Rabbi Elyashiv SHLITA, one of our leading poskim has been hospitalized. Please daven for Yosef Shalom b/ Chaya Musha. This issue is dedicated to his healing and an Aliyah to the Neshama of my father, Felix ben Yitzchak, who passed away forty years ago on the 23rd of Shevat and that of my great-grand father Yosef Porges of Prague who passed away 40 years to the English day before my father.
Good Goyim Bad Goyim
Iyob, Yisro, Hiram and many more are mentioned in the Bible as righteous gentiles. Iyob saw that the Bnei Yisrael were able to propagate at amazing birth rates in Egypt realized that it was because of the love of the G-D of the Hebrews and became a believer. Yisro was righteous and did not know which G-D was truly a G-D and what was a man-made god. So he tried worshipping every god so as to be righteous. 18:11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods; yea, for that they dealt proudly against them. So Yisro too became a true believer and his children the Druze, according to their tradition, help the Bnei Yisrael when we are on the rise and in favor with HASHEM ELOKAYNU. The belief is non-condition but the help is on the tradition of “If you walk in MY Mitzvos … But if MY Mitzvos repulse you …”
Hiram remained his own faith along with many others but they recognized the G-D of Yisrael and the rights of the Bnei Yisrael. Something similar in behavior to the Maronite Xtians in Lebanon nowadays in their relationship with Am Yisrael.
Last week our Parsha ended on the Amelek behavior towards Am Yisrael attacking the women, children, elderly, sick and the weak on the way. This is similar to the cowardly attacks by Al Qaeda and Hamas with their homicide bombings of buses and attacks on buildings or eateries. Rockets aimed purposely at schools based on Google Earth. It is no accident that a teacher was killed about two years ago and during the recent conflict in Gaza and afterwards, kindergartens and schools were targeted. This is classic anti-semitism and can end up in a Hitler type figure, inquisition or what I experienced in the 6th grade with a girl who fell in love with me prior to my reaching puberty. She loved me such much that she wanted to marry me and save my soul by converting me. I’d rather take the risk and drown myself in the Torah and Mitzvos and if after 120 years my soul has to be cleaned in Gehenna then scrub away I must.
Bilaam also knew G-D but he instead of using positive spiritual energy used negative spiritual energy which gave him a temporary advantage is this world.
Good Jews Bad Jews
Survey: 31% of Europeans blame economic crisis on Jews http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3669706,00.html
It is not the Lubavitcher Rebbe or a Rav Soleveichik that causes a bad impression of Jews on the Nations of the world. Where ever they were the Goyim had the greatest of respect for these and other Torah giants. It is however a bad mistake by a Jewish Company like Lehman Brothers that can do damage to us or one Bernard Madoff that can make the accusation that all Jews are crooks even though most of the people that he ripped off were rich Jews and a minority non-Jews.
Almost every Shabbos we read the Psalm before returning the scroll unto the Ark “What will the Goyim say – where is their G-D?” This is the source of a big Chillul
HASHEM and blight on Am Yisrael. It does not matter if it is only one man like Achan taking the spoils of a battle when it was forbidden to do so or a bunch of crooks it is against Am Yisrael.
The Ten Commandments are in this week's Torah reading. Included in honoring ones mother and father is the Mitzva to honor ones father's wife and ones mother's husband even if they not ones parents. It is appropriate to honor step-parents even after ones parents are no longer alive. Honoring ones parents take precedence over honoring ones step-parents. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:19 – Danny Also Yoreh Deah 240 – Rachamim
Please note regarding the Rashi and Hebrew written below, the Hebrew appears clear in my weekly blog.
18:1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel His people, how that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.
What news did he hear that [made such an impression that] he came? The splitting of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek. — [from Zev. 116a, and Mechilta, combining the views of Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer] Jethro. He was called by seven names: Reuel, Jether, Jethro [i.e., Yithro], Hobab, Heber, Keni, [and] Putiel (Mechilta). [He was called] Jether (יֶתֶר) because he [caused] a section to be added (יִתֵּר) to the Torah [namely]: “But you shall choose” (below verse 21). [He was called] Jethro (יִתְרוֹ) [to indicate that] when he converted and fulfilled the commandments, a letter was added to his name. [He was called] Hobab (חוֹבָב) [which means lover] because he loved (חִבָּב) the Torah. Hobab was indeed Jethro, as it is said: “of the children of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law” (Jud. 4:11). Others say that Reuel was Jethro’s father. [If so,] what [is the meaning of] what it [Scripture] says [referring to the daughters of Jethro]: “They came to their father Reuel” (Exod. 2:18)? Because [young] children call their grandfather “Father.” [This appears] in Sifrei (Beha’alothecha 10:29). Moses’ father-in-law. Here Jethro prides himself on [his relationship to] Moses, [saying,] “I am the king’s father-in-law.” In the past, Moses attributed the greatness to his father-in-law, as it is said: “Moses went and returned to Jether, his father-in-law” (Exod. 4:18). [from Mechilta] for Moses and for Israel. Moses was equal to all of Israel. [Mechilta] all that…had done. for them with the descent of the manna, with the well, and with Amalek. that the Lord had taken Israel out…. This was the greatest of them all. — [from Mechilta]
As Danny and I brought down above, Moshe was required to honor his father-in-law and to further strengthen this, his father-in-law knew “Kail Shakkai” who abode on Mt. Sinai and called the place “The mountain of the L-RD”.
2 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away,
Tzipporah was converted automatically before the giving of the Torah by Moshe. Funny no Beis Din or Rabbinute those days. The only simple requirement was “Your G-D shall be my G-D and your people shall be my people.”
When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt” (Exod. 4: 19), “and Moses took his wife and his sons, etc.” (Exod. 4:20), and Aaron went forth “and met him on the mount of God” (Exod. 4:27), he [Aaron] said to him [Moses], “Who are these?” He [Moses] replied, “This is my wife, whom I married in Midian, and these are my sons.” "And where are you taking them?" he [Aaron] asked. “To Egypt,” he replied. He [Aaron] retorted, “We are suffering with the first ones, and you come to add to them?” He [Moses] said to her [Zipporah], “Go home to your father.” She took her two sons and went away. — [from Mechilta]
It is a simple fact that a man is willing to go into battle to defend his home and family but when his son becomes a front line soldier that is a different story. Even though I had been in one part of Lebanon, when my son had to go into a part that I was not family with, I worried more or when Arabs threw building blocks at him in Gaza or when he patrolled the narrow streets of Genin or Schem. So to as a leader of all of Am Yisrael, Moshe could not be bothered worrying about his wife and children and took the advice of Aaron.
3 and her two sons; of whom the name of the one was Gershom; for he said: 'I have been a stranger in a strange land'; 4 and the name of the other was Eliezer: 'for the God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.'
When Dathan and Abiram informed [Pharaoh] about the incident of the Egyptian [whom Moses had slain], and he [Pharaoh] sought to slay Moses, his [Moses’] neck became [as hard] as a marble pillar. — [from Exod. Rabbah 1:31, Deut. Rabbah 2:27]
You can take or leave this Midrash but what is certain that miraculously Moshe was saved from being killed. Often miracles occur through natural events.
5 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the mount of God;
[We too know that he was in the desert [without the text stating it explicitly], but the text is speaking of Jethro’s praise, that he lived amidst the greatest honor of the world, but his heart prompted him to go forth to the desert wasteland to hear words of Torah. — [from Mechilta]
To this the Prophet Yirmiyahu wrote: “Thus says G-D, I have found (YOUR) grace in the desert …” (part of the high holiday liturgy).
6 and he said unto Moses: 'I thy father-in-law Jethro am coming unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.'
And he said to Moses. through a messenger. — [from Mechilta, view of Rabbi Eleazar of Modiin] I, Jethro, your father-in-law…. If you will not come out for my sake, come out for your wife’s sake, and if you will not come out for your wife’s sake, come out for the sake of her two sons. — [from Mechilta]
It is mentioned that the father or grandfather should teach his son as we learn in the Shema and what we have seen in the commands about the night of Pessach. Judaism is not a religion of the past but a religion for the future. I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE – as G-D stated HIS NAME.
7 And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed down and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
Jethro was afforded great honor at that time. Since Moses went out, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu also went out, and who [was it who] saw these [men] going out and did not go out? [Thus, everyone went out to greet Jethro.]-[from unknown midrashic source similar to Mechilta and Tanchuma Yithro 6] prostrated himself and kissed him. I do not know who prostrated himself to whom. [But] when it says, “one another (אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ),” [lit., a man to his friend,] who is called "a man"? This is Moses, as it is said: “But the man (וְהָאִישׁ) Moses” (Num. 12:3). [from Mechilta]
8 And Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
Moses told his father-in-law. to attract his heart, to draw him near to the Torah. — [from Mechilta] all the hardships. By the sea and [the hardship] of Amalek. — [from Mechilta] the hardships. Heb. הַתְּלָאָה. “Lammed aleph” comprise the root of the word. The “Tav” is both formative and basic and sometimes is omitted from it. Similarly, separation (תְּרוּמָה), waving (תְּנוּפָה), rising (תְּקוּמָה), removing (תְּנוּאָה).
I can only imagine Yisro’s hair standing on end from the fear and awe of HASHEM making such miracles in Egypt, by the sea and the war against Amelek. * SEE MIRACLES BELOW.
9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, in that He had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
וַיִחַדּ, and Jethro rejoiced. This is its simple meaning. The Aggadic Midrash, however, [explains that] his flesh became prickly [i.e., gooseflesh (חִדּוּדִין חִדּוּדִּין)] [because] he was upset about the destruction of the Egyptians. This is [the source of] the popular saying: Do not disgrace a gentile in the presence of a convert, [even] up to the tenth generation [after the conversion]. — [from Sanh. 94a] about all the good. The good of the manna, the well [of water that went with them], and the Torah, and above all, that He rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians. Until now, no slave had been able to escape from Egypt because the [border of the] land was locked, but these [people] fled six hundred thousand strong. — [from Mechilta]
Not only did they flee but the super-power army of Egypt was decimated and rendered ineffective as a conquering army but instead an internal police force and palace guard and could not recover for at least close to a generation.
10 And Jethro said: 'Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
A strong nation. and from the hand of Pharaoh. A strong king. from beneath the hand of the Egyptians. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: [from beneath the control of the Egyptians,] an expression of tyrannization and domination. [The verse is referring to] the hand, which they [the Egyptians] laid heavily upon you [the Israelites]; the slavery.
11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods; yea, for that they dealt proudly against them.
Now I know. I recognized Him in the past, but now [I recognize Him] even more. — [from Mechilta] than all the deities. This teaches us that he [Jethro] was knowledgeable about every type of idolatry in the world, and there was no pagan deity that he did not worship. — [from Mechilta] for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them. Heb. זָדוּ. [To be explained] according to its [Aramaic] translation. [Onkelos renders: For with the thing that the Egyptians plotted to judge Israel, with that He judged them.] With water, they planned to destroy them, and they [themselves] were destroyed with water. that they plotted. That they planned wickedly. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it [זָדוּ] as an expression related to “Now Jacob cooked (וַיָזֶר)” (Gen. 25:29) [and thus to infer that] in the very pot in which they cooked, they themselves were cooked. [from Sotah 11a]
As I explained above about Yisro finally concluded that HASHEM alone rules the universe and the Egyptians proposed and G-D disposed. He saw here G-D’s Justice and Mercy.
12 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt-offering and sacrifices for God; and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God.
Heb. עֹלָה. As its apparent meaning, because it [the offering] was completely (כֻּלָּה) burned [on the altar]. and [peace] offerings. Peace offerings. And Aaron came. And where did Moses go? [Why is he not mentioned here as partaking of the feast?] He was standing and serving them. — [from Mechilta, Jonathan] before God. From here [we learn] that if one derives pleasure from a feast at which Torah scholars are seated, it is as if he has derived pleasure from the splendor of the Shechinah. — [from Ber. 64a, Mechilta]
It was well known that the non-Jews used to offer Korbanos to G-D during the time of the second Beis HaMikdash but only certain times. – The Talmud Bavli.
13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood about Moses from the morning unto the evening.
The Pshat and continuation of the text would place the timing before Matan Torah or during Sifras HaOmer. (close to Rosh Chodesh Sivan) We know that there is a principle that there is no ‘early time’ or ‘late time’ in Torah meaning that it is not a continuous narrative but a series of incidents but here my modern logic and also the joining of this section with Parsha Mishpatim indicates to me that my time period is correct. However, Rashi uses Midrashim and Meforshim that I do not. I am not saying that Rashi is wrong as this section might have occurred at a different meeting of Moshe and Yisro months later. Rashi has difficulty with this section too in his explanation and thus he says it is not in chronological order. I could counter that it was in Chronological order because Avraham learned from Noach and Yacov from Shem and Ever traditions and perhaps oral Halachos that were given before the flood and were known to the elders of the tribes and perhaps even Yisro coming from Midian the child of Avraham. All these arguments are presented if you don’t accept Rashi’s explanation. But the halacha is Rashi’s explanation vs. RP’s explanation the halacha is with Rashi. However, Yeshai Glicksman Shlita mentioned that the Rambam hold the same as I that it is in Chronological order and since we are dealing with a person living around the same time as Rashi and a halachic authority, that one can accept the simple explanation that I give versus the argument brought down by Rashi. This is my personal principle that if there is a very simple flowing answer versus one where we have to use all sorts of logical explanation and Biblical proofs, one goes according to the simple explanation.
It came about on the next day. This was the day after Yom Kippur. This is what we learned in Sifrei [actually in the Mechilta]. Now what is meant by "on the next day"? On the day after his [Moses’] descent from the mountain [which took place on Yom Kippur]. You must admit that it is impossible to say [that the next day means] anything but that [Moses sat down to judge the people] on the day after Yom Kippur. Before the giving of the Torah it was impossible to say (verse 15), “and I make known the statutes, etc.,” [since the statutes had not yet been given]. And from the time that the Torah was given, until Yom Kippur, Moses did not [have the chance to] sit down to judge the people, for on the seventeenth of Tammuz he descended [Mount Sinai] and broke the tablets. On the next day he ascended early in the morning and stayed for eighty days and descended on Yom Kippur. Hence, this section is not written in [chronological] order, for “It came about on the next day,” was not said until the second year. Even according to the one [Tanna] who says that Jethro arrived before the giving of the Torah, he was not sent away to his land until the second year, for it says here (verse 27), “Moses saw his father-in-law off,” and we find in the journey of the divisions [of the tribes, which took place in the second year,] that Moses said to him [Jethro], “We are journeying to the place…Please, do not leave us” (Num. 10:29-31). Now if this [incident] had taken place before the giving of the Torah, where do we find [i.e., where is it mentioned] that he returned? If you say that there [Num. 10:29] Jethro is not mentioned, but Hobab [is mentioned], and he was Jethro’s son, [that is not so since] Hobab is identical with Jethro, for so it is written: “of the children of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law” (Jud. 4:11). -[based on Mechilta] that Moses sat down…, and the people stood. He sat like a king, and they [everyone who came to be judged] all stood. The matter displeased Jethro, that he [Moses] belittled the respect due [the people of] Israel, and he reproved him about it, as it is said: “Why do you sit by yourself, and they are all standing?” [from Mechilta] from the morning until the evening. Is it possible to say this [that Moses actually sat in judgment from morning until evening]? But this [teaches us that] any judge who issues a true verdict-as truth demands it-even [if he spends only] one hour [reaching his judgment], Scripture deems it as if he had engaged in [the study of] the Torah for the entire day, and as if he were a partner with the Holy One, blessed is He, in the [act of] Creation, in which it says: “and it was evening, [and it was morning…]” (Gen. 1:5). [from Mechilta, Shab. 10a]
14 And when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said: 'What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sit you thyself alone, and all the people stand about thee from morning unto even?' 15 And Moses said unto his father-in-law: 'Because the people come unto me to inquire of God;
This is similar to a lot of Rabbis. The most famous one in my life time was Rav Moshe Feinstein TzZal who was quoted as saying. “I am not such a great Rabbi but the people come to me with questions and I try to supply them with an answer.” This type of humility existed in the extreme in Moshe Rabbaynu, Hillel and I saw with my own eyes HaGaon Rav Dov Zvi Korelensten Shlita looking embarrassed to ask questions when the Chazon Ish was rumored to have said that he was on the level for a Sanhedrin of 23.
For…come. Heb. כִּי-יָבֹא, the present tense. [Although, strictly speaking, יָבֹא is the future tense, in this case it is used as the present, i.e., the people of Israel had already come to be judged.] to seek God. [To be understood] as its Aramaic translation (Onkelos): לְמִתְבַָּע אוּלְפַן, to seek teaching from before the Lord.
16 when they have a matter, it cometh unto me; and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and His laws.'
If any of them has a case, he comes to me. The one who has the case comes to me. (So I answer the questions.)
17 And Moses' father-in-law said unto him: 'The thing that thou doest is not good.
Moses’ father-in-law said. As a token of honor, Scripture refers to him as the king’s father-in-law [and not by his name].
The lack of good here is not evil but the exhaustion of Moshe and the long lines for the people waiting for a Psak in halacha or solving their dispute.
18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee; for the thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
You will surely wear yourself out. Heb. נָבֹל ךְתִּבָֹּל. As the Targum renders: [You will surely wear yourself out,] but the expression is an expression of withering, fleistre in Old French, like [these examples:] “even the leaves will be withered (נָבֵל)” (Jer. 8:13); “as a leaf withers (כִּנְבֵל עָלֶה) from a vine, etc.” (Isa. 34:4), which withers both from the heat and from the cold, and its strength weakens, and it is worn out. both you. גַּם-אַךְתָּה lit., also you. [This comes] to include Aaron, Hur, and the 70 elders. is too heavy for you. Its weight is greater than your strength.
Don’t be the only Judge for the only is ONE who is an ONLY JUDGE.
19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God be with thee: be thou for the people before God, and bring thou the causes unto God.
I will advise you, and may the Lord be with you. in [this] counsel. He [Jethro] said to him [Moses], “Go, and consult the Lord [as to whether my advice is sound].” -[from Mechilta] [You] represent the people before God. [as a] messenger and an intermediary between them and the Omnipresent, and one who inquires of Him concerning the ordinances. — [from Onkelos] the matters. The matters of their quarrels. — [from Jonathan]
20 And thou shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. 21 Moreover thou shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
But you shall choose. with the holy spirit that is upon you. — [from Mechilta] men of substance. Heb. אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל, wealthy men, who do not have to flatter or show favoritism. — [from Mechilta] [ men of truth. These are people who keep their promises, upon whose words one may rely, and thereby, their commands will be obeyed. — [from Mechilta] who hate monetary gain. Who hate [to have] their own property in litigation, like [the Talmudic adage] that we say: Any judge from whom money is exacted through litigation is not [fit to be] a judge. — [based on Mechilta and B.B. 58b] leaders over thousands. They were six hundred officers for six hundred thousand [men]. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a] leaders over hundreds. They were six thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a] leaders over fifties. Twelve thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a] and leaders over tens. Sixty thousand. — [from Mechilta, Sanh. 18a] [Rashi lists the number of each category of judges, which appears to be superfluous, because the Torah should start with the lowest denomination and ascend to the highest instead of starting with the highest and descending to the lowest. Rashi answers that it starts with the highest officers because they are the lowest number.]
This we see today in a classroom Rebbe in the school teaching either 30 or 40 pupils versus a principal or a Rosh Yeshiva of a hundred. Or a Congregational Rabbi of over a hundred families with children and relatives.
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge themselves; so shall they make it easier for thee and bear the burden with thee.
And they shall judge. Heb. וְשָׁפְטוּ. [Onkelos renders:] וִִידוּנוּן, an imperative expression.] thereby making it easier for you. Heb. וְהָקֵל. This thing [i.e., this arrangement will serve] to make it easier for you. וְהָקֵל is like הַכְבֵָּד in “he hardened (וְהַכְבֵָּד) his heart” (Exod. 8: 11) [lit., making heavy his heart]; “and slew (וְהַכּוֹת) the Moabites” (II Kings 3:24) [lit., and slaying the Moabites], a present tense.
23 If thou shall do this thing and God command thee so, then thou shall be able to endure, and this entire people also shall go to their place in peace.'
Consult God; if He commands you to do this, you will be able to endure, but if He prevents you [from doing it], you will be unable to endure. — [from Mechilta] and also, all this people. Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the 70 elders who now accompany you. — [from Mechilta]
Further to my personal thoughts on Posuk 13 above, the fact that the 70 elders were consulted proves to me that there was a very strong tradition in Halachos and judgement that existed prior to Matan Torah.
24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. 25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
These were like very bright Yeshiva and Kollel students who make up the list of new Rabbis today. There comes a time when an older Rabbi retires in our days and the Congregation gets used to an assistant Rabbi who gives some of the Drashos. Even though the younger man gives weaken Drashos than the older more experienced man, he gradually gains enough experience to stand in the place of the Congregational Rabbi.
26 And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
So instead of getting simple cases, Moshe received the difficult ones like that of the inheritance case of the daughters from the tribe of Menashe who had no brothers as written in Bamidbar.
27 And Moses let his father-in-law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount.
Without making promises I hope that next year, I will provide explanations to this chapter.
20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
God spoke. Heb. אֱלֹהִים. [The word] אֱֱלֹהִים always means “a judge.” [This Divine Name is used here] because there are some sections in the Torah [that contain commandments] that if a person performs them, he receives a reward, but if not, he does not receive any punishment for them. I might think that so it is with the Ten Commandments. Therefore, Scripture says: “God (אֱלֹהִים) spoke,” [signifying God’s role as] a Judge, [Whose function is] to mete out punishment [when the Ten Commandments are not obeyed]. [from Mechilta] all these words. [This] teaches [us] that the Holy One, blessed be He, said the Ten Commandments in one utterance, something that is impossible for a human being to say [in a similar way]. If so, why does the Torah say again, “I am [the Lord, your God (verse 2)]” and “You shall have no…” (verse 3)? Because He later explained each statement [of the Ten Commandments] individually. — [from Mechilta] to respond. Heb. לֵאמֹר, lit., to say. [This] teaches [us] that they responded to the positive [commandments], “Yes,” and to the negative [commandments], “No.” -[from Mechilta]
2 I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shall have no other gods before Me.
The religions of the world can claim that through these ten sayings they received the message from G-D but even the Angels and these nations were never subjected in full to Egyptian slavery. G-D certainly did not take them out of bondage. The translation before is weak it should read besides or literally in Hebrew “in front of MY FACE.”
Who took you out of the land of Egypt. The taking [you] out [of Egypt] is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me. Alternatively, [God mentions the Exodus] since He revealed Himself on the sea as a valiant warrior, and here He revealed Himself as an old man full of mercy, as it is said: “and beneath His feet was like the form of a brick of sapphire” (Exod. 24:10). That [brick] was before Him at the time of the enslavement [to remember the Israelites’ suffering when they made bricks as slaves], “and like the appearance of the heavens” (Exod. 24:10), [i.e., there was joy before Him] when they were redeemed. Since I change in [My] appearances, do not say that they are two [Divine] domains, [but] I am He Who took you out of Egypt and [I am He Who performed the miracles] by the sea (Mechilta). Alternatively, [God mentions the Exodus] since they [the Israelites] heard many voices [during the revelation], as it is said: “And all the people saw the voices” (verse 15), [meaning that] voices came from four directions and from the heavens and from the earth, [so] do not say that there are many domains (Exod. Rabbah 5:9). And why did He say [this] in the singular [possessive], אֱלֹהֶי ? In order to give Moses an opening to offer a defense in the incident of the calf. This is [the meaning of] “Why, O Lord, should Your anger be kindled against Your people?” (Exod. 32:11). You did not command them, “You shall not have the gods of others before Me,” but [You commanded] me alone (Exod. Rabbah 43:5). out of the house of bondage. Literally, out of the house of slaves. [I.e.,] from Pharaoh’s house, where you were slaves to him. Or perhaps [Scripture] means only: from the house of slaves, that they were slaves to [other] slaves? Therefore, Scripture says: “and He redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:8). Consequently, you must say that they were slaves to Pharaoh, but not slaves to [other] slaves. — [from Exod. Rabbah 43:5]
3 Thou shall not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
You shall not have. Why was this said? Since it says, “You shall not make for yourself, etc.” I know only that one may not make [graven idols, etc.] How do I know that one may not keep what was already made? Therefore, Scripture states: “You shall not have.” -[Mechilta] the gods of others. Heb. אֱלֹהִים אִחֵרִים, which are not gods, but that others have made them for gods over themselves. It is impossible to interpret this passage to mean: gods other than I, since it is a disgrace for Heaven to call them gods along with Him. Alternatively: strange gods, for they are strange to their worshippers. They cry out to them, but they do not answer them, and it appears as if it [the god] were a stranger, who never knew him [the worshipper]. — [from Mechilta] in My presence. Heb. עַל-פָּנָּי [This means] as long as I exist [signifying forever. God states this so] that you should not say that only that generation was commanded [prohibited] concerning idolatry. — [from Mechilta]
a graven image. Heb. פֶּסֶל [It is called by this name] because it is sculpted (נִפְסָל). or any likeness. The likeness of anything that is in the heavens.
Not to make a statue that eventually may be used as an object of worship. Not of planets, stars, angels or any earthly or heavenly object. Strange gods to worship which we commonly call Avodah Zara (strange service for the service in the Temple was called Avodah or Avodah HASHEM)
4 thou shall not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
a zealous God. Heb. קַנָּא, zealous to mete out punishment. He does not forgo retaliating by forgiving the sin of idolatry. Every [expression of] קַנָּא means enprenemant in Old French, zealous anger. He directs His attention to mete out punishment. of those who hate Me. As the Targum [Onkelos paraphrases: when the sons continue to sin following their fathers, i.e.], when they cling to their fathers’ deeds. — [from Sanh. 27b]
The Chabad translation of zealous rather than jealous suggests a relatively immediate and extracting punishment.
5 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.
perform loving-kindness. that a person does, to pay the reward until the two-thousandth generation. It is thus found that the measure of reward [from God] exceeds the measure of [His] retribution by [the ratio of] one to five hundred, for this one is for four generations, and that one is for two thousand [generations]. -[from Tosefta Sotah 4:1]
When a Bnei Yisrael (Jew) goes astray he destroys the education for his son and perhaps his son’s son up until the fourth generation where the poor influence will wane but good deeds make an indelible impression on the souls and education of generations to come.
6 Thou shall not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.
You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. You shall not swear in vain by the name of the Lord, your God. — [Onkelos] לַֹשָוְא -[This word appears twice in this verse.] (The second [mention of לַֹשָוְא is an expression of falsehood, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: לְֹשִיקְרָא, as it says [in Shavuos 21a]: "What constitutes a vain oath? If one swears contrary to what is known, [for example, saying] about a stone pillar that it is [made of] gold. (The first [mention of לַֹשָוְא is an expression of vanity, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: [לְמַגָּנָא].) This [refers to] one who swears for no reason and in vain, [for example making an oath] concerning [a pillar] of wood, [saying] that it is wood, and concerning [a pillar] of stone, [saying] that it is stone. — [from Shevuoth 29a, Mechilta]
How many tall tales and fibs have been told by Jews and non-Jews alike. I even saw a movie clip the other day when lightly the actor in the scene says, “I swear to G …” Sometimes they will say “by my eyes” or “by B. Assad’s life or eyes” knowing very well that they are lying and have no intention of fulfilling the swear.
I have plenty to write about the rest of the ten sayings below but will only mention one in passing.
7 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 8 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; 9 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; 10 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 11 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God gives thee. 12 Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
You shall not commit adultery. Adultery applies only [to relations] with a married woman, as it is said: "[And a man who commits adultery with the wife of a[nother] man, who commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor,] [both] the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death" (Lev. 20:10); [and it says,] “[You are] the adulterous wife, who, instead of her husband, takes strangers” (Ezek. 16:32). [In both these verses, the term “adultery” is used in reference to the extramarital relations of a married woman.]
The Torah views a man capable of marrying one that one wife therefore “disloyalty” to one wife with other women is not adultery. It might not make for smooth martial relationships but it is only adultery with a woman and a man other than her husband. I don’t defend the character living in Israel with 32 women and fathering children by them. I do not commend the behavior of the Morons who are over fifty and marry twelve year olds. I can only tell you that the Shulchan Aruch Eben HaEzer states than an elderly man should not take a young wife. It was more than just advice it is a warning on human behavior.
Thou shall not steal.
You shall not steal. The text refers to kidnapping. [The verse] “You shall not steal” (Lev. 19:11) refers to stealing money. Or perhaps this one [verse] refers only to stealing money and the one written further (in Lev.) refers to kidnapping? You must admit that [the meaning of] a statement is derived from its context. Just as [the former two commandments] “You shall not murder” [and] “You shall not commit adultery” refer to capital sins, “You shall not steal” also refers to a capital sin [i.e., a sin punishable by death]. — [from Sanh. 86a]
Monetary stealing comes as a sneak thief, robber like a highway man and embezzler or something similar through speaking with a forked tongue. (Even a trial in Beis Din where one of the parties lie purposely with the cunning tongue to steal a few thousand from a neighbor.
Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's. 14 And all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off. 15 And they said unto Moses: 'Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.' 16 And Moses said unto the people: 'Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before you, that ye sin not.' 17 And the people stood afar off; but Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. 18 And the LORD said unto Moses: Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel: Ye yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 19 Ye shall not make with Me--gods of silver, or gods of gold, ye shall not make unto you. 20 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt-offerings, and thy peace-offerings, thy sheep, and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and bless thee. 21 And if thou make Me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast profaned it. 22 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thy nakedness be not uncovered thereon.
From Hannah: Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror? By JUDEA PEARL
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?
The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.
Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.
No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.
But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.
I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.
This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man's second nature. "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," explained Mr. Livingstone.
But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.
Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.
The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.
Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.
Some American pundits and TV anchors didn't seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a "resistance" movement, together with honorary membership in PBS's imaginary "cycle of violence." In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that "each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man's terrorism becomes another's resistance to oppression." He then stated -- without blushing -- that for readers of the Hebrew Bible "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." The "cycle of violence" platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror's victims for violence as immutable as DNA.
When we ask ourselves what it is about the American psyche that enables genocidal organizations like Hamas -- the charter of which would offend every neuron in our brains -- to become tolerated in public discourse, we should take a hard look at our universities and the way they are currently being manipulated by terrorist sympathizers.
At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.
The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, anot her inroad into Western minds.
Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.
Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.
The continuing miracle of Aaron Yehoshua ben Chaya Shoshanna
I forgot to mention last week that he was released from the ICU all sewn up about his head with a bandage on his nose to be transferred to a recuperation facility. For the sake of his bride and parents we must keep praying that he continues to make a speedy recovery to what the doctors call a medical miracle.
Now speaking of miracles, at around 6:45 AM on Sunday, a Kassam landed in Kibbutz Shaar Ha Negev and a few cars were damaged in the parking lot, the people mulling around the area or working there were not hurt but some had to be treated for shock. When people on the Kibbutz start recognizing miracles for what they really are then the Moshiach can’t be that far away.
I was informed this week by a Rabbi, whom I shall keep anonymous, who heard from somebody in the know that our intelligence forces estimated that before the war in Gaza that we would suffer 200 casualties a day. The whole war cost us 13 dead with two miraculous recoveries both that of Aaron Yehoshua and the seven year in Beer Sheva who was critically injured by the Katyusha. We are not yet on the level to see fire fall from the sky on our enemies but miracles on a level above nature we can witness already.
This reminds me of the miracle that happened during the Sixth Day War in Emek Dotan. Supposedly this was the area where Yosef was sold into slavery. (Not far from Megido the traditional area for Armageddon) The Yardenim had an artillery base there waiting in ambush to attack our troops. The soldiers when to attack Schem and needed soldiers to go around that area in a pincer movement. In order to make sure that the valley of Dotan was clear, our soldiers checked it out from the hills and we ambushed the artillery from the high ground in an unplanned attack. After that the rest of the Shomron fell like a deck of cards.
From the OU maybe also Aish HaTorah Fwd: How I Survived Gaza - http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/article/all_you_need_is_love_but_what_is_it/
All You Need is Love, But What Is It? By Lori Palatnik
When my husband and I go to a wedding or sheva brachot, and listen to the bride and groom get up and say how much they “loooove” each other, we shoot each other looks and try not to laugh. They know what love is? Yeah, right.
You can’t compare the love I had for my husband on my wedding day to the love I have for him now, 21 years and 5 kids later, and everything that we have been through together. What have this bride and groom been through together? They planned a wedding—whoopee.
If I ask the groom to write down his definition of love and marriage, and then ask the bride to also write down hers, and they hand me their definitions, what do you think I would see? That’s right, two different definitions. If a man and woman are in a marriage and want it to be filled with love, yet they define love and marriage differently, we have a problem. At the very minimum, they should have a mutual definition of what they are in and trying to achieve.
So what is love? And how do I get there? It certainly is not always what they describe in songs, or what people on the movie screen are being paid to pretend it is.
“Love is the emotion one feels when focusing in on the virtues of the other, and identifying them with those virtues.” - Rabbi Noah Weinberg, Rosh Hayeshiva of Aish HaTorah If I ask a woman who is pregnant, “Are you going to love your new baby?” She will of course answer, “Yes.” But how does she know? She hasn’t met the baby yet. Perhaps he or she will come out like the snotty brats next door.
You know why every mother and father know they will love their baby? Because even before they were born, they made a choice to love them, no matter how they came out: extrovert, introvert, quick tempered, easy going…it does not matter. And have you ever noticed that no one ever falls out of love with their children? Can you imagine me calling up Jewish Family Services and telling them, “You know, I want to give one of mine back. What can I do? I fell out of love.”
We never fall out of love with our children, and yet we claim to with our spouses. And this is the person we chose above all others, after so much deliberation, investigation and comparison. What does it mean to “fall out of love” with this person?
In a lot of cases, people simply stopped choosing to focus on their virtues. Everyone has their stuff: the good, the bad and the ugly. Focusing on someone’s virtues does not mean we are blind to their faults. Not at all. Who knows your kids good qualities better than you? No one. And who knows your kids challenging qualities better than you do? No one. And yet if someone asks me to describe my kids, I will immediately start telling you all these amazing qualities they have, not just because I am a bragging Jewish mother, but because that is how I see them. Even while knowing all of their faults, character flaws and foibles, I love each and every one of them, because every day I choose to focus in on all their goodness.
The same works with spouses. We so easily slip into a life where we focus in on our spouses mistakes, both in character and in deed. My husband, the rabbi, is not perfect. I could easily choose to focus in on the negative, but what would that get me? A lousy marriage, that’s what.
One tool that I have used with couples going through a rough time is to have them write down why they married the person they married. They usually do not want to do it, but I press. I make them describe their spouse, remembering how they saw them just before they got engaged. Then they show me the list. I look at it and ask, “How many of those qualities do they still have today? Almost 100% of the time, 100% of the things on the list still apply today.
What’s going on? It’s so easy to forget why we married them. It takes effort to remember, but believe me, it’s worth the effort.
“Love is, what is important to you, is important to me.” - Rabbi Noah Orlowek
I once met David Weiss, a Hollywood screenwriter, who, amongst other things, was the head writer for the movie, Shrek II. He told me that the theme of the film came from something he learned from his rabbi, (who learned from Rabbi Orlowek) that love is, what’s important to you, is important to me. And he told me he would go into the writers’ meetings and tell them to keep everything to that theme.
My parents taught me this many years ago. My mother and father are very different people. How can I describe how different? Well, my mother’s idea of a great vacation is going backpacking in Nepal on 24 hours notice. And she is in her 70’s. My father’s idea of a great vacation is an air conditioned bus tour of Miami that he has been planning for six months. Get it? Very different people. They have been happily married for over 50 years. How on earth do they make it work?
My mother loves the arts and culture. So they have a subscription to the Toronto Symphony, and once a month my father goes with her, holds her hand, listens to the concert, and tries not to fall asleep. My father is a real “guy’s guy” and loves sports. So they have season tickets to the Toronto Maple Leafs. All winter long my mother goes to the games with him, holds his hand, watches the action, and tries to pretend this is not stupid.
We don’t have a television at home, but when I travel and speak, I always turn on ESPN in the hotel room. Why? So I can come home and tell my 14-year old son (who is sports crazy), “Moshe, I saw Shack, and his neck is as big as a tree trunk. And I saw Kobe, you should see all of his tattoos. And I saw The Mailman…”
Do you know why they call him “The Mailman”? Because he delivers. I know this stuff! And when I tell Moshe all of this, he looks at me and his eyes light up. He knows I don’t love sports. But I love my Moshe. And love is, what is important to you is important to me.
“Love is, giving to another.” – Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler
Rabbi Dessler asks in Strive For Truth: Does loving lead to giving, or does giving lead to loving? Do I love you so I give to you, or the more I give, the more I love?
The Jewish answer is: The more you give, the more you love.
Did you ever wonder why human beings come into this world in a very different way than most other creatures in the animal kingdom? I don’t know about you, but when I had my first baby, Shoshana, I was completely overwhelmed at how helpless she was. She couldn’t do anything on her own. Without me, she couldn’t eat, roll over, or even burp on her own! A deer will have a fawn, they will nurse, be a little shaky, but then quite quickly leave and have its own independent life.
It seems to me that Hashem made it very different with humans, so that right from the beginning, we would be forced to give, and give and give. And what do we get back for the first few months: sleepless nights, throw up down our back, and diarrhea down our front. And we love these babies more than life itself.
Just before I got married I asked Rebbetzin Faygie Twersky, if she could give me one piece of marital advice, what would it be? She said, “You should wake up every morning, and the first things you should ask yourself is ‘What can I give to my spouse today?”
“Oh,” I said. “Thanks.”
“No, no, no, Lori,” she countered. “You think it sounds easy, but it’s not. Every day, one extra act of giving: picking up the dry cleaning for them, sending an encouraging email, a Post It love note on their steering wheel… In the lifetime of a marriage, this adds up to tens of thousands of acts of giving. And she told me that unless you are G-d forbid in an abusive relationship, don’t worry about getting. If you are in giving mode, that inspires everyone in your house to do the same.”
I once gave an assignment to a group of women coming to my class. I told them that this week we would all do one extra act of giving a day to our husbands. The next week we gathered and reported back. One woman said that is was remarkable. She was making herself a cup of tea and remembered that she hadn’t done her assignment that day, so she asked her husband if he would like a cup of tea too. “Yes,” he answered, somewhat surprised. She said the next day when he was making a cup of tea; he turned to her and said, “Honey, would you also like a cup of tea?” They sat and drank tea together.
She turned to the class and said, “This stuff really works.”
If you want to love someone more, give to them. It will become contagious.
Yes, our Torah contains incredible wisdom about every aspect of life, including wisdom about love. And, yes, it really does work. – This was brought down to honor the late Rav Weinberg before he passed away and has nothing to do with a non-Jewish calendar day that falls this week.
I remember Rabbi Weinberg 38 years ago as a 40 year old man: http://www.aish.com/movieArticles/movieArticlesDefault/Tribute_Rabbi_Weinberg.asp
I might have posted this a while back but I received this last week from Denise R.: The Holtzbergs HY”D ran the Chabad House in India, where they were murdered by terrorists.
Some time during the shiva for Rivky Holtzberg Hy'd, a young woman came into the Rosenberg home. She told Mrs. Rosenberg that she had something for her, and handed her a small package. Curious, Mrs. Rosenberg opened it and gasped.. Inside was Rivky's diamond ring and one of her nicer Shabbos dresses.
"How did you get these?"
The young woman gently told Rivky's mother, "Let me tell you my story."
"I had been traveling in India. Somehow I ran afoul of the law and ended up in an Indian jail. You cannot begin to imagine what an awful, horrible, primitive place it was. The only redeeming factor is that the jails there are quite disorganized, and those who are in charge are corrupt.
Somehow I managed to escape.
"The first place I ran to was, of course, the Chabad House. Everyone knew that that's where you went when you needed help. Rivky welcomed me, fed me,
and told me that it was vital that I get out of the country. I knew that - but I was very afraid. What if they would check me, check my passport?
Then Rivky gave me one of her Shabbat dresses and her diamond ring. 'If you look very dignified, a well-dressed married woman with a ring on her finger, they won't look too closely at you. They will leave you alone. A woman with a diamond ring is in a different class. She's a respectable woman. She's not a criminal, someone who has escaped from jail. They won't bother you.'
"I took the dress and the ring and as you can see, I got out safely. And now I have come to give you Rivky's dress and her ring that she lent to me."
Rivky's mother took the possessions of her beloved daughter. Then she told the young woman, "I recently saw Rivky and noticed that she wasn't wearing
her ring. When I asked her about it, she told me 'zeh b'shlichut.' It's on shlichus."
On learning Tehillim (Psalms) the best of the best is learning the commentary in Hebrew. However, since most of us have the ability to read Latin letters better the Artscroll Tehillim is the best available in English and for on line I am sure that Chabad has something and so does: http://www.torah.org/learning/tehillim/#
Fatach spied for Yisrael: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5897
Hamas now uses the Gaza Hospital as a torture chamber: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3668018,00.html
The right won the election. After the soldier count is complete another seat may move to the right. Netanyahu is offering the Kadima Party an important role in his government. (Remember 14 of the 15 first positions in the Party are filled by ex-Likud members but very liberal.) If Netanyahu goes with Kadima and the religious parties, Yisrael Beitaynu Party will fall in line to make a grand coalition of close to 93 seats of the 120 members. It will be a government strong enough to withstand pressures from Iran and Obama.
Tehilla sent me this to refresh my memory of the behavior of Hamas and Amelek: Danielle Shefi was a five year old girl who was shot dead at point blank range by Hamas terrorists in Adora in the Land of Israel, while she cowered under her bed.
The killers had entered her home as she was playing in her bedroom.
Among the thousands of Israeli people who were murdered and injured, there were hundreds of children. Some of the attacks were deliberately intended against children and youth.
Apr 27, 2002 - Danielle Shefi, 5, of Adora, was one of four people killed when terrorists dressed in IDF uniforms and combat gear cut through the settlement's defensive perimeter fence and entered Adora, west of Hebron. The terrorists entered several homes, firing on people in their bedrooms.
DID OBAMA NEGOTIATE SECRETLY WITH IRAN & SYRIA BEFORE HE WAS PRESIDENT? by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator
At different times, President-elect Barack Obama proclaimed that there can only be one President while he was awaiting his inauguration. At that same time (and before) he was sending his personal emissaries to Iran and Syria for "secret talks". This revelation was reported by Arutz Sheva by Malkah Fleisher February 3, 2009 from Agence France Presse on February 2nd. (See attached.) According to this report, Obama sent representatives and experts to hold secret high-level talks with Iran and Syria months prior to his election - which President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad affirmed.
This confirms prior speculation that many in Obama’s Middle East advisory team are confirmed Arabists, willing to work under the table on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Selling out America and her ally, Israel, is serious business and not to be undertaken lightly, given that flirting with treason can put one in prison.
There has been deep concern that that Obama’s official and unofficial advisory group on the Middle East was assembled from the most notorious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic personalities are well-documented for their past bias against Israel.
Iran has made explicit threats against America and Israel. Who were the specific emissaries sent by Obama? I wonder if Condoleezza Rice was involved in passing on her poison through confederates in the equally hostile Obama Middle East team. Obama’s secret meetings with the most dangerous Islamists signals the acts of what some would call "a mole" with a dangerous agenda for America and Israel.
Iran just launched a satellite into low orbit with its own Safir-2 Rockets, no doubt, with the help of North Korea, China and Russia. The concern now is not IF but WHEN Iran decides to mount a nuclear nose cone on the same Rocket they used to send up their "Sputnik" which Ahmadinejad said was fired in an act of obedience to Allah. It is an act of self-flagellation, to anticipate nuclear retaliation against Iran’s own cities, believing their population’s deaths as martyrs will send all Iranians to Allah’s courtyards.
Does Obama share this belief from his early teachings in a Muslim Madrassa?
Does Obama believe peace will come by sending personal emissaries to negotiate with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his representatives who believe the Muslim Mahdi (their messiah) will come only in a Nuclear Holocaust - which is part of the legend Ahmadinejad espouses?
Do Obama and his Arabist team believe they can placate Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollahs to restrain themselves once they have a Nuclear Holocaust weapon in their hands?
"A space launcher that can orbit a satellite weighing 300 kg can be altered into an ICBM that could drop more than 300 kg on Washington." according to Uzi Rubin a former head of Israel’s Missile DEFense Organization, who oversaw development of Israel’s Arrow anti-missile defense system.(1)
Last week the widely respected Institute for International and Strategic Studies in London warned that Iran would have enough fissionable material by 2010 to make a nuclear bomb - despite repeated U.N. demands that it halt its nuclear program. (2)
We are informed that President Obama wishes to cancel the expression "War on Terror" to something more passive - with no suggestion that it refers to Muslims.
Would they dare offer Israel as a bribe if Iran would not aim his nuclear missiles at Europe or America?
When President Obama was asked by CNN’s Anderson-Cooper why he would change the expression of "War on Terror", Obama said: ‘There are some Terrorist organizations who are not representative of the Arab Muslims’ and ‘We can win the hearts of the Muslims."
Why would Muslims think the expression: "War on Terror" refers to them?
Perhaps it is because most (almost all) Terror attacks globally have been carried out by Muslim Islamists. Perhaps it is because the Koran is rife with expressions and instructions to attack the "infidel" (non-believers in Islam, especially Jews and Christians), even in countries that hosts them.
As the Muslims have often said: "First the Saturday people; then the Sunday people." Remember that the radical Islamists goal is a Global Caliphate ruled by Islam only.
We already know that Obama is a liar for we see all the promises he has broken in his first days of being President. Clearly, Obama believes in a "Shadow Government" where there is no transparency. Sending secret emissaries to Terrorist nations, even before he was elected, should tell us that there will be (already is) a lack of transparency in his government.
The other government of Obama that he dangles to the public is full of promises and speeches. Certainly, Bush and Rice played the same game by allowing America to fill up with Muslim Islamists in order to appease Saudi Arabia.
Please note in today’s (February 4th) New York Times, "Saudis Issue List of 85 Terrorism Suspects: Eleven Who Are Sought Were Once Held in Guantánamo. (3) The eleven Saudis, who had passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former "jihadists" (holy warriors for Islam) are now believed to have fled Saudi Arabia and joined Terrorist groups abroad - according to Saudi officials. Two of the wanted Saudi Terrorists were filmed after a deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sana, Yemen. One became the deputy leader of the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. Another Saudi has been operation from Iran for 3 years, known as "The Star", is in charge of leading Al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf and Iran, as well as bringing new members into Afghanistan.
It seems that the Obama government will maintain a "Secret Shadow Government" (non-transparent).
As for the Middle East, President Obama, please put your "junk-yard Middle East dogs" back on a short leash and keep it tight.
Israel is not the problem but the Muslim world is. Yes, ‘most’ Muslims may wish to be peaceful. However, if only 1% of 1.2 Billion Muslims worldwide are active Terrorists, that’s a lot of Terror - and, after their acts of Terror, they use the ‘peaceful’ majority as their safe house.
Regrettably, American, Israel and the rest of the West seem about to pay an incredible price in lives and freedom for weak U.S. government policy.
1. "Pentagon: Iran satellite launch cause for global concern" www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-26.htm
2. "Iran’s Sputnik?" by Investor’s Business Daily February 3, 2009 No URL
3. "Saudis Issue List of 85 Terrorism Suspects: Eleven Who Are Sought Were Once Held in Guantánamo" by Robert F. Worth NEW YORK TIMES February 4, 2009
Obama Held Secret Talks With Iran, Syria Weeks Before Election
by Malkah Fleisher ARUTZ SHEVA 7 IsraelNationalNews.com February 3, 2009
United States President Barack Obama employed representatives and experts to hold secret high-level talks with Iran and Syria months prior to his election as president, organizers of the meetings told Agence France Presse on Monday.
Over the past few months, Obama campaign and election officials, as well as nuclear non-proliferation experts, had several "very, very high-level" contacts with Iranian leaders, according to Jeffrey Boutwell, executive director for the U.S. branch of the Pugwash group, a Nobel Prize-winning international organization of scientists. Former defense secretary William Perry, who served in Obama's election campaign, also participated in some of the meetings, which included discussions on Iran's nuclear program and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Though Boutwell refused to name other participants, he said they were senior figures in the Iranian and US governments.
The United States and Iran have had no official diplomatic relationship since the overthrow of the Shah and the institution of the Islamic Republic, 30 years ago. The U.S. accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons.
In his first television interview as president, conducted by the Muslim Al-Arabiya television network, Obama called Iranians "a great people," adding "the U.S. has a stake in the well being of the Muslim world."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad affirmed the reports Monday that Obama officials had repeated contact with his country for some time prior to the U.S. elections. "Dialogue started some weeks ago in a serious manner through personalities who are close to the administration and who were dispatched by the administration," Assad said.
A group of experts, under the auspices of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) think tank, announced Thursday that they met for more than two hours in Damascus with President al-Assad. Obama transition team member and former Clinton White House adviser Ellen Laipson attended the meeting as well, they said.
The United States has accused Syria of protecting and aiding Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists, and of providing a channel for anti-U.S. Muslim militants to attack U.S. positions in Iraq.
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Now for M. Wolfberg's story:
Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's Parsha Bashalach, we read about the dramatic exodus of the Bnai Yisroel from slavery in Mitzraim (Egypt). In a moment of celebration, Moshe leads the the Bnai-Yisroel (the Jewish nation) in a song of praise for Hashem for delivering us out of the clutches of Mitzraim. Right before the song, the Torah tells us, "and Yisroel (the Jews) saw the great hand that Hashem had inflicted upon Egypt, and the people revered Hashem, and they had faith in Hashem and Moshe, His servant." (Shemos 14, 31) We see from here the concept of "emunas tzadikim" believing in our righteous Torah leaders. The following story illustrates this concept.
When Shirley Chisholm was elected in 1968 to represent New York's 12th District, which included her own neighborhood of Crown Heights, she made headlines as the first African-American woman elected to Congress. However, she soon found her congressional career stunted at its start by race-related politics. Bowing to political pressures from racist southern politicians, the House's leadership assigned Chisholm to the Agriculture Committee, a place where it was assumed that she could have little influence.
At the time, some in the New York media questioned the appointment and expressed doubt as to Chisholm's ability to affect the legislative agenda. The less-than-open-arms welcome caused Chisholm, who died in 2005, an understandable amount of frustration, according to Anna V. Jefferson, a former state senator from New York's 22nd District. She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power "She was trying to help poor people," explained Jefferson. "She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power to do that.
But a phone call from the Rebbe's secretariat – a simple "the Lubavitcher Rebbe wants to see you" – changed her attitude, says David Luchins, who was a senior advisor to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and chairs the political science department at Touro College.
According to Luchins, a 20-year veteran of Moynihan's staff who in 1983 heard the story first-hand from Chisholm at a party celebrating her retirement from Congress, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, told the congresswoman, "I know you're very upset."
Chisholm, who lived a block away from the Rebbe and had met him once before when she was running for Congress and searching for endorsements, told the Rebbe, "I am upset. I'm insulted. What should I do?"
The Rebbe, who had declined to endorse Chisholm's candidacy and that of her predecessors because of his policy of non-involvement in political campaigns, turned the situation around. "What a blessing G-d has given you!" the Rebbe told Chisholm "What a blessing G-d has given you!" the Rebbe told Chisholm, urging her to take advantage of the Divine Providence that put her in a position to do something about food supplies. "This country has so much surplus food, and there are so many hungry people. You can use this gift that G-d gave you to feed hungry people. Find a creative way to do it."
Tasked with this charge, Chisholm happened to meet U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) on her first day in Washington. The farm-state politician – and later Senate Majority Leader and presidential candidate – was looking for help in shoring up the economic plight of Midwestern farmers who were losing money on their crops. "Americans started purchasing [produce] from foreign countries," explained Jefferson, who was a close associate of Chisholm's. "So as a result of the imports, the farmers were poor."
According to Luchins, Dole told Chisholm: "Our farmers have all this extra food, we don't know what to do with it." Chisholm thought, "One second. The Rabbi!" During the next few years, and for the duration of the 1970s, Chisholm worked to expand the national Food Stamp Program, which allowed poor Americans to buy subsidized food.
Finally, in 1973, the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act mandated that Food Stamps be made available in every jurisdiction in the United States. It was in the creation of the WIC program, however, that Chisholm really made her mark. The 1969 White House Conference on Food Nutrition and Health recommended targeted food supplements for high-risk pregnant women and their infants. Chisholm, in the House, and Dole, in the Senate, championed the idea and got Congress to approve a two-year pilot project that would be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA, though, fought the measure. It finally took a federal lawsuit to get the USDA to relent, and today more than 8 million people receive WIC benefits each month, according to U.S. government figures. Chisholm "was responsible for the food program," said Vernell Alburary, former president of the Shirley Chisholm Institute for Children. "She was a strong, determined individual."
But Chisholm herself gave ultimate credit to the Rebbe, said Luchins. She "said at her retirement party, 'I owe this because a Rabbi who is an optimist taught me that what you may think is a challenge is a gift from G-d,'" said Luchins in an interview he gave to Jewish Educational Media. "'And if poor babies,' I heard her say this, 'If poor babies have milk, and poor children have food, it's because this Rabbi in Crown Heights had vision.'" Good Shabbos Everyone.
Mr. Wolfberg' s stories not mine are sponcered by: In memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi
Have a wonderful Shabbos and a safe & peaceful one.