Thursday, March 19, 2009

Parshiyos Vayakel-Pekeudi-HaChodesh, Berchas HaChamah and more

Getting serious about Pessach cleaning and have a cabinet in the kitchen ready like I do then it is time to relax and laugh. Chelle sent me this cute one: After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, "No hablo ingles."

Unfortunately we have to be serious before Pessach: The laws of Pessach in Shulchan Aruch begin with: "One should start learning the laws of Pessach thirty days before Pessach.” If you fill up a storage room that you don't plan on entering again until after Pessach, you don't have to first check it for Chametz. However, if it's within 30 days to Pessach, then you do have to check it at night with a candle. If you forgot to check it, you have to empty it, and check it that night for Chametz with a candle. Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:13 Danny

Parsha Vayakhel – Pekudei and HaChodesh

35:1 And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said unto them: 'These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of solemn rest to the LORD; whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.'

As much as I emphasize the laws of Shabbos, it is difficult to adjust to becoming Shomer Shabbos. If I go back to Elul 5727 as I was on the track to becoming Frum, I was driven to a Schul on Rosh Hashanah 5728 and did not think anything about my non-observance of Yom Tov. It took me from that time until Mar Cheshvan 5729 when I stopped turning on and off lights before I was completely Shomer Shabbos. As a semi-self man Jew with little guidance other then helping buying basic books like a Siddur, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Mussar Books, Tephillin and a Tallis I had literally not much. I began keeping kosher on my own. In those days there were much less Kosher Products but I managed somehow. The main thing is to try slowly but surely to comply with the laws of Shabbos.

I know that reward and punishment were not a motive for me becoming Frum or discouraging me from committing sin so why should it be for other people either. Still nowadays I cannot threaten people with death by the Sanhedrin but I can bring down what Kares is in the next world thanks to the Zohar on Parsha Vayakhel 195b-196a. “Now in each heaven there are various chieftains and commanders; and when the souls leave the body and attempt to enter heaven, those that are not worthy are thrust aside by those angels, so that they roam to and fro in the world, being carried about by disembodied spirits who communicate to them lying statements, often future.” This we see in the book of Melechim when Ben Nebat comes into the prophets that were false and tells them that Ahav will live through the battle while the true prophet tells him that he will die. So not only are these souls not given rest but they roam about the earth as a punishment which to the soul is worst than Gehenna.

Another story as told to me by Rabbi Yehuda Yosefi Shlita. Once upon a time about 100 to years ago there was a Dibuk that entered the body of a young woman suddenly. This was not about a woman with a multi-personality problem but a true Dibuk. The Kabbalists were called and when the extricated the Dibuk asked the Dibuk what she had done in her life time. The Dibuk answered that during her lifetime she committed adultery 100 times and was punished by Beis Din Shel Maalah that she would have to be sent to Kaf HaKeller (Limbo) for 100 years. Everyday the hapless soul had to cut down spiritual trees and make it into perfect spiritual boards Amah al Amah (cubit by cubit). If she tried to pass off lies she was beaten by negative angels that she herself had created through her mischief. After 100 years she would be judged and if seen fit would go on to heaven or hell or more limbo for her misdeeds. The Rabbi at this ceremony asked the Dibuk to squeeze out through the big toe of the woman she occupied and that would hurt the Dibuk but he promised to pray with her for forgiveness with the Beis Din.

The moral of this story is that without Tshuvah for Shabbos violations each Shabbos and Yom Tov we end up with 50 to 54 weeks in the Hebrew Calendar each one having a Shabbos and 8 Yomim Tovim in Eretz Yisrael. That would bring for a lot of violations and the penalty would not be simple. With all this in mind, I was reading about the Mishkan and the building there of with “Skins, sliver, gold, brass, wood, wool, linen, etc.” I began to day dream about being punished in the next world and having to build one day the loops, one day the supports, one day the beams, etc. of the Mishkan as an exercise punishment for me in the next world and ingraining into my spirit what the Mishkan was all about. But my ‘heaven’ might be somebody else’s hell or Kaf HaKeller.

Chazak – Chazak venitChazak as we finish Sefer Shemos and next week go on to Sefer Vayikra.

This week we read about the accounting for the items in the Mishkan. Rabbi Chagai Raviv of Cleveland writes: Parshat Pekudei begins with the following pasuk:

“These are the accountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the Testimony, which were counted at the word of Moshe…” (Shmot 38:21)

Chazal wonder why the word “Mishkan” is repeated. Rashi cites their answer: “[The word is written] twice, as an allusion to the [Beit] HaMikdash, which was taken as a collateral (shenitmashkein) - by the two destructions - for Israel’s iniquities.”

