Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ethics from a Dying man, Vayelech, Yom Kippur

Mussar from a Dying Man

This came from Yacov Chanan Dov on the 17th of Adar Bet 5768, his soul came to eternal rest on Shabbos 27 Elul 5768. I have underlined some interesting points but it is interesting letter.

Dear Friends and Family:

It has been more than 2 months since I have put my thoughts on paper or computer in an update. This has been a period of great disappointments and challenges. All have affected my ability to write or communicate. I no longer use the phone or drive a car. Please understand that the treatments have affected my memory and my ability to focus my thoughts.

- In January it was confirmed that a new tumor in my neck was affecting my vocal cords and therefore my abilities to talk, swallow, eat and breathe. As a result I had a minor operation to insert a feeding tube directly into my stomach in mid January. It was less than a success. I spent most of January and February in the hospital with complications. My stomach is not tolerating the quantities of liquid food required to maintain a proper diet and I am losing weight (starving to death slowly). I am down to less than 150 lbs.

- My quality of life is diminishing quickly. A good day is one in which I don’t faint or have problems with the tube feedings.

I have trouble staying alert for minutes at a time. Friday, I had IV fluids for dehydration (a weekly event) and promptly feinted in the doctor’s office. By the time I was on my feet again, I just missed spending shabbos in the hospital again. As it was I passed out or nearly did so several times.

If success is measured in time bought, then I have succeed at buying another 9 months of life


Most of my time is spent sleeping on the couch. 20 hours+ a day. I am usually too doped up to do anything else.

The original radiation burns that ran from ear to ear and from my hairline down to my upper lip have cleared up.

The new radiation burns on my neck are clearing

My voice is nearly gone

My right eye is still swollen and puffy and it appears that there may be permanent damage. I am able to read for short periods of time but it is very hard to focus my eyes. - Here is to touch typing. It enables me to express myself without straining my eyes.)

My hair, beard and eyebrows are still gone.


- This email may be the last that I will be sending. If things continue on the same course as the last 2 months, I expect not to have the stamina to write. Therefore I would like to share a few thoughts:

I need to thank all of you for being out there for me, Roo and Shoshana. Faith is important in beating cancer. You have lent me your strength and inspiration to fight.

I need to say a special thanks to my parents, my in-laws, my cousins Adele, Judy and Chanan who came and spent days, weeks, and months helping me get through things and being my advocate in the hospital.

Roo needs special thanks. The role of caregiver is unforgiving rough and offers no consolation when she needs to be appreciated and consoled. She deserves a break!

I am really proud of Roo. Illness has forced me to pass on many of my household duties to her. She has taken over the bills, financials and many other tasks that I never dreamed of sharing let alone dumping on her and she has shown an aptitude that gives me hope for her future and Shoshana’s

Shoshana had a hard time last night. She cried for more than 30 minutes about how she misses the days when I used to be well and do things with her. There are no words to adequately describe the pain and guilt that I felt. No child deserves this. Certainly not my little angel.

- The last year has taught me so much about appreciating that which we have. Funny thing… Things that seem so important have little meaning now.

The Bottom line is that I am dying and I won’t be here to have 2nd thoughts about most things when the time comes. The knowledge of knowing that makes life’s biggest issues seem foolish.

I have spent much of my “awake time” this week on issues planning my funeral and legal matters. I wonder why. They are so important to the survivors, but to me just another chore.

I think more about what my day of judgment will be. How can I answer for my life? I am proud of the life that I have led, the father that I am, the husband that I have tried to be, the values and goals that I represent – even my failings, mistakes and all have always been the result of the best of intentions.

- Everyday that I am here is a bracha (blessing) for those who care about me but I have no expectations of tomorrows. The truth is that I no longer have the strength to keep fighting the cancer or anything else.

- The good news is that I have few regrets and I feel ready to stand at the gates of heaven and hear my decree. Nothing there could be worse than I feel now. I have a tired working brain in a near dead body and I feel ready for the big day.

Reminder: My Hebrew name was changed before the surgery to: Yaakov Chanan Dov Ha’Levy ben Esther Rochel. The adding of a name to one’s Hebrew (religious) name was a reaction to the downturn in my condition. (For those of you who have shared my name with others to be added into your prayers or prayer groups: Please share the change

Thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and prayers Remember every day is a Bracha and everyday we should be as pure as we are on Yom Kippur.

The 10 Days of Repentance

I could have used this type of severance pay when I retired and tax free bonds were over 5% a year. I would have been happy to pay the taxes on this:,2933,428641,00.html It will however be most unfortunate if any of my readers will lose a job during this current financial crises which was caused by irresponsible managers. Rabbi X, a good friend of mine was thinking of buying a shopping center in FL with just about no money down during the height of the housing surge. I advised him no way Jose’. And he listened to me as prices suddenly fell and he would have been without any shopping center and his name would have been mud for credit. His idea was similar to Rich Dad Poor Dad but the timing was bad.

Sometimes it is the little mitzvos that count like returning a lost object. Sometimes we do something and get a reward in this world like the blind lady who I helped bring her bundles home would give me a dime which might have been a price of a comic book or less in those days but the real reward is in the next world.,2933,429228,00.html

The returnee was not a Jew but he was a Mensch as we say in Yiddish. Being kind to our fellow man in love thy neighbor as thyself – perhaps my neighbors in Naalin and some in Ramat Modin don’t love me so much but “love begets love and hate begets hate” – David Isaac of Blessed Memory.

Perhaps a little fire and brimstone from the Rambam is good before Yom Kippur. Anybody who says that the Torah is not from G-D or the Oral Torah is not from the L-RD has no place in the world to come. Others who deny the existence of G-D or limit HIM in any way have no place in the world to come. Also the person who says that there are only 612 Mitzvos in the Torah or repeats the same sin over and over again or causing many to sin such that he doesn’t even think of ceasing from it any more has no place in the next world. The RAMBAM in Chapter 3 of Hilchos Tshuvah mentions all 24 types of people who have no place in the next world. However, he notes that somebody who does complete Tshuvah does have a place in the next world. FOR NOTHING CAN STAND IN THE WAY OF TRUE TSHUVAH EVEN ON ONES DEATH BED. (See my story of Yerocham Koppelman Shlita and the dying Shoah victim, who had lost faith, getting him to say Shema hours before he passed away.)

So we look at our sins and add others to the prayer like the Chaya Adam writes in his Hilchos Yom HaKippurim. Yom Kippur during the break was a time of joy for Am Yisrael in Temple Times. Young Ladies looking for a Shidduch would chant before the bachelors with exchanged dresses from friends the following: “Don’t choose a wife from her beauty but base it on family background.” Of course the ones with movie star type of looks would chant something else if they didn’t have a prominent family.



Parsha Vayelech

This week’s Parsha is the second shortest Sedra its rank is 53 out of 54 as Zos HaBracha read on Simchas Torah is shorter. The fact that Hazinu is rank 52 makes both these Parshiyos the best for Shabbos Tshuvah where the Rav usually gives a Drasha and therefore he has more time to talk than usual. Although the custom nowadays is that the Rav speaks in the afternoon rather than in the morning.

31:1 And Moses went and spoke these words unto all Israel. 2 And he said unto them: 'I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in; and the LORD hath said unto me: Thou shall not go over this Jordan.

The Medrash tells a story of Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta. He was at a Bris and the father gave 7 year old wine. The father declared that the wine was so good that he would store away some for the son’s wedding. The feast continued until midnight. Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta trusted his own moral strength to return that night to his city. On the road, the Angel of Death met him and R. Shimon noticed that he was looking strange. He asked him: “Who are you?” “I am G-D’s messenger!” “Why then are you so strange?” He replied: “On account of the talk of human beings who say: ‘This and that we will do,’ and yet not one of them knows when he will be summoned to die. The man in whose feast you have shared and who to you about the wine… his child’s time has come. He is to be snatched away after thirty days.” Rabbi Shimon said to him: “Show me my end”. He replied: “Neither over you nor over the likes of you have I any dominion: Often HASHEM Yisborach finds delight in your good deeds and grants you additional life.”

The Holy Zohar explains that Moshe was like the sun and during his days, the Bnei Yisrael were fed manna from heaven. When the moon came out (Yehoshua) the manna ceased. The time for the sun to set had come and for the moon to rise and rule and one kingdom (ruler of) does not intrude on another kingdom. Moshe could not lead the people into Eretz Yisrael or defy HASHEM and so Yehoshua would do it.

Moses went…I can no longer go or come. One might think [this means] that Moses’ strength had ebbed [and that is why he could no longer go or come]. Scripture [however] states [regarding Moses], “His eye had not dimmed, nor had he lost his [natural] moisture” (Deut. 34:7) [which teaches us that his powers were intact even on the day of his passing]. So what then is [the meaning of] “I can no longer”? [Here it means:] “I am not permitted,” because authority was taken from him and granted to Joshua. and the Lord said to me. This is the meaning of “I can no longer go or come,” because “the Lord said to me….” Today I am [one-hundred and twenty years old]. [That is to say,] today [is the exact day that] my days and my years have become complete; on this very day [the seventh of Adar] I was born, and on this day I will die. — [Sotah 13b] Another interpretation of “[I can no longer] go or come” is: [I can no longer figuratively go and come, i.e., I can no longer negotiate] in matters of Torah. This teaches us that the channels of transmission and the well-springs of wisdom were closed up from him [i.e., from Moses on that day]. — [Sotah 13b] That is the order of the early editions and should be preserved. Rashi means that, [According to the first interpretation, that God did not permit him to go and come before the people, we do not explain the beginning of the verse to mean that Moses’ days were completed, but that God had taken away the authority from Moses. According to the Talmud, which states that Moses’ days were completed, we explain that he could not go and come in matters of Torah, and according to that interpretation, we do not explain that “the Lord said to me,” as the meaning for “I can no longer go or come,” but another reason for Moses’ inability to cross the Jordan.]

Now for Moshe to accept his death easily – it was understandable. Moshe knew all the secrets that the Angel of Death had told him, he had seen the heavens and all the future generations and heard directly from G-D the eternalness of the Image of G-D in man’s soul but for Yacov Chanan Dov to write the words takes an extraordinary amount of faith.

The good news is that I have few regrets and I feel ready to stand at the gates of heaven and hear my decree. Nothing there could be worse than I feel now. I have a tired working brain in a near dead body and I feel ready for the big day.

3 The LORD thy God, He will go over before thee; He will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shall dispossess them; and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.

Believe and have faith and do not despair for HE will destroy you enemies about and deliver them unto you but you must be strong and of good courage. Only strong and of good courage – this is the theme here and in the first Chapter of Sefer Yehoshua which is the Haftorah of Simchas Torah.

4 And the LORD will do unto them as He did to Sihon and to Og, the kings of the Amorites, and unto their land; whom He destroyed. 5 And the LORD will deliver them up before you, and ye shall do unto them according unto all the commandment which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them; for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.' 7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel: 'Be strong and of good courage; for thou shall go with this people into the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed.' 9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.

The Cohanim and the elders of Yisrael were in charge of transmitting the Torah to the Nation. In forth coming years, the tribe of Levi with no real land would also be Torah teachers. The Tribal Elders would be the Judges or a Talmud Chacham with understanding like an Elder. (Example Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azaria at the age of 18)

10 And Moses commanded them, saying: 'At the end of every seven years, in the set time of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 when all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little ones, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law;

10. At the end of [every] seven years. [When the verse says “end,” it refers to] the first year of the [recurring, seven-year] Shemittah [cycle, which is, effectively, the “end” of the previous cycle]. This is the eighth year [of the cycle] (Sotah 41a). [Now, only the seventh year of each cycle is actually called the Shemittah year, so] why is [this eighth year] referred to [here in the verse] as “ Shemittah ”? Because the [laws of the] seventh year still apply to it, in that the harvest [of the produce] at the end of the seventh year extends into the year following the seventh. Therefore, all the laws pertaining to the seventh year apply to this produce, even though the eighth year has already begun. — [R.H. 12b]
11. you shall read this Torah. The king [of Israel] would read from the beginning of “These are the words…” (Deut. 1:1), as we find in tractate Sotah (41a). [Thus, in contrast to verse 9, the expression, “this Torah” refers to just the book of Deuteronomy. See Rashi on verse 9. When reading the book of Deuteronomy to the people at that appointed time, the king would sit] upon a wooden platform that was erected in the courtyard [of the Temple].
12. The men. [were to be there, in order] to learn [the words of the Torah being read]; the women. [were to be present, in order] to listen [to those words]; the children. Why did they come? So that a reward would be given to those who bring them along. — [Chag. 3a]

This was National Torah Listening time so that it would not be forgotten from your children or children’s children from now forever.

13 and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.' 14 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Behold, thy days approach that thou must die; call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may give him a charge.' And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tent of meeting.

[Usually, “and I will command him.” Here, however, the meaning is:] “And I will urge him on.”

Yehoshua like Moshe was humble and without his Rebbe, he felt like he was nothing. He had stage fright or leadership fright because he knew the heavy responsibilities that Moshe had and all the petty rebellions that he had to deal with. He was a far cry from Al Jolson who had to perform after the great Caruso on stage. He shouted “You ain’t heard nothing yet!” As great as Jolson was and the world should have been anything yet because of the double negative, he was far from Caruso. Yehoshua knew whom he was and who Moshe Rabbaynu was and he could not hope of pulling the wool over the eyes and ears of the crowd.

15 And the LORD appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud; and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the Tent. 16 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Behold, thou art about to sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go astray after the foreign gods of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day: Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?

This is basically what we have today. One can have miracles to the right of him and to the left of him like the 7 different rockets that missed a man during the second Lebanese war on various days and people not willing to believe anything. G-D’s face is hidden so one must recognize the miracle. Like the daughter of the largest non-Jewish Pig farmer in the north during the Scud attacks three times Scuds shot the buildings out from under her and her son so we went to Yerushalayim and asked to convert. She understood despite that Pork (Tamay mit-tam-tem) or Trafe food causes one to be spiritually an imbecile. She saw the hidden hand which thousands of Jews refused to recognize.

18 And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach thou it the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. 20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore unto their fathers, flowing with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten their fill, and waxen fat; and turned unto other gods, and served them, and despised Me, and broken My covenant; 21 then it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are come upon them, that this song shall testify before them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed; for I know their imagination how they do even now, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.'

20. provoking me. Heb. וְנִאֲצוּנִי, and they will provoke me to anger. Similarly, any mention of the word נִאוּץ [in Scripture] denotes anger.
21. this song will bear witness against them. that in it, I had warned them concerning all the things that are now befalling them. [Consequently, when they read this song, they will not be able to claim, “Had we known all the evils that would befall us, we would never have transgressed God’s word!”] for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring. This is a promise to Israel that the Torah will never be entirely forgotten by their offspring. — [Shab. 138b]

22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. 23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said: 'Be strong and of good courage; for thou shall bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore unto them; and I will be with thee.' 24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 'Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. 27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck; behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? 28 Assemble unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death ye will in any wise deal corruptly, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the end of days; because ye will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him through the work of your hands.'

[For I know that] after my death, you will surely become corrupted. But actually, throughout all the days of Joshua, they [the Jews] did not become corrupt, for the verse states, “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua” (Jud. 2:7). [What, then, did Moses mean when he said that they would become corrupted after his death? We learn] from here that a person’s disciple is as dear to him as his own self, for as long as Joshua was alive [even after Moses’ passing], for Moses it was as though he himself was alive. [Hence, when Moses said “after my death,” he was in fact alluding to the death of Joshua, thus referring to the period after Joshua’s passing.]

30 And Moses spoke in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished:

My Friend Daniel used to put out a weekly Dvar Torah but I guess he got to busy so for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur he sent me this which I would like to share with everybody:

On Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur, we add several special paragraphs just before the ending of the 3rd blessing of the Amidah, the silent prayer.

The first of these paragraphs asks God to place a sense of awe upon all creatures - man, animal, beasts, birds, fish, plants, trees - everything that God created. Why? "So that all will form agudah achat". Both the words agudah and kevutzah have similar meanings. They both mean a "gathering". But an agudah also implies the concept of "safekeeping" - a sense of permanency and, perhaps, a sense of gathering to learn and achieve a collective goal. What is the purpose of this great gathering of all creatures of God? The end of the paragraph says, "In order to do Your will with a full heart."

Think about it. On Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur, you will be spending almost half the day in prayer in a synagogue with hundreds of other people, many whom you have never met before. If prayer is, essentially, and individual expression of one's heart and thoughts, why not pray at home where you wouldn't be as distracted? The answer is because there is tremendous collective power in the collective prayer of the entire congregation.

As you pray this Rosh Hashanna, realize that you are part of a huge collective family - that of the Jewish people. It doesn't matter that you don't know the person praying next to you. S/he is your family just because s/he is another Jew. You rely on each other, and your collective prayers can change the world.

Everyone is concerned, these days, about being "politically correct". Guess what? Politically correct often is not morally correct. So, when you recite the above words in your Amidah throughout Rosh Hashanna, concentrate on the idea that the sole purpose of praying together is to form a single entity for the purpose of doing God's will - not what the world or some group of people says is "popular".

May God grant you and your family a year of peace, health, and accomplishment. When we pray this year, let us pray most of all for sanity in the world so that Jews shouldn't be the only ones trying to perform God's will but all of creation recognize God's awe and that all creation work together to perform God's will to make the world a better place for everyone.

Children’s Books: Safta Simcha Stories

My grandchildren like cute stories like “Amelia Bedelia” and other funny stories but for a good Jewish Story for kids Yaffa Ganz’s book is what my grandkids like it is available in both Hebrew and English and she has written a lot of books most of whom I don’t know about.



More info:

Connection with Moshiach????????????????!!!!!!!

From the time of Creation, there are three times that Kiddush HaChamah falls on Erev Pesach: the year they left Egypt—it is mentioned in the Talmud that Kiddush HaChamah happened on Erev Pesach on a Wednesday—and the second time was in the year of the redemption of Mordechai and Esther, who then fasted on the 14th, 15th, and 16th [of Nissan]. The third time Kiddush HaChamah occurs on Erev Pesach, not much time will pass before the redemption comes, God willing.

If so, then that is good news, VERY good news. For, the third time that the sun finds itself back in its original position on an Erev Pesach, which has to be on a Wednesday, the day on which it was put in its place during the week of Creation, will be in 2009, or 5769—the eighth year of THIS Sh’mittah cycle! What an amazing coincidence...


Background: Vayikra 16:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD, and died; 2 and the LORD said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I appear in the cloud upon the ark-cover. 3 Herewith shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with the linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired; they are the holy garments; and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and put them on. 5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two he-goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering. 6 And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself, and for his house. 7 And he shall take the two goats, and set them before the LORD at the door of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before the LORD, to make atonement over him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. 11 And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and shall make atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin-offering which is for himself. 12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil. 13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the ark-cover that is upon the testimony, that he die not. 14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the ark-cover on the east; and before the ark-cover shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. 15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the ark-cover, and before the ark-cover. 16 And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, even all their sins; and so shall he do for the tent of meeting, that dwelleth with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 And there shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he goeth in to make atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the children of Israel. 20 And when he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of an appointed man into the wilderness. 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land which is cut off; and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23 And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. 24 And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place and put on his other vestments, and come forth, and offer his burnt-offering and the burnt-offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And the fat of the sin-offering shall he make smoke upon the altar. 26 And he that letteth go the goat for Azazel shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27 And the bullock of the sin-offering, and the goat of the sin-offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be carried forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. 28 And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 29 And it shall be a statute for ever unto you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and shall do no manner of work, the home-born, or the stranger that sojourns among you. 30 For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins shall ye be clean before the LORD. 31 It is a sabbath of solemn rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; it is a statute for ever. 32 And the priest, who shall be anointed and who shall be consecrated to be priest in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, even the holy garments. 33 And he shall make atonement for the most holy place, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar; and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make atonement for the children of Israel because of all their sins once in the year.' And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

"And the Kohanim and the people standing in the Courtyard – when they would hear the glorious, awesome Name, the Ineffable one, emanating from the Kohen Gadol’s mouth, in holiness and purity, they would kneel and prostrate themselves, give thanks and say, ‘Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity.’"

In the middle of the Mussaf service, we recite the Kohen Gadol’s Seder Avodah, order of service. This recalls in a somewhat detailed fashion, the service as performed by the Kohen Gadol in the Holy Temple during the day of Yom Kippur. The Kohen Gadol’s service was both physically and mentally exhausting as it required both physical dexterity (while fasting and having no sleep) and total mental concentration.

The eyes of all Israel were raised towards the Kohen Gadol’s order of service, which began toward the break of dawn. On his success, the atonement of all Israel was dependent. When the Kohen Gadol’s service was performed properly, Israel’s total forgiveness was made manifest for all eyes to see. The Kohen Gadol tied a cord of red painted wool between the horns of the scapegoat. Another such cord had been tied by him around the neck of the goat reserved for the sin-offering, so that it might not be commingled with the other goats held for the remaining offering of the day. The cord used for the scapegoat was later divided in two. One remaining between the scapegoat’s horns, and the other half hung upon the opening of the hallway leading to the Sanctuary, so that all might see it.

In years when the Avodah was accepted by G-d and atonement was granted Israel, both parts of the cord turned white like snow, in accord with the verse, "If your sins should be like red thread, they will turn like snow. (Isaiah Chapter 1) Thereupon all eyes saw G-d’s forgiveness and the hearts of the people rejoiced.

Today, 3 times during the Seder Avodah we prostrate ourselves on the ground as they did in the days of the temple. (By the way, the paper towels given out are not to keep your knees from getting dirty, but rather involve a halachic issue of keeping a separation between you and the ground.) We try to relive and experience, as much as possible, the feelings of inspiration and closeness to G-d that existed in Temple.

On the holiest day of the year, in the holiest place on earth, the holiest man on the planet, uttered the holiest word in the Universe….. Such was the task of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur.

May we all see the rebuilding of Jerusalem today, here in our times.

World Jewish Population Statistics

The following is taken from:

Over the past year, the Jewish population in Israel grew by 85,000, while there was a decrease of 15,000 in the Diaspora. There are 5.55 million Jews in Israel and 7.75 million in the Diaspora, meaning 41.3 percent of World Jewry now resides in the Jewish state.

The United States is next, with 5.3 million Jews, or 39.8%, then France with 490,000, Canada with 375,000, Britain with 295,000, Russia with 215,000 (340,000 in the entire FSU), Argentina with 183,000, Germany with 120,000, Australia with 107,000 and Brazil with 96,000. There are about 1.5 million people in North America who are either Jews married to a non-Jew or are the offspring of a mixed Jewish-non-Jewish couple. According to the Jewish Agency, this is proof that assimilation is growing.

Bielski said the agency would “step up its efforts to provide Jewish education in Diaspora communities and to strengthen the Jewish identity of the new generation and tighten the ties between Israel and the Diaspora.” Other data released by the agency: There is one Jew living in Afghanistan, 95 countries have 100 or more Jews, there are 11 million people living in the US who are eligible for automatic citizenship under the Law of Return, and another million in the FSU.

What type of Cohain is this guy?

CNN reported Sept. 25th that Rep. Hastings, speaking to the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), said, “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.” Addressing the same panel, Rep. Cohen called Jesus “a great Democrat.”

”Representative Hastings stooped to the worst kind of divisive politics yesterday. Hastings’ unconscionable remarks do nothing but sow seeds of fear and divide people,” said Brooks. “There should be no place in our country for this sort of political discourse. We can constructively disagree on the issues without denigrating others. As for the comments made by Rep. Cohen, I do not believe the NJDC would have been as permissive if it had been a Republican calling Jesus ‘a great Republican.’ This sort of rhetoric is inappropriate, offensive and should be repudiated.”

Inyanay Diyoma

Going back to Sanhedrin 97A: “Motzei Shemita Ben Dovid Comes” – The chances of Gog and Magog have greatly increased. The Likud and Labor Parties have almost a united front of this point. This Debka Report seems to have confirmed the inevitability of war only where is our gasmasks somebody’s head will roll after the gas attack.

Friday, Sept. 26, 2008 was the day the policy pursued by Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Shimon Peres, of reliance on the international community to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb, sank without a trace. The international community declined to adopt fresh economic sanctions to rein in an increasingly defiant Tehran. A deal between the US and Russia in New York sealed a very brief non-sanctions draft reaffirming previous council decisions for the five permanent Security Council members and Germany to table. It also called for Iran’s compliance.

This ignored the reality of Iran openly flouting all three previous sanctions resolutions: Tehran continues to enrich uranium, reprocess plutonium, build nuclear-capable missiles and stonewall on International Atomic Energy Agency’s questions and inspections. Even the usually forgiving IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei changed his tune and admitted Thursday that Iran was on its way to “mastering technology that would enable it to build atomic bombs.” Yet no comment has come from Israel, either from the Kadima-nominee for prime minister Tzipi Livni or defense minister, Labor’s Ehud Barak, although ElBaradei was clearly preparing the ground to raise his hands and admit failure in stop Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon capability. The world would have to swallow the pill.

This acceptance was reflected in the West’s backing down on a fourth round of sanctions. Iran, free of fear of retribution, may go forward with its first underground nuclear test some time next year, flaunting the inability of its arch-foes, America and Israel, to prevent it attaining the status of first Islamic nuclear power. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could therefore afford to be cockier than ever when he addressed the UN General Assembly in Nazi-style anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli and anti-American language. Tehran would ignore any council demand imposed by “arrogant powers” to curb its nuclear program, he declared. The issue was closed. The Iranian leader can afford to crow. This week he won solid backing from Iran’s ultimate power, supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called on the nation to give him their support.

This cleared the way for Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president next year and enable him to continue to shepherd the national nuclear weapons program through to completion. He certainly picked up the gap in perception of the program between Israel and the world powers. While Israeli spokesman still refer to a future threat which there is still time to stop, most world leaders appear reconciled to its presence. The collapse of Israel’s foreign policy on this issue came at an unfortunate juncture:

1. The pandemonium in the US-led financial world has removed the Iranian threat from international consciousness.

2. Moscow, Iran and Syria are cementing their partnership, giving Tehran’s nuclear aspirations a strong diplomatic umbrella.

Moscow is pursuing cold war tactics in two new spheres: the Middle East, from its center of gravity in Tehran, and Latin America, resting on Venezuela’s anti-American posture and friendly relations with Iran. Israel’s foreign policy, lame and defensive at the best of times since Livni took over, appears as oblivious as ever to the disastrous developments pressing down on the Jewish state.

Israel gets over the horizon x-band radar from the US:

There are a lot of rumors flying around Israel about Iran but no gas masks have been distributed making all the more so B. Chamish’s arguments plausible.

Exodus Actor Passes away:

CATCH THE REAL CRIMINALS by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator

A pipe bomb lightly injured a prominent member of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now). Nearby were found flyers offering a bounty of one-million shekels to those who would kill members of Shalom Achshav.

This has that old familiar smell of the Left employing Shabak to cast blame on the political Right as the prospect for elections draw near.

The question is: Where to look? Of course, the first choice for the current Israeli Leftist Government and the radical Left NGOs is to blame the Right-wing settlers. The Left and Center have had a field day condemning these pioneering settlers - without a scintilla of proof. When the Left wishes to drum up hysteria against the Right before elections, the Leftist Media are happy to go along.

The (what was termed) "lightly" injured victim has gotten calls and support from all the top politicians. Actually, this event generated much more support for this Professor Sternhall who has made statements which appear to legitimize Muslim Arab Terrorism than support for those who have been seriously injured in Muslim Arab Terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

Arabs attack the wrong pilot:,7340,L-3602788,00.html

Trying to bring Xtians to Eretz Yisrael:

The Candidates on Israel from Y-Net:,7340,L-3602766,00.html

According to sources 67% of Obama’s supporters said that he won the debate while 72% of McCain’s supporters said that he won the debate. A typical response was like this: While waiting in line with her daughter Willow to place her order, a reporter asked Palin if she watched Friday's debate, and what her impressions were. "I did, I did," she said. "McCain did awesome. He was great. He was absolutely on his game." – CNN. Bob Beckel of the Democratic Party thinks that Obama won on points. I personally tend to see it as tied and not what happened in the Kennedy-Nixon debate.

Read this to keep your muscles w/age:

NOT AGAIN! DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that it took Damascus a year to recover from the demolition of its plutonium project at El Kibar in northern Syria, but already the nuclear scientists and technicians who were to have been employed there have been hired for new projects. This time the installations are scattered in different parts of the country. North Korean nuclear experts are back too.

Our military sources describe rising tension between Syria and Israel in the wake of the car bomb explosion Saturday, Sept. 27, which killed 17 people and injured 14 outside a Syrian security installation at Sidi Kadad on the highway to Damascus airport. The victims were not officially identified. Various Arab sources report that one was a Syrian brigadier who was not named. After the attack, DEBKAfile’s sources raised the possibility that it might have targeted people involved in Iranian/Syrian nuclear activity.

Damascus has been wary of accusing Israel of engineering the blast, but unofficial Syrian intelligence sources have indirectly pointed the finger at Israel claiming it was an attempt to spoil Syria’s improving relations with the West. Western intelligence sources note that Syria has been hit in the past year with attacks associated with its clandestine nuclear activities.

The El Kabar reactor was knocked out on Sept. 6, 2007 while it was under construction. On Aug. 2, 2008, Gen. M. Suleiman was shot dead by a sniper in Latakia. He was a key man in the Syrian nuclear program and acted as liaison officer for Damascus with Iran and North Korea. If Saturday’s blast did indeed cause the death of a high Syrian officer involved in the program, it would have been the third consecutive operation against Damascus’ revived application to clandestine nuclear projects.

Place your bets:

Now for M.Wolfberg's Story "Cross over"

Good Shabbos Everyone. We are now in the final approach to Judgment Day, AKA Rosh HaShanah which starts next week Monday evening.
"On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed. Who shall live and who shall die... etc." The gravity of the moment is tremendous.
In order to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, it is appropriate and fitting that each and every Jew do an accounting of his deeds from the past year. And if, heaven forbid, after doing this accounting, a Jew discovers that he has violated the Torah in any way whatsoever, he must do the following: confess to Hashem his wrongdoings, feel shame and regret for the misdeeds, and accept on himself never to repeat those misdeeds.
A Jews who follows such a formula, is assured that Hashem will forgive him for all but the most serious of violations. As far as violations in our relationships with others, we must seek out those whom we have wronged and ask for their forgiveness
Let us now tell an inspirational true story which recently took place, which will inspire us all to mend our ways before the Big Day.
If only the abbot could see Justo Jorge Calderon now. With curling peyos dangling below his chin and the long black cloak of his small hassidic sect hanging off his broad shoulders, Calderon sure doesn't look like a Benedictine monk anymore. Besides, he goes by Aharon now, and he is the proud father of three little Jewish children. Calderon's story is one of those stranger-than-fiction tales that grows more intriguing the longer it goes on. Fortunately, it's also one he doesn't mind sharing....
It begins in a small town outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Justo Jorge was born into a family of Roman Catholics. "Today I am a very kosher Jew," the 36-year-old says with a smile, "but once I was a very kosher goy."
When Calderon was 12, he says, his parents sent him to a private religious school to get a better education than the public schools provided. Before long he was spending extra time studying with the monks. At 14, he joined the pre-mission seminar. "I was young and idealistic," he explains with a shrug. After high school, with his religious zeal increasing, Calderon went looking for the "ancient, original teachings" of Catholicism.
The local Benedictine monastery offered the oldest, "purest" form of Catholicism life around. Based on a 1,400-year-old order and centered around a largely self-sustaining "holy village," it meant spending most of the day in silence, reflecting on what they thought was the "divine."
Although Calderon's parents weren't happy about his commitment to the monastic life - he's their only son, and they hoped for grandchildren - the young man felt at home in the Benedictine monastery. At home, that is, until he experienced what he calls "my two surprises." The first came in the monastery's library. One of the largest around, it helped make the monastery famous, Calderon says. Of the thousands of volumes it held, though, one particular book would change his life.
"One day," he says, "I chanced upon a Haggada, in Spanish and Hebrew. I was drawn to it, and read it from beginning to end, in amazement." At the end of the Seder service, Calderon read the prayer looking forward to celebrating the Pesach holiday "next year in Jerusalem - Jerusalem rebuilt" and stared at a drawing of the Third Temple.
Calderon sat in silence - not his usual contemplative silence, but a stunned silence. Justo Jorge Calderon. "Catholicism," he explains, "looks at Judaism as something of an archeological concept, not as something that is still alive, relevant and flourishing... Looking at this prayer at the end of the Haggada, I was shocked that modern Jews still nurtured hopes for the future of their religion."
The discovery rocked Calderon, but he was still unsure what to make of it. Shortly thereafter, though, he experienced his second "surprise," which sent his spiritual quest in an entirely unforeseen direction. It came on one of his weekly visits to the abbot of the monastery.
Upon entering the abbot's study, Calderon found him poring over a Hebrew Bible. (The abbot, Calderon learned, had once studied in Jerusalem, and was comparing ancient texts.) "I was fascinated by the language," he recalls. "I wanted to know, what secrets are in those letters?" By that point Calderon had spent several years in the monastery and, although he was well on his way to a permanent stay there, he returned to his home for a planned one- or two-year break.
Once at home he began attending classes at the Catholic-run university in town and working as a nurse for the Red Cross. But, with his "surprises" spurring him on, Calderon also sought out Jews who would be willing to teach him Hebrew. At the time, conversion was not on his mind. "I just wanted to know how JC prayed," he says.
On Friday nights, Calderon attended services at a local synagogue where the rabbi agreed to let him join the weekly Hebrew class. He also discovered a Messianic Jewish congregation, and prayed there as well. Thus began a period when, Calderon recalls, he would pray to JC while in synagogue on Friday night, and wear a kippa to church on Sunday morning. To Calderon, these interreligious prayer sessions didn't seem like a contradiction.
"It sounds strange," he admits, "but at the time, it made sense to me. Judaism was not 'outside' Catholicism, but part of it... like an ancestor." Soon, however, something in the Shabbos prayers struck Calderon, and shook the foundations of his faith.
It was part of the Shabbos morning kiddush, specifically, the passage from Exodus that says: "And the Children of Israel observed the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath for their generations an eternal covenant. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever..."
"This expression stuck in my mind," Calderon says, repeating the words. "'It is a sign forever.'" "That meant," he says, "that there is an eternal bond, established by Hashem. And since Hashem does not change, then that bond" - the sign observed by Jews, marking Saturday as the Sabbath - "must still be in effect!"
Why, Calderon asked himself, would the Church move the Sabbath day to Sunday, if it wasn't really a day sanctified by Hashem? The question was more than a little troubling to Calderon. After all, if Sunday was not really the holy Sabbath, and if Hashem's covenant with the Jews had not been abrogated and superseded by Catholicism, then maybe other tenets of the Catholic religion were also not true.
Calderon stopped going to church. "Everything I believed," he says, "just fell apart." He started a conversion class at the local Reform synagogue. When the synagogue closed down due to financial difficulties, Calderon sought out more Jews and discovered the local Chabad rabbi.
Rather than eagerly welcome a new convert, the rabbi at first tried to dissuade Calderon. "He would say, 'Why would you want to be Jewish? We have so many commandments, while non-Jews need only to observe the Noahide laws. Besides, you are already a good person in Hashem's eyes!'"
This, however, only made Calderon's desire to convert even greater. "Until then, I had thought that Judaism was a religion of strictness and law, whereas Catholicism was a religion of love. But suddenly I realized that it was really the opposite." "You see," he explains, "in Catholicism, if you don't believe in JC you can't go to heaven. But in Judaism, there is a place in heaven for everyone; you don't have to be Jewish. So really, Catholicism is the religion of strictness, and Judaism is the religion of love!"
After a period of "trying it out," Calderon knew that he wanted to convert, and that he wanted to move to Israel to do so. There was just one problem: finances. "A ticket to Israel cost $1,200. As a nurse, I was only making $200 a month. How could I ever afford to go to Israel?" he says. The situation was bleak. But then something miraculous happened. There was a raffle in Calderon's town, with a grand prize of a new ambulance; he entered.
Just before Rosh Hashana, Calderon was informed that he had won the grand prize. He sold the ambulance and, suddenly able to afford the airfare, flew to Israel.
At first, Calderon, in his new identity as Aharon, studied at a yeshiva for potential converts. But within a few months the yeshiva had closed. In early 1999, Calderon met Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum and joined the Spanish speakers' ulpan Rabbi Birbuam's wife had just started.
Around Rosh Hashana that year, Calderon underwent a bris mila. Before Succos, he entered a mikva and completed his conversion. Back home in Argentina, there was little celebrating going on. Although Calderon's mother was happy that he would, having given up the monastic life, provide her with grandchildren, several family members told Calderon, "If you're Jewish, don't come back here."
"A few years earlier, I had realized that love, hate and jealousy were separated only by a fine line," Calderon says. "I made a choice to love the Jewish people. Later, I began to see the hatred that some people in my town had for Jews." Calderon currently serves as a gabbai in the Stropkover shul in Jerusalem.
If a non-Jew who was saturated with impurity can turn his life around and purify himself and change his ways so drastically, then surely we too can change in the coming year. Good Shabbos and L'Shana Tovah Everyone.

M. Wolfberg's Stories are sponsored by:Hashem should help that Shosha Malka bas Golda be forever free of pain and suffering Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi

Have a peaceful Shabbos and a good sealing in the book of life, health and happiness.

Be well and an easy and productive fast to you,

Rachamim Pauli