Monday, December 1, 2008

Parsha Toldos, J. Pollard, Stories

Please say tehillim for a two year old girl who has pulmonary hypertension and is undergoing surgery in the next few weeks.? Her name is Chana Ahuva Tova bat Ronit Ester. Psalms are no longer needed for Natan ben Masha.

22:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. I read somewhere that this is the only passage in the Bible where it says ‘He loved her’. Speaking of a man’s love for a woman. The mystical love spoken of in Song of Songs is beautiful, but it’s not generally thought to be specifically referring to a specific man and a specific woman. And though Song of Songs speaks of such love as to make one’s heart faint, still, it doesn’t come right out and say ‘He loved her’….like this passage in our parsha. I think often of how beautiful their love for each other must have been, if it was the only place in the Torah to say ‘He loved her’. K. Gill

Davka (thus) also on the subject of love: From Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson Shlita

Three Matches

The Midrash relates (1) that three of the greatest men of the Jewish faith encountered their future wives at wells of water. Their names were Isaac, Jacob and Moses.This week’s Torah portion (Chayei Sarah) relates how Isaac – the second of the Jewish patriarchs – met his bride, Rebecca, while returning from a well. In two weeks time, in the portion of Vayeitzei we will read the detailed story of how Jacob, the third of the Jewish patriarchs, found his young bride, Rachel, at a well located at the outskirts of Charan, a City in Mesopotamia (2). The same occurred with regard to Moses (3). He, too, encounters his future wife near a well in Midian. We could understand the site of a stream or a river as being conducive for romance. Many a proposal has been made near water. The sight of water evokes charming and enchanting emotions in human hearts and it represents the quality of bonding, since it serves to join distinctly different objects to each other (4). But what was it about underground and small wells that were not even exposed – a big rock covered them most of the time (5) – that brought about the union of the progenitors of the Jewish nation?And why was it these three men in particular – Isaac, Jacob and Moses – who decided to cast their lots with a well?
The Path to Marriage
Like all of the stories in the Torah, this one, too, contains psychological and spiritual symbolisms, allowing it to become a timeless tale that may assist us in our own efforts to find a spouse and maintain a meaningful relationship with that person. A well, unlike other pools of water, contains opposite components. On one hand, the well is of no value without human effort and toil. Unlike the readily exposed rain or ocean water, we must dig hard and deep, to uncover the spring of water hidden below the crust of the earth (5). On the other hand, we human beings do not create, generate or even enhance the flow of water of the well; our efforts merely expose that which already exists fully, prior to our labor.This is the Torah approach to marriage as well. We do not create our personal wellspring of love. Through our efforts we merely expose a relationship that has already been welded by G-d prior to our birth (6), in the words of the Zohar (7), “A wife and her husband are two halves of the same soul.”The connection is there beforehand; the flow of love (symbolized by water) from your soul to your future spouse’s soul is already in existence. It may however be completely concealed and the human job is to search, dig and expose that inner connection.The marriages of Isaac, Jacob and Moses came about particularly through much sweat and toil. Abraham needed to send his servant to another country – Mesopotamia – loaded with a ton of wealth to search for a bride for his son Isaac. Even after the servant found Rebecca, he needed to work hard to persuade her family to let her go. Jacob labored 14 years for his wife Rachel. Finally, Moses battled with the shepherds of Midian in order to win the hand of his bride, Tzeporah.Since they labored so hard to find their spouse, we might have thought, that they believed their marriage to be a consequence of their tremendous efforts alone? Thus the Torah informs us that precisely these three men found their women at wells of water. This symbolized their own attitude towards finding a spouse: The relationship, just like a well, is a preexisting reality. But since it is hidden beneath the surface of the earth, each person is called upon to do his or her part in digging.If you dig with perseverance, enthusiasm and faith, G-d will guide you to your well.
Endless Dating
Many people today delay their marriages for years or even decades out of fear that they do not know their partner well enough. The New York and Los Angeles dating scene is well known for this. The truth, of course, is that even after dating for 8 years, you still do not know your partner well enough to prepare you for what the future might bring. Marriage, children, aging, maturing and the multitudes of life’s experiences change people in ways that most of us cannot anticipate. Though it is critical that you know the person you are marrying and that you do NOT overlook abusive or dysfunctional qualities that may destroy the relationship and the future family, you can’t ever be fully prepared for marriage. A certain leap is required. When we find a person with whom we want to share our life, an individual who shares our values and priorities, and we are both committed to hold hands through thick and thin, then we need to jump into the well, recognizing that ultimately we do not create our relationship-wells, and if we do what we have to do – if we dig hard and deep enough – G-d will guide us to the right well that He prepared for us.
Just as we cannot create a well, we can neither destroy it. We can stuff it, obstruct it or divert its flow, but we cannot annihilate it. It is not a car we can lose in Los Vegas. The three spiritual giants who became engaged at wells also taught us this message about relationships.When you experience a conflict with your spouse or you simply become aware of strong differences that drive you worlds apart, do not conclude that the relationship is dead. A married couple must remember that, in most cases, the split between them is an aberration of their true condition, because it is G-d who created the connection between wife and husband, designing them as “two halves of one soul.” Sadly, there are exceptions to this rule. In some cases the marriage cannot be salvaged because the well has either dried out or it was never there to begin with. From a Torah point of view, unlike the present secular perspective, these are rare instances, and do not constitute the norm. The bond between a wife and husband, in the Jewish understanding, is usually an inherent condition, not an acquired one. It is sown into the very fabric of both of their souls.
Therefore, when you are at peace with your spouse, you are at peace with your own soul. When you are at war with your spouse, you are detached from your own identity. Yet this preexisting oneness between each husband and wife may lay buried beneath lots of sand and gravel, and each of us needs to be committed to take a shovel in our hands and bring to the surface the inner wellspring of love that bond us to our partner in life (8).
Footnotes:1) Midrash Rabah Shemos 1:32.2) Genesis 24:62; 29:2.
3) Exodus 2:15.4) Genesis 29:2.5) Another symbolism is explained in the commentary of the Mahrzav to Midrash, ibid.6) See Soteh 2A. – Thus, the Chassidic Masters taught that B’ar, the Hebrew term for well, is an acronym of the verse (Psalms 31:6) “Beyadcah Afkid Ruchei,” which means that “in your hands (the hands of G-d) I deposit my soul” (See Or Hatorah Toldos and references noted there) 7) Vayikra p. 7b.8) This essay is based on various writings of the Chassidic Masters. Cf. Hegyonos El Ami (by Rabbi Moshe Avegdor Amiel) to Parshas Bereishis.

Parsha Toldos

It is interesting that both Noach and Yitzchak have the Toldos (generation) mentioned about them. Noach and Yitzchak had the spiritual quality Gevurah or Severity – this he inherited from his mother Sarah who was able to turn Hagar aside and Yishmael too. While Avraham had the quality of Chessed, Rabbi Bilinsky Shlita pointed out to me that opposites attract therefore he looked for Chessed in a Shidduch for Yitzchak with Rivka at the well. Yitzchak over came fear and Chessed for himself with his Gevurah on the Akaeda when he set himself up for sacrifice. He was more for the exact law of first born with inheritance but Rivka with her Chessed for the world let Yacov receive the blessing. Yacov has the power of Emmet {truth} and it is merciful for the world to avoid the Angel of Death because he has next to no power over Emmet. So Yacov the ‘Ish Emmet’ would keep life in this world and would be worthy to have his children receive the Torah “Etz Chaim Hee” .
Rashi just explains 25:19 by Pshat: And these are the generations of Isaac the son of Abraham. [תּוֹלְדוֹת refers to] Jacob and Esau mentioned in this section. Abraham begot Isaac. (Only after the Holy One, blessed be He, named him Abraham, did he beget Isaac. Another explanation:) Since Scripture wrote: “Isaac the son of Abraham,” it had to say: “Abraham begot Isaac,” because the scorners of the generation were saying that Sarah had conceived from Abimelech, for she had lived with Abraham for many years and had not conceived from him. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He shaped the features of Isaac’s face to resemble Abraham’s, and everyone attested that Abraham had begotten Isaac. This is the meaning of what is written here: “Isaac, the son of Abraham,” because here is proof that “Abraham begot Isaac.” - [From Midrash Tanchuma, Toledoth 1]

25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said: 'If it be so, wherefore do I live?' And she went to inquire of the LORD.

Perforce, this verse calls for a Midrashic interpretation, for it does not explain what this struggling was all about, and [Scripture] wrote, “If it be so, why am I [like] this?” Our Rabbis (Gen. Rabbah 63:6) interpreted it [the word וַיִתְרוֹצִצוּ] as an expression of running (רוֹצָה) . When she passed by the entrances of [the] Torah [academies] of Shem and Eber, Jacob would run and struggle to come out; when she passed the entrance of [a temple of] idolatry, Esau would run and struggle to come out. Another explanation: They were struggling with each other and quarreling about the inheritance of the two worlds (Mid. Avkir). If [it be] so. that the pain of pregnancy is so great. why am I [like] this?. [Why did I] desire and pray to conceive?- [From Gen. Rabbah 63:6] And she went to inquire. to the academy of Shem. — [Aggadath Bereishith, ch. 73, Targum Jonathan and Yerushalmi] to inquire of the Lord. that He should tell her what would happen to her in the end.

This is the beginning of the battle between opposing forces coming from Yitzchak. The world of Gashmiyut represented by Esav – I must have that house, car, TV. DVD. Etc. now even if it means credit card debit. The Ruchanit world of spirit thinking of the future and the next world. And the battle continues: The question remains does Esav have good within him? The answer is when he moves towards the way of Avraham and Yitzchak, he can reach great potential like Achilles know to us as Targum Onkelos, and Agripus the King. Esav is the grandfather of Amelek and can produce a Haman, Hitler, and a few others. Can Yacov be bad? Yes when he moves to emulate the ways of Esav. I am not talking about doing sport as I do keep healthy and trying to get my weight down and lowering a chance of cardiac problems but to try to out champion the champions of Esav and forget about Shabbos because of his training and game schedule. Or to amass wealth and not use to further Torah and Mitzvos but for flaunting it around. I am not saying that a multi-millionaire has to be as humble as Moshe or the poor beggar without a meal but he should not be arrogant either. His worry should not be how much he lost when the market dropped 47% but where is he going to get his money to support the institutions whom he gave Tzeduka too in the past. Now by using Yacov’s long term vision with Esav’s ability to produce physical excellence along with the Bnei Yafet one can design a long term beautiful lasting city with long lasting architectural achievements with logistics for an infrastructure.
The reverse can be if Yacov diametrically opposes Esav as Esav wants to enjoy the stupid investors’ money like the boards of AIG for the short term weekend luxury world. Or as did or the Unions and Management squeezing the golden automobile Goose that lays the golden Eggs. The Bnei Yacov at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, etc. fell into the pit when they tried living out Esav’s temporary dreams. The same with the current Erev Rav running the country of Israel. They all want is their own power for the here and now not a Nation that exists eternally which is the dream of Yacov. (next week’s Parsha)
Esav is the man who writes love letters in the sand while Yacov expresses his eternal love for Rachel (Next week and the week after)
One last point I want to make about Esav is that historically he wants to look like the good guy with no flaws. We know that is not true. Avraham had flaws in his faith when it came to Pharaoh and Avimelech and Yitzchak too with Avimelech. Yacov had flaws and David had flaws; even Hezkiah whom HASHEM wanted to make Moshiach had flaws. Esav wants to look super Glatt kosher. There are a few swindlers in Chashmonayim who appear on the surface this way and some in other cities that con you. This attempt in his marriage later on (see below).
23 And the LORD said unto her: Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

The elder, Esav, will serve Yacov only when he goes by the ways of HASHEM. Otherwise as in the blessings below, he will break away from Yacov and become on top of him.

24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came forth ruddy, all over like a hairy mantle; and they called his name Esau. 26 And after that came forth his brother, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob. And Isaac was threescore years old when she bore them. 27 And the boys grew; and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; and Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came in from the field, and he was faint. 30 And Esau said to Jacob: 'Let me swallow, I pray thee, some of this red, red pottage; for I am faint.' Therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said: 'Sell me first thy birthright.'
32 And Esau said: 'Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall the birthright do to me?' 33 And Jacob said: 'Swear to me first'; and he swore unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

For Esav a hill a beans was worth more than his birthright now that is tragic. Rashi attacks Esav not only from the physical reason but on the spiritual front: Esau replied, “Behold, I am going to die”. (The birthright is something unstable, for the [sacrificial] service will not always be the function of the firstborn, for the tribe of Levi will take it. Furthermore,) said Esau [to Jacob], “What is the nature of this service?” He replied, “There are many prohibitions and punishments and death penalties involved with it, as we learned (Sanh. 83a): ‘These are the ones who are liable to death: Those [performing the Temple service] who have imbibed wine and those who have not cut their hair.’” He (Esau) said, “Behold, I am going to die because of it (i.e., the birthright); if so, why should I want it?” Scripture attests to his wickedness, that he despised the service of the Omnipresent.

From this weeks PATH bulletin: Chazal (our Sages) tell us that the numerical value of Eisav is that same as that of the word "shalom." This is shocking, since Eisav was anything but a man of peace. What our Rabbis are teaching us is that Eisav made himself at home in this world and made no investment in the World to Come. He was totally "b'shalom" (at peace) with his materialism. This attitude was demonstrated in the sale of the birthright, in which Eisav's desire for instant gratification induced him to trade something spiritual and eternal for the fleeting satisfaction of eating. Ultimately, says the midrash, Eisav denied the resurrection of the dead and existence of Olam Haba (the World to Come). For us, the lesson is clear. As the progeny of Yaacov, we must always keep in mind that this world is a temporary place. FROM THIS WE LEARN that our mission here is to use whatever time we have to amass Torah and Mitzvos, to use this world as a vehicle of entry into the next. If we can foster this attitude, we will surely earn Eternal Life and be content in this world as well.

This week’s PATH CD is sponsored by:
Rabbi Rachamim Pauli in memory of his mother Charlotte Jacqueline bas Yosef HaLevy - Click here to hear the weekly Parasha CD - MP3 from Rabbi Jankovits Passed away 29 Mar Cheshvan 5767.

26:34 And when Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
35 And they were a bitterness of spirit unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Esau was compared to a swine, as it is said (Ps. 80:14): “The boar from the forest gnaws at it.” This swine, when it lies down, stretches out its hooves, as if to say, “See, I am a clean (kosher) animal.” So do these [the chiefs of Esau] rob and plunder and then pretend to be honorable. During the entire forty years, Esau kidnapped wives from their husbands and violated them. When he was forty years old, he said: “My father married at forty; I, too, will do the same.” [From Gen. Rabbah 65:1]
35. a vexation of the spirit. Heb. מֹרַת רוּחַ, an expression of defiance of spirit הַמְרָאַתרוּחַ like (Deut. 9:24):“You have been rebellious מַמְרִים.” All their deeds were to provoke and to grieve. [From Targum Onkelos] to Isaac and to Rebecca. for they worshipped idols. [From Midrash Tanchuma, Toledoth 8]

Rivka saw through because she had grown up with the con artists Lavan but Yitzchak grew up in the world of Mitzvos and Truth with Justice and Chessed of Avraham and could not . Yitzchak judged the marriage as an attempt by a Tzaddik to overcome his Yetzer to marry a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Actually Esav wanted to put on a front when in truth at the age of 15, Esav raped a betrothed woman on the day that Avraham Avinu died (Medrash – Behold a People by Rabbi Avigdor Miller). It was only a marriage to look like he was interested for the sake of heaven to produce grandchildren for Yitzchak.

When Yacov goes away to get married it is for a number of reasons but the main reason was listening to the side of Chessed of his mother and doing the Emmet. The Zohar says that Bina is in the woman and on these matters it was wise of Avraham to listen to Sarah regarding Yishmael and Yacov to Rivka regarding a Shidduch. In all the other nations of the world the woman had no power and still in Arab countries they are not much better than chattel. In ‘civilized’ Germany of the 1930’s and early 40’s they were for children, church and kitchen. Devorah the Navia (Prophetess) was during the reign of Shoftim (Judges) over Yisrael.

27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said unto him: 'My son'; and he said unto him: 'Here am I.' 2 And he said: 'Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death.

I do not know the day of my death. Rabbi Joshua ben Korchah said: If a person reaches the age of [the death of] his parents, he should worry five years beforehand and five years afterwards, and Isaac was one hundred and twenty-three years old. He said, “Perhaps I will reach the age of [the death of] my mother, and she died at one hundred and twenty-seven, and I am thus within five years of her age; therefore, ”I do not know the day of my death," -perhaps [I will die] at my mother’s age and perhaps at my father’s age. [From Gen. Rabbah 65:121]

Does anyone know the day of his death? Young Ariel Brown Zal learned Torah all Thursday night at the Yeshiva and after praying with the sunrise went to the Mediterranean Sea for the Mikvah to purify himself. Unfortunately, the sea claimed him around the age of 18 and two boys from Ramat Modiin passed away one Motzei Shabbos years ago. My son had the misfortune of burying these friends and attending the funeral of a Golani Soldier from the next Battalion and I ended up trying to comfort friends for a lost which rendered a permanent hole in their families. If one things that any day or any time could be his last, then he will try to make the most of life and avoid sin. I fortunately have passed the relatively young age that my father passed away. My father’s mother never got over loss of her only child until she got some closure when my second son was named after him. I was never blessed by my father and sort of dragged a blessing from my mother for my children and myself when she was in her 60’s and had surpassed her mother’s age.

Dear readers some of you are getting to the age when your parents passed away. Now is the time to think of a good blessing for each and every child. You can check with blessings of Yitzchak, Yacov and Moshe and even the requests of King David to Shlomo his son.

3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison; 4 and make me savoury food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.’ 5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.

3. your sword. Heb. תֶּלְי‏ְ, your sword, which is usually hung לִתְלוֹתָה. So, now, sharpen. שָׂא נָא an expression of sharpening, as we learned in the Mishnah (Beizah 28a):“We may not sharpen a knife [on a whet-stone] but we may sharpen it (מַשִּׂיאָה) against another one [on Yom-Tov].” [Isaac said]: “Sharpen your knife and slaughter properly, lest you feed me neveila ” [an animal not slaughtered according to ritual law] (Gen. Rabbah 65: 13). And hunt for me. From ownerless [game], and not from stolen [animals]. [Gen. Rabbah 65:13]5. to hunt game, to bring. What is the meaning of “to bring” ? If he would not find game, he intended to bring [meat] from stolen [animals]. – [from Gen. Rabbah 65:13]

Rabbi Yossi Shlita notes on his message that you can click above that the word game is written with an extra Hey. Yitzchak wanted to teach Esav the laws of Shechita prior to his possible death. The Baal HaTurim and Baalei Tosfos bring down 5 basic principles of the laws of slaughter:
1) No Pausing once the initial slaughtering action 2) No slaughtering between the Trachea and the Esophagus. 3) No pressing hard to slaughter but to make a cut. 4) Not to cut beyond a point that one starts going into the bone and decapitating the animals or fowl. 5) Not to tear but to cut the animal’s or fowl’s neck.

6 And Rebekah spoke unto Jacob her son, saying: ‘Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying: 7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury food, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. 8 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice according to that which I command thee. 9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury food for thy father, such as he loveth;

and take for me. [“לִי” indicates that] they are mine, and they are not stolen, because so had Isaac written for her in her marriage contract, that she might take two kids every day (Gen. Rabbah 65:14). Two choice kids. Now did Isaac’s menu consist of two kids? But [the explanation is that] he sacrificed one as a Paschal offering, and one he made into tasty foods. [This is found] in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 32). As he likes. For the taste of a kid is like the taste of a deer.

Yitzchak mentioned this on his 122nd Birthday which was Pessach and the other kid according to Rabbi Yossi and other sources was like the Korban Chagigah.

10 and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death.’ 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother: ‘Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a mocker; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.’ 13 And his mother said unto him: ‘Upon me be thy curse, my son; only hearken to my voice, and go fetch me them.’ 14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savoury food, such as his father loved. 15 And Rebekah took the choicest garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son. 16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck.

Rabbi Yossi asks and then covers the topic: Can somebody take a curse upon themselves from somebody else? I recommend listening to this discussion. Still from this incident comes the hatred that Esav developed and retained for Yacov.

… 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt break loose, that thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck. 41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart: ‘Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.’ 42 And the words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah; and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him: ‘Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 43 Now therefore, my son, hearken to my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 44 and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; 45 until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him; then I will send, and fetch thee from thence; why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?’ 46 And Rebekah said to Isaac: ‘I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?’

Why should I be bereft. Heb. אֶשְׁכַּל. I will be bereft of both of you. [This teaches that] one who buries his children is called שָׁכוּל, bereft. And so, concerning Jacob, it is said (below 43:14):“As I am bereft (שָׁכֹלְתִּי), I shall be bereft (שָׁכָלְתּי).” Of both of you. If he rises up against you and you kill him, his sons will rise up and kill you. And the Divine Spirit poured itself upon her and she prophesied that they would die on the same day, as is delineated in the chapter entitled הַמְּקַנֵּא לְאִשְׁתּוֹ (Sotah 13a).
46. I am disgusted with my life. Heb. קַצְתִּי, I am disgusted with my life.

Finally a word from Rabbi Avichai Cohen Shlita: About three years ago I was in the middle of my training period in the army. The training period is divided into two parts: the first months are called "Tironut" in which you learn how the army works and acquire basic soldier's skills. In the second period which is called "Imun Mitkadem" (advanced training) we were trained to fight in the battlefield dealing with different kinds of combat. During this period we were dwelling most of the time outside in the fields .
Since I was called to the army in August, my "Imun Mitkadem" took place between December and February which is not the best camping season.
The Gemara in Yoma (53b) tells us about a prayer of the Cohen Gadol in Yom Kippur that says: "...and may the prayer of wayfarers not enter before you". This is said in the context of prayer for rain - the Cohen Gadol requests G-d not to listen to the wayfarers who want the rain to stop when the world needs it .
When I was in the field, freezing and wet, I was definitely in the status of wayfarer but yet I had to recite three times a day the prayer for the rain. Even though it was not easy I think that the prayer itself was worth a lot .
Our Parsha begins with the story about the barrenness of Rivka. Why does G-d cause our Matriarchs to be barren? After all, they were righteous people and it seems that they did not deserve the grief of being barren. The Gemra in Yevamot (64a) has asked this question and gives the following answer: "Because the Holy One, Blessed is He, craves the prayer of the righteous". But this answer seems puzzling. Is it ok to let them suffer just in order to get the prayer?
In order to explain this we will have to reflect on one of the most famous stories in the whole Bible: Adam & Eve's sin. The serpent enticed Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad; she ate and gave Adam to eat too. At the end of the story, G-d punishes the serpent. The serpent's punishment was: "upon your belly shall you go and dust shall you eat all the days of your life" (Bereshit, 3:14). The commentators on the spot remark that from a certain point of view it is not such a severe punishment; on the bottom line, the serpent perhaps does not have a varied menu but he doesn't have to go to Kroger anymore!! There is dust every-where; he will not have to worry about food anymore! The commentators explain that the essence of the serpent's punishment is not his poor menu but rather the lack of any relationship with G-d. Since the ser-pent will never lack food, he will never have to pray to G-d and thus loose a potent channel of communication with G-d.
The absolute contrast to that is the reason that the Gemara gave to the barrenness of the Matriarchs. The Gemara's answer did not really explain the barrenness of Rebbeca, Sarah and Rachel which is only up to G-d but gave us a concept. Our daily con-tact with G-d happens when we are praying. The con-kept that the Gemara's answer is teaching us is to use our problems and lacks in life as a means to strengthen our connection with G-d. It doesn't mat-tar whether we are spending all day working, being trained in the army, learning for tests etc., we have three times everyday in which we can take a break from our flow of life and work on our relationship with G-d. Let's not miss these opportunities!!