Yet, why does the Torah allude to the future churbanot (destructions) of the Beit HaMikdash now? The Mishkan is finally completed, and Moshe is about to examine and enumerate every aspect of the construction:

“Moshe saw all the work, and behold, they had done it as Hashem had commanded so had they done; and Moshe blessed them.” (Shmot 39:43)

In the midst of this emotional celebration, the Torah chooses to remind us that both the Mishkan and the Beit HaMikdash will eventually be destroyed. Would it not have been more appropriate to wait for a less festive occasion?

The Maharal (Gur Aryeh) takes a rather cryptic approach: “When something is counted, the ayin hara (literally, “evil eye”) takes control over it.”

In other words, Moshe’s accounting of the Mishkan’s construction arouses the ayin hara and thus leads to calamity and destruction.

Two questions arise from the Maharal’s explanation:

  1. Did Moshe’s certification of the Mishkan’s construction actually generate an ayin hara?
  2. Was the Beit HaMikdash really destroyed because of this ayin hara, rather than due to Bnei Yisrael’s sins?

We can answer these questions in the following manner:

After one devotes considerable time and energy and then successfully completes a long-term project, one feels great satisfaction over one’s achievements and accomplishments. But at the same time, one feels as if one’s exertions are over and that now is the time to rest on one’s laurels. One assumes that there is no need for further effort.

However, when it comes to Avodat Hashem, such a sentiment is extremely dangerous. After all, the feeling that one has achieved a satisfactory level of Avodat Hashem comprises the beginning of one’s spiritual descent. If one is not ascending spiritually, one is – by definition – descending spiritually.

On the physical plane, we are entreated to make do with less: “Who is rich? One who is happy with his lot.” (Masechet Avot 4:1)

However, in the spiritual world, an alternate model applies: “Jealousy between scholars increases wisdom.” (BT Bava Batra 21a)

Unbridled spiritual ambition is the key to our ability to “climb” Har Hashem (literally, the “Mountain of Hashem”).

In contrast, a willingness to do only the absolute minimum is an indication of an ayin hara. As Chazal teach, the Torah does not specify a measure or an amount for the Terumah Gedolah. Nevertheless, one who gives with an “ayin yafah” (loosely, “a generous eye”) contributes much more than strictly necessary, but one who gives with an “ayin ra’ah” (loosely, “a miserly eye”) contributes only the bare minimum. Perhaps this is the source of the term, “ayin hara”.

We can apply this same concept to the Mishkan. Once the construction was finished, there was a significant risk of smugness and self-satisfaction. Bnei Yisrael could have easily said, “We fulfilled our obligations. There is nothing left for us to do. Everything is complete.” Indeed, this type of complacency could be a direct result of an accounting of one’s accomplishments and achievements. This, then, is the ayin hara: the lack of understanding that one must continue to toil in order to add meaning and significance to the Mishkan’s physical structure.

Moreover, prior to the Beit HaMikdash’s destruction, the Neviim bemoaned the fact that the physical structure had lost its deeper significance and meaning – the very significance and meaning that Bnei Yisrael were meant to add, once the construction was finished.

Thus, precisely during the celebration over the Mishkan’s completion – a time of self-satisfaction and complacency – we are alerted to its eventual destruction. We must always remember that: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.” (Masechet Avot 2:19)

This Shabbat for Maftir we will read Parshat HaChodesh (Exodus Ch. 12, Verses 1-20). Parshat HaChodesh reminds us of the following upcoming Mitzvot:
- The month of Nissan (which begins on Thursday next week) is the first month on the Jewish calendar, as the opening words of Parshat HaChodesh proclaim: "This month is for you the first month".
- The laws of Korban Pessach; sacrificed on Erev Pessach in the afternoon, it had to be roasted whole and then eaten on the first night of Pessach with Matza and Marror (bitter herbs).
- Leftovers of the Korban Pessach had to be burnt on the first day of Chol HaMoed.
- Matza needs to be made carefully to ensure it doesn't become Chametz (leaven).
- The first and last days of Pessach are Yom Tov.
- One may not own Chametz, nor eat it, during Pessach.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2

The Haftorah is from Ezekiel 45 which discusses the dedication of the Temple starting on Rosh Chodesh Nissan as well as the Pessach sacrifice 2 weeks later.
This week is also Shabbat Mevorchim the month of Nissan. Rosh Chodesh Nissan will be on Thursday next week.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2 – Danny Rosh Chodesh Nissan will be on the fifth day of the week and this will be the last time on Shabbos Mevorchim that we add the mention for rain as on Pessach we start praying for Dew only. Our drought is a sad state of affairs and we should continue to pray to Pessach. I would rather have a flooding rainstorm and have to wait 28 years more for Berchas HaChamah (see below) than to have our current drought.

