I have been unable to contact Eliyahu ben
Last week, I sent a note Fruma bas Rachel – one time only please continue prays as of now.
Last week, I was pressed for time to get out this by 13:30
Rabbi Aaron Kotler ZTZAL on Chanucha as told me by Rabbi Yacov Lustig Shlita
When Rabbi Aaron Kotler came to the
Perkei Avos Chapter 2 - Hillel once saw a skull of a known murderer floating in the water: “Because you murdered others so too you were murdered…”. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581053,00.html
The principle of measure for measure applies here. In modern times we call it Karma but it was well known to our Sages and even the brothers of Yosef. For when they threw him into the pit, their rage ruled their heads and not their logic. Now they had seen Shimon the instigator thrown in jail by the ruler of the land in the name of Pharaoh. But when they saw innocent Benyamin brought up on charges they knew it was not measure for measure. So Yehuda volunteered to get the measure that he deserved as it was he that sold Yosef into slavery. If not he was willing to fight all of
44:18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said: 'Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not yours anger burn against thy servant; for thou art even as Pharaoh.
For you are like Pharaoh: This is its simple meaning. Its midrashic meaning is, however: You will ultimately be punished with צָרַעַת because of him, just as Pharaoh was punished because of my great-grandmother Sarah for the one night that he detained her (Gen. 12:17). Another explanation: Just as Pharaoh issues decrees and does not carry them out, makes promises and does not fulfill them, so do you. Now, is this the “setting of an eye,” concerning which you said [that you wanted] “to set your eye upon him”? [See verse 21.] Another explanation: For like you, so is Pharaoh-if you provoke me, I will kill you and your master. [From Gen. Rabbah 93:6]
Even though Rashi brings down the Medrash, it appears more feasible the Pshat.
19 My lord asked his servants, saying: Have ye a father, or a brother? 20 And we said unto my lord: We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.
Just above, I mentioned that I am nothing without telling the truth. Here there was a matter of Pekuach Nefesh (immediately danger to life) so that for Shalom Biet one can lie. Thus we see the following: Yehuda lied for the sake of peace as this guy, Zaphenath-paneah, might want to see brother number 12 whom Yehuda could not produce. Rashi picks up the subject here: And his brother is dead: Out of fear, he made a false statement. He said [to himself], “If I tell him that he is alive, he will say, ‘Bring him to me.’” [from Gen. Rabbah 93:8]
21 And thou said unto thy servants: Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. 22 And we said unto my lord: The lad cannot leave his father; for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
For if he leaves his father, he will die: If he leaves his father, we are worried lest he die on the way, for his mother died on the way. [after Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel] The counter argument of Yosef and final rebuke is that he confronts them with: He lived through my disappearance so too, he will live with Benyamin’s disappearance.
23 And thou said unto thy servants: Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. 24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And our father said: Go again, buy us a little food. 26 And we said: We cannot go down; if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down; for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. 27 And thy servant my father said unto us: Ye know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 and the one went out from me, and I said: Surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since; 29 and if ye take this one also from me, and harm befall him, ye will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
And misfortune befalls him: For Satan accuses at the time of danger. [From Gen. Rabbah 91:9] you will bring down my hoary head in misery, etc.: Now that he is with me, I comfort myself over [the loss of] his mother and over [the loss of] his brother, but if this one [too] dies, it will seem to me as if the three of them died in one day. [From Gen. Rabbah ff. 93:8] I have mentioned a number of times that the Angel of Death has the right of way in war, plague and famine – Baba
30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad is not with us; seeing that his soul is bound up with the lad's soul; 31 it will come to pass, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die; and thy servants will bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
It will come to pass, when he sees that the boy is not here, he will die: His father will die because of his calamity [of the loss of his son]. He has not stopped mourning for the loss of Yosef. We are told that after 12 months a person begins to forget the dead. This is perhaps so for parents, spouses, siblings but I don’t think that the grief of losing a child is ever forgotten. In the late 90’s there was a driver from my company who had a son who passed away in the Shalom HaGalil Operation by a sniper who shot a bullet direct to his heart HY”D. The father told us that every day the wife would look at the picture of the lad on the mantle even through she had a few other children and grandchildren. By losing Rachel and both her children, Yacov would be finished without a reason to live.
However, there is another Pshat here that I received from my teachers either Rav Yerachmiel Boyer Shlita or one of our other Rabbanim or guest lecturers. Yacov was still grieving for the loss of Yosef as if it were yesterday for Yosef was in truth alive and the heart might be able to forget the dead but never the living.
32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying: If I bring him not unto thee, then shall I bear the blame to my father for ever.
For your servant assumed responsibility for the boy: Now if you ask why I enter the fray more than my other brothers, [I will reply that] they are all [standing] from the outside [without commitment], while I have bound myself with a strong bond to be an outcast in both worlds. [From Gen. Rabbah 93:8] This is the essence of Tshuvah and measure for measure. Brave Yehuda having realized that the principle of measure for measure aka Karma had come around to get him because it was his suggestion to sell Yosef is not prepared to accept his lumps – just as he had done with the incident with Tamar.
33 Now therefore, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. 34 For how shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? lest I look upon the evil that shall come on my father.'
