Friday, April 17, 2009

Parsha Tzav, Shemini, Holocaust Rememberance, Practical Halacha

Last week, I forgot to=2 0mention a Leukemia Patient Sarah bas Yehudit. Prayers needed for Zehava Batya bas Bayla Leah.


Parsha Tzav

From Parsha Summary of Rav Aron Tendler of Torah Organization:
1st Aliya: Additional instructions20regarding the Olah - ascent offering, and the Mincha - meal offering are detailed.
2nd Aliya: The special meal offering of the Kohain Gadol and the special inaugural meal offering of the regular Kohain is described. This was the same offering in both cases; however, the Kohain Gadol brought his offering every day while the regular Kohain did so only on the day of his inauguration into the service of the Bais Hamikdash. Additional laws of the sin offering, and the guilt offering are detailed.
3rd Aliya: Additional laws of the peace offering are detailed along with those portions of the offering that must be shared with the Kohain.
4th, 5th, 6th, & 7th Aliyot: The remainder of the Parsha describes the first seven days of the inaugural process for Aharon and his four sons. Moshe functioned as the Kohain Gadol to officiate over the inaugural process, and Aharon and his sons were forbidden to leave the Mishkan the entire time.

You will notice that when it comes to describing the Korbanos from the burnt offering to the meal of fering, one really needs Rashi as he does for the garments of the ordinary Cohain and the Cohain Gadol. His descriptions are the best of all commentaries.

6:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the burnt-offering: it is that which goes up on its firewood upon the altar all night unto the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning thereby.

Command Aaron: Heb. צַו. The expression צַו always denotes urging [to promptly and meticulously fulfill a particular commandment] for the present and also for future generations. Rabbi Simeon taught: Scripture especially needs to urge [people to fulfill commandments,] where monetary loss is involved. — [Torath Kohanim 6:1] &nb sp; צו את אהרןThis is the law of the burnt-offering…: This passage comes to teach us that the burning of [sacrificial] fats and parts [of an animal] is valid throughout the entire night [following the day it is offered up]. — [Meg. 21a] And [this passage also] teaches us regarding invalid sacrifices: which one, if it has already been brought up [on the altar], must be taken down, and which one, if it has been brought up [on the altar], need not be taken down. [And how do we know the latter case from Scripture?] Because every [instance of] תּוֹרַת [in the Torah] comes to include. [Thus here, it comes] to say that there is one law (תּוֹרָה for all sacrifices that go up [on the altar], even invalid o nes, namely, that if they have already been brought up [on the altar], they need not be taken down. [However: That is the burnt-offering: Heb. הִוא הַָעֹלָה [While the words תּוֹרַת הַָעֹלָה include invalid offerings, the words הִוא הַָעֹלָה come] to exclude the case of animals which have cohabited with a human, whether the animal was an active or a passive party to the transgression, and similar cases, in which their becoming invalid did not occur within the Holy [Temple precincts], but rather, they became invalid before they even arrived at the courtyard [of the Holy Temple]. - [Torath Kohan im 6:3]
In the morning a Cohain was assigned to clean up the ashes and this was known as “Terumos HaDeshen” and it would occur in the morning prior to the Korban Tamid (daily sacrifice).

3 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes whereto the fire hath consumed the burnt-offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.

on his flesh: i.e., nothing must interpose between [the trousers and his flesh]. — [Zev. 19a] : and he shall lift out the ashes: He would scoop out a full pan of ashes from the innermost [mass of ashes from] burnt out sacrificial parts [on the altar] and deposit them at the east side of the ramp [that led up to the altar (see Exod. 20:23, Rashi)]. — [Torath Kohanim 6:11; Tamid 28b] the ashes into which the fire has consumed the burnt-offering: and made it into ashes, an d some of these ashes the kohen should lift out and put them down next to the altar. upon the altar: If he finds any [animal] parts which were not yet consumed, he must put them back onto the altar, after raking the burning embers in all directions and scooping out some of the innermost [ashes], because it is said, “the burnt-offering upon the altar,” [i.e., while it is still in the form of a burnt-offering, and not yet ashes, it must remain “upon the altar”]. — [Yoma 45a]
Although this was part of the morning routine in the Temple and the Mishkan before it, it was not a mediocre task but one of holiness and necessary like we say in English that cleanliness is next to Godliness.

4 And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.

He shall then take off his garments: This is not an obligation, but proper practice, that, by taking out the ashes, he should not soi l the garments in which he constantly officiates. [By analogy:] The clothes worn [by a servant] while cooking a pot [of food] for his master, he should not wear when he mixes a glass [of wine] for his master. Hence, [the verse continues,] “and put on other garments,” inferior to those [garments of the kehunah he had been wearing till now]. — [Yoma 23b] and he shall take out the ashes: [By contrasting verse 3, “And he shall lift out (וְהֵריִם) the ashes,” with verse 4 here, “And he shall take out (וְהוֹצִיא) the ashes,” we see that there were two distinct obligations with regards to removing ashes from the altar: a) תּרוּמַת הַדֶּשֶׁן, “lifting out” some of the innermost ashes from the altar and placing them next to the altar, and b) הוֹצָאַת הַדֶּשֶׁן, “taking out” the heap of ashes from atop the altar when they became overflowing, to a place “outside the camp.” Thus, our verse here, “And he shall take out the ashes,” refers to those ashes] which were heaped up in the apple-shaped pile [of ashes on top of the altar]. When this pile became so large that there was no longer any room on the wood-pile, he [the kohen] would take it out of there. Now, this was not a daily obligation (Tamid 28b), but lifting out [some innermost ashes] was a daily obligation. — [Tamid 20a]
Why the clean place seeing that these are ashes? The answer is that they were ashes from an object burnt in holiness and therefore they, themselves remain holy and the place where holy objects are to be placed must be ritually pure = clean.

5 And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning thereby, it shall not go out; and the priest shall kindle wood on it every morning; and he shall lay the burnt-offering in order upon it, and shall make smoke thereon the fat of the peace-offerings.
We learned that in Temple times, the fire wood was harvested until the 15th of Av and left to dry and stored in a dry place so that it would burn better. There were special types of trees and grasses used for starting the fire should the fire accidentally go out (this did not really occur) that enabled the smoke to rise straight up and miraculously remain so even on the windiest of days. 6 Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out. There was a 24/7 Cohain watch on the fire that it never burnt out and this is a mitzvah within itself. Rashi - in Tractate Yoma (45a), where [it is discussed how] our Rabbis differ regarding the number of wood-piles [that had to be arranged on that altar]. A continuous fire: Heb. אֵשׁ תָּמִיד, the fire regarding which it says, “[to kindle the lamps] continually (תָּמִיד)” (Exod. 27:20) this fire must also be kindled from [the fire] on the outer altar. — [Yoma 45b] it shall not go out: [Since “it shall not go out” is stated twice, once in verse 5 and a second time here,] anyone who extinguishes the fire on top of the altar, transgresses two negative commandments.

7 And this is the law of the meal-offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, in front of the altar. 8 And he shall take up therefrom his handful, of the fine flour of the meal-offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meal-offering, and shall make the memorial-part thereof smoke upon the altar for a sweet savor unto the LORD.

And he shall lift out of it: i.e., out of what is attached, meaning that [the amount of the mixture from where he lifts out,] should be a complete tenth [of an ephah,] at one time, namely at the time of the scooping. — [Torath Kohanim 6:27] in his fist: [This teaches us that] he may not make a measure for a fistful [but rather, he must use his fingers directly]. - [Torath Kohanim 6:27] בקמצו: שלא יעשה מדה לקומץ: from the fine flour of the meal-offering and from its oil: [Now, we already know that the flour to be scooped up is mixed with oil, so=2 0why does the verse specifically mention oil here?] From here, we learn that the fistful [must be taken] from a place [in the meal-offering] where there is an abundance of its oil [i.e., where the oil is mixed thoroughly with the flour]. — [Sotah 14b] : the meal-offering: [I.e., from that particular meal-offering;] it must not be mingled with another [meal-offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 6:27 and all the frankincense that is on the meal-offering, and he shall cause to [go up in] smoke: [meaning] that he must gather up [all] its frankincense after the scooping, and cause it to go up in smoke. And since Scripture specifically stated this law only in one case of the meal-offerings mentioned in וַיִּקְרָא (see Lev.2:2), Scripture found it necessary to repeat this section [including this law], to include all [kinds of] meal-offerings, in accordance with their law.

While most of the offerings were animal sacrifices the grain sacrifices had there holiness and importance and just as the other sacrifices helped the animal population flourish so too the grain sacrifices helped the grains and rains in Eretz Yisrael. This might not have been apparent on the surface but spiritually it was.

9 And that which is left thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat; it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it.
Rashi brings down that this sacrifice was eaten in the Temple courtyard.

10 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as the sin-offering, and as the guilt-offering.
The leaven bread represented Tuma some say that wheat was the forbidden fruit in Gan Eden and hence this sacrifice as a Tikun for the first sin.

11 Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as a due for ever throughout your generations, from the offerings of the LORD made by fire; whatsoever touches them shall be holy.
This implies that the daughters could not eat20it as they would eat Terumah and Terumah Maaser.

12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 13 This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed: the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal-offering perpetually, half of it in the morning, and half thereof in the evening. 14 On a griddle it shall be made with oil; when it is soaked, thou shall bring it in; in broken pieces shall thou offer the meal-offering for a sweet savor unto the LORD. 15 And the anointed priest that shall be in his stead from among his sons shall offer it, it is a due for ever; it shall be wholly made to smoke unto the LORD.

who is anointed instead of him from among his sons: [This is to be understood as if transposed: The kohen] who is anointed from among his sons instead of him. It shall be completely burnt: [When there is a קְמִיצָה procedure, what is scooped out is burned on the altar, and the remainder is eaten by the kohanim. However, in this offering,] there is no קְמִיצָה procedure to enable any remainder to be eaten; but, it is burnt in its entirety. Similarly, any voluntary meal-offering brought by a kohen, must be completely burned.
From Rashi we learn that there are two types of meal (flour) offerings one to be eaten and one to be completely burnt.

16 And every meal-offering of the priest shall be wholly made to smoke; it shall not be eaten. 17 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 18 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying: This is the law of the sin-offering: in the place where the burnt-offering is killed shall the sin-offering be killed before the LORD; it is most holy. 19 The priest that offers it for sin shall eat it; in a holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting.

who offers it as a sin offering: Heb. הַמְחַטֵּא אתהּ, who performs the components of its service, i.e., the one through whom it becomes a sin-offering. [Thus, the word הַמְחַטֵּא means, “the one who makes it into a sin-offering (חַטָּאת).”] The kohen who offers it as a sin offering shall eat it: [Any kohen] fit for the service; this comes to exclude a kohen who is unclean at the time of the dashing of the blood, who does not take a share in the flesh. - [Torath Kohanim 6:58] But, it is impossible to say that [this verse] prohibits other kohanim from eating it, except the kohen who dashes its blood, for it says further (verse 22),“Any male among the kohanim may eat it.”

20 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy; and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shall wash that whereon it was sprinkled in a holy place. 21 But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken; and if it be sodden in a brazen vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water.

Without Rashi, I could only guess why it would have to be broken. [An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked,] shall be broken: Because the absorption that had been absorbed in the vessel becomes נוֹתָר [literally, “left over.” I.e., the food remains within the vessel’s wall (see next Rashi), and subsequently, when the time limit for eating the sacrifice has expi red, the absorption in the vessel wall is “left over.” Since נוֹתָר, “left over,” must be destroyed by burning, the food in the wall of this earthenware vessel must be destroyed by breaking the vessel]. The same law [of breaking the earthenware vessel in which meat of a sacrifice has been cooked,] applies also to all holy sacrifices [i.e., not just the sin-offering].

22 Every male among the priests may eat thereof; it is most holy. 23 And no sin-offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire.
But any sin-offering [some of whose blood was brought into the Tent of Meeting … shall not be eaten]: [This verse teaches us] that if one brings any of the blood of a sin-offering to be sacrificed on the outside altar, inside [the Holy], it [the sacrifice] becomes invalid. — [Zev. 81b]

Parsha Shemini

From Parsha Summary of Rav Aron Tendler of Torah Organization:
1st & 2nd Aliyot: The Parsha begins on Nissan 1, 2449. The seven-day inauguration of Aharon and his sons was completed and the ceremonies for the Mizbeach's consecration had begun. Over 40 offerings would be brought on that first day, each requiring the direct ministrations of Aharon. Aharon blessed the nation with the standard priestly blessing after which Moshe and Aharon blessed the nation with the special Bracha of Psalm 90.
3rd Aliya: The deaths of Nadav and Avihu are recorded at the very same time that fire descended from heaven to light the Misbayach. Their cousins removed the bodies of Nadav and Avihu from the=2 0courtyard of the Mishkan. Moshe instructs Aharon and his two remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar, that they are forbidden to overtly mourn the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in the standard manner. It is from here that we are taught the standard practices of tearing Kriyah and of mourners not cutting their hair.
4th & 5th Aliyot: Moshe instructs Aharon and his sons to continue the service of the Mizbeach's consecration. The first recorded difference in Halachic rulings is recorded between Moshe and Aharon as it pertained to the eating of the Rosh Chodesh offering. (Note 16-20, Stone Edition Artscroll pg. 595)
6th Aliya: The basic laws of Kosher and non-Kosher animals, fish, and fowl are recorded. Note that verses 11:4-7 is one of the established proofs for the divine authorship of the Torah.
7th Aliya: The basic laws of purity and impurity are recorded. It is important to clarify that the Torah does not associate "Tuma" impurity and "Tahara" purity with good and bad. The entire process involves the concept of life and death and the symbolic emphasis that the Torah places on serving G-d with optimism and vigor. So long as there is life there is the opportunity to grow in our relationship with G-d.
The question of "Why are we commanded to keep Kosher?" is answered in 11:44-47. The Torah clearly states that the reason to keep Kosher is to emulate G-d's sanctity. Sanctity "Kedusha" means being set apart and different. Just as G-d is apart from all things and divine in every way, so too are we to be set apart from all other nations and be different in the manner of our eating.

I am obliged to print a forward to this Parsha. Moshe was shown by HASHEM everything from Aleph to Tav up on Har Sinai. He learned inside out the laws of Kahuna. Aaron and his sons were not going to become for all times the Cohanim. However, learning theory is very difficult. I have read through a few time Talmud Chulin and the section of slaughtering animals in Yoreh Deah. However, I have only seen the whetting stone and a few knives once for a few minutes. I have never inspected a knife nor have I whet one. It has been years since I have seen a chicken being slaughtered. So it was not surprise to me that for seven days Moshe acted as Priest as Aaron and his sons watched the practical demonstration of each20Korban. In fact they may have even taken the blood and flayed the Korban and finally slaughtered one or two as Moshe sprinkled the blood on the Misbayach with the Azov (Hyssop = Marjoram = Zata).