BREAKING HALACHIC PSAK DIN NEWS: Rabbi Elyashiv allows civil marriage for non-Jews

Spiritual leader of Lithuanian stream rules non-Jews can wed through civil marriage, but only after rabbinical court confirms both partners are not Jewish by Kobi Nahshoni – YNET.

Over a month after the general elections, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the spiritual leader of the Lithuanian stream of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, ruled on the hot topic of the coalition negotiations – civil marriage. According to Rabbi Elyashiv, the Halacha allows instituting civil marriage in Israel for non-Jews only. Therefore, any couple wishing to wed through civil marriage will have to prove to a rabbinical court that both partners are not Jewish, this in order to prevent "legally sanctioned" assimilation.

The rabbi stressed that civil marriage between Jews, or a mixed couples, was out of the question. The United Torah Judaism coalition negotiations team is expected to present this as a major demand to the Likud. The ruling was also authorized by the Gerrer Rebbe and Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman.

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has recently reached a compromise with the Yisrael Beiteinu party, according to which non-Jews will be allowed to hold civil marriage. However, the chief rabbi did not condition this on a rabbinical court approval

The Shabbos Fighter

After I sent out last week’s Parsha, I learned from my son that HaRav HaTzaddik Rabbi Shimon Baruch Solomon of Petach Tikva died suddenly of a heart attack. He angered the anti-religious forces and leftist news broadcasters with his Miziras Nefesh for Yom Shabbos Kadosh. When the mayor of Petach Tikva tried to force the opening of the city’s movie houses on Shabbos and some stores contrary to the laws of Moshe Solomon the founder of the city (the song ) of Petach Tikva and the students of the Chofetz Chaim Zatzal came to make a religious farming community there. (Among the settlers was Elimelech Pasternak Z”l the grandfather of my son-in-law.) Rav Solomon was not to give up Shabbos in his holy city. He organized a protest every Friday night after Shabbos dinner. Some estimate that at one time 10,000 frum Jews poured out into the streets of Petach Tikva to defend the holiness of Shabbos. The brutal border police were sent in without mercy and even though the demonstration was on the side walk and the crowd two or three meters from the curb, they managed to attack Rabbi Solomon and knock him out of his shoes in front of his young sons has he stood his ground. My children pre-Bar Mitzvah and I were standing a few feet away and I had to flee the clubs on the children taking them home. That was back in 5743 to 5744 and I decided to look for a house in a Frum Yeshuv where I would not hear music from private penthouses and houses around me on Shabbos.

Rabbi Solomon would address the town’s people on Shabbos HaGadol and Shabbos Tshuvah but his lectures were too scholarly and he did not have the talent like Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita who would build up his case from zero for the general public. But if one went to a Gemara Shuir that the Rav organized in the new Yeshiva that he built and used the Shuir for householders, he would start from zero and explain even the most difficult Gemara a few times a week so that one could go through large Tractates of the Babylonian Talmud within a short period of time.

At one of the Shabbos demonstrations on Friday morning in Petach Tikva only a few dozen hearty souls came out to hear the protest. Among them were Roshei Yeshiva and many Kollel fellows from Petach Tikva. I took a seat next to HaRav Simcha HaCohain Kuk which he exchanged with HaRav Solomon as for a few dozen people one only needed a few benches which were scare. I was only an Engineer at the time and a member of the Daf Yomi and IAI Kollel (if it existed at that time). But I could not think of Proverbs that we say every week Erev Shabbos as I sat among the Talmidei Chachamim. (Starting with 31:10 A woman of valor who can find? … 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.) Gee maybe I have a good wife.

He continued his fight to spread Torah and Jewish knowledge until his sudden death last Thursday night to Friday morning of a heart attack at the age of 70.

I googled his name and came up with this written while he was still alive: Rav Baruch Shimon Solomon is the Chief Rabbi, English speaking Rabbis include: Rav Taylor of Mekor Chaim, Rav Cherlo, Rosh Yeshivat Hesder, Rav Neuwirth of Kehillat Moriah, Rav Jonathan Blass, Head of the Zionist Kollel. Over 300 synagogues, including three Young Israel’s: Kfar Gannim** with a large Anglo population, "Anderson" (near Beilinson Hospital), with a significant (older) Anglo population, and Kfar Avraham, more Israeli. Mekor Chaim (yekkeshe) -- near Kfar Gannim -- has a large Anglo population. The historic Central Synagogue (a landmark building), located in the center of town, offers minyanim around the clock. Shiurim throughout the week, including in English. Bnei Akiva (central chapter has a group for the developmentally disabled), Ariel and Ezra youth groups. This is not to mention the Hebrew Speaking leaders and Congregations in Petach Tikva. May Rav Solomon’s spirit be a “Momlitz Yoshir for Am Yisrael” (bring good advice and merits unto G-D for all the nation of Yisrael).

The Blessing over the Sun Berchas HaChamah

Once in 28 years we have an opportunity to bless the place where the sun was when the world was created. Many of my friends received this information. I have

This year for the first time since 1981 will be The Blessing over the Sun Berkas HaChamah - This will occur Erev Pessach. The full 4 page Hebrew prayers are found on this site: thanks to Danny Shoemann for the info.

An explanation is found on these site along with the English Translation.


WHY EVERY 28th YEAR? The detailed calculations and explanations

TEXT of the "Blessing on the Sun" Ceremony, in HEBREW and ENGLISH

From Natea to R’A.L.: By: Rabbi Shmuel Singer

Kedem continues to bottle grape juice under its own name as well as under the Savion, Gefen and Lipschutz labels. All these items have always been and will continue to be Mevushal. Kedem has one not Mevushal grape juice. This is bottled in 1.5 liter glass bottles and clearly labeled Non-Mevushal. In addition, Rokeach will have its own OU-P grape juice. This will appear under the Rokeach label, as well as the Mishpacha labels. Manischewitz will once again have an OU-P grape

juice under its own label. This grape juice is made from concentrate. Kedem will offer a variety of OU-P Sparkling Grape Juices. Manischewitz has also introduced Sparkling Concord and Niagara grape juice. All these grape juices are Mevushal. In addition, Rokeach will again produce a variety of OU-P cooking wines. Kedem and Rokeach will also produce a variety of OU-P cooking wines. Kedem has introduced Pomegranate and Sparkling Pomogrape Juices with the OU-P certification

as new items this year.

The OU has certified the Manischewitz matzah bakery in the United States for the past years. For a long time this was the only OU matzah ba kery in the world. It continues to be the only one in the United States. Other OU-P brands such as Horowitz Margareten and Goodman’s are all baked at Manischewitz. The bakery has relocated and is fully functioning this year. All regular Manischewitz items will again be available. The OU has also agreed to place the OU-P on Aviv, Osem,

Yehuda and Rishon matzah products coming from Israel. The items are supervised by local Rabbanim and are satisfactorily made with OU Pesach guidelines. They are certified by the OU when the OU-P appears on them. In addition, we have this year certified Yanovsky matzah baked in Argentina. This matzah is widely distributed in Latin America. This company manufactures various types of matzah. All matzah is always an eighteen minute product. Rabbi Feigelstock of Buenos

Aires serves as the OU rav hamachshir at this factory.

Manischewitz has whole wheat matzah meal and whole wheat matzah farfel. These items are made from Manischewitz OU-P whole wheat matzah. Manischewitz will again have a type of matzah ashirah known as grape matzah, in addition to traditional egg matzah. The grape matzah is made from flour and grape juice and may only be used when egg matzah is permitted, i.e. for Sefardim or those Ashkenazim who cannot eat regular matzah. It is so marked on the box. Manischewitz produces Passover Tams in two forms. The regular Tam Tams in different flavors are small egg matzah crackers coated with different flavor rings. They are marked as Matzah Ashirah on the box. The Whole Grain Tams are regular matzah crackers coated with different flavorings. These are not Matzah Ashirah. Manischewitz will continue to sell OU-P machine shmurah matzah under both the Manischewitz and Goodman’s labels. In addition, OU-P hand shmurah matzah will be available from Gefen, Tiferes and Rokeach. Kedem will be selling, as they did last year, Savion matzah sticks. This is matzah baked in stick form under the Savion label. Manischewitz makes a product known as matzah crackers. Both of these are ordinary matzah products and not matzah ashirah. The various Israeli OU matzah companies will all be selling machine shmurah matzah as well.

Coca Cola will again be available with an OU-P for Pesach. Aside from the New York metropolitan area, Coke will be available in Boston, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. This year, in New York, Coca Cola items will be made with an OU-P in 2 liter bottles and in cans. Other locations will have more limited Coke items made in different sizes. All these items, of course, require the OU-P symbol. Most of the bottling plants servicing

these markets will designate the Passover Coke items with a distinctive yellow cap in addition to the OU-P symbol on the cap or shoulder of the bottle.

