is a mixture of Mishnaic Hebrew and Babylonian Jewish Aramaic – which do not follow the grammatical rules of either Biblical or Modern Hebrew, (b) most of the Talmudic text is written in scholarly turns of phrase which are not meant to be taken literally but rather have a particular legal meaning and/or a dialectal significance. This being the case, translating the Gemara is almost never a word-for-word exercise. If someone cannot interpret the text on their own, I suggest employing a standard translation of the Talmud, such as the edition published by Koren or one of the many Steinsaltz editions (I do NOT promote the use of Artscroll).

Without knowing the intent or essential message of your post, I can only explain this particular phrase as it appears in the context of b.Sanhedrin 9b.

As for the meaning of the words “mesiym `assmo rasha` – משים עצמו רשע” it can be translated here as “…place himself [in the category of] a wicked one (i.e. incriminate himself through his own testimony in court).” The phrase “mesiym `assmo” is made up of two words: [1] השים which has the simple meaning of “to place” or “to put” and [2] עצם which in Biblical Hebrew means “bone” and came to be used to signify “self.” This phrase only means “incriminate himself” in context of the discussion here in the Gemara.

On Rava’s statement, Rashi comments: “Rava says: A person cannot become invalid to testify by way of admitting his own guilt, for a person is considered to have the status of a ‘close relative’ in relation to himself. Therefore ‘a person is not able to implicate himself (lit. ‘to place himself [in the category of] a rasha`‘), that is to say on the basis of testimony about himself one is not convicted (lit. ‘made a rasha`‘) for behold the Torah invalidates a ‘close relative’ to testify. Yet the rova` (i.e. the penetrating participant in male homosexual relations – referring to a case mentioned earlier in the discussion) is put to death on the basis of such testimony since we divide his statement (i.e. ‘so-and-so penetrated me during homosexual relations and I was complicit in the act.’) and while we consider his testimony reliable with regard to the actions of his fellow, we do not consider him reliable with regard to his own actions – which would otherwise invalidate him to testify.”

Essentially, this passage is explaining that if one testified in court that he and another person willingly engaged in forbidden sexual relations together (for example – other similar cases exist as well), three things take place legally: [1] His incriminating testimony about his own behavior is not accepted as valid, [2] his testimony about the actions of the other person is accepted as valid (and may be combined with the testimony of another valid witness to effect a death penalty in the case), and [3] whereas such behavior – when attested to about him by others – would invalidate him to testify in the first place, the fact that he said it about himself does not invalidate him and he remains an acceptable witness.
This, however, only holds in capital and corporal cases – it does not count in monetary cases (see Musaf Rashi there). In other words, a person cannot incriminate himself to endanger his life, but he can incriminate himself to endanger his money. This is important to note as it means that אין אדם משים עצמו רשע is not a general, over-arching principle in halakhah, but rather has specifically-defined parameters of application.

I hope that this helps.


So do I.

More reading:

Dani Dayan and the Threat to Israeli Democracy | B’Tselem Provocation, 2008 | Why French Jews are Lobsters (and why American Jews are next –no, that’s not really part of the title. But it is true.) | Breaking the Silence Spokesperson’s Lies Refuted by His Former Army Mates |We are Descendants of the 20% | The Plight of the French Jew | While Jews are Murdered by Muslim Terrorists the Jerusalem Post says the real threat to Jews is “Jewish Terrorists” |

Posted by CDG, Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael Shlemah at 1/17/2016 07:40:00 PM

From Hava haAharona, here.

On Censorship

What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.


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From Arutz Meir, here.

Banning Cash in Israel and Abroad


Over the last few months a stream of articles have crossed my screen, all proclaiming the need of governments and banks to eliminate cash. I’m sure you’ve noticed them too.

It is terrorists and other assorted madmen, we are told, who use cash. And so, to protect us from being blown up and dismembered on our very own street corners, governments will have to ban it.

It would actually take some effort to imagine a more obvious, naked attempt at fearmongering. Cash – in daily use for centuries if not millennia – is now, suddenly, the agent of spring-loaded, instant death? And we’re supposed to just accept that line?

But there are good reasons why the insiders are promoting these stories now. The first of them, perhaps, is simply that they can: After 9/11, a massive wave of compliance surged through the West. It may not last forever, but it’s still rolling, and if the entertainment corporations can pump enough fear into minds that want to believe, they may just get them to buy it.

The second reason, however, is the real driver:

Negative Interest Rates

The urgency of their move to ban one of the longest-lasting pillars of daily life means that the backroom elites think it will be necessary soon. It would appear that the central banks, the IMF, the World Bank, the BIS, and all their backers, see the elimination of cash as a central survival strategy.

The reason is simple: cash would allow people to escape from the one thing that could save their larcenous currency system: negative interest rates.

To make this clear, I like to paraphrase a famous (and good) quote from Alan Greenspan, back from 1966, during his Ayn Randian days: The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

That was a true statement, and with a slight modification, it succinctly explains the new war on cash:

The preservation of an insolvent currency system requires that the owners of currency have no way to protect it.

Cash is currency that you hold in your own hands, that stands more or less alone. It is primarilyexternal to bank control. Electronic money – bank balances, credit, etc. – remains inside the banking system and fully subject to bank control.

A combination of no cash and negative interest rates would be a quiet, permanent version of what was done in Cyprus, where the government simply shut down everything, allowed only the smallest deductions via ATMs, and then stole money from thousands of bank accounts at once.

The Cypriot spectacle was fairly large, however, and that tends to undermine the legitimacy of rulership. So, it is much better to have no ATMs and no cash at all. There would be no lines of angry people talking to each other, only isolated losers with no recourse, licking their wounds while the talking heads on television tell them to stay calm and watch the flashing images.

Negative interest rates would give the banks 100% control over your purchases. They could, even in the worst pinch, allow you to purchase food while freezing the rest of your money. The average person would have no recourse and would simply be robbed… but very smoothly and with no human face to blame on.

Negative interest rates mean that your bank account shrinks day by day, automatically. Your $1000 in January becomes $950 by December. And where does that money go? To the banks, of course, and to the government. They syphon your money away, drip by drip, and there’s nothing you can do about it. This accomplishes several things for them at once:

  • It finances government, limitlessly and automatically. Forget tax filings; they can just take as they please.
  • It pays off the bad debt of the big banks. (And there are oceans of debt.)
  • It forces you to spend everything you’ve got, as soon as you get it. (Otherwise it will shrink.)
  • It gives the system full control over your financial life. Everything is monitored, everything is tracked, and every single transaction must be approved by them (or not). If they decide they don’t like you, you’re instantly reduced to begging.

In short, this is a direct return to serfdom.

I suggest that you start talking to your friends and neighbors about this now, before it’s too late. Don’t let them comply without a fight.

Paul Rosenberg

From Free-Man’s Perspective, here.