Please let your servant stay: I am superior to him in all respects: in strength, in battle, and in service. [From Gen. Rabbah 93:8] Take me instead.
45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried: 'Cause every man to go out from me.' And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
The Medrash says that he removed all his servants from the room and asked them to send and the brothers cowered in fear. Then he yelled out send in Yosef ben Yacov. The brothers were surprised and were worried about revenge and yet relieved that Yosef was still alive. However nobody was in the room but Zaphenath-paneah and them. He yelled out again and still no Yosef and yet again. Then he showed them that he was circumcised and he said, with the exception that I am older with a trimmed beard or clean shaven as the case may have been and no peyos, one can see the relationship between Benyamin and myself and then he hugged them one by one and they wept. The story told in the Chumosh is:
2 And he wept aloud; and the Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 And Joseph said unto his brethren: 'I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?' And his brethren could not answer him; for they were affrighted at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren: 'Come near to me, I pray you.' And they came near. And he said: 'I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into
He then forgave them but they lived in fear of him all those years especially after the burial of Yacov which we see in next week’s Parsha and this suspicion haunted and saddened Yosef. Also it was only at this point that Benyamin learned the truth of the disappearance of his elder full brother.
16 And the report thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying: 'Joseph's brethren are come'; and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Say unto thy brethren: This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the
Throughout the centuries of exile, there has a been good rulers towards the Jews and rulers who oppressed the Jews. Pharaoh here saw them to be smart like Yosef and could raise the intellectual and trade level of
20 Also regard not your stuff; for the good things of all the
He became weakened that his sons were telling him a fib and believed it impossible.
27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them; and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. 28 And
What was the reviving of Yacov when he saw the wagons (Hebrew Agalos) because he received a hint from Yosef that they had been learning the Parsha of a corpse found in between two cities in which case the elders bring an Eglah (calf) to break its neck in atonement.
46:28 And he sent
He is afraid as many Jews in exile to reveal their true identity and keep it quiet. We saw this in
47:1 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said: 'My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.' 2 And from among his brethren he took five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren: 'What is your occupation?' And they said unto Pharaoh: 'Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers.'
They still have the proud Israeli mentality and not afraid to show the world whom they are and what they do.
4 And they said unto Pharaoh: 'To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants' flocks; for the famine is sore in the
Just as we don’t usually come across a 130 year old man, so too Pharaoh was amazed at his age. My family had the privilege of seeing my step-father at the age of 100 plus at my son’s wedding and even that age is rare.
8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob: 'How many are the days of the years of thy life?' 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh: 'The days of the years of my sojournings are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojournings.' 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the
This is the first welfare and unemployment in recorded history. One thing is for Pharaoh to own the land and the people but then he had to provide for them for he needed their labor to produce the goods and labor for himself. So it was with welfare can taxes and slavery of the people.
Halachos and Mitzvos from Danny Shoemann Shlita
It's a Mitzva to sanctify the Shabbat with words, when it starts and when it ends. This is known is Kiddush and Havdallah. It's also a Mitzva to bathe before Shabbat and to wear clean clothes. It's a Mitzva to eat three meals on Shabbat, as well as a 4th on Motzei Shabbat. There's also a Mitzva to remember Shabbat every day, which is why we say "Yom Rishon B'Shabbat" for Sunday, "Yom Sheni B'Shabbat" for Monday, etc. Included in this Mitzva is to buy and keep special food for Shabbat, all week long. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always - Pasuk: "Remember the day of Shabbat to sanctify it" (Shemos 20:8)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 19
It's a Mitzva to desist from all 39 categories of forbidden work on Shabbat. (See a list at http://www.answers.com/topic/39-categories-of-activity-prohibited-on-shabbat) This includes not having ones animals doing work. By Rabbinic decree one may not request a non-Jew to do ones work on Shabbat. Applies to everybody, everywhere, on Shabbat - Verse: "and on the 7th day you shall rest" (Shemos 23:14) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 20
One is prohibited from denying one has somebody else's property. This applies to money one has in ones possession as a result of taking a loan, receiving security on a loan, theft, robbery, or finding lost property. One transgresses once the other person requests the money, and one denies one has it. Until a transgressor makes amends, he is not qualified to be a Kosher witness. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always - Verse: "Do not deny" (Vayikra 19:11)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 36
If you rightfully received another person's property, and refuse to give it to them, then you have transgressed this Mitzva. E.g.: Refusing to repay a loan, or refusing to pay the rent, is prohibited. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always - Verse: "Do not withhold from your fellow man" (Vayikra 19:13) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 37
One may not delay paying wages. A day worker needs to be paid before the next morning. A night worker needs to be paid before the end of the following day.
An hourly worker who worked during the day needs to be paid on that day; if he worked during the night he needs to be paid during that night. One only transgresses if the worker demanded his wages and one has the money to pay him. Applies to wages as well as to rental fees for equipment, applies to everybody, everywhere, always. Verse: "Do not keep his wage to the morning" (Vayikra 19:13 and Devarim 24:15) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 38
Oil that was put in the Chanukah Menorah and was not burnt, as well as wicks that were used and candles that didn't burn fully should be burnt after Chanukah.