This year the OU-P will appear on various Cholov Yisroel dairy products. These include milk from Ahava with the Best Moo label as well as a full line of Ahava dairy products. Dairy Delight will be selling Cholov Yisroel sour cream and yogurt under the Norman’s label. Cholov Yisroel OU-P hard cheese will appear this year under both the Norman’s label and the Kirkeby label. The Kirkeby cheeses are imported from Europe and also carry the London Beth Din hechsher. In addition there will be OU-P Cholov Yisroel goat cheese and sheep cheese from Barkanit and mozzarella, provolone and pecorino cheese from Yotvata. Cabot Creamery will be introducing OU-P cheddar cheese. This item is not Cholov Yisroel. Mishpacha will also have a new Passover non-dairy OU-P topping.

There will be two OU-P brands of packaged cakes available this year. These will be Reisman and Lily’s Bakeshop. Both are baked in a special Passover bakery and do not contain matzah meal. In addition the Willmark line of industrial bakery products has been purchased by VIP and many of these items are appearing with the OU-P label this year. In addition Gedilla cookies and Gefen cookies will be available with OU-P as will Smunchies cookies. All these items are not made with matzah meal.

Manischewitz has kept the Season name on OU-P fish items which include tuna, sardines, salmon and anchovies. Season has introduced a number of new Moroccan sardine items in various sauces for Pesach. All of these items are made with Mashgiach Temidi and bishul yisrael. In addition, the Season label will continue to appear on OU-P bamboo shoots and water chestnuts as well as some sauces and oil. Tuna fish is available with an OU-P from Season, Gefen and Mishpacha. Season and Gefen will have OU-P salmon in both regular and no salt versions. All these items are made with Mashgiach Temidi and Bishul Yisrael. Dr.

Praeger’s continues to produce breaded fish fillets and fish sticks with an OU-P. These products contain no matzah meal.

The OU position remains that extra virgin olive oil can be used without special supervision for Pesach. In addition, Bartenura, Carmel, Gefen and Mishpacha olive oil will be available with an OU-P label. Mother’s olive oil pan coating spray, Mishpacha olive oil spray and Manischewitz buttery safflower cooking spray, olive oil spray and olive oil garlic cooking sprays will also be available. Prepared olives with an OU-P will be available from Gefen, Osem, Kvuzat Yavne, Gilboa and Mishpacha. Manischewitz is introducing two new flavored OU-P olive oil products for Pesach. Bartenura will be introducing an OU-P grape seed oil this year.

Manischewitz, Mishpacha, Rokeach and Savion will continue to make OU-P sauces. These include different types of tomato sauce, dressings and marinades. Savion has introduced a new OU-P line of sauces known as Fireman’s Frenzy. These include spicy marinades, salsa and spicy ketchup. In addition, VIP and Kojel will have OU-P ready to eat soup in a bowl items. The OU position remains that regular tea bags, which are not flavored or decaffeinated, are acceptable for Pesach without special supervision. In addition we have clarified once again this year that all Lipton decaffeinated tea bags are acceptable without special supervision. This is not true of other decaffeinated tea bags. Pathmark and Shoprite also have specially marked OU-P plain tea bags on the market. In addition Swee-Touch-Nee and Wissotsky will continue to have Pesach herbal teas. Nestea instant unflavored tea powder and instant unflavored decaffeinated tea powder are acceptable for Pesach without special supervision. Our position in former years in regard to coffee had been similar to tea. We maintained that all regular coffee, that is unflavored and not decaffeinated, is acceptable for Pesach without supervision. This is no longer true. Some coffee companies add maltodextrin, which is either chametz or kitniyos, to instant coffee. As a result this coffee is not kosher for Passover. Only coffee bearing an OU-P symbol or brands listed in the gray area of the OU

Passover Directory should be used. Both Folger’s and Taster’s Choice instant coffee remain acceptable. Other brands should be checked in the Directory. Ground coffee remains acceptable from any source as long as it is unflavored and not decaffeinated.

This year a number of supermarket labels will have OU-P flavored seltzers for Pesach. These include Acme, America’s Choice, Foodtown, King Kullen, Pathmark, Shoprite and White Rose. Cornell will have flavored sodas with an OU-P. This year both Shoprite and Pathmark will once again be selling some sugared sodas with an OU-P symbol.

This year for the first time Kosher Innovations will be selling an OU-P Tooth Wash. This item has been approved by the OU Poskim for use on Shabbos and Yom Tov. It remains the position of the OU Poskim that aluminum pans do not require Passover supervision. Nevertheless this year a special OU-P production of these items will be available from Pro Pak. These are made with Mashgiach Temidi and also carry the Hechsher of the Hisachdus.

The following story is told by Meir Duvdevani of Tel Aviv about his grandfather Z’L:

Baruch Duvdevani was born in Lublin, Poland, on 10 Tamuz 5676 (1916). His parents were Yitzchak Yosef and Esther. The entire family was supported by Baruch’s grandfather, Avraham Tzvi Kirshenbaum, an ardent Zionist. In 1928, he moved with all his descendents to Yerushalayim, where he purchased a house in the Even Yehoshua neighborhood. The family resided in one portion of the building, and the remainder was rented out and served as a source of income.

Young Baruch learned in the Etz Chaim Yeshiva Ketanah and attended the Tachkemoni School, which was then affiliated with the Mizrachi movement. Later, he learned in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav under Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohain Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. In addition, Duvdevani studied Jewish history and Hebrew literature at Yerushalayim’s Hebrew University.

During the Yishuv’s pre-State struggle against the British Mandate, Duvdevani served as the national deputy commander of Brit Chashmonayim, a countrywide religious youth organization. Most of his responsibilities were educational in nature. For instance, throughout the years, he edited “HaChashmonai” the movement’s journal. He was a frequent contributor, and the scope of his writing was broad and varied.

My grandfather also served in the Etzel – as did many other Brit Chashmonayim members – and was arrested three times by the British and briefly incarcerated in Yerushalayim’s Central Prison and in the Latrun Detention Camp. During this period, he became very close to Rav Aryeh Levin, the “Rabbi of the Prisoners”.

After World War II, when the world learned that six million Jews had been murdered in the Holocaust, my grandfather was determined to do his share to assist the survivors. He offered his services to UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), and in 1946, World Mizrachi Chairman Rav Meir Bar-Ilan convinced him to travel – under Jewish Agency auspices and in an UNRRA officer’s uniform - to Italy’s DP camps. His family - his wife Rachel, his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Ruth, and his six-month-old son Avraham - stayed behind. Indeed, my grandfather remained abroad without them for about two and a half years.

He headed to southern Italy, where he administered a camp of some 400,000 broken and dispirited survivors. My grandfather did whatever he could to assist, hearten and encourage them. He tried to improve camp life and somehow renew the survivors’ faith in mankind. In addition to his official duties, my grandfather promoted “illegal” aliyah.

After the State of Israel was established, my grandfather was appointed as the director of the first Aliyah Department in Rome, Italy, where he oversaw the aliyah of the remnants of European Jewry. Eventually, he was transferred to Tripoli, where he organized the aliyah of Libyan Jewry. In 1950, he returned to Israel and obtained a high-ranking position in the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah Department in Yerushalayim. In 1953, he and his family moved to Paris, where he served as the director of the European and North African Aliyah Department. At great risk, he would frequently travel to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in order to help the Jews emigrate from these North African countries, while aliyah was still an option.

From 1956 to 1969, he served as Executive-Director of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah Department. Despite his lofty title, he never neglected his inherent humanity. Although he spent his days focusing on public policy, he continued to assist every individual who crossed his path. Indeed, he exuded great love for everyone and made every effort to alleviate their suffering and need. His life was filled with acts of tzedakah v’chessed (charity and benevolence).

In 1969, he became the head of the Religious Education Center and remained in that position until he was killed in a traffic accident on 24 Adar II 5744 (1984). He was on his way home from a convention for religious teachers and principals in Tzefat. Thousands of mourners escorted him to his final resting place on Har HaMenuchot in Yerushalayim, and the municipality named one of the city’s beautiful streets after him.

Mishneh Torah of the Rambam from Rafael M.: (Sorry I have no idea of the original source.)


Abba S.: Why we don't listen to Rumors:

Practical Torah from Torah MiTzion (please note all the Dvar Torah this week in Orange comes from Torah MiTzion): &


I would like to know what Halacha says about modern-day bankruptcy. Does Halacha forbid this? Does it allow it? In fact, is there any halachic discussion on this issue?


The answer will be divided into two parts.

Part One.

The owner of a business

Before clarifying the main points of the din, we will begin with the basic principle. It is forbidden to use the loophole of bankruptcy in order to free oneself from paying the debts one is able to pay. On the other hand, the creditor, who sees that the debtor cannot pay any more, should take the difficult situation into consideration, especially if this did not come about through deceit and cheating, and should help to rehabilitate the debtor.

There are a number of halachic issues that touch on this question:

a. Pshara and mechila – compromise and forfeit: in the bankruptcy procedure, in order to receive a share of the existent assets, the debtors have to come to a compromise, which is carried out by a receiver. This compromise is reached out of coercion, and the aim is that when the borrower's fortune changes, the debtor will return and collect his dues. In addition, a compromise requires an act of kinyan. Therefore a compromise not made according to din torah is not considered a legal compromise (Pitchei Choshen, Halva'a 2, comment 63).

b. Dina D'Malchuta (The law of the land) and tradesmen's norms: this depends on whether the rule of dina d'malchuta dina (The law of the land is the law) relates only to dinim connected to the king (i.e. the government), or also to private legal cases between people. Those of the opinion that this rule relates to private issues made a differentiation between matters considering the welfare of the inhabitants of the state and those not considered as such. In the opinion of Rabbi M.Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Choshen Mishpat 2, 62),dina d'malchuta does apply to bankruptcy, since its purpose is issues of trading, but in the opinion of the Minchat Yitzchak and also the Pitchei Choshen (ibid) the din of bankruptcy does not have the status of dina d'malchuta. (for more on this issue, see the article by Rav S. Dichovsky, Tchumin 18, "Halachat Ha' Shituf" – is this dina d'malchuta? p.26-27).

c. A limited liability company (Ltd.) (a company that is organized to give its owners limited liability): the question of ownership of a limited liability company is wider, in that if the debtor is not the owner, the rules automatically change. Rabbi S. Wazner (Shevet HaLevi 8, 306) discusses whether a limited liability company is considered "Apotiki" (pledging a debt to certain assets), which is the only source from which debts may be collected. That being the case, in a situation of bankruptcy, after dividing up all the company assets, it will be considered as "shtafa nahar" (the pledged object was lost), and in this case the debtor's debt will be eliminated. He concludes by saying that, in practice, a person often conducts himself even in a limited liability company as if the assets were his own and is not careful to differentiate between the company's assets and his own. For this reason one does not relate to it as an "apotiki", except in cases where it has been proved that he did not use the company's money, but only used it in the way permitted for a pledged asset.

Pitchei Ha'Choshen raised another aspect in which one can be lenient in the case of a limited liability company– since the authority of the company stems from the laws of the land, dina d'malchuta will apply in any case, and therefore he will be relieved of his debt after the legal procedures. However, he specifies that this is only applicable when it is known that the person who has gone bankrupt is honest and that his company has no other assets.

Rabbi Z.N.Goldberg (Ha'Ma'ayan 45, p.48) is of the opinion that when one conducts business transactions with a company with limited liability, it is considered that there is a tnai (condition) in which it is agreed that the collection should only be made from the company's assets.

Conclusion: Creditors who are forced to compromise do not automatically lose their rights to collect their debts to the full.

According to Rabbi M. Feinstein, by virtue of dina d'malchuta dina, bankruptcy has binding validity and the creditors lose their money.

In the opinion of the poskim, when the issue is one of a company with limited liability and nothing untrustworthy has been done, yet the company lost its money, the creditors also lose, and they entered into business with the company knowing this fact.

End of part one. To be continued.

Inyanay Diyoma

From HaAretz Newspaper regarding COS Gadi Ashkenazi’s visit in Washington quoting Al Watan: Israel is widely assumed to have Jericho missiles capable of hitting Iran with an accuracy of a few dozen meters (yards) from target. Such a capability would be free of warplanes' main drawbacks - limits on fuel and ordnance, and perils to pilots.

Extrapolating from analyst assessments that the most advanced Jerichos carry 750 kg (1,650 lb) conventional warheads, Abdullah Toukan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said 42 missiles would be enough to "severely damage or demolish" Iran's core nuclear sites at Natanz, Esfahan and Arak.

During a visit to Washington, D.C., Ashkenazi met with Dennis Ross, the designated U.S. envoy to the Persian Gulf, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the Iranian issue.

The IDF chief told Ross that Israel would not tolerate a nuclear Iran. He said that a diplomatic approach to Iran's contentious nuclear program must be taken first, but said Israel must also prepare for other possibilities “.

Arab Ponzi scheme:

Holocaust Remembrance Dept.: EU REPORT CRITICIZES "ILLEGAL ANNEXATION" OF EAST JERUSALEM by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East analyst & commentator

Let us keep in mind, all of the complaining nations participated in the Genocide of European Jews in many ways. They voluntarily turned their Jews over to the German Nazis for execution, captured escaping Jews and returned them to the death camps. Some nations refused to accept Jews and turned the escaping refugees back at their borders. They had international meetings wherein they agreed among themselves not to attempt rescue, not to feed, not to clothe, not to shelter Jewish refugees. They refused to bomb railways transporting Jews to the death camps and refused to bomb the crematoria, even when their bombers flying over the death camps, returning to base with full bomb loads due to bad weather over their industrial targets.

After WW2, some nations and their people simply murdered the Jews who were trying to go back to their homes which were now in the hands of their former neighbors.

Then there were the internment of Jews trying to get from the death camps to Palestine before the Jewish State of Israel declared her Independence on May 14, 1948.

Now these same genocidal nations have followed the Jews who successfully passed the blockades into Palestine (now Israel) and built a thriving society on a Land of rocks and stone. Every nation, who for political purposes say they support the Democratic State of Israel, but out of sight of prying eyes, they bonded with Israel's most dedicated enemies who wish to re-enact the incomplete Genocide as conducted by the nations of Europe and the nations called the "Allies".

G-D's Justice does not follow the clock and time-line of men. The millstones of G-D's Justice grind slowly but, exceedingly fine. The nations of Genocide are now paying the first wave of retribution. Money is becoming worthless - globally. The weather is destroying crops through freezing, drought, people are moving toward hysterical frustration because their governments are in failing turmoil. People do not understand what is happening or told that "it's just global warming" or "natural business cycles".

It’s none of these things. G-d is exacting retribution upon the nations for what they have done to his chosen messengers.

Nations and their people have choices. This was theirs to spill Jewish blood. Having suffered centuries of bloodletting, they are still not sated. There is nothing more that the Jews can do for you. Watch what is yet to come.

It is rare that I agree with the left wing in Israel but we must be realistic:,7340,L-3686600,00.html

Sammy B. was very active lobbying against the appointment of an anti-semite to be Intelligence Chief: “My two week long obsession with making sure that Chas Freemen resigned. Do you realize the day he resigned was Purim. If that wasn't a message from HaShem, I don’t know what is?”

Also from Sammy:

Lukas sent me Pierre’s film:

From Renaud a kosher link for a petition against aid to Hamas to Hillary Clinton:

Received this from Denise R.: Bad news from France ...REAL BAD! for French Jews...
Once again, the real news in France is conveniently not being reported as it should. To give you an idea of what's going on in that country where there are now between 5 and 6 million Muslims and about 600,000 Jews, here is an E-mail that came from a Jew living in France.
Please read! "Will the world say nothing - again - as it did in Hitler's time?" He writes: "I AM A JEW -- therefore I am forwarding this to everyone on all my e-mail lists. I will not sit back and do nothing. Nowhere have the flames of anti-Semitism burned more furiously than in France. In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil - all recently. A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus, in Paris, the words 'Dirty Jew' were painted. In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months. According to the Police,
"So I call on you, whether you are a fellow Jew, a friend, or merely a person with the capacity and desire to distinguish decency from depravity, to do - at least - these three simple things:
First, care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into thinking that this is not your fight. I remind you of what Pastor Neimoller said in World War II: 'First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.'
Second, boycott France and French products. Only the Arab countries are more toxically anti-Semitic and, unlike them, France exports more than just oil and hatred. So boycott their wines and their perfumes. Boycott their clothes and their foodstuffs. Boycott their movies. Definitely boycott their shores. If we are resolved we can exert amazing pressure and, whatever else we may know about the French, we most certainly know that they are like a cobweb in a hurricane in the face of well-directed pressure.
Third, send this along to your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Think of all of the people of good conscience that you know and let them know that you - and the people that you care - about need their help.
The number one bestselling book in France is....'September 11: The Frightening Fraud' which argues that no plane ever hit the Pentagon!
Please Pass This On, Let's not let history repeat itself, thank-you for your time and consideration."

A few words on the financial crisis: It’s been a miserable few months lately, in which we’ve watched the mightiest financial titans -- from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) -- turn into humbled paupers. We’ve seen Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG become nationalized, and we’re waiting to see if megabanks Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) follow their path. The pain of the financial companies has flooded every sector of the economy, eviscerating the Dow, slashing the price of oil, and pumping up unemployment. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) are two of the only companies that seem to be doing all right -- and that’s just because we can no longer afford “luxuries” like Target (NYSE: TGT) and Outback. – The Motley Fool.

Anybody with a SEP, IRA, 401K lost money and one might think that you are the most foolish investor and get down and out. But long term investors win in the end. The so-called people in the know did not do too much better than we did. Perhaps percentage wise they lost less than us but check this out: It's been a rough year for America's billionaires. Warren Buffett lost $25 billion. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) founder Bill Gates lost $18 billion. Poor Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) chairman Sheldon Adelson fell from the 12th richest person in the world in 2008, all the way to 178th on the list this year.

The solution is in Perkei Avos “Who is ‘rich’ – he who is satisfied with his portion!” (4.1) – coincidently written before copying and pasting Rabbi Raviv’s Drasha.

Monique sent me this: Muslim strategies to convert people to Islam. They are handing out fee DVD’s on their religion of peace (death to the infidels and then kill off all Sunni Moslems). We see what Hamas did to Fatah in Gaza = push them off 8 storey buildings head first. (Makes a lovely splat for Allah doesn’t it?)

Be well and have a wonderful peaceful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli