Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joy brings Moshiach, Nitzavim, Stories, New Year


I received this Isaac it is the cutest Rosh Hashanah smile:

Only Simcha will Bring Moshiach! (Joy will bring about Moshiach)

There is no explanation why Moshiach hasn't come: it is certain that every Jew has done tshuva; the Tehillim of Dovid Malka Meshicha have been recited in the greatest quantity; many farbrengens have been held; the spreading of the wellsprings [of Chassidus] has been going on since the Baal Shem Tov, more than seven generations[...]

If so, the question is asked: what more can be done that hasn't already been done?!...
We could say that the thing which still wasn't done in order to bring Moshiach is -- the desired service of simcha [joy] in order to bring Moshiach.

In addition to the fact that "simcha breaks all limitations", including the limitations of golus [exile], there is a special segulah [hidden power] in simcha to bring the geulah -- as explained that Hashem's simcha atzmis [true, essential joy] will come with the building of the 3rd Bais Hamikdash, and we awaken this simcha atzmis through simcha shel mitzva, that the simcha shel mitzvah reaches higher than the mitzvah itself, and through it davka (thus) we awaken the simcha atzmis of the Time to Come.

Even though there was certainly simcha shel mitzvah in all the previous generations, since simcha shel mitzvah is a fundemental matter in serving Hashem, as it is written "serve Hashem with simcha", and "you served Hashem your G-d with simcha and goodness of heart"...nonetheless, in any case, in simcha shel mitzvah the main emphasis on the way of doing the service, that the service needs to be with simcha, and if we are speaking here about the simcha to bring Moshiach it is -- on the simcha itself simcha b'taharasa [pure simcha], the service of simcha for the sake of the goal and tachlis of the coming of Moshiach.

Since this is so, then we find that the way to bring Moshiach is by adding in simcha, simcha b'taharasa, simcha that will immediately bring Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

How could it be that over all the generations they didn't make an effort to bring Moshiach with simcha? They did all they could do to bring Moshiach, even crushing the Crown Jewel in the king's crown, etc. [a metaphor for spreading the teachings of Chassidus], in order to get a drop in the King's mouth[...]

We could say as a simple explanation that when we are found in the doubled and redoubled darkness of golus, when all Yidden are in golus, and the shechina is in golus, it is understood that due to the amount of pain of golus, that simcha b'taharasa is not relevant.

But never the less, since in the end we are obligated to bring Moshiach--there is no choice but to bring Moshiach through simcha, simcha b'taharasa.

Regarding the difficulty to bring about a feeling of simcha b'taharasa in the darkness of golus--since we are obligated to bring Moshiach Tzidkeinu, then we must say that at the end of golus mamash--they give the special powers to be able to have simcha b'taharasa, and the explanation--this simcha is generated by contemplating that mamash (precisely) immediatly Moshiach is coming, and then the entire world will be in ultimate simcha, and therefore, there is already a feeling of simcha b'taharasa (a taste and sampling of the simcha of the geulah).

And the main thing--that instead of lengthy discussion, etc., they will begin to actually do it: to go out and declare and announce about the special increase in simcha in order to bring Moshiach, and certainly through this Moshiach will actually come mamash, and with the greatest alacrity, "in the blink of an eye". Try it and you will be convinced!!

Sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, 14 Elul 5748 Source: From Devorah in Australia

Elul and Rosh Hashanah

Tzedakah: Last week the Baal Habeis of the World shook us all up. You might ask why should Mr. Campbell, the 30 year veteran union worker care about Wall Street or for that matter Mr. Baldon with a wife and a few kids who is struggling to make ends meet really care about AIG? For that matter Mr. Gadar in India or Mr. Roshanovsky in Poland, or Mrs. Yamaguchi in Japan care either? The answer is that if the financial markets collapse in the US, the union funds take a tumble, the struggling worker and his wife instead of being up the creek with a paddle, lose their paddle and the kids stop dressing like they should, Mr. Gadar is out of a job and Mr. Yamaguchi working as many hours as possible in a seven day week can’t scrape the money up because there are no American Tourists and no one is buying his product. In a global economy the US Government finally acted properly and bailed out a mismanaged system. However, I do agree with the democrats on the hill. If you bail out the mis-mangers who received millions in bonuses, also bail out the loser who they gave a loan to even thought they shouldn’t. It might not be fair to 98% of us who don’t take loans out that we can’t pay back but one has to be fair. Let these people pay off the loan in lower amounts of the course of more years and yes, let the interest eat them up but that is the best that one could do for these people. This is known as a back up system in engineering terms.) Of course bailing out failing managers who make millions and companies at the cost of $2300 per tax payer is not my cup of tea to put it mildly.

MY PROPOSAL SET UP IN YOUR EDUCATION SYSTEM AND EVEN ADULT EDUCATION COURSES IN HOUSE HOLD AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. I was born in a dog eat dog world that had no credit cards and no credit card debit. You bought what you could pay for. If you saved up $100 or $1000 and you overspent your salary whether on luxuries or necessities, you paid from your cash reserve. There were student loans available for those wanting a higher education and mortgage loans but they were based on the reliability that 99.8% of the loans would be paid back and failure and bankruptcy was not an option for the average American. When I came to Israel, I did not buy soft drinks only carbon dioxide cartridges to fill a liter or more of water with gas in a machine. My children did not eat chicken more than three times a week, sardines or other fish twice a week and eggs for protein the other days. Who bought a new shoe if the old one could be patched up for a small amount by a cobbler or strong glue. We did not eat yellow cheese or buy vegetables or fruits out of season. When the price of onions jumped, I went to the market on Friday afternoon near closing and got some bargains and left over onions that the vendors and thrown into boxes that people did not buy from them. I did not beg or over spend my money. I continued to give 10% of my income after taxes to charity. People blamed the great depression on Herbert Hoover but it was the greedy market forces then that caused it. President Hoover said at the time: “Willful waste makes woeful want and one day you may say, ‘How I wish I had that crust that I once threw away!’ “ In the past, one did not throw a telephone because a touch-phone in colors was modern. We did not replace last year’s outdated IPOD with the 2009 IPOD. Funny we managed to put a few dollars out of our measly 4 figured salary away for a rainy day through thrifty savings. (BTW, I think I am the only one outside of army and emergency personnel in the Modin area who may have a working phone during an EMP attack as my shelter has the old dial phone saved just for that purpose. This is known as a back up system in engineering terms.)

Communism and Socialism failed and pure Liaise Faire Capitalism failed too but the Torah is forever.

Both Presidential Candidates at first didn’t get it. John McCain woke up that the government had no choice but to intervene to save the economy and that is pure capitalistic theory from Adam Smith is outdated in a global economy. I hope that Barak Obama also realizes that taxing the investors will effect the union pension funds this he won’t tell Mr. Campbell or Mr. Baldon when he asks for their support. I like to speak the truth at least as I see it as both political parties failed. The newspapers will make you feel that the Congressman with $20,000,000 in AIG will bail out the company. The Newspapers will not tell you that of the 30 years of union dues and pension funds that most of that is invested in wall street. THIS FURTHER EMPHAISES WHAT THE RABBIS TELL US ABOUT AM YISRAEL. For we see in a global economic system that everybody in the world has a share with everybody else. WE SAY THAT ALL OF AM YISRAEL IS A GUARANTOR ONE FOR ANOTHER. IF YOU VIOLATE SHABBOS YOU HOLD UP ME FROM GREETING THE MOSHIACH AND VISA VERSA IF I SIN WITHOUT REPENTING.

Now if the market would have collapsed, people like myself would not be able to support various Yeshivos and Kollels and in turn these families would not have money to pay the grocer, green grocer on time or get new clothes for their children and knock these mom and pop stores for a loop. No money for cakes for Yom Tov, no birthday parties for the kids, etc. As some politicians propose that the taxes be added to my long term gains on wall street so instead of for every $100 that I earn and $9.5 to the Hebrew Academy in Milwaukee or the Beis Medrash in Baltimore, I have only $8 to give to charity and $72 for myself. So with more taxes I buy less at the supermarket and they stock less and need one less employee. Will the down syndrome’s boy lose his job as a bag boy?

The Torah has a formula to becoming rich: Maaser v’titasher (give 10% of your income to charitable causes) and you will become rich. It will not happen over night. It is a constant vigilance of Tshuva Tephillah and Tzedakah to remove the evil decree and bring about prosperity. If Bill Gates gives a billion dollars for the poor to have computers in undeveloped countries that is great but if Mr. So and So saves a few pennies to help his daughter get a Torah and College education and gives some money to help cancer research, heart disease research and of course a Torah Academy or the local Synagogue that helps not only those who need the boost but eventually “What goes around comes around” and he gets richer both physically and spiritually.

Why was Adam created alone? Because if you save one person, you save a whole world as Adam was the Homo Sapien in this world until Chava was separated from him. Thus if you take a poor fellow and give him a job – washing windows in your house for a few hours a month or take him into your business as a delivery boy or handyman / salesman during your lunch break you saved a world. He may not be making big bucks but he can hold his head high at the supermarket and buy a pair of pants at Wal-Mart. We can’t save everybody needing dialysis in the world by donating money to a new machine in our local hospital but every drop in the bucket helps. You and I can’t do too much to help an AIDS orphan in Africa but a dollar goes a long way there. I don’t advocate giving money to every panhandler and hustler on the street but investing charity wisely can go a long way.

So the USA government gave out a Charity/Interest Loan here and there to bail out the whole world, which should keep the country running in the long term. So now let us turn our attention to Tephillah. Prayer should be done with feeling. On Motzei Shabbos, the Ashkenazi world started saying Selichos. The Sephardim say the same words for 40 days like the time Moshe when up and down the mount to ask for forgiveness. So too they do so. By saying the same words, the congregation learns each word and can pray with the exact feeling. I went to the Synagogue like everybody else Motzei Shabbos. My Pentium Dual could not keep up with the speed of the Baal Tephillah. Zoom Vroom Zoom he went. I had just purchased the new Art Scroll Translation to try to figure out after 40 years what I was saying. I know that some of the Peyutim were Alphabetically or backwards Alphabetic and the translation indicated it, but the English was near impossible to following even at glancing speed. Most of us cannot devote an hour each day before time punching clocks at work each day but a few more minutes for kavanah (intent in the prayer) would help. On Rosh Hashanah I live in a world of my own. I am almost Autistic towards the prayer rate of the leader. I pray at my own pace say each word and try to keep concentrated. I have no clock to punch, no e-mail to read and my diner will be there in the evening 3 minutes later and in the morning it will not matter because I will catch up by the repetition of the Shemona Esray Prayer. Take your time, concentrate as if you were being judged for your life, health, wealth and that of your family. Who cares if speeding Gonzales wants to Zoom Vroom through the prayer and breeze though everything but the few songs he likes to sing – do your own thing in Schul. Remember who is judging you and whom you are praying to. Remember the Rambam writes that if the scales are tipped 50/50 as to life or death for the whole human race and you do a good job of praying, you can save the world.

As for Tshuva it is not a matter of thinking about repenting, it is a matter of actively doing and engaging in repentance. The resolve should be I will stop doing such and such a sin. (Example wasting Torah Learning time) The Rambam says one must cease and desist from the sin immediately. Now since the Vilna Gaon recorded in his little booklet of which he cried over his sins almost 3 hours of wasting Torah Learning in a year, all the more so us. Yet even if we fail to completely and absolutely cease and desist from sin or goof up accidentally about Shabbos observance, we must try our best so that next year we will not throw that switch on or off in the room while electric current is passing through. I am sure that these sins have happen to more people than just me. However, we look towards HASHEM and shout “Our Father Our King, we have no deeds handle us through charity and mercy and save us!” That is essentially what repentance is about. Mention your sin and take care next year to do better than this year’s best.

Lastly Rivka Gila sent this powerful post to the Torah Forum:

More on the Prayer and Rosh Hashanah:

Parsha Nitzavim

This year is a leap year so it is one of the occasions that Nitzavim and Vayelech are separated Parshiyos and not joined. Vayelech becomes Shabbos Tshuvah and Hazinu becomes the Shabbos before Sukkos.

29:9 You are standing this day all of you before the LORD your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,

“The leaders of your tribes.” your elders and your officers. [We learn from the order in this verse that] the more distinguished ones were mentioned first, and after this: “every man of Israel.”

This is a condensed Rashi and every speaker should mention when he opens up his Dvar Torah in the honor of the OMNIPRESENT, Rabbis, etc. and holy congregation.

10 your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water;

[The mention of these people separate to the main community of Israel] teaches us that in the days of Moses, Canaanites came to convert [to Judaism], just as the Gibeonites came [to convert] in the days of Joshua. This is the meaning of the verse regarding the Gibeonites, “And they also acted cunningly…” (Josh. 9:4), [i. e., pretending that they had come from a far away country. When they were discovered, Joshua made them woodcutters and water drawers for Israel (see Josh. 9:3-27). Likewise here, the Canaanites attempted to deceive Moses,. but they did not succeed, and Moses did not accept them to be Jews. Rather,] Moses made them woodcutters and water drawers [i.e., slaves for Israel]. — [Tanchuma 2; Yev. 79a; see Rashi Gittin 23b]

From the lowest of the social status jobs to the heights jobs, they were all an integral part of the children of Yisrael. Everybody has his part in the running of the nation.

11 that thou should enter into the covenant of the LORD thy God--and into His oath--which the LORD thy God makes with thee this day; 12 that He may establish thee this day unto Himself for a people, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He spoke unto thee, and as He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

[Why does God here warn Israel against idolatry by making such grave oaths and severe curses, unlike other commandments where He would simply make a warning and attach a punishment if the commandment was transgressed?] He goes to so much trouble here, for the purpose of keeping you as His people. [Since He promised not to exchange you for another people (see the following Rashi), He must ensure your faithfulness to Him. and that He will be your God. Since God has given you His word and [also] sworn to your forefathers not to exchange their offspring for another nation, therefore, He [ensures your faithfulness to Him by] binding you through these oaths, so as not to provoke Him to anger, because He cannot separate Himself from you. Until here, I have explained this passage according to its simple sense. The homiletic explanation is as follows: Why is parashath נִצָּבִים juxtaposed to the curses [in parashath כִּי תָבֹא]? Because when Israel heard these ninety-eight curses [delineated in כִּי תָבֹא, besides the forty-nine [curses] stated in Leviticus (26:14-38), they turned pale, and said, “Who can possibly endure these?” [Thereupon,] Moses began to appease them [as follows]: You are… standing this day. You have provoked the Omnipresent to anger many times, yet He has not made an end to you. Indeed, you still exist before Him [“standing… before the Lord”]. — [Tanchuma 1] this day. [You exist now] Just as this day exists. For [although] it becomes dark [for a period, nevertheless] it shines [again]. So too, here, God has made light for you, and He will again make light for you in the future. And the curses and sufferings preserve you and enable you to stand before Him [the curses, by preventing you to stray from serving Him, and the sufferings, by cleansing you of your sins]. Similarly, in the previous parashah [of כִּי תָבֹא, Moses spoke] words of conciliation, [e.g.,] “You have seen all that the Lord did…” (Deut. 29:1). Another explanation of “You are… standing”: Because the Israelites were now passing from one leader to the next-i.e, from [the leadership of] Moses to [that of] Joshua. Therefore, Moses made them stand [in assembled ranks], in order to encourage them. Joshua did the same [when he was about to die (Josh. 24:1)]. Also, Samuel [did likewise], when Israel passed from his leadership to that of Saul, [as the verse says,] “Stand now, and I will reason with you before the Lord…” (I Sam. 12:7). - [Tanchuma 1]

13 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; 14 but with him that stand here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day-- 15 for ye know how we dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the midst of the nations through which ye passed; 16 and ye have seen their detestable things, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were with them—

Heb. שִׁקּוּצֵיהֶם. [Their idols are so termed] because they are disgusting, like creeping, crawling insects (שְׁקָצִים). their repugnant idols. Heb. גִּלֻּלֵיהֶם. - [Their idols, thus termed] because they are putrid and disgusting like dung (גָּלָל) . wood and stone. You saw those [idols] made of wood and stone out in the open, because the heathen [who owned them, did not mind leaving them outside, since he] did not fear that they would be stolen. [Thus, regarding these idols, the verse says, “And you saw their… idols… (of) wood and stone.”] However, [regarding the idols made] of “silver and gold,” they “were with them,” in the [confines of their private] treasure chambers, because [their heathen owners] were afraid that these [expensive idols] might be stolen. — [Tanchuma 3]

17 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bear gall and wormwood; 18 and it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart--that the watered be swept away with the dry'; 19 the LORD will not be willing to pardon him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall be kindled against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven;

[The image is as follows:] Through anger, the body [of a person] becomes heated up, and fumes are emitted from the nose. Similarly, [referring to God,] the verse says, “Smoke rose up in His nose” (II Sam. 22:9). Now, although this is inappropriate for the Omnipresent [since He has no physical form; nevertheless], Scripture describes [this concept] to the human ear in the manner to which it is accustomed and able to understand, according to the [natural] ways of the world. [Thus, the verse here is figuratively denoting God’s fuming anger.] and His zeal. Heb. וְקִנְאָתוֹ [This is] a term denoting [burning] fury, enprenemant [in Old French, zealous anger], firmly keeping hold of the trait of vengeance, without giving in whatsoever.

20 and the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law. 21 And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the LORD hath made it sick; 22 and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath; 23 even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what means the heat of this great anger?' 24 then men shall say: 'Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; 25 and went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods that they knew not, and that He had not allotted unto them;

[The image is as follows:] Through anger, the body [of a person] becomes heated up, and fumes are emitted from the nose. Similarly, [referring to God,] the verse says, “Smoke rose up in His nose” (II Sam. 22:9). Now, although this is inappropriate for the Omnipresent [since He has no physical form; nevertheless], Scripture describes [this concept] to the human ear in the manner to which it is accustomed and able to understand, according to the [natural] ways of the world. [Thus, the verse here is figuratively denoting God’s fuming anger.] and His zeal. Heb. וְקִנְאָתוֹ [This is] a term denoting [burning] fury, enprenemant [in Old French, zealous anger], firmly keeping hold of the trait of vengeance, without giving in whatsoever.

26 therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book;

We can see that today – where the Jews are it is green and where the cursed Arabs are still occupying is basically barren today. That is how the “Green Line” got its name.

27 and the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day’.–28 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

At certain times and through certain Tzaddikim, HASHEM reveals his secrets. “SOD HASHEM LEYERAYAV” (The secrets of the L-RD is for those whom fear HIM.) While the Pshat of Torah is for everybody from a child to adult. The Drash, Remez, Sod and Sod shel b’sod is hidden to the ordinary man unless somebody reveals them like Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon, the Ari or others.

30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shall bethink thyself among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 and shall return unto the LORD thy God, and hearken to His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul; 3 that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

The Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles. Heb. וְשָׁב, lit., The Lord, your God, will (Himself) return (with) your exiles. [That is, the verb שָׁב is in the simple conjugation. Now, since we understand the verse to mean:“ The Lord your God will bring back your exiles,”] Scripture should have written, אֶת שְׁבוּת‏ ְוְהֵשִׁיב ה [with the verb וְהֵשִׁיב being in the causative conjugation, meaning “to bring back”]. But [although the meaning of the verse is indeed, “The Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles,”] our Rabbis learned from [the simple conjugation of the verb] here [which alludes to God Himself returning], that the Shechinah resides among Israel, as it were, in all the misery of their exile, and when the Jews are redeemed [from their exile], God writes [in Scripture an expression of] redemption for Himself [to allude to the fact that He has also been redeemed, as it were,] so that He Himself returns along with Israel’s exiles (Meg. 29a). A further [lesson] may be learned [from the unusual form of the verb which expresses “to bring back the exiles”]: The day on which Israel’s exiles will be gathered is so monumental and [this ingathering] will be such a difficult [procedure, as it were], that it is as though God Himself must literally take each individual Jew with His very hands, [taking him] out of his place [in exile. We see] the same concept [brought up in Scripture,] when the verse says, “And you will be gathered up, one by one, O children of Israel” (Isa. 27:12). [That verse refers to the ingathering of Israel’s exiles from Babylon. However,] we find this [idea] also regarding the [ingathering of] exiles from the other nations, as the verse says, “And I shall bring back the exiles of Egypt (וְשַׁבְתִּי שְׁבוּת מִצְרַיִם)” (Ezek. 29:14).

Jews born in Africa, China, Australia, Europe, Burma, Afghanistan, Yemen, the former Soviet Union, the United States, Argentina, etc. coming and meeting in the Holyland. When you think of how many Jews I have met from so many countries it is utterly amazing even one from Moslem Albania.

4 If any of you that are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee.

A strange Pasuk to write 3300 years before Ilan Ramon went into space and yet there it is!

5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shall possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet, it is conditional on you observing Mitzvos.

6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou may live.

To me this seems to describe the Baal Tshuvah movement that started with individuals before my time and began to become a larger trickle in my day until a stream in the 70’s and a tributary in the 80’s and then a small river in the 90’s and a major river with CD’s, Tapes, DVD’s, etc.

7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon your enemies, and on them that hate thee, that persecuted thee.

I would not shed a tear if some of the people mentioned in Inyanay Diyoma received these curses.

8 And thou shall return and hearken to the voice of the LORD, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day.

That’s the catch you have to love and fear G-D and do the Mitzvos. This is fine print in the contract.

9 And the LORD thy God will make thee over-abundant in all the work of thy hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good; for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over thy fathers; 10 if thou shall hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

Isn’t the Torah just great telling us the foundation of repentance and returning to the ways of our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, Yacov, etc. All this great advice just before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou should say: ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou should say: ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou may do it.

This section is brought out in Perkei Avos and little children sing part of it. Yet we know that there is no more far away Torah and it has all be brought down from heaven except certain hidden mysteries that are released from time to time. The Torah is with Am Yisrael and it is such a part of us that it goes everywhere with us like the King’s Sefer Torah that went with him into battle, judgement, eating and sleeping. (Sanhedrin 21B)

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, 16 in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shall live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goes in to possess it. 17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou pass over the Jordan to go in to possess it.

We cannot understand after seeing all the miracles that happened in and departing Egypt and during the receiving of the Torah that this warning had to be said to that generation but the people made the golden calf so soon so they continually needed warnings. I said to a Dayan who was a member of the Beis Din in Kiriat Sefer that make a Psak against the Torah, “You see this wall, after 120 years, he will testify against you, the complainant (liar) who appeared before you who was standing next to me and the other Dayanim for your anti-Torah Psak Din. “ For you see when a person sins in public or private it does not matter, the walls of his house, the bed, the wallet, and other objects in this world will testify for or against him in the next. Sometimes for good and sometimes for bad but they are called where it is the floor, ceiling or supporting beams of his house, place of work or another object like a pencil or pen. Now we can understand the next Pasuk. We are told basically that we should choose life and life is Torah. “Ki haym chayanu le-orach yamanu” Because the words of Torah are our life and length of our days.

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou may live, thou and thy seed; 20 to love the LORD thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou may dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.


I heard this story a number of years ago. A man died and left everything to his son and daughter. The man was religious and the children were not. One day the man appeared to both the son and the daughter in a dream. The man said, that every week on Shabbos, he goes to celebrate with Tzaddikim in the next world but before Shabbos enters, they rub like tar in his face and he enters the Shabbos with a blacken face all because his children are not observing Shabbos. The daughter spoke to the son and when she heard that he had the same dream she believed it to be true and began observing Shabbos as she had been taught. The son continued as if nothing had happened and the father came to him again with a sterner warning. Again the son continued, this time the father returned in another dream and said that he could no longer protect the son from the Gezara of the Beis Din of Maalah and that the son would leave this world soon if he did not repent in order that the father would get a proper reward. Again the son violated the Shabbos. On Sunday morning he began feeling ill, he went to the doctor to find out that he had a fatal disease. I don’t remember now if he repented or he passed away from the disease.

You may find Rav Soleveichik Speeches here:

Rabbi Amnon of Mainz from

Amnon of Mainz or Amnon of Mayence is the subject of a medieval legend that became very popular. It treats of Rabbi Amnon, a wealthy and respected Jew of Mainz, whom the Archbishop of Mainz, at various times, tried to convert to Christianity. On one occasion Amnon evasively asked to be given three days’ time for consideration. When he failed to appear on the appointed day, the archbishop had him brought guarded into his presence. Amnon, rebuked for his failure to keep his promise, pleaded guilty, and said that his tongue should be amputated, because it had expressed a doubt as to the truth of Judaism. The archbishop, however, pronounced the sentence that Amnon’s feet, which had refused to come, and his hands should be cut off. This was accordingly done.

Amnon gave orders that he be carried into the synagogue, where Rosh HaShannah was being celebrated. The reader was about to begin the Kedushah, when he was asked by Amnon to wait. The latter then recited the prayer called, from its initial words, “U-netanneh Tokef,” which is a description of the Day of Judgment. No sooner had he finished the prayer than he expired; and his body immediately disappeared. Three days later he appeared to Rabbi Kalonymus in a dream, taught him the prayer, and asked him to spread it broadcast in Israel.

The oldest mention of this story seems to be found in the notes on Asheri, written by Israel of Krems or Kremsier, about 1400.[1] Israel of Krems merely says: The “U-netanneh Tokef” was written by Amnon of Mayence with reference to his own history. He gives Isaac ben Moses of Vienna’s work, “Or Zaru’a,” as his source. The story, as given above, is found in the Mahzor of the Roman rite for the New-year’s day, published 1541. From it Gedaliah ibn Yahya ben Joseph took it; and the other historians followed him. The Mahzor editions reprinted it; and so the story became very popular. The Russian poet Semyon Frug took it as the subject of an epic; and Schakschansky wove it into a drama in Yiddish.

The story also appears on the OU site. Here is the Prayer:

On Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Amnon of Mainz went to the Synagogue dying on Kiddush HASHEM. He said the following prayer that has become an integral part of the Kedusha Service for the High Holidays. Also it is a custom either the day before Rosh Hashanah or during the 10 days of Repentance to annul all vows and new customs that one has taken upon himself.

“Let Us Tell How Utterly Holy This Day Is”

The Full Text

(Scanned from the ArtScroll Rosh HaShanah Machzor)

The following is the full translated text of the great prayer, “U’Netaneh Tokef,” attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, as related to Rabbi Klonimus ben Meshullam


Congregation and chazzan:

So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our God, are King.

Congregation and chazzan:

Let us now relate the power of this day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles – it will read itself, and everyone’s signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them – and they will say, ‘Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!’- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.


All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.

Congregation then chazzan [in some congregations this is recited only by the chazzan]:

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.

Congregation aloud, then chazzan:


Remove the Evil of the Decree!

Congregation and chazzan:

For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately.


It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.

Congregation aloud, then chazzan:

But You are the King, the Living and Enduring G-d.


Congregation then chazzan:

There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your glory and to elucidate Your Name’s inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.

Of Vows
(based on ArtScroll Siddur)

The Torah permits people to accept upon themselves personal obligations and prohibitions. Once made, these vows (or oaths) must be kept. There are two commandments in the Torah making it obligatory to keep such vows. The Torah, however, also provided a way to release oneself from a vow. By going to a Beit Din, a court of three knowledgeable individuals, the vow can be annulled. The annulment takes place based on the decision of the court that the vow was made based on a false impression.

The prevalent custom is to convene a Beit Din after prayer services on the day before Rosh Hashanah, but, if it is forgotten or impossible for some reason, also during the days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, to nullify any vows one may have made during the year. Though this Beit Din is not meant for any actual annulment of specific vows where a real competent halachic authority should be consulted, it nonetheless represents a means of repentance from the sin of having abused vows and a nullification of any future vows made unintentionally.

The three ‘judges’ sit while the petitioner seeking annulment stands before them and makes a formal request for nullification.

Annulment of Vows Dialogue
(based on ArtScroll Siddur)

The following text is lengthy, quite technical and detailed. It is based on Talmudic concepts, and is constructed, in Jewish “legalese,” to cover all relevant topics. The petitioner begins by addressing the Beit Din as follows:

Petitioner’s Statement

Listen, please, my masters, expert judges – every vow or oath or prohibition, or prohibition that I adopted by use of the slang term ‘konam’ or the term ‘cherem’; that I vowed or swore while I was awake or in a dream; or that I swore by means of God’s Holy Names that it is forbidden to erase or by means of the Name HASHEM (“HASHEM” is not the Name of G-d that is actually mentioned here), Blessed is He; or any form of nazirism (see “NAZIR” in Glossary) that I accepted upon myself, except the nazirism of Samson [which does not include a prohibition against contact with the dead]; or any prohibition, even a prohibition to derive enjoyment that I imposed upon myself or upon others by means of any expression of prohibition, whether by specifying the term ‘prohibition’ or by use of the terms ‘konam’ or ‘cherem’; or any commitment – even to perform a mitzvah – that I accepted upon myself, whether the acceptance was in terms of a vow, a voluntary gift, an oath, nazirism, or by means of any other sort of expression, or whether it was made final through a handshake; any form of vow or voluntary gift, or any custom that constitutes a good deed to which I have accustomed myself; and any utterance that escaped my mouth or that I vowed in my heart to perform any of the various optional good deeds, or good practices, or any good thing that I have performed three times but without specifying that the practice does not have the force of a vow; whether the thing l did related to myself or to others; both regarding vows that are known to me and those that I have already forgotten – regarding all of them I regret retroactively and I ask and request of your eminences an annulment of them. [My reason is that] I am fearful that I will stumble and become entrapped, Heaven forbid, in the sin of vows, oaths, nazirism, cherems, prohibitions, konams, and [violation of agreements].

I do not regret, Heaven forbid, the performance of the good deeds I have done, rather I regret only having accepted them upon myself with an expression of a vow or oath or nazirism or prohibition or cherem or konam or agreement or acceptance in my heart, and I regret not having said, ‘Behold I do this without [adopting it in terms of] a vow, oath, nazirism, cherem, prohibition, konam, or acceptance in my heart.

Therefore, I request annulment for them all. I regret all the aforementioned, whether they were matters relating to money, or whether they were matters relating to the body or whether they were matters relating to the soul. Regarding them all, I regret the terminology of vow, oath, nazirism, prohibition, cherem, konam and acceptance in the heart. Now behold, according to the law, one who regrets and seeks annulment must specify the vow, but please be informed, my masters, that it is impossible to specify them because they are many. Nor do I seek annulment of those vows that cannot be annulled, therefore may you consider as if I had specified them.

The judges repeat three times:

May everything be permitted you, may everything be forgiven you, may everything be allowed you. There does not exist any vow, oath, nazirism, cherem, prohibition, konam, ostracism, excommunication, or curse. But there does exist pardon, forgiveness, and atonement. And just as the earthly court permits them, so may they be permitted in the Heavenly Court.

The petitioner makes the following declarartion:

Behold, I make formal declaration before you and I cancel from this time onward all vows and all oaths, nazirism, prohibitions, konams, cherems, agreements, and acceptances of the heart that I myself will accept upon myself, whether while I am awake or in a dream, except for vows to fast that I undertake during Minchah. In case I forget the conditions of this declaration and I make a vow from this day onward, from this moment I retroactively regret them and declare of them that they are all totally null and void, without effect and without validity, and they shall not take effect at all. Regarding them all, I regret them from this time and forever.


Various customs on Rosh Hashanah:

Incredible Story from Nissan via Rabbi A.L.

Following is an incredible true story that happened recently: An elderly lady in a nursing home in the Midwest passed away. Her children, who always visited her

and took care of her, did their duty and did a proper Jewish Tahara and burial. On the 5th day of sitting Shiva, the phone rang and the daughter sitting Shiva

answered the phone. On the other end of the phone was her mother who she just buried. The daughter, in shock, immediately fainted. The phone rang again and

it was her mother again, complaining that no one came to visit her that week. The family then rushed to the nursing home and it turned out there was a mix up

at the nursing home and it was her roommate that passed away and not this lady. So now the nursing home had the grim job of informing the children of the

other lady that their mother died five days ago. The nursing home called and was trying to break it to these children slowly but before they could even tell the

children what happened, the children callously answered if this call has anything to do with our mother they are not interested. These children said “All day long

our mother wastes her time and just prays and prays and says Psalms”. The children then added- “And the one thing she prays for is that when she dies she should have a proper Jewish burial”. But, the children cruelly said, “We will outsmart her and when she dies we will spite her and make sure she will not have a proper Jewish Burial”. The nursing home staff then explained to them it was too late as she already received her proper burial! Look at the power of prayer and to the extent Hashem will turn the world around to answer a prayer. Here this pious religious lady only prayed for one thing, a proper burial, knowing it was almost impossible, yet she didn't give up. So Hashem orchestrated this whole mix up to respond to the prayers of this lady. Any of our prayers can have the same potential and power!

(This true story was recently told by a Principal who heard it first hand from one of the Children)

Comment of the week: [20 ISRAELI SOLDIERS] WOUNDED IN TERROR ATTACK AT BUSY JERUSALEM INTERSECTION comments by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator Isn't this the time when Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni will act the apologists and explain that "these things happen because Israel has not been sufficiently generous in gifting the Eternal Holy Jewish capital of Jerusalem" over to a people who never existed.

Better than Kabbalah

The last week of the year...

Each day of this week has the power to repair the corresponding days of the whole year - Monday can repair every Monday, Thursday can repair every Thursday, and so on.
- Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian in the ethical work "Lev Eliyahu"

We now have the opportunity to rewrite our history. How? Well, by being THE VERY BEST WE CAN BE on each day of this week.

It means being honest, and patient and sincere. It means being selfless and caring and compassionate. For the last week to be reflective of all the other weeks of the past year, we have to step up to the plate and be the greatest Mensch we can be, period.

And you know what? I believe that we can all do this. In this time of uncertainty what the world needs most is people caring and helping the each other.

Here are three starting points that will make the last week of the year great and help us ultimately maximize potential:

  1. Conduct a personal inventory - Take 30 minutes to review the past year and choose one personal attribute to focus on and improve for the upcoming year.
  2. Pray more.
  3. Give charity.

There is only one thing that we can never buy and that is TIME. Don’t waste this last week of the year. Strive for greatness!

May you be signed and sealed in the Book of Life.


Michael Harshaw
Executive Director
Project Genesis

Jacob Richman’s Rosh Hashanah sites:

Inyanay Diyoma

Iran Deeply involved in 9/11 but kept quiet for some reason:

The director of research at Israeli military intelligence (AMAN), Brig. Yossi Baidatz, surprised the Israeli cabinet Sunday Sept. 21, with a new appreciation of Iran’s nuclear timetable. Tehran, he disclosed, has already stocked one-third or even half the quantity of enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb. He warned the ministers that Iran is dashing at top speed towards a nuclear weapons capability and nothing stands in the way of its headlong advance, including international sanctions. Separately, former Israeli army chief Lt. Gen (Res.) Moshe Yaalon said in a radio interview that an Israel-Iranian war is unavoidable.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources say Israeli intelligence has drastically revised its former evaluation of the Iran’s nuclear progress and intentions. Although Iran has only 4,000 centrifuges producing 4-5-grade uranium, it is fasting building up a stock of enough low-grade uranium – 1.5 tons – to convert quickly and simply into weapons grades material – within a year or eighteen months.

The conventional intelligence view until now was that Tehran, in the final reckoning, would take its program up to the brink of a weapons capability and stop there before its consummation. It was based on Iran’s decision not to follow through on the detailed plans for building a device for an underground nuclear test it obtained from Pakistan in 2002. Baidatz’s update Sunday has reversed this evaluation.

WILL U.S. TAXPAYERS HAVE TO BAIL OUT THE RUSSIANS, CHINESE, ARABS? By Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator

With the welcome announcement that the Bush Administration will actively intervene to rescue ailing financial firms, we still need to insure that it will be done right!
Many of these investment banks are owned in large measure by various foreign firms. Arab countries, in particular, were receiving huge incomes due to their skyrocketing price of oil. They needed to put that money in a place so it would earn income. So, they bought large stakes in U.S. investment houses that are now being bailed out by President Bush.

Ironically, a big chunk of that money then went to “sub-prime” mortgages for Americans who wanted to buy homes – but, may not have had a solid source of income. When more and more of these people began to default on their loans, these U.S. investment houses, now in part Arab-owned and, therefore, Arab-controlled, became insolvent. Arab/Muslims also lost on their investments. This insolvency caused instability in the U.S. financial markets. The American government realized it had to step in to prevent a breakdown of the whole system.

One key question now is: Will the $700 and more billions of dollars that will be used to rescue the system – also funnel into hostile governments? Arab Muslims, in particular, took the money out of American pockets at the gas pumps. Then, they invested it in speculative U.S. investment houses. They lost lots of what they had invested when the market crashed and now Bush is rescuing foreign banks who tried to ride the wave of America mortgage speculation.

Will the U.S. taxpayers then have to pay these Arabs a second time with U.S. bail-out money? Other foreign countries, including Russia and China, also lost money. Big oil companies lost investment money from their huge oil profits – since America was and still is the best place to invest money. They knew there were risks.

Will Americans now have to give money to hostile countries under the guise of a “bail-out”? The bail-out committee(s) must be selective with Americans’ tax-dollars. First priority should go to individual American investors, then small American companies – or companies that have a direct relationship with individual Americans – such as the insurance companies. The big oil companies and the non-friendly (or hostile) foreign governments will just have to wait and see if anything is left to gift to them, after we take care of our own.

Yes Emanuel she does remind me of the real JFK more than anybody else!

A FRESH WIND FROM ALASKA by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator

A nation’s morale often comes from what they think of their leaders. Governor Sarah Palin has blown in from Alaska like a fresh wind over newly fallen snow. A leader who inspires confidence makes the wheels go round. A nation perks up and takes pride in their nation.

Recall President JFK who said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” There was something about John Kennedy that stirred up confidence and pride. They called the Kennedy White House “Camelot” after the idyllic Court of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table with Jacqueline Kennedy in the role of Queen Guinevere.

Sarah Palin has come onto the national scene and, suddenly, there was excitement in the air. There was something about this soccer mom who could shot and field-dress a moose for her family’s winter food. She was reminiscent of our early American ancestors who settled the West, traveling on wagon trains. The women and the men symbolized bravery, hard work and principle of doing for yourself. Maybe it’s the cold and hard life in Alaska that breeds what we think of as the pioneering spirit of the early American.

Whatever it is, Sarah has awakened something in many Americans that we thought we lost. Hopefully, should John McCain and Sarah Palin win the elections, then McCain will turn Sarah loose to do what a can-do lady could do to invigorate a self-indulgent Washington, the Robber Barons of Wall Street and the Oil Gangs.

Bush gets a pen lashing:

OLMERT RESIGNED by Hillel Fendel ARUTZ 7 forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator

The supposed acceptance by Ehud Olmert of the termination of his role as Israel’s Prime Minister may have more to do with George Bush and Condoleezza Rice and their plans to dissolve the Jewish nation of Israel. Bush, Rice and the U.S. State Department have recognized that Olmert can no longer carry forward their plans – so they have switched their ‘loyalty’ to Tzipi Livni to finish what Olmert and the Israeli Left have started. Now the U.S. State Department and the Arabists who act as a “Shadow Government” will start pouring money into Livni and the Kadima Party coffers.

You may recall that happened before when PM Yitzhak Shamir refused to accept U.S. directions, the U.S. started funding Yitzhak Rabin as the change-of-administrator who would follow their orders. They wanted a Prime Minister who would not get in the way of their plans to re-partition Israel. This is the work of the U.S. State Department and successive Presidents who are deeply committed to the Muslim Arab Oil companies and countries – and even the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their motivation is the oil it will bring to America.

Here we find such government names as Dick Cheney, George H.W. Bush Sr., James Baker III and the CEOs of the multi-nationals who are tied to the Muslim Arab oil resource companies and countries. Olmert has been directed to step aside and offered rewards – like the dropping of charges for his illegal deals in 6 to 8 different scandals for which he’s being investigated. There may or (probably) have been financial promises for the Olmert family.

The final resignation of Olmert will still allow him to continue in office for many months to complete his perfidy of surrendering Land G-d gave to the Jewish people in perpetuity. Tzipi Livni has been leading the negotiations to give away more Israeli territory in accordance with the Bush-Rice long range plans. They want her to continue. The Muslim Arab Palestinians agree and also want her to continue the abandonment of Land which G-d gave to the Jewish people in perpetuity.

Bravo to both Biden and Palin

Biden rides public transportation to the Senate and Palin either rides on the back of her husband’s motor cycle or in a compact car. The two presidential candidates have cars that are over 3000cc and guzzle gas. Believe it or not George Bush has a green energy ranch in Texas.

Poor Man’s Jewish Traditional food. My great-aunt used to make this food which was popular among European Jews who were restricted in earning power. German Jews and Russian Jews I know had this tradition. Rivka Gila sent me the recipe – she likes it, the food didn’t go over big with me or vegetarians but it is sort of going out of style as we have grown richer.

Warning don’t have compassion for the wicked, Satan and pigs.,2933,426272,00.html

Seven Arrested in East Yerushalayim in a terror gang:

Another Terrorist driving attack ends with the arrest of 4 terrorists.,7340,L-3601532,00.html

Caroline Glick criticizes American Jewish Leaders of the same Steven Wise mentality that allowed the holocaust but in different words. You can read it and draw your own opinions. The article was brought to my attention by Emanuel Winston:

Just one little paragraph of the article I do want to share with you: The moment that Clinton found out that she was to share a stage with Palin, she cancelled her appearance. By canceling, she signaled to Jewish Democrats - and Democrats in general - that opposing Palin and the Republican Party is more important than opposing Ahmadinejad and the genocidal regime he represents.

Good Shabbos Everyone Parshas Ki-Savo בס"ד
A Refuah Shleimah to Shusha Malka bas Golda
Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's parsha, we read about some of the mitzvahs which are tied the land of Eretz Yisroel. Part of the tithing-of-produce ceremony requires the person to make a declaration. As part of that declaration, the person asks Hashem: "Gaze down from Your holy abode, from the heavens, and bless Your people Yisroel, and the ground that You gave us, You swore to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey." (Devorim 23,15) The following story illustrates this Brocha.

Yaakov Chaziza has always lived on a moshav located on the border with Lebanon. Thus, his life has always been filled with worry about the possibility of an attack. He and his neighbors live every day knowing that at any minute they may have to grab their machine-guns and be called into action. Yaakov used to be the only religious person on the moshav. When the others played cards in the social hall in the evenings, he would be learning in the moshav's shul. As a farmer, he was, of course, careful about keeping all the halachos pertaining to farming and agriculture. For example, he kept the laws of orlah — not partaking of a tree's fruit during the first three years of its life — and Shemittah — letting the land rest in the seventh year. Aside from the plots he owned himself, he also owned a few plots in partnership with some local farmers, who were not religious. As a result, he would occasionally find himself in conflict with them about halachic issues. Usually, they were able to work things out; one time, however, they were not able to come to an agreement. That event would change the lives of the people on the moshav
As was normal for farmers in the area, Yaakov rented the farming equipment he needed each season. One year, one of his partners took charge of the rental without checking the day and date with Yaakov. The equipment was rented on a Friday, and had to be returned by Sunday morning, because the partners intended to do the work, which consisted of harvesting the crops, on Shabbos. For Yaakov, of course, this was completely unacceptable. He would never allow work to be done in his fields on Shabbos, and he begged his partners to push off the harvest to a later date. However, they would not give in to his wishes. In the end, the others' fields were harvested, while Yaakov's portion of the crop remained standing uncut. It had been a very bad year for the crops. The lack of significant rainfall had led to a poor return on the produce. The three other partners were happy to have salvaged at least a small portion of their fields. They mocked Yaakov and told him how foolish he had been to allow his crop to continue to grow. The inevitable result would be that Yaakov's entire crop would be lost. Yaakov ignored their taunting, knowing that he had done the right thing. Three weeks passed. During that time, it rained very hard — unusual for this time of year. As a result, Yaakov's crop flourished, and when he eventually harvested it he found that it far surpassed all his previous harvests. Not only that, but the yield was greater than that of his three partners put together. The other farmers were astonished!
This time there was no doubting Yaakov or the laws he followed. Yaakov's harvest caused a tremendous buzz among the members of the moshav. They were inspired to begin a change of lifestyle and started learning Torah instead of sitting around playing cards. It started with a few men, but the number grew, and within a few weeks there was a large group learning Torah. It changed their lives, but they could never imagine just how much. It was a mere three weeks after Yaakov had begun his shiur. As the men left their makeshift beis midrash, happily discussing what they had learned, they heard a tremendous explosion. As soon as they realized it was a bomb, they all ran to their homes, afraid of what they would find. Their families were huddled together, shaking from fear; thankfully, there were no injuries or casualties. Upon checking the moshav for damage, they were shocked to find that the bomb had hit the very social hall where they had usually spent their weeknights, playing cards. But this week, they had been
elsewhere, learning Torah with Yaakov. They hugged each other and thanked Hashem for sending them a messenger who had introduced them to the beauty, truth and salvation of Torah. (from A Touch of Warmth, p. 124, Reb Yechiel Spiro) Good Shabbos Everybody.

Have a healthy, happy, blessed, joyous, wonderful, fruitful, successful and prosperous new year filled with Torah, Mitzvos and Good Deeds and hopefully the Moshiach will finally arrive.

Rachamim Pauli