Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pasha Vayetze 2, Vayishlach, stories

Please say Tehillim for Mordechai Eliyahu ben Shulamit Tsila, a baby boy in the hospital getting IV and not responding so quickly.

Caring for the honor of others

From PATH: A Shtickle Torah from Rabbi Yitzchak Salid for Your Shabbos Table

One of the most famous midrashim concerns the wedding of Yaacov and Leah. Our Sages tell us that Yaacov and Rachel were fully aware that Lavan would attempt to marry off Leah first so that Yaacov would be forced to serve for more than the agreed upon seven years. For that reason, they worked out a secret password to be transmitted at the wedding which only the two of them would know. At the last minute, Rachel revealed the password to Leah, for she couldn't bear the thought of her sister being shamed and exposed as a fraud and trickster. Rachel thereby gave up the chance to be Yaacov's only wife. Our Sages tell us that Yaacov loved Rachel even more when he saw how far she would go to spare her sister the embarrassment. From this we learn just how important the dignity of another should be. We must bend over backwards to avoid hurting, insulting or otherwise injuring another human being. If we can follow the example of Rachel, we will surely be beloved both in the eyes of Hashem and mankind.

About 3 or 4 weeks ago in the Grandview Terrace Minyan, the young fellow who reads the Torah got cut off by many for his mistake. The poor youth was in tears. Rabbi Lustig came and defended the boy’s honor. The next week he brought in an article by a Talmid of HaRav Yosef B. Soleveichik Zal on the halacha of such a situation. He brought down a point from the Orach Chaim about reading the Torah and not to embarrass the young Bar Mitzvah or Torah reading boy. The conclusion by the great Rabbi was it is better to pass over a mistake than embarrass and turn away one from the Torah. The honor of the boy was far more important than correcting a minor mistake.

On Shabbos, I was invited to my Ramat Modin Chavrutha’s home. When the bread was cut is was not done according to the Mishnah Berurah and not wanting to embarrass my Chavrutha, I waited to write about the halacha of blessing and cutting the bread on Shabbos in remembrance of the Mann in the wilderness.

Friday Night: The Challos are covered for Kiddush. The household washes their hands for bread. The head of the house then uncovers temporarily the bread placing the Challah to be cut below the Challah for the morning meal or later on in the same meal. The head of the house runs the knife over the Challah but does not cut. Then the bread is covered and the tray holding the bread is raised in the air. “B’BRESUT” (Requesting permission) and the blessing of bread is recited.

Shabbos Morning: Challos are covered for Kiddush. The household washes their hands for bread. The head of the house then uncovers temporarily the bread this time placing the main Challah to be cut above the other loaf. The head of the house runs the knife over the Challah but does not cut. Then the bread is covered and the tray holding the bread is raised in the air. “B’BRESUT” (Requesting permission) and the blessing of bread is recited.

Parsha Vayetze

I wanted to attack in detail a small section of the Parsha. The Parsha perhaps has some of the most romantic ideas in it as how many men do you know of who are willing to work 14 years just to marry the woman that they love? Instead I want to talk about Lavan’s deceptive payment, inheritance of daughters etc.

30:28. Then he said, "Specify your wages for me, and I will give [them]."

30:28. Specify your wages. Heb. נָקְבָה, [to be interpreted] as the Targum renders: פרוש אַגְר‏ָ, specify your wages.

At first it sounds good. Old man Lavan wants to give Yacov a fair salary for 20 years of work and give something for his daughters and grandchildren. (If you remember from my commentary last year there are those that hold that Zilpah and Bilhah were slave girls fathered by Lavan too.)

29. And he said to him, "You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock was with me.

30. For the little that you had before me has increased in multitude, and the Lord blessed you upon my arrival; but now, when will I, too, provide [something] for my household?”

The small amount of your livestock that came into my hands-how many were they?

Yacov only wanted basically the sheep and goats that were given to him for sustenance for him and his family and he would start from there to build a herd.

30. upon my arrival. lit., to my foot, with my foot; because of the arrival of my foot, the blessing came to you, like (Exod. 11:8):“the people that follow you (בְּרַגְלֶי)”; (Jud. 8:5):“to the people that follow me (בְּרַגְלִי),” who come with me. — [from Gen. Rabbah 73:8] when will I, too, provide [something] for my household. For the needs of my household. Now only my children work for my needs, and I too must work with them to assist them. This is the meaning of “too.”

31. And he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, "You shall give me nothing; if you do this thing for me, I will return, I will pasture your flocks, [and] I will watch [them].
32. I will pass throughout all your flocks today, removing from there every speckled and spotted kid, and every brown lamb among the sheep, and [every] spotted and speckled [one from] among the goats, and this shall be my wages.

32. speckled. Heb. נָקֹד, spotted with small patches like dots, poynture in Old French, speckled. spotted. Heb. טָלוּא, an expression of patches, wide spots. brown. Heb. חוּם, [Onkelos renders] שְׁחוּם, somewhat reddish, rosso in Italian, reddish brown, russet. In the language of the Mishnah (B.B. 83b):“[If someone purchases] red (שְׁחַמְתִּית) [wheat] and it was found to be white,” regarding grain. and this shall be my wages. Those that will be born from now on speckled or spotted among the goats or brown among the sheep shall be mine. Those that are here now, separate from them and entrust them with your sons, so that you do not say to me concerning those born from now on, “These were there from the beginning,” and furthermore, so that you should not say to me, “Through the males that are speckled and spotted, the females will give birth to similar animals from now on.”

I am uncertain if Yacov knew that the majority were like this or he simply was taking at this time a fair share. There is no indication that he had any plans at this time to try to trick Lavan with guile because Lavan was a master of trickery as we say Emmet L’Yacov and he was a man of truth. However, it is unclear at this point that

Yacov would want more that he thought is fair for him for wages and a dowry for his wives. Therefore the next two sentences have to come to back up Yacov as a man of Emmet and no trickery here.

33. And my righteousness will testify for me at a future date for it will come upon my wages before you. Whatever is not speckled or spotted among the goats or brown among the sheep [shall be counted as] stolen with me." 34. And Laban said, "Very well! If only it would be as you say!"

33. And my righteousness will testify for me, etc.. If you suspect me of taking anything of yours, my righteousness will testify for me. My righteousness will come and testify about my wages before you, that you will find in my flock only speckled and spotted ones, and whatever you find among them that is not speckled or spotted or brown, I have obviously stolen from you, and [only] through theft is it in my possession.
34. Very well!. Heb. הֵן, an expression denoting the acceptance of terms. If only it would be as you say. If only you would want this!

So the Torah and even the words from Lavan come to provide us with proof that Yacov is making a modest request.

35. And he removed on that day the ringed and the spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, whichever had white on it, and all the brown [from] among the sheep, and he gave [them] into the hands of his sons. 36. And he set three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob tended Laban's remaining animals.

35. And he removed. [I.e.,] Laban [removed] on that day, etc. the male goats. Heb. הַתְּיָשִׁים, male goats. whichever had white on it. whichever had white patches on it. and he gave [them]. [I.e.] Laban [gave them] into the hands of his sons.
36. Laban’s remaining animals. The weakest among them, the sick and the barren, which are only leftovers, he gave over to him.

On the surface Rashi is saying that what Yacov did was to take the best for himself. Actually, the fact remains that pure thoroughbred horses and pure dogs are weaker than regular horses and dogs and certain Jewish families where first cousins and uncles married nieces ended up with weaker bones or genetic defects.

There is no proof other than Rashi’s statement that Yacov knew this but the genetics and breeding does seem to appear in the next few sentences. The female during conception having her mind on something can produce an off-spring with certain features. Once an African King came to Rabbi Akiva to ask about an Albino child born unto to his wife and did she commit adultery. Rabbi Akiva asked the King the color of his idols and the answer came out ivory. From that Rabbi Akiva told the noble that his wife was concentrating on the idols during conception and therefore the child looked like the color of them.

37. And Jacob took himself moist rod[s] of trembling poplar and hazelnut, and chestnut, and he peeled white streaks upon them, baring the white that was on the rods. 38. And he thrust the rods that he had peeled, into the gutters in the watering troughs where the animals would come to drink opposite the [other] animals, and they would come into heat when they came to drink. 39. And the flocks came into heat by the rods, and the animals bore ringed, spotted, and striped [young].

We also learn from Rashi here not only about Yacov but also about breeding sheep and tying them up during the mating season for best results. A little different method is used today in breeding Pandas in the zoo including artificial insemination. There are many problems and timing during the mating season among larger animals is very important.

37. rod[s] of trembling poplar. This is a tree named לִבְנֶה, as it is said (Hosea 4:13):“under oaks and trembling poplars (וְלִבְנֶה)” and I believe that לבנה is the one called trenble in Old French, trembling poplar and aspen, which is white (לָבָן). moist. When it was moist. and hazelnut. And he took also a rod of לוּז, a tree upon which small nuts grow, coldre in Old French, hazelnut. and chestnut. c(h)astanyer in Old French, chestnut. streaks. Many peelings, for it made it spotted. baring the white. When he peeled it, its white appeared and was bared in the place where it was peeled.
38. And he thrust. Heb. וַּיַּצֵג. The Targum renders וְדָעִיץ, an Aramaic term denoting thrusting and sticking in, of which there are many [examples] in the Talmud, [e.g.] (Shab. 50b):“he inserted it (דָּצָהּ) and pulled it out” ; and (Chul. 93b):“If he thrust (דָץ) something into it.” [The word] דָּצָהּ is like דְּעָצָהּ, but it is a contracted form. into the gutters. Where the water was running, in pools made in the ground in which to water the flocks. — [from Mishnath Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 7] where…would come, etc.. In the gutters where the animals would come to drink, he thrust the rods opposite the animals. — [from Targumim] and they would come into heat, etc.. (Gen. Rabbah 73:10) The animal would see the rods, and she would be startled backwards. Then the male would mount her and she would give birth to offspring similar to him. Rabbi Hoshaya says: The water would become sperm in their innards, and they did not require a male, and that is the meaning of וַיֵחַמְנָה וגוֹ. (I.e, in this word, there is a combination of masculine and feminine forms, as mentioned by Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra.)
39. by the rods. At the sight of the rods. ringed. Unusual in the place where they are bound. Those are the joints of their forelegs and hind legs.

40. And Jacob separated the sheep, and he turned the faces of the animals toward the ringed one[s] and every brown one among Laban's animals, and he made himself flocks by himself, and he did not place them with Laban's animals.
41. And it came to pass, that whenever the animals that were bearing their first would come into heat, Jacob would place the rods in the troughs, before the eyes of the animals, [in order] to bring them into heat by [means of] the rods.
42. But if the animals would delay, he would not place them, so that the ones that delayed were Laban's, and the ones that bore their first became Jacob's.
43. And the man became exceedingly wealthy, and he had prolific animals, and maidservants and manservants, and camels and donkeys.

43. prolific animals. Heb רַבּוֹת. They were fruitful and multiplied more than other animals. — [from Tanchuma Buber, Vayetze 24] and maidservants and manservants. He would sell his animals at a high price and purchase all these for himself. — [from Gen. Rabbah 74:5]

One can assume from this that Yacov purchased the cattle and camels from the sheep and wool sales at this time. Yacov did not cheat Lavan but Lavan was too busy with his own affairs and relationships to be bothered by inspecting his sheep and property. One should as advised in Tractate Sotah look over his finances and property daily. A little divergence and ignorance of the signs can lead to financial collapse and cutting ones losses in time can save a great deal of money. A wrong decision can also provide for losses. When the stock market appeared to rest at 9800 to 10,000 in August many people thought that it had bottomed out. But the Lehman Brothers failure in Sept. pushed it eventually down to 7500. Nobody can be entirely smart on these things or entirely foolish. Long term investors will come out ahead. Yacov started out with nothing 20 to 22 years prior and now he had a large family, four wives, and servants and wealth. Short term investors and day traders can make things big or lose things big. I saw a chart based on a $10,000 investment in 1934 that would have been in 2007 $70,000,000 based on dividend reinvest or just tens of millions based on taking out some money to enjoy life. Of course $10,000 in 1934 was a tremendous amount of money but $100 or $1000 was possible of the average wage earner. That would have meant $7,000,000 or $700,000 respectively. Even leaving some money from stocks purchased in early Oct. 1929 would be many millions today. Since most of us invest to enjoy or retire on, we would not be so rich but not necessarily poor. Over a 40 year earning period and diversified savings in the market and tax free municipal bonds, one could earn a tidy some between getting his/degree and retirement. Yacov was a long term investor and he lost sleep at night, put in over time while Lavan rested on his laurels. Yacov took responsibility for lost and sheep eaten by animal packs.

31:1. And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken all that belonged to our father, and from what belonged to our father, he has amassed this entire fortune." 2. And Jacob saw Laban's countenance, that he was not disposed toward him as [he had been] yesterday and the day before.

Yacov knew form his learning with Shem and Ever what we call “Chachmot Hapanim” or reading into the face (certain non-Jewish mystics claim to be able to see an aura around a man’s head – since I am not on that level I cannot tell if this statement/claim is true or false only that the Ari HaKodesh was able to see things in a man’s face and read him like one reads a book). With this knowledge, Yacov was shaken to his very foundation. Instead of a loving father-in-law and father/grandfather he saw an enemy full of hatred for him.

3. And the Lord said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your forefathers and to your birthplace, and I will be with you." 4. So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flocks. 5. And he said to them, "I see your father's countenance, that he is not disposed toward me [as he was] yesterday and the day before, but the God of my father was with me. 6. And you know that with all my might I served your father. 7. But your father mocked me and changed my wages ten times ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. 8. If he would say thus, 'Speckled ones shall be your wages,' all the animals would bear speckled ones, and if he would say thus, 'Ringed ones shall be your wages,' all the animals would bear ringed ones. 9. Thus, God separated your father's livestock and gave it to me.

Supposedly in a time when women had no more rights than chattel and men were kings and similar to Afghanistan today women had no say in matters. That Yacov comes and consults with his wives. From here we can learn (if we have not learned from Sara or Rivka) the respect and consultation that a husband gives to his wife. (With Sara it was a matter of Hagar and Yishmael and Rivka it was the children of Chet [Hittites] that made live miserable for her that our forefathers listened to their wives). We see below after the dream and the appearance of the Angel of G-D which Yacov must be describing at his time to his wives that both Rachel and Leah come and give their opinion, approval and full backing to Yacov. This is what is replied in the beginning of Beresheis as a Help-Mate which Chava was to Adam only she made the mistake with the forbidden fruit.

10. And it came to pass at the time the animals came into heat, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the he goats that mounted the animals were ringed, speckled, and striped. 11. And an angel of God said to me in a dream, 'Jacob!' And I said, 'Here I am.' 12. And he said, 'Now lift your eyes and see [that] all the he goats mounting the animals are ringed, speckled, and striped, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.
13. I am the God of Beth el, where you anointed a monument, where you pronounced to Me a vow. Now, arise, go forth from this land and return to the land of your birth.'"
14. And Rachel and Leah replied and said to him, "Do we still have a share or an inheritance in our father's house? 15. Are we not considered by him as strangers, for he sold us and also consumed our money? 16. But all the wealth that God separated from our father is ours and our children's. So now, all that God said to you, do."

14. Do we still have. Why should we stop you from returning? Do we still hope to inherit anything of our father’s property among the males?
15. Are we not considered by him as strangers. Even at a time when people usually give a dowry to their daughters, viz. at the time of marriage, he behaved toward us as [one behaves toward] strangers, for he sold us to you (for you served him fourteen years for us, and he gave us to you only) as wages for labor. our money. For he kept the wages for your labor.
16. But all the wealth. Heb. כִּי. This כִּי here means “but.” That is, we have nothing of our father’s, but what the Holy One, blessed be He, separated from our father is ours. separated. Heb. הִצִיל, a term meaning that he separated, and so every expression of הַצָלָה in Scripture means separation, that one separates another from harm or from the enemy.

In an earlier Rashi we learn that before Yacov came, Lavan only had these daughters and they were going to inherit everything. Afterwards by the blessing and presence of Yacov, Lavan had sons. These sons were to prove a thorn in the side of Yacov and his wives. The daughters felt that they like any female deserved a dowry from their father and should not be left out in the cold. Rabbi Davis and I both made provisions that after 120 years that our daughters will receive some inheritance and we used a Beis Din ‘trick’ to get around the daughters receiving nothing. It is also a puzzle to me considering that his daughters and grandchildren are his future that he turns this way against them. Instead of being happy that he has a good size flock and that his daughters and grandchildren are well provided for, he has been poisoned by the Yetzer of his sons and blinded by Yacov’s wealth through good management. It is like the managers from Japan vs. the big three automakers in the States. Quality, good pricing and fuel economy won out in a free market over gluttonous unions, frivolous managers and not reading what the people wanted correctly. Lavan’s mismanagement and the day traders on the sheep market of his sons were to blame for his failures vs. the success of Yacov on the physical level. Lavan’s idols vs. Yacov sticking to the principals of Avraham and Haran in worshipping G-D lead to Yacov’s success on the spiritual level. This world is based on both the spiritual and the physical and too many people forget this. This is why David King of Yisrael says, (Psalm 121) “I turn my eyes towards the mountains (future Beis HaMikdash and the current Mishkan in Shilo) from whence comes my help? My help is from HASHEM …” David the practical shepherd and warrior also needed spiritual backing. Remember this when going to a doctor, lawyer or doing business. Make sure to include HASHEM as your partner. For the L-RD, G-D, KING over all is your invisible help in everything.


The Prayer: I have decided to emphasis and analyze this week only the simple prayer of Yacov Avinu.

32:4. Jacob sent angels ahead of him to his brother Esau, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.

The Hebrew word “Malachim” can mean messengers or Angels so Rashi brings down the fact that Angels were seen in the last chapter at the camp and they were sent by Yacov.

4. Jacob sent angels. Heb. מַלְאָכִים, literally angels (Gen. Rabbah 75:4). to the land of Seir. Heb. אַרְצָה שֵׂעִיר [like] לְאֶרֶץ שֵׂעִיר, to the land of Seir. [In] every word that requires the prefix “lammed” [to] at the beginning, Scripture placed a“heh” at the end. — [from Yev. 13b]

5. And he commanded them, saying, "So shall you say to my master to Esau, 'Thus said your servant Jacob, "I have sojourned with Laban, and I have tarried until now.

5. I have sojourned. Heb. גַּרְתִּי. I did not become an officer or a dignitary, but a stranger (גֵּר) . It is not worthwhile for you to hate me on account of your father’s blessing, [with] which he blessed me (27:29):“You shall be a master over your brothers,” for it was not fulfilled in me (Tanchuma Buber Vayishlach 5). Another explanation: גַּרְתִּי has the numerical value of 613. That is to say: I lived with the wicked Laban, but I kept the 613 commandments, and I did not learn from his evil deeds.

6. And I have acquired oxen and donkeys, flocks, manservants, and maidservants, and I have sent to tell [this] to my master, to find favor in your eyes.' "

6. And I have acquired oxen and donkeys. My father said to me, (27:28):“of the dew of the heavens and [of] the fatness of the earth,” but this is neither from the heavens nor from the earth. — [from Tanchuma Buber Vayishlach 5] oxen and donkeys. Heb. שׁוֹר וַחִמוֹר, lit., an ox and a donkey. It is customary to call many oxen “ox.” A person says to his companion at night, “The rooster has crowed,” but does not say, “The roosters have crowed.” - [from Tanchuma Buber Vayishlach 5] and I have sent to tell [this] to my master. to let [you] know that I am coming to you. — to find favor in your eyes. That I am at peace with you and seek your love. —

7. The angels returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother, to Esau, and he is also coming toward you, and four hundred men are with him."

7. We came to your brother, to Esau. Concerning whom you said, “He is my brother,” but he still behaves toward you like the wicked Esau. He still has hatred (Genesis Rabbah 75:7).

This is more like the real intention of the sent off party of Lavan but he was stopped by the dream as he hadn’t the intentions of making the so-called send off band party that he mentioned to Yacov after catching up to him.

8. Jacob became very frightened and was distressed; so he divided the people who were with him and the flocks and the cattle and the camels into two camps.

8. Jacob became…frightened, and…distressed. He was frightened lest he be killed (Gen. Rabbah 75:2, Tanchuma, Vayishlach 4), and he was distressed that he might kill others.

Yosef’s brothers were supposed to be Tzaddikim and they did not behave so nicely to him to put it mildly all the more so the wicked Esav who had already killed a man, raped a betrothed woman, stolen things and mocked his father behind the father’s back. So Yacov had more than a slight reason to be shaking in his boots. 400 men are not needed for a brotherly hug and kiss. It is enough Esav alone or with his wives and children.

9. And he said, "If Esau comes to one camp and strikes it down, the remaining camp will escape."

9. one camp and strikes it down. Heb. וְהִכָּהוּ הַמַחִנֶה הָאַחַת. [The word] מַחִנֶה is used both in the masculine and feminine genders. [Other examples are:] (Ps. 27:3):“If a camp encamps (תַּחִנֶה) against me.” This is feminine. (Below, 33: 8)“this (הַזֶה) camp.” That is masculine. Likewise, there are other things (nouns) that are used both in the masculine and feminine genders, e.g. (above 19:23):“The sun (הַשֶׁמֶשׁ) came out (יָצָא) upon the earth” ; (Ps. 19:7):“From the end of the heavens is its source (מוֹצָאוֹ) .” These are masculine. (II Kings 3:22):“the sun shone (זָרְחָה) on the water.” This is feminine. And likewise, רוּחַ, wind (Job 1:19):“when, behold, a great (גְדוֹלָה) wind came (בָּאָה) .” This is feminine; “and struck (וַיִגַע) the four corners of the house.” This is masculine. [Another instance is] (I Kings 19:11):“and a great (גְדוֹלָה) and strong (וְחָזָק) wind, splitting (מְפָרֵק) mountains.” This is both masculine and feminine. Likewise, אֵשׁ, fire, as (Num. 16:35):“And fire went forth (יָצְאָה) from before the Lord,” feminine gender; (Ps. 104:4):"burning (לֹהֵט) fire, masculine gender. the remaining camp will escape. Against his will, for I will wage war with him. He (Jacob) prepared himself for three things: for a gift, for war, and for prayer. For a gift, [as Scripture says] (verse 22): “So the gift passed on before him.” For prayer, [as Scripture says] (verse 10): “God of my father Abraham…” For war, [as Scripture says]: “the remaining camp will escape.” - [from Tanchuma Buber, Vayishlach 6]

The Chofetz Chaim prior to his death in 1933 began crying I see Esav falling upon one of the camps (Europe) but another shall escape. When asked where will be the camp that escapes “On Har Tzion in Yerushalayim” quoting the Novi Ovadiah from this week’s Haftorah.

10. And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, Who said to me, 'Return to your land and to your birthplace, and I will do good to you.'

The same start of the prayer of our Amidah (Shemona Esray). We of course say, “O’L-RD open my mouth and let my mouth give praise. Blessed are YOU HASHEM ELOKANU,VELOKAY Avinu, ELOKAY Avraham, ELOKAY Yitzchak VELOKAY Yacov, the G-D, great, mighty, the Awesome G-D, sublime G-D, who bestows loving kindness … who remembers the good deeds of our fathers and will graciously bring a redeemer unto their children for the sake of THY NAME … “

10. and God of my father Isaac. But elsewhere (31:42), it says: and the Fear of Isaac. Moreover, why did he repeat the Tetragramation? Scripture should have written: “Who said to me, ‘Return to your land, etc.’ ” Rather, so did Jacob say before the Holy One, blessed be He: You gave me two promises: one when I left my father’s house from Beersheva, when You said to me (28: 13): “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac,” and there You said to me, (ibid., verse 15): “and I will guard you wherever you go.” And in Laban’s house You said to me (31:3), “Return to the land of your forefathers and to your birthplace, and I will be with you.” There You revealed Yourself to me with the Tetragramation alone, for it is said: “And the Lord (יהוה) said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your forefathers, etc.’” With these two promises I am coming before You.

11. I have become small from all the kindnesses and from all the truth that You have rendered Your servant, for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.

11. I have become small. My merits have diminished because of the kindnesses and the truth that You have rendered me. Therefore, I fear lest I have became sullied with sin since [the time that] You promised me, and it will cause me to be delivered into Esau’s hand[s]. — [from Shab. 32a, Ta’anith 20b, Ber. 41] and from all the truth. The realization of Your words, that You kept for me all the promises that You made to me. for with my staff. I had with me neither silver nor gold nor livestock, but only my staff. The Midrash Aggadah states: He placed his staff into the Jordan, and the Jordan split. — [from Tanchuma Buber, Vayetze 3; Aggadath Bereishith 45:2]]

Yacov had a lot of miracles happen to him with shortening of distance on his way to Lavan and the saving from Eliphaz the son of Esav. Later from all the schemes and wheeling and dealings of Lavan. It was obvious that the attack of Lavan had been miraculously neutralized and the cross of the Yarden. So now Yacov was sore afraid that he had used up all his Torah merits for miracles through these past miracles that HASHEM worked for him. Yacov was humble from both his age, and learning of the great works of creation and living out in the fields at night defending the sheep from wolves, bears, lions, hyenas, jackals and other pests.

12. Now deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him, lest he come and strike me, [and strike] a mother with children.

12. from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau. From the hand of my brother, who does not behave toward me like a brother, but like the wicked Esau. — [apparently from Gen. Rabbah 75:7]

If there is no Torah with a sibling, he may prove to be a greater enemy from within the family than from without. I had a case of a woman in her fifties who took care of her aged father for years. A few months before his death, the eldest brother came and had the old man draw up a new will. After the death the brother, a man in his sixties, came pushed his sister to the floor and stomped upon her took what he wanted from the apartment by brute force. The man did not raise his children Jewish and had no G-D fearing sense in him. I also had a case of a man who was threatened at gun point along with his younger brother from the oldest brother regarding a nursing home for their father. I could site more cases but these two were perhaps the most extreme that I came across.

13. And You said, 'I will surely do good with you, and I will make your seed [as numerous] as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of multitude.'"

13. I will surely do well. Heb. הֵיטֵב אֵיטִיב. [The double expression denotes:] הֵיטֵב, [I will do good] in your merit; אֵיטִיב, [I will do good] in the merit of your forefathers (Gen. Rabbah 76:7). and I will make your seed [as numerous] as the sand of the sea. Now where did He tell him this? Is it not so that He said to him only (28:14): “And your seed shall be like the dust of the earth” ? But He said to him (ibid. 15): “for I will not forsake you until I have done for you what I have spoken concerning you,” and to Abraham He said (22:17): “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the seashore.”

Yacov is reminding G-D (who has no forgetfulness before HIM) of the promises that HE made. This is all because of the immediate danger to the well being of Yacov and family (essentially Am Yisrael). This should be a model for praying. 1) Try to remind G-D of the merits of our forefathers and his promises. 2) Ask our petition unto G-D and 3) Ask G-D not to forsake us. All this is the lesson that we should learn from the short, sweet, to the point and humble prayer of Yacov.

Some Stories Seth Sent


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything
from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, he got special dividends as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. He wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al 'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity.

To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.

Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale.. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.

Story Three unrelated to the above but also from Seth.

This was written by my close friend Hillary who spent her summer living in Mumbai and got close with the Holtzbergs.
Many of you first heard of the Holtzberg family three days ago when news of the Mumbai hostage situation emerged. I feel compelled to write this letter, because I want the world to know who Rivky and Gabi Holtzberg were in life and to tell you what I witnessed of their accomplishments in their brief 28 years on earth. While I am devastated by their death, I am thankful that my life and so many others were touched by their purity, friendship and spirit.Before I entered the Chabad house in Mumbai, I thought, "What kind of people would leave a comfortable and secure life in a religious community to live in the middle of Mumbai; a dirty, difficult, crowded city?" As I got to know Rivky and Gabi over the course of this past summer, I understood that G-d creates some truly special people willing to devote their lives to bettering the world. I was first welcomed by Rivky, who had a big smile on her face and her baby Moishie in her arms. She ushered me and my fellow travelers into the
Chabad house and immediately offered us something to eat and a sofa to rest on. We quickly became good friends. We bonded with the Holtzberg family and the staff at Chabad, including Sandra, the heroine who saved baby Moishie's life. Like his parents, Moishe is a sweet, loving, happy baby. He was so attached to Rivky and Gabi. He got so excited to sing Shabbat Z'mirot (songs) every Friday night with his father, and I could tell by the light on Gabi's face when they were singing together, that he looked forward to it too. It breaks my heart that I can still hear Moishie's voice calling, "Ima, Ima, Ima", and she will no longer be able to hold him or rock him in her arms. On my second Shabbat at Chabad, Rivky told me there were two Israeli men staying at the house who were just released from an Indian prison. When I saw these men sitting at the dinner table, I was startled. One man had only a front tooth and a raggedy pony tail, and the other looked like an Israeli version of Rambo. I observed the way that Gabi interacted with them and how they were welcomed at the Shabbat table the same way everyone else was, and my fears melted away. Over the course of the night, I learned that these men were not the only prisoners or ex-convicts the Holtzberg's helped. Gabi frequently brought Kosher meals to Israelis in prison, spent time with them, listened to their life stories, and took them in after their release. I realized that Gabi and Rivky's job was not only to run a Chabad house and provide warm meals and beds for weary Jewish travelers, it was much greater. The Holtzberg's were running a remarkable operation. They took their jobs as shlichim (emissaries) very seriously. Their lives never stopped. There was no such thing as "personal space" or "downtime". The phones rang constantly, people came in and out like a subway station, and all the while Rivky and Gabi were calm, smiling, warm, and welcomed everyone like family. Rivky spent each day cooking dinner with the chefs for 20-40 people, while Gabi made sure to provide meat for everyone by going to the local markets and schechting (koshering) them himself. They also provided travelers with computers for internet access, so that they wouldn't have to pay for internet cafes. They even took care of our laundry. Having spent much time abroad, it was clear to me that Rivky and Gabi were unusual tzadikim (righteous people).On my last Shabbat in India, I slept in Rivky and Gabi's home, the 5th floor of the Chabad house. I noticed that their apartment was dilapidated and bare. They had only a sofa, a bookshelf, a bedroom for Moishie, and a bedroom to sleep in. The paint peeled from the walls, and there were hardly any decorations. Yet, the guest quarters on the two floors below were decorated exquisitely, with American-style beds, expansive bathrooms, air conditioning (a luxury in India) and marble floors. We called these rooms our "healing rooms" because life was so difficult in
Mumbai during the week. We knew that when we came to Chabad, Rivky and Gabi would take care of us just like our parents, and their openness and kindness would rejuvenate us for the week to come. The juxtaposition of their home to the guest rooms was just another example of what selfless, humble people Rivky and Gabi were. They were more concerned about the comfort of their guests than their own. The Holtzberg's Shabbat table was a new experience each week. Backpackers, businessmen, diplomats and diamond dealers gathered together to connect with their heritage in an instant. We always knew we were in for a surprise where an amazing story would be told, either by Gabi or a guest at the table. For each meal, Gabi prepared about seven different divrei torah (words of torah) to share. Though most of them were delivered in Hebrew (and I caught about 25%), his wisdom, knowledge and ability to inspire amazed me. Rivky and Gabi were accepting of everyone who walked through their doors, a
nd they had no hidden agendas. Rivky once told me that there was one holiday where they had no guests. It was just herself, Gabi and Moishie. I expected her to say how relieved she was not to have guests, but she told me it was, in fact, the only lonely holiday they ever spent in India.I remember asking Gabi if he was afraid of potential terror threats. Although his demeanor was so sweet and gentle, Gabi was also very strong-minded and determined. He told me simply and sharply that if the terrorists were to come, "be my guest, because I'm not leaving this place. "Both he and Rivky believed that their mission in Mumbai was far greater than any potential terror threats. Everything Rivky and Gabi did came from their dedication, love and commitment to the Jewish people and to G-d. I cannot portray in words how remarkable this couple was. If there is anything practical that I can suggest in order to elevate their souls, please try to light candles this Friday night for Shabbat, improve relationships with family members and friends, try to connect to others the way that Rivky and Gabi did - with love, acceptance and open arms. There is so much to learn from them. May their names and influence live on, and inspire us in acts of kindness and love.

Sincerely, Hillary

Kashrus 101: Kosher Kitchen Webcast with Rav Belsky & Rav Schachter … Listen to the answers!

R’ A.L. A note of anti-Jewish terror world wide:

Inyanay Diyoma

Dr. Richard Schwartz fwd this Jewish Climate change website:

From Matt Brooks - Dennis Prager on the Jewish side of the Mumbai Terror (also Chaim B. sent me this article):

Israel Experts in counter-terrorism helping India plan raids into Kashmir and Al Qaeda Strongholds:

Doctors shocked at hostages's torture by Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator

We must now await the follow-on statements of the Muslim Press claiming that Islamists do not engage in torture and disfigurement. These will be attested to by Israel's Leftists who invariably act the apologist for "Jihadists" (holy warriors for Islam) Terror. No doubt, we should hear from Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak - followed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who will assure all that Muslim "Jihadists" can be appeased and besides the Muslim Arab Palestinians do not torture and maim their prisoners or hostages - except when they do.

Mutilation to both the living and the dead is the MO (Method of Operation) of Islamists. The bloody butchery for them is merely an expression of joy and pleasure.
How can we deny them such fulfillment of the ways of Mohammed's Koran and Hadith?



Doctors shocked at hostages's torture by Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai | November 30, 2008

They said that just one look at the bodies of the dead hostages as well as terrorists showed it was a battle of attrition that was fought over three days at the Oberoi and the Taj hotels in Mumbai.

Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.

"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said.

Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatized. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.

Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.

The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. "During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis," an IB source said.

It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. "They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House," he reasoned.

On the other hand, there is enough to suggest that the terrorists also did not meet a clean, death.

The doctors who conducted the post mortem said the bodies of the terrorists were beyond recognition. "Their faces were beyond recognition."

There was no way of identifying them," he said. Asked how, if this is the case, they knew the bodies were indeed those of the terrorists, he said: "The security forces that brought the bodies told us that those were the bodies of the terrorists," he said, adding there was no other way they could have identified the bodies.

An intelligence agency source added: "One of the terrorists was shot through either eye."

A senior National Security Guard officer, who had earlier explained the operation in detail to, said the commandos went all out after they ascertained that there were no more hostages left. When asked if the commandos attempted to capture them alive at that stage, he replied: "Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)?"

Syria is still working on Plutonium enrichment in a different spot.

SCOUNDRELS IN THE NAME OF THE LAW by MK Ariel Eldad, Ma'ariv forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator

MK (Member of Knesset) Aryeh Eldad made his case (below) very well. Indeed, the Government, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Supreme Court have all shown themselves to be nothing less that scoundrels under laws of their own making.

Eldad does express regrets over the zealousness of the youth who expressed their outrage in a way that the young are straight forward when betrayal marks the ways of a corrupt government.

As I recall, it was the very young who fought the Nazi Germans in the Warsaw Ghetto. It is truly regrettable that the promise of a Free State for all Jews was contaminated by such a ruthless and corrupt Government.

Please note that Eldad makes note of the fact (in his last paragraph) that "in the House of Peace, masked youths, answerable to no one, were leading the fight. These youths may wear large yarmulkes but do not have the fear of God in them. Where those with masks stand I do not, nor do many others who are faithful to the Land of Israel."

I believe that there are one or two possibilities. One: These youth fought bravely as they should and have been defamed, denigrated and demonized by the Media and the Olmert-Barak Government. Or, Two: These masked youth with large white kippot were "agents provocateurs", planted for the fight, in disguise, to besmirch the purity of arms and honesty of purpose to Torah Laws that the people in Beit HaShalom, the House of Peace lived by and for.



SCOUNDRELS IN THE NAME OF THE LAW by M.K. Ariel Eldad, Ma'ariv, December 7, 2008 M.K. Arieh Eldad, Hatikvah

There are many commandments and laws in the Torah of Israel. Tradition recognizes that some people commit dastardly deeds within the letter of Torah law; such a deed is called a "nevala berushut hatorah" (an immoral act within the bounds of Torah). And there are many laws in the State of Israel, which are interpreted - and sometimes created - by the Supreme Court.

The recent events in Hebron where Jews living in Beit Shalom (the "House of Peace," though the Israeli media insists on calling it the "House of Contention"), a building they had purchased, were expelled by Israeli security forces prove that a person can sometimes obey the law and yet be a scoundrel.

The Supreme Court that ordered the Jewish residents of the house expelled even though the house had been purchased according to all the legal requirements committed an act of moral turpitude in the name of the law.

The defense minister, who rushed to execute this order even though the order set no timetable for the expulsion, chose to play politics and adopt corrupt and foolish spin tactics in the name of the rule of law. It was a political spin because he ordered the Jews expelled in order to improve his own position and that of his party, which is disintegrating in the public opinion polls, and to find favor in the eyes of the Left, which is abandoning his sinking political ship.

The praise he received the day of the Labor party primaries from MKs Ofer Pines and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, praise for his decisiveness and determination in executing the expulsion, proves that this was politically motivated.

It was a corrupt act because Defense Minister Barak tied policemen and soldiers to his political wagon on the most divisive issue facing Israel today, the fate of Judea and Samaria - again in the name of the rule of law. It was corrupt because Barak knows that in another two months Israel will have a new government, one that will authorize people to live in the House of Peace, and he's using the last moments of his power not to strike at Hamas in Gaza or free POW Gilad Shalit or destroy Hizbullah rockets or eliminate the Iranian nuclear industry. He's
making political use of his power, to expel Jews. This is corruption.

And why is it foolish? At the entrance to Kiryat Arba, the Chazon David synagogue is housed in a tent. Security forces have destroyed it 35 times because it is supposedly an illegal outpost, and 36 times it has been erected, and worshippers are there today. If it is destroyed again, it will be erected again. This is foolishness. It is foolish to risk the lives of policemen and young men in violent expulsions which are destined to be reversed, either a week later when the settlers return without permission, or after the elections with the permission of the next minister of defense.

This act of moral turpitude and foolishness in the name of the law was able to be executed in under an hour because there weren't thousands of settlers in the House of Peace fighting on its behalf. The police are patting themselves on the back because they supposedly "surprised" the settlers. But the expulsion went smoothly not because of any surprise but because the majority of public leaders and rabbis who head yeshivas did not bring their followers to the site.

Two weeks ago about 10 members of Knesset - from Kadima, Likud, Shas, the National Union, and my Hatikvah party - visited the House of Peace and promised to be part of its struggle. Many yeshiva leaders and public officials visited and promised to take part, but during the expulsion we were not there, and not because we were surprised.

I was on the roof of the fortress in Sa-Nur during the disengagement from Gaza and Northern Shomron. I was in the front line in Amona and am now handicapped because of the insane violence of the police. But in Sa-Nur and in Amona I knew that we had control of our ranks.

Unfortunately, in the House of Peace, masked youths, answerable to no one, were leading the fight. These youths may wear large yarmulkes but do not have the fear of God in them. Where those with masks stand I do not, nor do many others who are faithful to the Land of Israel.

Wishing you an enjoyable and healthy Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli