Friday, December 19, 2008

Parsha Vayayshev, The Well & The Weasel by W. Pascheles and two Good Shabbos Stories

The Truth is stranger than fiction – Rabbi Pauli’s believe it or not from the OU: Boar's Head Placards Issue: Placards bearing an unauthorized OU symbol and the Boar's Head logo!

Parsha Vayayshev

Now that I have the I am less concerned with the references to the more modern Chabad translation that usually appears on Yahoo Groups. I also want to repeat some ideas that I wrote in 5765 and 5766 with quite a few hundred new readers since then. I will place the older ones in italics.

37:1. Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

1. Jacob dwelt. Scripture described Esau’s settlements and his generations, [but only] briefly, because they were not distinguished nor important enough to elaborate on [in detail] how they settled and the order of their wars, [or] how they drove out the Horites. [In contrast] it (Scripture) elaborates at length on the settlements of Jacob and his generations, and all the events that brought these about, since they were [considered] important [enough] to the Omnipresent to dwell upon at length. Similarly, you find regarding the ten generations from Adam to Noah: So-and-so begot so-and-so, but when it (Scripture) reached Noah, it dwelt upon him at length. Likewise, with the ten generations from Noah to Abraham, it dealt [only] briefly with them, but when it reached Abraham, it dwelt upon him at length. This can be compared to a pearl that falls into the sand: A person searches in the sand and sifts it with a sieve until he finds the pearl, and when he finds it, he casts the pebbles from his hand and keeps the pearl. (Another interpretation of “Jacob dwelt” -The camels of a flax dealer [once] entered [a town], laden with flax. The blacksmith wondered, “Where will all this flax go?” One clever fellow answered him, “One spark will come out of your bellows, which will burn it all.” So did Jacob see all the chieftains [of Esau] mentioned above (36:15-19, 40-43). He wondered and said, “Who can conquer them all?” What is written below? “These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph” (verse 2), only, and it is written: “And the house of Jacob shall be fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble” (Obadiah 1:18). One spark will emerge from Joseph, which will destroy and consume them all. From an old Rashi.) [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 1]1. Jacob dwelt. Scripture described Esau’s settlements and his generations, [but only] briefly, because they were not distinguished nor important enough to elaborate on [in detail] how they settled and the order of their wars, [or] how they drove out the Horites. [In contrast] it (Scripture) elaborates at length on the settlements of Jacob and his generations, and all the events that brought these about, since they were [considered] important [enough] to the Omnipresent to dwell upon at length. Similarly, you find regarding the ten generations from Adam to Noah: So-and-so begot so-and-so, but when it (Scripture) reached Noah, it dwelt upon him at length. Likewise, with the ten generations from Noah to Abraham, it dealt [only] briefly with them, but when it reached Abraham, it dwelt upon him at length. This can be compared to a pearl that falls into the sand: A person searches in the sand and sifts it with a sieve until he finds the pearl, and when he finds it, he casts the pebbles from his hand and keeps the pearl. (Another interpretation of “Jacob dwelt” -The camels of a flax dealer [once] entered [a town], laden with flax. The blacksmith wondered, “Where will all this flax go?” One clever fellow answered him, “One spark will come out of your bellows, which will burn it all.” So did Jacob see all the chieftains [of Esau] mentioned above (36:15-19, 40-43). He wondered and said, “Who can conquer them all?” What is written below? “These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph” (verse 2), only, and it is written: “And the house of Jacob shall be fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble” (Obadiah 1:18). One spark will emerge from Joseph, which will destroy and consume them all. From an old Rashi.) [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 1]

5765: Where was HASHEM during the Shoah (Holocaust)? Where was HASHEM during this week's Parsha? There is no mention of G-D in this Parsha! The first question is mine and the second question is Rabbi Simcha HaKohain Kuk Shlita. Rav Kuk gave the answer: "Making Moshiach Ben Yosef and Moshiach Ben David". We see that Yosef is sold to Egypt in order to marry Osnat. Yehuda becomes widowed and his Yetzer pulls him towards Tamar. From these unions will come the salvation of Yisrael. Out of the ashes of the 6 to 7,000,000 human sacrifices came the massive return unto Tzion and eventually the Moshiach. (May we not know any more human sacrifices among us.)

Let us picture Yosef at the start of this week's Parsha. Yacov's favorite son, spoiled silly by the rich father, because the boy was orphaned from his mother. He is the son of Yacov's true love. (Now this does not mean that Yacov did not love the other wives as a husband should. It means that Rachel was his Beshert or soul mate. It should be noted that Yacov is buried next to Leah and not Rachel.) All the other brothers have regular coats, Yosef has like officer strips on his coat. He tells his father things about Gad and Asher.

(Perhaps Dan and Naphtali too.) Nobody likes a tattletale or a spoiled snotty teenager trying to act like a prince over his older brothers. To add salt to the wounds, Yosef dreams types of dreams that show that the will rule over his brothers.

Papa Yacov tells Yosef to visit his brothers. He cannot find them and a 'man' (Gabriel the Angel) directs him unto them. Hotheaded brothers Shimon and Levi want to kill Yosef. Reuven now asserts his authority and tells them to throw Yosef into a pit without his fancy coat. The pit contains no water and in the place of water are snakes and scorpions.

Reuven figures that he will rescue Yosef from the hands of the other brothers and goes off to tend the sheep. Yehuda has to be humble before big brothers Shimon and Levi. He suggests an alternative plan that will get rid of the pest for once and for all without killing him and gives them money to boot. Sell him as a slave to Yishmaelim. Normally the Yishmael are carrying crude oil products that stink from Arabia to Egypt, but this time they are carrying spices.

5767: Yacov was already over 100. He thought to retire and just learn Torah by his father’s side. Yitzchak was already 160 years of age. However, when one is the direct manager, nobody challenges your authority. As soon as one becomes CEO, the new president or the younger management wants to challenge the authority. It started with the negotiation with Hamor and Schem for the hand of Dina and then with Reuven having the gall to take Yacov’s bed from Bilhah’s tent to his mother’s tent and during these years, the younger generation took over the shepherding and cattle raising. Yosef and baby Benyamin were at home learning Torah with Aba. The two fellows were young orphans from their mother. Now Yacov gave Yosef a special coat which raised his 17 year old eyes over his brothers and got them to be jealous of him. So at the age of 108 sitting on cushions and learning Torah, Yacov sends out Yosef to see what is going on with his brothers.

2. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father.

5769: Doesn’t it seem odd to you that a man with 12 sons and one daughter when mentioning his generations would only mention Yosef?

5766:There is a big problem in our Pasha and the Chumosh indicates it with the fact that as soon as the discussion starts about the generations of Yacov, instead of Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, etc. we are immediately introduced to Yosef. This immediately indicates that something is out of the ordinary here. There is definitely favoritism shown by Yacov. Yosef is pampered even more than baby Benyamin. He is Rachel's first born. He is the real pride and joy of Yacov. He reports to his father about unbecoming behavior belonging to the half brothers from the "servant" wives. This already gets 4 brothers angry against him. He then like a normal 17 year old starts spouting his dreams in front of the brothers. However, these are dreams of ruling over the brothers and this does not go over big with them. In fact, he leaves himself wide opened to jealousy and hatred. The combination of the angry of Shimon and Levi will be crucial here. Both Reuven and Yehuda are credited with trying to save Yosef. Reuven as the oldest has stated his case. Yehuda has no ways of knowing Reuven's thoughts. He is subservient to the two older brothers Shimon and Levi in hierarchy at this point. He therefore has to think of an original solution to the problem of having to save Yosef's life. He will become the future leader of Klal Yisrael, but at this time as a fellow in his early twenties, he has not mellowed and earned his kingship. He will make a decision that will be essential wrong morally and in place of Reuven. Yet it is his decision that right or wrong only a leader is capable of making. {Note that because of the behavior of the brothers, the Shechinah leaves Am Yisrael and Yacov receives no prophecy for 22 years and talks about his old head going down to "Sheol" because without holiness, he must be going "to a place that there aren't any snow balls and will fry ice on the way there" – saying from my childhood rank fight days.}

2. These are the generations of Jacob. And these are those of the generations of Jacob. These are their settlements and their wanderings until they came to settle. The first cause [of their wanderings]: when Joseph was seventeen years old, etc. Through this [the events that unfolded], they wandered and descended to Egypt. This is according to the plain explanation of the verse, putting everything in its proper perspective. The Midrash Aggadah, however, interprets [the passage as follows]: Scripture bases the generations of Jacob on Joseph because of many things: one is that, with his entire being, Jacob served Laban only for Rachel [and Rachel bore Joseph]. In addition, Joseph’s features resembled his (Jacob’s), and whatever happened to Jacob happened to Joseph. This one (Jacob) was hated, and that one (Joseph) was hated. This one-his brother (Esau) sought to kill him, and that one his brothers sought to kill him, and likewise many [other similarities related] in Genesis Rabbah (84:6). It is further expounded upon [as follows]: “dwelt” (verse 1) When Jacob sought to dwell in tranquility, the troubles of Joseph sprang upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, “What is prepared for the righteous in the world to come is not sufficient for them, but they seek [also] to dwell in tranquility in this world!” and he was a lad. He behaved childishly, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:7] with the sons of Bilhah. That is to say, he was frequently with the sons of Bilhah, because his [other] brothers would demean them, while he acted friendly toward them. [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 7] evil tales about them. Any evil he saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father: 1) that they ate limbs from living animals, 2) that they demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves, and 3) that they were suspected of illicit sexual relationships. For these three [tales] he was punished: For [the report that his brothers ate] limbs from living animals, “they slaughtered a kid” (Gen. 37:31) when they sold him, and did not eat it alive. For the report that he told about them that they called their brothers slaves, “Joseph was sold as a slave” (Ps. 105:17), and concerning the illicit sexual relationships that he told about them, “his master’s wife lifted her eyes, etc.” (Gen. 39:7). tales about them. Heb. דִּבָּתָם Every expression of דִּבָּה denotes parlediz in Old French, gossip, slander. Whatever evil he could tell about them he told. דִּבָּה is an expression of making the lips of the sleeping speak (דוֹבֵב).

3. And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat.

5768: TISK-TISK a parent should never show favoritism. I know it is hard. Sometimes one child or grandchild sort of outdoes the rest. It is hard but one must give each the same amount of attention on their own level as one gives to the others. This is the root of jealous. G-D rules over 71 nations. (Some of the 186 members of the UN are really parts of other Nations or in the case of Australia, US, Canada sort of a melting pot of many nations) Since Yisrael is closer to him, all the other Nations are jealous. It does not matter to the world that Yeshu was born of a Jewish mother and henceforth Jewish. They will have an Inquisition, Holocaust and Synagogue & Graveyard desecrations in the name of Yeshu or Mohammed. Hatred and jealousy so rooted that a person will kill himself in order to kill as many of the other religion(s) as possible. We have seen this in America, Europe, Africa, South America and Yisrael with some plotters captured as far away as Australia. The main thing is to remove the infidels at all cost until out of fear they convert. When they do, kill them too if they support the opposition party as happened this week in Gaza.

3. a son of his old age. Heb. - בֶן זְקֻנִים, for he was born to him in his old age (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 38). Onkelos rendered: for he was a wise son to him. Whatever he had learned from Shem and Eber he gave over to him. Another explanation: for his (Joseph’s) features (זִיו אִיקוֹנִין) resembled his own (those of Jacob). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8] fine woolen. Heb. פַּסִים, a term meaning fine woolen garments, like “green wool (כַּרְפַּס) and blue wool” (Esther 1:6), and like the fine woolen coat (כְתֹנֶת פַּסִים) of Tamar and Amnon (II Sam. 13:18). The Midrash Aggadah, however, explains that it was called פַּסִים because of his (Joseph’s) troubles, namely, that he was sold to Potiphar (פּוֹטִפַר), to the merchants (סוֹחֲרִים), to the Ishmaelites (יִשְׁמְעִאלִים), and to the Midianites (מִדְיָנִים). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8]

With my past and present commentary in mind and taking into account a tremendous amount of jealousy on the part of the brothers especially Shimon and Levy, one can see from the next Pasuk that they are beginning to hate Yosef’s guts and when he starts dreaming and telling everybody about his dreams they do not see it as illusions of grander or the imagination but rather they see it as Yacov sees it in line 11 – expecting that the dream could happen unless they took matters into their own hands to negate the dream.

4. And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully.

4. and they could not speak with him peacefully. From what is stated to their discredit, we may learn something to their credit, that they did not say one thing with their mouth and think differently in their heart. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:9] speak with him. Heb. דַבְּרוֹ, [the equivalent of] לְדַבֵּר עִמוֹ, to speak with him. [From Targum Onkelos]

5. And Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him. 6. And he said to them, "Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed:
7. Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf."
8. So his brothers said to him, "Will you reign over us, or will you govern us?" And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words. 9. And he again dreamed another dream, and he related it to his brothers, and he said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream, and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to me."
10. And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will we come I, your mother, and your brothers to prostrate ourselves to you to the ground?"

10. And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers. After he told it to his brothers, he told it again to his father in their presence. his father rebuked him. because he was bringing hatred upon himself. Will we come. Isn’t your mother (Rachel) already dead? But he (Jacob) did not know that the matters referred to Bilhah, who had raised him (Joseph) as [if she were] his mother (Gen. Rabbah 84:11). Our Rabbis, however, derived from here that there is no dream without meaningless components (Ber. 55a/b). Jacob, however, intended to make his sons forget the whole matter, so that they would not envy him (Joseph). Therefore, he said,“Will we come, etc.” Just as it is impossible for your mother, so is the rest meaningless.

11. So his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter. 15. Then a man found him, and behold, he was straying in the field, and the man asked him, saying, "What are you looking for?" 16. And he said, "I am looking for my brothers. Tell me now, where are they pasturing?"
17. And the man said, "They have traveled away from here, for I overheard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.' " So Joseph went after his brothers, and he found them in Dothan.

15. Then a man found him. This is [the angel] Gabriel, as it is said: “And the man Gabriel” (Dan. 9:21). [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 2]
17. They have traveled away from here. They removed themselves from brotherhood. ‘Let us go to Dothan.’. Heb. נֵלְכָה דֹתָינָה, to seek regarding you legal pretexts (נִכְלֵי דָתוֹת), by which they could put you to death. According to its simple meaning, however, it is a place-name, and a Biblical verse never loses its simple sense.

24. And they took him and cast him into the pit; now the pit was empty there was no water in it.
25. And they sat down to eat a meal, and they lifted their eyes and saw, and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, and their camels were carrying spices, balm, and lotus, going to take [it] down to Egypt.