Since they were set aside for the Mitzva of Chanukah they cannot be used for any other purpose. If one had the explicit intention to use the left-overs, then they need not be burnt. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:20
It’s a Torah prohibition to cause pain to animals – and a Mitzvah to prevent such pain and even cure animals (even if they don’t belong to a Jew). One may not tie the legs of animals in such a way that they are in discomfort. One may not sit a bird to roost on eggs from a different type of bird. However, if an animal is causing harm to humans, or can be used to help cure humans, then one may kill it (as humanely as possible) for we see that the Torah allows one to eat meat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 191:1, 3
No eating and drinking is allowed from dawn to nightfall. One may eat before dawn if one had the intention of doing so before one went to bed the night before. If one always drinks when one gets up, then one can drink before dawn even of one didn't think about it when going to bed. Pregnant and nursing mothers as well as people who aren't feeling well do not need to fast if fasting will cause them discomfort. Those who may eat, as well as children, should not indulge in food. If possible they should limit themselves to bread and water. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:8, 8
On Sunday will be the fast of 10 B'Tevet. On fast days we read the Torah during Shachris and Mincha. Three people are called up to the Torah. At Mincha the 3rd person also reads the Haphtarah (from Yeshayahu 55:6). A person who is not fasting should not be called up to the Torah. During Mincha, those who are fasting add Anaynu during Shema-Kolaynu. The Chazzan says Anaynu during both Shachris and Mincha as a separate Bracha before Rofa’aynu.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15
Coloring is one of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat. One may not color anything on Shabbat even if the color is not permanent. One may not apply rouge, lipstick or eye-shadow on Shabbat. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:42
Henry from the Young
The Conclusion of this is one who observes the Shemita (Sabbatical) Year is watched over: Dvar Torah:
Shmittah By Rabbi Baruch Lederman A Shmitah Miracle! January 22, 2008
Rabbi Shmuel Bloom of Agudath
A completely secular farmer whose produce is bananas decided that he would undertake to keep Shmitah this time around. He approached the Keren HaShviis for assistance and they stipulated that he would be registered in their program if he would also undertake to be personally Shomer Shabbos throughout Shmitah. He agreed. Keren HaShviis undertook to cover his farming expenses in return for which all the produce would become the property of Otzar Beis Din and would be distributed in full accordance with Halacha.
The hero of our story, the banana farmer, knew he was in deep trouble when the relentless cold hadn't let up for over a week. He lived a distance from his orchard and hadn't yet seen the damage with his own eyes. He began to receive calls from his neighbor farmers, who have orchards bordering his, complaining bitterly that their entire banana crop had been destroyed by the frost.
He decided it was time to inspect the damage up close, no matter how painful it may be.
He drove up close to Tverya to inspect his orchard, as well as those of his neighboring farmers. As he passed from one orchard to another, he was overwhelmed by the damage. Not a single fruit had survived, no tree was spared. His neighbors took quite a beating. All the bananas were brown, hard as a rock. He could only imagine how bad his trees must have gotten it.
Yet when he finally got to his orchard, he was awestruck! ALL of his bananas were yellow and green. It's as if his orchard was not part of this parcel of land. His orchard bordered those of his neighbors, but not a single tree of his was struck by the frost. It's as if a protective wall kept the damage away. At first he thought he was imagining it, and as he rushed from one section of his orchard to another, the realization that more than the farmer keeps the Shmitah, the Shmitah keeps the farmer hit home.
He immediately called his contacts at Keren HaShviis and yelled into the phone, "Karah Nes!, Karah Nes!"
A miraculous modern-day manifestation of V'Tzivisi Es HaBracha!. There is no way to explain this other than that HaKodesh Baruch Hu keeps His promises. He says keep Shmitah, and I'll take care of you. He sure does!
Another Hidden Miracle: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364492649&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Still another miracle as seen on Fox and Friends: You will recall a few months ago that I was supposed to undergo a heart reboot two days after Yom Kippur and my heart rebooted itself. We have in Israel seen cancer patients heal or Adam Levinson who was supposed to die of cancer one night manage to live for about a year plus due to prayers at the Kotel by hundreds of Orthodox Jews.
This is a Goyishe Story about a man in
A friend of mine visited a Conservative Schul and wrote me: Only three things really differentiated the service from the orthodox: Men and women were sitting together. A public sound system was in use. The bat mitzvah was reading from the Torah and leading the service, and women were called for aliyot.
I would not walk into a Synagogue that uses a sound system on Shabbos except to save another Jew. I would not pray in a Synagogue that does not physically separate into sections the men from the women either the women to the right, left or behind. Mixed prayers allow the Yetzer to have a field day for both sexes. As for the Aliyah to Torah, the Chofetz Chaim writes that it is permissible but one does not do it because of Shalom Tzibur (peace in the Congregation) which would not apply for the Conservative Schul in my humble opinion but would cause a riot in an Orthodox Schul.
From Ashes to Rebirth Life on Kibbutz Lavi
When Moshe's mother, Mrs. Winter, was compelled to leave the ghetto in search of food, she would swing young Moshe over her shoulder to cover her yellow star. With his blond hair and blue eyes, nobody suspected that little Moshe was a Jew or that his "caretaker" was his mother.
Moshe Winter exudes an aura of inner happiness and serenity. It is hard to imagine the pain and suffering he endured as a child of the Holocaust.
"I was born in
With the German occupation, Jewish life in
"In the meantime, we were herded into ghettos by the Arrow Cross Party," Moshe relates. By the end of December 1944, most of the remaining Jews of
"At last, in June of 1945, we were liberated by the Allied forces."
"My family was taken to the
Finally, in 1949, the Winter's were permitted to enter the U.S. due to the efforts of an uncle, Mr. Winter's oldest brother who had immigrated to the U.S. before the war, who sponsored the family.
The Winter family sailed to
"We arrived in Ellis Island where we were held for a few days until allowed the privilege of entering the
Moshe's parents never spoke about the Holocaust with Moshe or his older sister. It was just too painful. "But later," says Moshe, "when we were already married, my mother shared some of her experiences with our spouses."
Even in the golden
That was the moment that convinced Moshe to move to
Forty-three years ago, after he graduated college, Moshe and his New York-born wife, along with ten other couples that he knew from the Bnei Akiva (a Zionist Youth Organization) moved to Israel where they looked for a kibbutz to join. "It was fairly easy to come since my wife and I had no jobs or responsibility, and not yet a family. We felt that it was the ideal opportunity for us to make the jump."
The Winter's chose to make their home in Kibbutz Lavi because "it was the only kibbutz where the children lived at home as opposed to a children's quarters where the children of other kibbutzim were housed, fed and put to bed."
The Founding of Kibbutz Lavi
Following the horrific pogrom staged by the Nazis upon Jews in
After the war, in
Kibbutz Lavi's ideology is based upon values that are expressed through partnership and democracy. Therefore, the community sees to the basic needs of all members throughout their lives, in return for the individual's contribution to a common good according to personal ability.
"Today I work in maintenance doing jobs that nobody wants, or has the time, to do. Like fixing the brooms but when I was younger, I worked in agriculture for twenty years and another twenty years in the Dairy. My sons work in the furniture factory."
Lavi's furniture factory specializes in synagogue furniture which is sold throughout
Members of the kibbutz don't receive a monthly salary. They do, however, receive a yearly budget for personal needs. Housing, food, healthcare and education are provided by the community.
Moshe derives much satisfaction from the kibbutz. "I've never wanted for anything," he comments. "This kibbutz is a part of me. Everybody works according to their ability and nobody tries to get out of work. It's like a family business; we all aim for success and we share the dividends with each other. Lavi was built as 'utopic' as possible."
After a full school day, the children join their family in the communal dining room for dinner. Sometimes, in inclement weather for instance, the family decides to take the food home and eat there so they don't have to haul their kids to the dining room. "The kids have a fantastic childhood, a wonderful culture, and are raised with values of mutual responsibility, of helping others," he says.
Indeed, the children are raised in what Moshe calls "real country life." They learn to care for animals and help in the kitchen from a young age. "For me, the nicest part about living in the kibbutz is that I see my grandchildren every day when they go for a walk around the kibbutz," he adds.
For those who have a difficult time making decisions, kibbutz life is a wonderful way of handing over the headache to the General Committee. Hardy individuals who thrive on choice may find relinquishing their decision-making rights a sacrifice. Decisions such as where to invest or spend money are decided by the General Committee. "In a kibbutz, one can't make their own decisions," says Moshe. "When certain decisions contrast with your beliefs, there's no point in getting angry, you just have to learn to live with it. And, of course, there will always be those who think a decision applies to you and not to me. For example, once there was a decision that all dogs should be tied up – they scare the kids, they dirty the grounds. But many people felt, 'my dog is all right, he doesn't cause problems.' So this decision went unheeded."
When the fledgling Israeli army was struggling to establish the country's freedom, kibbutz members were heralded as the heroes of the land and the elite of Israeli society. They were the ones who were the first to volunteer for every national task and they imbued the Israeli Defense Forces with a spirit of pioneering, bravery and determination.
Following the fall of communism, kibbutz style has lost much of its glitter and charm in the eyes of the world. Kibbutz Lavi has always been very liberal, and in recent years has become even more liberal. Yet there are changes. "Like everywhere else, we feel the economic crunch," says Moshe. "Recently there was a 10% cut off our yearly budget, but everyone understands. Another change that occurred is the way the children's clothes are distributed. In the past, all the children would get measured and the kibbutz would buy their clothes. Today, the younger couples get money for their children's clothes and buy what they want."
And many second or third generation members have left the kibbutz. "My five sons all married girls from outside of the kibbutz," Moshe notes. "Three of them don't live on the kibbutz because their wives preferred not to live here. They grew up in the city, so they want to make their own decisions, keep the money they earn, and live near their families."
In the last few years, most kibbutzim have privatized. The motivation of the founders, their strong convictions and their distinct ideology, forged a society with a unique communal way of life which their children adhered to. However, as Moshe looks to the future, he predicts that the chapter of kibbutz life is coming to a close. The present generation has been raised in a prosperous society. These young adults have set their sights elsewhere. They're looking to utilize their knowledge, efforts and talents to meet the challenges of modern life in the technological age.