Finally on the eighth day it was Aaron’s turn to take over the Kahuna for ever. Aaron was to make a one time atonement for him and his family for future generations.

One thing is to be taught to be an engineer or doctor and other thing is after a short time to go out on your own. Aaron learned in seven days about sacrifices that a young Cohain in future generations might learn in 7 years or more. We might say that Moshe the Prophet was standing by him this first day. Things seem to be going really smoothly until tragedy struck a real double whammy.

9:1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; 2 and he said unto Aaron: 'Take thee a bull-calf for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.

This is a special one time offering for the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Rashi tells us more than the Pshat that I mentioned here: Take for yourself a bull-calf: [This was] to inform [Aaron] that the Holy One, Blessed is He, had granted him atonement through this calf for the incident involving the [golden] calf, which he had made. — [see Tanchuma 10]

3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying: Take ye a he-goat for a sin-offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt-offering; 4 and an ox and a ram for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meal-offering mingled with oil; for to-day the LORD appears unto you.' 5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tent of meeting; and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
These too are one time offerings for the atonement of the Bnei Yisrael.

6 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do; that the glory of the LORD may appe ar unto you.' 7 And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Draw near unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering the bull, and thy burnt-offering the ram, and make atonement for thyself, and for the people; and present the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.'
The he-goat, the calf, and the lamb. Wherever the [unqualified] term עֵגֶל (calf) is stated [in Scripture], it denotes one in the first year. This [rule] is derived from this passage. [The term פַּר denotes one in the third year, עֵגֶל בֶּןבָּקָר one in the second year, and עֵגֶל one in the first year.]- [Torath Kohanim 4:208]

8 So Aaron drew near unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself. 9 And the sons of Aaron presented the blood unto him; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver of the sin-offering, he made smoke upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.

One Cohain does not work alone on any Korban. A Cohain slaughters it and another one usually catches the blood, two flay the animal and a few separate the forbidden fat and other parts. One is constantly checking that the blood is stirred so that it does not coagulate. Some sacrifices the Azov is dipped in the blood and sprinkled on the altar. In our case it is the finger. Whenever a finger is mentioned it is the right thumb and the blood is flipped off the thumb towards the Misbayach. The thumb is facing the Misbayach forward as one takes a finger print.

11 And the flesh and the skin were burnt with fire without the camp.
We do not find [in Scripture] an outside sin-offering [i.e., one whose blood is sprinkled on the outside altar] to be burned, with the exceptions of this [instance] and [the sin-offerings] of the investitures. And all these [exceptions] were [burnt] at the express command [of God].

12 And he slew the burnt-offering; and Aaron's sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about.
Again a collective effort and the blood is dashed around as described in the Yom Kippur prayer with one Cohain saying “One, One and One… etc.”

13 And they delivered the burnt-offering unto him, piece by piece, and the head; and he made them smoke upon the altar. 14 And he washed the inwards and the legs, and made them smoke upon the burnt-offering on the altar. 15 And the people's offering was presented; and he took the goat of the sin-offering which was for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
Heb. וַיְחַטְּאֵהוּ. He sacrificed it according to the law of the sin-offering (חַטָּאת). Like his own offering. This was the second sin offering. The first for him and the second for the nation.

16 And the burnt-offering was presented; and he offered it according to the ordinance.
As mentioned in Chapter 1 of Vayikra. Betzah 20A.

17 And the meal-offering was presented; and he filled his hand therefrom, and made it smoke upon the altar, besides the burnt-offering of the morning.
and he filled his palm: I.e., the קְמִיצָה [i.e., the “fistful,” namely, scooping out three fingers-full of the meal offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 9:11] in addition to the morning burnt offering: All these sacrifices [Aaron] offered up [only] after [he had offered up the morning] continual burnt offering. This partial handful of fine flour was part of the ceremony and a must to complete the whole dedication and atonement process. Now of what is written here is optional and therefore any step or any item missing left the whole ceremony null and void and all the blessings and offerings were lacking. There is no indication of the starting and finishing time for the dedication but Cohanim were usually were speedily in their doing the mitzvos.

18 He slew also the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which was for th e people; and Aaron's sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about, 19 and the fat of the ox, and of the ram, the fat tail, this is called Aliah in Hebrew and that which covers the inwards, this is called chelev in Hebrew and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver. 20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he made the fat smoke upon the altar.

And they placed the [sacrificial] fats on top of the breasts: After the waving, the kohen who performed the waving gives [the portions] to another kohen to make them go up in smoke. The result is that [the portions] that were on the top are now on the bottom [due to the kohen’s inverting the portions to place them into the receiving hands of the next kohen. See Rashi on Lev. 7:30 for further explanation]. — [Men. 62a] I looked up the Rashi on 7:30 and found this note about the waving which should be read from Talmud Menachos That the owner’s hand should be above, with the fats and the breast placed in it, and the kohen9s hand should be beneath [it. With the portions arranged in this manner,] they wave them. — [Men. 61b]

21 And the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded. 22 And Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.

And Moses and Aaron went into [the Tent of Meeting]: Why did they enter [the Tent of Meeting]? In the section of the investitures, I found a baraitha added to our version of Torath Kohanim [which states the following]: Why did Moses enter with Aaron? To teach him about the procedure of [burning] the incense. Or did he perhaps enter only for another purpose? I can make a deduction: Descending [from the altar (verse 22)] and entering [the Tent of Meeting (this verse) both] required blessing [the people]. Just as descending [from the altar] is related to the service, so is entering [the Tent of Meeting] related to the service. Hence, you learn from her e why Moses entered with Aaron, [namely] to teach him about the procedure of [burning] the incense [which is related to the service]. Another explanation [of why Moses entered with Aaron is]: When Aaron saw that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the procedures had been performed, and yet the Shechinah had not descended for Israel, he was distressed. He said, “I know that the Holy One, blessed is He, is angry with me, and on my account the Shechinah has not descended for Israel.” So he said to Moses, “My brother Moses, is this what you have done to me, that I have entered and been put to shame?” At once, Moses entered [the Tent of Meeting] with him, and they prayed for mercy. Then the Shechinah came down for Israel. — [Torath Kohanim 9:16] Then they came out and blessed the people: They said: “May the pleasantness of the Lord, our God, be upon us (Ps. 90:17); May it be God’s will that the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.” [And why did they choose this particular blessing?] Because throughout all seven days of the investitures, when Moses erected the Mishkan, performed the service in it, and then dismantled i t daily, the Shechinah did not rest in it. The Israelites were humiliated, and they said to Moses, “Moses, our teacher, all the efforts we have taken were so that the Shechinah should dwell among us, so that we would know that we have been forgiven for the sin of the [golden] calf!” Therefore, Moses answered them (verse 6), “This is the thing the Lord has commanded; do [it], and the glory of the Lord will appear to you. My brother Aaron is more worthy and important than I, insofar as through his offerings and his service the Shechinah will dwell among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent has chosen him.”
Rashi’s conclusion furthers the knowledge that Moshe was the most humble man that ever lived.

24 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
This type of miraculous fire appeared in the days of Izevel and Eliyahu when he confronted the priests of baal.

It is the season for Perkei Avos and due to the little time between Pessach and Shabbos, I was about to skip it this week. But my friend Lyn kept insisting that I watch something on U-Tube about an amateur singer named Susan Boyles. The video showed an audience almost rolling on the floor when this 47 year old woman who looked like a good wig on her head and a make-up artists might kill her came out on the stage and said that she wants to be a singer like Elaine Page who sang in Britain’s West End “Cats”. The woman opened up her mouth and a really talented voice followed. The audience at the end gave her a standing ovation.

We would say “Never judge a book by its cover”. Rabbi Meir (the miracle worker) said, “ Don’t look at the pitcher but what is inside. You have a new pitcher with old fine wine inside and an old pitcher that even new wine is not inside.” The Torah meanings of the words are an analogy to Torah learning. There are young scholars filled with the wisdom of the ages and elderly boorish men that even the new learning of grade school children they don’t have. The later we have to rise to respect them for their hoary heads but they are not respected like younger scholars for their knowledge.

Brian found the post that I saw on Israeli TV Yehoshua 1 “All places that your foot shall walk shall be yours.”
Living Halacha Part 2 of 3

This is a case of a woman who was the biological daughter of let us say Reuven. At the age of two, her mother divorced and remarried to a man let us call him Shimon. Shimon adopted the female child and he was for all intents and purposes her father. When she married on the Ketubah (marriage contract) it was written that Hubby the son of so and so married wife the daughter of Reuven. In the meantime, Hubby and wife decided to get divorce. The Beis Din of Rabbi let us say Levy who was a well known Rabbi did=2 0the divorce proceedings and had the Sofer write in the Get Hubby ben so and so divorces wife but instead of Reuven the witness or the woman said Shimon. The Get was given and the Beis Din said “Mitgureshes – Mitgureshes” and everything seemed fine. As Rabbi Levy was winding things down for filing, he took a look at the papers saw the Ketubah with Reuben and the Get with Shimon and his face paled. He was planning to right the wrong in a few days but was called to be a Dayan in Eretz Yisrael and the Beis Din did nothing. After a short time, Hubby married a non-Jewish woman in a civil ceremony and entirely left the Jewish Community. After 90 days it was permissible for the ex-wife to date and finally after two years she returned to the Beis Din and wanted to remarry. In the meantime, the new Av Beis Din was Rabbi Levy and he was a good Lamdan in other parts of Shulchan Aruch like Yoreh Deah and perhaps even Choshen Mishpat but not the section about names on Gittin. (I learned this once or even a few reviews with Rabbi Mimran Shlita it is extremely difficult and above my own Hebrew level – I cannot hear the difference between the Hay-Chet-Chaf and possibly the Aleph-Ayin making it impossible for me to be the determiner of how the name is spelled not to mention my own dyslexia in Hebrew) Rabbi Mimran Shlita, having done his apprenticeship with the divorce court of Rav Nissim Koreletz Shlita, was approached by Rabbi Yehuda for a Psak Din.
We could have a possible case of an abandoned wife here as Hubby might not care less anymore and the Rabbis would have a problem locating him. Yeshai Glicksman brought down Targum (translation) Unkelus (Achilles) about Serach bas Asher mentioned in Sefer Beresheis. It seems that Serach was the daughter of Asher’s wife but not really his daughter. The Targum informs us that a person who raises a child is as if he or she gave birth to that child. Still halacha is not Poskin from a translation into Aramaic of the Chumosh. Rabbi Mimran asked my opinion. I said logic dictates two things. Unless we are a more numerous Beis Din either in wisdom example the first Beis Din took somebody like I with a little knowledge of Eben HaEzer from my learning and partial translation into English and another Rabbi with the same or less amount with a known Rabbi and Dayan like Rabbi Mimran or Rabbi Amar Shlita, the Beis Din is kosher. However, such a Beis Din does not consist of three experts. Then came along a Beis Din of experts with Semicha in Eben HaEzer they could theoretically over turn the ruling. However, the Beis Din pronounced “Divorced – Divorced” and one does not look into the Get after the fact as it is cut by the Beis Din 1) so nobody can go against it 2) that if we have a couple named Yacov ben Yitzchak and Leah bas Lavan and another couple name Yacov ben Yitzchak and Leah bas Lavan that we cannot use the same Get. And finally we have a general rule in that when a woman is a possible Agunah or Agunah proper (husband fell overboard and no body recovered but nobody swims 1000 miles from nowhere and lives or he went diving and his leg floated up revealing his thigh artery was cut) we do everything in our power to permit remarriage. Rabbi Shlomo Goren of blessed memory did that with the Dakar Submarine which only a year or two ago was discovered. Still here Rabbi Mimran would be pronouncing a new Psak Din in this cased based on perhaps solid ground but Rabbi Mimran is not on that high a level to do something like that only a Chief Rabbi or Rabbi Koreletz Shlita.
It turns out that about 200 years ago such a case came before the great Chatam Sofer and in my life time a similar case before Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal and they both Poskin the way I thought but now we have Rabbis upon whom Rabbi Mimran could base his case.
Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israeli Soldier Remembrance Day are coming up

Mengele’s delivery girl gets closure

In a new book, 'Until the Last Generation', Leah London Friedler, an 81-year-old Holocaust survivor, recounts her experiences as Auschwitz' Dr. Mengele's delivery girl. All proceeds from the book will go towards special needs children

In a new book “Leman Yeduo Dor Acharon” (“Until the Last Generation”), Leah London Friedler - an 81 year old Holocaust survivor - tells about her experiences as a delivery girl in Dr. Joseph Mengele’s clinic. After many years of silence, she reveals names and dates which she remembers precisely, and delivers the clear message that we have to remember and tell future generations what happened during that period.

When Leah London Friedler was a 16 year-old girl, she was Dr. Mengele’s (Auschwitz’s "Angel of Death") delivery girl. Friedler’s life story – spanning the years from her birth in Hungary and being raised in a Zionist home, to life in the ghetto and including beginning life-anew in the fledging State of Israel - has recently been documented in a book entitled “A Mother & Daughter in the Holocaust: Until the Last Generation”, which was assembled and edited by her daughter, Adina Bernstein.

All revenues from this book are being donated to Shalva-The Association for Mentally & Physically Challenged Children in Israel.

Bernstein first became aware of her mother’s personal story when Leah, in an emotional outburst, revealed to her daughter an old poem that she had written in her native Hungarian that illustrated her feelings and desires for a better future. The essay was written as she found shelter adjacent to a rickety shed that the Nazis later burned at t he end of the war, as they were trying to escape and subsequently destroy all remaining evidence of their atrocities.
Friedler and her mother had been abandoned by the Nazis because they were too ill and exhausted to stand on their feet. Five weeks after the last Nazi left, the fatigued girl found a piece of paper and pencil and wrote a prose poem for herself. The poem is not about the horrors of the extermination camp; it is, rather, a prayer to God that he will bring better days, “ . . . . when Shabbat candles will lit on the families tables . . . .”

Tribute to lost relatives

In 2002 Adina Bernstein and her husband traveled to Auschwitz extermination camp. As she stood next to the spot where the shed had stood 57 years earlier and where her mother had written the poem, she read it aloud in a shaky voice.

In the ensuing years, Leah Friedler hesitantly revealed four additional poems she had written in February, March, and May of 1945, all intended as tributes for different relatives of the recovering girl. The poems had been hidden in a closet in her home in Alon Shvut, and she explained that they had served as comforting companions as she moved between homes on different continents.