24. now the pit was empty-there was no water in it. Since it says: “now the pit was empty,” do I not know that there was no water in it? For what purpose did the Torah write,“there was no water in it” ? [To inform us that] there was no water in it, but there were snakes and scorpions in it. [From Shab. 22a, Chag. 3a]
25. a caravan. Heb. אֹרְחַת, as the Targum renders שְׁיָרַת, [אֹרְחַת] because of those who travel on the way (אֹרַח). and their camels were carrying, etc.. Why did Scripture publicize their burden? To let you know the reward of the righteous, for it is customary for Arabs to carry only naphtha and tar, whose odor is foul, but for this one (Joseph) it was arranged [that they should be carrying] spices, so that he should not be afflicted by a foul odor. [Mechilta Beshallach, treatise 2, section 5] spices. Heb. נְכֹאת. Any collection of many spices is called נְכֹאת. Similarly,“and he showed them his entire storeroom of spices (בֵּית נְכֹתֹה)” (II Kings 20:13), the compounding of his spices. Onkelos, however, renders it as a word meaning wax. balm. Heb. וּצְרִי, a sap that drips from balsam trees, and this is נָטָתּ, sap, which is enumerated with the ingredients of the incense [used in the Temple] (Exod. 30:34-38). and lotus. Heb. וָלֹט. This is called לוֹטִיתָא in the language of the Mishnah (Shevi’ith 7:6). Our Sages defined it as a root of an herb, called aristolochie, birthwort, in Tractate Niddah (8a).

28. Then Midianite men, merchants, passed by, and they pulled and lifted Joseph from the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver [pieces], and they brought Joseph to Egypt.

28. Then Midianite men, merchants, passed by. This is another caravan, and Scripture informs you that he was sold many times. [From Tanchuma Buber, Vayeshev 13] and they pulled. The sons of Jacob [pulled] Joseph out the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites, and the Ishmaelites to the Midianites, and the Midianites to Egypt. [From Midrash Asarah Harugei Malchuth]

Why the first sale? Second sale? Slavery? The answer can be found in signs that will occur to the Moshiach ben Yosef in the near future.

33. He recognized it, and he said, "[It is] my son's coat; a wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn up."

33. and he said, “[It is] my son’s coat…”. It is [my son’s coat]. [From targumim] a wild beast has devoured him. [This means that] the Holy Spirit flickered within him: Potiphar’s wife will ultimately provoke him (Gen. Rabbah 84:19). Now why did the Holy One, blessed be He, not reveal it (the truth) to him? Because they (the brothers) excommunicated and cursed anyone who would reveal [it], and they included the Holy One, blessed be He, with them, but Isaac, however, knew that he was alive [but] he said, “How can I reveal it if the Holy One, blessed be He, does not wish to reveal it to him?” [From Tanchuma Miketz]

The narrative in the Torah takes a break at this time from Yosef and goes on to the story of Yehuda but for some consistency of thought, I want to finish with these thoughts. All this time, Yosef works his way up from a lowly slave to the right hand of master slave. Yosef besides his training from his father now has practical management experience.

39:1 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, chief of the slaughterers, an Egyptian man, purchased him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.

What would turn a married woman into a cougar over a lonely slave? The Hebrew uses the word “saris” meaning that being on beck and call from the harem, to advance to such a position would mean that his manhood had been neutralized so that he could do not harm. This meant that Mrs. Potiphar who was not neutralized fell for the youth and beauty of Yosef. We see that Rabbi Yohanan in Beresheis and the incident where Resh Lakish first meets him of his beauty and that he would sit outside of the Mikvah at night and learn Torah so that women would think of his beauty and give birth to beautiful children like the thoughts of the sheep producing speckled and other types upon seeing the rods. In the famous psychology book “Games People Play” there is always somewhere outside a Potiphar type of woman ready to yell ‘rape’ at a male if she does not get her way.

1. Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt. [Scripture] returns to the previous topic, which it had interrupted in order to juxtapose the demotion of Judah with the selling of Joseph, to imply that because of him (Joseph), they (his brothers) demoted him (Judah) from his high position; and also to juxtapose the incident of Potiphar’s wife with the incident of Tamar, to tell you that just as that one [the incident of Tamar] was meant for the sake of heaven, so too this one [the incident of Potiphar’s wife] was meant for the sake of heaven. For she saw through her astrology that she was destined to raise children from him (Joseph), but she did not know whether [they would be] from her or from her daughter. [From Gen. Rabbah 85:2]

Going into the game: 10. to lie beside her. even without intercourse. [From Gen. Rabbah 87:6] to be with her. in the World to Come. [From Gen. Rabbah 87:6]
11. And it came about on a certain day. That is to say that a special day arrived, a day of rejoicing, a religious festival when they (the household) all went to the temple of their idols. She said, “I have no more fitting day to consort with Joseph than today.” So she said to them, “I am ill, and I cannot go.” [from Sotah 36b] to do his work. [There is a controversy between] Rav and Shmuel. One said: his actual work, and the other said: to perform his needs with her, but his father’s image appeared, etc., as is stated in Sotah (36b).
11. And it came about on a certain day, that he came to the house to do his work, and none of the people of the house were there in the house. 12. So she grabbed him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me!" But he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside. 13. Now it happened, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14. that she called to the people of her house, and she spoke to them, saying, "Look! He brought us a Hebrew man to mock us. He came to me to lie with me, but I called loudly. 15. And it happened that when he heard that I raised my voice and called out, he left his garment beside me, and he fled and went outside." 16. So she left his garment beside her, until his master came home.
. And she told him the same thing, saying, "The Hebrew slave that you brought to us came to me to mock me. 18. And it happened when I raised my voice and called out, that he left his garment beside me and fled outside." 17. came to me. to mock me; the Hebrew slave that you brought to us.

20. So Joseph's master took him and put him into prison,

We can only assume that the master suspected his wife and although she teased him that his slave tried this and that, the other slaves knowing Yosef and perhaps the Master himself did not believe the wife and perhaps some female slaves spoke up of her infidelity with others and the innocence of Yosef that he ended up in Jail and not on the gallows. Even in jail he becomes the jailor’s assistant and takes care of the big shots thrown into jail. Potiphar was a minister of food, these men were live section governors. We now can jump after the basic foundation for the Moshiach ben Yosef who comes before the Moshiach ben David to the making of the Moshiach ben David.

38:1. Now it came about at that time that Judah was demoted by his brothers, and he turned away until [he came] to an Adullamite man, named Hirah.
2. And there Judah saw the daughter of a merchant named Shua, and he took her and came to her.

38:1. Now it came about at that time. Why was this section placed here, where it interrupts the section dealing with Joseph? To teach us that his (Judah’s) brothers demoted him from his high position when they saw their father’s distress. They said, “You told [us] to sell him. Had you told [us] to return him, we would have obeyed you.” [from Tanchuma Buber, Vayeshev 8] and he turned away. from his brothers. to an Adullamite man. He entered into a partnership with him.

Yehuda basically left the other brothers and went into business as he was big enough to take the blame upon himself and would come on the 14th of Nisan for Grandpa Yitzchak’s birthday party and in Tishrei for the birthday celebrations of Avraham and Yacov. He was not too close to his brethren but not far away either.

11. Then Judah said to his daughter in law Tamar, "Remain as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up," for he said, "Lest he too die, like his brothers." So Tamar went, and she remained in her father's house. 12. Many days passed, and Shua's daughter, Judah's wife, died; and Judah was consoled, and he went up [to watch] over his sheepshearers he and Hirah, his Adullamite friend to Timnah.

12. and he went up [to watch] over his sheepshearers. He went up to Timnah to stand over his sheepshearers [i.e. to oversee them].
13. is going up to Timnah. In connection with Samson, however, Scripture says (Jud. 14:1):“And Samson went down to Timnah.” It was situated on a mountain slope, so that they would go up to it from here and go down to it from there. [From Sotah 10a]

There is absolutely no reason in the world to believe that the place known as Timnah today close to Eilat was this Timnah here which would be located close to Yehuda in Eretz Yisrael based on both Biblical Stories mentioned in Rashi.

13. And it was told to Tamar, saying, "Behold, your father in law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep."
14. So she took off her widow's garb, covered [her head] with a veil and covered her face, and she sat down at the crossroads that were on the way to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah had grown up, but as for her she was not given to him for a wife.

14. And covered her face. Heb. וַתִּתְעַלָף. She covered her face so that he would not recognize her. at the crossroads. Heb. בְּפֶתַח עֵינַיִם, lit., at the opening of the eyes. At the crossroads, on the road to Timnah. Our Sages, however, explained it midrashically to mean, at the entrance (פֶתַח) [to the residence] of our father Abraham, which all eyes (עֵינַיִם) looked forward to see. [From Sotah 10a] for she saw that Shelah had grown up, etc.. Therefore, she made herself available to Judah, for she longed to bear sons from him.

The word Kadesha or Priestess of a fertility cult is used in Hebrew. You might ask what is a nice Jewish fellow like Yehuda doing going to such a type of woman. The answer is man proposes G-D disposes. Yehuda in his right mind would not ever give his son over to a woman who managed to kill two of his sons in marriage.

Tamara killed is sons for the following two reasons. To put in modern masculine terms she would have been the equivalent to a 40 plus – 24 - 36 of today although the ancient world like pleasingly plump more towards their tastes. Er did not want to have such a girlish figure get spoiled by children so he avoids having children by her. Onan as we are told wasted his seed. Yehuda a normal rational and G-D fearing man (We might say that he feared Shimon and Levy and wanted to keep Yosef alive with his suggestion to sell Yosef as Pekuach Nefesh). Suddenly, logic and normal fear of G-D goes out the window and Yehuda goes after his basic Yetzer which he had been keeping under control. He does not have Kavanah (intent) of having children from this road working woman but to satisfy an irresistible craving that he cannot comprehend. (May et HASHEM hayta Zos He Niflah b’aynanu = From the L-RD is this, it is a wonder in our eyes). Then the stone (Tamar) that was rejected by Yehuda to build his generations has become the corner stone.

15. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she covered her face.

15. he thought she was a harlot. because she was sitting at the crossroads. because she covered her face. and he could not see her and recognize her. Our Sages Midrashic interpretation is: because she had covered her face when she had stayed in her father-in-law’s house and she was modest. Therefore, he did not suspect her. [From Sotah 10b] Again she is a Kedesha and not a Zona which is an ordinary woman who supplies drinks, cakes and herself for clients and is usually done in her own private home.

16. So he turned aside toward her to the road, and he said, "Get ready now, I will come to you," for he did not know that she was his daughter in law, and she said, "What will you give me that you should come to me?"
17. And he said, "I will send a kid from the herd," and she said, "[Only] if you give me a pledge until you send [it]."
18. So he said, "What is the pledge that I should give you?" And she said, "Your signet, your cloak, and the staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her, and he came to her, and she conceived his likeness.

Women will always tell you that men are clueless on what is really going on and Yehuda is no exception. Why would an ordinary Fertility Priestess need the signet ring, girdle (probably with lions and six pointed stars on it) and staff of Yehuda any one or less would have been a good pledge for such a woman. Tamar who will become a mother of Moshiach needs these.

19. Then she arose and went away, and she took off her veil, and she donned her widow's garb. … 24. Now it came about after nearly three months, that it was told to Judah, saying, "Your daughter in law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is pregnant from harlotry." So Judah said, "Bring her out, and let her be burned."
25. She was taken out, and she sent to her father in law, saying, "From the man to whom these belong I am pregnant," and she said, "Please recognize whose signet ring, cloak, and staff are these?"

I would like to analyze Tamar’s background and personality. While Yehuda took for himself without the help of his father or brothers a wife who was probably a good person; for his sons he only wanted the best a bas Cohain or daughter of Shem or Ever. Tamara was better than today’s Hollywood best in looks not to mention intelligence which she uses to fool Yehuda who is an eloquent speaker (Mikeitz to his father and in Vayigash to the ruler of Egypt) with most likely a very high IQ. She is shrewd in disguising herself for her plan in order to have children. She is willing to be burned rather than embarrass Yehuda if he refuses to acknowledge her deed. 26. Then Judah recognized [them], and he said, "She is right, [it is] from me, because I did not give her to my son Shelah." But he no longer continued to be intimate with her. She must have been righteous if a G-D fearing and Talmud Chacham Tzaddik like Yehuda declares it so. These are the qualifications that make her the first in a long line of women who will mother the Moshiach.

Taken from Sippurim by Wolf Pascheles

The background of Wolf Pascheles and family:

The Pascheles Family according to what my cousin Hertha told my cousin Ernst was supposed to be from the Great Rabbi Loew of Prague (creator of the Golem). One of his daughters married Rav Ephraim Fischeles in the late 1500’s and because the name in Hebrew between a Fay and Pay is written the same, became when translated into Latin Letters the name Pascheles. Already in the Prague birth records in the 1740’s was recorded as Pascheles as discovered by my cousin Vivian.

Wolf Pascheles (born at Prague, May 11, 1814; died there November 22, 1857) was an Austrian Jewish publisher. Nickname: Motto: Praga Caput Reipublicae Location within the Czech Republic Coordinates: , Country Czech Republic Region Capital City of Prague Founded 9th century Government - Mayor Pavel Bém Area - City 496 km² (191. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1814 (MDCCCXIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... November 22 is the 326th day (327th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...

The son of needy parents, he gained a livelihood by tutoring in Prague and its vicinity. Then by an accident he was led to the career which made him famous, that of a seller and publisher of Jewish books. In 1828 he wrote a small book of German prayers for women. When, in 1831,cholera appeared in Prague for the first time, it was ordered by the rabbinate that in this period of greatest suffering the prayers of the seliot of Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi should be used. These, however, were hard to obtain; so Pascheles had printed his own little book of prayers and the seli
ot in question. When these met with good sales he had some brochures, pictures of rabbis, and things of a similar nature published at his own expense, and carried his entire stock of Hebrew printed matter about with him in a chest. Cholera (frequently called Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera) is a severe diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. ...

In 1837 he obtained the right to open a book-shop. In 1846 he began to bring out Jewish folk-sayings, together with biographies of famous Jews, novels, and the like, under the title Sippurim. The first seven volumes sold extensively until the disturbances of the year 1848 interfered with the work; and not until 1852 could Pascheles continue it. Among the contributors to the Sippurim were L. Weisel, Salomon Kohn, I. M. Jost, R. Fürstenthal, and S. I. Kaempf. Year 1848 (MDCCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

From 1852 Pascheles published the Illustrirter Israelitischer Volks-Kalender. The publication of this calendar was later continued in two separate editions respectively by Jacob (afterward by Samuel) Pascheles and Jacob B. Brandeis, Wolf's son-in-law.

In 1853 Pascheles published a small edition of the Pentateuch, with a German translation by H. Arnheim of Glogau. It passed through many editions. Among the other books brought out by him, two of which are widely circulated, are Fanny Neuda's Stunden der Andacht and Guttmann Klemperer's life of Jonathan Eybeschütz. Look up Pentateuch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Jonathan Eybeschutz (Cracow 1690- Altona 1764), was a Talmudist, Halachist and Kabbalist, holding positions as Dayan of Prague, and later as Rabbi of the Three Communities: Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek. ...

The stories and others were published post humus by Wolf’s sons Samuel ben Wolf and Yacov ben Wolf but known officially as Jacob Wolf Pascheles. Jacob Pascheles was born in 1837 to 1897 and one of the Sippurim books was translated at least partially into English in 1907 and another in 1910. The 1910 version seems to have taken the pictures from the 1907 version and the republication recently has not given credit to the original publisher(s).

After Jacob Passes away, his son Wolfgang who married a 50% Jew from her father’s side, converted to Catholicism to teach in the University of Vienna Chemistry and Medicine. He changed the name to Pauli along with his baby brother my grandfather Isadore (aka Yitzchak). Julius Pascheles died fighting for the Kaiser in World War I and Oscar Pascheles and his son Ernst and grandson Daniel and great grandson Jonathan have kept the Pascheles name. Wolfgang’s son became a famous physicist: The Swiss physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900-58) descends from a notable Jewish family of publishers and booksellers in Prague. This essay presents biographical data and Prague fortunes of his father, grandfather and great grandfather. The roots of friendship between Wolfgang Pauli's father and the family of Ernst Mach, then a professor at the University of Prague, are documented and a hypothesis is suggested concerning the motives that induced Wolf Pascheles, Wolfgang Pauli's father, to choose the name 'Pauli' as his new surname. His daughter Hertha was a famous author whom I had the privilege of meeting once and she used to write letters to my grandmother O”H in German and called her Tante Fritzi her family nickname.

So in the 5th generation after Wolf only Daniel, my brother and I are left and the 6th generation at this time only Jonathan and my two boys are sons after a son and so far I have been blessed with two of my grandchildren to be a son after a son in the 7th generation.

Now for the first story The Pit/Well (Bor in Hebrew) and The Weasel

The source of the story from Taanis Daf Chet A: R. Ami said again: "Rain falls only for the sake of those who are truthful, as it is written [Psalms, lxxxv. 12]: 'Truth will grow up out of the earth and righteousness will look down from heaven.'" And he said again: "Come and see how great are the men who have faith, and I know this from the story of the cat and the well; for if a man have faith in a cat and a well so much the firmer should his faith be in G-D."

Taken from Rashi and the Aruch: The legend of the cat and the well is not to be found in the Talmud proper, but the Aruch and Rashi relate it as follows: A youth of a patrician family while strolling through a forest chanced to meet a beautiful maiden with whom he fell violently in love. The maiden received his advances favorably; and he plighted his troth to her, calling upon a well standing near by and upon a cat which at that moment rushed past them as witnesses of his undying affection. Returning to his home, the young man in the midst of festivities forgot about his adventure with the maid of the forest and became betrothed to another maiden of a prominent family. He married her and in due course the union was blessed with a child. Not long after the child was born, its nurse accidentally let it full into a well. Another child was born to then, and one day, when the child was left alone for a moment, a wild cat carried it off and devoured it. Thus was retribution meted out to the youth who had violated his promise.

In Vol. VI., p. 64, of the periodical Hakol (the Voice) we published in an article an explanation of the above passage in the Gemara, as follows: "It is entirely unreasonable to assume that one could believe in a cat or a well otherwise than as a means by which God would punish an iniquity, and therefore it is highly probable that the words 'Huldah and Bor, meaning cat and well, originally were intended for 'Huldah and Deborah, the prophetesses of the Scriptures, and that simply a Daled and a Heh were omitted in the manuscript. The Talmud generally treats prophetesses with but little consideration and regards their prophecy as of small value, for it says in Tract Megillah, p. 37, 'Greatness is not seemly for women. Two prophetesses we had and one was called Deborah (a bee) and the other 'Huldah (a cat).' It then continues to criticise their behavior in general; but still the King Yoshiyahu (Josiah) believed in 'Huldah the prophetess (see II Kings, xxii. 13 to 20) and Barak the son of Abino'am believed in Deborah (see Judges, iv. 8). Thus it would be far more reasonable to explain the above passage in the Gemara, not with reference to the cat and the well, but rather as referring to Deborah and 'Huldah, and say: If a man have faith in the prophetesses 'Huldah and Deborah, he should be so much the firmer in his faith in God." This explanation met with the approval of a number of the most Orthodox scholars, but the well-known Rev. Dr. At. Mielziner, in a letter addressed to us, called our attention to the fact "that, were it so, Deborah would stand before 'Huldah in the above passage, having preceded 'Huldah in the chronological order of the Scriptures." In Tract Megillah Deborah really does precede 'Huldah, but we forestalled this query in that article by stating that in all probability Huldah was mentioned first in the above passage from the fact that a King Josiah) believed in her, while a commoner (Barak) was the man who placed his faith in the prophetess Deborah.

One last note Huldah in Hebrew is translated in the dictionary as “Rat or Polecat”. I personally have seen in Israel a Rat approximately 10 inches to foot long (25 to 30 cm) but my great-great grandfather wrote when weaving the story a Weasel. I have also heard of Rats this size or larger in the NYC Sewers and Subway System. However, the Hebrew for Weasel is “Nimiya” which is not in the original story. So we either have to let poetic license come around here and sit back and enjoy the story. For a size comparison of even a larger Rat than the one I saw look at the one photographed in:

The Witnesses by Wolf Pascheles

Chaim Eliezer had a daughter named Rivka. Once upon a time while taking a stroll away from her father’s tent, Rivka fell into a well. She called for help and assistance but to no avail and not even an echo came back. She began praying after a while for a blessing for her father and an easy death for herself, when a stranger, the young Natanel happened to pass by. His foot steps reawaken her hope again. Upon looking down and seeing the beautiful young maiden, Natanel was quite bedazzled and did not know whether she was an Angel or Demon trying to entrap him. However, a few words from Rivka allayed his fears. He then vigorously went to work and brought her up to safety. He waved aside her warm thanks and blessings and answered her with a passionate glance, “I am thankful to heaven that has vouchsafe to me the privilege of beholding you in your need and assisting you in a job that anybody could have done. I am only an instrument of the power above and I feel from this day on my fate is sealed. I shall live by you and my future life shall be for you.”

The setting sun shone upon them and in its rays the gratitude filled Rivka’s heart quickly turned to Love. They did not leave the well before they exchanged vows of eternal love and fidelity. Natanel after telling her that after visiting his parents, he would return as soon as possible promised to return as soon as possible. He added, “I have no human witnesses to betroth thee unto me, but this well and the beautiful weasel sliding down the side shall be our witnesses.”

They parted but Natanel upon returning home and seeing another beautiful maiden fell in love with her and married her and forgot his promise to Rivka. They had one child, a little girl, being only six months old was bitten in the throat and died. Then they had another child, a boy, but before his second year fell into a well and was drowned. His wife, when the second babe was lying dead in the house said, “This is very strange, Natanel, and my heart is telling me that one of us must have offended G-D knowingly or unknowingly. Listen to me, my husband, and I will confess to thee all my thoughts, feelings and actions, as far as I remember them, that you may judge me and tell me what atonement to make.”

“No”, cried Natanel, casting himself to the ground, “I am the offender against G-D and man; were witnesses to my oath and they have avenged my perjury.”

He then confessed unto his wife. She said, “I see, Natanel, that though before man I am your lawful wife, I have not been so before G-D. You must divorce, repudiate me and atone for your sin.”

While Rivka was in her house, the old Chaim Eliezer begged her to accept one of the numerous suitors, and gladden his eyes by the sight of her nuptials. But she always replied that her faith was pledged to the man who saved her life, and who under G-D’s heaven in a presence of a weasel and a well had betrothed himself unto her. Thus she waited patiently though years went on and began to tell that her youth was departing.

She was seated one day with her father in the doorway of the house. It was near sunset thus adding another day of disappointment to the many that had passed when the foot steps of a stranger were heard, and Natanel appeared.

“Blessed be G-D!” said Chaim Eliezer, “I shall live to see my daughter a bride.”

Rivka without a word had thrown herself into Natanel’s arms. Then she was looking up into his eyes perceiving a shade of sadness or dissatisfaction, which years had wrought upon her. She, weeping silently, hid her face on his bosom. But he, gently lifting her head, told her the whole story of his life since they had parted.

Rivka then taking in silence the hand of her former lover and leading him to the well whence he rescued her, said, “O Heaven that witnessed Natanel’s promise to me, hearken and bear witness before G-D and man, that I give back Natanel his word and release him from his oath so that his marriage is lawful.”

Kiddush HASHEM vs. Chillul HASHEM

Rabbi Yacov Solomon discusses this issue with his own example vs. those of others:$.asp

How can it be the man who was head of the NASDAQ and Treasurer Trustee of Yeshiva University a member of Golf Clubs of the rich in NY, NJ, and FL – West Palm Beach and Boca Raton take millions from Pension Funds, Friends, European Banks, Charities that deal with Russian Jews to bring them to Torah in Russia and Israel, Bone Marrow Charities, dozens of Torah Institutions, even his own children – who turned him into the police, defraud with hot air after 50 years of having a reputation as an honest broker do such a thing. Hadassah Ein Kerem lost $90,000,000 for a hospital wing construction with the scheme of Madoff. “A good Name is better that good Oil” – Shlomo HaMelech. Machon Meir is in danger of Collapse in Israel and countless millions of aid has been lost. Yeshiva Marava has been hit hard by their losses and I could go on and on. As for me and many of you, if I give my word it is worth more than the fifty billion dollars that he lost to his investors.

Shiurim for all:

The book of Iyob (Job) and his suffering is not about a Jew or the Bnei Yisrael. The following two stories have that same value and Mussar (ethics):

A real tear jerker sent to me by Brian in memory of his son the story goes beyond race or religion:

But perhaps even a more amazing story and struggle in the Brian’s family is the story of his brother Cliff and nephew David as an injured veteran of Iraq deal with problems that eclipse most of ours but in the end I feel Emunah (belief) and Tikva (hope) triumphs:

Newly Certified wine product from France: Falesco: Marciliano not ‘mevushal’ 2005-2006.


Halachos Chanucha can be found at:

Inyanay Diyoma

Wednesday 24 Kassams but I liked this U-Tube on the no 2 State Solution:


Disgusting, and embarrassing to anybody who values democratic voting. You can easily see from my writing that I am not a big fan of the Left of or so-called moderate parties that want to throw away our G-D given inheritance to the Arabs, left over Crusaders and various groups that accumulated here from Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and Africa during the centuries of our exile.

Last week in the Likud Primaries, my friend, Chaim Katz who helped us early pensioners keep receiving early pension until the age of 67 thanks to the one sided changes of Natanyahu was elected along with many from the right whom I backed. One person whom I backed was Moshe Feiglin who took 20th place in the Likud Primaries. Natanyahu (all talk and no do – a student of Bilaam according to Perkei Avos) was not happy that his people (one whom I voted for – Yosef Rivlin) did not get high spots on the list. So he used the politically appointed Likud Kangaroo Court to demote 3 real Jabotinsky – Beigin students to get his liberal or left of center buddies in. Emmanuel Winston wrote a piece of this. If I was even having a wild dream of voting Likud before, I certainly will be voting for a religious party now.

BIBI, ARE YOU SHAMING YOURSELF & YOUR NATION? by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator

Likud held their primary election with a preferred list of candidates voted on by the Likud members. Former Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu had a reserved spot on the list who would be the next Prime Minister IF Likud could garner enough votes. But, the democratic election wasn't good enough for Bibi because there were apparently too many candidates who won positions that could deny him to dictate without challenging the policy of the nation.

Bibi set about conniving with some committees to undo the election results and push his favorites to replace those who won a higher spot on the ticket and were politically to the Right, ("Right" - defined as those who would keep Israel safe, whole, Jewish and sovereign) - which was what Likud always stood for.

Bibi's main target was Moshe Feiglin and those in his camp. Feiglin had been voted 20th on the Likud list and, therefore, would hold a guaranteed position in the next government.

But, Netanyahu tried to abrogate the terms of the election and push Feiglin to spot #36. This was political crookery, risen to a new level of hypocrisy. Bibi also is attempting to move all those who are considered Feiglin's supporters to lower spots on the list if not out altogether.

What are we to deduce from Bibi's frantic attack on those who were against the Olmert, Livni, Barak, Peres doctrine of appeasement and abandoning the Land to the Muslim Arabs?

Conventional wisdom would tell us that Bibi is planning to follow the same course as Sharon and Olmert when their promises were made and all were broken.

Is Bibi quietly linked to the Rice State Department program of the failed Road Map?

Does he wish to form the same kind of toothless government in the Israeli Knesset and Cabinet who will go along with whatever he dictates?

Does he wish to silence and intimidate all those who would vociferously object to surrendering the Golan Heights to Bashar Assad, current President of Syria?

Similarly, does he wish to repeat the debacle in Judea and Samaria, as was done in Gaza - namely, driving the Jews out?

We all know from Bibi's past as Prime Minister that he rules with an insufferable arrogance, waving his big cigar, like a scepter of royalty. Does he not already know that Likud Party loyalists don't trust his political goals?

When Bibi abandoned 80% of Hebron to Yassir Arafat, in collusion with President Bill Clknton and the U.S. State Department, he demonstrated a casual attitude of de-valuing ancient Jewish Land and the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah in the Cave of our Patriarchs.

Hopefully, the higher committee of Likud will not allow Bibi to dismiss a democratic vote and to adopt a dictatorial stance, even before he is voted into office. If he already believes he can rule as a dictator, much the same as Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Arik Sharon and now Ehud Olmert - then imagine what he will do once elected into office.

Granted the Olmert, Livni, Barak, Peres quartet led the most incompetent crooked government Israel ever had and must be removed. However, unless Bibi withdraws his aggressive plans to overthrow many Rightist LIkud candidates, the message he sends is that, under the cloak of Likud, he may be even worse.

I recall having hopes for Olmert when he ruled Jerusalem as Mayor - only to fail miserably as a guiding leader of the Jewish nation when he became Prime Minister.

Once, a long time ago, I had very high hopes for Bibi Netanyahu whom I considered a friend - only to discover that, with his great vocabulary and gift with words to impress and sway Westerners, came a weak spine and little belief in the Land G-d gave to the Jewish people forever.

I also considered Arik Sharon a friend and a valiant General when I met him during the 1973 War on the Sinai Desert. When he ran for Prime Minister, I believed he could make a difference in defending the Jewish nation against Western pressures to fold and accept Islamo-facism. I considered him a friend and a lover of the Israeli people and the Land of Israel - until (against all his promises and stated beliefs), he planned to expel, evict and evacuate 10,000 Jewish men, women and children from 21 communities of the thriving Gush Katif communities and 4 Northern Samarian communities.

Ehud Olmert implemented those plans - after Sharon was struck down by strokes.

At this point, one can only believe in those Jews who are observant and who love the Land as do the pioneering settlers.

We already know that all of the Leftist Kadima Party, joined at the hip to the Labor Party - is committed to re-partitioning the Jewish nation and surrendering vital defensive land to Muslim Arab Palestinians who are Terrorists, dedicated to killing Jews. The Muslim children's education and TV from age 3 trains them to hate and kill Jews. This is an obscene form of child abuse.

We await the change of governments because we hope, or at least think nothing could be worse. We all hoped that an older and more mature Netanyahu would shed his arrogance and learn from his past mistakes....particularly his 80% abandonment of Hebron.

Perhaps Bibi is the only candidate to vote for who can compete with Kadima and, perhaps, Likud will keep him contained from dictatorially capitulating to pressures from the U.S.,U.N., E.U., 'et al'. They are all dominated by the Arab and Muslim countries who demand that Israel give up Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and those parts of Jerusalem that were occupied and desecrated by Jordan for 19 years from 1948 to 1967.

If it turns out that he is in collusion with the U.S. State Department, then he too must be tried for treason - before those vital, strategic and religious holy sites are lost for the foreseeable future.

Let Bibi know that, IF he takes the path of betrayal and perfidy, you will pray daily for him to be judged to share the fates of Sharon and Olmert.

[P.S. I really hated writing this article but, hopefully, Bibi will be sufficiently impacted with a flood of objections to his first public big mistake that he will be restrained from violating the peoples' trust, knowing that he could fall.]


Netanyahu to the Jerusalem Post: "I'm in charge, I set the policies" by Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post December 11, 2008

In trying to keep with a festive Chanucha spirit, I have cut short on the News that is more upsetting as the Moshiach approaches.

Now for M. Wolfberg's Stories: Doin' 180 and Reunion.

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week’s parsha Vayishlach, the Torah tells us how Yakov fought with a malach - an angel until the break of dawn. On the simplest level, the verses are describing how Yakov had a knock down, drag out fight with an angel. After fighting, the angel gave Yakov a new name, Yisroel. The name Yisroel can also denote "Yashar K[el]" meaning "direct to G-d."; every Jew can have an individual relationship with Hashem, a Jew needs no intermediaries.
On the marriage certificate from their fundamentalist X-tian wedding in 1990, their names were listed as Roy and Pamela. On their ketuba, signed this past September, their names are Levi Yitzchak and Penina Leah. Pamela grew up in an assimilated Jewish home in Northern California where she attended the local Conservative synagogue for Sunday school.
"The Judaism I had been given wasn't enough. I needed a big G-d; I wanted to believe that the Bible is true." Instead, Pamela was expected to limit her spiritual yearnings to the few hours at Sunday school where she was taught that G-d doesn't have much to do with our lives and how to refute the miracles of the Bible.
Pamela remembers watching many of the X-tian holiday television programs. For her, the holiday specials were just as enjoyable as the televised sermons and masses. And so, at the age of 13, after one very inspiring holiday special, Pamela offered her own prayer: "If all of this is real, show me a sign and I will believe that X-tianity is true." But no sign was forthcoming.
Pamela finished high school and left home to attend college. Right before her nineteenth birthday, her boyfriend broke up with her. At the ice cream parlor where she worked part-time, a co-worker, who was part of a fundamentalist X-tian organization on campus, told her: "You're devastated because you don't have a relationship with G-d. The way to have a relationship with G-d is to accept [the Nazarene] into your heart. If you say this little prayer, you'll have a relationship with G-d. Say this short prayer, you'll feel better."
Pamela hesitated but then said the prayer. "I did feel better! And I suddenly felt that this was the sign that I had prayed for when I was 13 years old." Pamela got involved with the missionaries on campus and, she says, was somewhat of a star. "I was special to the X-tians because I validated them. Even non-fundamentalist, mainstream churches that don't actually missionize Jews give a tremendous amount of money to organizations whose main objective is missionizing Jews."
Pamela's parents told her to speak to their rabbi, but "he had no idea how to work with someone who had been missionized," she recalls. "He had no answers. He couldn't refute any of the missionary claims. He reinforced my feeling that Judaism doesn't have answers and that X-tianity is true."
Pamela moved back home, at her parents' insistence, and began taking courses at the local junior college. She attached herself to the Maranatha Church which was preaching on her campus.
Two years later, in 1984, Roy Weese appeared in Pamela's life, sort of. Roy came from a X-tian family and had been part of the Maranatha Church in Alabama. Unable to find an engineering job there, he wanted to try his luck in California. Roy began doing administrative work for the church in San Jose and looked for an engineering job.
Pamela had noticed Roy at church and was interested in finding out more about him. After a few years of very casual interaction, Pamela privately submitted his name to the church. From that time on she was not permitted to show any interest in him. If and when Roy submitted her name, they could date. Roy revealed to her six years later when she finally confronted him and asked him what he thought of her, "I've always wanted to marry you but I didn't think you would want me." Pamela and Roy were married soon after that revelation in a "very X-tian wedding."
Needless to say, Pamela's parents did not attend. "I'd been missionizing to them for years, telling them that they were going to hell. I had hurt them too much," says Pamela.
Two weeks after they returned from their honeymoon, Pamela and Roy began looking for a new church. They had left the Maranatha Church after it had merged with another denomination. "We began attending a fundamentalist church, but it was huge and wealthy and very fancy. We didn't feel as if we fit in. We went to a smaller church that was more casual but we just couldn't make friends. It was as if G-d was pushing us along, showing us that there was no place for us in X-tianity. We tried a Messianic church but the services were long and boring. We were thinking about how we would raise our family. We wanted tradition, a short prayer service, nice music..."
Soon after, Pamela and Roy decided to convert to Catholicism because, as Pamela explains, the Catholics seemed to have answers to the questions in the Bible that still disturbed them. "We were still searching for Truth."
The Weeses became disenchanted with Catholicism when they had major disagreements with policies of the Pope. "My husband eventually shared with me that he had always had trouble with the trinity. 'Maybe we should see what Jews believe,' he suggested. Personally, I was tired of telling people that they were going to hell. I was tired of feeling guilty when I wasn't preaching, but preaching is really there was. You're either a slave to their god or to the devil. It's all emotion."
Pamela decided to learn how to do things Jewishly. She went to a Jewish bookstore and bought "how to" tapes from Chadish Media. She called Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, of Chadish Media, who told her, "You must go to Chabad." Pamela and Roy went to meet with Rabbi Yosef Levin, of the Greater South Bay. "
After talking with Rabbi Levin I realized that Judaism did have answers. Rabbi Levin was so nice to both of us," Pamela recalls. "He treated us both so well. He was totally non- judgmental." Even though their experience had been so positive with Rabbi Levin, Pamela decided to speak with other rabbis because, "I didn't think my husband would want to be Chasidic. I went to another rabbi but he just kept telling us over and over again, 'Your marriage is a problem.' My husband was so hurt. Our marriage was all we had! We went back to Rabbi Levin which was the best thing that ever happened to us."
To show how serious Roy was about Judaism, he and Pamela separated. Roy built a shack in their backyard and slept there each evening. "We were very grateful with the rabbis who were supervising Roy's conversion during this whole process," says Pamela. Roy studied Torah and began observing some mitzvos. The Weese's moved to Palo Alto to be closer to the shul and Roy built a new shack.
After Roy's conversion, we began planning for our wedding. "My parents wanted to give us a trip to Israel as a honeymoon, rather than make a lavish wedding," says Pamela. But she told them, "'This is the only real wedding I'm ever going to have.' My mother didn't believe I could pull together anything decent. But I found a dress and Rabbi Levin helped us get the JCC. We had a caterer, flowers, and hassidic dancing. My mother said that had we booked the band a year in advance, we couldn't have done better!" I am finally home, with my Jewish soul-mate. I feel proud of my heritage, and have answers of why I am a Jew. This void is gone, and my search of being a Jew is finally over after many years." Good Shabbos Everyone

Good Shabbos Everyone. As we prepare for Chanukah, let us meditate on one of the central themes of this joyous chag: Nes Gadol Hayah Sham - "a great miracle happened there." Chanukah is the celebration of the victory of the few over the many. On Chanukah we remember that it is the hand of Hashem which caused us to be victorious then. Let us then tell the following amazing true story which illustrates how the hand of Hashem guides the lives of Jews.
Even before war clouds thickened over eastern Europe in the pre-Nazi years, it became common for Jews in the besieged countries -- tired of pogroms, poverty, and despair --to send children to the United States, where opportunities for a better life beckoned.
From the early 1900s on, parents scrimped their rubles to pay for the long and arduous voyage of their sons and daughters, who traveled alone aboard unseaworthy vessels that offered inhuman conditions and an uncertain fate. Since tickets for each treacherous journey cost a small fortune and exacted a heavy toll on the destitute families, parents often chose to ship their children to America one by one rather than sending them all at once.
But it was always their hope and dream that all the children would eventually reach the American haven, where they would be joined later by their parents. In the interim, they would stay with relatives who would care for them and help them wait, sometimes for months or years. And sometimes the longed-for reunions never took place at all. Anya Gold was the chosen one in her family. She was the eldest of eight, and in 1930 her Polish parents told her it was time to go. They had saved just enough money for one ticket, and had decided that Anya would be the first child to leave. They would all soon join her, they said. Growing up in Baltimore under the sheltering wing of an affectionate aunt, Anya waited for her family to arrive. But they never did. It took years for the family to accumulate enough money for another fare, and by then they had been caught in Hitler's web.
In Baltimore, over the years, Anya had received the occasional letter from Poland recounting family news and milestones -- her siblings' bar mitzvahs, their marriages, the births of grandchildren.
She awaited these letters eagerly and savored each one. And then the letters came no more. Anya feared the worst, but it was only after the war that she was able to conclusively determine her family's fate. A few stray survivors from her hometown in Poland who trickled into Baltimore in the late 1940s brought the news she had both known and dreaded to hear: Her entire family had been wiped out. They had all perished in the camps. It was hard to go on afterwards, but even the survivors began to rebuild their lives.
Her family's memory burned in her mind, heart, and soul, but Anya knew that the best way for her to commemorate their legacy was by creating one herself. She would marry and have many children, she vowed. And each would carry one of her siblings' names. Anya did indeed marry a wonderful man named Sol, and their life together was almost idyllic. They were truly soul mates, and their love ran deep. They longed for children -- flesh of their flesh, blood of their blood -- but in this one area, they were thwarted. It was the only thorn in their otherwise perfect union. They were childless.
After many years of trying, of seeking help from specialists the world over, Anya and Sol confronted the reality of their situation. "Would you want to adopt?" Anya asked Sol one day in a tentative voice. Anya had considered this option for a long time, but inwardly she had rebelled. She didn't want to raise someone else's children. She wanted to cradle her own newborn in her arms. She couldn't imagine that she would feel the same way about an adopted child. Still, there seemed no other recourse. They were never going to have children of their own, the doctors had pronounced -- a death knell to their hopes and dreams. Her husband was more certain.
"Yes, let's adopt," he urged. They contacted a Jewish agency in New York and were told that an infant had just been given up for adoption by its teenage mother. They traveled to New York with growing excitement, but when they arrived their hopes were dashed. The flustered agency official stammered an apology.
"I'm so sorry," she said, "but the grandmother has decided to raise the baby, after all." Had their trip to New York been a total waste? "You know," the agency official remarked, "I do have a wonderful little girl named Miriam who is in desperate need of a home." Miriam was adorable and endearing, but she was already eight years old. Although Anya and Sol reluctantly agreed to meet the child, and were captivated by her sweet appeal, they couldn't quite come to terms with her age.
"I really wanted a child young enough to know me as its only mother," Anya explained. "I want a newborn to cradle in my arms." "I understand," the agency official said. "But Miriam has really been through a lot in her short lifetime, and could really use a loving home." "Sorry, but no," Anya said, with regret.
A year passed with no prospects. Anya had contacted many agencies across the United States, but an infant was increasingly difficult to find. All the while, Anya's intense longing for a child consumed her being -- a hungry and hollow ache.
"You know," she mused to her husband one day, "maybe we were too quick to dismiss adopting Miriam. She was really an exceptionally appealing child. Something about her actually tugged at my heartstrings in a special way." Sol looked at her thoughtfully. "It's been a full year," he said. "Do you think she's still available?" She was, the agency official told them over the phone. "Not too many people want a nine-year-old," she explained mournfully, "So, yes, she's still available... "But there's a complication," she added. "Her little brother has been found in Europe and has joined her in our Home for War Orphans. The siblings are inseparable, and we've promised them that they'll be adopted together. Would you consider two?"
Back in New York, Anya and Sol met the siblings and once again, Anya felt drawn to Miriam's sweet demeanor. Her six-year-old brother Moishe was adorable, too. Anya and Sol looked at each other silently, telegraphing their mental agreement. Let's do it!
Back in Baltimore, Anya shepherded the two children across the threshold into their new home, and they glanced at the furnishings with eyes of wonder. Little Moishe was shy and restrained, but Miriam was adventurous and curious, and she moved around the living room excitedly, touching the knickknacks and curios that adorned the mantels and tables. Suddenly, she stopped short in front of the piano and her face went white. She pointed to a photograph. In a tight and strained voice, Miriam asked, "Why do you have a picture of my bubbe (grandmother) on your piano?" "What?" Anya asked, confused. "My babbe. Why is my bubbe's picture on your piano?"
Anya stared at the portrait of her deceased mother. What in heaven's name was the little girl talking about? Miriam ran to the lone piece of luggage she had brought with her from the orphanage.
From a battered pouch, she retrieved a faded photo and brought it to Anya's side. "See," she said, pointing. "I have the same picture, too. My bubbe." "My mother," Anya whispered almost inaudibly. "Do you want to see a picture of my mommy? " Miriam asked. She raced to the luggage to retrieve another photograph. "Do you want to see what she looked like?"
She handed Anya a picture of someone she knew very well. "Sarah!" Anya screamed, as her knees buckled beneath her. "How do you know my mother's name?" the child asked in confusion. Unknowingly, Anya had adopted the two orphaned children of her dead sister, Sarah. They were flesh of her flesh, blood of her blood. They were... her own. Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mr. Wolfberg' s stories not mine are sponcered by:

In memory of Tziporah Yita (Wienshienk) bas Reb Lipa , Erev Chanukah 5723
In memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan
Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi

Have a wonderful Shabbos and an enlightening Chanucha,

Rachamim Pauli