It’s well known that getting accepted into the NYC Sanitation Department to work as a garbage collector is significantly more difficult than getting into Harvard University. About 90,000 people apply each year for the prestigious position of NYC Sanitation worker and only 500 or so are accepted, about 0.55%. On the other hand, 56,937 people applied to be freshman this year at Harvard, of whom 1,966 were accepted, or about 3.45%. This means that you are six times more likely to get into Harvard than get into the sanitation department. Which is a shame, because we need a lot of sanitation workers to clean up the hot mess that is Harvard University.

For starters, Harvard is awash with brain dead groupthink zombies, so much so that in the 2023 rankings put out by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Harvard came in dead last from all US colleges and universities for free speech. It was given a score of 0 out of 100, but that was just being kind, it’s true score was -10.69. The student body is terrified of disagreeing with any professors, guest lecturers with views that differ from the homogeneous culture are disinvited or shouted down, and professors are stripped of their tenure and terminated for presenting research that some students find uncomfortable. So, our most highly ranked university is one in which no one gets to learn different nuanced sides of any socially volatile topic.

But that is the Harvard of today, what about the past? Surely, Harvard achieved its vaunted status by centuries of excellence and integrity, right? Wrong.

In the early sixties, the sugar industry was under heavy criticism for its role in damaging public health. Diabetes was slowly but steadily growing, and all eyes were looking at the sugar industry, which made its money by getting sugar into almost every item on grocery store shelves, from ketchup to canned soup, cereal to baked beans. Even foods that parade themselves as healthy, like granola or low fat yogurt, have surprisingly high amounts of sugar in them. As public perception was turning against sugar, executives at sugar companies were desperate to change the narrative. So they called on Harvard University.

In 1964, a sugar trade group called The Sugar Research Foundation which was led by John Hickson, one of the top sugar executives in the country, reached out to three Harvard professors, Dr. Fredrick Stare the head of the nutrition department, Dr. Mark Hegsted, and Dr. Robert McGandy and paid them them $6500 (about $50,000 in today’s dollars) to shift the blame to something else. And boy did they deliver. Not only did they produce scientific papers that said the only change that could reduce coronary heart disease was limiting fat and cholesterol, they specifically countered previous research that implicated sugar.

We have detailed record of the correspondence between Dr Hegsted and John Hickson, where one can see Hickson detailing the troubling research he wanted throttled, and Hegsted responds, “We are well aware of your particular interest in carbohydrate and will cover this as well as we can.” When the research paper was completed and Dr Hegsted sent a draft to the Sugar Research Foundation, Hickson wrote back, “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”

To make matters worse, Dr Hegsted, coming from such a prestigious university, went on become the head of nutrition at the US Department of Agriculture, and he was charged with creating the federal dietary guidelines. These guidelines gave sugar a total pass and only focused on reducing fat and meat products. This led to decades of horrible nutrition in the US, including the famous scandal where school lunches could classify ketchup as a vegetable serving even though it’s almost half sugar!

Soda consumption soared, more grocery staples lowered their fat content and increased the sugar content, diabetes and obesity became even more prevalent, and today 1.4 million people are diagnosed with diabetes in the US each year, where it is the seventh most common cause of death! How many millions of people died or spent their lives shuttling back and forth to dialysis due to Harvard’s nutrition department?

Shining towering Harvard isn’t looking so shining or towering anymore, but we still haven’t gotten to the worst of it. The following information is taken directly from an article titled Harvard’s Eugenics Era in the March-April 2016 edition of the Harvard Magazine, a thoroughly written, well researched article that states openly,

“in part because of its overall prominence and influence on society, and in part because of its sheer enthusiasm, Harvard was more central to American eugenics than any other university. Harvard has, with some justification, been called the “brain trust” of twentieth-century eugenics, but the role it played is little remembered or remarked upon today. It is understandable that the University is not eager to recall its part in that tragically misguided intellectual movement—but it is a chapter too important to be forgotten.”

For those unfamiliar with the term, eugenics was a philosophy started in the late 1800’s by Francis Galton, a half cousin of Charles Darwin. The world was just learning about the concept of survival of the fittest from Darwin, as well as the role of genes from Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), and Galton decided that humanity should combine genetics and survival of the fittest by actively creating a genetically superior society.

The word eugenics comes from the Greek word for “good” combined with “genes.” Eugenics at first called for simpler things, like making sure that Nordic superior White Anglo Saxon Protestants refrain from marrying any impure races like Irish Catholics, Jews, Blacks, and anyone not “Nordic.” But as the movement progressed, it began to advocate for the forced sterilization of all “feebleminded” people, to prevent them from reproducing and tainting the Nordic bloodline which was the desired stock for this nation.

In 1907, Indiana made the first law allowing for eugenics based sterilization, and in the 1927 case Buck vs Bell, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional to sterilize the “feebleminded,” This led to over 70,000 people being forcibly sterilized in the name of eugenics and a level of institutional racism that is almost impossible to comprehend.

And who was at the center of it all? Harvard University. Former Harvard president Charles Williams Eliot was found crisscrossing the country giving lectures on the purity of the races, and writing pseudo scientific screeds like his 1911 article, “The Suppression of Moral Defectives.”

Eliot was a vice president of the First International Eugenics Congress, which met in London in 1912 to hear lectures decrying the racial suicide of the Northern Europeans and the importance of protecting the White Anglo Saxon Protestant stock. He also made the first US conference on eugenics in 1914, the National Conference on Race Betterment, held in Battle Creek, MI. And he wasn’t alone; Harvard administrators, faculty members, and alumni were at the forefront of American eugenics—founding eugenics organizations, writing academic and popular eugenics articles, and lobbying government to enact eugenics laws.

The eugenics movement had a significant effect on the philosophies of the Nazi party. They of course also espoused the advantages of the Nordic Aryan bloodline and tried to rid the world of those considered inferior, most notably, the Jews, the blacks, the gypsies, etc. We know that German eugenicists were in close contact with their American counterparts for decades, and that the1933 Nazi “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Defective Offspring” was mostly cobbled together from US Eugenics laws! For extensive coverage of the topic you can read the deeply disturbing book, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create A Master Race by Edwin Black.

So what have we learned so far about Harvard? They don’t allow free speech on campus today, it’s heads of department sold out America and produced false information resulting in diabetes and coronary disease in millions, and they were at the forefront of one of the United States most racist philosophies, one that became a guiding principles of the Nazi movement. If you’re having trouble believing this, five minutes of research will back any of it.

It therefore came as no surprise when within hours of the details of Hamas’s horrific savage attack on our people on Simchas Torah, thirty-four student groups signed onto a letter by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on Saturday that said it held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” They didn’t even wait for the blood to dry.

The last 12 days have brought out the worst in humanity and the best in the Jews, Jews have united in ways I’ve never seen in my whole life, spreading joy, extending hands and wallets, praying together, volunteering together, and being the nation we were meant to be. On the other hand, humans from the highest ivory towers to the lowest savages have shown their true colors, carrying out the most heinous activities or supporting them.

It has been the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust, and it has a very similar modus operandi, an attack that united the most “cultured” of societies with the barbaric. The Nazis were from the most sophisticated and learned people on the European continent, yet for their SS death squads they opened up the prisons and partnered with the illiterate peasants of Ukraine, Romania, Poland etc. The Hamas attack was carried out by drugged out savages, but they quickly found their supporters and enablers in all the most elite universities and even in the halls of Congress.

We don’t know exactly what message G-d is sending us, but one verse that keeps ringing in my mind, Psalms 146:3 “Do not trust in princes, in the son of man, who has no salvation.” We are so enthralled by the culture around us, we give such credibility to universities or professors who the world looks to as moral beacons and enlightened minds. But again and again and again we find that they have no salvation. They have no moral compass. They are not enlightened . They are flawed humans like all of us, and if anything their hubris is the beginning of their downfall.

Instead, we look to another quote from Psalms, and it too speaks so clearly to us, with clarity and hope, (Psalms 118:8-14)

“It is better to take shelter in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take shelter in the Lord than to trust in princes. All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord, I shall cut them off. They encircled me, yea they surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I shall cut them off. They encircled me like bees; but they were extinguished like a thorn fire; in the name of the Lord I shall cut them off. You pushed me to fall, but the Lord helped me. The might and the cutting power of God was my salvation.”

We won’t be rescued by the intellectuals, we won’t be rescued by the savages, we won’t be rescued by the armies, we won’t be rescued by the politicians. We will only be rescued by the One who always rescues us, as the verse in Isaiah 14:8 calls Him, “The Hope of Israel, Its deliverer in times of trouble.”

We are a singular nation in the world, recognized by all, hated by most, Chosen by One.

We need to put our energy towards the One that chooses us, and show him that we choose Him too, that we don’t think America will save us, the UN will save us, the European Union, or any other power.

Only Him, a singular Omnipotent force in the world, recognized by all nations, denied by many, Chosen by one.

Parsha Dvar Torah

So there is a Great Flood with only 8 human survivors. They spend a year and change drifting around in a massive wooden boat, with thousands of animal, bird, and insect shipmates. Finally, the land lust starts running high. Afraid to venture out on his own, Noach sends out a couple of different birds hoping that one of them will find dry land. The raven refuses to leave the ark’s vicinity, but the dove, ever brave, courageous, and chivalrous, and sets out to find land.

The first time, the dove returns empty handed, not having found anything. However, the second time he is sent out, he returns with a branch from an olive tree, indicating that the floodwaters had subsided. The third time the dove does not return – clear proof that he has found a peaceful resting place on the newly washed earth.

One might wonder why it was an olive branch that was the mechanism chosen by G-d to show Noach the world would be inhabitable once again. G-d could have used any one of hundreds of fruits, yet He chose the olive. Why? (I personally would have hoped for an avocado branch, After spending about a year in the Ark, I would really appreciate a fresh guacamole!)

I lived in Israel for four years and went on many hiking trips in the beautiful and picturesque Galilee. There one can find olive trees growing in the wild, clear reminders of olives status as one of the 7 fruits Israel is blessed with. Being that I love olives (there is no place better than Israel for olive lovers – one can go to stores with tens of varieties of olives of every color and size), one day I decided to taste one of the many olives lying on the ground around one of the trees. Imagine my surprise when I found this natural, organic, fresh olive to be entirely inedible! It was bitter and tart, and I couldn’t even finish the one olive I had bitten into.

Wikipedia helped me with an explanation: “Olives freshly picked from the tree contain phenolic compounds and a unique glycoside, oleuropein, which makes the fruit unpalatable for immediate consumption.” (You see, you learn something new every day. I bet you didn’t know that!) There are a number of ways of processing olives to make them palatable. One can use one of several fermentation techniques to make olives edible, or crush them to make olive oil. But it is clear that olives need extensive processing in order to have any value to human beings.

Maybe this was the message of the olive branch. G-d was hinting to Noach that if he wanted to be able to repopulate the world properly he would need to undergo extensive processing. Naturally, man has a lot of evil in his heart. As the verse says in this weeks parsha, “For the inclination of man’s heart is evil from [the time of] his youth.” (Gen. 8:21) His physical body pulls his mind toward the lowly ground from where it came, while his soul draws it upward to the spiritual world from where it originated.

The generation of the Flood was one that didn’t try to process at all. They just let themselves follow their raw, natural, and physical desires. This led to a world so evil that it needed to be washed clean, so it could have a fresh start. When the flood was over, G-d sent the olive to Noach as the instruction manual for the New World Order.  The only way that man will be able to survive is by processing constantly, pressing and fermenting himself, to extract the best he has to offer world.

Parsha Summary

This week’s parsha talks mostly about the Great Flood. The basic idea behind this cataclysmic event was that mankind had had such a negative effect on the earth that a complete overhaul was necessary. G-d returned the earth to its most primitive state, and the few survivors were able to rebuild on a clean slate. If they had tried to program the new world order on top of all the existing filth, immorality, and depravity, it would have been nearly impossible to succeed, so instead G-d washed the world clean, and let them paint on a fresh canvas. The opening verses of this Parsha express that concept, while also teaching us another important lesson.

These are the offspring of Noach. Noach was a righteous man, flawless in his generation; Noach walked with El-him. Noach fathered three sons, Sheim, Cham and Yafes. The earth was corrupt before El-him, and the earth was filled with violent crime. G-d saw the earth and beheld that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth. G-d said to Noach, The end of all flesh has come before Me. The earth is filled with violent crime because of them, and so I will destroy them with the earth. (Gen 6:9-13)

One lesson that is not readily apparent without the benefits of Rashi’s wisdom is the explanation of the first two verses. It says, “these are the offspring of Noach” but then, before mentioning his offspring, the Torah tells us that Noach was a righteous man. How did that get stuck in there? Rashi explains that the primary offspring of a person are his actions and the effects they have on others. His children are certainly important, and he can have a powerful positive effect on them but, ultimately, what he bequeaths to the world are his actions not those of his children.

G-d commanded Noach to build the ark a hundred and twenty years in advance of the flood. He did this in hope that people would ask, “Hey Noach, what is this woodcraft project you’ve been working on for the last eighty years?” and Noach would explain to them that earth was about to become a really wet place for a while due to man’s evil actions. This would hopefully inspire the people to repent. However, in typical bad-people fashion, they instead chose to mock Noach and tell him that if he dared try to enter the ark, they would break his 120-year project and then kill him (see, I told you they were bad guys).

The ark was pretty big, about 600 feet long, 100 feet wide (or, as you yachters would say, “it had a beam of 100 feet”), and 60 feet tall, 22 of which were below the water line. Despite the large dimensions of the ark, it was a massive miracle that Noach was able to fit thousand upon thousands of animals into this area.  The ark was split into 3 floors, waste on bottom, animals in the middle, and humans on top. It had a light source which some say was a skylight, while others posit was a special luminescent stone.

When the time for the flood came, animals starting miraculously trekking to the ark from all corners of the world. G-d commanded Noach to take a male and female from every non-kosher species and seven pairs from every kosher species. The ark would not allow any species that had mated with other species to enter (some say that this is when dinosaurs died out). When the rain started coming down thick and fast and the aforementioned bad guys came to stop Noach from entering the ark, G-d set up a ring of lions and bears around the ark preventing anyone from getting near it. Check. Mate.

For forty days and nights the flood waters raged, with rain falling heavily from heaven, and underwater boiling springs erupting and spewing out steaming sulfuric matter from below. The waters came down until the highest point on earth was thirty feet below the water line. Then, after the forty days, the waters stopped coming down and up, but the existing water stayed put for another 150 days. The waters then slowly started receding.

Noach sent out a raven to see if there was any dry land, but the bird didn’t even check, he just flew around the ark, afraid that someone was going to steal his mate. Next, Noach sent out a dove three times. The first time he came back empty handed, the second time he brought with him an olive branch, showing that the water level had dropped substantially, and the third time he stayed out, confirming that there was dry land once again. Soon after that, exactly a year after the flood began, Noach left the ark with his wife, his three children, their wives, and all the animals.

When they left the ark, G-d gave them a blessing that they be fruitful and multiply, to refill the now desolate world. They immediately brought offerings to G-d. Then, tragedy struck. Noach planted a vineyard, made wine, got drunk, and fell asleep in an uncovered position. One of his sons, Cham, debased his father in his nakedness, and then went out to tell his other brothers. Shem enlisted Yafes, and together they covered their father, while looking the other way, so as not to see their father in a compromised position. Noach awoke, and understanding what happened, gave Cham a severe curse, and gave Shem and Yafes blessings.

From Noach and his family sprouted all of the nations of the earth, and the Torah goes into great length telling over the genealogy of Noach’s children and grandchildren, as each of these grandchildren would be the father of a nation that would arise later in history.

Humans simply don’t seem to learn their lesson. Only a few generations after the Great Flood, under the leadership of the wicked king Nimrod of Babel, mankind devised a plan to take G-d out of the picture. They attempted to build a tower that would reach the heavens itself, so they could then challenge G-d, and chase Him away. These people, although wicked, had one merit – they presented a united front, there was no bickering and arguing between them. However, since this unison was being used for an evil purpose, G-d punished them by introduced the concept of language to mankind. Suddenly, people were speaking 70 different languages! As you can imagine, the building of the Tower of Babel went downhill quickly (I speak the same language as my contractor yet I never feel I can get exactly what I want over to him, imagine if we didn’t speak the same language!). From Babel , the people began to spread out to all four corners of the earth, where they are until this very day!

Quote of the Week: The bridges you cross before you come to them are over rivers that aren’t there. ~ Gene Brown

Random Fact of the Week: Benjamin Franklin invented crop insurance.

Funny Line of the Week: I like rice. Rice is great when you’re hungry and you want 2,000 of something.

Have a Supernal Shabbos,

R’ Leiby Burnham

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