“I never believed someone might be interested in my life story” says Friedler. Her daughter, however, understood the importance of these memoirs and the significance of these writings. Ultimately, “Until the Last Generation” materialized into a gripping book. Through the carefully honed writing, readers can clearly see the young Leah’s special character as an optimistic woman who possesses deep spiritual awareness and is intimately involved in the world around her. That she grows into a respected lecturer comes as no surprise.

In order to complete the final work, Adina Bernstein compiled the original essays, her mother’s testimony from Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, and stories that her mother told her in taped sessions. Leah recalled names, dates and places with spine-tingling accuracy. By weaving in stories of her mother’s youth, the book was born.

I beat Hitler

The book opens in the home of Friedler’s parents and presents her roots and life story. In June 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz, where at the age of 16 she “became a number” and received a ‘coveted’ position as a delivery girl in the clinic of Dr. Mengele. Clearly illustrated is a sense that death hovered over every corner. In the book’s finale, daughter Leah Bernstein opts to add a chapter concerning “renewal.”

“I had a need to close the circle,” she explained to Ynet. “Today we have a big family. Every time a new grand or great-grandchild is born, my mother knows she ‘beat Hitler.’ Our continuation proves to her over and over just how strong we are.” Bernstein is quick to add that her mother had once hoped to become a doctor but fell short of that dream. “However, when my son received his medical degree,” smiled Adina, “my mother saw it as proof of revival and closure. She could not have been any prouder.”
Memories of horror convert to charity
The process of compiling the material into a book took two years until publication. Leah Friedler and her husband of 62-years, Yosef, explained to their daughter that they wanted no profits from the sale of the book. What was important to them was that as many readers as possible learn this story and understand, from a personal perspective, about the horrors of the period.
Adina Bernstein is a teacher of Special Education and has a particular fondness for the special needs children of Shalva and their families. She is the one who introduced her parents to the organization that was established from a deep-seated belief that the responsibility of providing care for challenged children should not fall directly on the families themselves but, rather, that they deserve the support and involvement of the wider communities in which they live.
Friedler found further significance in donating the money to Jewish children with special needs. “When the transports came by train, whoever had thicker glasses, limped, or wasn’t 100% healthy and capable for work, Dr. Mengele immediately sent them to the gas chambers or the furnace. “Donating to children with mental or physical disabilities is the best way I know to close this circle. It is, simply, another way to ‘win.’ Leah’s daughter summarizes with a smile. “Out of a memoir on this horrific era, we hope to speak to a new generation of children in Israel. It isn’t only the resurrection of our family. Maybe this is the story of the Jewish people in general.”

The book is written in Hebrew. To order a copy of “Leman Yeduo Dor A charon” (“Until the Last Generation”), please call 02-651-9555 ext. 102, or email Cost of book: NIS 40 per copy plus an additional NIS 6 for shipping within Israel. All monies collected will be used for Shalva’s programs and therapies which are provided to all participants free of charge.,7340,L-3694176,00.html

The strategic importance of diamonds became acutely clear to both the Allies and Axis powers with the approach of the Second World War in 1939. Only diamonds were hard enough to stamp out the millions of precision parts that were necessary for mass-producing airplane engines, torpedoes, tanks, artillery and the other weapons of war. Only diamonds could be used to draw the fine wire needed for radar and the electronics of war. Only diamonds could provide the jeweled bearings necessary for the stabilizers, gyroscopes and guidance systems for submarines and planes. Only diamonds could provide the abrasives necessary for rapidly con verting civilian industries into a war machine. Without a continuing supply of diamonds, the war machine would rapidly slow to a halt. Yet, nearly all the diamond mines remained closed, and De Beers controlled the world supply of diamonds. Obtaining these industrial diamonds thus became a paramount objective for both the United States and Hitler's Germany.

In Washington, D.C., the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt began to hold emergency meetings about diamonds in 1940 when Hitler's armies swept across Europe in a blitzkrieg and threatened to invade England. The possibility had to be at least considered that England, like France, might be overrun or surrender. In that event, the world diamond stockpile would fall into Hitler's hands. Since the United States had less than one year's supply of industrial diamonds, the loss of De Beers' stockpile would make it difficult, if not impossible, to continue the war. The economic planners for the war estimated that the United ,States needed at least 6.5 million carats of industrial diamonds to convert its factories to war production.

When apprized of this critical shortage in diamonds, President Roosevelt ordered the War Production Board, which had the responsibility for mobilizing the American economy for war, to buy the necessary 6.5 million carats from De Beers. De Beers, however, had other interests to consider. Its entire system for monopolizing diamonds depended on its controlling the available stockpile. Transferring a large portion of the stockpile from London to New York City, where it would be out of its control, ran counter to the De Beers logic.

Even though the Americans persisted in the negotiations for the diamonds, they found that Sir Ernest Oppenheimer personally opposed any transfer of diamonds to the United States. He argued that if the United States had its own stockpile, and the war suddenly ended, it might release the diamonds and undercut the entire world order that he had so laboriously constructed. Moreover, he held that the United States had sufficient diamonds for present needs, and that De Beers would continue its delivery of diamonds to American manufacturers on a monthly basis. In one letter, he characterized the American demand for a stockpile as "farcical."

The Americans were dismayed by this intransigence. In an official Justice Department memorandum, the War Production Board expressed incredulity at the fact that "the leaders of the syndicate are intentionally risking the war production of the allies." President Roosevelt, disturbed by this development, ordered the State Department to intervene directly with Winston Churchill's war cabinet in London.

The State Department found, however, that the British government was reluctant to press De Beers to part with the diamonds. An investigation by U.S. intelligence indicated that the division of the British government responsible for acting on the request was entirely staffed by former executives of the De Beers "syndicate." In a secret memorandum, the War Production Board noted, "The diamond section of the government and the syndicate seem to be the same."* After the Roosevelt administration had made continuing efforts to persuade the British government that the diamonds were of critical importance to the United States war effort, it ordered the State Department to play its trump card and threaten that the United States would interrupt the supply of airplanes that was vitally needed by the British to=2 0defend themselves against the Luftwaffe bombing raids. According to a confidential report in this Justice Department archive, dated April 16, 1942, "It was said unofficially that we would not give planes to England if the syndicate would not sell us the diamonds with which to make them." This dramatic threat had the desired effect. The British government pressed De Beers to accommodate President Roosevelt, and De Beers yielded.

Oppenheimer agreed to supply the United States immediately with one million carats--14 percent of the American request---and deposit an additional stockpile in Canada for the duration of the war. This Canadian stockpile, which would remain under De Beers control, was meant to mitigate the American concern over the possible capture of the London stockpile.

The Roosevelt administration was not entirely satisfied with this compromise. It continued to apply pressure to the British government, demanding that De Beers supply the additional 5.5 million carats. By this time, the air of crisis had passed, and De Beers was able to procrastinate successfully. At first, it claimed that it did not have=2 0enough diamonds in its vaults to supply this amount. Then, after U.S. intelligence debunked this claim, De Beers advised that its vaults were bombed shut" in an air raid on London. A year passed. Then De Beers asserted that it needed additional time to prepare an inventory of the diamonds it had available.

By this time, American officials feared that De Beers, despite the pressure exerted on it, had no intention of allowing a diamond stockpile of any magnitude to be established, even in Canada. Moreover, manufacturers of. diamond tools in the United States had begun complaining to the Office of Price Control that De Beers had effectively raised its prices as much as 60 percent through the device of reducing the quality of the diamonds it delivered. So, though the official price per carat remained the same, manufacturers had to buy more of the lower quality diamonds to build the tools and dies for industry. Since it was exceedingly difficult for the price control officials to measure the relative quality of industrial diamonds, De Beers was able to persist in its claim that it had not raised prices. In any case, the Justice Department concluded that the De Beers monopoly, by manipulating supplies from20the stockpile, could impede the war effort.
The Justice Department decided then to launch its own investigation into the diamond monopoly. It had the full cooperation of the War Production Board, which still wanted control of the diamond stockpile, and the OSS, the newly created U.S. wartime intelligence service. The Investigators were not held back by any inhibitions about intercepting mail, borrowing bank records or other such extralegal measures. They all shared a common objective: helping the war effort. In their roughshod manner, they soon began turning up bits of evidence indicating that De Beers had systematically stifled diamond mining in areas of the world over which it could not exert control. For example, intercepted letters from Oppenheimer's associates suggested that litigation had been initiated in Venezuela to prevent Nelson Rockefeller and other Americans from developing diamond mines in that country. One such letter detailed the possibility of competition in Venezuela, and asked an intermediary to suggest to Oppenheimer that he be "ruthless in stamping it out." Another intercepted letter from a Belgian diamond executive suggested that De Beers was intentionally exhausting the diamond mines in the Belgian Congo, w hile preserving its mines in South Africa, so that after the war was over De Beers "will have complete control over the market.." Justice Department investigators also looked into charges that De Beers had conspired to buy out and shut down potential diamond mining areas in the country of Guyana and the state of Arkansas.

In Arkansas, it was charged that after diamonds were found there, Oppenheimer bought control of the company that was to mine the diamonds. Then, when the separation plant built on the site failed to produce a sufficient quantity of diamonds per ton of ore to make the mine profitable, it was closed. Subsequently, it was charged that the separation plant had been designed by the engineer in such a manner that it could not possibly retrieve diamonds. It emerged that the engineer was in the employ of De Beers. The mine, which was bought out by associates of Ernest Oppenheimer, was ordered closed in 1921 after Oppenheimer met the mine officials in New York, and the mine's records were ordered destroyed. "An inference could be drawn . . . "the Justice Department memorandum noted, "that the property was sabotaged and then closed at the insistence of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer." The evidence was admittedly highly circumstantial.

Whatever were the specific tactics of De Beers, the justice Department investigators reached the conclusion that the singular effect of these efforts was to artificially restrain the production of diamonds. This, in turn, produced higher prices. A 1944 memorandum to the attorney general concluded, "The United States is paying monopoly prices for an essential material needed in wartime production." If De Beers were an American company, the memorandum continued, "There would be no question as to [its] having violated the anti-trust laws." Since De Beers was a South African corporation, the Justice Department had to demonstrate that it had some jurisdiction over its activities before it could consider prosecuting it.
The FBI was called in to interview the leading diamond dealers in New York to determine whether De Beers, which sold them diamonds, could be construed as transacting business in the United States. The FBI reported, "The domestic trade operates in relative secrecy.... The syndicate will sell only to a small group of hand-picked dealers." It further noted that De Beers officials avoided coming to the United States, and all transactions took place in London. Further inquiry showed that De Beers had closed all its bank accounts in the United States at the outset of the investigation.

The assistant attorney generals at the Justice Department who had superintended the investigation realized that the antitrust division had little chance of ever bringing De Beers to court in the United States. Despite all the prodigious investigative efforts, the case was abandoned in late 1945. None of these documents cast any light on the question of how Hitler continued to obtain diamonds for the duration of the war. There was, however, an investigation of this problem by the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA.
According to a summary of OSS documents, the OSS learned through its agents in Germany that in November of 1943 Hitler had only an eight-month supply of industrial diamonds. When these diamonds ran out, Hitler's war machine would be crippled. It would no longer be possible to build V-2 rockets or other exotic weaponry. It was thus a crucial wartime goal to prevent Hitler from replenishing his supply of diamonds.
As all mines in South Africa were closed, the OSS reckoned that there was only one place on earth from which the Germans could get industrial diamonds in sufficient quantity to maintain their .military-industrial complex: the Belgian Congo. The Belgian Congo was, however, administered by the Belgian government in exile, which was in London and completely under British control. The mines themselves were supervised, and policed, by the De Beers syndicate. In fact, when the justice Department began to move against De Beers, the War Department objected on the grounds that it might undercut the security system that De Beers had developed in the Belgian Congo. In an exchange of secret correspondence between the War and Justice Departments (which was declassified under my Freedom of Information request), it was argued by an official responsible for maintaining the diamond blockade that "almost the entire [diamond] production of Africa is policed through the operation of elaborate controls extending through every mining area of the continent." Further, De Beers, which administered this program, sent "this controlled production ... in a closely guarded stream to London."

The OSS had determined, however, that tons of diamonds were somehow reaching Nazi Germany. If the De Beers system of "elaborate controls" was as effective as the War Department held, how could such enormous quantities of diamonds be regularly reaching Germany? To answer this question, the OSS had proposed sending its own undercover agents from its field office in Accra to the Belgian Congo. Since the British Ministry of Economic Warfare was responsible for allied activities in the Congo, this OSS action had to be cleared in London. At first the ministry blocked the request, and then it had proposed a joint "diamond investigation." OSS agents met with their British counterparts, but little was done to pinpoint the source of the smuggling. Finally the OSS chief in Accra reported to Washington, D.C.:
"We have now come to the conclusion (a) that our assistance was requested in this program so that the Diamond Trading Corporation might discover how much we actually knew of the ramifications of the De Beers world monopoly, and (b) that the OSS/Accra recommendations for a Security Committee were sabotaged, not by the British Government, but by the representatives of the Diamond Trading Corporation, Ltd., London, through their domination of the Diamond Committee of the Ministry of Economic Warfare."

As the OSS pursued the investigation, it found that the diamonds were reaching the Axis powers through Tangier and Cairo. Its agents, posing as illegal buyers in these entrepots, found that industrial diamonds were being sold for $26 a carat, which was thirty times the official price. It became increasingly clear that enormous profits were being made on the millions of carats that were being smuggled into Germany. Tracing their way back through the chain of illegal sellers, an OSS agent code-named Teton reported back from Leopoldville that "the major source of leakage was the Forminiere Mines," which had been under the control of the syndicate ever since they were developed. According to the OSS report, Teton, pretending to be an American official who had come to the Congo to register "all American males of draft age," made highly productive "contact" in Leopoldville and eventually turned up evidence "that a full year's supply of diamonds had reached Germany from Forminiere through Red Cross parcels." The shipment of several million carats of diamonds through the parcels that were regularly sent from the Congo to Nazi-occupied Belgium required considerable organization and support in the intervening areas.

Even though the investigation was causing great concern in the diamond section of the Ministry of Economic Warfare, Teton was ordered by the OSS to continue following the leads he had developed. Teton suspected that the Belgian police chief in Leopoldville was involved in the massive smuggling operation, and to test his suspicions he gave money to a Belgian citizen to make illegal diamond purchases in Leopoldville. As Teton suspected, the diamonds 'traced directly to the police chief. Before Teton could follow the trail any farther, however, e Belgian citizen was arrested by the police. The Belgian identified Teton as his source for the funds, and Teton was declared persona non grata by the governor general of the Congo, and expelled. It again seemed to the OSS that British interests had stifled the investigation.
In February of 1944, British and American intelligence officials met in Accra to attempt to resolve the jurisdiction problem. Rejecting the OSS idea of an "advisory commission" on diamond smuggling, the British decided instead have a diamond security expert and a mining engineer, bo of whom were to be hand-picked by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, conduct a security study of the mine. Even though this self-serving plan was never actually implemented, the OSS concluded, "Thus the responsibility for security would have been turned over entirely to the industry."
Nevertheless, it was decided that British Intelligence would have the responsibility for interdicting the flow of diamonds to the Nazis. The OSS report noted that although this British intelligence operation was initially "well-planned," it was unable to cope with the Syndicate's control of the industry and its dealing with the enemy."

The suggestion that the De Beers-controlled syndicate was "dealing with the enemy" was not accepted; or at least not acted upon by the U.S. War Department. In a secret memorandum, dated November 21, 1944, Patrick A. Gibson wrote Assistant Attorney General Edward S. Stimson, "I suppose that we could not make any allegation that the defendants (De Beers) themselves have prevented effective control of leakage of industrial diamonds to Germany. . . Any theory of this nature would seem to depend upon supporting action by some units of the British Government. Clearly, the British government was not about to investigate such a sensitive matter. It was therefore concluded that it would be imprudent to "be involved in a controversy of this nature." With the end of the war in 1945, the OSS was dissolved, and the question of "dealing with the enemy" was never resolved.
American servicemen returned from overseas and purchased diamond rings for engagements that they had deferred. To meet the new demand, De Beers re-opened its mines in South Africa. The diamond invention had survived the war intact.
A holocaust story by Mordechai Twersky Shlita :

There was something about my barber, Morris. I was always drawn to this affable, Mr. Hooper look-alike with the Popeye laugh, who greeted me with a smile each time I entered his popular Bronx barbershop along with my father and younger brother. The adult customers who flocked to him -- Jews, Italians, Irish -- sat in cream-colored, vintage barber chairs. Children had other amenities: an elevated, gleaming red fire truck and a box forever filled with candies.

I may have been only six-years-old, but Morris made me feel like a grown up. "Nu, calegaleh, how do you want the neck? A square-back or natural?" he'd ask, invoking the affectionate Yiddish word for colleague. Then he'd wrap the white-cloth smock around my neck, close the snaps, and remove my yarmulke.
"Careful with the peyis!" my father, who was Morris' rabbi, would warn him, while directing the haircut like a movie scene. Morris would then clip my side-locks precisely at the cheek bone.

The mere touch of Morris' loud, vibrating electric razor at the base of my neck would tickle my funny bone, triggering fits of hysterical laugher. "Nu, zai shtil!" Morris would whisper, in a futile attempt to get me to stop fidgeting. Then, in the haircut's final moments, he'd bring out his secret weapon -- what he dubbed the "hot comb" -- in a semi-successful attempt to tame the two stubborn cowlicks at each corner of my forehead. "Horns," I called them.
The rest of the time Morris would converse with my father in Yiddish. I couldn't understand a word, but the deep sighs and long pauses spoke volumes. And all the while there was the perpetual, almost haunting, sounds of Morris' scissors. Aside from my regular visits to his barbershop, I would see Morris at my father's synagogue when he'd come to recite the Yizkor, or Memorial Prayer, during the holidays.

On those occasions, I would notice a different man. Morris didn't mingle with his fellow congregants, nearly all of whom were his customers. He'd sit in the back row and stare blankl y into his prayer book, sometimes straight ahead, seemingly into nowhere.

Over time, I would learn that Morris, along with my father and nearly the entire congregation shared something in common: they were survivors of the Holocaust.

I would learn that the off-blue "KL" tattooed onto Morris' right forearm -- the mark I stared at for years -- was from a concentration camp, and I would take note of the repeated references to Nazis in Morris' Yiddish conversations with my father. I would learn that my name wasn't merely biblical: I was named for my paternal grandfather, who was murdered together with one of his sons and more than 50 Jews in July of 1941.

For me, Morris' lonely, sad, and detached synagogue demeanor overshadowed his barbershop persona. In a congregation of Holocaust survivors who seemed otherwise happy and well adjusted, Morris somehow stood out. His sighs could move mountains. But I did not dare approach him.

Unraveling the Mystery

During my high school years, as I drifted away from home, I drifted away from Morris. With my adolescent desire for "space" came the desire to replicate my friends' perfectly layered, designer haircuts. The bangs were comb ed back. The barbershop on White Plains Road was replaced by a trendy Manhattan salon with pulsating music, free of parental direction, Yiddish, and signature sighs.

Over the years I would see Morris in synagogue and feel guilty. He would look at my assorted holiday haircuts -- one year he saw a perm gone awry -- and ask: "Who's giving you haircuts? Er hut tzvei linkeh hendt (He has two left hands)!"

It was not until I was a 31-year-old graduate student in journalism in search of a documentary subject that I had my first in-depth encounter with Morris. I sought out this man -- who had since retired but continued to cut his rabbi's hair at our home -- determined to unravel the mystery of his past. "What would you like to know?" he replied in his heavily accented English. "Come up to the house, and we'll talk."

Several days later I visited Morris and his wife at their Bronx apartment. A faded, black and white picture immediately caught my eye: that of a baby girl in a carriage. "You've grown," said Morris, who hadn't seen me as often since my move to Manhattan. His wife, Fela, emerged from the den w ith an old color photo: it was from my brother Isaac's traditional first haircut at age three. The year was 1969, and pictured with my brother was Morris, holding his trademark scissors.

"I had a child, once," he began. "Her name was Rivkaleh. She was only five years old when they took her from me." Then, Morris, who must have been 80 years old at the time, held out his hands. "You see these?" he asked. There was a slight tremor in his hands, which were thick, tinged with red, with hardly a wrinkle. "These kept me alive."

"I don't understand," I politely replied, hoping he would elaborate. "The Nazis needed barbers in the ghettos and in the camps," he said matter-of-factly. "Why else would they keep me alive?"

As I sat there, my mind raced. I imagined Morris some 50 years earlier in a striped prison uniform. I stared at his hands -- the very same hands that for years caressed my face, offered me candies, and shielded my eyes when he trimmed my bangs. My thoughts turned to others who sat in his barber chair during the war in Poland: German SS officers who came for their daily shave, and countless Jews whose hair was sheared before entering the gas chamber.

Over the course of two hours, Morris described the harrowing tale of his daughter's murder. He said he dreamt of her often and still wonders whether she could have been saved. "A Pollack once begged me to give him my girl," he recalled. "He wanted to raise her. She had blonde hair and didn't look Jewish." He told of his experiences in five concentration camps, his liberation from Dachau, and his arrival in the United States with his first wife, who by that time was ill and could no longer have children. She died in 1970.

"Doss iz iss," Morris said in Yiddish, summing up with a deep sigh. "That's the way it is. There was nobody to cry to for help." I learned how he prolonged the lives of fellow inmates by sharing with them the food rations he earned as a barber. And I learned of his encounter with his daughter's murderer when he testified against him at a war crimes trial in Germany.

"I spit him in his face, that Nazi bastard," Morris said, in his only visible display of emotion. In the year following my interview with Morris, I returned to him, making sure to be present at my parent's home every time he cut my father's hair. Now I wanted Morris to cut my hair.

Following my aliyah to Israel I maintained contact with Morris, speaking with him before the Jewish holidays. He would emerge from retirement to give the traditional first haircuts to each of my brother's four sons. My father and Morris have since passed away, and no haircut has ever been the same.
More often than not, the barber chair feels cold. My memory drifts back to the Bronx, to the voices and images of two men who shared their past and their pain in a bi-monthly series of conversations that spanned 40 years. And I can still hear the scissors.

Today, Morris' old barbershop is a stationery store. The legacy of that space, receded into history, is unknown to a new generation of residents. But for me, the light in the store still burns. The barber's pole on White Plains Road beneath the elevated subway line still turns. "What's it gonna be?" a bi-lingual barber in his forties asks me before beginning a recent haircut in Jerusalem .
"Give me a square-back," I reply. "And -- " "Yes?" he asks. "Careful with the peyis."

Gamal Abdal Nasser (1918-1970): The author Goodrick-Clarke says Nasser was "well disposed" towards the Nazis

Most people assumes that when Nazi's fled Europe after the war most of them went to Latin America, where the ruling elite's - such as the Peron's in Argentina - had always been sympathetic to Nazi ideology. Many did, but a sizable number of others find work in Egypt, notably under the regime of Gamal Abdal Nasser (1918-1970), an Egyptian army officer and political leader, who was the first president of the republic of Egypt (1956-70). In 1952 he led the coup that deposed King Farouk (another Nazi sympathizer), and later became premier (1954), and president (1956). Hitler had enjoyed quite a following among the nationalist youth of Egypt during th e war, after Nassiri Nasser, the brother of Gamal had published an Arab edition of Mein Kampf in 1939, describing its author as the "strongest man of Europe".
The Nazi-Arab connection started by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, continued after the war according to Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke writing in Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan myth, and Neo-Nazism (New York University Press, New York, USA, 1998). The Middle East had emerged as a haven for Nazis fleeing Europe in the 1950s, which had its roots in the anti-British and pro-Nazi attitudes of Vichy Syria, Rashid Ali in Iraq, King Farouk of Egypt and the Mufti of Jerusalem.
Thus, Egypt became like Argentina, a safe-haven for Nazi's fleeing justice and retribution from the Allies in Europe. Goodrick-Clarke states that King Farouk had been "impressed" by his garage mechanics recruited from Af rika Korps POWs, and:

"Wondered what he might achieve with officers from elite units of the Gestapo and SS who had fought so hard against the hated British" (p174).

Thus, a number of "nazi experts" who had escaped the Allied dragnet were hired by the King as military, financial and technical advisers. Although King Farouk was ousted in a military coup in January 1952, the Generals of the Egyptian armed forces were themselves "great admirers" of the Nazi's and "availed themselves of further large-scale imports of ex-Nazi expertise". They were to be helped by the former Luftwaffe ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the ex-SS commando Otto Skorzeny (1908-1975) and Eugen Dollman in recruiting "large numbers" of former Nazi fugitives from Argentina for key posts in the new republican regime in Egypt.

It is Skorzeny who is generally credited with setting up the famous escape network to help Nazi war criminals escape Europe after the war, known as the ODESSA network. Thousands of Nazi war criminals benefited from his escape network (helped by the Vatican) and fled to Arab countries and Latin America between 1949 and 1952. The ODESSA network also had close links with the CIA - Skorzeny himself worked with the new West German intelligence service set up under CIA auspices by the former wartime German intelligence chief, Reinhard Gehlen. In fact, it was the leading CIA officer Allen Dulles who invited this SS war criminal to help reorganize the security forces of the new Egyptian Republic.

Apparently, Skorzeny was approached by Mossad while living in Spain, in 1963, and agreed to provide information on Germans working in Egypt - especially rocket scientists. Mossad sent men who were said to have posed as 'NATO officials'. One possible explanation for the Nazi's co-operation may be that the CIA's James Jesus Angleton was responsible for links to other Western agencies, and had good relations with Israel and Mossad. Apparently, the CIA chief Allen Dulles asked Gehlen to inject some "life and expertise" into the Egyptian secret service:

"Some former SS and Gestapo officers had been supplied, with a first batch of about 100 being enlisted by Otto Skorzeny in 1953" (Ian Black and Benny Morris, Israel's Secret Wars, p161)

The first victims may have been Egyptian Jews and Communists, tortured by Gestapo experts. But the Nazi network spread through the Arab world (for instance Alois Brunner in Damascus), and later probably played a part in the pogroms and massacres against the Left in Iraq following the CIA (and Nasser) - backed coup there in 1963.

As early as January 1952, the ODESSA network was in contact with "influential" Egyptian army officers and the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who had lived in Egypt since the fall of Nazi Germany. According to the Israeli intelligence agency MOSSAD and French intelligence files, numerous former SS officers held key positions in the secret service and political police in Egypt. These included:

· Joachim Däumling, former Gestapo chief in Düsseldorf, and later engaged in SS operations in Croatia. He was employed to set up the Egyptian secret service along the lines of the SS Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Himmler's Reich Security Main Office); he was helped by the former Gestapo chief of Warsaw who organized the security police.

· SS General Oskar Dirlewanger, chief of the infamous SS penal brigade;

· SS Major Eugen Eichberger, battalion-commander in the Dirlewanger brigade;

· SS Colonel Leopold Gleim, chief of the Gestapo department for Jewish affairs in Poland;

· SS Lieutenant Colonel Bernhard Bender, Gestapo official in Poland the USSR, whose knowledge of Yiddish enabled him to penetrate Jewish underground organizations;

· SS General Heinrich Selimann, Gestapo chief in Ulm;

· SS Major Schmalstich, Gestapo liaison officer to French collaborationists and organizer of Jewish transports from Paris to Auschwitz;

· SS Major Seipal, Gestapo official in Paris;

· SS General Alois Moser, a war criminal who was involved in the extermination of the Soviet Jews in the Ukraine;

· SS officer Johannes von Leers (1902-1963), who had been responsible for anti-Semitic campaigns at Goebbels' propaganda ministry;

· SS officer, Alois Brunner, who had held senior position in Adolph Eichmann's "Jewish Department", and is now believed to be living under the protection of the Syrian secret police in Damascus;

· SS Major Walter Bollman, Nazi espionage chief in Britain before the war, and also involved in crimes against humanity and genocide against the Jews of the Ukraine;


· SS official Louis Heiden, who was transferred to the Egyptian press office during the war;

· Franz Bartel, and "old fighter" in the early days of the NSDAP in Germany, and Gestapo officer;

· Walter Birgal, an SS officer from Leipzig;

· Erich Bunz, a former SA major and expert in the "Jewish Question";

· Albert Thielemann, a regional SS chief in Bohemia;

· SS Captain Wilhelm Böckler, a war criminal who had precipitated in the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto;

· Wehrmacht General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher, who took over the central planning staff in Cairo . . . .

Added to this were a number of former Nazi officials and sixty military experts, mostly former Waffen-SS men, who assisted in the training of the Egyptian army. Several of them were also linked in 1958 with the then Algerian government-in-exile. At least 200 German and Austrian scientists and other personnel were deployed in the new aircraft and missile centre at Helwan, where new staff physician was Dr. Hanns Eisele, SS Captain and medical torturer in the death camp at Buchenwald. Goodrick-Clarke says that President Gamal Abdel Nasser was "well disposed" towards the Nazis, all the more because they wished to take part in the destruction of Israel. The presence of so many Nazi's in Egypt under the Nasser regime was exposed in the world press in October 1962, and precipitated a crisis in the Israeli government (who had ordered MOSSAD to make try and kill several of the Nazi's), and embarrassment in West Germany, over the exposure of postwar Nazi collaboration with the Nasser regime.

Not surprisingly, the few remaining Egyptian Jews fled. From population of 75,000 Jews in 1948, by 1974 only 350 remained. In 1956, 4000 Jews were expelled, a fter being forced to renounce all property rights and financial claims. In 1957, all Egyptian Jews not in "continuous residence" since 1900 were deprived of citizenship. In 1960, many synagogues were closed down, along with Jewish orphanages, schools, hospitals and old peoples homes; and in 1967, all Jews in official positions were dismissed, with many more tortured and expelled, according to Martin Gilbert, author of The Routledge Atlas of Jewish History (Routledge, London, 1995).

During the Holocaust there were Jewish smugglers in and out of the camps at great risk and even under Stalin and still today to smuggle a ton: Chabad Hasidim smuggle matzos into Iran - Faced with matzos shortage ahead of Pesach, Iran's Jews receive help from Hasidic organization, which launched secret operation to deliver one ton of matzos to Islamic Republic's community,7340,L-3698787,00.html

On Pessah morning in 1946, Mrs. Margaret Ashton Stimson Lindsley crossed the moat surrounding the Acre Prison in British Mandatory Palestine. She gazed at the majestic fortress walls, still studded with cannon balls from Napoleon's assault a century and a half earlier.

A less adventurous soul might not have chosen to visit Palestine, much less its most notorious prison, in 1946, when the Holy Land was racked by warfare between Jewish underground militias seeking statehood and a British Mandatory regime that refused to yield. More than a few would-be visitors to the Holy Land postponed their travel plans to avoid being caught in the whirlwind of bombings and shoot-outs.

But Lindsley was not the type to be deterred by the dangers of war. She was a crusading journalist of the old school, and she had adopted the fight for Jewish statehood as her cause. Acre Prison was exactly the kind of place she wanted to see, so she could expose the injustice of British rule to her readers around the world.

A native of the Boston suburb of Dedham, Lorna (her preferred name) Lindsley was, as The New York Times put it, "of early and distinguished New England descent." Her father, a cousin of secretary of war Henry Stimson, had served as US ambassador to Argentina. Lorna attended Radcliffe College, then headed for the more exciting cultural milieu of interwar Paris.

It was when civil war erupted in Spain in 1936 that Lindsley found her true calling. Attaching herself to the Loyalist (anti-fascist) forces, she wrote a series of pro-Loyalist articles for US newspapers and political magazines. Lindsley did not pretend to be an objective reporter. In between articles, she served as a nurse to wounded Loyalist soldiers and wrote letters home for those too badly injured to hold a pen. After Franco's triumph, she returned to Paris. In the spring of 1940, with the German army approaching, more than one million of the city's residents fled.

Lindsley too left - but only for a few days, to smuggle out film footage of the invasion. Three days later, she was back in the French capital. For the next five months, Lindsley defied the terror of the Nazi regime to help smuggle Jewish and political refugees out of the city. Her reports from within the German zone became an important source of eyewitness information for the American and British press. After returning to the United States in 1941, she wrote her first and only book, War Is People, which described the impact of war on the lives of ordinary citizens.

LINDSLEY COULD not sit still for long. By 1946, she was in Mandatory Palestine, championing the cause of Menachem Begin's Irgun Zvai Leumi militia as it fought the British to achieve Jewish independence. When Lindsley's request to interview imprisoned Irgun fighters was turned down by the British authorities, she "found a way to go without asking"- by pretending to be a member of the first family of Revisionist Zionism, the Jabotinskys, so she could join them on a visit to jail.

Lindsley's account of her memorab le visit to the Acre Prison appears in an unpublished article that has been made available to the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies by the family of Eri Jabotinsky (1909-1967), son of the Revisionist Zionist leader, Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Lindsley's report offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the men and women who fought for the creation of Israel.

Eri was a leader of the Irgun's "aliya bet" underground railroad, which smuggled tens of thousands of Jews from Europe to Palestine in defiance of British immigration restrictions. He also spent much of 1941-1944 in the US, as one of the leaders of the Bergson Group, which organized protests urging the Allies to rescue European Jewry. In 1939-1940 and again in 1945-1946, Eri was jailed by the British, in the Acre Prison, for his immigration activity. While Eri was in Acre the second time, he was joined there by his 17-year-old cousin Peleg Tamir, also an Irgun activist. By the spring of 1946, Eri was free but Peleg remained behind bars.

VISITS TO security prisoners were granted to their families once every two months, plus on Jewish holidays, so the approach of Pessah presented Lindsley with her opportunity. "I was to be 'adopted' by a family for that day, and would enter as one of them," she wrote. Eri invited her to be a Jabotinsky for the day, and so she traveled to Acre with Peleg's grandmother and parents, Eri and his wife, and Eri's three-year-old daughter Karny - "her first visit to a prison, to get her used to it," Eri joked. "As we crossed the drawbridge of the ancient castle so handsome to the passing eye, Eri Jabotinsky looked at me and grinned and said, 'Welcome to the family chateau!'" wrote Lindsley.

Visitors were allotted 25 minutes. "Peleg was at the wire, a handsome dark-haired boy with a fine smile, and all the family started talking at once to him till he begged for mercy," she wrote. They "exchanged the news from outside the prison for the news inside the prison." Peleg and 19 comrades had been arrested while undergoing Irgun training in Shuni. The British also claimed they were linked to a cache of arms discovered in the area. They denied the charge but were convicted anyway, and given prison terms; Peleg was sentenced to four years.

"On the same day and in the same court, an Arab was tried for keeping an unlicensed gun on the roof of his house," Lindsley reported. "His defense, uncorroborated, was that the gun had been planted there by20a policeman who had a grudge against him. The Arab was released." This kind of double standard is "what makes for a bitterness [among the Jews] in Palestine," she noted.

Also among the Jabotinsky "family" that day was Hassia Hassan, "a 15-year-old Canadian girl, a Jewess, a young sweetheart of Peleg's," Lindsley wrote. "She did not speak, she gazed at Peleg and adored him in silence. Because she was his friend she was now under house arrest in Haifa, which meant ... no movies nor ice cream for her at the corner food shops ... In her the Government of Palestine has another political prisoner in the making." All too soon, "a guard with a baton started beating on the wooden barricade, our time was up."

Ahavas Yisrael or the love for fellow Jews will undue the destruction and bring about the Moshiach. It was the theme of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of saintly memory when he asked all Jews upon awakening to say, “I am prepared to fulfill the command of Love thy Neighbor as thyself – I love all Jews.” Mindy G. a completely non-religious woman wrote me this: Y ou are sleeping and I should be - but i decided to view 3 [arts (still have the 4th left) of Mein Kampf.................
if it happened once before in the last 70 years - it can happen again..............people thrive on fear and need for direction - whether the direction is 'appropriate" - and people wonder why I am a ZIONISTIC person..................
and agnostic. it's not GOD - I can spell it as it doesn't have the meaning to me, as to you and you congregation. It's being a Jew - & an European Jew......I will stand beside all Jews, no matter what. It sometimes is not the belief the doing of a mitzvah for the sake of the mitzvah itself that elevates the world. I unfortunately know too many Jews under the façade of being religious but deep down there is something that needs not a repair but a complete overhaul and here is this non-believe that deep down has a real pintele Yid.

According my great-grandmother’s family history the Jews were expelled from Portugal during the Inquisition and our family ended up in the town of Vortice or Utitz in northern Czech this week the Jerusalem Post had an article about hidden Jews in Portugal (thanks to Elio R.):
A story that I picked up from a group on Facebook: Please make Hashem jump

There is a story about Rabbi Moshe Leib. Who was informed from heaven that in Hungary there is a lofty soul that needs to be saved. Rabbi Moshe hurried on his carriage and went to Hungary. The journey was long, and he passed many fields and rivers. At one point he came to a mountain peak, over there he noticed many ducks and a little ten year old boy taking care of them. As the Rabbi was looking he heard the boy say “Creator of the universe, I really love you thank you for everything , thank you for the sun that rises each morning and the wind, thank you for the life you gave me and health, thank you for my eyes that are able to see everything, and my heart that feels…

Rabbi Moshe was listening but the boy didn’t finish and said “ Hashem how can I thank you for all your kindness, how can I thank you for making the people of this city trust me by giving me their ducks to watch. And giving me financial income to support my widowed mother…
“Creator of the world if I would know how to pray I would pray before you, if I would know how to learn your Torah I would learn the whole day. But I don’t know how to pray and learn “ after a moment of confusion the boy cried with joy but I know how to do something that no one in the city knows how to do like me. I know how to do flips! And I am going to do it right now -only for you Hashem”.

He flipped and flipped, on and on he went until he was standing right in front Rabbi Moshe.

Rabbi Moshe hugged him and embraced him with warmth and tears. He asked him to take the ducks home and come with him. And together they went to his mother, Rabbi Moshe gave his mother money enough to support them for one year. Rabbi Moshe then took the boy with him to learn, and the boy become the famous Rabbi Yitzhak.
Pesah means to jump, Hashem jumped over the houses of the Jews and the Egyptians were punished.

But why?

Because the Jews flipped over, they20brought the sacrifice of Pesah (Korban Pesah). They smeared the blood on their doorpost and they showed that they really wanted to attach themselves to Ribono Shel Olam. It was hard and very scary but that’s how you can bring the redemption (Geula). Something they really imagined to do- to go against the mentality and style of living that contradicted with their nature, after 210 years, but they flipped over and they were saved from slavery and became free. The most scary six letter word is change . The message of Pesah is when we intent to change our path toward Torah and mitzvot, in the same aspect Hashem will jump and will cancel any harm and decrees against Am Israel.

It only makes sense measure for measure the harder it is the greater savior will come about.

Hag kosher vesameh,
Binyamin Jadidi posted by Gene Alberts
This came on April 15th so to Americans this has a double meaning: WHO IS THE REAL THEIF?!

There is a story about a villager who was struggling financially. One day it was too much for him and so he turned to his wife and suggested ‘”I will go the big city and maybe there I will find work, and I ‘ll come home with a few hundreds” he concluded excitedly.

So the villager went with high hopes to the big city to see if he can find a job. It was not too long when he f ound a job opening as an assistant baker. He accepted it happily, there he received daily bread to eat and hot nourishing food. The villager learned his job fairly quickly and earned a good salary.

It was soon time to leave, his boss embraced him warmly, gave him his full salary and wished him well.

The villager was on his way home. His thoughts turned to his money sitting in his pocket. With this money I’ll be able to pay all my debts, and then maybe to open up my own small bakery so I can be able to support my family respectfully. His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a loud “STOP”

There was a robber standing in front of him with a gun aimed at him in his hands.

“Your money or your life” he shouted.

You can’t argue with someone who’s aiming a gun at you. The villager thought for a second and said “ Look, this money is hard earned money I have accumulated this money for over two years now, and now my poor wife she is waiting for me , and if I come home with nothing my wife would think that during my time in the big city I wasted my time and just played around while she spent her days in poverty and starvation. You can take the money but I have one final request, I’ll take off my coat and I’ll hang it on this branch, just like this and now shoot a bullet please at my coat so my wife should believe me when I come home a nd should know that I was robbed off”.

The robber agreed and he aimed his gun at the villager’s coat.

“Another bullet” the villager asked. The robber shot a second bullet.

“And now please shoot one through my hat” the villager hanged his hat on the branch and the robber shot a bullet through it.

“Another bullet” the villager asked.

“I am sorry” the robber said I am out of bullets.

“if so , the villager said I am not scared of you anymore” The villager beat the robber to the ground, took his money and ran to the village. As he heard the robber screaming with anger “Robber, burglar it’s not enough that you beat me up, you also took my money!

This story is right on the point- us and other nations.
We read in the Haggadah during the night of Pessach that “In every generation other nations rise to destroy us and Hashem saves us from their hands”.

What a true and precise prediction!

In every generation we have been accused and tortured starting from the time of Pharaoh till today.


Hag Sameach,
Binyamin Jadidi

Syrian Jewry while Iranian Jews remain in fear today Thanks to Tzvi (I posted this about a year ago but due to hundreds of new readers I am reposting)
Plight of Syrian Jews
For the first time in 17 years Alice Eve Sardell breaks her silence on the story behind the exodus of the remnant of Syria's Jews in 1992. Alice Sardell was President of the Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, which could take primary credit for the Herculean and arduous task of lobbying US politicians, government officials and heads of state around the world for the freedom of some 3,000 hostage Jews. The Israeli government was not involved, and the name of Mrs. Judy Feld Carr is notably absent from Ms Sardell's account in Image Magazine (March 2009).

"As the Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews approached the 17th anniversary of our successful rescue of our 4,500 brethren from Syria, I received a phone call from my sister who told me that she met a woman in synagogue who did not know why she was allowed to leave Syria in 1992. She had heard about an organization, but was too young to know the stor y.

"Until now, I have not spoken publicly about our work for fear of recrimination against those few Jews who chose to remain in Syria. However, I believe that enough time has passed to allow us to begin to bring to light the story of the exodus of Syria’s Jewish community. Since 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, Syria’s Jewish community had been held as hostages living under Syria’s Secret Police and subject to arbitrary arrests and systematic torture.

"Freedom for the Jews of Syria beginning in 1992 came about after a long and intense American and international human rights campaign led by The Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, with the United States government at the forefront. Our goal was to persuade Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad that holding its Jewish community hostage was no longer in Syria’s interest. Syria’s Jews were entitled to the same rights as every other Syrian citizen, and the right to
travel was no exception.

"Our organization began at a meeting in Brooklyn in 1989, organized by the founders and led by Dr. Mayer20Ballas. It was at our second meeting at the home of Mr. Stephen Shalom in Manhattan that we found our name, The Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews (CRSJ). We decided that despite past failed attempts of others, we were going to work to obtain the right for the entire Jewish community to leave Syria, and that we were not going to stop until every Jew in Syria who wanted to leave was able to do so.

"The first Jewish organization that helped us was AIPAC, in particular, Mr. Joel Schnur. He attended our first meeting and invited a few of us to start to meet with Congressmen and Senators at AIPAC’s office in Manhattan. AIPAC gave us immediate entree to the United States Congress and carried our message with them. They would let us know when an official was coming to town, invited us to their receptions, and helped to give the CRSJ enormous credibility.

"We were a very hardworking and dedicated group that worked well together and depended on each other. This was clearly a collaborative effort of thought, strategy, perseverance, courage and faith. Our vice-presidents, Marcos Zalta, Clement Soffer and Jack Mann, were the most passionate, committed individuals that I have ever met. Together, CRSJ with our Executive Director, Professor Gilbert Kahn and our executive assistant, Renee Shaab, were relentless.
"Most of the CRSJ’s work was done in Washington DC. We spent an enormous amount of time flying regularly to Washington, which though expensive proved extremely important to our success. It was in Washington that we began educating people in the White House, the State Department as well as the United States Senators and Congressmen about the fact that since 1948, Syria’s Jewish community had been held hostage and were unable to travel. Most
offices were not even aware that Jews still existed in Syria and were astonished to find out that they were monitored by Syria’s secret police and were under constant threat of imprisonment, torture, and even public hanging.

"Despite this, the State Department was skeptical and said that freedom for the Jews in Syria would never happen until there was peace with Israel. We made it clear that we could not wait until then, that the Jews of Syria lived a very tenuou s existence and had to be freed.

"It was in Washington that we were able to meet with the United States Ambassadors to Syria, Edward Djerejian and Christopher Ross, and cultivated a relationship with Syria’s Ambassador to the United States Walid Al-Moualem, relationships that were pivotal to our success.

"The first congressmen to be involved in this issue were Congressman Stephen Solarz, Congressman Charles Schumer and Congressman Benjamin Gilman. Congressman Wayne Owens of Utah A”H welcomed us with open arms, and his office was our home base when we were in Washington. Congressman Tom Lantos A”H jumped on board, and it was at his invitation that I testified in front of the United States Congress’ Human Rights Caucus
detailing the situation in Syria for its Jewish community.

"Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Arlen Specter, Senator John McCain and Senator Richard Lugar were the first senators to take our issue to heart and were the sponsors of our first Senate letter. We worked closely with the senators and congressmen to write many letters on b ehalf of the Jews of Syria and on behalf of prisoners Eli and Selim Soued.

"These letters, signed by hundreds of senators and congressmen, were sent to President Hafez Al-Assad. Resolutions that we worked on with the United States Congress were passed by an overwhelming majority in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.
Many senators and congressmen visited Syria at our urging, and armed with all the information they needed, they asked President Hafez Al-Assad about Syria’s Jewish community.

"Congressman Owens A”H made many trips to Syria on our behalf and specifically asked President Hafez Al-Assad if he could visit with Eli and Selim Soued in prison.
Senator Metzenbaum flew to Syria with a delegation of congressmen and met President Hafez Al-Assad, asking for the release of the Soued brothers and for the right to travel for Syria’s Jews.

"This was the first time that powerful politicians were traveling to Syria and consistently asking abou t the status of its Jewish community. In order to show appreciation for the many senators and congressmen, several families from our community graciously opened their homes to host political events, especially Abe and Barbara Chehebar, Joseph and Mindy Cohen, and Jake
and Sari Kassin.

"The CRSJ’s strategy was to meet in advance with every King, President, Head of State, Congressman, and VIP who was going to meet with President Assad to inform them about the plight of Syria’s Jews.

"During the spring of 1990, we flew to Washington DC to meet privately with the President of Argentina, Carlos Saul Menem. The meeting was a success as President Menem, a Syrian by birth, vowed not to rest until all of Syria’s Jews were free.

"As a result of such meetings, President Assad was asked repeatedly: “What about freedom for your Jewish community?” President Assad slowly began to understand that the world was watching, that the world cared about the Jews of Syria, and that this issue was not going to go away.

"When President George H. Bush met with President Assad in Geneva, I fortuitously was able to help write his talking p oints. The plight of Syria’s Jews was finally on the White House agenda.
In 1991, we began to organize rallies and public information efforts. We were on television and radio explaining to the world that the Jews of Syria were being held hostage. We ran full page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post. We began with two rallies which the Jewish Community Relations Council helped us to organize—one in New York in front of the Syrian Embassy and the next day in Washington.

"We also helped to organize demonstrations in Europe and Australia. We worked with the European Parliament to deny Syria money three years in a row, due to the fact that Syria was holding the Jewish community hostage. In New York we met King Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, whose help we enlisted in denying loans to Syria and blocking financial borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Italy and Belgium. Soon after, we were able to meet with Robert Maxwell, who was acting as an advisor to President Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR. He enlisted Gorbachev, who denied Syria spare parts to their Russian MiGs until Syria released all their Jews.

"It was becoming harder and harder for Syria to hold onto its Jewish community. The first sign of success came when the Syrian Ambassador told us that the divided families would be permitted to be reunited. The first children who were released were the two Alfie children, who had been separated from their parents for six years.

"We were ecstatic and together with Sephardic Bikur Holim, led by Joseph Beyda A”H, were at the airport to greet them with their families. This was a dramatic and heartwarming moment that I will never forget.(...)

"We kept the international pressure on Syria, and after some very complicated political maneuvering; Syria finally relented and announced on April 28, 1992, that they would allow its Jewish community the right to travel. This was front page news in the New York Times.

"We then started to work closely with the US State Department, the US Embassy in Syria,
and the US Ambassador to Syria and all of his staff to begin the process of obtaining exit visas.

Once we realized that we were really going to obtain the permission for Syrian Jews to travel out of Syria, a secret organization was formed called the Transmigration Committee.

"It was headed by the UJA-Federation, and included the Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, Sephardic Bikur Holim, NYANA, HIAS, the Jewish Agency, and several other Jewish organizations that would be involved with the resettlement. The UJA-Jewish Federation quietly raised and spent 26 million dollars to pay for all the services and needs of the resettlement. With the generosity of Mr. Edmond Safra A”H, we organized the flights and arranged for tickets to the United States for those who could not afford them. We also worked to obtain the status of political asylum for everyone with then-Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger. This status was granted by the United States government. As the Jews began to leave Syria, Sephardic Bikur Holim took over the huge task of resettling them into their new homes in our community in Brooklyn.

"On November 3, 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States, the doors closed on Syria’s Jewish community. President Assad wanted to renegotiate with America’s new President. This was not to be. The plight of Syria’s Jews was on the radar, and we were asked to write the position paper on the status of Syria’s Jewish community for the new Clinton administration. In the Clinton White House we were blessed with President Bill Clinton, Martin Indyk and the spectacular Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who went to Syria and who single-handedly did not allow President Hafez Al-Assad to back down on his word given to the Bush Administration to let the Jewish community have the right to travel from Syria. The door opened again and the exodus resumed.

"There have been other people and other governments that have tried to take credit for our accomplishments. There are those that dedicated their lives to bringing out individuals in the years prior to our effor t, and we applaud and recognize their important work. However, we will not allow anyone to rewrite history and take credit for work that they did not do.

"Neither they nor the Israeli government were responsible for freeing the entire community. The release of the Jewish community from Syria was and always will be a human rights effort led by the United States government and our community’s Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews. It was the CRSJ that globalized the effort by meeting heads of state and their representatives from governments around the world. It was the CRSJ that enlisted Congress and the
State Department in the effort. It was the CRSJ that inspired, educated and coordinated the other Jewish organizations.

"Together we traveled this journey to obtain freedom for our brethren. During the years that The Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews worked to make this miracle happen, our community was in its finest hour. Everyone’s hands were open, their hearts were open, and the support for the cause was bountiful. It was a wonderful time for our community and a testament to our determination and love for each other. The entire effort took nearly four and a half years. We were told over and over again that freeing the Jews from Syria could never happen. But in the end, it did.

"It was a complicated and Herculean effort. There were so many wonderful people that we had the good fortune of meeting and who helped along the way to make this happen. For those whom I did not mention in this account, please forgive me."

Where is the F-15 mentioned in the Medrash and writings of our Sages? The Torah says that in the redemption of Egypt, Hashem carried us on eagle’s wings (kanfei nesharim). The message here is just like the eagle that protects his children from the arrows of the hunter by carrying his children on his back so he rather to be harmed than his children. So too, this is what Hashem did for us when the Egyptians were attacking us with their arrows Hashem sent His clouds to shield us, and He accepted the pain so we’ll be safe. – I took the writing from the same source as above and added my question.

Alan Friedlander Shlita sent me this which not only might be a healing for physical ills but a healing for financial ills. Why Shmiras Haloshon (Guarding Your Tongue) is Suc h a Powerful Z'chus (Merit) for a Refuah Sheleimah (Complete Healing)

From (

"For many years, thousands of Jews turned to Rav Yehuda Zev Segal, the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, zt"l, as an invaluable source of guidance in times of crisis. He was world-renowned for his love for every member of Klal Yisroel, and for his awesome power of Tefillah. Few people were as effective a messenger fro beseeching Hashem with the pleas of troubled Jews.

The Rosh Yeshiva's Advice:
Invariably, Rav Segal's advice to people looking for Hashem's compassion for their loved ones was to faithfully learn, every day, a small portion of the halachos of Shmiras Haloshson from the Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

He gave this advice because he knew that loshon hora is an enormous barrier to receiving Hashem's mercy. To effectively daven for a refuah sheima or other help, loshon hora must be conquered. And the surest way to conquer it is to follow the Chofetz Chaim's own advice: learn the Halachos every day. Even a small amount of learning creates a constant awareness of loshon hora and delivers the Siyata Dishamaya to successfully avoid it.

How Loshon Hora Affects Davening(Prayer)
When illness strikes, our natural reaction is to daven. And=2 0that is exactly the response Hashem desires. But the mouth is the "manufacturing equipment" for our davening and if the equipment is faulty, the product it produces will be faulty too. If one's mouth is contaminated by loshon hora, its' tefillos will likewise be tainted, and their power to reach Heaven will be seriously weakened. But when we keep Shmiras Haloshon, our tefillos rise swiftly unhindered by prejudice and gossip.

Middah Kenegged Mida:
If One Rejects Loshon Hora, Hashem Rejects Accusations Against Him
In the Heavenly Court, the system of justice is Middah Kenegged Middah (measure for measure): the wary we judge our fellow man in this world is precisely the way we ourselves are judged in Heaven. If we judge with a critical eye, magnifying faults and overlooking nothing, that is how our own actions will be judged.

But, if we exercise mercy and understanding in judging others, the Heavenly Court will look with equal compassion upon our own shortcomings.

Invoking Infinite Mercy
All Hashem wants is to shower us with His limitless store of mercy. When we act compassionately by avoiding and rejecting loshon hora, we allow compassion to flow from Hashem into our lives. Shmiras Haloshon not only opens the gates of Heaven to our prayers, it keeps Hashem's protection with us and draws to us a full measure of His abundant mercy.

Shmiras Haloshon Yomi

Clearly, the advice of the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, zt"l, is one of the most potent means we possess to strengthen the impact of our tefillos and bring z'chuyos to those who are ill or are facing other serious problems. Every friend, family member or neighbor who you set upon this pat of learning will multiply this merit.

Rav Segal left us with the "roadmap" that he used successfully to guide thousands of troubled Jews through life's greatest difficulties. That map is Shmiras Haloshon Yomi, the daily learning program for Shmiras Haloshon. Begin learning today, and create a well-spring of Divine protection and mercy, an unparalleled source of merit for health and happiness."
One can get a daily update of Shmiras HaLashon from the Chofetz Chaim Organization by googling them.
From Elio R. - Anusim (Maranos):
Sandra sent me this Chassid says he own words on Psalm 1 in English:
Inyanay Diyoma
I knew Yair Mendelssohn H”YD through is wife and was at his wedding. He was an ambulance driver gunned down in could blood in Nissan. What the Nazis failed to do to his parents, the terrorist succeeded in breaking them.
From Monique Anti-semites of a feather flock together Jerry Adams and Hamas:
‘Israel doesn't take orders from Obama,' minister Erdan says:
Almaz sent me this she had a similar story in her family which joins with Elio T. and Lizet not getting jobs because of discrimination:
From Pierre how Hamas and others educate their children:
Thanks to Lisa an understanding of the US constitution:
Israel's Air & Missile Forces Could Wipe out Iran's Nuclear Sites
The detailed report compiled by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington last month, complete w ith graphs and diagrams, has been reprinted in thousands of copies in Tehran. It is compulsory reading for its intelligence and Revolutionary Guards personnel because the Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities concludes that the Jewish state has all the resources necessary for a successful strike.

When asked recently, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, agreed with this estimate. This week, president Shimon Peres and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu both said that if diplomacy failed to halt Iran's nuclear activities, Israel would be left with no option other than the military one. And Tuesday, April 14, the New York Times quoted an Israeli official as saying that Jerusalem would give the Obama administration until late 2009 to stop Iran's uranium enrichment projects; after that, Israel will be forced to act.

Tehran responded with a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding that Israel be condemned for "its threats against a sovereign state."
For the past three years, US military and intelligence sources have used attributed and leaked assessments to the American media to emphasize that such an operation is beyond Israel's capabilities because of the nuclear facilities' wide distribution across Iran. At best, they maintained, the Israeli Air Force might knock out a few Iranian nuclear installations, but only enough to put Iran's nuclear drive temporarily on hold.

The CSIS paper refutes this assessment and maintains there is no need to destroy dozens or hundreds of sites; the destruction of seven to nine targets would be enough to cripple the Iranian program, and lists them as follows:
1. Lashkar A'bad, site of secret uranium enrichment plants in the north near the Turkish border.
2. Tehranb, for the central laboratory for developing atomic armaments as well as more uranium enrichment facilities.
3. Arak, in central Iran, where a heavy water plant is under construction to manufacture plutonium for weapons.
4. Isfahan, in central Iran, near which a small research reactor and a cluster of laboratories for uranium enrichment, centrifuges and weapons development, are situated.
5. Natanz, the main center for uranium enrichment.
6. Ardekan, at the southern tip of Iran, where more uranium enrichment facilities are located.
7. Saghand, Iran's main uranium mining region.
8. Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf shore, Iran's biggest nuclear reactor built by Russia.
9. Gachin, near the Strait of Hormuz, the site of more uranium mines and enrichment facilities.

Complicated tables set forth an array of technical details showing how many PG bombs Israeli Air Force F16I or F15F bomber-fighter planes can carry, how much fuel is needed to reach their Iranian targets, and at what stage of their return journey they would need to refuel.

This think tank finds Israel has enough aircraft as well as the necessary intelligence and electronic resources for the task - contrary to previous estimates.

The authors propose three attack routes for a potential Israeli operation against Iran: an eastern route over Saudi Arabia; a central route over Iraq, and a northern route over Turkey, Syria and northern Iraqi Kurdistan. They point to the third as Israel's best option in view of the superiority of its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

This is the first time a detailed and accurate description of these capabilities, and a description of how they were put to use in the Israeli raid on the North Korean-built plutonium reactor in Dar az-Zawr, Syria, on September, 2007, has ever been published.


White House blunder form Lisa – this is hilarious except for Hillary: White House Confuses Hillary Clinton with Sex Worker 1-900-SEXSTAT

That’s Hillary. Mrs. Clinton if you’re nasty.

Yesterday, in what is the latest in a long, hard series of bungles by the White House, reporters who called for an “on-the-record briefing call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” were offered the opportunity to provide a credit card if they felt like “getting nasty.” According to Fox News, the White House distributed an email to the press announcing a conference call, but included the number for a phone sex line rather than the co nference call number. Asked for comment White House Press Secretary Bill Burton said the mistake was “one of the stupider things FOX News has covered lately.” I couldn’t agree more Bill, it is one of the stupid things Obama’s administration has done lately and that the press has subsequently covered or, as in this case, not covered.

This is what the Arabs really think of the Obama peace message for a two State solution:

Gates contradicts General to play things down:

Mayors say no to draft dodgers:,7340,L-3696098,00.html

Hizballah against the USA:

Mystery in Sudan: Hagai Segal wonders why people talk about Sudan bombing but not about Egyptian conduct

Here is a geography question: 13 trucks are slowly traveling through Sudan's roads. They are packed to capacity with Iranian weapons. Assuming that Israel Air Force fighter jets will not suddenly hit and destroy these trucks, how will this long convoy make it safely to the Gaza Strip?
The answer: Only via Egypt. There is no other way. Port Sudan and the smuggling tunnels in Rafah are separated by huge Egyptian territory, which must be crossed in order to make it to the ultimate destination.
And now, here is a question that has to do with current affairs: Can anyone imagine that Egyptian authorities would not be able to spot and stop such large convoy before it reaches its destination?
The answer: This is perhaps imaginable, but it is difficult to believe. After all, Egyptian border officials have distinguished themselves in their ability to spot even two bullets that were forgotten in the cars of Israelis during their latest reserve service. Therefore, it makes no sense that these border officials would fail to spot a weapons smuggling operation comprising 13 trucks.
Rare coincidence

Only a modern-day plague of darkness can serve to explain this failure, and as far as we know there has been no such plague reported in Egypt since our exodus from there. In fact, the sun shines in the country of the Nile almost 365 days a year.
And on a final note, here is yet another question: Somewhat oddly, we did not get to see public debate regarding the above issue during the past week. Everyone chattered enthusiastically about the bombing of the convoy20in Sudan, yet almost no one wondered out loud about the part played by the Egyptians in transporting such convoys to the Gaza Strip.

Why was that the case? What was the reason for this silence?
The answer: A rare coincidence. Exactly this past week, we marked 30 years since the peace treaty with Egypt was signed, and such publicly expressed question marks as described above could have tainted the celebrations. Indeed, Egyptian President Mubarak may have been inclined to end his barrage of visits to Israel in protest.

Here is a matter of vigilance with the Help of G-D:

US Awards Iran Role as Military Partner, Sells Israel Short

Only two weeks ago, Israel's chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, then visiting Washington, was denied interviews with US defense secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the US chiefs of staff Adm. Mike Mullen. He cut short his visit after seeing national security adviser Gen. James Jones and Iran envoy Dennis Ross, lesser lights in terms of their direct influence on President Barack Obama.

Since then, the US president has decided the snub was ill-judged.
During 2008 and up until his exit from the White House, George W. Bush found Ashkenazi useful for conveying to the former prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak his administration's strong objections to an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear sites. The US effort to hold Israel's hand brought Mullen and an array of top US generals calling at the chief of staff's Tel Aviv headquarters almost every ten days in the last months of 2008.
Mullen wanted to keep this effort afloat, but president Obama thought otherwise, which is why Ashkenazi was so coolly received in Washington in mid-March.

However, the inception of Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister with Barak held over at defense occasioned a spate of declarations which worried the new administration: Netanyahu declared at his swearing-in last Tuesday that if American sanctions and diplomacy fail, Israel will be forced to take action against Iran's nuclear weapon drive and time was running out.
His words were echoed by Barak.

Obama therefore decided to revive the Ashkenazi track, while he was still abroad at the G20 in London and the NATO summit at Strasbourg, and before visiting Istanbul next week. He feared that Israel might upset his broad strategic applecart which hinges on the co-option of Iran as its primary hinge.
Ashkenazi was therefore invited to Strasbourg to carry some more bad news to his government, i.e. that the Obama administration wants Iran as its key military and intelligence partner for resolving America's Afghanistan-Pakistan (known now as "Afgpak") predicament. The shape of this alliance lacks final form; backdoor US-Iranian meetings at various levels are in progress at different venues to determine how far Tehran is willing to go. But the US president has set his course.

The high points of the proposed collaboration were first revealed exclusively by DEBKA-Weekly 390 of March 27 and 391 of April 3.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE .
Its impact was sensed at the NATO summit in Strasbourg.
Aside from UK premier Gordon Brown, NATO leaders by and large refused the20US president's appeal for more troops to fight in Afghanistan. German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Obama there was no point in sending reinforcements to Afghanistan if US troops were on their way out, especially after Washington had opted for an "Iranian solution" for the conflict without reference to Berlin or Paris.

The Obama administration has a bitter pill for Israel to swallow for the sake of progress toward a strategic collaboration with Tehran on Afghanistan and Pakistan. It cuts close to the bone in terms of Israel's security and international standing:
1. Washington will not brook any unilateral Israeli military action that might upset US-Iranian moves towards cooperation in the Afgpak Arena.
2. Washington will apply all its resources to obstruct such action.
3. It will not be enough for Israel to stand idle as Iran develops a nuclear bomb. The Obama administration also has fish to fry with Taliban and is bent on an urgent breakthrough in Israel-Arab peacemaking for dividends relevant to this arena too.

Israel can therefore expect to be squeezed hard for sweeping concessions to Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians in order to enhance America's hand on both these tracks.

4. This will bring Jerusalem's Arab opponents to the negotiating table with loaded dice and no bar to treating Israel as the weak party.
The tidings Ashkenazi brings back to Jerusalem from Strasbourg will not be news because Israel officials have been aware of the state of play between Obama and Tehran for some weeks. The only question is how Adm. Mullen packaged his briefing: Did he offer the Israeli chief of staff the chance of military coordination with the United States alongside its evolving pact with Iran? Or simply outline the new situation as a take-it or leave-it proposition?
When this development finally percolates through to the Israeli public, opposition leader Tzipi Livni will no doubt use the opportunity to lay it at the door of the Netanyahu-Lieberman administration as the price for backing away from the Annapolis version of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Livni's efforts to discredit the new government will be internationally popular – but chronologically and factually untenable. The new Obama strategy and its disastrous fallout for Israel took shape while she was still foreign minister and vice premier, for one; and, furthermore, a Palestinian state is clearly defined as the end product of the phased Middle East road map, which the Netanyahu government has formally embraced.
The Annapolis initiative never took off because the e nsuing Livni-Olmert talks with Palestinian leaders led nowhere.

CAIR in the news:

What the Arabs think:

What is capitalism:

From Lisa:


In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel, declaring "Case dismissed!"

The lawyer immediately stood to object to the ruling, saying "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas and Easter. The J ews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But they do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."

The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.

You gotta love a judge that knows his Scripture!

Arabs keep the blood libel alive. :

Israel fears US budget cuts may hurt missile defense

Congress to discuss plans to cut security budget, including funding of Arrow-3 missile defense system; Israel fears policy may also jeopardize future sale of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft,7340,L-3697801,00.html
President Barack Obama's declaration in the Turkish parliament Monday, April 6, that the US is not at war with Islam provided cold comfort in Riyadh and Cairo, where his drastic policy shift of détente with Tehran, first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly=2 0last month, is causing jitters.
The Financial Times' prediction that the US "may cede to Iran's nuclear ambition" only added to the unease in the Middle East at large.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in London, Saudi King Abdullah made his views known in a face-to-face interview with the US president on April 2. The White House communiqué reported blandly: Obama and Abdullah discussed international cooperation regarding the global economy, regional political and security issues, and cooperation against terrorism.

Iran was not mentioned. However, according to DEBKAfile's Middle East sources, Abdullah took the US president sternly to task over his emerging policy on Iran, Syria and Iraq, accusing him to giving the Islamic Republic free rein for its nuclear, expansionist and terrorism-sponsoring Middle East policies.

Both parties tried to keep their abrasive encounter away from the public eye and their media, although the photo attached betrays its chilly atmosphere.
The Financial Times was the first Western mainstream publication to pick up on the new pro-Iran policy trend dominating Obama's Washington: "US officials are considering whether to accept Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment… discussing whether the US will eventually have to accept Iran's insistence on carrying out the process."

The newspaper quoted Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council as warning: "The US may still have zero as its opening position [in its dialogue with Iran], while recognizing it may not be where things stand at the end of a potential agreement."

DEBKAfile's military sources fear that Tehran has been given a free run to perfect its ability to make bombs and warheads in the shortest possible time from the moment of decision.

Our sources report that the US president's two-day stay in Ankara and his words of peace towards the Muslim world were seen in Riyadh and Cairo as ignoring the most pressing concerns of the leading Muslim Arab powers of the region.

Israeli leaders have been less reticent about their concerns. President Shimon Peres pointed out to visiting US congressmen in Jerusalem Monday that Iran has hoodwinked the entire world in its drive for a nuclear bomb whose main target would be the Jewish state; Israel's population is short of adequate means of self-defense. Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would shield Middle East terror groups, so magnifying the threat to Israel manifold. But, he added, the IDF was fully capable of backing up any government decision to tackle this existential threat.

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu diplomatically praised President Obama for his renewed commitment to Israeli security, omitting mention of Iran in the same way as he ignored the US president's demand for a Palestinian state to rise alongside Israel in his speech to parliament in Ankara. Netanyahu commented that his new government is in the process of formulating its policies. This left him an opening to dispute administration polices when he arrives in Washington on May 3.

Latest Arrow test successful Ministry says test, which involved more sophisticated target missile than recent test, shows success of latest improvements to missile defense system,7340,L-3698701,00.html

Your portion of the Federal Dept. thanks to Daria:
Obama, Biden and Hillary turn a deaf ear, blind eye and closed mouth on Iran.
Egypt begins to wake up under US pressure and fear of Iran: From early 2006, Egyptian and Western security services and Israeli intelligence have been aware of Hizballah's smuggling operations for Hamas on behalf of Tehran and Iran's covert networks in Sinai and the Suez Canal cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia.

But last Wednesday, April 8, Cairo disclosed that Egyptian security forces had arrested 49 men, 41 Egyptians, seven Israeli Arabs, and one Lebanese citizen on charges of supporting Hamas and Hizballah. Iran was not mentioned. The arrests had begun last November and were continuing.

The disclosure sparked a slinging match between Cairo and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Yet neither touched the real bone of contention. The latter admitted that the network's head, Sami Shehab, b elonged to Hizballah and had provided Hamas with money and logistical support, "for which we are not ashamed."

He thus confirmed a long-held Israeli intelligence contention.
Nasrallah went on to accuse the Egyptian regime of working hand in glove with Israel and America to keep the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip under siege.

An Egyptian source shot back by calling Nasrallah an Iranian agent and accusing him of organizing subversion against the Cairo government to divert attention from Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

These allegations were a mutually agreed smoke screen, DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report. It suited neither party to admit that the gang Cairo exposed led to a major undercover Iranian network operating in Egypt for three years.

While Hiz ballah contributes to Iran's covert overseas operations from the time of the late Imad Mughniyeh, Nasrallah could hardly admit he was not privy to all the arrested men's identities. Egypt, for its part, refrained from publicly accusing Tehran of its deep penetration, while the Iranians placed a Hizballah security operative at its head rather than a high-ranking Iranian agent to avoid being directly compromised in the operation.

DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources disclose that this group had a much larger strategic mission than terrorist attacks on Egyptian towns and Israeli targets in Sinai, as claimed by Egyptian and Israeli media: It was assigned with planting an Iranian logistical-intelligence infrastructure as stealthily and inconspicuously as possible along the shores of the Suez Canal. This chain was to eventually hook up with the clandestine Iranian cells operating out of Somalia and Sudan opposite the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and provide Iran with an outer safety belt as a counterweight to the US naval presence in those waters.

In the event of an American or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities, Tehran would have resources in place for retaliating against Saudi and Western traffic passing through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Horn of Africa.

To this end, in 2006, the Iranian agents and their recruits started purchasing apartments on the upper floors of tall buildings near the Suez Canal coast and small walled-in houses right on the waterline. The 49 agents captured by the Egyptian police may well have been just the tip of the iceberg. Once they were in place in their forward positions, Iranian intelligence decided they would also be useful for smuggling arms to Gaza for Hamas.
On March 17, 2007 DEBKAfile wrote:

Iranian and Venezuelan assistance is funneled through a well-oiled smuggling network Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has thrown up across Egyptian Sinai up to and including the ports of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Suez as far south as Sudan and as far north as the Mediterranean…
Israel repeatedly warned Egypt that this multi-branched covert ring would undermine Egyptian security in Sinai and the Suez Canal before turning against Egypt proper.

The Iranian network came up in a conversation between the former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and CIA chiefs with Egypt's intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman, when they met in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Feb. 20, 2007 (as revealed in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 290 on Feb. 23: Rice Chairs a Pivotal US-Arab Intelligence Summit in Amman).
On that occasion, Suleiman informed Rice that Egypt lacks the military, intelligence and financial resources to effectively cope with the strongholds Iran has planted along the Suez Canal. In his view, the United States must pitch in if Iran's Suez presence and smuggling operations were to be curtailed.

In the last two years, meanwhile, Iranian arms smuggling operations for its Palestinian protégée in Gaza swelled. It took Israel's Operation Cast Lead against Hamas from Dec. 2008 to Jan. 2009 to persuade the Americans how necessary it was to heed the Egyptian minister's advice.
The roundup of 49 Iranian-backed undercover agents, disclosed by Cairo last week, was in fact part of the intelligence and military operation backed by the US and Israel for rooting out the hostile Iranian infrastructure dug in deep from the Suez Canal shores in the north to Sudan and Eritrean in the south.
Six months ago, Cairo began rolling up the Iranian ring, but only after the US beefed up its naval strength in the Gulf of Suez and Red Sea and assured Cairo that more would be done.

In the last ten days of January, Barack Obama who had just moved into the White House decided that before engaging Tehran in dialogue it would be well to loosen its covert grip on strategic Middle East intersections.
On Jan. 21, DEBKAfile's military sources reported that US 151 Combined Task Force (CTF) went into action to intercept Iranian ships bound for Hamas with smuggled munitions. Unit 405 of the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET 405) boarded the Cypriot-flagged Iranian Monchegorsk to search its holds.

While attention was fixed on this fateful marine contest, on Jan. 29, a US-Israeli air attack hit an Iranian arms convoy driving through Sudan with another arms consignment for the Palestinian terrorist group.
The Egyptian crackdown on the Iranian network continued in February, March and in early April, Cairo had uncovered a key element of the hostile Iranian network.

The mudslinging between Egypt and Hizballah was the public face of the real contest between two heavyweights, the United States and Iran in this sensitive arena.

Egyptian security forces detained 15 people on Friday afternoon on suspicion that they helped manufacture rockets destined to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip through tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border, Reuters quoted security sources as saying. The sources said authorities had confiscated the outer shells of 60 projectiles from a metal workshop in Sheikh Zuwayed, a town in the Sinai peninsula located near the Rafah border crossing.

The detainees include the owner of the workshop and other workers and drivers who are accused of taking part in a scheme to manufacture rocket parts and send them to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. The IDF fears Hamas could use the tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border to replenish its weapon supply after a significant amount of it was destroyed during Operation Cast Lead in January.

For the Palestinian residents of Gaza, approximately 1.5 million, the smuggling tunnels have also become a main source of goods, including fuel, since Israel tightened its embargo on the Strip after Hamas wrested control of it from the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Egypt, on its side of the border, also limits movement through the crossings.

Marilyn Synagogue vandalized:

An Egyptian security official says a border guard has been killed while patrolling the frontier with Israel. The officials say Magdi Abdellah Hamza was shot in his neck early Monday while on duty, the official said, adding an investigation is underway. Security is tight along porous border area where local Bedouins engage in drug, we apons and human trafficking.

Nuclear Terror threat from Pakistan:

Other news:

Hanna sent me this on Comedy Central about Berchas HaChama:

While we were celebrating Yom Tov hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of Americans were fighting taxes, bailouts and stimulus:

I watched just after midnight Neal Cavuto in CA and Glenn Beck at the Alamo. Considering the size of San Antonio over 8000 to perhaps 12000 people turning out on a working day was an amazing protest.

Now for 2 stories from M. Wolfberg

Good Shabbos Everyone. This week's parsha begins with the word Tzav. Rashi explains that "Tzav" indicates "zerizus" - alacrity. Alacrity - moving quickly and with enthusiasm- is an important aspect of serving Hashem. Because, one who does mitzvahs with an eagerness, will be able to do more mitzvahs and do the mitzvahs more completely. The following story illustrates the power of doing Mitzvahs with enthusiasm.
Every Friday evening, just before sunset, Monica stared longingly at the parade that passed by the window of her home in Bat Yam. Everyone was going the same way – to shul. She saw fathers, in their best suits, along with sons, neat and clean, with shirttails firmly tucked in. Some were accompanied by freshly-scrubbed little girls wearing party dresses, and teenage daughters conscious of their new dignity as young women. The stores were closed, and traffic had dwindled. During this peaceful, weekly hush, Monica would step out outside and greet the people in the parade. "Shabbat Shalom! Shabbat Shalom!" she said to each one, beaming because she always received an answer.

Soon after she was done wishing everyone "Shabbat Shalom" She herself also joined the festive march to shul. As the sun sank, Monica drank in the singing that poured out from the brightly-lit synagogue as the congregation welcomed the Sabbath. Then she would go home where she encountered a completely different atmosphere. Her parents were totally secular, so when she asked for a white tablecloth and Shabbos candles, her request was met with great surprise.
Her mother had been raised by parents who severed their connection with the past. No trace of Judaism “sullied” their home. They had even opted to send their daughter to a convent school in Jaffa. As a result, even if Monica's mother had wanted to guide her daughter towards Judaism, she was completely ignorant of her heritage. Monica's father, too, was surprised by his daughter's request. To him, Shabbos was just another day of the week.
One Friday night, surprised by her own daring, she knocked on the door of Yemenite family which she had regularly wished "Shabbat Shalom." "May I see the Shabbos?" she asked. The cordial Yemenites welcomed her into their dining room, where her eyes lit up at the sight of the beautifully set table. The Shabbos candles glowed peacefully as she listened to kiddush, and then enjoyed a sip of the sweet wine. She thanked her hosts and left, but did not go home.
Instead she took a walk, for she felt as if she were in a different world. Not heeding to where she was going, Monica wound up in Bat Yam's Kiryat Bobov, a religious neighborhood comprised exclusively of Bobover Chassidim. The streets were empty and silent, but joyous singing resounded from each house she passed. From one dwelling came a particularly beautiful melody sung with enchanting harmonies.
Like metal drawn to a magnet, Monica was pulled to the door. She knocked timidly, but with a great thirst in her soul. "May I please join you for your Shabbos meal?" A smiling Chassid led her to the table, where she was seated among several other young girls.
Needless to say, Monica soon added to her weekly routine. She bought a small set of candlesticks with money she had saved from her allowance. Every Friday afternoon, before she went out to greet the families on their way to evening services, she would light her Shabbos candles. Once out on the street, she would remain there waiting for her Yemenite neighbors, to hear kiddush as she had that first, daring evening. Then she would set off for her Chassidic friends in Kiryat Bobov to join them for the Sabbath meal.
Monica’s parents weren’t disturbed by the Shabbos routine. “It’s just the fleeting fancy of a little girl," they thought. "When she reaches her teens, she’ll forget it." The years went by. When Monica asked to attend a religious high school, her parents refused. She begged, pleaded and wept, but without success. She even arranged for rabbis to visit her parents, to outline the curriculum of the school she wished to attend. Her parents remained adamant. No school with even the slightest hint of religion was acceptable to them. They enrolled her in the nearby secular high school, but Monica refused to give up. She continued to attend lectures on Torah. She joined a group that studied Pirkei Avos, and continued as usual with her Shabbos routine. Clearly, her school environment was the antithesis of her real interests in life.
Little by little, Monica became more and more observant, despite her parents' opposition. She met a young man Dani, who was not so observant himself. After Dani attended an Arachim Seminar, he became closer to Torah and Mitzvahs. Monica and Dani were married and Dani served in the Israeli Navy in Haifa. Soon, Dani and Monica were living a fully Torah observant lifestyle together.
When Dani's tour of duty in Haifa ended, he was offered a position with a navy project in central Israel, enabling the couple to move to Kiryat Sefer. "Everyone is religious here," says Monica. Dani replies, "Isn't this what you wanted?" She looks at him and answers, "When I was very young, I would dream that one day I would hear the knock of a timid, little girl at my door, asking, 'May I come in and see the Shabbos?'" Good Shabbos Everyone.

Good Yom Tov Everyone. Tonight begins Pesach, a beautiful yom tov during which we celebrate our freedom from physical and spiritual imprisonment in Mitzraim. One of the ways we observe Pesach is by abstaining from bread and other foods with leavening. For some, this is a very difficult nisayon - test of faith. The following story will inspire us all to abstain from Chometz in the coming days.
Eliezer Nanas was serving a ten year sentence for the crime of "harmful acts against the State." This, however, was a libel. The truth was that he was a religious Jew who had committed the "crime" of keeping his Yiddishkeit in every possible way he could, and encouraging other Jews to practice Yiddishkeit. When this was discovered, he was sent to a "Correctional Labor Camp" in Siberia for ten years, to be reeducated in the company of political offenders. On some other occasion it would be most interesting to learn about his experiences in this camp.

Now, however, we shall tell you about a certain Pesach he spent there. This was in the year 1943, the seventh year of his sentence. This is how he began his moving narrative: "A few weeks before Pesach , I received a letter from my home, telling me they were sending a package with matzos and other Pesach products as in previous years. This letter had first been addressed to the previous camp where I had been working, and then it was readdressed to my new camp. I wrote home at once to inform them of my new address, and hoped that the package would reach me in time. I gave my letter to David, a friend of mine, who was the manager of the Food Department in the camp. He, in turn, passed it on to someone outside the camp who was going to Moscow. I eagerly awaited this package of matzos and Pesach products which would enable me to observe Pesach properly, as well as strengthen me, for I had become rather weak and suffered from stomach trouble.
One day, the woman who was the head of the "political division" of the labor camp came to see me. She was also the censor of letters and packages addressed to the prisoners. She was new to the job and came to ask me if I was still keeping to my religious beliefs and practices. Was I still abstaining from working on Sabbaths and holidays and not eating the meals served from the Camp kitchen? Incidentally, she also asked me: "What is matza?"
I explained it all to her, then she asked: "When is Pesach ?" I replied: "In ten days' time." "What will you do if your expected package of matzos does not come in time?" she asked. "I would just eat potatoes," I answered. "And if you don't get potatoes?" "Then I would have no choice but to go hungry."
"For eight days?" she asked, wonderingly. "The Almighty will not forsake me," I replied. The conversation ended there, and she left. The first Seder night arrived. No package. No matzos. No Pesach provisions. I had invited David and a Jew named Berkovitch to the "seder."
We had covered the table with a clean sheet of paper to serve as a tablecloth. We had boiled a kettle of water. I poured out glasses of tea, which were to serve us in place of the four cups of wine we should have had. Then, to their unbelieving eyes, I produced three whole matzos! Thus, we observed the first seder. I recited as much of the haggadah as I could remember. The following night there were no matzos. We again had tea in place of wine, and three pieces of sugar completed our seder. I again recited the haggadah from memory. I then told my guests the secret of how I had the matzos for the previous seder.
"Since I'm in the labor camps I always saved a few matzos from one Pesach to the next, in case I'd have difficulty getting matzos for the following Pesach . This year, luckily, these matzos were a blessing, and I was thankful that I'd had such forethought." David was very angry with me for not telling them that this year I had not received any matzos for Pesach . "We would certainly not have eaten your last piece of matza last night had we known," he declared. "That is the very reason I did not tell you," I answered. "Every Jew is obligated to eat a piece of matzo at least the size of an olive on the seder nights. During the rest of Pesach we must only refrain from eating chametz (leaven). One can manage with eating potatoes, fruits, vegetables, etc." I said.
"You can forget about fruits, and it's not so easy to obtain potatoes either," retorted David. "How do you expect to survive a whole Pesach ?" he demanded, heatedly. "I was given a blessing by my father that I will return home in peace, and, with G-d's help, I will manage," I replied calmly.
David was not mollified, and left in a sulk. I saw him only a couple of times during the whole of Pesach . He then tried to persuade me to eat chametz or, at least, have something from the camp kitchen if I did not wish to die of hunger! When he failed to convince me, he avoided me; he could not bear to see me suffering hunger, it seemed. On the third day of Pesach I had an unexpected visitor: the woman censor. I was at work and she noticed that my hands were trembling. She realized that I was weak from lack of food. "I have brought you something to eat," she said, and brought out a freshly baked roll. The appetizing aroma made my head spin! I told her that we Jews are not allowed to eat that on Pesach . I thanked her and refused it. She left without saying anything more. The next day she visited me again, and I was really feeling much weaker. This time she brought me some cookies made from white flour (a luxury).
"I baked these myself," she said, "with sugar and oil. You must eat them, otherwise you will die of hunger! " I thanked her, but again refused. "You are probably wondering why I am so concerned about you," she said. "You probably have a wife and children who are waiting for the time when you will be free to return to them. I sympathize with them. I have no husband waiting for me. He was an officer in this camp and was sent to the battlefront. He fell in action, fighting against the Hitlerites. Now, do please take a cookie! It will do you good," she pleaded. "Thank you, no. I am sorry to hear about your loss, but please leave me alone."
She went out, obviously annoyed at her failure to persuade me to eat anything she had brought me. I felt so weak, I had to lie down on my bed, and I had no more strength to get up. Berkovitch came to see me a few times and brought me some warm, sweetened water to drink. He left me, each time, in sorrow at my sad plight. On the morning of the last day of Pesach he came and found me in a semi-conscious condition. I asked him to pour some water over my hands and give me my siddur. This, he did, but the words swam before my eyes and my head spun. I then passed out completely.
When I regained consciousness I found the head nurse of the hospital standing beside me. She had, apparently, given me an injection which made me feel very hot. "I don't know where this obstinate Jew gets such strength and resistance," I heard her say to David who was also present. She then left the room. David stayed with me until it got dark. "Pesach is now over," he said. I tried, but was too weak to recite the evening prayers. He brought me some white toast and some sugar. He dipped the dry toast into some sweet tea, and fed me like a child.
After my meal I fell asleep and did not awaken until the following morning. I was still so weak that David had to help me put on my tefillin. Two days after Pesach Berkovitch came to tell me the good news that he had been freed, and would soon be allowed to return home. At the same time he told me that, whilst he was at the post office, he heard that, some time before Pesach , a package had arrived for me from my home, but had been sent back by the censor. Now it was clear to me why she had been so upset when I refused to eat her food on Pesach. She was afraid I would die of hunger, and my death would be on her conscience.
The freed Berkovitch remained in town for two more weeks before leaving for home. Each day he brought me milk, potatoes, bread, some sugar, and once, something special--scallions! I gradually regained my strength. Meanwhile I was called to the office of the superintendent of the camp. Berkovitch was present. Also the woman censor. The superintendent told me he had learned that the woman censor had sent back my package before Pesach and, she had, in fact, admitted doing so.
Further investigation revealed that she had also withheld and destroyed two letters from my home, so that I should not know about the package they had sent me. The superintendent asked me to sign a complaint against the censor, saying: "I will personally make sure she is punished." The censor burst into tears and pleaded with the superintendent. "Have pity on me and on my orphaned children," she begged. "Their father gave his life for the Motherland," she sobbed. "Don't ask me to have mercy on you. You must ask forgiveness from this man whom you have wronged so cruelly," he said.
I told the superintendent that the woman censor obviously regretted her inhuman behavior and had tried, somehow, to correct her misdeeds. In addition considering that her husband had died fighting the Nazis and had left her with the responsibility of caring for the orphans, I was ready to forgive her. This, on condition that she would faithfully promise not to give an more trouble to the prisoners in the camp. The superintendent was visibly impressed with my declaration of pardon. He promised not to report the matter to the higher authorities. He did, however, have the censor transferred to a position where she would have less authority. Thus ended the matter. But that "foodless Pesach" will remain in my mind all the days of my life. Thank Hashem I am alive to tell the story... Good Yom Tov Everyone.

Mr. Wolfberg's stories (not mine) are sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Golda Chiyena bas Chaya Gittle Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta In memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi

Have a great shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli