Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Parsha Behar-Behukotai, Halacha, Good Shabbos Stories

The Halachic Concept of "Anus" pronounced "Ah Noose"

Man Proposes, G-D Disposes. Parsha Behar was written more than two weeks ago in the Beis Medrash of Kollel Beis Shlomo and Parsha Behukotai was finished on May 4th. I did not mail this when I had e-mail available on my vacations as my AOL mail boxed filled up to 999 new mails and at a 1000 the box is full so I was cleaning and clearing all the time. On Thursday, Bell South was supposed to reconnect my phone. Ha ha what a joke. Finally around 3:30 PM DST on Friday long into Shabbos in Israel and Australia, the phone was connected. Slightly after 5 PM with a Minyan at 6:30 PM I got the internet working. It was impossible to produce this and add some halachic material by Danny Shoemann Shlita without skipping it and doing a half job.

The concept was simple that what happened was above and beyond my free will thus I was Anus or under duress. A similar word in Hebrew is Oness pronounced Oh Ness and while Anusim are forced converts during an inquisition the Oness is one who was let us say on the highway with no exit in the desert erev shabbos and the road closed in front or behind him and he does his best to make it to his home for Shabbos and either makes it just as candle lighting begins even though he gave hours spare or during the period prior to darkness. It is also the word used for forceful taking advance of another person despite their best protests and even putting up a fight.

Pray for Asaf Dror ben Leah Shulamit who underwent successfully a kidney transplant the youth will need a week or two to recover. Please add Braiyna bas Gina Sara.

Parsha Behar and Behukotai

I wrote this in 5767 just as the Shemita (Sabbatical) Year was approaching: We have in Behar the laws of Shemita and Yovel or Jubilee Year(s). Behukotai ends with the laws of valuation of slaves, houses and dedicating oneself in value to the Temple. I would like to go into certain practical aspects existing in Eretz Yisrael today of these things. First of all outside of Israel the laws of letting the land rest are non-existent and neither is the Jewish Bondman who sells himself into servitude or is sold by the court for stealing. This is quite a different approach to the story we read in Les Miserables. During the early days of the immigration and founding of the State of Israel, people did not have enough salary to feed their families and would steal from orange groves at night. Of course the orange growers did not give away what we call Peah, Leket, Maaser Ani, etc. (corner of the field, forgotten sheaf, poor tithes) which the poor deserve. Still many honest people found themselves stealing to eat. These conditions led to many people to leave Eretz Yisrael in the early days of the pre-State or Statehood.

The thief mentioned in our Parsha may not have been as desperate as the early settlers for food and had oranges as meals while they spent money on milk for their child or children. I am not sure when and how much stealing the thief mentioned in our Parsha had to do to have been sold by the court but a man who was starving could sell himself. Rabbi Davis Shlita pointed out in his Drasha that the Jewish slave was obligated for all Mitzvos except that he could marry a non-Jewish slave woman. The Jewish slave was not to be treated like an English Servant and travel to the Mikvah with the bath towel and suit of his master but to go as a free man would. Only the non-Jewish slave could be relegated these tasks. If the householder had only one blanket then the slave had to be covered with it first as it was the duty of the householder.

During the Shemita in Israel, we appoint messengers of Beis Din to collect fruits and vegetables for us from either outside of Yisrael or from Gentiles. We are not allowed to fertilize our fields or use pesticide unless under certain circumstances such as rot, mold, etc. our loss of a tree would be great and then only the minimum to save the tree. We are not allowed to gather stones from the field, however should the rainwater cause dangerous pits from erosion, a competent Orthodox Rabbi should be consulted. Almost everybody who has a garden in Israel has some roses. The rose will form an orange type of seed ball if the flowers are not cut. One can cut the flowers for Shabbos but not cut down the roses as one does in regular years. The government of Israel allows for annual plants such as peas, beans, cotton not to be plowed under as we normally do. The Esrog goes according to the year that it is cut so if I were to cut my Esrog after Rosh Hashanah; it would be free from Terumah and Maaser. Then one would wait for the fast of Gedaliah in the eight year and it could be shipped outside of Israel without the holiness of Shemita crops.

There is a dispute between Rabbis regarding the holiness of the Shemita crops, if Beis Din has picked them, many hold that they still need special disposal while others say if they came from Gentiles or Beis Din they can be disposed of in normal ways.

45 days before the Shemita one can plant trees so that they take root. This means up to TU B’Av while with vegetables the ruling is two weeks. In any event flowers and other things should be planted prior to the Shemita so that they can take root of up to a theoretical third of their growth.

We also have with the Yovel (Jubilee) the case of a slave who loved his non-Jewish wife, job with his master and had is right ear drilled into the lintel of the door. He goes free with compensation and returns to his own fields. Only a house sold within a city keeps the Status of the buyer. The former slave can buy his wife and children from his master and they are Jews immediately. All of the valuations of fields and slaves are written in detail in Meseches Arachim.

25:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.

This is a different type of Shabbos as that of the weekly Shabbasos. One could travel, buy or sell land – his Jewish slave went free or had his ear lobe bored to the door because he wanted his slave girl wife. (This could be precisely that it was better physically being a servant than risking lack of work and famine on the outside.) The Jewish servitude to his master was not the Simon Lagree slavery. If a slave ran away from his master because of cruelty, he was a free man. The conditions of the Jewish slave was somewhere between that of a Kibbutznik today and a right hand man to his boss in a factory or store. Like the Kibbutznik he was given food, board and clothing and perhaps even a little spending money for himself and his non-converted slave woman wife that his master supplied him with. After seven years, he had the option of going free and purchasing eventually freedom for his wife and children if he wanted or continuing on with his master. The non-Jewish wife and children upon gaining freedom became automatically full Jews.

3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the produce thereof. 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto the LORD; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

Certain things were allowed such as watering so that the trees would not die or prevention of bugs destroying his trees. One was forbidden to fertilize his garden unless a tree might die but certainly not to enrich the fruits. The land was basically to lie fallow. Weeds around a tree could be removed if they or some wild plants were choking the tree. Our Sages have made rulings that are logical.

Since we are dealing with Shemita, I would like to add some words based on the ideas that I heard on a tape from Rabbi Eli Mansour Shlita but my own original thoughts of the subject. The Shemita year has the effect on not only the farmer but also on the religious consumer. If one holds by either the Chazon Ish Zatzal or Chabad, you have to not only let the field grow fallow or the fruit of the trees “hefker” meaning for the taking of any one of the Bnei Yisrael and the Ger living in the land. This Ger being a full convert to Judaism and not a Ger Toshav as for example the Druse, Bedouin and Xtian denominations living in Israel could grow their own crops and make a good deal of money selling non-Jewish produce to Jews. Rabbi Mansour mentioned in his Drasha the farmer giving up his income and relying upon the L-RD to provide him with a good income. However, the consumer is willing to pay more for his goods in order to observe Shemita. This the good Rabbi did not mention because someone outside of Israel does not have the experience.

When Yacov Glicksman Zal and I came upon our first Shemita in Israel, we bought dozens of cans of food. The Chareidim had made a contract with Arabs (this was still after the Six Day War and many years before the Intifada) and at a much higher price fresh vegetables were available. The Beis Din collected fruits from farmers.

There is a heter (Rabbinical Permission) held by the more liberal or even Zionistic Camp which states that one can sell the land to a non-Jew to grow his crops on “non-Jewish” land just as we do about selling Chometz (leaven) on Pesach. However, the right wing religious elements say that it is forbidden to sell Eretz Yisrael to a Gentile. The alternate end of the Shemita spectrum is that by giving Arabs an income, we are allowing them to be fruitful and multiply in Eretz Yisrael. There is an alternative which is done usually with potatoes and that is to import them from out of Eretz Yisrael such as Europe, Turkey or Yarden. This way we exchange essentially Israeli technology, medicines or goods like candy & snacks. The last situation is a win-win one as it allows for both countries to have employment and commerce. (There is a modern commercial problem with fruit exporters that often eat in their homes like the Chazon Ish but use the heter of selling the land as one cannot in modern society be an unreliable source of supply. I every year I sell ten or twenty tons of Avocados, I cannot say buy from Spain this year and then by from me the next, I literally dry up my income.)

5 That which grows of itself of thy harvest thou shalt not reap and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shalt not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 And the sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee; 7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food. 8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years. 9 Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. (Trivia Question: In which city and on what object is it written “And Thou shalt proclaim liberty throughout the land?) 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you; ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In this year of jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 14 And if thou sell aught unto thy neighbor, or buy of thy neighbor's hand, ye shall not wrong one another. 15 According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the crops he shall sell unto thee. 16 According to the multitude of the years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of the years thou shalt diminish the price of it; for the number of crops doth he sell unto thee. 17 And ye shall not wrong one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I am the LORD your God. 18 Wherefore ye shall do My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat until ye have enough, and dwell therein in safety. 20 And if ye shall say: 'What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase'; 21 then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years.

I witnessed this in the year 5732 where our wheat crop was double the normal size. It is a matter of belief and faith in G-D.

22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store. 23 And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant redemption for the land.

In modern Israel this is not yet the case about redeeming the land as the fields have not been parceled out to the Tribes and families as in the time of Yehoshua. Many of us may be from Yehuda or Benyamin and sitting in the land of Asher or Zevulun. It is also possible that some of us are from other tribes. The people in India can be Bnei Yisrael, Menashe and in Afghanistan many of the Taliban are Reuven, Shimon, Gad and a few other tribes. The mixing up of the tribes can only be straightened out when “A Redeem Shall Come Unto Tzion.”

25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and sell some of his possession, then shall his kinsman that is next unto him come, and shall redeem that which his brother hath sold. 26 And if a man have no one to redeem it, and he be waxen rich and find sufficient means to redeem it; 27 then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the surplus unto the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return unto his possession. 28 But if he have not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then that which he hath sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee; and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.

In the original tribal society this was important that a Judean possess the land next to his fellow Judean and the Reuveni the land of a Reuveni, and not a Gadi or another tribe in this plot of land for perpetuity. Now a city like most of our modern cities is a melting pot. However, in those days it was very hard of a Judean to let his children intermarry with another tribe and visa versa. Nobody taught these tribesmen about gene pools. However, if somebody was very wealthy or a scholar so one might be wealthy and attract a daughter from another tribe such as a bas Cohain or Levi, into his family or a poor family with an extremely intelligent and diligent daughter might be acquired as a wife or daughter-in-law of a wealthy person. The society in those days was tribal and within the tribe family oriented. Don’t think the people were a bunch of snobs but just like competing army units from the same soldiers who have to trust their lives on the others skills on the battle field and their ability to rescue, they had group pride. For example: Kohn, Cohen, Rappaport, Katz, etc. are all Cohanim but of different families within the tribe and each with their own pride as the paratroopers, army airborne, green berets, special forces, navy seals, first infantry, etc. all have their pride but under the head of a Tribal Leader or General.

29 And if a man sell a dwelling-house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; for a full year shall he have the right of redemption. 30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him that bought it, throughout his generations; it shall not go out in the jubilee. 35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and his means fail with thee; then thou shalt uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with thee. 36 Take thou no interest of him or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. … 47 And if a stranger who is a settler with thee be waxen rich, and thy brother be waxen poor beside him, and sell himself unto the stranger who is a settler with thee, or to the offshoot of a stranger's family, 48 after that he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his brethren may redeem him; 49 or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be waxen rich, he may redeem himself. …

This is the principle, charity begins at home, within the immediate family, within the greater family and then to others. A fellow Jew is forbidden to take interest or loan charges from another Jew. However, if it is for business, one can lend money and take interest for the further gain of the borrower. This is a heter of win-win. Like politicians – work or contribute to my campaign and I will make you a minister/secretary or advisor.

26:1 Ye shall make you no idols, neither shall ye rear you up a graven image, or a pillar, neither shall ye place any figured stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I am the LORD your God. 2 Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Again the importance of the Shabbos and giving the brain and body a rest – this commandment is not for HASHEM as he and the Angels are above working and resting but it is for us “Shabbos u’v’Nafash” (Shabbos and revive your soul). Shabbos is to “Lespoat Bo V’lanuach Bo” (to refrain from Melacha and rest within). By the “Hitbonenos” or contemplation of life and purposes of our world and the goals of ourselves and our families one day a week and to teach our ideas to our children or grandchildren we have the power to correct our own mistakes and to make our family life have more quality from now on.

3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them;

This is a bris or agreement between G-D and Yisrael: If you keep the 613 provisions (Mitzvos/Commandments) of my contract (The Torah) then the following will happen to you and see all your benefits. However, if you breach the contract (Violate the Commands of Torah such as Shabbos, Kashrus, Modesty, etc.) then for breach of contract all the fines (curses) mentioned in this section and later on in Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy) I, the L-RD, will extract from you. MY enforcement is not like a third world country’s enforcement. There are no bribes or favoritism but true judgement and carrying out of the sentence.

4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you; and will establish My covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old from before the new. 11 And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright. 14 But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments;

This section is always read around the time of the Six Day War and Yom Yerushalayim (28th of Iyar 5727 when the old city was liberated but the non-religious leaders returned the keys to the Temple Mount to the Arabs for fear of the religious building another Beis HaMikdash on Har Beit = The third Temple on the Temple Mount). Not letting the Arab population free from Yehuda and Shomron and not taking over the Temple Mount by the non-religious authorities brought about some of the bad things written below.

15 and if ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul abhor Mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but break My covenant; 16 I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall make the eyes to fail, and the soul to languish; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you; and ye shall flee when none pursue you.

This is the first fine for breach of contract but if you want to continue to be haughty and are sick and tired of the Mitzvos then you are going to get a bashing and a thrashing like: 18 And if ye will not yet for these things hearken unto Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield her produce, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.

So you still haven’t learned anything: 21 And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. 22 And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your ways shall become desolate. 23 And if in spite of these things ye will not be corrected unto Me, but will walk contrary unto Me;

Are you that dense that: 24 then will I also walk contrary unto you; and I will smite you, even I, seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant; and ye shall be gathered together within your cities; and I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. …34 Then shall the land be paid her Sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and ye are in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and repay her Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest; even the rest which it had not in your Sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. … 43 For the land shall lie forsaken without them, and shall be paid her Sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them; and they shall be paid the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected Mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred My statutes.

This is why I am emphasizing Shabbos and Shemita at every opportunity. It is not for my own personal place against a crazy world or going into depression or some other mental state for modern pressures but it is for you and all of Am Yisrael. While I write this on my vacation of rest and relaxation it is not total rest as Shabbos. Seeing a stream, mountain, lake, trees is relaxing physically and perhaps spiritually to marvel at the wonders of creation. Some people run after other even idolatrous religions for meditation when we have our very own Meditation. In Psalm number One: “Blessed be the man who sits not in the council of scorners and sinners but his delight is in the ways of the L-RD and in these ways does he mediate day and night.”

44 And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. 46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

27:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When a man shall clearly utter a vow of persons unto the LORD, according to thy valuation, 3 then thy valuation shall be for the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 And if it be a female, then thy valuation shall be thirty shekels. 5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy valuation shall be for the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy valuation shall be for the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy valuation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if it be from sixty years old and upward: if it be a male, then thy valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 8 But if he be too poor for thy valuation, then he shall be set before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the means of him that vowed shall the priest value him.

Last year I wrote the following below. To this I would like to even ask a stronger question: At the age of 49 I got both Epstein Bar Virus and then lost my balance in a car accident. I wasn’t worth much then. Most days after 4 hours I had to sleep and I could not walk a straight line without a walker or cane after I got out of a wheel chair. I received medical treatment such as B12 shots for the former and Eply maneuvers for the later. Although I would not compete in the Olympics, close to the age of 62 I am probably worth through my exercise routine and my ability to stay awake much more than I was between 49 and 53 when I opted for a medical pension. How much is a 20 year old worth or a 59 year old and why should this be a big difference from 19 years and 11 months or 60 years old and one day? The answer is a command type of answer that one tells a child. G-D set limiting dates and times for the valuation of a man who vowed his worth on the slave market. Today with exceptions in Africa and Saudi Arabia, slavery and people being valued on a slave market is illegal. The Israeli TV having a hidden walked into negotiations to buy a white slave from a brothel in Tel Aviv even with the editing the process revolted me to the bottom of my soul. The Jewish Slave and even the captured Gentile slave were treated as humans with honor and dignity with rights to have a blanket over the owner. (There is Jewish Pride but no ubermensch of a superior Jew in Judaism. All men are created equal but we have been chosen to perform 613 Mitzvos instead of 7.) It was the wealthiest of people who pledged their value to the Temple and sometimes the value of their mansion minus of course the land which was theirs as we see in the laws of the Yovel – not quite the Saudi slave or the poor Eastern European Girl trying to better herself by earning money in Israel or Western Europe. NOTE: IF YOU THINK THAT THIS TYPE OF TRAFFICING DOES NOT EXIST WITH POROUS BORDERS IN THE UNITED STATES THEN THINK AGAIN.

Sorry ladies who are looking for equal rights, the value of the so-called slave was based on brute physical strength of the average female and male and not a 90 lb weakling vs. a body building female on steroids. The Torah values me if I were 59 with my lack of ability at things let us say in computer graphics vs. a 21 year old woman who has the rare ability of super computer graphics talent. We learn this basically for the world of business. The value system that HASHEM gives to us is part of the natural order of business in the eyes of an employer who needs sometimes brute strength for over time while a house wife or mother cannot do so even among slaves of the Bnei Yisrael. Note though the closeness in value at old age. Rashi: And if [the person is] sixty years old [or over]. When people reach a venerable age, a woman’s value becomes closer to that of a man. This is why a man decreases [in value] in his old age [to] beyond a third of his value [as an adult, namely, from 50 shekels to 15], while a woman [in her old age] decreases [to] only one third of her value [namely, from 30 shekels to 10]. As people say: “An old man in the house is a breach in the house (Rashi) [or] a snare in the house (Rabbaynu Gershom), while an old woman in the house is a hidden treasure in the house and a good sign for the house.”- [Arachin 19a]

… 34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai. Chazak – Chazak v’nitChazek – we continue next week with Sefer Bamidbar (Numbers).

Practical or Living Halacha Case 3 of 3

We have in the Torah the Mitzvah of Yebum. The Story of Er and Onan followed by Yehuda and Tamar in Sefer Beresheis (Genesis) and the concept of an elderly Boaz marrying a young convert like Ruth and the redeeming of the seed of the dead brother/relative known in English as Levirate Marriage is spelled out in Even HaEzer Simanim 156 – 168 and the laws of Halitza (negating the desire to have a Levirate Marriage) Simanim 169 – 174. An unedited example of a quick translation by myself of the beginning of these laws to give one some rudimentary background on what I am writing about as we don’t come across these cases very often.



Abstract: A paternal brother performs Yebum, if the deceased had no offspring.

Offspring means either a son or daughter who is Jewish. At the time of death of the husband, if the offspring was still living, the wife is exempt from Yebum. If the widow gave birth to a child after the husband died and it survived 30 days, she is exempt from Yebum. One who says that he has sons at the time of marriage is believed. If he changed his story on his deathbed he is not believed. One witness is enough to exempt a woman from Yebum or Halitza. If a woman and the husband say that her child is his, they are not believed unless it is known that they were in captivity together or she is known has his mistress. If a woman and her husband went to a foreign country and she said that her child died and then her husband, she is believed.

In the reverse case she is not believed (w/o a witness to that effect). If the husband and another wife went abroad, the widow must wait 9 months after the death of the husband until she knows whether or not the other wife gave birth. If she was forbidden to marry a Cohain, she may perform Halitza before this time and remarry.

Se’if 1: Whoever has a paternal brother who has not left offspring (literally seed) has a command to perform a levirate marriage. This is whether the deceased was married or engaged (see: Deuteronomy 25:5)

Se’if 2: Where it states in the Torah that the deceased doesn’t have a son, it also means daughter or their children and further generations. If one had a Maumzer child or a Jew who worshipped idols, this offspring exempts the man’s spouse(s) from the Halitza ceremony or levirate marriage ceremony. However, his child from a slave girl or from a Gentile doesn’t exempt him, even if the child later was set free or converted. This is from somebody else’s slave girl but his slave girl does exempt. (This is the opinion of some authorities - The reason being that a person doesn’t like to have promiscuous sexual relationships and therefore would free his slave girl making her automatically a Jewess). This is not Saudi Law but essentially the daughter of the man’s slave would inherit everything including his tribe.

Se’if 3: Even if his offspring was in grave condition or had an incurable malady, which would kill it, his spouse is exempt.

Se’if 4: A person died but left a pregnant widow, if she miscarries, she should have a levirate marriage or Halitza. If the child was born alive and then died, she is exempt.

The following question came before a Beis Din recently and they did not know how to answer it and turned to Rabbi Dayan Mimran Shlita. We discussed the case. I am not qualified to give a Pasak Din here but as a layman I told Rabbi Mimran my opinion.

The woman was married to a man who had no brother and no children. He passed away. Under normal circumstances the woman would be except from Halitza and could remarry after a waiting period of 90 days. However, the woman and the husband had undergone fertility treatment. But before the could have a child or she become pregnant, the husband passed away but had left frozen sperm cells. The Beis Din did not know what to do.

I brought down the following case that happened in Israel after the Lebanon War number 2. The husband HY”D was killed in action. Both his parents (he was an only child) and his wife wanted to raise an offspring from him. The doctors gathered post humusly his sperm and froze it. The woman underwent vitro-fertilization and became pregnant and bore the deceased husband a child. All this was done with both Rabbinical and State of Israel approval.

Based on this case, I told Rav Mimran that for order that this woman be able to remarry, she would either have to do like the widow mentioned above or destroy any remaining seed as I believe there already is a ruling to that effect.

This is the dynamics of Halacha which most of the average people do not know. The Torah is a living Torah and continuing. Rabbis are dealing with many cases such as transplants and especially heart transplants. The later can only be done if the heart is beating. The can happen in a decapitation but can it also happen if the brain is dead? This takes a very high Torah Authority and forefront G-D fearing Medical Doctors to determine the law. I had the same question arise with my own mother in a Coma less than half an hour before she passed away – should I try heroics and keep her on machines or let her rest in peace with her forefathers. Since my mother’s last words were “Mom come to me” the answer was simple. (I do not intend to explain a few pages of Tractate Moed Katan on this subject at this juncture.) The basic Halacha was given on Mt. Sinai and it does not change with time but it grows as the knowledge of mankind grows.


With some exceptions, the laws of work on Shabbat and Yom Tov are identical. These exceptions are:
Some aspects of food preparation
Carrying in the public domain
Lighting fires from an existing flame
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:1With some exceptions, the laws of work on Shabbat and Yom Tov are identical.

One of the differences between Yom Tov and Shabbat is the laws of lighting fire. On Shabbat one may not light fires, nor extinguish them nor make them larger or smaller. One needs to light the fire before Shabbat and then leave it alone. On Yom Tov one may light a fire from an existing flame, if there's a need. One may also make the fire larger. One may light a flame or make an existing flame larger for:
- Light, including "candle-lighting" if one didn't manage before Yom Tov
- Cooking, baking or warming food
- Boiling water for drinking
- Keeping warm, if it's so cold that food starts to congeal
- Warming water to wash ones hands and face
One may not use matches nor a magnifying glass to light a fire on Yom Tov; one has to light the fire from an existing flame.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:29, 30, 31

Extinguishing fire is forbidden on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Even though one may light fire from an existing flame on Yom Tov, one may not extinguish fire on Yom Tov. One may not even lower a flame on Yom Tov (nor on Shabbat). On Yom Tov (and on Shabbat) one may not put a candle in a windy place so that it will blow out.
(Yom Kippur has the same status as Shabbat; one may not light nor extinguish fire on either.) Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98: 25

Inyanay Diyoma

This scare Israelis more than Iran and H1N1 virus:

Money for terrorism: http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=47606

Shimon Peres wakes up and finds a real new Middle-East as he talks to Obama: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6058

Identical twins story: http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/05/06/twins-marry-twins-giving-everyone-the-creeps/?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl8|link6|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lemondrop.com%2F2009%2F05%2F06%2Ftwins-marry-twins-giving-everyone-the-creeps%2F

President Obama to snub Israel: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1242029500714&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The Times of India quotes DEBKA-Net-Weekly's exclusive report of Friday, May 15, which revealed that Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh had warned US president Barack Obama that Pakistan's nuclear sites near Taliban-al Qaeda strongholds are partly in the hands of Islamic extremists. DEBKA listed the locations of those nuclear sites with a special map. Singh's Congress Party has meanwhile won a second term in India's elections.

Now for M. Wolfberg's Good Shabbos Stories

Good Shabbos Everyone. The verse in this week's portion Acharei states "You shall observe My decrees and My laws... and become alive through them -- I am Hashem." (Vayikra 18:5) Mitzvahs are spiritual oxygen for a Jew. In order to survive the rough and tumble life on this earth, we Jews were given mitzvahs. The following inspirational true story illustrates the power of mitzvahs to bring life to Jews.
Mrs. Raizel Astulin came out of the Rebbe's office with tears of excitement. It was more than a dream come true. Just a few years ago she was behind the iron curtain with no avenue of escape other than prayer. Russia was closed… forever!
Or so it seemed. Every year she applied anew for a visa to move to Israel to her family. But every year she, like millions of others, was rejected. But what pained her most of all was that she would never see more than just a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
But miraculously it happened! One day she looked in her mailbox to see a letter from the government. It was permission to leave to Israel! It was truly a miracle! And to make it complete, shortly after she got settled in Israel her family bought her a plane ticket to the Rebbe. When she entered the Rebbe's office he asked about her family, about her health, about the situation in Russia asked how she was acclimating to Israel, and then told her that when she returns there she should devote time to teach Jewish women and girls to light Shabbos Candles.
But Mrs. Astulin feebly protested that she didn't really even know how to speak Hebrew to which the Rebbe answered. "You do what you have to and if any one makes trouble tell them that you are doing it at my request." Mrs. Astulin, a true Chassid of the Rebbe, wasted no time.
The first Friday after her return to Israel she took a bus to the nearest nursing home and bravely entered with the plan of going from room to room distributing candles together with a folder explaining why, how and when to light them. She was full of optimism but there definitely was more than a trace of anxiety. After all, she really couldn’t speak the language properly and had never really approached total strangers before to ask them to do commandments. And sure enough, the first room she entered …. It was war!
It was a sixty year old woman who, as soon as Mrs. Astulin entered the room with a smile and outreached candles, opened fire: "What are you doing here?! What? Candles for Shabbos? Mitzvahs? GET OUT!! All you religious people are parasites! Do you hear me? Parasites! OUT OF MY ROOM!!"
Mrs. Astulin flinched and wanted to just apologize and leave but suddenly she remembered what the Rebbe said and blurted out. "Listen, the Lubavitcher Rebbe told me to do this and…. " but her limited Hebrew and the shouts of the woman still ringing in her ears tied her tongue.
Then something happened. The woman calmed down! "Ehh? You said the Rebbe of Lubavitch sent you?"
"Yes." Mrs. Astulin answered and asked incredulously, "Do you know the Rebbe?" The woman's eyes filled with tears and she answered in Russian. First apologizing for yelling and then she explained.
"When I was young my parents passed away leaving me and my brother to fend for ourselves. He went to Medical School and graduated with high honors while I turned to other interests. But we were very close because all we had in the world was each other. "But things weren't good in Russia and after a while we decided to leave. My brother, although he was head of a department in a large hospital, was making almost no money and for me Russia was only bad memories.
"To our joy we got permission to leave but, for the first time, we parted ways. I moved to Israel to settle down but my brother wanted to move to New York where he could make the money he deserved. But, of course, we agreed to write regularly and eventually rejoin. "But things didn't work out as we thought. I managed to get a job and a place to live but my brother couldn't get work. It seems that he overestimated the value of his Russian degrees.
For months he went from hospital to hospital with the same results; they all told him he needed at least another year of medical school! But he had almost no money; the little he brought went for the first month's rent and now the landlord was hounding him for the two following months that he owed. "I got one last terrible letter from him and then they stopped coming. He wrote that he was totally depressed and trapped. He had no money, no job, no hope and no energy. He couldn't even return to Russia or come to Israel… he had nothing and his debts were piling up.
I was really worried. I had no way of contacting him and so it went for over a month. NOTHING. But then I got a letter. It was the happiest day in my life! He said he was fine and optimistic. And he told the following story. "After he wrote the previous letter he decided that he would (G-d forbid) end his own life.
He stayed up the entire night thinking about it and became more and more depressed until the sun rose. It was a cool Friday morning when he walked out of his apartment onto the sidewalk. He walked in a daze for several hours until he found himself walking to a local bridge. He had nothing to live for anymore. No one cared. He had no future. Everything was black all around him. He decided he would (G-d forbid) jump off into oblivion.
But then someone called out to him' Excuse me sir, are you Jewish?' He tried to just ignore it but such a question coming from nowhere almost made him laugh. Jewish? Where did that come from? He stopped for a moment and that was enough. The young man began to hound him saying 'Nu, if you're Jewish come put on Tefillin.'
My brother had never put on Tefillin in his life. We were atheists from Communist Russia where only a few people we knew put on Tefillin. But the fellow got my brother talking until he convinced him to do it. He put on Tefillin and then told him what he was about to do and the young man almost fainted.
'What?" he said "Why do such a crazy thing? You're a human being! And you’re a Jew! It's forbidden to give up."
Anyway he convinced my brother to put on Tefillin and to come with him to Shabbos in Crown Heights and then somehow arranged him a meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. "Well, I don't know what the Rebbe said there to my brother but he came out of the Rebbe's room a different man. Maybe they even gave him some money or found him a job or something but my brother didn't tell me that. He just said that he spoke to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and everything will be all right. "And he ended the letter saying 'My dear sister, if you have a living brother today it is only in the merit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe'" The woman turned to Mrs. Astulin with tears in her eyes and said. "Now please tell me more about these Shabbos Candles."
Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mazal Tov to Elazar Friedman on his recent Chasuna --

Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah tells us this week in Parshas Emor: "You shall not desecrate My holy Name, rather I should be sanctified among the Bnai Yisroel. I am Hashem Who sanctifies you." (Vayikra 22:32) Whenever a Jew acts according to the Torah, especially in public, he causes Hashem's name to be sanctified. Why is that? Because when an onlooker sees a Jew acting properly according to the beautiful ways of the Torah, then the onlooker is himself encouraged to follow in the ways of the Torah. And whenever, Chas v'Sholom, one acts against the Torah, especially in public, onlookers say "what is the whole thing (religion) worth?" if it does not influence peoples actions for the better? The following letter to the editor recently published, illustrates the power of the "Kidush Hashem."
"I am writing to tell you of an incident which happened to me on a wildly snowy Thursday afternoon. On my way home from work in Mendota Heights, my car had already gotten stuck several times.

As I reached the unplowed streets of Cottage Grove, I knew I would be getting stuck again. I approached the 80th Street and East Point Douglas intersection, which is very busy.
When the light turned red and the wheels lost their traction, I sat there spinning my wheels as many cars and even snow plows went around me without stopping.
All of a sudden, a white passenger van pulled alongside me and several young men dressed in black fedora hats and long overcoats jumped out of the van. Without the benefit of mittens or boots, they selflessly began pushing my car until I got moving again. And it took several of them to push to keep my vehicle moving!
The van and passengers went on to follow me to my destination. I was very touched and unable to thank them, because I knew if I stopped again, that I would get stuck again.
I am making the assumption that these young heroes are Yeshiva school students due to their distinctive, formal clothing. The school is doing a very good job teaching the students about basic decency and courtesy. They cheerfully waved at me as I pulled away, trying to shake the snow out of their now wet shoes.
They had put themselves at risk dodging other cars that probably couldn’t have fully stopped in that slop. I admire their courage and compassion. What a tribute to the school’s work and their families!" (Ann M. Mattson Cottage Grove, Minnesota Published Wednesday, April 29, '09) South Washington County Bulletin. Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mazal Tov to Elazar Friedman on his recent Chasuna --

Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah tells us this week, "If you will follow my decrees and observe my commandments and perform them… I will walk among you and I will be a G-d unto you and you will be a people unto Me." (Vayikra 26:3,12) The commentator Sforno explains that Hashem is telling us: Be good, keep my mitzvahs, and I, Hashem will go with you the Jewish Nation wherever you go in golus (exile). The following amazing true story told by the daughter of the Rabbi involved, illustrates this concept.
"Almost thirty years ago, my father (Rabbi Schochet) was asked to lecture to a group of Jewish and non-Jewish students in a city that neighbored Buffalo, New York. Although he was reluctant to accept, he was urged to do so by his Rebbe who directed him to focus his lecture on charity, as charity is a universal responsibility of both Jews and gentiles.

He began his lecture by telling the following story: During the time of the Tosafos Yom Tov [Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller, Chief Rabbi of Prague and Cracow during the 17th century and author of a commentary on the Mishna], there lived a wealthy individual who ostensibly never contributed to charity.
After this miser died, the Chevra Kadisha [Jewish burial society] felt that he was unworthy of being interred next to any upright and respectable individual. They buried him in an area of the cemetery called hekdesh, where society's outcasts were buried.
A few days after the funeral, there was a tumult in Prague. Two prominent members of the community, the butcher and the baker, who had previously been extremely charitable and generous, suddenly stopped distributing their funds. The poor people of the city, who had always relied on the benevolent pair for their sustenance, were in an uproar. Emotions ran so deep that the matter was finally brought before the Tosafos Yom Tov.
The Tosafos Yom Tov asked the butcher and baker why they had so suddenly stopped their acts of charity. In reply, they informed the Tosafos Yom Tov that they were not personally wealthy. "We were only able to give so much charity because the 'miser' who died just a few days ago constantly supplied us with funds for charity. He strictly warned us, however, not to disclose from whence the money had originated, since he wanted the great merit of performing the mitzva anonymously. Now that he is gone, we no longer receive the funds, and are, unfortunately, unable to continue with this worthy work."
The Tosafos Yom Tov was so impressed by the modest behavior of this unassuming "miser" that in his own will he requested to be buried next to this humble man.
When my father completed his lecture, a participant from the audience, a priest, approached him and asked him to repeat the story. My father, about to return to his hotel, arranged a time to meet with the priest the following day. Thinking that the matter would be forgotten, my father was surprised when the priest actually arrived. My father repeated the story for the priest but was astounded when, after concluding the story a second time, the priest seemed terribly disturbed and begged him to repeat it yet a third time. Finally, the priest divulged the reason for his agitation.
"Rabbi Schochet, that charitable man in the story was my ancestor." Skeptically, my father calmed the young man saying that there was no connection between him and the story, which took place over 100 years ago.
"Furthermore," he told him, "you are a gentile, while this man was a Jew." The priest looked intently at my father and whispered, "Rabbi, now I have a story to tell you!" He began by describing his background.
He had grown up in the state of Tennessee. His father was a major in the U.S. Army during the Second World War. In Europe, his father had met a Jewish girl and fell in love with her. He brought her back home as his war bride, and no one knew of her Jewish background.
A short time after their marriage, the couple was blessed with a child, who they devoutly raised in the Catholic Church. The child grew up and attended a seminary where he eventually trained to become a priest. In his early adulthood, the priest's mother died. On her deathbed, she disclosed her secret to her astonished son. After reciting the Shema prayer, she confessed, "I want you to know that you are Jewish." She informed him of his heritage and told him that his great-grandfather was buried next to the well-known sage called the Tosafos Yom Tov. She then recounted, almost verbatim, the story that my father had told in his lecture.
At the time, the priest, who was unaware of this information, imagined that his mother was delirious. Although he felt uneasy about his mother's parting words, it was only a temporary, fleeting emotion. As he got on with his life, he soon for got the entire episode.
"Rabbi," cried the priest, in a state of utter emotional turmoil, you have just repeated this story, detail for detail! You have just reminded me of my mother's parting words, and I realize now that the story must be true, or it wouldn't be so well known. Yet, what am I to do? I am a reputable priest with a large congregation of devoted followers."
My father offered to assist him in any way. He emphasized to him, however, that according to Jewish law, he was indeed Jewish. He encouraged him to explore his heritage, and he put him in contact with people in his city who could guide him. With that, the newly-found Jew departed.
My father then understood why his Rebbe had "prophetically" suggested the topic matter. He had no further interaction with the man, and did not hear from him again. Several years ago, when my father was on a visit to Israel. A Jew with a beard and a kipa approached him at the Western Wall and wished him "Shalom Aleichem [ Peace unto you]!" My father, who didn't recognize the individual, was completely taken aback when the man exclaimed, "Don't you recognize me, Rabbi Schochet? I am the former priest whom you met in Buffalo." Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mazal Tov to Elazar Friedman on his recent Chasuna -- Mr. Wolfberg's stories not mine are sponsored by: 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

A good, pleasant and healthy week to all and I hope that next week and in the future my internet will be functioning. Since posting this, my phone line went out.

Be well,

Rachamim Pauli