Loving all Jews

The late Rabbi from Lubavitch commanded his followers to love each and every Jew by saying every morning: “I am prepared to perform the Mitzvah of Love thy Neighbor as thyself. I love every Jew. So too this week came an out pouring of concern for the Israeli, Belgium diamond merchants, Kashrus Inspectors and others being held hostage at Chabad House in Mumbai. On Thursday morning, a woman, child and an Indian cook were led out of the building by police, said one witness. The child was identified as Moshe Holtzberg, 2, the son of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, the main representative at Chabad house. The child was unharmed, but his clothes were soaked in blood.
Sandra Samuel, 44, the cook who pulled the boy out the building, said she saw Rabbi Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and two other unidentified guests lying on the floor, apparently "unconscious."

This post was written before the final rescue attempt on the Chabad House where the prisoners were found bound and one man died while learning Germara. The Jews were all murdered in cold blood on a Kiddush HASHEM.

My cousin Nathaniel was supposed to have left or is leaving India for the States. I wrote his mother, that I was glad that he was not there any more. But I got this back:
Hi Richard,so sad to see this terrible world, only Islamists are making such a big mess.......Nathaniel is still in India, but in Delhi at the moment ( he's living in Pune, not far from Mumbai) ; he's visiting Chabad there very frequently! ; We think all the time of those poor people in Chabad Mumbai, and all the Israelis ; the friendly and peaceful population in India starts to be "fed up" with those Islamists terrorists....hugs Ingrid

Mumbai Terror Attack Updates Day 2 November 27, 2008, 7:46 PM (GMT+02:00)
- It is feared that none were Israelis although several are known to be held in the building.
- Israel-India flights continue on schedule. One carried a group of Israeli doctors for Mumbai.
- The Islamist terrorists attacking Mumbai for the second day came from outside the country, believed Pakistan.
- Indian security sources report many Israeli hostages in the Oberoi Hotel, which the terrorists still control amid sustained gunfire in the lobby.
- Heavy battles resume in the Taj Palace Hotel.
- Indian naval troops board the MV Alpha freighter suspected of having sailed the terrorists to Mumbai's shore from Karachi, Pakistan.
- Anti-tanks missiles handed out to Indian commando force battling terrorists at Taj Palace hotel.
- Indian general: Four or five terrorists inside Chabad Center.
- Islamist shooting attacks and blasts spread to southern Mumbai away from the hotel district ---
- Terrorists hurl grenades at Indian forces surrounding Chabad Center and the Oberoi hotel.
- Fighting flares up anew in the Taj Palace Hotel said to have been cleared Thursday. Some hostages escaped and many bodies were found in guests' rooms.
- Terrorists are still holed up at the Oberoi Hotel and Chabad Center with hostages, including Israelis, under police-commando siege.
- A woman and child held at Chabad center came out of the building.
- The Mumbai stock exchange stayed shut.
- Police sappers defused bombs containing RDX strewn across the town.
- International airlines canceled flights to the beleaguered Indian town.
- The terrorists wear elite military unit uniforms. Each has an automatic rifle, grenades and military-style kit.
Indian forces opened fire on the besieged Chabad House in Mumbai on Friday morning. At least three explosions were heard during the last hours at the building, which was surrounded by Indian firefighters, police and military forces. No further details are currently available.
The Foreign Ministry stated that a female Israeli held hostage at the Chabad house in Mumbai called the Israeli Embassy at gunpoint, in order to state the terrorists' demands for the hostages' release. The embassy stated that the terrorists had demanded that prisoners held in India be released in return. (Ronen Medzini)

On Friday Nov 21st Jonathan Pollard entered his 24th year in prison. On Sunday Nov 23rd Ehud Olmert will be meeting with President Bush for the last time. On Thursday Nov 27th the American people will celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday - a holiday traditionally associated with Presidential clemencies. This is traditionally the time when outgoing presidents consider pardons. We have the opportunity to help a fellow Jew and fulfill the important mitzvah of pidyon sh'vuyim by calling the White House on behalf of Jonathon Pollard. Call: 202-456 -1111 or 202-456-1414 (Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM - Eastern Time). Please call the Justice Department as well: Pardons 202-616-6070.

A New Link in the Chain By Ann Goldberg

Jerusalem was just beginning to close down on erev Yom Kippur as my husband and I made out way to the hospital to see our daughter and her newborn son. The food for our seudah mafseket (the meal before the Fast) was in the oven and we wanted to give our daughter and new grandson the traditional pre Yom Kippur blessing. For the first time since her Bat Mitzvah (not so long ago!) she would not be fasting, as the Halacha, Jewish law, prohibits women who have given birth just before Yom Kippur from fasting. As much as we were commanded to fast, she was commanded not to.After the Fast she was discharged, but her baby stayed in overnight to receive ultraviolet light treatment intended to reduce his bilirubin count to enable him to have his Brit Mila on time – the first day of Sukkot.Hoping and praying for the best, we went ahead and made arrangements for a Brit on time. Phone calls around our neighborhood of Ramot yielded the usual ‘ only in Israel’ warm response and apartments and rooms were found for as many visiting family members on our and our son-in-law’s side as were able to come.Early Friday morning we were on our way to the large supermarket to stock up for a Shalom Zachor that night (for sure) and a Brit (maybe). As we left the house another daughter called out “ Have you got the shopping list?” to which my husband replied “Who needs a list – whatever we see, we need to buy ten of them.”By Friday afternoon the baby's bilirubin count had dropped considerably and he was released from the hospital. But it wasn’t low enough to ensure a Brit on the eighth day.On Sunday morning hubby and son-in-law took newborn for another blood test and rushed the sample off to the lab for an immediate result. But immediate turned out to be a relative word. Hours later – still no result. Calls every 10 minutes didn’t help nor did enlisting the assistance of the family doctor. The blood sample seemed to have vanished into thin air.Next morning, Monday, day before potential Brit, they called the Mohel and asked if he could maybe decide without a further blood test as his bilirubin count was definitely going down.The Mohel arrived and examined the baby all over for several minutes under natural sunlight …… and declared he was …….borderline. He needed another blood test.Hubby, son-in-law and baby rushed off to the hospital – leaving wife, and remaining children and children-in-law (not to mention grandchildren) to finish off the Sukkah, and make headway into the cooking. Even if there was no Brit – the visitors were on their way and would need to eat over the Chag.Hubby returned minus baby and father. They had to wait for the results.Although the suspense was nerve-wracking I suddenly found myself praying hard that we should be given the zchut , the special honor of having the Brit in our Sukkah. What had at first seemed daunting, now seemed wonderful. Friends had wondered how on earth we’d have room for a Brit and seudah, the special post—Brit meal, in our Sukkah. But on the contrary, as our Sukkah leads off from our dining room, I looked on it as having our dining area doubled. After all I would never normally have had guests eating in the garden in mid October but now I had the perfect excuse. The thought of using one mitzvah, the Sukkah itself, for performing the mitzvah of the Brit seemed a chance not to miss. But the decision wasn’t mine.Our son-in-law called in - the bilirubin number was right down. The Brit was on.Emails were sent, phone calls made and notices put up in local shuls. The following morning after prayers finished in most of the local shuls, relatives, friends, neighbors and acquaintances gathered to witness our grandson entering into the ancient covenant, as my husband, the Sandek, sat on the large chair that had held pride of place in my father’s childhood home.As is the custom, his name was unknown to all except his parents until it was declared at the Brit. Yaacov – after my father.As I heard the name called out my mind spun back to Sukkot 31 years ago, in England, when my father collapsed suddenly and passed away within a few hours. As tears clouded my eyes I could picture him clearly smiling in his Eternal home as we came full circle and brought the simcha, the happiness, of Sukkot back with his namesake, blessed with a Brit in a sun-filled Sukkah in Jerusalem our eternal home.A bright new link has been forged in the family chain.