"I don't think kibbutz life can last more than another twenty, thirty years. All our children are college graduates; they'll go out in the world to get married and work in their fields of expertise. They want to make their own decisions. The world is changing and so is the kibbutz."
Today, Kibbutz Lavi hosts many visitors and vacationers in their prestigious hotel. Situated in the heart of the
The guest house of the Kibbutz provides a home atmosphere for Shabbos Observers and special Glatt Kosher is available for very religious Jewish. I have been going there since the 1980’s and there have been a number of scientific and religious meetings between Thursday and Shabbos. They are not cheap like a Zimmer but reasonable for one’s needs such as Synagogue and Shabbos and near the site where Salah Adin defeat Richard the Lion Hearted.
Last week, I put in my blog a Jewish Chinese Wedding video on U-tube – this is a story I published in 5768:
Abstract: Our knowledge of the Chinese Jews derives from two primary sources: one is the stone inscriptions, carved in grey limestone by the Jews and the other the eyewitness reports of missionaries, travelers and adventures who encountered Jews in Kaifeng in the 18th century and later. Scholars scrutinized both sources and reported many inconsistencies in the eyewitness reports. The inscriptions, however, were a source of puzzlement. The Chinese text posed particular challenges, and scholars had to rely on the translation of Bishop Charles White, a missionary who resided in
What are the
re also prominent shopkeepers, artisans, traders and military officers.
But acceptance into Chinese society came at the expense of Judaism. Though the Chinese had never exerted any pressure on the Jews, or on any other minorities to convert, the social structure of Chinese society put enormous demands on the Jews and required them to accept and act according to local customs. The Confucian ethical code may have seemed to be compatible with many tenets of the Torah, but it was so inflexible as to accept nothing less than complete compliance. In addition, the rigid administrative system caused further erosion of the Jewish lifestyle. To climb the administrative and social ladder, Jews needed to devote considerable time and effort to the study of the Chinese classics.  All this came at the expense of study of the Torah. When the Jews felt that the end was near, they pooled their resources and inscribed their religious beliefs on a stele that was erected in the second year of the Hongzhi period, the equivalent of 1489. This was perhaps the most com
prehensive and informative of the inscriptions, but to our disappointment it was long on rituals and short on historical details. This stele can be seen today encased in glass in the
dated the Chinese equivalent of 1512, consisting of over 1000 characters. This inscription was composed by a Jew or someone who knew about Judaism. He stated that Judaism would not exist without the Torah. This inscription was perhaps the most puzzling to scholars as it appeared to contain no historical indicators and therefore was considered of very limited historical value. But from a Jewish perspective, it provided a wealth of information about the life of the Jews at the time. It constantly compared Judaism with Confucianism, perhaps the first ever attempt to compare the two cultures.
The other stele was dated the equivalent of 1663 on one side and has not been seen since its disappearance from the gate of the Anglican Church where it had been placed by Bishop White in 1912.  On the obverse side is engraved an incomplete text that appears to be the middle section of a text that largely pays tribute to the Jews who contributed to the restoration of the temple. This stele, according to White, is about two feet taller than the earlier stele. Fortunately, Bishop White preserved an ink rubbing that is reproduced in his book Chinese Jews.  Side one contains about 2200 characters written by a non-Jew who had Jewish friends or neighbors and made some very interesting observations about Jewish customs and rituals. It provided more historical details regarding the temple and the community in action. The composer also pointed out many similarities between Judaism and Confucianism. The reverse side of this stele is an acknowledgment of those Jews who had contributed to the restoration of the temple and the community. Since the introduction and the ending are missing, we have no way of dating it so by default it was dated 1663b, though it is more likely that it was composed at a later period.
The Chinese Repository  published a translation of the 1489 and 1512 inscriptions and Bishop Charles White improved it with his own translation in the 1940s. In addition, he also annotated the text, identified some of the Chinese sources and expressed his surprise that the inscriptions contained no biblical references. That was, as far as I know, the last English translation of the stele and it became the accepted, if not the “official” guide to the inscriptions. Many scholars and researchers intrigued by the topic of the “orphaned colony”  of the Chinese Jews published articles and books on the subject, basing their research on White’s translation. Then in 1972 Donald Leslie, an Australian scholar, published a monograph, The Survival of the Chinese Jews,  that was intended to be a definitive resource book about the Jews in China. It dealt with the many facets of the Jewish presence in
but, as far as the inscriptions were concerned, White’s translation was the standard. Leslie also agreed with White’s conclusion that “we hardly find passages from the Jewish Law translated into Chinese” (Leslie, p. 102), and expressed his frustration that the inscriptions lacked any solid historical landmarks. He attached little importance to the 1663a inscription as most of the material seemed to be addressed in the 1489 stele. He also wondered why the 1512 inscription was written. I addressed these issues and reported my preliminary findings in two articles published in Points East, a newsletter of the Sino-Judaic Institute. 
So why was there a need for a new translation? Differences of opinion would not justify such an endeavor, but when inaccuracies and mistranslation of characters went undetected for almost a century, that prompted me to take a closer look at the Chinese text. I came upon those errors while researching my book on a comparative cultural study of Judaism and
Western nor Chinese literature published on the Chinese Jews correlated the inscriptions to any historical context, let alone in to a Jewish context. I asked myself, why not? The obvious reason could be that the original text did not contain history, and the uninterrupted and unpunctuated text left us a story that we did not understand. Some of the style was standard Chinese but some extended segments contained irregular grammatical structures that appeared completely meaningless and incomprehensible. Could it be that those segments held the key to the inscriptions? They puzzled researchers and went unexplained until now.
To start with, I broke the Chinese text into individual phrases and sentences and set each phrase on a new line. The key was in the details and I kept an open mind to every possibility. The text contained many parallel structures and incomplete quotes that I found to be traceable. As I traced those quotes to their source, I started to get a picture that was very different from any previously translated texts. The 1489 inscriptions, for instance, revealed three different styles that I attributed to three different composers. I made a note of this in the introductory chapter on the “Testimony of the Inscriptions” (p. xix) in my book The
Hebrew. As time passed they remembered less of the Hebrew but still remembered the spirit of the Amida and composed a Chinese version. The Chinese Jews added the text of the prayers to remind future generations of their tradition.
The 1663a inscription confirmed my findings. It was composed by a non-Jew who described either what he had seen or what he had been told by his Jewish neighbors. Like the previous inscriptions, the 1663a stele described the rituals but, unlike the other stele, did not repeat the actual words of the prayers. The reason: the composer was a bystander who neither knew the prayers nor understood them. He jotted down his observations and noted that the Jews prayed three times a day and that was “when man was to see Heaven”. What he added after this observation was interesting. He recapped what he had heard the Jews say or chant at the conclusion of the ceremonies and when I juxtaposed this with the Hebrew text, I realized that it was the pronouncement of the birkat hakohanim [Priestly Blessing]. That custom was prevalent during the
Long on rites and prayers and short on history, the inscriptions seemed to be of little historical significance. None of them elaborated on the past or on how and when the Jews settled in
Three of the four inscriptions were dedicated to the rebuilding of the temple. The community went to extraordinary lengths to preserve and restore the temple and one may wonder: what was so important about the temple to deserve such dedication? Reading the existing literature, the impression is that it was an ordinary synagogue: it functioned as a place of worship and community center. But when the text was juxtaposed with biblical history, it revealed that the temple played a far more important role. The Jews in China continued the biblical tradition that accorded the servicing of the temple to the Levites and kohanim (priests) who performed the rituals that were associated with the First Temple (960- 586 BCE). The temple became the focal point of the community. Besides being used as a place of worship and sacrifice, it was also a source of pride that provided the Jews a sense of belonging, and they attributed their long survival to the
the function of the kohanim would have ceased to exist and the community would have vanished without a trace. In addition, the temple work (avodat kodesh) supplemented the income of the kohanim who received a salary from local sources and from teaching. Each time the temple was destroyed, the kohanim lost this source of income and they could barely provide the necessary services to keep the community together. After each disaster, the community lost members and some of them dispersed never to return. To rectify this situation, the entire Jewish community in
Each time the temple was rebuilt it was in
In light of the new translation and readings of the inscriptions it is evident that the orphaned colony was Jewish in origin with roots that went back to the exile period. Does that mean that the Jews in
2 inscription indicated that the Jews in
About the Author
Tiberiu Weisz, M.A. is a “cultural bridge builder” between Judaism and
© Covenant - Global Jewish Magazine 2007
 The consensus among scholars was that the Jews settled in
 The Jews had to master the Four Books: The Analects of Confucius, The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean and The Works of Mencius. They also displayed competency of the Liji, [Book of Rites], an ancient text that incorporated similar topics to the Torah including the Book of Filial Piety, Book of History, Book of Poetry, etc. In addition, they also had to master the interpretations of the classics by the neo- Confucian philosopher Zhuxi (1130-1200 CE), the Chinese Rambam
 This distinction was not evident in any previous translations. This inscription was written by three people at different times and different places. The section about the imperial audience, its meaning and ramification is presented here for the first time in a historical context. Among other things, it provides us an insight of what the Chinese Jews knew about Chinese etiquette and customs.
 Bishop William Charles White was a missionary for the Anglican Church who went to
 William White, Chinese Jews: A Compilation of Matters Relating to the Jews of
 Bishop George Smith, “Visit to the Jews in Hunan: A Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jewish Synagogue of Kaifeng fu,on behalf of the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews.” Chinese Repository, Vol. IV,
 This term is borrowed from James Finn, The Orphan Colony of the Jews in
 Donald Daniel Leslie, The Survival of the Chinese Jews. Monographies du T’ong Pao, Vol. X .
Tiberiu Weisz, “Jewish Settlement in Han
 Laozi was one of the sage philosophers in ancient
 This topic is dealt with in detail in my forthcoming book, The Covenant and the Mandate of Heaven: An In-depth Comparative Cultural History of Judaism and
 The last segment of the 1512 inscription contained the Chinese version of the Amida (see
 Graetz, H. History of the Jews, Jewish Publication Society,
 Jian Bozan, Qin Han Shi [History of the Qin and Han] Taibei,
 The Western Regions (Xiyu in Chinese) is roughly the area of today’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region in NW
 Some of the Chinese Jews still claim today that they had owned land in antiquity. The book,
Covenant - Global Jewish
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© 2007 All rights reserved
Many years ago, I wrote about the Aviva Glixman Landsman wedding where the father of the bride drove from FL to NY to catch the first EL AL flight out to Israel after 9/11 and how we ate the meal before the plan landed and my son drove the father, David, to the Chupa close to midnight. Well it was not the only wedding that things got botched up. http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1062937/jewish/The-Bomb-Scare-at-My-Sons-Wedding.htm
From Michelle N. Muslim terrorists in NY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebg6AFylios&feature=player_embedded
TOWN OF DAVIE REFUSES TO REMOVE HAMAS-RELATED CAIR STREET SIGN
KAUFMAN CALLS ON DAVIE AND BROWARD COUNTY NOT TO BE WEAK-MINDED AND TO DEAL PROPERLY WITH TERROR
(Davie, FL) This week, the Chairman of Americans Against Hate (AAH), Joe Kaufman, had a telephone conversation with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Davie, Florida, Braulio Rosa, explaining to Rosa why his town should act immediately to remove a sign that Broward County and Davie awarded to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a terrorist-associated organization.
Kaufman told him that, at this Friday’s upcoming Fort Lauderdale rally about the CAIR sign, Kaufman and his group would rather praise the town for removing the sign, than criticize the town for refusing to do so, as is planned.
However, Braulio said that, on the grounds of free speech, the sign would not be removed, and he used the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as an example. Kaufman told him that it is not an issue of free speech, but an issue of terrorism, because, while CAIR is a hate group like the KKK, it is also a group that was founded by Hamas, an organization that has targeted and murdered innocent civilians, including Americans, with the most violent of means. According to the U.S. Justice Department, CAIR has been involved in the financing of Hamas.
Kaufman sent an e-mail to Rosa detailing CAIR’s ties to Hamas and global Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and called on
I wanted to attend the event which was held in the rain but my area of FL was having a torrential rainstorm at the time and road flooding. Joe and Emily Kaufman organized the event and he was interview on WIOD Radio the day that the protest occurred.
Viruses via Facebook: ALL FACEBOOK VIRUSES COME FROM THOSE 'CUTE' APPLICATIONS ON FACEBOOK. ON THE UPPER RIGHT HAND IS SETTINGS ONE CAN REMOVE ALL APPLICATIONS BY USING THE SETTINGS CONTROL AND DELETE THEM ONE BY ONE.
THE BIG CULPRIT NOW IS THE XMAS ONES BUT SOME JEWISH ONES HAVE THEM TOO. ARABS PUT THEM IN THERE ALONG WITH SICK PEOPLE. THE VIRUSES AND APPLICATIONS ARE HIDDEN BOTH IN THE SECOND AREA IN THE SETTINGS AND A FEW TRICKY ONES IN THE THIRD AREA.
The viruses work as follows. Aleph sends to Bet a 'gift or Trojan' from the applications flowers. Bet then downloads the application. If bet does not have a good anti-virus, he/she sends you a msg on FB - wow click this link. Or Rabbi so and so sends me a link saying "great exy pictures" I know that this person has been infected.
Measure for measure: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3824465,00.html
The word Peace and recognition of
Lukas brought to my attention this article by Gil Ronen of the terrorist murder of a father of 7: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/135188
Now for Mr. M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story – Smoke Out
Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah in this week’s portion Vayigash tells us about the emotional reunion between Yosef and his brothers. During his opening remarks to his brothers, Yosef refers to the divine intervention which brought about the unusual set of circumstances of the reunion, namely, that Yakov’s sons had come to Egypt to ask for food from their long-last brother whom they had sold into slavery many years earlier.
The verse quotes Yosef as saying, “Thus Hashem has sent me ahead of you to insure your survival in the land and to sustain you for a momentous deliverance.” (Beresheis 45:7) We see from here Yosef’s recognition of the concept of Hashgacha Pratis – divine intervention, which is one of the foundations of Jewish belief. As the Rambam teaches us in the first of his 13 Principles of Faith: “I believe in perfect faith that the Creator blessed is His Name, is the Creator and the Guider of all creations…”
Believing in Hashgacha Pratius – divine intervention means believing that Hashem guides even the minutest details of the universe. From this belief stems the belief that life is not random. Rather, everything that happens in life is for a purpose.
Once, one of the Baal Shem Tov’s students noticed that a leaf had fallen from a tree in the distance. The student asked the Baal Shem Tov about the significance of this occurrence; why did Hashem cause the leaf to fall? The Baal Shem Tov instructed his student to lift up the leaf, which the student did. Under the leaf was a caterpillar. Now the student understood the reason why the leaf had fallen; the leaf fell in order to provide shade for the caterpillar.
Another outgrowth of our belief in Hashgacha Pratius – divine intervention, is that everything that Hashem does is ultimately for the best. Although this belief may at times seem hard to internalize, it is a belief that is basic to Judaism. Because, if everything that happens in life is not for the best, then what is the purpose of Hashem creating this world? Hashem could have saved us the anguish and not created the world in the first place.
Let us now tell a moving story which illustrates the exact calculations with which Hashem guides the world.
The young man's name was Lazlo, or as his father called him, Ezra. His father was one of the most famous maggidim (Jewish inspirational speakers) in
One day, in the maggid's home town, the tailor died. He had been a simple but deeply religious man, yet his son Moshe, who worked alongside him, had no religious convictions at all. Nevertheless, out of respect for his father, Moshe sat shivah (the mourning period of seven days).
During the week of shiva, Ezra's father, the maggid, went to pay a condolence call on Moshe. Little nine-year-old Ezra tagged along. When the maggid walked into the room where Moshe was sitting alone, Moshe was stunned. Everyone knew that Moshe was a rebellious lad and few in the community had much to do with him. That the esteemed maggid came and consoled him during his time of mourning, and then spent time chatting with him, was truly remarkable.
A day later the maggid came again. Moshe sat and listened attentively as the maggid said softly, "I think, for your father's honor, it would be nice if you would come to shul to say Kaddish." To everyone's surprise, Moshe agreed.
Throughout the months, as Moshe continued coming to shul, the maggid slowly began having a calming influence on the young man. At first they discussed Jewish concepts and attitudes and then they began to study together.
By year's end Moshe had become a religious man. With a rekindled spirit that burned enthusiastically, Moshe began performing mitzvos with a fervor that left very little tolerance for those less committed than himself. In shul it was he who would demand that others refrain from talking during the services, unlike past years, when people had silenced him constantly on the few occasions that he came to shul with his father. Eventually everyone got to know Moshe the schneider (tailor) as a man in whose presence one would dare not violate a mitzvah.
Two years later, the German barbarians overran their Hungarian town, and the Jews were taken to forced-labor camps. Moshe the tailor was swept off the streets as were the maggid and his son Ezra.
Together with multitudes of other frightened Jews they were crammed into the tightest quarters imaginable. With calculated cruelty, the Nazis tore children from parents — and that was the last time little Ezra, now twelve years old, ever saw his father. Ezra was placed in bunks together with other children his age, and soon began to pick up their bad habits and corrupt behavior, in the daily struggle for survival. Any religious commitment that he had before the war slowly began to ebb away as he battled to stay alive in any way he could, even if it meant cheating, lying, or stealing. Like everyone else he suffered from malnutrition and indecent living conditions, but together with a tight group of friends, managed to persist and survive.
When the horror finally ended, the feeble remnants of the Holocaust had to be taken to rehabilitation areas where they were slowly re-acclimated to normal foods and regular living conditions. Many could not eat solid meat, and it had to be ground so that their bodies could slowly relearn the process of digesting heavy foods.
The facility in which Ezra found himself was located high on a hill overlooking the city. The only way to get to the downtown area was to take a trolley down the long hill.
One Friday night, Tomas, a friend from another camp, suggested to Ezra (now called Lazlo) that they go downtown to enjoy themselves. They had begun to feel like human beings once again and Tomas said it would be interesting to see nightlife in the city. Ezra was in a dilemma, for in the rehabilitation camp he had begun to think about going back to the religious practices of his father.
In the labor camps it had been an insurmountable challenge for Lazlo to be observant, but now that he was back in civilization, perhaps it was time to return. He knew that the trolley was the only feasible way to town but that was an open violation of Shabbos. True he had been very lax these last years, but now that he was on his own, he was trying to become observant again.
"Have a cigarette," Tomas said, offering one to Lazlo. In an automatic reflex Lazlo stuck out his hand to accept it. The cigarette trembled in his hand. He wondered if Tomas noticed it. He wanted to throw it away because it was Shabbos, but he could not do so, not in front of his good friend Tomas. He thought that if he inhaled his first puff, he would surely choke on it. He was going to have to make a decision: would he make the return to a religious lifestyle now, or never?
Before he could organize his thoughts, Tomas lit a match and held it to Lazlo's cigarette. Lazlo put the cigarette in his mouth, bent forward, squinted as the flame caught on the tip, and inhaled slowly. It felt good. He was going downtown. Laughing nervously, they both got onto the trolley and began planning their night out.
The trolley rolled into the brightly lit town, while Ezra stood away from the window, hoping that no one he knew would see him. And then he saw him. It couldn't be! But it was, Moshe the Schneider - tailor, walking alone!
Ezra's stomach tightened. He recalled the first visit he and his late father, the maggid, had made to Moshe's home on a shiva call. Then he remembered Moshe reprimanding people in Schul to be more respectful during prayers, and he said to himself firmly, "I will never allow the man whom my father made religious to see that his son has become a irreligious." And with that newly formed resolution, he got off the trolley at the next stop, walked all the way back up the hill to the rehabilitation camp and has remained an observant Jew to this very day. (The Maggid Speaks, p.114 Rabbi Paysach Krohn)
Hashem created this world for our benefit. Therefore, Hashem guides this world with an exact calculation. By recognizing these eternal truths, we will all live happier lives. Good Shabbos Everyone.
Mr. Wolfberg’s Shabbos sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
In memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi
Have a great Shabbos and a purposely 10 B Tevet fast with the proper rains in