We had a one week reprieve for prayer requests this one is for Chana bas Rachel. Remember Rachel bas Chana also needs our prayers the two are unrelated.
I received complaints that last week when I quote the former Xtian Theologian that I used the Gee sounding word. I have corrected it in my file to read Yeshu. Still I placed it only for those to have a counter argument to missionaries.
You better watch out Elul is coming followed by the DAY OF JUDGEMENT – Editorial
We have about 5 weeks left until Rosh Hashanah and to many of us it is business as usual. Can we afford to be complacent this year with a possible nuclear or chemical/germ threat from Iran? Or even Hizballah with 40,000 conventional rockets and Gaza re-arming in the ‘cease fire’ with rockets capable of hitting Ashdod and Kiriat Gat. Naalin just north of Ramat Modin is being incited by self-hating leftist Jewish. These people love Israel like Jeremiah Wright blesses the USA.
Am Yisrael has an answer to all this but not militarily not with our government in power. The only way to remove “MESHELES TZADON” from the planet is the same way to spiritually from Evil. We add Torah learning time and pray harder. Maybe your head is like mine with a few circuits overloaded to prayer improvement lasts for a day or two and then everything as usual because of inability of a 60 year old to concentrate with the freshness and intent of a 20 year old. But we can download on e-daf the Daf Yomi. I have just passed the fiftieth Daf this week. We can listen to Rav Leff on U-tube as to watch the Rav lecture might be boring as we are not a live audience but to hear him is good. We can go to shiurim, visit the sick, comfort mourners, add charity to real needy people in our community.
It is impractical for the world to completely change at this pre-Messianic time. However, one person drew his own conclusions in the story below: When God performs miracles for us, what should we do in return? by Yael Mermelstein & When HASHEM sends you a telegram So too each of us must re-evaluate himself with self reflection similar to my Ye’ush reflection on myself last week. I thank G-D don’t know your strengths or weaknesses and where you need to do improvement but you do so come on let’s get moving (UK English – get cracking) before the DAY OF JUDGEMENT.
7:12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep with thee the covenant and the mercy which He swore unto thy fathers, 13 and He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; He will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, thy corn and thy wine and thine oil, the increase of thy kine and the young of thy flock, in the land which He swore unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
Just look at the blessings written down here. All Am Yisrael has to do is fulfill its contract with the L-RD plain and simple. Do you know that 15% of couples have fertility problems of which many are unsolvable. Yet Pasuk 14 promises not a barren female among men and their animals. A fruitful land and G-D will love us what more could we want, grain, wine, oil increase in our flocks and herds (ok in modern terms stocks and bonds, properties, commerce, etc.). Below Rashi takes the Hebrew words and explains in more detail:
12 Heb. עֵקֶב, lit. heel. If you will heed the minor commandments which one [usually] tramples with his heels [i.e., which a person treats as being of minor importance]. That the Lord, your God, will keep. He will keep His promise to you. 14. sterile male. Heb. עָקָר, [meaning] that does not beget children.
15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness; and He will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou know, upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
Could you imagine not a fly pestering anybody among the Jews and thousands buzzing around the enemies, same with diseases. But instead we continue to suffer because our Brethren have not the commandments properly or really observed Shabbos. Every Motzei Shabbos, I open up the news to hear so and so many peopled died on the weekend (from Friday night to Motzei Shabbos) on the highways, beaches and a few days early a child was in critical condition from a snake bite. Yet this blessing can only exist if and only if Am Yisrael does its best to observe as much as humanly possible to observe of the Mitzvos.
16 And thou shall consume all the peoples that the LORD thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them; neither shall thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
Awe the poor little Arab children taught from childhood to become Shahidim and to kill as many Israelis as possible. Poor Arab women pretending to be in Biafra, or instead of aggressor in Dafur – the victims.
17 If thou shall say in thy heart: 'These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?' 18 thou shall not be afraid of them; thou shall well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt: 19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out; so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. 20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and they that hide themselves, perish from before thee. 21 Thou shall not be affrighted at them; for the LORD thy God is in the midst of thee, a God great and awful. 22 And the LORD thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little; thou may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
22. lest the beasts of the field outnumber you. But is it not so that if [the Israelites] obey the will of the Omnipresent, they need not fear the beasts? As it is said, “And the beasts of the field made peace with you” (Job 5:23). It was, however, revealed before him [Moses] that they would sin in the future.
With 5 snake attacks in 24 hours on Wednesday, do you think G-D was trying to tell us something?
23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and shall discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed. 24 And He shall deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shall make their name to perish from under heaven; there shall no man be able to stand against thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. 26 And thou shall not bring an abomination into thy house, and be accursed like unto it; thou shall utterly detest it, and thou shall utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing.
No Rabbit’s foot, no statue a Greek or Indian god, nothing from these places, that is what brought us the wig scandal a few years ago.
2. whether you would keep His commandments. that you would not test Him or suspect Him [i.e., doubt His ways].
4. Your clothing did not wear out. The clouds of glory would rub their [the Israelites’] clothes and clean them so that they looked like freshly laundered clothes. And also their children, as they grew, their clothes grew along with them, like a snail’s shell, which grows along with it- [Pesikta D’Rav Kahana p. 92a] nor did [your foot] swell. Heb. לֹא בָצֵקָה [This means:] Neither [did your foot] swell like dough בָּצֵק, as [usually happens] with those who walk barefoot, that their feet swell.
8. oil-producing olives. Heb. זֵית שֶׁמֶן, lit. olives of oil, [i.e.] olives that produce oil.
8:1 All the commandment which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers.
Rashi brings down an important principle about if you start a mitzvah then you should finish it.
[This is to be understood] according to its simple meaning. A Midrashic explanation is [“the whole of the commandment… you shall keep”]: If you have started a mitzvah, finish it, because it is attributed only to the one who completes it, as it is said, “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up from Egypt, they buried in Shechem” (Josh. 24:32). But did not Moses alone occupy himself with them to bring them up? [See Exod. 13:19.]
2 And thou shall remember all the way which the LORD thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou would keep His commandments, or no.
Rashi says that we should not test G-D, we must believe, honor, respect, pray, praise and respect nothing from G-D “Don’t serve the Master in order to receive a prize (reward) – Perkei Avos.
3 And He afflicted thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knew not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every thing that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 And thou shall consider in thy heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD thy God chastens thee. 6 And thou shall keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him.
This is a reminder for Am Yisrael of all the mercies and miracles G-D wrought for us in the desert and that we are punished out of love.
7 For the LORD thy God brings thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey;
The L-RD is about to bring Am Yisrael into a very good land which had its own natural wealth from rain and wonderful crops and fruit.
9 A land wherein thou shall eat bread without scarceness, thou shall not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou may dig brass.
A self-sustaining land, so you may ask why haven’t we found oil in great quantities yet? Supposedly Yisrael is swimming on oil and we have oil shale. There will be a time of “NAFUHU” a topsy-turvy time of the Moshiach when the Arabs will lose their power and Yisrael will be energy sufficient with wind, geothermic, sea currents and solar electric plants. Remember that before the dawn is always the darkest time.
10 And thou shall eat and be satisfied, and bless the LORD thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. 11 Beware lest thou forget the LORD thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command thee this day; 12 lest when thou hast eaten and art satisfied, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 15 who led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might afflict thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 and thou say in thy heart: 'My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.'
Wonderful blessings but a warning is issued. Do not forget the ONE who blesses you. Because when you do, your gold, silver and substance won’t be worth much against the close to 7 billion other people. Remember you are only a power and blessed because you keep your contract with G-D otherwise you are the hated Jew, Jude, and Hebrew from the other side. You are treated with contempt. You will never be one of them. The late Senator Barry Goldwasser was born a Protestant and yet in the Conservative Club in Queens New York, he was called “That nice Jewish fellow”. Assimilation is not really an option. Every other month, I find people who thought that for four generations or more that their family was Gentile only to have checked a grand mother of their mother’s mother was Jewish. In fact one Convert told me a story of her grandmother and grandfather only slaughtering their own chickens, soaking and salting them and not wanting to be buried in the main cemetery in the town. However, the lady’s mother would have nothing to do with Judaism. Somehow, she found her way into our people.
Sometimes when the going is good, the stocks are high, our home value is up we forget that we were led through a desert of no water, no crops only some snakes and scorpions and yet we were sustained for 40 years. However, we tend to forget. We are similar to gal in the song “Diamonds are girl’s best friend”. Only like in the song just substitute material wealth for ‘he’ – “He’s your guy when stocks are high and not when they start to descend. It’s that when those louses go back to their spouses; diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” These ideas are the keys to Moshe’s warnings hidden in the Pasukim.
18 But thou shall remember the LORD thy God, for it is He that gives thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou shalt forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I forewarn you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall ye perish; because ye would not hearken unto the voice of the LORD your God.
9:1 Hear, O Israel: thou art to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom thou know, and of whom thou hast heard say: 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is He who goes over before thee as a devouring fire; He will destroy them, and He will bring them down before thee; so shalt thou drive them out, and make them to perish quickly, as the LORD hath spoken unto thee. 4 Speak not thou in thy heart, after that the LORD thy God hath thrust them out from before thee, saying: 'For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land'; whereas for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. 5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thy heart, dost thou go in to possess their land; but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may establish the word which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 Know therefore that it is not for thy righteousness that the LORD thy God gives thee this good land to possess it; for thou art a stiff necked people.
Forty-one years ago in late May and early June first the Prime Minister of Yisrael was shaking in his shoes and in June just before the war, the Chief of Staff had a temporary break-down. After the war instead of acknowledging the miracles, our cocky Defense Minister claimed that our own might did it. Well Yom Kippur is a time to due Tshuvah. Six years later the Jewish State was almost defeated by the cockiness of the same Minister and the let’ s show the Goyim that we didn’t start the war of the Prime Minister. It was only a few hours of tank drive from Beer Sheva and the road to Tiberias was almost completely free except for a few tanks against hundreds. Therefore let us not think that we are strong but “go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.”
7 Remember, forget thou not, how thou didst make the LORD thy God wroth in the wilderness; from the day that thou didst go forth out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
The history in the desert and warnings from Moshe continues through the end of chapter 9 and into chapter 10.
10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul; 13 to keep for thy good the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command thee this day? 14 Behold, unto the LORD thy God belongs the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that therein is. 15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you, above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17 For the LORD your God, He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awful, who regards not persons, nor takes reward. 18 He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and love the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 19 Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; Him shalt thou serve; and to Him shalt thou cleave, and by His name shalt thou swear. 21 He is thy glory, and He is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and tremendous things, which thine eyes have seen. 22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.
12. And now, O Israel. Even though you did all this, His mercy and His affection are still upon you, and with all that you have sinned against Him, He demands nothing of you, except only to fear [the Lord, your God,…] Only to fear [the Lord your God,…]. Our Rabbis derived from this verse [“And now… what does… God demand of you”] that everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven (Ber. 33b).
13. To keep the commandments of the Lord. and this too, is not for nothing, but-for your good-that you should receive a reward.
14. Behold, to the Lord your God belong. everything, and even so-“Only your forefathers the Lord desired”-out of everything [i.e., the whole universe].
You should know who is the real Baal Habeis or Landlord of Eretz Yisrael and in fact the whole earth.
15. [And He chose…] you. Just as you see yourselves as the most beloved of all peoples, as it is this day.
16. the foreskin of your heart. Heb. לְבַבְכֶם עָרְלַת the blockage and covering of your heart.
17. and Lord of the lords. meaning that no lord will be able to deliver you from His hand. Who will show no favor. if you cast off His yoke, Nor will He take a bribe- i.e. to appease Him with money.
One of the Prophets exalted, “I possess the silver and the gold – says the L-RD.”
18. He executes the judgment of the orphan and widow. [previously, in verse 17,] we had a description of God’s power. Now alongside His power, we find [a description of] His humility (Meg. 31a). and He loves the stranger, to give him bread and clothing. and this [provision of bread and clothing] is a matter of great importance, for the very essence of our father Jacob prayed for this [as it says],“And if He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear” (Gen. 28: 20). - [Gen. Rabbah 70:5]
19. [You shall love the stranger] for you were strangers. Do not reproach others with your own defect. — [B. M. 59b]
20. You shall fear the Lord, your God. and worship Him and cleave to Him. After you have all these qualities, then you may swear by His Name.
11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep His charge, and His statutes, and His ordinances, and His commandments, always. 2 And know ye this day; for I speak not with your children that have not known, and that have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, His greatness, His mighty hand, and His outstretched arm,
Set your attention to know, understand, and accept my reproof. that not with your children. am I now speaking, who would be able to say, “We did not know or see all this.”
3 and His signs, and His works, which He did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; 4 and what He did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how He made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day; 5 and what He did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came unto this place; 6 and what He did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben; how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and every living substance that followed them, in the midst of all Israel;
Wherever one of them fled, there the earth split under him and swallowed him up; these are the words of Rabbi Judah. Rabbi Nehemiah said to him: But has it not already been stated, “And the earth opened its mouth” (Num. 16:32), and not, “its mouths” [implying that the earth opened up at only one place]? Rabbi Judah said to him: How, then, do you [Reggio ed.] explain: “in the midst of all Israel” [implying it opened up in many areas]? Rabbi Nehemiah replied to him: The earth began to slope as a funnel, and wherever one of them happened to be, he rolled down until he reached the place where the earth was split (Tanchuma Buber , addendum to Korach 4). and all the possessions at their feet. Heb. וְאֶת כָּל-הַיְקוּם אֲשֶׁר בְּרַגְלֵיהֶם This is a man’s money, which sets him on his feet. - [San. 110a]
7 but your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD which He did. 8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandment which I command thee this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go over to possess it; 9 and that ye may prolong your days upon the land, which the LORD swore unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land flowing with milk and honey.
When the twelve tribes entered Eretz Yisrael, it truly was a land flowing with milk and honey. There were forests in Ephraim and because of the extra trees more rain. It was not the barren land that the Romans caused by their destruction followed by the Arab neglect. Even what we see today is nothing in comparison to what it was when the tribes entered. The physical character of the land was changed through the destruction, salting over and neglect of 1900 or more years.
10 For the land, whither thou go in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou didst sow thy seed, and didst water it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs;
[The land to which you come…] is not like the land of Egypt. but better than it. This promise was made to Israel when they left Egypt, for they would say, “Perhaps we will not come to a land as good and beautiful as this one.” One might think that Scripture is speaking derogatorily of it [the Land of Israel], and so he said to them: It is not like the land of Egypt, but it is worse than it! Therefore, Scripture says, “And Hebron was built seven years before Zoan of Egypt…” (Num. 13:22): One man built [both of] them-Ham built Zoan for his son, Mizraim, and he built Hebron for Canaan [his other son]. It is customary that one first builds the better city and afterwards builds the inferior one, because the refuse [left over] from the first, he puts into the second, and in any case, the favorite one first. Thus we learn that Hebron was a more beautiful city than Zoan. Egypt was superior to all other lands, as is stated [of it], “like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” (Gen. 13:10), and Zoan was the best of the land of Egypt, as it was the seat of royalty, for so it is stated: “For his princes were in Zoan” (Isa. 30:4), and Hebron was the worst city of Eretz Israel. For this reason, they set it apart for a burial ground, and yet it was better than Zoan. In Tractate Kethuboth (112a), however, our Rabbis explained the above in another manner: Is it possible that a man would build a house for his younger son [here Canaan], and only afterwards for his older son [Mizraim]? We must therefore explain [the meaning of וְחֶבְרוֹן שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נִבְנְתָה to be] that Hebron was built up seven times better than Zoan. [The land of Egypt,] out of which you came. Even the land of Goshen and the land of Rameses in which you dwelt, and which is the best of the land of Egypt, as it is said, “in the best of the land, [in the land of Rameses]” (Gen. 47:11)-even that is not like the land of Israel. [like the land of Egypt…] which you watered by foot. The land of Egypt required bringing water from the Nile by foot in order to water it; you had to rise from your sleep and toil. And only the low-lying areas were watered [i.e., were irrigated by the Nile], but not the high land, so you had to carry up water from the lower to the higher areas. But this [land, namely Canaan] “absorbs water from the rains of heaven.” While you sleep in your bed, the Holy One, blessed is He, waters both low and high areas, both areas that are exposed and those that are not, all at once [Sifrei] like a vegetable garden. which does not have enough water from rain, and one has to water it by foot, [carrying water] upon one’s shoulder.
11 but the land, whither ye go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinks water as the rain of heaven cometh down; 12 a land which the LORD thy God cares for; the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou may gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15 And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied. 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
A neutral political comment on this subject: http://www.aish.com/spirituality/LoriAlmostLive/Dont_Go_After_Your_Eyes_And_Your_Heart.asp (actually the Pasuk that Lori uses is not from this the second paragraph of the Shema but from the third paragraph.
Beware, [lest your heart be misled]. Since you will eat and be full, beware that you do not rebel [against the Holy One, blessed is He], for nobody rebels against the Holy One, blessed is He, except out of satiety, as it is said, “lest you eat and be sated… and your herds and your flocks multiply… What does he [Moses] say after this? ”and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God" (Deut. 8:12-14). and you turn away. to depart from the Torah, and as a result of this, and worship strange gods. for as soon as a man departs from the Torah, he goes and cleaves to idolatry. Similarly, David said, “for they have driven me today, from cleaving to the Lord’s heritage, saying, 'Go, worship [strange gods]’” (I Sam. 26:19). But who [actually] said this to him? [He meant to say,] Since I am driven from being occupied with the Torah, I am closer to the danger of worshipping strange gods. — [Sifrei] strange gods. [Gods] that are strangers to those who worship them. The worshipper cries out to it, but it does not answer him; consequently, it becomes to him as a stranger.
17 and the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD gives you.
Not a normal anger but a furious wrath is kindled by the non-observance and perhaps also abominations in idolatry and moral misconduct.
18 Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
Even after you have been exiled, make yourselves distinctive with My commandments: Put on tefillin and make mezuzoth , so that these will not be new to you when you return. Similarly, it is said, “Set up markers for yourself” (Jer. 31:20). - [Sifrei]
19 And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them, when thou sit in thy house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lies down, and when thou rises up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates; 21 that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, upon the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers to give them, as the days of the heavens above the earth. 22 For if ye shall diligently keep all this commandment which I command you, to do it, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him, 23 then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall be your border. 25 There shall no man be able to stand against you: the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath spoken unto you.
22. For if you keep [all these commandments]. Heb. שָׁמֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן [The repetition of שָׁמֹר is to] admonish us many times to be careful with one’s learning, lest it be forgotten. - [Sifrei] to walk in all His ways. God is merciful, so you, too, be merciful; He bestows loving-kindness, so you, too, bestow loving-kindness. — [Sifrei] and to cleave to Him. Is it possible to say this? Is God not “a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24)? Rather, it means: Cleave to the disciples and the Sages, and I will consider it as though you cleave to Me. — [Sifrei]
23. Then the Lord will drive out [all these nations from before you]. Since you have fulfilled what is [incumbent] upon you, I will do what is [incumbent] upon Me. — [Sifrei] stronger than you. You are strong, but they are stronger than you, for if it were not that the Israelites were strong, what is the praise that he [Moses] is praising the Amorites by saying of them that they are, “stronger than you”? But, [the answer is that] you are stronger than all other nations and they [the Amorites] are stronger than you. — [Sifrei]
25. No man will stand up [before you]. From this verse it is understood only [that]“a man” [will not be able to stand up before Israel]. How do we know that a nation, a family, or a woman with her witchcraft will also not be able to stand up before Israel? Therefore, it says: לֹא-יִתְיַצֵּב, “there will be no standing up [before you]”-at all. If so, why does it say: “man”? [It means any man], even as [mighty as] Og, king of Bashan. - [Sifrei] The Lord… will set] the fear of you and the dread of you [on all the land]. Heb. פַּחְדְּכֶם וּמוֹרַאֲכֶם. Is not פַּחַד the same as מוֹרָא [both meaning fear]? But [the answer is that] פַּחְדְּכֶם“the fear of you,” refers to those near by, and מוֹרַאֲכֶם,“the dread of you,” to those distant, for פַּחַד denotes” sudden fear,” and מוֹרָא denotes anxiety enduring many days. as He spoke to you. And where did He speak [about this]?“I will cast My terror before you” (Exod. 23:27). - [Sifrei]
Chassidim and Misnagdim love for fellow Jew before Tisha B’Av: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=41443
Chessed for an old man
Sometimes you don’t have to be without a future profit motive to do Chessed. BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Donald Trump will soon be Ed McMahon's landlord.
Trump announced Thursday he would save the television personality's Beverly Hills mansion from foreclosure by buying it for an undisclosed amount and leasing it to McMahon. The developer told the Los Angeles Times he doesn't know McMahon personally, but acted out of compassion because helping out "would be an honor." McMahon, 85, who was Johnny Carson's sidekick on the "Tonight" show for three decades, has not worked for about 18 months because of a neck injury. He defaulted on $4.8 million in mortgage loans with Countrywide Financial Corp. McMahon's spokesman, Howard Bragman, told The Associated Press that paperwork on the sale had not been completed but that McMahon was "very optimistic" the deal would go through.
"When I was at the Wharton School of Business I'd watch him every night," Trump told the Times. "How could this happen?" McMahon bought the six-bedroom, five-bathroom, 7,000-square-foot house in January 1990. The home was listed at $4.6 million last weekend -- down from a peak price of $7 million.
When HASHEM sends you a telegram
One of the members of my e-mail list was talking on the telephone to his boss when lightning struck his building. I had been working on him to strengthen his Yiddishkeit for years. He got the shock of his life going from the telephone to his ear and hand knocking him unconscious out of his chair on to the floor. He woke up and his co-workers called the ambulance. He appeared in pretty good shape except for a possible neurological problem in his arm.
On Jewish Philosophy: Rabbi Horowitz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZkt0BY58G8&feature=related
Rabbi Zev Leff Shlita the area Tisha B’Av and the future Rav of Matei Benyamin in 5 parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsr6cOnokcE&feature=related
Nazi camp liberator James Hoyt dies at 83 http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3583146,00.html
US war hero earned Bronze Star, later said he had 'horrific dreams' discovering Buchenwald concentration camp
James Hoyt, one of four US soldiers who discovered the Buchenwald concentration camp as World War II neared its end, has died. Hoyt's wife, Doris, said he died Monday in his sleep at home in rural Oxford, Iowa. He was 83. The cause of death was not immediately determined. Hoyt served in the Army's 6th Armored Division during World War II, earning a Bronze Star. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle fought by American troops in World War II.
Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps established by Nazi Germany, was liberated in April 1945. It is estimated that 56,000 prisoners lost their lives at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945. "There were thousands of bodies piled high," Hoyt said in a 2005 interview. "I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments...seeing these things, it changes you."
He said he had "horrific dreams" and received therapy at a Veterans Affairs hospital. He was interviewed as part of The Oxford Project in which citizens of Oxford were photographed and interviewed about their lives. Hoyt had returned to Oxford after the war and later worked more than 30 years with the US Postal Service there. He retired in 1992.
Doris Hoyt said her husband of 59 years rarely spoke about his service in World War II. "I didn't find out about a lot of it until after he passed," she said. "He kept it all to himself." Besides his wife, Hoyt is survived by six children, 11 grandchildren, a brother and a sister.
More details of the thousands of bodies in the camp that he found: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26225825/
Rabbi Lau Shlita about Concentration Camp Liberation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6eh3RVaZhk&feature=related
When God performs miracles for us, what should we do in return? by Yael Mermelstein
Ari Fuld wasn't surprised when he got his draft call last summer during the Lebanon war. "For me, serving in the Israeli Defense Forces is another puzzle piece in a Jewish person's life." He says. "I literally smile when I get my draft in the mail." He had 12 hours to say good-bye to his wife and four children, including his newborn son. Within eight hours after that he was at the Lebanese border. After one day of intensive training, his unit was going into Lebanon to dismantle a faceless terrorist infrastructure. "The night before we went in, I wrote out the Torah portions about going out to war. I needed to instill myself with confidence. I couldn't even tell my wife where I was going as the calls were being intercepted by Hizbullah. I told her I was going to France."
On his first day in Lebanon, he walked seven kilometers over craggy mountains into Lebanon carrying all of his gear, as well as a hundred pound guided missile on his back. There he encountered his first fire-fight. "Terrifying is the only word I can use to describe it," he says "Everywhere we walked there were eyes on our backs. We were the underdogs. We didn't know the terrain.”
Every day before setting out to battle, Ari and his platoon would recite the Vidui prayer, a prayer of confession usually reserved for Yom Kippur or before one dies. Secular, religious, it didn't matter. They were all Jews standing raw and exposed before God; they literally felt their lives were in the balance. The Hizbullah guerilla fighters were lying in wait. The next day the Israeli soldiers were moving in deeper.
"We walked 28 kilometers deep into Lebanon," Ari says. "We finally got to the Litani river. It was absolutely beautiful." Low on food and water, Ari's elite paratrooper unit hid out in an apple orchard for cover and sustenance. It was then that they received warnings that there was a terrorist hotbed of activity around them. They were ordered to go in and clean up the area. "Our highest commanding officer led off with five soldiers," said Ari. "He said - 'Acharai', you come after me." This legendary characteristic of the Israeli army is no myth. The highest ranking officers stake things out for the underlings, jeopardizing their own safety. "I think the Israeli army is the only army in the world that operates this way," says Ari.
70 yards from where Ari was waiting, his commanding officer was hit in the neck by sniper fire, and missiles were falling all around him and his men. "We can't let this turn into a kidnapping," said the next-in-command. They sent out a group of evacuation soldiers to try and help the first group, and they were hit by a missile as well. The highest ranking officer who remained turned to Ari.
"Grab four men," he ordered him. "We have to go collect as many bodies as we can. We're not leaving them out there alone." Ari grabbed four of his comrades. They dropped their gear on the floor and grabbed stretchers. He knew what he was doing. He had made a choice. In moving forward into the inferno of injury and death that lay ahead, he may as well have been walking his own plank. But he wouldn't abandon his comrades. "We left most of our protection behind, and all of our gear. All I had on me were my Tefillin, a book of Psalms, and some other holy writings. Oh -- and bullets. A whole lot of bullets."
They took only ten steps out of the orchard when they heard the whistle. "You hear a whistle and then three seconds later the missile hits," says Ari. "The scary thing is that it gives you no hint as to where it's going to land." Looking behind them, they saw where the missiles had fallen. Three missiles had landed exactly where the five soldiers had been sitting only moments earlier. The gear that they had hastily dropped was decimated. Missiles were falling behind and in front of the group. It seemed like God was clearing a space for Ari.
They started dragging back wounded officers. Ari called a medic who tried unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding on his commanding officer. That's when Ari felt something trickling down his back. Blood and water were coming out of him. "I knew that I had been hit by a piece of shrapnel. I also knew that if shrapnel had entered my bloodstream, I would die in a few minutes. My legs buckled." The medic came and took off Ari's vest. The piece of shrapnel had penetrated his vest, but had gone no further. All he needed was bandaging.
"There was no reason for that piece of shrapnel to stop," Ari says. "It was a piece of Iranian mortar shell." Those things don't stop. But Ari knew that there was someone higher than him calling the shots. Ari and the remaining members of his unit plodded on in Lebanon a few more days. While he had passed through the real thickets, he still had to deal with gathering food and water in hostile territory that was booby trapped in every corner.
Finally, his beleaguered brigade was ordered home. When his unit crossed the threshold into Israel, all of the soldiers spontaneously knelt and kissed the holy ground of Israel with palpable emotion. It was more than good to be home. But Ari felt that the man who had entered Lebanon was not the same man who was exiting.
"It was like birth," he said. "It was more powerful than anything I had ever done. Like your wedding day and the birth of your child and more -- all wrapped up into one." He made a feast of thanksgiving to God. But that was not enough. Ari had encountered miracles. He had been given immeasurable gifts. And now it was payback time. "I sat with myself first and then I sat with my wife, and I said, 'Something has got to change. I don't want to go through life as a cycle. If (my life) would have ended right there, there would have been something missing.'"
He took an accounting of his hours each day and realized that only a small minority of his day was involved in pursuit of the spiritual. His religious study had been on a "low flame." He wanted to turn it up to high. And he did, taking a year off from his professional pursuits in order to strengthen himself in his service of God. "It was financially hard, but I had to do it. I'm happy that I did. In the end, it (being in Lebanon) was nothing less than a blessing for me."
Sometimes the impressions made upon us by inspiration can be fleeting. That's how the term "New Year's resolution" came to be coined. Every year we try to clean the slate and begin again. It is part of the human condition. But Ari will never forget his pledge to repay his gifts. He had said the Vidui confession prayer of Yom Kippur, and he had been granted life. His appreciation is unbridled. And that is where Ari's experience differs from most people. His experience in Lebanon continues to mold his life today.
When his year of study was up he turned down hefty financial incentives and instead joined the staff at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, where he could continuously immerse himself in cultivating his spiritual side. And what about us? During this High Holiday season, we can also file through the list of gifts that God has bestowed upon us and make our own New Year's resolutions to give back for what we have received. Maybe this year we can devote just a little bit more time to the spiritual? Open up a prayer book even after the high holidays have passed? Commit to taking that next step that we think about every year?
In Ari's breakfront, he proudly exhibits the piece of Iranian mortar shrapnel that nearly cost him his life, its serial number still intact. Some people find it strange, seeing it displayed so prominently next to his Kiddush cup and his silver Menorah. He doesn't find it odd at all. "That warped piece of iron that you're looking at... it looks like a piece of garbage - but that's my miracle."
For Profit not so much Prophet
The following is a warning for potential Gerim. There is a Rabbi Coffman with a website offering conversion lessons via the internet at $35/hr a minimum of 6 hrs a week. I don’t know which Rabbinute this man is associated with even though he claims to be in Eretz Yisrael. Remember true Orthodox Conversion requires that one to participate in a Jewish Community and live within the area of the Community to walk to Schul on Shabbos.
Rabbi Yacov Solomon 2 minute video editorial on Abandoning Children: http://www.aish.com/societyWork/salomonSays/No_Child_Left_Behind.asp
Heroes of Israel: http://www.aish.com/heroesOfIsrael/heroesOfIsraelDefault/mandell.asp
From Barbara G. a little bit of happy news three years after Homesh was evacuated: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3585078,00.html once again this proves that Am Yisrael Chai, the bride is the daughter of a large Esrog grower and an orphan from her late mother.
A lot of products have received an OU or OUD certificate but this one (gotta try the diet one) is close to a graduate of Brooklyn Tech’s heart. Egg Cream of America, Inc. Northbrook, IL Brand Jeff’s Amazing Egg Cream. Gee somebody remembers the good ole days in Brooklyn. My Yetzer HaTov asks the question, “Rabbi do you really need an egg cream?” :>)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX6xiALagzM&feature=related all Cohanim are related and come from one man. Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak features the Canadian born Professor who did the research at the Technion, whom I met in at the conference I wrote about approximately four years ago.
Rabbi Lau Shlita warns about assimilation among the Jews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJP99ZzFjsU&feature=related
DEBKAfile's military sources report Moscow's planned retaliation for America's missile interceptors in Poland and US-Israeli military aid to Georgia may come in the form of installing Iskandar surface missiles in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad. Russian Baltic and Middle East warships, submarines and long-range bombers may be armed with nuclear warheads, according to Sunday newspapers in Europe. In Georgia, Russian troops and tanks advanced to within 30 km of Tbilisi Saturday, Aug. 15. A Russian general said Sunday they had started pulling out after president Dimitry Medvedev signed the ceasefire agreement with Georgia and president George W. Bush called again for an immediate withdrawal. After routing Georgia over the breakaway enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Moscow appears to be eying Poland, the Middle East, and possibly Ukraine, as the main arenas for its reprisals.
One plan on the table in Moscow, DEBKAfile's sources report, is the establishment of big Russian military, naval and air bases in Syria and the release of advanced weapons systems withheld until now to Iran (the S-300 air-missile defense system) and Syria (the nuclear-capable 200 km-range Iskandar surface missile). Shortly before the Georgian conflict flared, Moscow promised Washington not to let Iran and Syria have these sophisticated pieces of hardware. The Iskander's cruise attributes make its launch and trajectory extremely hard to detect and intercept. If this missile reaches Syria, Israel will have to revamp its anti-missile defense array and Air Force assault plans for the third time in two years, as it constitutes a threat which transcends all its defensive red lines.
Moscow's war planners know this and are therefore considering new sea and air bases in Syria as sites for the Iskander missiles. Russia would thus keep the missiles under its hand and make sure they were not transferred to Iran. At the same time, Syrian crews would be trained in their operation. DEBKAfile's military sources report Syrian president Bashar Assad will be invited to Moscow soon to finalize these plans in detail. Military spokesmen in Moscow said Saturday and Sunday that Russian military planners to started redesigning the nation’s strategic plans for a fitting response to America's decision to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and the war developments in Georgia. The chairman of the Israeli Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, Tzahi Hanegbi, spoke out strongly Sunday, Aug. 17, against treasury plans to slash the defense budget. He warned that the military faced grave confrontations in the coming year - possibly on several fronts.
The timing was precise. Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nagovitsyn accused Israel at a Moscow news conference of arming and training the Georgian military. Wednesday, Syrian president Bashar Assad arrives in the Russian capital for a two-day visit during which the Kremlin fully expects him to exploit the storm clouds blowing in from Georgia over Russian relations with the West to press for sophisticated weapons systems not so far released by Moscow.
On Aug. 17, DEBKAfile military sources reported Moscow's planned retaliation for America's missile interceptors in Poland and US-Israeli military aid to Georgia may come in the form of Iskandar surface missiles installed in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad. Russian Baltic and Middle East warships, submarines and long-range bombers may be armed with nuclear warheads.
One plan on the table in Moscow to punish Israel, DEBKAfile's sources report, is the establishment of big Russian military, naval and air bases in Syria and the release of advanced weapons systems withheld until now from Iran (the S-300 air-missile defense system) and Syria (the nuclear-capable 200 km-range Iskandar surface missile). T prepare the ground, Gen. Nagovitsyn charged Israel with arming the Georgian military with mines, explosive charges, special explosives for clearing minefields and “eight kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles.”
He added: “In 2007, Israeli experts trained Georgian commandos in Georgia and planned to supply Tbilisi heavy weaponry, electronic weapons, tanks and other arms at a later date, but the deal didn’t work out,” he said without explaining why. Nagovitsyn also said that Russian soldiers had detained 20 mercenaries near the Georgian city of Poti, including three Arabs, all wearing Georgian army uniforms.
A troubling aspect of a future war is cyber-warfare. When Estonia tore down a statue of a Russian War Hero, their internet system collapsed. The same with Georgia this week. Pakistani Hackers are leaders in this field and could attack the air traffic control system of the States, FBI, Pentagon, not to mention Israel, etc.
World wide hypocrisy: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3582897,00.html
From the Jerusalem Post: The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in the Gaza Strip have announced that they are in possession of "Nasser-4" rockets that have a range of 25 kilometers and pose a threat to Ashdod. Senior activists in the organization claimed that the rocket was far more lethal than the current "Nasser-3" model.
The group said that it would launch the new rockets at Israel if the latter attempted to reoccupy Gaza. "We have been under siege for the last two years," Ibrahim Dahman, a senior PRC activist told CNN. "The only thing left is for them to invade and kill us." The unveiling of the new rockets is a "clear violation" of the truce with Israel, Prime Minister's Office spokesman Mark Regev told CNN.
"The cease-fire that was negotiated through Egypt was very specific that the Hamas movement and the other terrorist groups can't use it as a period to import more weapons, more explosives, more rockets into the Gaza Strip," Regev added. He said that Israel reserves "the right to act, if need be, to protect ourselves. We don't want this current quiet just to be the quiet before the storm."
A Rabbi Tzaddik HY”D debates a most wicked person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0v1To8B4_A&feature=related
From Eliezer Ben Yair: US Holocaust Museum Distorts Truth to go Politically Correct Posted: 15 Aug 2008 05:50 AM CDT
NEVER FORGET! That is the purpose of EVERY Holocaust museum. Teach people the whole disgusting naked truth, and just maybe you can prevent something like this from ever happening again. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is supposed to be the nation’s leading educational institution on the Holocaust. This institution has found a way to "whitewash" the Shoah as it relates to the Arabs who participated in the "final solution. The museum has posted on its website a biography of the Holocaust-era Mufti of Jerusalem which calls the Mufti a "moderate voice for peace" when in actuality he spent most of the WWII in Berlin, working WITH Hitler:
U.S. Holocaust Museum Accused of Falsifying History of Nazi-Palestinian Alliance
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the nation’s leading educational institution on the Holocaust, has posted on its website a biography of the Holocaust- era Mufti of Jerusalem that distorts the historical record of the Holocaust.
The father of Palestinian nationalism, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Hussayni, was a terrorist and a Nazi collaborator, indicted at the Eichmann Trial. The Museum wrote a web biography which presents al-Hussayni as a moderate supporter of non-violence. Falsifying and omitting key facts from the historical record, including photographs of Hussayni conferring with Hitler, the Holocaust Museum attempts to exonerate him from well documented charges of Nazi collaboration. The Museum’s website states that his "controversial...relationship with Hitler’s government...has led some to label him a Nazi collaborator and war criminal...."
When the Museum blurs the line between facts and opinion, it opens the door to Holocaust denial. The Holocaust Museum’s standard for historical truth cannot be what "some" say, since some say there was no Holocaust. The Museum’s entire mission depends on disseminating the facts of the Holocaust. They have now joined deniers in attempting to whitewash parts of the historical record that they seem to find politically difficult. Changing history throws the Museum’s credibility into question. (Fact Sheet attached.)
The Mufti’s Lasting Legacy Ignored by Museum
There are direct historical links between the Nazis, the Final Solution, Husayni, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. The Museum’s policy is silence about current Muslim Antisemitism. Now it has chosen to falsify these historical roots in the Mufti’s biography. Accordingly, it chose an academic well known for denying any link between Nazism and the current Islamic terror organizations to misrepresent the genocidal activities of the Mufti.
Conclusion: It is very serious when the Museum creates a false historical record.
The Museum website calls the Mufti a "moderate voice for peace" and states that his collaboration with Hitler was "inconclusive" and his work for the Nazis was "ineffective."
· A British inquiry found Husayni responsible for the 1936-39 reign of terror against Jews and Arab moderates in Palestine. The violence led the British to close Palestine to Jews fleeing the Final Solution. The Mufti spent the war in Nazi Berlin working for Hitler.
· The Jerusalem court that tried Eichmann found in its Judgments, Part 50: "It has been proved to us that the Mufti, too, aimed at the implementation of the final solution, viz. the extermination of European Jewry."
· The Mufti recruited 20,000 Muslims for the Handschar divisions of the Waffen SS that annihilated 90% of Bosnia’s Jews. Yugoslavia convicted him of war crimes. He fled to Egypt where he recruited fleeing Nazis and helped found modern Islamic terrorism through the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO.
Contact: Carol Greenwald, Chairman, Holocaust Museum Watch.
Read more: Fact Sheet 1 | Fact Sheet 2 | Fact Sheet 3 | Executive Summary | Letter to Museum's Executive Director
In an 85,000 image library, the U.S. Holocaust Museum does not include this famous photograph of Husayni and Hitler, obtained from Yad Vashem. At this meeting, Hitler agreed to the Mufti’s request to extend the Final Solution to the Jews of the Middle East.
Reference: notes of the meeting are in Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, Series D, Vol. XIII, p. 881. available at the USHMM library)
From Meir K. A Business Week Article Regarding Satins and how they don’t really helpDo Cholesterol drugs really work?
Martin Winn's cholesterol level was inching up. Cycling up hills, he felt chest pain that might have been angina. So he and his doctor decided he should be on a cholesterol-lowering medication called a statin. He was in good company. Such drugs are the best-selling medicines in history, used by more than 13 million Americans and an additional 12 million patients around the world, producing $27.8 billion in sales in 2006. Half of that went to Pfizer PFE for its leading statin, Lipitor. Statins certainly performed as they should for Winn, dropping his cholesterol level by 20%. "I assumed I'd get a longer life," says the retired machinist in Vancouver, B.C., now 71. But here the story takes a twist. Winn's doctor, James M. Wright, is no ordinary family physician. A professor at the University of British Columbia, he is also director of the government-funded Therapeutics Initiative, whose purpose is to pore over the data on particular drugs and figure out how well they work. Just as Winn started on his treatment, Wright's team was analyzing evidence from years of trials with statins and not liking what it found.
Yes, Wright saw, the drugs can be life-saving in patients who already have suffered heart attacks, somewhat reducing the chances of a recurrence that could lead to an early death. But Wright had a surprise when he looked at the data for the majority of patients, like Winn, who don't have heart disease. He found no benefit in people over the age of 65, no matter how much their cholesterol declines, and no benefit in women of any age. He did see a small reduction in the number of heart attacks for middle-aged men taking statins in clinical trials. But even for these men, there was no overall reduction in total deaths or illnesses requiring hospitalization—despite big reductions in "bad" cholesterol. "Most people are taking something with no chance of benefit and a risk of harm," says Wright. Based on the evidence, and the fact that Winn didn't actually have angina, Wright changed his mind about treating him with statins—and Winn, too, was persuaded. "Because there's no apparent benefit," he says, "I don't take them anymore."
Wait a minute. Americans are bombarded with the message from doctors, companies, and the media that high levels of bad cholesterol are the ticket to an early grave and must be brought down. Statins, the message continues, are the most potent weapons in that struggle. The drugs are thought to be so essential that, according to the official government guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), 40 million Americans should be taking them. Some researchers have even suggested—half-jokingly—that the medications should be put in the water supply, like fluoride for teeth. Statins are sold by Merck ( MRK) (Mevacor and Zocor), AstraZeneca ( AZN) (Crestor), and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) (Pravachol) in addition to Pfizer. And it's almost impossible to avoid reminders from the industry that the drugs are vital. A current TV and newspaper campaign by Pfizer, for instance, stars artificial heart inventor and Lipitor user Dr. Robert Jarvik. The printed ad proclaims that "Lipitor reduces the risk of heart attack by 36%...in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease."
So how can anyone question the benefits of such a drug?
For one thing, many researchers harbor doubts about the need to drive down cholesterol levels in the first place. Those doubts were strengthened on Jan. 14, when Merck and Schering-Plough ( SGP) revealed results of a trial in which one popular cholesterol-lowering drug, a statin, was fortified by another, Zetia, which operates by a different mechanism. The combination did succeed in forcing down patients' cholesterol further than with just the statin alone. But even with two years of treatment, the further reductions brought no health benefit.
DOING THE MATH
The second crucial point is hiding in plain sight in Pfizer's own Lipitor newspaper ad. The dramatic 36% figure has an asterisk. Read the smaller type. It says: "That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor."
Now do some simple math. The numbers in that sentence mean that for every 100 people in the trial, which lasted 3 1/3 years, three people on placebos and two people on Lipitor had heart attacks. The difference credited to the drug? One fewer heart attack per 100 people. So to spare one person a heart attack, 100 people had to take Lipitor for more than three years. The other 99 got no measurable benefit. Or to put it in terms of a little-known but useful statistic, the number needed to treat (or NNT) for one person to benefit is 100.
Compare that with, say, today's standard antibiotic therapy to eradicate ulcer-causing H. pylori stomach bacteria. The NNT is 1.1. Give the drugs to 11 people, and 10 will be cured.
A low NNT is the sort of effective response many patients expect from the drugs they take. When Wright and others explain to patients without prior heart disease that only 1 in 100 is likely to benefit from taking statins for years, most are astonished. Many, like Winn, choose to opt out.
Plus, there are reasons to believe the overall benefit for many patients is even less than what the NNT score of 100 suggests. That NNT was determined in an industry-sponsored trial using carefully selected patients with multiple risk factors, which include high blood pressure or smoking. In contrast, the only large clinical trial funded by the government, rather than companies, found no statistically significant benefit at all. And because clinical trials themselves suffer from potential biases, results claiming small benefits are always uncertain, says Dr. Nortin M. Hadler, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a longtime drug industry critic. "Anything over an NNT of 50 is worse than a lottery ticket; there may be no winners," he argues. Several recent scientific papers peg the NNT for statins at 250 and up for lower-risk patients, even if they take it for five years or more. "What if you put 250 people in a room and told them they would each pay $1,000 a year for a drug they would have to take every day, that many would get diarrhea and muscle pain, and that 249 would have no benefit? And that they could do just as well by exercising? How many would take that?" asks drug industry critic Dr. Jerome R. Hoffman, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Drug companies and other statin proponents readily concede that the number needed to treat is high. "As you calculated, the NNT does come out to about 100 for this study," said Pfizer representatives in a written response to questions. But statin promoters have several counterarguments. First, they insist that a high NNT doesn't always mean a drug shouldn't be widely used. After all, if millions of people are taking statins, even the small benefit represented by an NNT over 100 would mean thousands of heart attacks are prevented.
That's a legitimate point, and it raises a tough question about health policy. How much should we spend on preventative steps, such as the use of statins or screening for prostate cancer, that end up benefiting only a small percentage of people? "It's all about whether we think the population is what matters, in which case we should all be on statins, or the individual, in which case we should not be," says Dr. Peter Trewby, consultant physician at Darlington Memorial Hospital in Britain. "What is of great value to the population can be of little benefit to the individual." Think about buying a raffle ticket for a community charity. It's for a good cause, but you are unlikely to win the prize.
Statin proponents also argue that when NNTs are calculated after the drugs have been taken for just three or five years, they're misleadingly high. Pfizer says that even though only one heart attack was prevented per 100 people in its trial, "it may be a possibility that several or even all  benefit" by reducing their risk of a future heart attack. And the benefit grows when the drugs are taken for more years, backers believe. "It does not make sense to take a statin for five years," says Dr. Scott M. Grundy, chair of the NCEP committee that called for more aggressive statin treatment and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "When you take a cholesterol-lowering drug, it is a huge commitment," he says. "You take it for life." Grundy figures the chances of having a heart attack over the course of a lifetime are about 30% to 50% (higher for men than women). Statins, he argues, reduce that risk by about 30%. As a result, taking the drugs for 30 years or more would bring 9 to 15 fewer heart attacks for every 100 people. So only 7 to 11 people would have to take the drugs for life for one to benefit.
Critics reply that this rosier picture requires several leaps of faith. A 30% reduction in heart attacks "is the best-case scenario and not found in many of the studies," says Wright. What's more, statins have been in use now for 20 years, and there's little evidence yet that the NNT decreases the longer people take the drug. Most important, the statin trials of people without existing heart disease showed no reduction in deaths or serious health events, despite the small drop in heart attacks. "We should tell patients that the reduced cardiovascular risk will be replaced by other serious illnesses," says Dr. John Abramson, clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of Overdosed America.
In its written response, Pfizer did not challenge this key assertion: that the drugs do not reduce deaths or serious illness in those without heart disease. Instead, the company repeated that statins reduce the "risk of death from coronary events" and added that Wright's analysis was not published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
If we knew for sure that a medicine was completely safe and inexpensive, then its widespread use would be a no-brainer, even with a high NNT of 100. But an estimated 10% to 15% of statin users suffer side effects, including muscle pain, cognitive impairments, and sexual dysfunction. And the widespread use of statins comes at the cost of billions of dollars a year, not just for the drugs but also for doctors' visits, cholesterol screening, and other tests. Since health-care dollars are finite, "resources are not going to interventions that might be of benefit," says Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine.
What would work better? Perhaps urging people to switch to a Mediterranean diet or simply to eat more fish. In several studies, both lifestyle changes brought greater declines in heart attacks than statins, though the trials were too small to be completely persuasive. Being physically fit is also important. "The things that really work are lifestyle, exercise, diet, and weight reduction," says UCLA's Hoffman. "They still have a big NNT, but the cost is much less than drugs and they have benefits for quality of life."
Difficult risk-benefit questions surround most drugs, not just statins. One dirty little secret of modern medicine is that many drugs work only in a minority of people. "There's a tendency to assume drugs work really well, but people would be surprised by the actual magnitude of the benefits," says Dr. Steven Woloshin, associate professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.
A good example: Beta-blockers are seen as essential in treating congestive heart failure. Yet studies show that an average of 24 people must take the drugs for seven months to prevent one hospitalization from heart failure (thus, an NNT of 24). And 40 people must take it to prevent one death (NNT of 40). "Even for medications we consider effective, we see NNTs in the 20s or higher," says Dr. Henry C. Barry, associate professor of family medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
For many other drugs, the NNTs are large. Take Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline's ( GSK) drug for preventing the deadly progression of diabetes. The blockbuster, with $2.6 billion in U.S. sales in 2006, made headlines in 2007 when an analysis of clinical trial data showed it increased the risk of heart attacks. The largely untold story: There's little evidence the drug actually helps patients. Yes, Avandia is very good at lowering blood sugar, just as statins lower cholesterol levels. But that doesn't translate into preventing the dire consequences of diabetes, including heart disease, strokes, and kidney failure. Clinical trials "failed to find a significant reduction in cardiovascular events even with excellent glucose control," wrote Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, chair of the Food & Drug Administration committee that evaluated Avandia, in a recent commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine. "Avandia is almost the poster child for everything wrong with our system," says UCLA's Hoffman. "Its NNT is close to infinite."
Regarding Avandia, Dr. Murray Stewart, Glaxo's vice-president for clinical development, says that the evidence of its benefits against heart disease and other major complications of diabetes "is still inconclusive." But the drug has other benefits, he argues, such as delaying the need to take insulin.
When other medications widely believed to be effective were put to the test of a clinical trial, they flunked. Hormone replacement therapy didn't protect against heart disease. Anti-psychotic drugs were actually less effective than a placebo in reducing aggression in patients with intellectual disability.
The truth about drugs' effectiveness wouldn't be as worrisome if consumers and doctors had an accurate picture of the state of knowledge and could make rational decisions about treatments. Studies by Darlington Hospital's Trewby, UBC's Wright, and others, however, show that patients expect far more than what the drugs actually deliver.
Why the mismatch? Some of the blame goes to the way results are presented. A 36% decline in heart attacks sounds more dramatic and important than an NNT of 100. "It comes as a shock to see the NNT," says Dr. Barnett S. Kramer, director of the office of medical applications of research at the National Institutes of Health. Drug companies take full advantage of this; they advertise the big percentage drops in, say, heart attacks, while obscuring the NNT. But when it comes to side effects, they flip-flop the message, dismissing concerns by saying only 1 in 100 people suffers a side effect, even if that represents a 50% increase. "Many physicians don't know the NNT," says Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a fan of using NNTs.
The whole statin story is a classic case of good drugs pushed too far, argues Dr. Howard Brody, professor of family medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The drug business is, after all, a business. Companies are supposed to boost sales and returns to shareholders. The problem they face, though, is that many drugs are most effective in relatively small subgroups of sufferers. With statins, these are the patients who already have heart disease. But that's not a blockbuster market. So companies have every incentive to market their drugs as being essential for wider groups of people, for whom the benefits are, by definition, smaller. "What the shrewd marketing people at Pfizer and the other companies did was spin it to make everyone with high cholesterol think they really need to reduce it," says Dr. Bryan A. Liang, director of the Institute of Health Law Studies at the California Western School of Law and co-director of the San Diego Center for Patient Safety. "It was pseudo-science, never telling you the bottom-line truth, [which is] that the drugs don't help unless you have pre-existing cardiovascular disease." The marketing worked, Liang says, "even in the face of studies and people screaming and yelling, myself included, that it is not based on evidence."
Pfizer replies that the industry is "highly regulated" and that every message in ads and marketing "accurately reflects Lipitor's labeling and the data from the clinical trials."
Drugmakers, however, do make sure that the researchers and doctors who extol the benefits of medications are well compensated. "It's almost impossible to find someone who believes strongly in statins who does not get a lot of money from industry," says Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. The NCEP's 2004 guideline update garnered headlines by recommending lower targets for bad cholesterol, which would put more Americans on the drugs. But there was also a heated controversy in the medical community over the fact that 8 of the 9 experts on the panel had financial ties to industry. "The guideline process went awry," says Michigan State's Barry. He and 34 other experts sent a petition of protest to the National Institutes of Health, saying the evidence was weak and the panel members were biased
The appearance of conflict of interest is "very important to organizations like ours, and we are all taking it seriously," responds NIH official and NCEP coordinator Dr. James I. Cleeman. "But the facts of the science were entirely correct."
Yet Cleeman's confidence is not universally shared. To statin critics, Americans have come to rely too much on easy-to-grasp health markers. People like to have a metric, such as cholesterol levels, that can be monitored and altered. "Once you tell people a number, they will be fixated on the number and try to get it better," says University of Texas' Brody. Moreover, "the American cultural norm is that doing something makes us feel better than just watching and waiting," says Barry. That applies to doctors as well. They are being pushed by the national guidelines, by patients' own requests, and by pay-for- performance rules that reward physicians for checking and reducing cholesterol. "I bought into it," Brody says. Not to do so is almost impossible, he adds. "If a physician suggested not checking a cholesterol level, many patients would stomp out of the office claiming the guy was a quack."
Yet Brody changed his mind. "I now see it as myth that everyone should have their cholesterol checked," he says. "In hindsight it was obvious. Duh! Why didn't I see it before?"
Cholesterol is just one of the risk factors for coronary disease. Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Oakland Research Institute, explains that higher LDL levels do help set the stage for heart disease by contributing to the buildup of plaque in arteries. But something else has to happen before people get heart disease. "When you look at patients with heart disease, their cholesterol levels are not that [much] higher than those without heart disease," he says. Compare countries, for example. Spaniards have LDL levels similar to Americans', but less than half the rate of heart disease. The Swiss have even higher cholesterol levels, but their rates of heart disease are also lower. Australian aborigines have low cholesterol but high rates of heart disease.
Moreover, says MSU's Barry, cholesterol-lowering medications other than statins "do not prevent heart attacks or strokes." Take Zetia, which blocks absorption of cholesterol from the intestines. Marketed by Merck and Schering-Plough, the drug brought in $1.5 billion in 2006, with sales climbing 25% in the first half of 2007, says IMS Health ( RX). The companies combined it with a statin to create a drug called Vytorin, with over $2 billion in sales in 2007.
In an eagerly awaited trial completed in 2006, the companies compared Zetia plus a statin with a statin alone in patients with genetically high cholesterol. But the drugmakers delayed announcing the results, prompting scientific outrage and the threat of a congressional investigation. The results, finally revealed on Jan. 14, showed the combination of Zetia and a statin reduced LDL levels more than the statin alone. But that didn't bring added benefits. In fact, the patients' arteries thickened more when taking the combination than with the statin alone. Skip Irvine, a spokesman for the joint venture, says the study was small and insists there's a "strong relationship between lowering LDL cholesterol and reducing cardiovascular death.
"If cholesterol lowering itself isn't a panacea, why is it that statins do work for people with existing heart disease? In his laboratory at the Vascular Medicine unit of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., Dr. James K. Liao began pondering this question more than a decade ago. The answer, he suspected, was that statins have other biological effects.
Since then, Liao and his team have proved this theory. First, a bit of biochemistry. Statin drugs work by bollixing up the production of a substance that gets turned into cholesterol in the liver, thus reducing levels in the blood. But the same substance turns out to be a building block for other key chemicals as well. Think of a toy factory in which the same plastic is fashioned into toy cars, trucks, and trains. Reducing production of the plastic cuts not only the output of toy cars (cholesterol) but also trucks and trains. In the body, these additional products are signaling molecules that tell genes to turn on or off, causing both side effects and benefits.
Liao has charted some of these biochemical pathways. His recent work shows that one of the trucks, as it were—a molecule called Rho-kinase—is key. By reducing the amount of this enzyme, statins dial back damaging inflammation in arteries. When Liao knocks down the level of Rho-kinase in rats, they don't get heart disease. "Cholesterol lowering is not the reason for the benefit of statins," he concludes.
The work also offers a possible explanation of why that benefit is mainly seen in people with existing heart disease and not in those who only have elevated cholesterol. Being relatively healthy, their Rho-kinase levels are normal, so there is little inflammation. But when people smoke or get high blood pressure, their Rho-kinase levels rise. Statins would return those levels closer to normal, counteracting the bad stuff.
Add it all together, and "current evidence supports ignoring LDL cholesterol altogether," says the University of Michigan's Hayward. In a country where cholesterol lowering is usually seen as a matter of life and death, these are fighting words. A prominent heart disease physician and statin booster fumed at a recent meeting that "Hayward should be held accountable in a court of law for doing things to kill people," Hayward recounts. NECP's Cleeman adds that, in his view, the evidence against Hayward is overwhelming.
But while the new analyses may rile those who have built careers around the need to reduce LDL, they also point the way to using statins more effectively. Surprisingly, both sides in the debate agree on the general approach. For anyone worried about heart disease, the first step should always be a better diet and increased physical activity. Do that, and "we would cut the number of people at risk so dramatically" that far fewer drugs would be needed, says Krauss. For those people who still might benefit from treatment, a recent analysis by Hayward shows that statins might better be prescribed based on patients' risk of heart disease, not on their LDL cholesterol levels. The higher the risk, the better the drugs seem to work. "If two patients have the same risk, the evidence says they get the same benefit from statins, whatever their LDL levels," Hayward says.
Ways to fine-tune this approach may be coming soon. The company that first sequenced the human genome, Celera Group ( CRA), has found a genetic variation that predicts who benefits from the drugs. Perhaps 60% of the population has it, says Dr. John Sninsky, vice-president of discovery research, and for everyone else, the NNT is sky-high. "It does not relate at all to your cholesterol level," Sninsky adds.
If the drugs were used more rationally, drugmakers would take a hit. But the nation's health and pocketbook might be better off. Could it happen? Will data on NNTs, the weak link to cholesterol, and knowledge of genetic variations change what doctors do and what patients believe? Not until the country changes the incentives in health care, says UCLA's Hoffman. "The way our health-care system runs, it is not based on data, it is based on what makes money." January 17, 2008, 10:00AM EST
Rebuttal: FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Statins might quickly help reverse erectile dysfunction among men who have metabolic syndrome, new animal research suggests. A threat to cardiovascular health, metabolic syndrome is also known to raise the risk for erectile dysfunction (ED). The current finding indicates that statins may reduce levels of a specific protein that contributes to ED.
Now that airlines are charging for checked bags, you might want to consider shipping them ahead, using a ground service like FedEx or UPS. Most big airlines now charge up to $25 one-way to check a second bag, more for additional or overweight bags. Sending a 26-inch, 40-pound suitcase from Manhattan to downtown Chicago costs about $25 on FedEx, $27 by UPS; from Manhattan to downtown Los Angeles, about $41 on FedEx, $49 by UPS. A bag weighing 55 pounds shipped from New York to Miami Beach is about $39 on FedEx, $43 by UPS. The same “heavy” bag could cost $50 to $100 on some airlines. Shipped baggage is tracked and takes two to four business days to arrive, so you’ll need to pack in advance if you want your things to be there when you arrive. But, just think, you won’t have to drag bags around the airport, wait in lines to check them, hang around the carousel—or worry about lost luggage. To calculate your own shipping costs, visit FedEx.com and UPS.com.
Still going after Nazis: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218710390266&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Nice video but has two off words: http://www.dotsub.com/view/84f5c72d-b0ba-408c-ace3-8cc40995e011;jsessionid=mt4n8c7oofqt
From Eleazar: SHURAT HADIN: TERRORIST LEADER RESPONSIBLE FOR KFAR DAROM BUS BOMBING NOW HUNTED BY HAMAS
Former Fatah Security chief Rashid Abu Shabak who, along with former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan, were responsible for the terrorist bombing of a Jewish school bus outside of Kfar Darom in October 2000, is now himself being sought by Hamas officials in Gaza City on corruption charges. According to media reports, a Hamas "security court" recently issued a warrant for the arrest of Abu Shabak, the former commander of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Gaza. Pursuant to the warrant, Abu Shabak has 10 days to hand himself over to the Hamas or face being tried in absentia by the so-called Hamas tribunal.
The former Fatah general is charged with stealing public funds and torturing detained Hamas members during his reign as security chief in Gaza. He is believed to be in hiding in Egypt since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007.
Shurat HaDin has long accused Abu Shabak and Dahlan of having masterminded the bombing of a Jewish school bus in Kfar Darom at the beginning of the intifada in November 2000. The attack killed two adult teachers on the bus and injured nine other passengers including six children. Three of the children, from the Cohen family, lost their legs in the bombing. Despite allegations against Abu Shabak by Israeli security officials for his involvement in the bombing, Israel never mustered the courage to bring him to justice for the school bus attack.
In a June 3, 2002 Op-Ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal, then mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert, boldly pointed his finger at Abu Shabak as the culprit behind the Kfar Darom bombing: "Mr. Dahlan, along with his assistant Rashid Abu-Shabak, are the primary suspects in the terror attack on an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom in
November 2000. The bombing of the bus left half a dozen children maimed, and seriously injured an American citizen, Rachel Asaroff. In response to this
brutal terror attack on Jewish school children, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak dispatched Israeli planes to strafe Mr. Dahlan's Gaza headquarters."
Dahalan and Abu Shabak were involved in numerous other terror attacks against Israeli and American targets in Gaza as well.
In October 15, 2003 a powerful roadside bomb was detonated near Beit Hanoun, in Gaza, as a convoy of US State Department officials were traveling through the area. The bombing left three American citizens dead. The Americans, John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey, were security personnel who were guarding the convoy of diplomatic vehicles. The Americans were visiting Gaza to interview candidates for Fulbright scholarships.
In December 2003, Shurat HaDin Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote to then United States Attorney General John Ashcroft alerting him to the fact that the Palestinian Security Service commander assigned by Arafat to investigate the October 2003 roadside bombing attack on the State Department personnel was very likely the terrorist who perpetrated the bombing itself. Abu Shabak had been entrusted by the Palestinian Authority and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation with hunting down the
terrorist cell responsible for the bombing.
In the letter to Ashcroft, Shurat HaDin accused Abu Shabak of being the mastermind behind numerous terror attacks perpetrated by the Fatah organization in Gaza. Shurat HaDin urged the Department of Justice to investigate Abu Shabak's own involvement in prior roadside bombings and draw its own conclusions about who murdered the American officials:
* On April 1, 1997, Abu Shabak is alleged by Israeli intelligence agencies to have sent Palestinian suicide bombers to target two school buses outside Netzarim and Kfar Darom in Gaza. Then, Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak identified the terrorists as police officers under Dahlan and Abu Shabak's direct command.
* On October 18, 2000, a busload of 40 Israeli women and children was attacked by gunfire and bombs near the Gush Katif junction in Gaza as it passed by a Palestinian police station. Israel Radio reported that Israeli intelligence has concluded that Dahlan and Abu Shabak were behind the attack.
* On November 20, 2000, Dahlan and Abu Shabak ordered the roadside bombing of a school bus outside the Kfar Darom community. Two adults on the bus were killed, and nine other Israelis were injured, including five children. Several of the injured are American citizens. Israeli security services have identified Dahlan and Abu Shabak as the main suspects in the attack.
* In September 2004, an Abu Shabak associate, Musa Arafat, told reporters that "Palestinian security forces know who was behind the killings " of the Americans in Gaza. Needless to say, however, no arrests have ever been made by Abu Shabak in the case and the United States has brushed the matter under the rug and stopped publicly discussing it, so as not to embarrass the Fatah government it promotes against the Hamas terrorist organization.
For More Information Contact Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center:
(US) 212 591 0073
WND article by Aaron Klein http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=72662
JAFFA, Israel – Drawing the ire of politicians across the political spectrum here, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today announced that as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority he will release 200 Palestinian security prisoners, including terrorists directly involved in killing Jews. A spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today the Israeli government security cabinet voted to release the prisoners as a way to bolster Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis Summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state before President Bush leaves office in January.
The exact names of prisoners approved for release was not yet made public, but diplomatic sources said it included one terrorist who directly murdered a Jew and another senior terrorist who led a cell that staged attacks in which Israeli civilians were killed. Most of the terrorists slated for release have been in prison for the past 15 years. Israeli sources said the PA worked with Israel in deciding which prisoners to free. Palestinian officials said Abbas requested the release of Said Atabeh, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine who has been in prison since 1977.
Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the prisoner release as a victory for terror. "The cabinet decision is additional proof that the Kadima-Labor government is subverting ethical and security norms," Netanyahu said. "Instead of taking a position of attacking terror, the government is freeing terrorists with blood on their hands, in exchange for nothing, while Gilad Shalit continues to rot in jail. The inevitable result is that terror organizations will understand that they can send more terrorists to carry out more attacks in Israel – and they'll know that one day, they too will be freed," stated Netanyahu.
National Union Knesset Member Arieh Eldad said the Olmert government would be responsible if any of the freed prisoners go on to kill more Jews. "The blood of the innocent victims who will be killed by the released terrorists will be on the head of this government," Eldad said. "A government that frees terrorists as a gesture, and not even as part of an exchange, is a government that has no regard for the justice system that convicted them, nor for human life, and has blood on its own hands," he said.
Statistically, previous lar The prisoner exchange comes after Olmert in recent weeks floated a plan to create a Palestinian state in 93 percent of the strategic West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The plan, rejected by the PA as not offering enough territory, also handed to the Palestinians land that is undisputedly Israeli.
WND last week quoted a top Palestinian official stating Olmert told the PA he intends to accelerate negotiations the next few weeks to reach a deal on paper outlining a Palestinian state before he steps down from office next month. Olmert earlier this month announced he will resign from office after his Kadima party holds internal elections next month to choose a new leader. He said he is stepping down due to a criminal investigation, described by police officials as "serious," in which he is accused of corruption and financial improprieties.
Olmert's proposal called for Israel to evacuate 93 percent of the West Bank, while the Palestinians would receive territory equivalent to 5.5 percent of the West Bank, located in the Israeli Negev desert. The plan grants the Palestinians passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on territory that would be jointly patrolled by Israel and the PA. The passageway would give the Palestinians access to areas close to central Israeli population centers. Much of the plan previously was published by WND in a series of articles in recent months.
According to the plan Olmert sent to the PA, land to be annexed to Israel would include the large West Bank Jewish community blocs of Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and the areas surrounding Jerusalem, and some land in the northern West Bank adjacent to Israel. The rest of the West Bank would be handed to the Palestinians.
An area from the Israeli Negev nearly equivalent in land mass to the territory Israel would retain in the West Bank would be transferred to the West Bank – marking the first official Israeli plan that calls for pre-1967 land to be given to the Palestinians. Pre-1967 refers to Israeli territory that was not reconquered in the 1967 Six Day War.
The plan would be set out on paper and implemented on the Israeli side in stages, while the PA would need to first retake control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas before Israel would give them most of the West Bank. Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, refused to confirm yesterday to WND the existence of the plan. But Nabil Abu Rdainah, Abbas' spokesman, told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA the plan presented by Olmert showed a "lack of seriousness" since it did not provide for a contiguous Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli diplomatic sources said Olmert will now offer a new draft plan in the immediate future. The plan Olmert already presented was adapted from a detailed American proposal sent earlier this year to the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating delegations, diplomatic sources said. The U.S. plan also called for peripheral eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem to become part of a future Palestinian state, but those sections of the plan seemed to have been placed on hold for now.
Olmert is considered a lame duck prime minister and according to polls has little standing with the Israeli population, but he has vowed to forge ahead with Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state by the end of the year.
Last week a top PA negotiator told WND Olmert has stated he plans to grant the Palestinians a state on paper before he steps down from office next month. "Papers are very important. It puts limits on the new prime minister," said the PA negotiator, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity. "For example, the weak point of Israeli-Syrian negotiations are papers signed by former prime ministers that now must be abided during current negotiations. "Olmert told us his goal is to reach an agreement on paper," the negotiator said. He said the agreement will likely encompass understandings regarding the transfer of much of the West Bank to the Palestinians. He said he "hopes" the issue of Jerusalem is broached but that it might not be mentioned on paper beyond a declaration of agreement to negotiate further. Prisoner releases resulted in freed terrorists returning to violence and killing more Israelis.
Meat Packing Plant Scandal has something to do with unionization too: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/22349/A+Three+Hour+Tour,+a+Three+Hour+Tour.html
Representative of the Jewish Area of Shaker Heights Cleveland OH Stephanie Tubbs Jones passes away. She was an energetic liberal in the House of Representatives and despite pressure stayed loyal to Hillary Clinton to the end. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephanie_Tubbs_Jones
The United States has refused to sell Israel planes out of concern that it might be seen as encouraging an Israeli attack on Iran, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday evening. During his most recent visit to the US earlier this month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak requested that America sell the IAF several Boeing 767 refueling planes. However, the White House refused, as it was not prepared to seem as though it was aiding a potential attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, the report, which could not be confirmed by The Jerusalem Post, stated.
The IAF has a great need of the planes, as the ones currently used by the air force are extremely old. Last week, Barak told Army Radio that the US had made it clear it was opposed at the present time to military action against Teheran. However, he would not relate to a press report at the time that Washington had denied Israel advanced weaponry and intelligence information for fear Jerusalem was on the verge of an attack.
"The US's position at the present time is that they don't see an action against Iran as the right thing to do," Barak said then. "Our position, and formally their position as well, is that no options should be taken off the table. When we say that, we mean it." Following the report last week, a US State Department spokesman would not comment on what messages the US had given Israel regarding a possible strike on Iran, because they were part of confidential discussions. He did stress, though, that "the US is committed to Israel's security" and that "the US would defend Israel from any attack from Iran."
Finally Assad has gone to Russia to request major weapons to be used against us or even for self defense in case he gets offensive.
Now for Matis Wolfberg's Good Shabbos Story - Raiderette to a Baal Tshuvah
Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah tells us this week, "From there you will seek Hashem, your G-d and you will find Him, if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Devorim 4:29) We Jews are a searching people. Why is it that Jews are disproportionately involved in social activism? Because the Jewish soul seeks out spiritualism. The following amazing true story is told by one Jewish seeker Sandy Wolshin Mendlowitz who ultimately found herself taking part in the ultimate social activism: Torah and Mitzvos.
"I was a cheerleader for the LA Raiders for five years. Everything was great -- the attention, the autographs. I cheered for a TV audience of one billion when the Raiders went to the Super Bowl. I was living the All-American girl's dream. The attention, the autographs. Eventually, I decided to leave the cheerleading squad. What triggered it? Maybe it was the ruthless carnage on the football field that didn't seem right to me. Or the lingering sense that I was somehow contributing to the objectification of women. Or the empty feeling inside as I danced my heart out on the field, but wanting to use my talents for something more fulfilling. Most likely it was the strong hand of my mother reasserting itself. I remember my mother's lectures about how looks were superficial, and how important it is to develop one's character. My mother, who had immigrated from Russia, wanted me to be strong on the inside. Her fear was that people would place so much emphasis on the exterior, that I'd come to rely on that at the expense of developing myself in other areas. My mother's message was a good one, even though her Russian style may have seemed too stern growing up.
So I left cheerleading and became a standup comedienne. (I got that talent from my father, who had an act in the Borsht Belt.) I performed on TV, in film, live at The Improv, and overseas for American troops. One day I realized that I had "issues" with overeating. I sought out help and a byproduct of that effort was that I became more aware of the spiritual spark inside me.
I shifted my priorities -- I wanted a home, a soul mate and a stable, secure life. I found a quiet 9-to-5 job, and began looking for a Shidduch.
Soon after, Boruch Hashem, I was lucky enough to meet my Basherta (intended mate). We connected on a purely emotional and spiritual level, which meant the world to me. We spoke about everything from children, money, where to live, and what we expected from each other. It was liberating to know that he was interested in who I am inside.
In the dating process, I asked a man in my community to act as my surrogate father, since my father had since passed away. He took his role very seriously, even asking questions about my future husband's financial affairs. My husband-to-be lugged two suitcases full of documents to a meeting; my surrogate father wanted to see if he was willing to go to any length to prove he would be a good husband.
I was new to Judaism and the transition was not always easy. I recall going to shul and seeing people standing outside the bathroom near the drinking fountain, moving their lips and saying something in Hebrew. I didn't know they were saying the blessing after using the bathroom; I thought they were all blessing the holy water fountain!
I often think back to my life as a cheerleader. At the time I felt it was such a great career. We would get a lot of fan mail, people would send us bouquets of flowers to our practices, we'd sign autographs at the games. Like the other women on the squad, I was taught that cheerleading is wholesome and All-American -- just like mom, baseball and apple pie. The women I cheered with were sweet, good girls who would volunteer to help the elderly and were even religious in their own way. But I never thought about what my job really stood for. I actually thought the Raiders had cheerleaders to help the team win!
Now I get it what it's all about. I was so naive. Being valued for one's external traits contributes to low self-esteem. As a NFL cheerleader I was more valued for my external traits, not the person inside. Now I realize how that contributes to low self-esteem. (Wasn't that my mother's message all along?)
I'm still in touch with the cheerleaders and they're thrilled for me. Sometimes they call and ask questions, particularly about the way I dated and my new modest wardrobe. I'm finding that all women are craving modesty. Our society spends billions of dollars pulling the country in the opposite direction. But I think we're seeing a backlash against this and that modesty is the wave of the future. That's why it's so important to have a strong sense of community and religion to show another way.
I'm still on my path to becoming closer to Hashem, which I know will be a lifelong journey. I now serve as a theater director at various religious girls' schools in LA, directing the end-of-year shows. A little Torah, a little Tap -- it's perfect! I also had the privilege of teaching a class to Bat Mitzvah girls. (And when they found out I was a former cheerleader, I relented and taught them some cheers in the last five minutes of class, which was fun for me as well.)
My main project now is as a dating coach for marriage-minded women, using my life experiences to help others attain their relationship goals. Through all this growth and change, it helps to have an extraordinary husband who loves the part of my soul that reaches out for more. Yes, I used to be a Raiderette. As for now, I still do cheers around the house: "2,4,6,8 -- Shabbos is coming, don't be late!" Good Shabbos Everyone.