There are still certain countries that would consider Barak Obama a Slave

'Al-Quds Al-Arabi' Editor Abd Al-Bari Atwan Calls on Obama to 'Impose American Model of Equality, Rights, and Opportunities on All Arab Countries,' Says: In an Arab Country, Obama Would Be Told, 'You Are a Slave'; 'We Arabs Are The Epitome of Racism'

Following are excerpts from an interview with Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The interview aired on BBC Arabic TV on November 7, 2008:
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit .

Interviewer: "Is it really so difficult to achieve a breakthrough in the Arab ruling system, similar to what happened in the U.S? Will it take decades or centuries, Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan?"
Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan: "By coincidence, at a time when a black president was elected in the U.S., President Bouteflika amended the Algerian constitution so that he could remain in power for the rest of his life.
"What a paradox this is. In the U.S., not only is the change of power carried out by peaceful means, but there is [now] a black president - [who came] from the lowest ranks of society to the top.
"If Obama was in an Arab country, like Saudi Arabia or one of the Gulf states, they might have required him to have a 'guarantor' [like any foreign worker]. Under no circumstances - even if he died - would they have given him citizenship. They'd say to him: You are a slave, you are black, you need a 'guarantor,' you are a Kenyan, and your origins are unknown.
"I'm sad to say that we Arabs are the epitome of racism. Look at the foreign [workers] in the Gulf - they have no rights. These workers demonstrate, demanding to be placed 10, rather than 20, in a room, demanding to be transported in buses like human beings, rather than in trucks like beasts.
"We are the epitome of racism, and I believe that Obama will demand that these Arab countries carry out reforms: First, to abolish the 'guarantor' system, and then to grant rights not only to the blacks, but even to the Arabs themselves, to the whites. The whites in the Arab world are humiliated. Unless you have the 'holy' citizenship of a certain country - you are humiliated.
"Obama should impose the American model of equality, rights, and opportunities on all the Arab countries." From Manuel V.

Amelek is alive and well in Canada

Yesterday we were picking up my son and his friend from somewhere, and I asked a question. about remembrance day. I said what does it mean to you? So there told me, they said they fought for our freedom so I said, what do you think would have happened if Canada didn't go to war do you think we would have our freedom? So my sons friend shockingly said, “There would be Jews all over the place!”

I was shocked to hear this and said very calmly after I looked at my husband slowly… I have relatives that are Jewish, and did you know that Hitler during the 2nd world war killed 6 million Jews. This kid, wasn't paying attention, so when I got home I talked to my son about this called his father and told him I was shocked at what his son said.
He was rude to me when he first picked up the phone before I even told him the situation.

People like this make me mad and nervous I burned my hand while boiling water for some tea. That remark that the boy made although only 13 the father claimed that he doesn't know what he is talking about, it shows that is how the parents feel about Jews or the son would not talk this way. he must have heard the father say something like that.

So the boy told my son that his father was already mad at him and this made it worse.
I told my son , was the father mad because I was shocked or because his son feels this way about the Jewish people, perhaps the father is embarrassed because we don't feel the same. Anyways, the father told me that my son and his son could not be associating for a month. I said “That's a good idea.”
What I should have said was the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Thanks for listening...

Believe me, before I became frum and put on a Yarmulke, the name Richard Pauli passed for a Goy and guess what lovely things I heard when the Jew left the room. It is on the level of some of the remarks I heard about Obama from not necessarily Republicans but it was color coded. I have perhaps philosophical arguments with him and would have preferred Colin Powell or Michael Steele over George Bush or Barak Obama but my dispute is not racial.

Black Bear of the Black Forest Hoagie Dressing has an unauthorized OU symbol.

Inyanay Diyoma

Bush and Condi’s legacy to the next PM of Israel and Barak Obama secret relations with Hamas.
Iran launches a three state rocket into space, has 5,000 centrifuges and will most likely have 3 A-Bombs by the end of 2009.

1. IN ITS WAR AGAINST JEWS, IDF CUT OFF NOSE TO SPITE ITS FACE by Dr. Aaron Lerner2. HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE - EVEN JEWS by Hillel Levin, Shiloh3. "NO NEED TO EVICT HEVRON JEWS" By Hillel Fendel Arutz 7forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentatorSome will recall the step-by-step building of Hitler's murder machine. First, Brown-Shirt thugs, then the Gestapo in Black (the Waffen SS). The regular German army was absorbed to conquer and act as guards in the extermination camps. All step-by-step. Regrettably, we see this war against the Jewish people who are valiantly building their homes in our ancient homeland. A civil war against them is building - by its own Jewish (un-Jewish?) leaders to control the people. Hitler also absorbed the High Courts of Germany by his Nuremberg Laws, much the same as we see Israel's High Supreme Court first taken over by Aharon Barak (now retired) and then handed over to Dorit Beinish - also a committed Leftist who flanks her rule with other extreme Leftists. Taking over a nation, using the familiar techniques of Fascism has long left the planning stages and is now in full action. The early 1980s saw the planning stage, followed by the Oslo Accord Surrenders, followed by the Gush Katif/Gaza abandonment and destruction. Now, the Left is effectively onto Phase-Out the settlers from Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and those parts of Jerusalem which Jordan occupied and desecrated for 19 years from 1948 to 1967. Why is a Jewish government aiding the still functional PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) which was created in 1964 by Egypt, then handed over to Yassir Arafat. Remember that 1964 was before the 1967 Six Days' War when the territories were liberated back to their historic, geographic and Biblical names of Judea, Samaria and unified Jerusalem?I wonder if the IDF (Israel Defense Force) from the highest officer to the strongest foot soldiers knew they were calling down a curse on themselves and their families for generations to come by attacking their own Jewish people? Or, as the Nazis claimed: "I was just following orders."?Perhaps it would be an act of mercy to inform every Jewish soldier what will happen when they betray their fellow Jews and the Jewish nation of Israel. COMMENTS BY EMANUEL A. WINSTON###1. IN ITS WAR AGAINST JEWS, IDF CUT OFF NOSE TO SPITE ITS FACE by Dr. Aaron LernerThese are the most ardent lovers of Israel, willing to fight in the most elite units of the IDF. The govt just refuses to understand that loyalty and love of the land cannot be separated from one's right to LIVE on our land. If there is no turn-around in the flawed reasoning of the govt, where Arabs are protected more than Jews, why not re-vamp the entire IDF, do a complete reversal, and make it Arab-only, Jews don't have to serve? From Shoshanna Walker IDF to act to cut funding from institutions whose students engage in "illegal activity against IDF and Palestinians" by Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 23 November 2008Yediot Ahronot correspondent Yossi Yehoshua reports in today's edition that Deputy Minister of Defense Matan Vilnai (Labor) held a meeting last Thursday of the defense establishment at which it was decided to act to cut funding from educational institutions that have students who are "extreme right wing activists"."Vilnai instructed the security elements to identify yeshivot, associations and schools that receive state funds within which there is incitement or whose students engage in criminal activity against the IDF and against Palestinians. The defense establishment will act to stop the flow of funds to those institutions, and in certain cases even check the legal possibility of issuing an administrative order closing down the institutions that aid in the violation of the law in the territories. This is to be carried out with the cooperation of Shabak, Yesha police, the Judea and Samaria Administrative Authority, Ministry of Education and legal elements in the Ministry of Defense and Central Command."Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava) Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730INTERNET Website:*****************2. HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EVERYBODY (EVEN JEWS) by Hillel Levin Shiloh, home of the Mishkan for 369 yrs.There is currently a building freeze imposed upon all of the approximately 400 thousand Jews in Judea and Samaria. The Roadmap, imposed by the United States Government and others on Israel, states clearly that the Government of Israel must freeze "all settlement activity including natural growth of settlements" (see last paragraph in Phase I, here: )

SETTLEMENTS:*GOI (Government of Israel) [Goy?] immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001*Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements) &&&&&&&&&&&

This means no new homes -- no new classrooms -- no new kindergartens -- no buying houses (such as the famous Bet haShalom in Hebron) for a huge Jewish community having the largest natural increase rate in the entire Western world. Currently, just-married couples in Yesha simply have nowhere to live! (unless they live in a so-called "illegal outpost").This is, simply put, cruelty to and persecution of Jews with no justification whatever. In history, many natural functions of life were withheld from the Jews: the right to have children (Egypt, in Biblical times), the right to live in Europe (Spanish and other exiles, c. 1492), the right to emigrate (Europe post-holocaust, Russia behind the Iron Curtain), and so forth. Now, the right to build a home is being withheld -- aided and abetted by the United States of America, of all unlikely countries!!WHAT CAN WE DO? The OU -- the umbrella group of Orthodox Jewry in the United States -- is holding its bi-annual convention this week on 26-30 November at the Ramada Hotel, Jerusalem, Plus an International Conference on Contemporary Issues & Halacha November 30 to December 2 at the Yeshurun Synagogue, JerusalemSo far, this important American group has NOT agreed yet to put the suffering Yesha community onto their agenda; the 2008 Convention's agenda has remained frozen even when the 9 Federman children and babies were turned out of their "illegal" home in the middle of the night, in their pajamas and barefoot, among a shower of broken glass: write an email to the OU asking them to give the plight of the Yesha Jews a prominent place both on their agenda, in their press releases, and in the operative resolutions which govern the Organization's activities (or lack of them) for the next 2 years!!!Ask: Why is the Rabbi of England (Rabbi Sacks) one of your speakers -- whereas you have no one speaking about Yesha -- even though there are more Jews in Yesha than in all of England?? Write to: <" Or, if you or your Rabbi have a connection to the OU -- call and speak to your contact person. Please forward interesting replies right to us at Thank you very much indeed.--Hillel Levin, Shiloh, home of the Mishkan for 369 yrs. Connecting with my brothers!3. 'No Need to Evict Hevron Jews' by Hillel Fendel Arutz 7A former Supreme Court justice says that the media misled the public and Defense Minister Ehud Barak into thinking that the Supreme Court has ordered the evacuation of Jews from Peace House in Hevron.Yaakov Turkel, who served as a Supreme Court Justice for ten years until 2005, says that the ruling in question does not order the State to evict the Jews, but rather allows them to do so. He spoke with Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen and Uzi Baruch.The ruling in question was issued a week ago, and gave the Jews living in Peace House - a four-story structure along the road leading from Kiryat Arba into Hevron - three days to leave the building. After that period, the ruling states, "it will be possible to act in accordance with Squatters' Evacuation Law."Turkel emphasizes that, unlike the media reports and announcements by Defense Minister Barak and other public officials, "the ruling does not obligate the State to act to evacuate the Jews, but rather gives them the freedom to decide whether to do so or not."The ruling, and the manner in which it was understood by the media and the public, aroused great opposition to the Supreme Court among the nationalist public, as well as great tensions in Hevron in anticipation of an Amona-like clash in the building.The 20 families that live there, plus many more people who have arrived over the last few days - and especially for this past Sabbath, when the Torah portion of Patriarch Abraham's purchase of Hevron land is read aloud - began making preparations to try and rebuff security forces that may try to evict them. Ruling States: Jews 'May' - not 'Must' - be EvictedThe Court ruled that the Jewish occupants "may" be removed, despite the fact that they had produced written, audio and video proof that the Arab owner had sold it to them."When the Defense Minister said he would abide by the Supreme Court ruling ordering the Jews' eviction," Turkel said, "this was very much not to my liking, since there was no such order. This misunderstanding has caused the great rift in the religious and right-wing's trust in the Supreme Court."In light of Turkel's statements, it appears that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter of Kadima did not read the ruling. "The ruling is not a recommendation, and we will implement it exactly as written," he said last week, promising that within 30 days, no Jews would be living in the disputed building. "We have no intention of straying from the Supreme Court ruling, which is the law," he said.Turkel: It Belongs in a Lower CourtAsked how he would have ruled if he had been on the judicial panel, Justice Turkel said, "I would have passed the matter down to the District Court, in light of the complexity of the case and the mutual claims of forgery. The District Court would then review the evidence and decide if an evacuation order should be issued before a final ruling."
I can’t think of a nicer thing to happen to a person who made a nasty comment about Jews. A number of media outlets, including MSNBC, Huffington Post and the New York Post, are reporting that
Ann Coulter has broken her jaw and had it wired shut.

From Rabbi A.L.: The ParrotA young man named John received a parrot as an early Chanucha gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and shoved him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said 'I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior'.John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued....May I enquire as to what the turkey did?'Happy Thanksgiving!

Now for M. Wolfberg's "Time to Pray" Story

Good Shabbos Everyone. We read in this week’s parsha Chayei-Sorah, how “Yitzchok went out to supplicate in the field towards evening…” (Bereishis 24:63) The Sages derive from this verse that Yitzchok Avinu instituted mincha – the afternoon prayers.(Brachos 26b). The Sage R’ Chelbo said in the name of Rav Huna, a person should always be careful about davening mincha. Because, it was at mincha time that the prayers of Eliyahu Hanavi were answered. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 69:1) The reason why mincha is so important is the following: The time for the morning prayers is known, i.e., in the morning, before we go to work. Similarly, the time for the evening prayers is known, i.e., when we come home from work at night. However, the time for mincha is during the work day when a person is preoccupied with his business. It can therefore be a big challenge to break away from business to daven mincha, especially with a minyan. Therefore, when a Jew takes his mind off business during the height of activity during the day and instead puts his mind towards Hashem during the mincha prayers, his reward is great. (Ibid.) The best time to daven mincha is from nine and one half hours into the day, onward. If it is difficult to daven at this time, one may daven earlier in the day, but no earlier than six and one half hours into the day. One should always endeavor to daven mincha in its proper time. However, in the case of an emergency, one may daven mincha until Tzeis Hakochavim. (Kitzur, 69:2) There is a bit of disagreement among deciders of Jewish Law, as to when the night begins. Therefore everyone should follow the way of the community to which he belongs. It was dusk one weekday when the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoel Teitlebaum, of blessed memory, met Reb Yakov Kamenetzky, of blessed memory, on the street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. The Satmar Rebbe asked Reb Yakov in Yiddish, “Have you already davened the afternoon prayers?” The response Reb Yakov gave was classic: “Today…, not yet.” Reb Yakov held that according to halacha, the day was over. Therefore, he understood that the Satmar Rebbe was asking him if he had davened the mincha of the new day; while for the Satmar Rebbe, although it was well after sunset, the day was not yet over. Reb Moshe of Sambor used to earn his livelihood as a peddler, making his way on foot from village to village, and selling his wares to the peasants who lived in various parts of the Ukrainian countryside. One day Reb Moshe asked his brother and teacher, Reb Zvi of Zhidachov: "Why is it that when I come in from the fields and the villages to daven mincha, my every limb is filled with a powerful and wondrous light? From where could I have attained such a light? Perhaps I am mistaken, and [the light] really derives from the unholy forces in the universe; and in that case, G-d forbid, my service of my Maker is all based on a mistake." "Why are you so surprised?" replied Reb Zvi. "For when you walk about among the fields and the Ukrainian villages thinking holy thoughts, all the sparks of kedusha that lie dormant -in the realm of the inanimate, and in the plant, animal and human kingdoms -having no other place to cling to, cleave to you; and you separate [the sparks of kedusha] from their “klipahs” (impure husks) and elevate them. These liberated sparks of kedusha then draw down upon you a taste of divine light, the likes of which you have never tasted before."(A Treasury of Chassidic Tales, p.92 R.S.Y. Zevin, U.Kaploun, trans. Artscroll Publications) Thus, we see how powerful mincha is. Because, it is a prayer which is generally prayed during the work day. It is therefore a time to elevate the mundane into holy. If we think holy thoughts throughout the work day, then mincha will be that much more meaningful. Also, by davening mincha with kavonah (intent), we unite our souls with the soul of Yitzchok Avinu. Because, koyach ha-poel b’nifal - who initiates a mitzvah, is forever connected with that mitzvah. For example, one who helps build a shul, is forever connected spiritually with all the learning and davening which is done in that place. Consequently, Yitzchok Avinu’s soul is forever bound to the spiritual power of mincha. Good Shabbos Everyone.

M.Wolfberg's story not mine is sponsored by: In memory of Shosha Malka bas Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi
Have a wonderful peaceful and healthy Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli