This year as a prelude to a deeper Midrashic and Kabbalistic View Next Year, I am going to look into the Creation Story of Pasha Beresheis from a Scientific and Religious view of creation. I will argue both the 5769 year literal creation story and the pros of the billions of year’s story and their relevance inside of the Torah framework. For this I call upon all my resources from my atheistic days in Advanced Chemistry Classes at the age of 16 to the books of Prof. Gerald Schroeder and Professor Nathan Aviezer. Even a memory quote or two from the writings of a Ben Noach in the book “In Search of Noah’s Ark” which I read close to 35 years ago.
I want to start off with the Glatt Kosher writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe under the site by the known Kabbalist Dr. Rabbi Ginsburg http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm My object here is to open up the mind of the G-D fearing people to all the physical theories on the creation of the universe and one need not fear either being literal or not liberal in the interpretation of the physical creation of the world. Our best example in the Torah is from Parsha Mishpatim where we interpret Shemos 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe as monetary compensation and not literal so too perhaps here it is not literal. I am a wee bit behind in my science in that the latest theory of the earth being in a stellar bubble or parallel universes are newer theories and things I have no plan on covering.
Dr. Aryeh Shore wrote on the Torah Forum: As we have said many times, the written text has numerous interpretations. Judaism does not have a dogma on what we believe. We do have the Rambam's 13 principles but as discussed not everyone agreed with them. In any event, no one ever suggested that when the world was created or in how many days was a dogma. Otherwise Rashi and the Kabbalists would be heretics!
He even broke down the time line as follows: Theories of creation time:
1. Hashem's time isn't our time, a thousand years is second before you.
2. Kabbalistic. For a hundred million years the world was created and destroyed. The remnants however remain.
3. Midrashic. Two world's of fire and two of ice preceded this world. Again the remnants remain.
4. Relativistic. Until man is created and stands in one place, everything is happening at the speed of light, so a billion years seems like one second to a fixed observer.
5. Existialistic. The universe was created in millisecond (Rashi). The six days are just to give the universe a meaning, it was good.
Yacov Glicksman Zal wrote in his book “Oh What a Fool am I” the famous clock maker theory. One sees a clock that is ticking away. Somebody made it and it says 6 O’clock. We do not know if it was just completed and wound up to 6 O’clock or so and so many billions of years it was placed there. Yacov’s argument was that the age of the earth is based on Uranium decay into Lead. Thus we find x amount of lead and y amount of uranium and conclude that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. But what would happen if 5769 years ago the same quantity of uranium and lead were placed on the planet from the initial creation which took place microseconds before, would we know the difference?
Professor Natan Aviezer told me that Professor Weinberg (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/weinberg-autobio.html ) wrote a book called “The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe” which covers the start of the Big Bang in a mere 150 pages or more - so obviously I have not broached the subject but have given one an idea that processes were going on which would lead to a whole Universe and in a minimum time frame that makes all the believers happy it is from this point that literal belief and science divulge as the Stellar Distances make the age billions of years old unless somebody can show the existence of a time/space warp due to the big bang itself.
1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. (Little Modern Israeli joke about anti-religious and anti-Eretz Yisrael people: There is a big movement in Israel Today and they have the Press on their Side call the return the Universe to Tuho V'Buhu v'Choshech movement called Peace Now.) 3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
The Talmud in Arachim discusses the creation of the world. Sometimes our Sages had a solar centric theory but since the geocentric theory was popular in Greece, they used that theory to explain creation to Alexander the Great. They said that it became to dangerous to discussion creation from the time that HASHEM was by HIMSELF in the world as philosophically it could destroy the human mind. Emmanuel Kant put it in other words that it was beyond human comprehension. So therefore the discussion here can only start off with Hawkins theory. In the beginning there was a massive super-dense universe compacted into the size of a pea. From here all the material we know from atoms to subatomic particles to vast multi-galaxy systems was recreated in two words “Vayechi Ohr” and the big bang occurred! The muons, pisons, electrons, neutrons, neutrinos, protons, quarks, etc. all burst forth and great radiation and rays shot out and atoms combined from the still pressurized areas and the heat. It did not take much for Hydrogen to combine into Helium and perhaps rarer for Helium and Hydrogen into Lithium or Helium and Helium atoms fusing into Beryllium, or Helium and Lithium or Hydrogen and into Boron and the process going on in split seconds to Carbon, Nitrogen or Oxygen, etc. From this coming from other processes and eventually in these split seconds burning of two Hydrogen and one oxygen atoms into water or Carbon and Hydrogen into CH4 or more complex this or even when Nitrogen “got in the way” into Amino acids. All this in pico or nano seconds from the initial big bang. The RNA and DNA might not have been stable enough under the pressure and heat until the cooling process took place. (Don’t get me wrong since the temperature of outer space is close to zero Kelvin, I have no idea of the cooling and stabilizing of these molecules and the time periods involved under scientific theories) The primeval light, radiation and heat would be enough to support plant life without a sun.
At this point the literal creationists and the non-literal creationists do not disagree. On the Torah Forum a fellow named Gedaliah pointed out that the Torah writes in Hebrew not Ba Sheshes Yomim (in six days) but Ki Sheshes Yomim (Shemos 20:10 for six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.). The difference of within six days vs. as like six days makes the gigantic difference. The Kabbalist and Scientists have no problem with this process taking more than minutes in fact the claim is that stars and galaxies began forming about 300 to 500 million years after the big bang. If you want to tell me that it was 5 minutes, I really don’t care one way or the other as nothing is impossible for HASHEM! I have not problem either way as my firm belief is that man was created 5769 years ago although as I will mention there are some Frum Jews who hold that the Second Temple lasted longer and our count is off by about 162 years based on non-Jewish history and references so it would be 5931 or so since Adam and Chava were created in the spiritual image of HASHEM Yisborach. Since they are the minority according to Jewish law we go according to the majority (after the mass of Torah Scholars to err). (Why bring down this minor opinion, because I am taking on all arguments so as not to appear unfair to any possible Torah and/or scientific thought.)
An aside note that a certain Reform Jewish atheist by the name of Richard Pauli pointed out to me back approximately in the year 5723 that it makes no astronomical sense and Professor Natan Aviezer Shlita agrees with this in his works that before the earth and sun are in sync and secondarily the lunar system it makes absolutely no chronological sense to have a measurement of a 24 hour day. This occurred only on Wednesday (see two weeks ago Berachos HaChamah). So at this point we can say as in Psalms 90:4 “A day in the sight of the L-RD is a thousand years” or as the Kabbalist have it billions of years or you can try to persist on believing a 24 hour day period – it is just the great distances of the galaxies that bother me. Tell me that you have a light/heat wave/matter theory that can answer all this in 24 hours and you are on if you have the math to prove it. (Remember the Universe according to Physicists is 11 Dimensions at least and according to Kabbalists 10 Sefiros and Ayn Sof above them so this might work with the proper theory – Axiom again NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HASHEM YISBORACH!) I personally like the Rambam’s view that HE works miracles through natural means which gives us the longer time period.
It is brilliance of the divine authorship of the Torah that allows a child to understand 6 days his way and a quantum physicist to understand 6 days his way, and it comes out to the same metaphysical concept. – Kira
6 And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Does water below the Rakiah (Firmament = Atmosphere) and above the Rakiah make any astronomical sense? Professor Aviezer quoting my old boss Dr. Fred Whipple of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory notes that comets are “dirty snowballs” and they are plentiful in our own Solar System. Just don’t ask me how or why G-D did this as it is hidden for future physical events such as planetary exploration or whatever. From our standpoint HE did it. Did it take a nano second or so and so many years no one but the CREATOR knows and the time should not bother us one way or the other it is a fact!
9 And God said: 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.' And it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said: 'Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.' And it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
As I have pointed out once you have water, organic chemicals and radiation from the big band it is easy enough for plant life, germs, viruses, etc. to exist without a solar system for an untold amount of time. Was it the literal 24 hours or each time period a few billion years, I don’t think it should bother any of us as long as we see a DIVINE PRESENSE guiding the creation. That it was end caused by a beginning thought and how long the physical development of the something or life from nothing occurred is of no concern to us as believers as long as HASHEM was guiding, is guiding and will be guiding HIS creation forever. Plant life exists in near boiling temperatures of the Yellowstone Geysers and any park ranger can point that out to people who see the “Morning Glory Pool”. Many plants and cells can survive sub-freezing temperatures and the evergreen trees on mountains and the tundra grass in Alaska are good examples. We do not know the various temperatures that the original plants survived. We know that the plants and fruit bearing trees provided a basis for herbivorous animals whom the carnivorous feed upon for our whole food chain.
14 And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.' And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
The forming of the son and the earth or earth/moon being captured and placed in the solar system with a proper amount of radiation and distance to sustain life as we know it. It is obvious to us that on Mercury and Venus, life as we know it on Earth could not exist because of the extreme heat and radiation or with the thick or thin atmospheres on the planets mentioned. The Marian Planet has temperature extremes and lack of an atmosphere and water and anything further away would be too cold unless there was a constant geothermic support on the planet for heating up a live able area. There are beautiful Midrashim on this subject about the moon complaining of two rulers but that is not for the commentary this year. Again, I wish to repeat that without a 24 hour rotation on the earth’s axis and without the yearly rotation of the earth around the sun there is no real ability to measure days and years as we know it. All this could have taken place in 12,000,000 years until this point. There would have been no first day from our standardization of daily measure until the solar day was established.
During the time of creation G-D didn't actually create fish or birds in the direct manner he created humans "let the waters bring forth." – Arieh (Also in 1:24 the same.)
What is meant by “Tanninim HaGedolim” (great alligators – lizards – dragons)? From Sefer Yetzirah the meaning is Draco the Dragon that 6000 years ago the North Star was Telle the main star in the dragon. This could be some sort of proof of remaining dinosaurs in modern man’s life time. However, it could refer to the skeletons of dinosaurs found readily on earth. The original meaning was clear to Adam – Metushelah – Noah – Avraham – Yacov – Levi – Amram – Aaron and Moshe as basically there was only 8 different generations of Oral Torah from Adam to Aaron and Moshe even though physically they lived in the 26th generation. However, with the destruction of the Temple, we have basically all but lost the true physical meaning of these animals. Tannin is also the wording of Moshe’s rod turning into a serpent. This concept has not left me satisfied with any one explanation and I only see various possibilities.
24 And God said: 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind.' And it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that crept upon the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26 And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that crept upon the earth.' 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
The real question is "Why did G-D create man in his spiritual/intellectual image and place him on the earth?"
The idea of creating man from the spiritual and from the earth was to be a sort of spiritual conducting interface to raise the mundane into that of the spiritual realm. Some men succeed; some contribute nothing either way and some fail miserable.
28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that crept upon the earth.' 29 And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food; 30 and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that crept upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food.' And it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:4 These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. 5 No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground; 6 but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Life expectancy: 25 And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begot Lamech. 26 And Methuselah lived after he begot Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begot sons and daughters. 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died.
According to Professor Aviezer’s book on Fossils and Faith, the human body has a theoretical life span limit of 1350 years which is the original design per the Medrash and 35% spare. For the Medrash states that all animals except the Phoenix ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Phoenix lives 1000 years flies into a fire or volcano and dies. Out of the ashes comes the new Phoenix. Nice Medrash but lets take it with a grain of salt for now because of the scientific community.
Ethiopian Jewry story will appear ble neder in two weeks, next week I am on vacation.
In lieu of this story check out the following Jewish note of brotherly love!
thanks to Elio
Miracle of the year? http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128033
BARACK OBAMA, JEWISH-AMERICANS & ISRAEL By David Bedein, The Bulletin forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator
What you will read in the following is absolutely accurate! These men, who may be evil, are advisors to Barack Hussein Obama on critical issues of Israel's life or death, the Muslim Arab Palestinians and, of course, Saudi Arabia. The American people are going to complain bitterly once Obama and his wife become masters of the White House. The loudest sobs will come from American Jews who were tricked again, as were the Jews of Europe into thinking that this could not be happening.
When Obama begins to disassemble the Jewish State of Israel, they will deny their guilt in participating by playing the roles they have chosen in destroying the Jewish nation. Americans too will suffer under the control of the Obamas and their Marxist collaborators. They will call it "The New Socialism".
Barack Obama, Jewish-Americans And Israel By David Bedein, The Bulletin 10/15/2008 http://tinyurl.com/4w8eqy
OBAMA, McCAIN & ISRAEL'S NATIONAL SECURITY by YORAM ETTINGER forwarded with comment by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & Commentator
As usual, Yoram Ettinger's clear thinking and perspective brings a certain clarity to the America/Israel relationship. Israel awaits the change from the failed legacy of the Bush/Rice regime which accepts a nuclear-armed Iran and fumbles the challenge of a nuclear North Korea - both of whom are key suppliers to radical Islamist Terrorists.
Israel's national security has even been abandoned even by her own government, now led by Ehud Olmert, Tzippi Livni, Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres.
Regrettably, Jews seem uneducable to their own peril.
COMMENTS BY EMANUEL A. WINSTON
OBAMA, McCAIN & ISRAEL'S NATIONAL SECURITY by YORAM ETTINGER
The policy of US presidents, toward Israel, is a derivative of their worldview, and not of their campaign statements and position papers.
A world view shapes presidential attitude toward Israel as a strategic asset or a liability and toward Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria and the Golan Heights. A presidential worldview determines the scope of the US posture of deterrence in face of Middle East and global threats, which directly impacts Israel's national security.
For example, President Nixon was not a friend of the US Jewish community and was not a leader of pro-Israeli legislation in the US Senate. In 1968, he received only about 15% of the Jewish vote. However, his worldview recognized Israel's importance to US national security, as was demonstrated in 1970, when Israel rolled back a Syrian invasion of Jordan, preventing a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Persian Gulf. It was Nixon's worldview which led him to approve critical military shipments to Israel - during the 1973 War - in defiance of the Arab oil embargo and brutal pressure by the Saudi lobby in Washington, and in spite of the Democratic pattern of the Jewish voters.
On the other hand, President Clinton displayed an affinity toward Judaism, the Jewish People and the Jewish State. However, his worldview accepted Arafat as a national liberation leader, elevated him to the most frequent guest at the White House, underestimated the threat of Islamic terrorism, unintentionally facilitated its expansion from 1993 (first "Twin Tower" attack) to the 9/11 terrorist tsunami, adding fuel to the fire of Middle East and global turbulence.
How would the worldview of Obama, McCain and their advisors shape US policy toward Israel?
1. According to McCain, World War 3 between Western democracies and Islamic terror/rogue regimes is already in process. According to Obama, the conflict is with a radical Islamic minority, which could be dealt with through diplomacy, foreign aid, cultural exchanges and a lower US military profile. Thus, McCain's world view highlights - while Obama's world view downplays - Israel's role as a strategic ally. McCain recognizes that US-Israel relations have been shaped by shared values, mutual threats and joint interests and not by frequent disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict.
2. According to Obama, the US needs to adopt the world view of the Department of State bureaucracy (Israel's staunchest critic in Washington), pacify the knee-jerk-anti-Israel-UN, move closer to the Peace-at-any-Price-Western Europe and appease the Third World, which blames the West and Israel for the predicament of the Third World and the Arabs. On the other hand, McCain contends that the US should persist - in defiance of global odds - in being the Free World's Pillar of Fire, ideologically and militarily.
3. According to Obama, Islamic terrorism constitutes a challenge for international law enforcement agencies and that terrorists should be brought to justice. According to McCain, they are a military challenge and should be brought down to their knees. Obama's passive approach adrenalizes the veins of terrorists and intensifies Israel's predicament, while McCain's approach bolsters the US' and Israel's war on terrorism.
4. Obama and his advisors assume that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, poverty, erroneous US policy and US presence on Muslim soil in the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, McCain maintains that Islamic terrorism is driven by ideology, which considers US values (freedom of expression, religion, media, movement, market and Internet) and US power a most lethal threat that must be demolished. McCain's worldview supports Israel's battle against terrorism, demonstrating that the root cause of the Arab-Israel conflict is not the size - but the existence - of Israel.
5. Contrary to McCain, Obama is convinced - just like Tony Blair - that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western Islamic terrorism, and therefore requires a more assertive US involvement, exerting additional pressure on Israel. The intriguing assumption that a less-than-hundred year old Palestinian issue is the root cause of 1,400 year old inter-Arab Middle East conflicts and Islamic terrorism, would deepen US involvement in Israel-Palestinians negotiations and transform the US into more of a neutral broker and less of a special ally of Israel, which would drive Israel into sweeping concessions.
Obama's worldview would be welcomed by supporters of an Israeli rollback to the 1949 cease-fire lines, including the re-partitioning of Jerusalem and the opening of the "Pandora Refugees' Box." On the other hand, McCain's worldview adheres to the assumption that an Israeli retreat would convert the Jewish State from a power of deterrence to a punching bag, from a producer - to a consumer - of national security and from a strategic asset to a strategic burden in the most violent, volatile and treacherous region in the world.
This article by Chuck Brooks is the best I've seen. Please forward it to your lists. E & G Winston
George Bush has been in office for 7 1/2 years. The first six the economy was fine.
A little over a year and a half ago:
1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2-1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.
4) The DOW JONES hit a record high -- 14,000+
5) American's were buying new cars, taking cruises and vacations overseas, living large!
But American's wanted 'CHANGE'! So, in 2006 they voted in a Democratic Congress & yep -- we got 'CHANGE' all right!
1) Consumer confidence has plummeted;
2) Gasoline is now over $3.75 a gallon & climbing;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 trillion dollars & prices are still dropping;
5) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.
6) THE DOW is probing another low ~11,300 -- $2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS HAS EVAPORATED FROM THEIR STOCKS, BONDS & MUTUAL FUNDS INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS! – To think that this was a letter with Rosh Hashanah greetings sent only a little over two weeks ago after which the down fell to below 8000 during one trading session (try ’97) as a retired person depending on a little income on the side and some interest, I was hit very hard myself and with negative income my Kollel does not get 10% Maaser Money and charities such as Zaka, Children’s Aid Fund, etc. don’t get anything either from me.
YEP, IN 2006 AMERICA VOTED FOR CHANGE! AND WE GOT IT! A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, NANCY PELOSI. HARRY REID.
Now the Democrats' candidate for president -- claims he's gonna really give us change! Just how much more 'change' do you think you can stand?
America met Joe the Plumber last week. But a pro-market economist writing over a hundred years ago was already familiar with Joe Wurzelbacher and Americans like him -- and understood how they are used and exploited by politicians.
"They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion -- that the state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man."
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Yom Story: He called it “Russian Do Good”. Reminds me of the J. Kern Song: “You can’t take that away from me; No, you can’t take that away from me.”
Good Yom Tov Everyone. Tonight begins Sukkos, which we refer to in the nusach of davening as Zman Simchanseinu - a time of our great rejoicing. Being that the Sages chose to refer to this yom tov as a time of "our" rejoicing, perhaps there is message that is calling out to us Jews: Namely, that we should reach out to others at this time of the year to include them in our rejoicing. On the first night of Sukkos, we invite the Ushpizin - the soul of the Avrohom, into our Sukkas. Avrohom represents the mida - character trait of welcoming guests, which is an act of kindness. Let us relate the following true story which illustrates the power of reaching out to other Jews with a show of love.
The year 1935; the place was Yaktrinoslov Russia. Stalin, may his name be cursed forever, had total control of the bodies, minds and hearts of hundreds of millions of Russians. He was revered by them as well as Communists the world over as 'The Luminary of the Nations'. Leftists, and Kibutzniks in Israel actually displayed his picture on their lunchroom walls as the living example of good and progress!
So it was no wonder that the Jew who had been the gabbai of the 'Great Synagogue of Yaktrinoslov' got swept up in the Communist fervor, changed his Jewish sounding name from 'Gershon' to Grisha and got a new job - as an outside informer for the secret police (N.K.V.D).
The Party even had him appointed as manager of the apartment building he lived in and he fulfilled his job faithfully; to spy on one of the tenants in his apartment building; the chief Rabbi of the city, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Shneerson.
Every suspicious move, every visitor, even every phone call (the Rabbi's phone was tapped) he reported. He couldn't wait to catch him in some 'sin' and even took to occasionally following him when he left the apartment. In fact, as time passed and Grisha read more and more 'party' literature he came to detest anything that reminded him of his 'dark, past' and it was all rolled up into this Rabbi.
Communism was young, fresh, enlightening the world!! Soon it would free all mankind from the bonds of 'religion' and 'bourgeois oppression'. And the Rabbi was trying to stop it! But for some reason he didn't just make up a story about him and have him taken away, as he could easily do. In fact he still found it hard to actually stop observing the Torah like the Sabbath and a few other commandments.
Then, one winter night about half past midnight when Grisha was sound asleep he was awakened by a knocking at his door. 'Who could it be at this time of the night?' he thought to himself. Certainly it wasn't the police; when they paid midnight visits they would almost break the door down so as to petrify their prospective 'victims'. This was a quiet steady knocking. He peeked through the peep hole in the door and thought he saw....His enemy! The Rabbi! What did he want at this hour of the night?!
He opened the door a bit and began to say something, but something about the Rabbi's face and eyes did something to him. "May I come in?" The Rabbi asked and Grisha opened wider. The Rabbi entered, closed the door after him but for some reason Grisha had trouble turning and looking him directly in the face.
"Listen Grisha" said the Rabbi putting his hands on Grisha's shoulders "I trust you. I believe you are a friend and I trust you." Grisha wanted to protest. He even began to say that he was an informer, but he couldn't say the word. 'Not only that', the thought crossed his mind like a fleeting black crow, 'maybe now I'll get the incriminating evidence!'
But he looked at the Rabbi's eyes and felt ashamed. The Rabbi continued speaking softly, he was aware of the danger. "Tonight about an hour ago an old woman knocked at my door. Are you listening Grisha?" he shook his head yes.
The Rabbi continued, "I let her in and she began weeping. She explained that her daughter found someone to marry. A Jewish fellow that works in the Communist headquarters with her but they were going to make a civil wedding, not according to Jewish law. But this lady decided that her daughter had to get a proper Jewish wedding and, despite the fact that they are sworn atheists, she actually convinced them to do it.
"Of course this is a great risk on their part. If they get caught they will be fired from their work and possibly jailed and murdered. But they too showed up at my door about five minutes later because they didn't want to attract attention. "The situation was dangerous. I had to work quickly but also cautiously. they had to be Jews that wouldn't breathe a word of what happened. I left my house to find nine other Jews to have a minyan present.
"But why.." Grisha tried to protest. He was being spiritually dwarfed in the presence of this old Rabbi. Why didn't he just sit and learn Torah like the other Rabbis. Why were he and these other people, the bride and groom and her mother risking their lives. for what?" Grisha was deep in thought.
The Rabbi voice broke through, "I could only find eight other Jews, with me it makes nine. We need you." Grisha realized that the Rabbi was no fool and knew full well what that he was a spy. But now he needed him and he trusted him with his life and the lives of others. It was in his hands. He motioned for the Rabbi to wait, slipped on a pair of pants and a shirt over his pajamas, put on his shoes and followed the Rabbi up the stairs to his apartment.
There were several other Jews, a young man and woman and an older woman as the Rabbi said and eight others. They glanced at Grisha and then at the Rav with confusion. But the Rav wasted no time. He sat the couple down, asked them a few questions, wrote a marriage document, produced a bottle of wine and then told everyone to stand and spread a large prayer shawl (Tallit) high over the bride and groom as a wedding canopy. Then he began the short ceremony. Everything was silent except for the Rabbis voice. It was as though they had entered a time tunnel. He read the marriage document, the groom put a ring on the bride's finger, the Rabbi made several blessings... And that was it. Everyone smiled and whispered 'Mazal Tov!! The Bride and her mother were crying with joy. The groom was crying with joy, the men around were shaking hands and kissing each other in joy.
Only the Rabbi was still. His eyes were afire with love of the Creator. They didn't dare sing or dance lest they attract attention. which would mean death for them all but their hearts spoke louder than words. Then something happened to Grisha that he had only experienced as a child. He felt happy. In moments, one by one they silently exited the Rabbi's house and descended the stairs into the darkness.
Until only Grisha was left. He took out his wallet and handed the Rebbe a card. "What is this?" he asked. "This, Rebbe, is my Party Membership card. I don't need it anymore. From now on I'm loyal to you and your G-d. I'm a Jew, Rebbe. I'm a Jew! And no one can take that from me. You were right, you can trust me. Good Yom Tov Everyone.
Next week, I will be on vacation visiting my US children and will try but doubt that I can get out the Drasha. The Drasha on Noach/Lech Lecha will appear ble Neder with the Ethiopian Jewry Story.
Have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbos,