Friday, March 13, 2009

Parsha Ki Sisa / Parah, Stories, News

Boruch Dayan Emmet:

( Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau expressed disbelief Friday morning at the passing of Rabbi Baruch Shimon Solomon, the Chief Rabbi of Petach Tikvah overnight.

In a special interview with Arutz 7, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and former Chief Rabbi of Israel said, "He filled three roles with honor and dignity. First and foremost as head of the Nachalat David Yeshiva, which he established and named after his father, [secondly as] Petach Tikvah's rabbi for 30 years and as head of the religious courts."

I am revising my prayer list for persons ill. I was informed of an error because of the Chassidic and Yiddish pronunciations. Faige Rachel bas Taube (Pigeon which might be pronounced TOIBE in Yiddish and I mistranslated it in my original Post. Please add DOV BER BEN SARAH ESTHER a 19 month old baby with cancer. Ronit bas Esther needs prayers. Please say tehillim and give tzedakah for the merit of 4 yr old Avraham Moshe ben Miriam Tova who has cancer that spread to his brain and spine. Eytan Ephraim ben Nechama Yeta has made a miraculous recovery and prayers are no longer need. I will be publishing a revised list as the last updated list was months ago.

Story from around the time of the Second Temple

After the fight of Yehuda HaMacabee and his brothers to free the Temple of Hellenistic Idol Worship, the Macabee family ruled as High Priests and Kings of Israel as there was no descendant of David who could or would rule in Eretz Yisrael. The family dwindled in numbers due to internal wars, intrigues and natural attrition until one family was left. A slave of the household killed the last Macabee and wanted to take the daughter of the household as his forced wife. She went up to a tower in the house/mini-castle and shouted to all from the roof: “I am the last of the Macabee family anybody claiming to be a Macabee from this day onward is a slave and not a Macabee.”

A generation or two later there was a man in Yerushalayim who began calling this one and that one “a slave” and insulting families. The Sages heard about this wicked person and enquired into his background. There is a general rule given in Oral Tradition that whoever disqualifies a Jew disqualifies him with his own blemish. They asked about the man’s pedigree. He replied that he was the son of son and so who was the son of such and such the son of the Macabee family. The Sages immediately knew that he was a slave himself.

You may ask me, “Why bring down this story?” And the answer is the continuing saga of bigotry by individuals against Gerim for no reason at all. I have a gut feeling that those who are so against Gerim are somewhere along the line products of Pogrom Rapes. I come from King David who came from Ruth the Giyores. And you know what she is the only woman in the Bible called an Aishes Chayil (Woman of Valor). So I will continue fighting for baalei Tshuvah and Gerim as long as my mind is strong and my strength holds out.

The following letter I received from another Giyores that I mailed to N.

Shalom Rabbi Pauli Shlita,

I just read the story by the convert about the lovely insensible and senseless remark about her not being Jewish ( and your very nice stories about the holier-than- thou types :) )

There are several of the same ilks in this city. One of them, he is the leader (!) is a mohel (and one of the most querulous types our people saw since Korach I am afraid), but he refuses to do a Mila with converts, unless they are as black- hattish as he is (whatever the Rabbinate says, we are talking several dayanim here R. Wolff , ask Enora about him , R Ralbag from New York, R. Toledano from London – doesn’t matter to him at all). He decides who is Jewish! Big dot!
Some years ago , when friends of mine had a baby , he also refused to be mohel at the Mila ( she had a conversion in Zürich, Switzerland, perfectly kosher acknowledged by the Amsterdam Rabbinate, members of the Portuguese Community but not kosher enough for him); they had to ask someone from Antwerp. Rather interesting, to say the least. Many people here nowadays ask someone from Antwerp.....

Like you, I also get a bit tired of these types and I simply avoid them as much as possible. People who do not want to be friendly and don't find me Jewish enough are not the ones I value.

I also jumped off the Yahoogroup "orthodox conversion to Judaism ". It used to be a good group , but since Steve . z”l died , things have gradually gotten worse and worse and when I , as a modern orthodox , was told that we only follow those halachot we like , I had had enough. It is getting more and more of a terrorist chumra- of- the- month-group, telling people that many things which are chumrot, are halacha. I was quite surprised when a young lady wrote she would go to the rabbi for the first time and what should she wear, they advised her to wear a pullover with a high neck. Umm, it was 34 centigrade at that time - if she would have heeded that advice, he would have rung the psychiatrist. I suppose the burka is next....

But to get to N. As you know, I am a convert, too.
Yes, when one converts to Judaism, one really needs a rather thick skin. Mostly the Jews who will shout one is not "really Jewish" as a convert are Reform, or do not attach much worth to any halacha. Of course, there will always be orthodox "rabbis" to be found/ cited who will not accept that the person is Jewish (try Neturei Karta), so what?
To accept that from a non- Jewish or Reform person saying so, is learning maths from a primary school kid.
Recently I was in shul; there were a couple of tourists visiting. The lady was sitting next to me and had the chutzpa to ask whether "that black woman "(a lady of colored skin who converted years ago) was actually Jewish. Stunned, I said "yes" - instead of throwing her over the mechitza, like she deserved. (I can get bloodthirsty, ya'know!)

Well, to keep you from being bored to tears by me, I will try and make it not too long.
I think , though , that the most useful thing N. can do , is to turn a very deaf ear to these people, and , what is more important : attach herself to those people who accept her and who are good examples of Jahadut in the best sense, so that she will have real positive feedback. This is really important. I am very privileged in that I know several people whom I greatly value, who are humble, honest, giving of their money and their time, and who do not splash dirt around and would not even think of it, as it is outside their range of being a mentsch. These people are my ole models, not that wacky mohel who considers himself a paragon of Torah values and demeans Torah in the meantime. *Funny in my Torah is says that Avraham circumcised his whole household but ‘Jews’ (before Judah) and non-Jewish slaves. Of course it is possible that the Mohel, himself, is not from the seed of Avraham based on the Talmudic Story. Remember the story about Rabbi Glixsman exposing the Nazi in our midst.*

I hope you are still awake after this ramble!

PS If you think if my response might be helpful, feel free to forward it.

Off my soapbox now,
Shabbat shalom,
Yael, Amsterdam

Ki Sisa

Having spent the first 13 years of my engineering career at IAI as a Quality Control and Standards Engineer, this Parsha is close to me. For Am Yisrael to become a real nation a coinage system had to be set up and measurement standards. Today opposite the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is the standard for the meter which was established by Napoleon Bonaparte. England, the States and other Nations have their equivalent to the National Standards Institute or the Israeli Standards Institute. In IAI there was among other people involved in the standardization and calibration of precision instruments for aircraft parts and manufacture a fellow named Weiss. He worked half a day and in his time in Kollel the second half of the day published a book on the standard weight for the Biblical Shekel, Ephod Tzedek, Hin Tzedek (a just standard for the Ephod and Hin used in the Temple), and the weights and measures for wine, fields, mikveh, etc. The Parsha before us has these measurements that are of the utmost importance. In Temple Times, the standard was by the gate to the Temple where one could make their weights and measures from the original used in the Temple. It is most important that instruments be calibrated and recalibrated over and over again. I found a fault at the local vegetable store in the scales (which are ‘electronic’ but have not been calibrated and still being used). I wrote about the need to have them calibrated but my advice as a professional was attacked as Lashon Hara even though I had proof. (You cannot buy 3.179 kilos of potatoes and then afterwards 3.179 kilos of apples – the probability is billions to one of this happening. The next week 2.731 kilos of carrots and 2.731 kilos of squash – there was something wrong with the operation of the scale.) Now the poor man who originally bought this scale and sold it to the next green grocery or local supermarket had no idea of the defect but an expert could tell it. Moving the border of ones property is an offense if by accident that is one thing and if by design that is another thing we see this Mitzvah in Devarim. This is the one time in the Torah that the Chassidic custom of “sort of” (like the Chupa will be at 7:00 PM and if you come at 8:00 PM you either come early or right on time) no the Torah is exact and precise as can be about weights and measures to the width of a hair or the weight thereof.

However, there are cheats out there sometimes a large company does it in desperate financial times:

30:11 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 12 'When thou take the sum of the children of Israel, according to their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou number them; that there be no plague among them, when thou number them.

Both Kabbala and Midrash note that when Am Yisrael is mentioned as numerous the evil (eye/Gezara or punishment never occurs) as soon as the people have a definite number something happens where people die and the number is reduced. Even when the Torah asks for numbers then something happens. Nothing positive has ever occurred to a census for Am Yisrael. It is easy enough to take a computerized census of Israelis by ID Card numbers. However, the government always tries to be cleverer than the Torah and even King David failed when he took a census.

13 This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary--the shekel is twenty gerahs--half a shekel for an offering to the LORD.

Even when commanded by HASHEM to take money and the money would be counted there was going to occur evil to lower the numbers of Bnei Yisrael so that at the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar and at the End, give and take 600,000 males of 20 and above were counted.

14 Every one that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering of the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of the LORD, to make atonement for your souls.

WHAT SHOULDN’T THE RICH PAY FOR THE POOR? No for in the good L-RD’s eyes they are the same as other guys. This is equality. The Torah had the most advanced social system of their times. True equality was there in such that the rich could not buy their way out of the army and only the poor serve as in many countries even modern Israel with doctors adding on certain things to the health profile of the rich while the average and poor Jew has to serve nowadays. When HASHEM Yisborach says equality then all taxes are proportional. If the poor man pays 15% of his earnings so does the rich man. But what do modern governments? They make loopholes in the tax laws for the extremely rich and the extremely poor don’t pay while the middle-class depending upon the earnings pays the burden. This reminds me of the time I worked 14 hours overtime and ended up with an extra 1014 Shekels in my net pay. Since overtime pay was exponential, I worked the next month over 28 hours overtime and ended up with 1002 Shekels more in my net pay because I had reached a higher tax bracket. The Torah wanted to reward a person for harder work and more hours vs. the one who worked less hours. The same moral values applied to the Justice System when a Judge is Sefer Devarim is warned not to favor the rich over the poor or to have compassion for the poor and change the way of Justice. Nor was creed, tribe, color supposed to effect Torah Judgement. There was no such thing as a woman claiming rape years after she went through with her boss when he invited her to a hotel room away from his wife and her husband. Then when he refuses to promote her after years then she complains now if that isn’t a modern type of the wife of Potiphar I don’t know what! Stories like that went away with the tooth fairy and a bunny that lays eggs.

Rebbitzen K. Sirote wrote this on Beresheis 1:26 but it has to do with equality. I also read an article written by Rav Shlomo Carlebach about the importance of women in Purim. Of course Eve was created in the image of G-d. It says: "G-d created Man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them". Whatever "image of G-d" means, both males and females have it, equally. As for the relationship between masculine and feminine in the attributes of G-d, that is one of the main subjects of Kabbala.

16 And thou shall take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for your souls.'

The whole basis of giving charity is written here. Pre-Temple times it was at the entrance to the Mishkan. Now the New Testament makes it appear that money changers in the Temple were ripping off the people. Actually the money changers there were from various local and foreign currencies into the Shekel HaKodesh to buy things for the Korbanos. The practice was no different than today except it was a much closer exchange rate (fairer) than our banks give today. If currency fell on the floor by the banker’s side it was his aka the Temple Treasury and if by the man bringing the coins it was assumed that he dropped it. There were Leviim or equivalent to policemen guarding the transactions. I can give you an example that occurred to me in Switzerland the day I made Aliyah. I tried to call the house of my cousin Ilse and due to the fact that I had no Swiss coins, I had to purchase them. I cashed in so and so many dollars. Finding that they were not at home, I went back to bank with the Swiss currency and found that I was a dollar or two short of what I started out with. I was not happy but that is the service the money changing at airport but the exchange in the banks provides and pays for the clerk’s salary and other functions of the branch and the main bank. I could understand where people would make noise over this. However, just try flying the States to England and order some Sterling Notes and see how much you pay and if you have left over Sterling see what exchange rate you get back to purchase dollars. There might have been problems with corruption in high circles back in Temple times but the money changers were not that.

Returning to the main point (that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for your souls.), the charity was designed as a form of financial sacrifice. G-D put in place the atonement vehicle for the future when there would be no Temple with fine flour or animal sacrifices. The past generations had been used to atonement with fruits (Cain), animals (Hevel aka Abel), later added fine wine, oil and flour. Now with the Torah Revolution, a new concept of monetary sacrifice can into being. This radical idea of charity to maintain the Temple and with the Maaser Ani (tithes for the needy) was unheard of in the civilized world. If people starved to death so be it. Suddenly the people were brothers and it was forbidden to let your brother or neighbor fall.

17 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 18 'Thou shall also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, whereat to wash; and thou shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat; 20 when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to cause an offering made by fire to smoke unto the LORD; 21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not; and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.'

I believe that I covered this last year and it is part of spiritual, ritual and physical cleanliness before HASHEM.

22 Moreover the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 23 'Take thou also unto thee the chief spices, of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels,

Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of a number of trees, but primarily from Commiphora myrrha, native to Yemen, Somalia, the eastern parts of Ethiopia and Commiphora gileadensis, native to Jordan. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species is also known as myrrh, including that from Commiphora erythraea (sometimes called East Indian myrrh), Commiphora opobalsamum and Balsamodendron kua. Its name entered English via the Ancient Greek, μύρρα, which is probably of Semitic origin. Myrrh is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata otherwise known as "Cicely" or "Sweet Cicely".

High quality myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin's quality is by feeling the stickiness of freshly broken fragments directly to determine the fragrant-oil content of the myrrh resin. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter and can be roughly described as being "stereotypically resinous". When burned, it produces a smoke that is heavy, bitter and somewhat phenolic in scent, which may be tinged with a slight vanillic sweetness. Unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and "blooms" when burned instead of melting or liquefying.

and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty,

Calamus is a genus of the palm family Arecaceae. These are among several genera known as rattan palms. There are some 325 species in this genus, all with a palaeotropical distribution. They are mostly leaf-climbers with slender, reedy stems. To aid scrambling some species have evolved hooks on the underside of the midrib, or more commonly by modified pinnae in the form of stout, backward-pointing spines. These stems may grow to lengths of 200 metres. Calamus australis is known as the hairy Mary.

24 and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin.

Cassia is a genus of Fabaceae in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Commonly called cassias, "cassia" is also the English name of Cinnamomum aromaticum in the Lauraceae (from which the spice cassiabark is derived), and some other species of Cinnamomum. In addition, the genus Cassia was for long ill-delimited with regards to the related Cassiinae - especially Senna -, many species of which were once placed herein[1]. As a rule-of-thumb, Cassia sensu stricto contains the largest Cassiinae, usually mid-sized trees.

25 And thou shalt make it a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 And thou shalt anoint therewith the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, 27 and the table and all the vessels thereof, and the candlestick and the vessels thereof, and the altar of incense, 28 and the altar of burnt-offering with all the vessels thereof, and the laver and the base thereof. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy; whatsoever touches them shall be holy. 30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office. 31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: This shall be a holy anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations. 32 Upon the flesh of man shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any like it, according to the composition thereof; it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. 33 Whosoever compounds any like it, or whosoever puts any of it upon a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.' …

Now below is what I mentioned when we started the subject of the Mishkan about Moshe not having the foggiest idea of how to design and work on the Mishkan. So HASHEM spells it out for him giving the command whom to choose.

31:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the ark-cover that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the Tent; 8 and the table and its vessels, and the pure candlestick with all its vessels, and the altar of incense; 9 and the altar of burnt-offering with all its vessels, and the laver and its base; 10 and the plaited garments, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office; 11 and the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place; according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.'

12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 13 'Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying: Verily ye shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the LORD who sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD; whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.' 18 And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

There is a young Jewish housewife interested in Kabbala who was e-mail texting me on Shabbos and I tried to the explain to her that it is impossible to learn the kosher secrets of Torah without the true observance of Shabbos. There is a negative spiritual energy created by Jews not observing Shabbos (something like the concept of the dark side of the force in ‘Star Wars’) we call this the Sidra Acher or “different path”. The Sidra is created by all sorts of negative spiritual activities like eating forbidden fruit in Gan Eden, Cain murdering Hevel, a Jew believing in strange religious things like Buddhism, Mohammed, etc.

This week's Parsha, Ki Tisa, includes the unfortunate sin of the Golden calf, and Moshe's negotiations on the Jews' behalf. While there are many things one can learn about the art of negotiations, what seems out of place is that after things are smoothed over and G-d is appeased, Moshe asks to see G-d's presence and was denied (33:18).

While there are varying explanations as to what Moshe really wanted to see (from G-d's attributes to His essence), why would Moshe ask such a question right after G-d had gotten so angry that he threatened to destroy the world?

One possible answer lies in the very nature of struggle and challenge.

When we are faced with a challenge, whether we overcome it or succumb to it, the most valuable aspect of the challenge is the "WE". Not if, but when a couple, a family, a community, a people is faced with a challenge, they naturally become more attached to each other, and grow more cohesive. This is often the point of life's challenges, although this is frequently overlooked. Moshe worked out a reprieve for the Jews with G-d, and as a result they became close enough that Moshe thought he had a chance to see G-d's essence, and although he was denied his request, Moshe was granted other insight. We too can gain insight into each other, as long as we focus on one another when facing life's challenges.

By Rabbi Shlomo Ressler

Brought to you by the Jewish Student Information Center

A Few Words on the Four Parshiyos

This week is Parsha Parah the third of the four Parshiyos. The first one was in memory of road and water system repair money collected for the pilgrims to come to Yerushalayim for Pessach and the other two Regelim. (Going up by foot to the Temple Mount) Then we had Zachor to remember Amalek before Purim. This week we have Parah to remind us about ritual purification before going up to bring our Korban Pessach to the Temple Mount. Of course we neither have the Temple or the Passover Sacrifice today but it is good to remember about purity before the holiday. Then next week comes Parsha HaChodesh which reminds us of the Pessach preparations. Already my rug cleaning planning and cleaning is underway. (Time to get rid of some of the Uncle Sam 1099 and 1040 bureaucracy before we get behind the 8 ball the last minute too.) Getting the leaven out of the house means in my case that the grandkids eat up a lot of old cookies, crackers, cereal etc. I sell real or possible Chometz to a non-Jew just incase some Chometz exists that I did not or might not have taken into account.

This Shabbat a second Sefer Torah is taken out for Maftir and the laws of Para Aduma – the Red Heifer – are read. (The beginning of Parshat Chukas, Numbers 19:1-22)
There are opinions that there’s a Torah obligation to hear it being read, and people who don’t have access to a Minyan should find one this week. A Kosher Para Aduma is a (female) cow past its second birthday that is completely ginger-brown. Even two white or black hairs near each other would invalidate it. The non-brown part of its horns and hooves need to be filed down. Its eyes, teeth and tongue do not need to be brown. Using the cow for any work – even to carry something – would invalidate it. Birds and insects that land on its back do not invalidate it.
The cow is slaughtered and burnt and the ashes mixed with spring water and sprinkled on people who come in contact with a corpse, on the third and seventh day of their purification process. This was a prerequisite for access to the Bet Hamikdash (Temple). Since there’s a Mitzva to go into the Bet Hamikdash on Pessach, we read this in anticipating of being able to implement it this year, or at least Bimhera Beyamainu – soon in our lifetime.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2-3, Mishna Masechet Para, Ch. 1, Rambam Hil. Para Ch. 1 Shabbat Shalom – Danny

From the Dayan Rosenfeld Shlita at the 57. The Red Cow - Parah Adumah

One who has become impure through contact with a corpse is purified by sprinkling him on the third and seventh days with water in which the ashes of a red cow have been mixed, as it says "They shall take an unblemished red cow... and they shall take for the impure person some of [its] ashes and put on it living water in a vessel; and a pure man shall take hyssop and dip it in the water... and sprinkle on the impure person on the third day and on the seventh day... and he shall wash in water and be clean in the evening".1 Those who slaughter the cow and prepare the ashes become impure for a day,2 as do those who burn the sin-offerings that are not eaten and who take the scapegoat to the desert.3 One who touches or moves the water before it has been sprinkled, except to sprinkle it, also becomes impure for a day, as it says "And one who sprinkles the water of isolation shall wash his clothes, and one who touches the water of isolation shall be impure until evening"

Halacha Overview, Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld and The author is Director of the Center for Automation Research at the University of Maryland in College Park.

From Tsila: Maran Rav Elyashiv: Tefillin Compartments Must Be Separated

"All yirei Shemayim who are uncertain whether their tefillin [are constructed] in accordance with halacha, should have them checked to ensure [that the four head compartments] are separate and distinct," wrote Maran HaRav Elyashiv Shlita in a note appended to a letter by HaRav Dovid Morgenstern in response to an inquiry by a US Jew who repairs and refurbishes tefillin.

One year ago an investigative report in the Hebrew-language Yated Ne'eman revealed that thousands of Jews unwittingly use tefillin rendered posul because the slits in the tefillin shel rosh are not constructed properly. According to the report, many tefillin factories make no real effort to uphold the clear halachic requirements of a visible separation between the compartments. They even cover up the faults in their work by making the tefillin look aesthetically pleasing with false slits, while disregarding the primary requirement of ensuring the tefillin are indeed kosher.

According to a follow-up report, among the thousands of Jews who were alerted to the problem and had their tefillin checked, many found that their tefillin were not constructed properly. In Jerusalem's Bayit Vegan neighborhood alone, hundreds of pairs of tefillin owned by residents and yeshiva students were checked in the past year and nearly 30 percent were found to be invalid; and even larger number were found kosher only bedi'eved.

The reports have led to heightened awareness of the problem both in Israel and the US. In response to the inquiry sent by the abovementioned tefillin worker, HaRav Morgenstern wrote: "I've been instructed by [HaRav Elyashiv] Shlita to answer that the following points must be clarified: The slits between the shel rosh compartments should be visible from the outside, ideally all the way to the stitching (as the Tur relates in Siman 32) and at the least up to the head of the compartments (as the Shulchan Oruch relates, ibid., based on the ruling in the Gemara), meaning that the entire upper side and the top of the sides should have a visible slit. And if the slits are covered with paint, etc., and are not apparent externally, the slits are not considered distinct.

"When lines are etched into the paint or the leather [beyond] the part of the compartments that is actually separated, this does not improve the kashrus of the tefillin at all (and might mar the squareness-ribu'a).

"It makes no difference how close the false lines come to the actual slit. The actual separation between the compartments must be externally visible. Here, too, it makes no difference if the interior walls are separate and extend to the stitching, as explicated in the Mishnah Berurah, 32, 187. If the slits are covered with paint and separate lines are etched on the outside parallel to the separation between the compartments under the paint — but the separation itself is not visible from the outside — and the lines on the outside are just etched into the paint and do not reach the leather so that if all of the thickness of the paint is rubbed off the slit will not be visible at all, then it is considered to have no externally visible slit, as found in the Chayei Odom and the Mishnah Berurah 32, 188 regarding `tit veglantz.' If the compartments were glued together at the top even with only a slight amount of glue, it does not help that the lower
portion is not glued, even if that portion is the majority. Care should be taken not to adhere them together with the paint that penetrates between the compartments or on the outside.

"Since all of the above can be clarified and easily rectified by inserting a knife between the compartments and separating them from one another, it is a mitzvah to do so if one has any concerns.

"However, this should be done with the proper tool by someone experienced, to avoid ruining the compartments. And Sofrim should be alerted to this matter because through a lack of attentiveness while painting, this cherished mitzvos aseih can easily be lost. And certainly tefillin production supervisors must oversee this matter so that buyers who are not thoroughly conversant with the details of this requirement and the practical aspects rely on them to supervise the process."

Maran HaRav Elyashiv also appended a note to the letter reading, "Since according to the above, a minority of tefillin housings are not properly separated in an externally visible manner, any yirei Shemayim who is uncertain should have his tefillin checked to ensure they are distinct and separate."

(By: Yechiel Sever for Dei'ah veDibur)

The miracle of Aaron Karov continues:,7340,L-3682621,00.html

From Renaud:

Chief Rabbis to allow civil marriages among non-Jews to head off anti-religious legislation:,7340,L-3682161,00.htm

The future of the Temple:

Rabbi Brody and a place for the Bnei Noach


Here is a wonderful article by Alice Jonsson

About a year and a half ago Rabbi Brody contacted me and brought up the idea of writing for the Noahide Corner on Breslov World. When he asked me if I thought it would be of interest to me, I had some mixed feelings and fears, but also thought it was a natural fit in many ways. And I felt, and still feel even more so, honored. What a gift, a blessing, a surprise.

But there was one part of the offer that made me feel conflicted, even sad. To be one hundred percent honest, I was a little offended: I did not like being referred to as a Bat Noach. I thought that I am me. Spare me the labels. Even writing this sixteen months later the emotion is brought back to the surface. A part of me felt like I was being put into a box. I did not like being told I was part of a group with which I somehow automatically had so much in common. After all, I was not raised as a person who was part of any group. Truthfully, if there was one major flaw with my family it is that we did not even see ourselves as one in many ways, so I did not even have that group to be a part of. To be shoved into a group or reminded that there is actually a label that applies to me felt wrong.

I remember talking with a Jewish friend about my identity crisis. “I see myself as a person who believes in the Torah and Hashem. I see you as a person who believes in the Torah and Hashem. What is this Bnei Noach thing?” The comparisons continued, some not so nice or mature - I’ll just admit that right up front. I learn more Torah than millions and millions of Jewish people. (Not a difficult task these days, sadly.) If I could go to synagogue and take Torah classes six days per week, I would. What is this “Bnei Noach Corner” Rabbi Brody is talking about?

I really wondered what on earth I could write about. The Torah I was learning applies to anyone, it seemed to me. The books I read are written for anyone who believes in Torah or for Jewish people. There are Bnei Noach out there who are way more knowledgeable about Torah as it applies specifically to us than I am, for sure. And as a side note, I sure wish they would get over their writing fears and put some more material out there because I would like to learn from them, along with many other people.

It has taken a long time to come to grips, as much as I have, with this identity struggle. It reminds me of a show I once saw about a black woman who had been raised by a white family. She was talking with the interviewer about the first time she realized that she looked different from her siblings. She described looking at a group photo of the whole family and seeing this dark-skinned person there in the middle with curly hair. She had that moment where she saw that she was physically different and realized that that might mean something, which raised questions for her. I can relate.

When I became religious it was such a powerful feeling, and I am such a head strong and stubborn mule of a woman, there was really nothing that was going to keep me from getting the learning I needed. I have had people blatantly embarrass me and insult me and have continued on. I did not let my lack of Jewishness stop me, and I am glad I did not. I asked myself, “Do I love Hashem enough to put up with the people who don’t get it? Yes!” Then I went back. Those people teach me about humility and ironically about what it would be like if I converted. Jews are misunderstood constantly – so inside I thanked Hashem for using that person to teach me that lesson. I felt Hashem right there with me forging ahead. When you feel like you have got the King with you, you will put up with a lot. As Rabbi Arush has said, “Fear One, fear no one.”

It has been an incredible gift to be faced with the challenge of realizing that I am not Jewish. And not only am I not Jewish, I am something else. There is a label that applies to me: I am a Bat Noach. Hashem picked this for me. It is unique. It is rare. It is difficult. It is hard to explain to people. It is lonely at times. There are a million questions I have and I really need Hashem to get down here right now and to answer them for me and for you. But this is what I am. And if you are a Ben or Bat Noach reading this, this is what you are. Going through an identity crisis is never easy, but it is especially unnerving if you end up discovering you are something about which you know very little, and to make matters worse, the experts often do not know what to tell you about who you are either. One way to look at this that is very exciting is to wonder why Hashem would pick you as an individual to be a part of this. Maybe it is a
compliment to you that Hashem thinks you can handle the rigors of this situation. Perhaps there are people who could not handle these challenges, but He knows you can.

We have a chance to help build bridge after bridge between the Jewish and Gentile world and to let everyone know these bridges are built by the same Creator – not one for every people, but One over all people. There is one world, built by one God. There is one Truth. The bridge builders need to know the terrain on both sides of the river. They need to be willing to leave the comfort of the fold. They need to think creatively, to not be afraid of getting wet, to be able to keep forging ahead even when people on both sides of the river do not think they want or will use the bridge at all. We need to accept that Hashem does not always give us jobs that the people around us will understand, and that we can grow a great deal as people when we put our nose to the grind stone and have the humility to do something that may be confusing to other people, but is not at all confusing to the Creator.
Read more about Noahide World
Brachot/Blessings Of Torah;

Inyanay Diyoma

Something positive from Stephanie:

Can Jews live in Europe?,7340,L-3682057,00.html

PA army to be beefed up:

Nazis or Arabs in Belgium:,7340,L-3682515,00.html

Arabs in Sweden:,7340,L-3682509,00.html

Common Sense is dead and buried in Western Europe last week Britain announced that they were recognizing Hamas.

Assad purges Syrian security services ahead of new bid for Beirut:

Washington experts: Iran has fissile material for 50 nuclear bombs

DEBKAfile's Washington sources quote experts familiar with the Iranian program maintain that it is far more advanced than the US and Israeli governments are willing to admit.

On March 4, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published a paper with two important disclosures:

1. Iran has enough fissile material available for making up to 50 nuclear bombs. One of the paper's authors, William Schneider, undersecretary of state in the Reagan administration, who has made a study of Iran and its nuclear strategy, estimates that Tehran can go from low enriched uranium to weapons-grade uranium in a relative brief period of time, perhaps a year or so. Israeli officials, while evading action to curb a nuclear-armed Iran, now go about suggesting that the Jewish state can live in its shadow. They discount the crude threats coming from Iran and argue that Israel is not really the Islamic Republic primary objective; its true goal is subjugation of the Sunni Muslim world. Another part of this argument is that Tehran will not go into production of single bombs but wait until it can produce batches of 10-15 bombs or nuclear warheads. This proposition is knocked over by the Washington think tank's report and the briefing delivered to the Israeli cabinet by Israel's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Sunday, March 8. Both confirm that Iran is no more than months away from being able to start a nuclear stockpile.

2. Schneider estimates that Israel will face the moment of no-return on action against a nuclear-armed Iran when Russia begins delivering sophisticated S-300 missile interceptors to Tehran. Not if but when, he says, although Israeli officials suggest the Russian-Iran deal has not been finalized. The US experts' presumption is that these interceptors once installed will make it almost impossible for the US or Israel to attack Iran's nuclear sites.

Combine this with the fact than on May 8th the Israeli intelligence chief stated that Iran has broken through the technological barrier that the world not only Israel is in great danger. They do not need 50 bombs for Israel alone. They have homicide bombers waiting in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Belgistan and other places.

From Stephanie K. – A film about Muborach Abu Ganadi and the Jihad training camps in the USA and a story about Facebook Jihad Hackers:

From Joe K. the author:

Alligator Boo Hoo Dept.:

"Membership organizations like the Republican Jewish Coalition publicly challenged Chas Freeman's suitability for this post. And Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle weighed in with concerns.

  • Nine representatives sent a letter to the inspector general of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, requesting an investigation into Freeman's ties with Saudi Arabia.
  • The letter was written by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), and signed by seven other Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), as well as one Democrat.
  • Separately, Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) sent a similar letter to the inspector general.
  • Kirk and Israel later asked the inspector general to expand his investigation to include Freeman's connections with a Chinese government-owned oil company.
  • And today, Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) confronted DNI Admiral Dennis Blair with his concerns during a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We are grateful that Members of Congress in both parties distinguished themselves during this episode and placed principle over partisanship," Brooks concluded.

Renaud: There are 345 Conflicts in the World today but Israel is always singled out:

Israel to have a new government soon but for how long?

General James Jones and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi meet:

Netanyahu as Prime Minister By Daniel Pipes | 3/10/2009 forwarded with comments by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator

Israels Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu is not made of the stuff of his father, Ben Zion, or of his dead brother, Yoni. Bibi is for Bibi and will always remain so. He brags about giving up 80% of Hebron, expecting cheers and congratulations. He got none and only received a demand from his Muslim Arab negotiators to give up more - which is their SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Netanyahu, for all his ability to give a great speech, never learned the lesson that America, particularly the Arabists only had "interests" and Israel was not at the top of their list.

Now, it appears that Bibi is going to do it again. As current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (resigned due to imminent criminal indictments - but, still in power), Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (now head of the Kadima Party who got 28 seats in recent Israeli election) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak - all tried to please then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Now its Bibis turn to kiss the feet of Hillary and the new President Barack Obama.

Clearly, like Ariel Sharon and Olmert, Bibi has shown himself to be a Leftist at heart. Surrendering parts of the Jewish Land to benefit foreign interests and to keep himself in power is what Bibi is already doing.



Netanyahu as Prime Minister By Daniel Pipes | 3/10/2009

With Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, about to become Israel's next prime minister, one wonders whether he will stick to his more controversial campaign promises not that of confronting the Iranian threat, which is widely backed, but such as ending Hamas control of Gaza or keeping the Golan Heights.

Two indicators suggest what may lie ahead: (1) the general pattern of the four Likud prime ministers since 1977 and (2) specifically, Netanyahu's own record as one of those four.

Levi Eshkol (p.m. 1963-69) once acknowledged the deceit of Israeli politics: "I never promised to keep my promise!"

In this spirit, three out of the four Likud leaders campaigned right and governed left, breaking their campaign promises not to retreat from territories Israel seized in 1967.

Menachem Begin (p.m. 1977-83): Elected in 1977 on a nationalist platform that included annexing parts of the West Bank, he instead removed all Israeli troops and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula.

Yitzhak Shamir (p.m. most of 1983-92): Ran on a platform against giving land to Arabs and kept his word.

Netanyahu (p.m. 1996-99): Promised to retain the Golan Heights but nearly traded away that territory; opposed the Oslo accords but ceded more control in the Hebron and Wye accords to the Palestinian Authority.

Ariel Sharon (p.m. 2001-06): Won the 2003 elections arguing against a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza; then did exactly that, withdrawing all Israeli troops and civilians from Gaza.

Surveying Likud's history, Nicole Jansezian notes with irony at Newsmax that "While Palestinian, American and European leaders worry how Israel's shift to the right will negatively impact the peace process, perhaps the only ones who need to fear an Israeli right-wing government is the Israeli right wing."

Shamir's opinion of Netanyahu plummeted after watching his actions as prime minister, seeing him by 1998 as willing to do just about anything "to continue to be elected and to hold on to the seat of prime minister." I went through a similar process of disillusionment, celebrating Netanyahu's accession in 1996 but so soured on his lack of principles that I reluctantly preferred his Labor opponent in the 1999 elections.

What now, as Netanyahu prepares to take office again? Neither his party's history, nor his own biography, nor his character, nor murmurs coming out of Israel suggest that he will keep his electoral promises. Indeed, Netanyahu already flunked his first test: after 65 of Israel's 120 members of parliament informed the president, Shimon Peres, that they supported Netanyahu for prime minister, Peres on Feb. 20 gave Netanyahu a chance to form a government.

Netanyahu proceeded to ditch those allies in favor of forming a "national unity" government with leftist parties, notably Kadima and Labor. He even announced that his biggest mistake in 1996 had been not to form a government with Labor: "In retrospect, I should have sought national unity, and I'm seeking to correct that today." Kadima and Labor appear to have decided to go into the opposition, foiling Netanyahu's plans. But that he preferred a coalition with the left reveals the lightness of his campaign statements.

Along these lines, when asked by an interviewer, "You're not the right-wing hawk they describe in the papers?" Netanyahu proudly recalled the betrayal of his promises in the 1990s: "I'm the person who did the Wye agreement and the Hebron agreement in the search for peace."

On the Golan Heights, diplomacy has apparently begun. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the importance of Syria-Israel talks "cannot be overstated." Despite Netanyahu's ostensibly rejecting these negotiations, a close aide observed that a breakthrough with Damascus offers a way to curry favor with the Obama administration and Netanyahu would expect Washington in return "to give him a break with the Palestinians."

Insiders assure me Netanyahu has matured and I hope they are right. But a Likud leader observed while watching the coalition talks, "Bibi is selling everything out to the coalition partners. He doesn't care about us. He only cares about himself." Similarly, Netanyahu's opponents expect him to pursue his personal agenda: Yaron Ezrahi, a political scientist at Hebrew University, says Netanyahu has little compunction "in sacrificing an ideological position as long as it keeps him in power."

Even as I hope to be pleasantly surprised, familiar patterns do make me worry.

Now for M Wolfberg's Stories: The second half of the coin and witness protection.

Good Shabbos Everyone. The intimate circle of friends of the Ksav Safer (1815-1871; Rav of Pressburg and son of the venerable Sage the Chasam Sofer, of blessed memory) were among the elite of the Torah world. This distinguished group of rabbis and friends once gathered for a seudas mitzvah - (a meal celebrating a mitzvah) at which various rabbis addressed the assembled guests.
When the Ksav Sofer's turn to speak came, he told his audience that he had with him a treasured possession that he was ready to reveal for the first time. Everyone watched in awe as the Ksav Sofer took from his pocket an authentic machatzis haShekel(a half shekel coin) that was used in the time of the Beis Hamikdash. The coin was over two thousand years old!

The discussion soon changed to the various ancient laws regarding the machatzis haShekel. The coin was passed from hand to hand, each person examining and caressing it gently with a nostalgic longing to be in contact even for a moment with the glorious bygone era or Jewish history, which all Jews hope will return soon.
The evening wore on and after a while the Ksav Sofer, not having seen the coin for what suddenly seemed a very long time, asked that it be returned to him. He asked the people on his right, but they didn't have it. He asked the people on his left and they didn't have it either. Everyone began searching for it, and soon it became obvious that it was nowhere to be found. A stony silence fell on the room.
One of the rabbis present rose and said, "Rabbosai (honored rabbis), we simply cannot leave this room before this precious coin is found. Perhaps everyone should empty his pockets. Who knows, maybe someone inadvertently put the machatzis haShekel in his pocket with some of his other coins."
A nervous stillness pervaded the room. No one was ready to accuse any or the distinguished guests of theft — nonetheless, the coin had to be somewhere. Among the distinguished rabbis around the table sat an elderly rav. R' Yehudah Asad (1794-1866; Rav of Aszod. Hungary), who was a good bit older than the others present. He became very pale and slowly rose from his seat, as all eyes turned to him. "Honored rabbis," he began, "It is true, the suggestion of checking everyone is a good idea, but I must ask you that we wait before we check any pockets or take any action. Let us wait twenty minutes."
The eyes that had turned to him with respect now betrayed surprise. He caught the others' reaction and calmly added, "I cannot explain just yet, but please be patient, wait just twenty minutes." In deference to his seniority they agreed. It was the last thing they had expected him to say, but they had no choice but to abide by his wishes.
The time passed with quiet conversation and speculation as to why R' Yehudah had made such an unusual request. As the twenty minutes came to an end, the saintly R' Yehudah got up again and addressed the now apprehensive guests. "I beg your indulgence. Perhaps you consider this strange, maybe you even suspect me of taking the coin, but please let us wait just ten more minutes - I beg you. I will not ask for any more time."
The rabbis and guests were perplexed and impatient. Not only was it late, but they wished to resolve the matter. Yet, once again, because of their respect for R' Yehudah, they agreed to wait ten more minutes.
Time passed slowly but after just a few minutes, the door of the room swung open and in ran the waiter wildly shouting that he had found the machatzis haShekel among the dishes and silverware while he was cleaning the kitchen- Obviously the coin had been placed momentarily on the table and was swept off by mistake with the dirty dishes and silverware. Laughter and joy erupted, as everyone thanked the heroic waiter profusely.
The Ksav Safer was ecstatic as he beamed in relief. In the bedlam, someone went over to R' Yehudah, and soon a crowd gathered around him. "How did you know?" someone asked. "What was your reason for waiting?" R' Yehudah smiled softly and said in an apologetic voice, "My friends, it was surely not my intention to reveal to you what I now must, but under the circumstances I know you will under- stand."
And from his pocket he took out an authentic machatzis hashekel. After the collective gasps had subsided he continued, "As you see, I too have a machatzis haShekel of my own. However, when I saw the joy that the Pressburger Rav had in displaying his machatzis hashekel, I didn't want to show my own, for that might. Heaven forbid, diminish the pleasure he had felt in possessing such a coin. However, once the coin was missing and the suggestion was made that everyone empty his pockets, my own machatzis haShekel would have been found, and it would have been almost impossible try to explain that I had one before I came here. (Because the coin is rare.) Thus, I asked for the delay and prayed that somehow the lost one would be round and that Hashem would spare me the agony and embarrassment of trying to explain something that would be so difficult to believe," (Rabbi P. Krohn, The Maggid Speaks p. 40)
In this week's parsha Ki-Sisa, the Torah tells us about how Hashem commands Moshe Rabeinu (our teacher) to take a census of the Jewish people. The method of taking the census was for the Bnai Yisroel - the Jews to give a half shekel coin as they walked by in a processional.
Why were the Jews commanded "davka" to give a half-shekel rather than giving a whole shekel? This is perhaps to teach us the importance of "achdus" - unity among Jews. One Jew gives a half and second Jew gives his half and together they have: one - "achdus" - unity. Rashi explains the power of unity in parshas Shelach. He quotes Sages saying that one person has the power to lift only 1/3 of the weight he could lift if another person helped him and the two lifted together.
Spiritually speaking the same is true. When one helps another Jew, there is "achdus" - unity, and the two can elevate themselves spiritually more than if they had acted alone. We see this concept in the story. R' Yehuda Asad, of blessed memory did all that was possible to avoid dispute and fighting among Jews. We can learn from his efforts and all work toward "achdus" - unity among Jews. Good Shabbos Everyone

Good Shabbos Everyone. The Klausenberger Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam (1905-1994), was legendary for the encouragement he gave to the thousands of shattered Jews who came to the Displaced Persons camps after their liberation from the horrors of the concentration camps. To each of the bereaved, the Rebbe had different words of comfort and consolation. Everyone knew that it was the Rebbe, more than anyone else, who could give people hope and strength to renew their lives. At times, the Rebbe would refer to the unspeakable tragedies that he personally suffered. He lost his wife, Rebbetzin Pessel, and 11 children!
The Klausenberger Rebbe had a special interest in children. Even under dismal and sorrowful conditions he opened a yeshivah, Sh'eiris Hapleita, for 100 boys, and a Bais Yaakov school for 120 girls. One day, two men told him about Meshulam Yalver.(name has been changed). When Meshulam was 16 he was known as an exceptional masmid (diligent scholar), punctilious in his mitzvah observance; a boy who had a bright future as an exemplary Jew. Now, having gone through suffering, loss, and catastrophe, he rejected his Judaism and resisted any attempts to bring him back to the fold of observance.
The Rebbe asked the men to bring Meshulam to him.
When Meshulam entered the Rebbe's room, the Rebbe motioned for Meshulam to sit down next to him. "I'm told that you are the son of Reb Laibish, whom I knew," the Rebbe said. "Yes," Meshulam answered. Meshulam did not want to be lulled into a conversation where he would have to debate the Rebbe in topics of emunah (belief) and bitachon (faith). For him the world of religion ended in Auschwitz; there was nothing to discuss. "They say that you were a great masmid (diligent scholar), back home. Is that so?" the Rebbe asked in a non-confrontational tone. Meshulam just nodded.
"But now you are angry?" asked the Rebbe softly. "Of course, I'm angry," Meshulam blurted out heatedly, unable to contain himself any longer. "The best were taken away, the finest are lost forever." The Rebbe extended his palm and touched the boy's face and said, "You are so right. Look at me; They left me alive while my wife and all 11 children were taken away. You are right," the Rebbe said again, "the best were taken away and look what's left...." And with that the Rebbe burst into tears and began sobbing. And then together the Rebbe and the boy cried without stop on each other's shoulders.
No more words were spoken - for no words had to be spoken - for no words could be spoken. Two tortured hearts joined in a stream of tears. An hour later, Meshulam left the Rebbe's house. That night when Meshulam was alone, he recited Krias Shema (the Shma) for the first time in months. Within a few days he was wearing his yarmulka again, Eventually he became fully observant again. Years later, Meshulam then in his 70’s, commented: "There was nothing anyone could say to me, and the Rebbe understood that. Everyone spoke to my head; the Rebbe touched my heart.” (The Echoes of the Maggid, Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, p.272)
Although the Klausenberger Rebbe went through horrible suffering and lost his entire family, he survived to rebuild his Chassidic community as well as spread Torah to thousands of Jews around the world. If anything, like many other survivors, the Klausenberger Rebbe’s belief in Hashem was only strengthened by his life experiences. The Rebbe saw the beautiful Torah families, which sprouted like flowers from the ashes of war. The Rebbe then believed even more strongly that the hand of Hashem was on the Jewish people.
In fact, the miraculous continuous existence of the Jewish nation against all odds points to the existence of an all-powerful being, namely G-d. (Reb Yakov Emden siddur) A simple parable to illustrate this point: When a storm came, all the ships were washed away except for one. There is only one possible explanation of why the one ship survived the storm: It had an anchor. So too with the Jewish nation, the winds of history have blown, nations have risen and fallen, yet our ship has survived. The only possible explanation for the continued existence of the Jewish Nation is that there is an omnipotent Power which has ensured our nation’s survival, namely Hashem.
In our discussion of this week’s parsha Tetzaveh, we will see that eternal status of the Jewish nation is hinted to several times in the Torah and the Prophets. As we see when Hashem commands Moshe this week regarding the lighting of the Menorah in the Mishkan - Tabernacle. The verse tells us that the Menorah is to be set up “in the tent of the meeting outside the curtain, near the testimony.” (Shemos 27:21) What relationship does the Menorah have with testimony? The Talmud teaches us that the Menorah gave “testimony” to Hashem’s existence. This is because Hashem caused a miracle, that the westernmost light of the Menorah should never be extinguished. (see Menachos 86b) Miracles are events that are above nature. Hashem uses miracles to demonstrate His power over the universe. When something happens which is above nature, it can only be explained as being a miracle. Therefore, the miracle of the ever-burning Menorah gave “testimony” to Hashem’s existence.
Even though the Menorah has been lost to history, the Miracle of the Menorah still testifies Hashem’s existence. In order to see how the Menorah still testifies, we must now delve even deeper into the wisdom of the Torah. The prophet Yirmiyahu compares the Nation of Israel to an olive, as the verse states, “Hashem called your name, a leafy olive tree, beautiful with shapely fruit.” (Yirmiyahu 11:16) The Midrash explains from this verse that Israel is compared to an olive. How does all of this relate to the Menorah? The Torah tells us that the Menorah should be lit with “refined olive oil.” (see verse 27:20) As we mentioned above, Hashem made a miracle so that the westernmost light of the Menorah should never burn out. The Menorah gave testimony to Hashem’s supremacy. What oil was used in the Menorah? Olive oil. What is Israel compared to? An olive.
Hashem commands Moshe to prepare olive oil for the Menorah which will be a “Ner Tamid,” (27:20) an eternal light. The Jewish Nation can therefore be compared to the olive oil, the source of the “eternal light” in the Menorah. As the prophet describes Israel, we are to be “a light unto the nations.” After thousands of years of persecution, Jewish communities thrive around the world, while keeping the same Torah. The miracle of the everlasting flame of the Menorah continues in the Jewish people! The Sages tell us: One who wants to lie, will distance his witnesses. (Rav Amnon Yitzchok citing Rosh, Shavuos 6,13) In other words, if someone wants to lie, he will make it difficult for someone else to disprove him. Hashem, on the contrary has preserved His witnesses the Jewish Nation and made them available, so as to prove that He is the One and only Power in the universe.
This point is further strengthened by what Hashem tells us through the Prophet Yeshayahu “You are My Witness. ... and [you are] My servant whom I have chosen, so that you will know and believe in Me, and understand that I am He; before Me nothing was created by a god nor will there be after Me!” (Rav Uri Zohar citing Yeshayahu 43:10) The ever-burning Menorah therefore continues to give testimony in the form of the Jewish People. (see also Tosafos on Chagiga 3b)
The only way to explain the continued existence of the Jewish People is to say that there is a G-d Who is guiding this world and Who has chosen the Jewish People. The Jewish people has come under attack in almost every generation and every land. Losses have been horrible and we bear the scars inflicted upon us by the nations. Yet, we are still here. We have the same Shabbos and the same Kashrus and the same tefillin. We are the eternal nation. Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mr. Wolfberg's Stories are sponsored by: In memory of Leah bas R' Dovid In memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi

Be well and have a peaceful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli