If you can, please say tehillim for Nina bat Nechama. She is very sick and needs all the prayers we can give her. Bat Sheva bat Adi
Missing link from last week: Believe it or not Sean Finnegan gave me this on-line Torah site. www.yutorah.org
"It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people.... This people are not only of remarkable antiquity but have also lasted for a singular long time... For whereas the people of Greece and Italy, of Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred times to wipe them out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged by the natural order of things over such a long spell of years. They have always been preserved, however, and their preservation was foretold... My encounter with this people amazes me..."
-- Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician Thanks to Mindy – now based on this mathematical formula the so-called “Palestinians, Hamas, Hizballah, Al Qaeda, etc. will disappear soon.
19:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.
This is the statute of the Torah: Because Satan and the nations of the world taunt Israel, saying, “ What is this commandment, and what purpose does it have?” Therefore, the Torah uses the term “statute.” I have decreed it; You have no right to challenge it. — [Yoma 67b] perfectly red: Heb. אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה, lit., red, perfect. It shall be perfect in redness, so that two black hairs disqualify it. — [Sifrei Chukath 5]
In the Spring Issue of the OU Action there was a whole large section on illness, dying and how to cope with patients at the end and cheer up people with jokes.
I took on Wednesday one of the biggest jokesters and clowns to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to arrange for out-patient radiation treatment for his Prostate Cancer which appeared to be also penetrating his bones. I decided to write a lot about this section of the Magazine in the Drasha today. However, the joke was on me. G-D wanted to give me an additional angle on the visiting and comforting of the ill. Yesterday, in my normal exercise routine, I noticed without any effort on my part that my heart rate had jumped to 136 to 155 but I was breathing normally and not out of breath. Something was not 100% physically kosher inside my body.
My personal trainer suggested that we stop the routine but I suggested just an easier routine. I was convinced that I had to go to the emergency treatment center as the sick fund closes between 1 and 4 PM. In the center, my EKG suggest fibulations of the two upper sections of the heart. So I spent the night with rest and relaxation if you call being woken up a few times that. I had to be on blood thinners because of the danger of clots so as usual Pekuach Nefesh erases all the Mitzvos except 3 from the Torah. I am thank G-D home now with blood thinners as my friends but at close to 4 PM Israel time, I have not real time to get the Drasha properly out. Instead I will add another story or two for your enjoyment and expect to back working up a sweat in the gym in about 10 days or so. I never felt really under the weather but was in an unknown danger of a possible stroke from a blood clot. I expect to be OK for the next 58 years if G-D wants it so.
The day before Rosh Chodesh is called Yom Kippur Katan. In certain communities, Mincha (the afternoon prayers) on Yom Kippur Katan includes prayers asking for repentance, so as to begin the new month with a "clean slate". Some have the custom to fast on Yom Kippur Katan. Tachanun is not recited this afternoon.
From tonight (Sunday night) until Tuesday at dusk is Rosh Chodesh Tamuz; don't forget Ya'aleh Veyavo in the Amida and Birkat Hamazon.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:1, 128:1
During the Amida and Birkat Hamazon on Rosh Chodesh one should add Ya'aleh Veyavo. If one forgot to add Ya'aleh Veyavo during the Amida at night one does not need to make amends. During the day one needs to go back to רצה. If one forgot Ya'aleh Veyavo during Birkat Hamazon (during the day or night), and one remembers before starting the last Bracha, one can say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר נָתַן רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן
If one only realizes after starting the last Bracha, or one does not have the above Bracha handy, one does not need to make amends.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 19:10, 44:14
After slaughtering a bird or a non-domestic animal (i.e. a "Chaya", for example a deer) one needs to cover its blood. This Mitzva of "Kisuy Hadam" does not apply to domestic animals ("Behemoth") like cows, sheep and goats. It does apply to fowl. One needs to have sand on the floor before one slaughters. After slaughtering one puts other sand on top of the blood. Before covering the blood one makes a Bracha:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְווֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל כִּסּוּי הַדָּם
If one does not have sand or fine sawdust or something similar, one may use gold dust to cover the blood, since the Pasuk in Iyov (28:6) refers to gold as sand.
Source: Rambam, Hilchos Shechitah, Ch. 14
One may put congealed fat onto hot food on Shabbat even though it will dissolve. One may not crush snow or ice in order to help them melt faster. One may put ice into liquids in order to chill them, even though the ice will melt. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:13 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny,
Native Americans and Sabras
D. M. Lindsey sent me this in a PM e-mail cut short for various reasons but the idea is correct. (edited a bit by me perhaps to protect the guilty.)
The current situation in the middle-east brings to mind the legacy, tradition and history of White America. The White Man has a lamentable heritage of betrayal to its friends and allies, those who are not White Men but who have fought and died for the White Men - more particularly the American Indians and the Blacks.
More than any other race the American Indian has suffered this injustice from the White Man American.
Perhaps this legacy is best summarized by the following account of the Crow Indian named Curley.
Curley - Custer's Chief Scout, who along with White Swan were the only survivors of Custer's last fight - spoke to Jonathan Carver [on or about the 17th day of September, 1912, in Curley's lodge among the Crow Indians in Montana] regarding Curley’s feelings about the United States Government's attitude toward his people. In his discourse he spoke bitterly of the government's ingratitude in attempting to push his people off their ancient lands. He refused to sign the agreement that would have given the Indian lands to the government. He provided Carver a signed copy of his refusal on that occasion. It reads thus: I was the friend of General Custer.
I was one of his scouts and will say a few words.
The Great Father in Washington sent you here about this land.
The soil you see is not ordinary soil-it is the dust of the blood, the flesh, and the bones of our ancestors.
We fought and bled and died to keep other Indians from taking it, and we fought and bled helping the whites.
You will have to dig down through the surface before you can find nature's earth, as the upper portion is Crow.
The land as it is my blood and my dead; it is consecrated; and I do not want to give up any portion of it."
Please note the word non-observant should be substituted for in observant. Since English is not the native language of Rav Jadidi or Gene Alberts you can forgive the mistake: A construction worker who was inobservant of the torah and mitzvot lived next to a construction worker who was observant. Together they both worked and helped each other with business matters.
In construction one of the basic things you need to know is that the cement should not come into contact with water, if it does all is lost. The cement becomes hard and thick and its impossible to work with it. In the winter construction workers are very cautious not to live the cement uncovered.
And one day, on Shabbat rain was not expected but suddenly the skies turned gray and it was obvious that a storm will break out any minute. Because it was unexpected, the two construction workers left their bags of cement outside and now they were destined to a great financial loss.
The inobservant construction worker turned to the observant one and asked him if he is ready to come with him and help him bring the bags in to the storage. The observant construction worker furious at his neighbor said “how is it possible that you come to me with this request on my day of rest, the holy Shabbat??!! How can it come across your mind that I will disgrace the Shabbat to prevent financial loss?? If it is decreed that I will lose then I will and if not then I won’t lose anything! I will not disgrace the Shabbat!!” he ended firmly.
The inobservant construction worker was forced to bring the bags in on his own. He carried the heavy bags one by one on his back into his storage through the heavy rains, meanwhile disgracing the Shabbat.
The rains starting pouring harder and harder and the bags that were left outside were ruined, only the ones that were put inside were saved.
The inobservant one planned on coming to the observant construction worker to tell him “Look , see how I gained and you lost but an hour did not pass when it was obvious that whoever keeps Shabbat is the one who gains!!
In the frenzy of saving the bags the inobservant construction took in the bags of the observant construction worker.
And then he said to himself “my neighbor told me so clearly that if it was decreed that I wouldn’t loose I won’t and Hashem proved to me .. so clearly.. with my own hands I placed the wrong bags indoor.
Stress, frustration, anger… only comes about because we don’t practice otherwise. To be calm, and have self control, inner peace needs practice.
It has to be mandatory and not optional. The root of the word Shabbat is shevot which means to go on strike. This is a mandatory strike that we must do our exercise on the seventh day. To calm down and rest and detach ourselves from all the tangles of the outside world. And learn to think positive and have inner peace so we will be able to be able to bring peace to everyone around us and to the whole world.
Another famous story is told below thanks to Gene Alberts: A story is said about a king who sent his financial adviser to negotiate a business contract with one of the neighboring countries. But before he left the king told his adviser that you are sent on condition of not gambling with anyone.
“What! you don’t trust me? The adviser said
The adviser promised and left. He arrived at his destination and was very successful. The king and officers that were hosting him prepared a party and invited all the important people to attend.
At the party, the king came to the financial adviser and said to him “it is very sad that everybody knows that you have a big and ugly scar going down your back”!!
“Not true, you are lying” the adviser said angrily.
“Prove it to me! I will bet you ten thousand gold coins” the king said.
“You will pay till the last penny” the adviser said insulted.
The adviser took off his shirt in front of everyone and showed his back to the king-no scar. The king paid him ten thousand gold coins.
The adviser returned happy and proud and handed the money to his king.
Angry the king said “You disobeyed my command!!”
“Yes , the adviser smiled but I gained so much money”.
“That’s what you think, but before I sent you, the neighboring king told me the adviser you are sending is ignorant and foolish, he will undress himself in front of everyone. I told him in return I am prepared to bet you a million gold coins that my adviser won’t undress himself. And now look what you have done, not only have you disobeyed me but you caused me to lose a million gold coins, and you also gave a very ignorant impression”.
Temptation is so great in the outside world dishonesty, lies, cheating, and people do it because they feel that that’s what everybody does. And you cannot get ahead in life if you do not follow the mass.
But Jews as a role model that they were selected as a nation of Hashem for the sake of sanctity and holiness of our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzhak and Yacov and the twelve tribes. That there path was truth, honesty and justice. They follow their heritage and they stick to it. Because otherwise they will be disgracing the Ribono Shel Olam- G-d Forbid. The same thing as the adviser by becoming naked in front of people who feels that he is getting profit for the king.
Not so in belief of other nations, lies, fraud makes you a winner. As long as you have power you can kill, destroy and nothing else matters because you feel you are in charge.
As the navi (Prophet) has predicted before coming of messiah a day will come that they will be ridicule among people. As you have noticed everybody is laughing at them.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and G-d appeared. Hashem told the man He had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin.
G-d explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. So, this man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the weary mind:
“You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.”
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough. That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the L-rd.
“Hashem” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked.
Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter.
What is wrong?
Why am I failing?”
Hashem responded compassionately, “My son, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done.
Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it.
Your task was to push.
And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed.
Is that really so?
Look at yourself.
Your arms are strong and muscled,
Your back sinewy and brown:
Your hands are callused from constant pressure,
Your legs have become massive and hard.
Through opposition you have grown much, and our abilities now surpass that which you used to have.
True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise our faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done.
Now I, my son, will move the rock.”
All these enemies all around us are not able to G-d forbid to do anything to us and harm us they are only there so we will have something to push away.
Only to push away
But Hashem is the one who is going to remove all our enemies very soon.
They are only there to make us stronger.
The following is a true story that happened at my place of work. We were among other things a Defense plant. However, my division where I worked after the Lavi Project did mostly non-military aircraft. From time to time a Dakota, a C-130 and even a fighter aircraft that a tractor had cut in half we repaired to the amazement of the manufacturer.
On one Shabbos, there were supposed to be five quality control inspectors at work on a civilian aircraft. However, being non-observant and non-G-D fearing they had one man punch in the cards for all 5 and security never caught on. That day the pilot was to test the aircraft for delivery the next day. The foreign airline pilot and client where on board as the plane took off smoothly. The flight was delight. However, when the time came to land, one of the wheels would not come down from the landing gear. It turns out that a new worker had put in the hydraulic flow valve but had reversed the arrow which a good inspector if he was on the job would have caught.
Fortunately for people involved, the pilot was able to jettison the excess fuel and the pilot did his utmost to keep the right side up in the air for landing. It was only $5,000,000 in damaged a ruined reputation for the company. On Sunday five inspectors with the interference of the union and the head of security were given early retirement.
My friend Meir Barzilai, may he live a long healthy life, told me that every civilian project that worked on Shabbos was a financial loss to our company and every project where no work was done on Shabbos a profit was made.
Another story occurred at our plant on Shabbos. We had a gold plating area and gold bars were present. One non-compass mentis shift guard and his friend worked Shabbos over-time. They thought that they could get easy money. On the other side of the company working on remote piloted military vehicles was a fellow who happened to have a disk. These guards had borrowed his disk in the past and had stolen bolted down Tzedakah boxes from our Schul. That was a pittance of perhaps $1000 shekels or less. But now they wanted the gold.
They did not take into account that on a normal working day with tens thousand plus of workers and perhaps a hundred or two hundred with disks that the police might never find out who stole the gold. However, with one man using a disk and 130 workers in the plant that it was easy for the police to find where the disk came from. The man said that he indeed was working with the disk but had lent it out that Shabbos to security. The police checked his story and the finger prints on the disk. Within a few hours the case was solved. The security officer with a nice salary and great overtime was now sent on vacation to the Ramla or other lock-up for the next 14 years along with his wonderful partner. When they get out I wonder if they can even become street sweepers or the city might be afraid of broom thieft.
THIS IS THE RULE: WHO EVER GUARDS THE SHABBOS ACCORDING TO HALACHA, THE SHABBOS GUARDS AND WHO EVER VIOLATES THE SHABBOS, THE SHABBOS TAKES CARE OF IN OTHER WAYS.
From B. W.: Scientific proof of the importance of not having premarital sex. This comes from an article I read earlier today. The author is Marcia Segelstein and the article was published in One News Now.
Thanks to medical science, we now know that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy. It can lead to diseases like emphysema and lung cancer, and increase the risks of heart disease and stroke. So we have acted swiftly on that information. In one generation, our attitude about smoking has undergone a remarkable transformation. Where smoking was once commonplace, and homes everywhere had ashtrays, even if only for visiting smokers, today it's almost shocking to see someone light up. Banned from airplanes, offices and many restaurants, smoking – and smokers – are viewed with a kind of disdain at worst, pity at best. TV shows and movies rarely show people smoking, except when they're villains. The dangers of smoking are taught to young people with almost religious zeal. Most modern parents who found evidence that their teenagers were smoking would haul them down to the nearest cancer ward for a close up look at the consequences of smoking, or at least to their doctor, who would undoubtedly back up parental warnings that smoking is dangerous to their health.
Now substitute the words "casual sex" for "smoking." Thanks to medical science, we now know that casual sex is unhealthy. Not just because of the myriad of sexually transmitted diseases it can cause, to say nothing of the unwanted pregnancies it can create, but because of what it does to the human brain.
Two doctors, Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, explain what we now know about sex and the human brain in their book, Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children.
Let's start with the brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is considered a "reward signal." We now know that when humans do exciting and rewarding things, dopamine floods the brain, producing a feeling of well-being. As the authors write: "It is dopamine that gives us a charge of excitement and rewards us for having the courage to take an action with an uncertain outcome....It should be noted, however, that dopamine is values-neutral. In other words, it is an involuntary response that cannot tell right from wrong, or beneficial from harmful – it rewards all kinds of behavior without distinction."
Dopamine can make adolescents feel good about taking both good and bad risks, from being in the high school musical or trying out for a sports team to driving too fast or having sex. Any exciting behavior triggers the release of dopamine, and adolescents in particular want more once they've had some.
Oxytocin is another important brain chemical we are now learning more about. Oxytocin helps females, in particular, bond with other people. When a new mother breastfeeds her infant, for example, oxytocin floods her brain. The effect is powerful. She feels a strong desire to be with her baby, and is willing to suffer the sleepless nights and inconveniences that come with having a baby.
Oxytocin also helps females bond with men. When a woman and man touch each other in a loving way, oxytocin is released in her brain. It makes her want more of that loving touch, and she begins to feel a bond with her partner. Sexual intercourse leads to the release of even more oxytocin, a desire to repeat the contact, and even stronger bonding. But, like dopamine, oxytocin is values-neutral. It's a chemical reaction, or, as the authors write: "It is an involuntary process that cannot distinguish between a one-night stand and a lifelong soul mate. Oxytocin can cause a woman to bond to a man even during what was expected to be a short-term sexual relationship." So when that short-term relationship ends, the emotional fallout can be devastating, thanks to oxytocin.
Another significant finding about oxytocin is that it produces feelings of trust. That can be good or bad, depending on the situation. "While the hormonal effect of oxytocin is ideal for marriage, it can cause problems for the unmarried woman or girl who is approached by a man desiring sex....The warning is that a woman's brain can cause her to be blindsided by a bad relationship that she thought was good because of the physical contact and the oxytocin response it generates."
Males have their own neurochemical related to bonding: vasopressin. It floods the male brain during sexual intercourse, causing him to feel at least partially bonded to every woman with whom he's been intimate. If men begin a pattern of having sex with partner after partner, they risk not developing the ability to form long-term emotional attachment. As McIlhaney and Bush put it: "Their inability to bond after multiple liaisons is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times."
Now let's add to that new information that neuroscience teaches us about the brain chemistry of sex and bonding some cold, hard facts about how effective birth control really is when it comes to teenagers. The authors of Hooked have compiled the following statistics from various sources:
- 20 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds using the Pill will become pregnant within six months
- 20 percent of teens under 18 using condoms will become pregnant within a year
- 50 percent of female teenagers who live with a boyfriend and use contraception will become pregnant within a year I certainly hope that the statistics are true as I don’t want to be made of fool of. I can quote a girl who attended a “religious” high school in Ashdod and served with Army Intelligence before the Yom Kippur War. “17 girls graduated from the M… School where you (aka Mr. Pauli) taught English in the year I graduated = 8th grade. Out of the 17 – 9 were pregnant in the 9th grade”. I wonder, myself, what about the other 8 and their moral behavior. Now this particular woman was between 6 to 8 years younger than I and the lack of proper parental from ancient societies having the ability to talk to young teens in a modern society. The parents were coming from a society that married off females between 12 and 15 led to this. In Charedi areas this did not occur – certainly not on the scale mentioned by this woman to me as there were no mixed classes and the separation of the sexes was very strong. This was not a Warren Jeffs marriage but an older teen male to a younger teen female up the mid twenties for a male. (It was not unheard of for a Yitzchak aged 40 to marry a woman like Rivka of 14 with proper family blessings but usually rare).
I recently watched a rerun of House (a TV show about a doctor who uses unconventional methods to diagnose illnesses) and was struck by a brief interaction between the doctor and the parents of the teenage patient, who couldn't speak for himself. The parents assured Dr. House that they knew everything about their son. They were non-judgmental, they explained. The son told them everything. They knew about the time he'd gotten drunk, that he smoked pot, and that he started having sex when he was 16. They were cool. Later House discovers irrefutable proof that the son smokes cigarettes, an activity which turns out to be germane to his illness. When House brings it up with the parents, their reaction verges on hysteria. "But he knows I'd kill him," the father screams.
For those of us unconvinced by moral or religious arguments, it's time to re-order our priorities. Now that we have science behind us, it's time for society to change its collective mind when it comes to sex, just as it did with smoking. Maybe in one generation, we can undergo a transformation when it comes to sex outside of marriage. Maybe TV shows and movies will stop implying that casual sex is no big deal. Maybe we'll begin to teach young people that waiting till marriage is best. Then the dopamine and the oxytocin and the vasopressin can do their jobs of helping to make two people one.
We don't expect our kids to take up smoking. We tell them so in no uncertain terms. We should expect no less when it comes to sex, and we should tell them that also. The authors of Hooked sum up their findings about premarital sex this way: "Those who abstain from sex until marriage significantly add to their chance for avoiding problems and finding happiness." Science now backs up what religious traditions have been teaching for generations. Who knew? Oh yeah. HIM.
LETTERS TO RABBIS: Posted by Tsila: After having terrible episodes of horrific noise in my ears, I went to an ENT doctor who told me that, though I am young, I am starting to lose my hearing. He wanted to put me on steroids for a week to slow down the hearing loss. He informed me of the possible side effects but felt that it was the right remedy. I am also going for a brain scan to see if there might be a chance that there is a benign tumor on my auditory nerve. After pondering my situation, I realized that I have been neglecting to say the Shema, day and night. Shema means using ones hearing. I thought maybe this is Hashem's way of letting me know what I have to correct. I decided to be vigilant to say Shema twice a day, slowly, clearly and articulately. I have also started using a Sephardi Siddur that explains many different words of Shema, the various parts that correspond to the Aseres Hadibros (10 Commandments), and certain actions to do while saying the Shema. I have noticed that when I do all this my hearing is great, but when I have lapses the noise returns. I just received this e-mail and can attest to it.
Love, Ema (Sarah Chana)
Tefillah: Waking Up Jewish by Rabbi Daniel Travis
The Zohar reveals how healing results from saying Shema meticulously. Every word attaches itself to its corresponding bodily limb and protects it during that day (Zohar Chadash, Rus ibid.).
How does this work? Shlomo Hamelech tells us: “The Torah is a tree of life for those who grasp it” (Mishlei 3: 18). Torah is life-sustaining and when Shema, which is made up of essential words of the Torah, is said properly, each word attaches itself to one limb, protecting it from all harm (Zohar, ibid.).
In recent years, healthy living has become a major topic on the agenda in our society. People spend enormous amounts of money and time on health foods, vitamins, exercise and doctors who practice natural medicine to help their bodies function properly.
While taking care of one’s health is a Torah obligation, our Sages tell us that saying Shema properly should be an integral part of every Jew’s daily health regimen. It costs nothing and facilitates healing for each of the 248 bodily limbs, while also providing extension of life and protection from all harm.
Reciting Shema properly is the best way to protect our health. Best of all, saying Shema comes with a “Manufacturer’s Guarantee.”
Tefilah: Waking Up Jewish, Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org
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Rivka S. asked me how many times is it written in Shelach Lecha that Moshe fell on his face? I checked the Parsha twice and I could only find one instance 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. Also in Parsha Korach I only saw once.
B"H Dear Rabbi Rachamim,
Thank you so much for taking the time to research you answer and give me a thoughtful response. I appreciate the efforts that this took.
I was however, thinking that it happen more than just these two times. Moshe Rabbeinu seems at times authoritative yet humble and in the back of my mind I am think it happened more than just these two times.
So many of us could learn form the life of Moshe Rabbeinu on how to act and treat each other and how to conduct ourselves daily.
Can you imagine him in this day and age. He draws attention rather unintentionally to himself by some act of greatness, then he recounts his experience to small groups in Schuls around then country then the world. Next he holds big seminars in which thousands attend and yet the public learns that a great deal of his fees and honorariums are going to chessed and tzedakah. He calls his seminars The 613 Pathways of Joy.
But yet that is what, in essence, has happened. Has it not? From this man humbling himself before HaShem and a population of slaves we have come to a beautiful way of living that offers us the way for a blessed life and mutual respect. … - Rivka
Actually, I view things as follows: Once upon there was a committee for setting up and running the Yeshuv. I had made tremendous inroads with 4/4 religious political parties in the Knesset at the time and also with the Likud through Dov L. who was one of our members. Even though I had received during the original elections the most popular vote, it was clear to me that Yacov was more experienced and a better leader than I. We anonymously agreed that Yacov should be our head. When one of the members of the committee resigned, the next in line was Ahuvah who had fought side by side with Prime Minister Shamir. Another member of the committee was Shimon who was at the time the comptroller of the city of Lod and knew how to run things from water payments and other city workings. But what happened was our own version of Korach and his gang pulled the rug out from under Yacov’s feet and even cost him his source of employment. With such bullying and pressure Yacov, Moshe, Ahuvah, Dov the majority of the committee resigned. Having gone for 6 days a week on 4 hours of sleep a night, I was totally drained. I could have fallen on my face. The lobby in the Knesset that I created with Dov went down the drain and to this day nobody has even tried to start one again. I understand Moshe Rabbaynu all too well.
A Happy Ending which is good for the Rabbis
Last year a dispute broke out with the declaration that 1000 Orthodox Converts of Rabbi Druckman Shlita were not considered converts. The controversy and split in Orthodoxy went on. This particular case mentioned in the newspaper article below may involve bribery so it might be a true nullification but even then I am not 100% sure as I cannot judge from Newspaper Articles. I can only tell you that I do not participate in conversions and only act as in an advisory capacity to potential converts on what to learn. The case with Rabbi Druckman appears to be more of bullying to me while the suspected bribe mentioned in the article below appears to justify the annulment. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3735694,00.html http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3733255,00.html
Finally on Wednesday this week when the case was going to go before the Supreme Court and over-rule all Rabbinical Authority, Chief Rabbi Amar Shlita removed Rabbi Sherman from dealing with conversions and he took all conversions under his wing. I am sure that Rabbi Druckman Shlita will be allowed to continue and the other case will be reviewed and checked into by the Chief Rabbi and not some Rabbi with Ayatollah complexes in his head.
Every once in a while a little humor is good. R’ A.L. sent me this and it is worth while forwarding to all for a bit of humor. Of course if you don’t know all the Chassidic groups you may only laugh instead of rolling on floor laughing.
Same Sects Marriages
(NEW YORK) In an unusual display of unity, leaders of five Chasidic groups today issued a joint statement in support of proposed state legislation to allow same-sects marriages. The groups represented were Belz, Pupa, Saatmar, Bobov, and Lubavitch.
"Of course we want same-sects marriages," said Rabbi Wurzma Shtreimel, head of the Belz movement." A Belzer should marry only a Belzer. That makes perfect sense." The other rabbis agreed.
"If a Saatmar weds a Bobover, woe to their offspring," proclaimed Rabbi Praymita Gartel of Saatmar. "What would their children be -Saatovers? That's totally unheard of."
The rabbis shared concerns about the dilution of their individual groups through intersect marriages. "The Tanya warns us," said Rabbi Mendy Pantz of Lubavitch, "If a Lubavitcher marries outside his sect, his children lose half their heritage. His son is not Lubavitch, just Vitch. And his grandson becomes a son of a Vitch."
At a separate news conference, Chasidic women expressed similar oncerns. "It's less confusing when our kind marry their own kind," said Rebbitzen Donna Kittel, founder of a Pupa women's group, The Mamas and the Pupas.
To prevent intersect marriages, Belz Rebbitzen Gitta Kapotah announced the formation of a new community matchmaking service, Wedding Belz. "We must protect our Belz," she said. "They're our family jewels."
Contacted by Mr. Richard Feder of Ft. Lee, N.J., Rebbetzin Emily Littella of Bobov asked, "Vat's all dis I hear about same-sox marriage?"
As the Islamic Republic slides deeper into unrest, the fate of Iran's nuclear resources is becoming a pressing matter of concern, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Washington sources reported Friday, June 19. Iran's nuclear program is far more advanced than generally acknowledged in the West; so is its ballistic missile development. Should factional strife or civil war paralyze central government, those assets would become vulnerable.
Iran has accumulated a mountain of nuclear data and a large staff of scientists working inter alia on enriched uranium. Facing opposition in Pakistan, al Qaeda might find Iran a tempting proposition. Its tacticians have long shown an aptitude for operational opportunism; more than once they managed to about-turn and relocate jihad manpower to new arenas more rapidly than the transfer of Western forces.
This situation has a nightmarish precedent. After the collapse of the Soviet empire in the early 90s, it later transpired that at least 12 nuclear cruise missiles and four Kh-55 nuclear warheads were stolen from the Russian stockpile in the Ukraine and reached the hands of Iran and China who copied their nuclear technology. And scores of "nuclear suitcases" designed as tactical weapons for Russian special forces vanished and were never traced.
Iran lacks nuclear products of this level of sophistication but it has accumulated a large quantity of enriched uranium and valuable prototypes of nuclear devices and warheads, ballistic missiles and a great deal of know-how for making "dirty bombs." In a breakdown of order in Iran, those scientists may well decide to take off and peddle their nuclear trove to the highest bidder. The strained relations between the Islamic regime and Washington have made it impossible for the administration to access any leading Iranian official to help prevent Iran's nuclear resources from reaching the wrong hands.
President Barak Obama is under pressure at home to extend more forceful encouragement to the protest movement rather than placating the regime.
Is it a matter of he doesn’t get it or is there method to his “ignorance”? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3735075,00.html
So much for privacy on Face Book: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/24/eu-advisory-group-proposes-tighter-privacy-regulation-on-social-networks/#comment-2819097
From Renaud: Code Pink helps the Arab boycott of Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdJO0sMvkpA
And more proof of 9/11 and the Saudi Royal Family Connection: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/world/middleeast/24saudi.xml
Now for M. Wolfberg's pick up sticks and don't look back
Good Shabbos Everyone. Alan Goldberg (all names have been changed) is a very avid golfer who is also shomer shabbos (Shabbos observant.) This, however, has not always been the case. Alan grew up with "traditional" Judaism. Sadly, like many Americans, Alan's bar mitzvah marked the end of any ties to Judaism. One day however, all of this changed, after an interesting twist of divine providence.
As we mentioned, Alan loves golf. Before he was Shomer Shabbos, Alan golfed every Shabbos and Sunday. Living in Arizona, where the weather is pleasant, Alan had plenty of opportunity to play the sport he loved. One Sunday, Alan arrived to the golf course and soon after, he was paired up to play with Hershel Saver. Hershel is a Torah observant Jew who also enjoys golf.
At one point in the game, Hershel bent over to pick up the golf ball and his hat fell off, revealing a yarmulke underneath. Alan noticed the yarmulke and the two struck up a conversation. Alan knew Hershel from before, but Alan had not known that Hershel was orthodox. Hershel told Alan that he was making a bar mitzvah and he invited Alan to join him and his family for the celebration.
Although Alan was completely unreligious, he respectfully accepted the invitation. Hershel had referred some business to Alan in the past, so Alan felt that he owed him the favor of accepting the invitation. Thankfully, it rained the Shabbos of the Bar Mitzvah, so Alan had another reason to attend Shul, instead of playing golf, as he usually did on Shabbos.
Alan was very impressed with the davening (prayer service) in the Orthodox shul. Above that, Alan was impressed with the maturity and seriousness of the bar mitzvah boy. Later that night, after Shabbos, family and friends gathered together to celebrate the bar mitzvah at a festive meal. Alan was also impressed with the occasion that night; it was very meaningful, nothing like his own ostentatious bar mitzvah of several years previous.
At the bar mitzvah, Alan met the rabbi of the local shul, Rav Spiegel. Rav Spiegel introduced himself to Alan and invited him to attend some local Torah classes, which Rav Spiegel was giving on a regular basis. Soon after, Alan became a regular attendant at the Torah classes. Little by little, Alan began to attend shul in the mornings and also began putting on tefillin. As for Shabbos, Rav Spiegel noticed that Alan only showed up Shabbos morning when it rained.
Alan often felt guilty for heading to the golf course instead of the shul on "Saturdays." After a few months of no-shows for Shabbos davening and refusals of Shabbos meal invitations, Rav Spiegel decided to ask Alan why he hardly showed up on Shabbos. After a few moments Alan decided the best approach was the truth. "Well, Saturday is one of my two golf days, and I really can't miss that." Rav Spiegel opened his eyes wide. He had known of Alan's passion for golf, but had never understood how much. Rav Spiegel said: "Alan, I understand what you're saying, but Shabbos is one of the major pillars in the life of a Jew, It is the bedrock of our tradition." Alan smiled painfully as he said "Look, Rabbi, I'm a very traditional guy myself. My tradition is golf every Saturday and Sunday and I plan on keeping it up. There's no greater joy than the fresh air, the green, and my sticks on my back."
"Sticks?" asked Rav Spiegel, looking confused. "You carry sticks on your back?"
"'Sticks' is the golfer's expression for golf clubs. Anyway I like the class you give, but I can't see myself ever giving up golf."
"Alan, you don't have to give up golf. You can still play on Sundays."
Alan raised his voice a bit as he said passionately "But that would cut my golf time in half! Besides, my particular foursome always meets on Saturdays. It's a long-standing tradition, Rabbi…"
Rav Spiegel was at a loss for words. After long thought, he resolved on a roundabout tactic: whenever possible, Rav Spiegel would direct the focus of his parsha classes towards the importance of Shabbos. However, no matter what he said, the Rav could not make a dent in Alan's dedication to golf on Saturdays.
One Tuesday night Alan sat at the Rav's weekly parsha class trying to concentrate. It was the middle of summer, the peak of golf season, when the late sunsets allowed a golfer additional time on the course. Alan tried to keep his mind off golf and instead to listen to the shiur. The parsha being discussed was Shlach; specifically, Rav Spiegel spoke about the section of the parsha which discussed how a man was put to death for gathering sticks on Shabbos. Alan's eyes opened wide and he felt his heart skip a beat. He sat there as if hit over the head by a nine iron. A stick carrier - put to death? Carrying his sticks - he did that every Saturday. But the stick carrier was put to death for violating Shabbos! He could hear the Torah tapping him on the shoulder, addressing him personally. Alan needed no more coaxing. The next Shabbos he chose Hashem over golf. He has been shomer Shabbos ever since. (From "True Tales from Two Cities" p. 81, Rav Zev Roth)
Shabbos is indeed the pillar of Judaism. Let us recognize that resting on Shabbos does not mean relaxing and doing "what we want to do." Rather, resting on Shabbos means refraining from the forbidden labors of Shabbos. By keeping Shabbos properly, we will merit the words of the Navi (prophet): "…if you proclaim the Shabbos 'a delight,' and the holy [day] of Hashem 'honored,' and you honor it by not engaging in your own affairs, from seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden - then you will delight in Hashem…" (Yeshayahu 58:13-14) Good Shabbos Everyone.
Good Shabbos Everyone. In the days of Reb Yaakov Yitzchok of Lublin (The “Chozeh” or “Seer” of Lublin) there was a very well respected Rabbi in the same town who was not Chassidic. This local Rabbi did not usually seek the advice of the “Chozeh,” however, it happened once that the local Rabbi was perplexed and could find no answer to a difficult question. The local Rabbi eventually resorted to making his way to the famous “Chozeh” to ask the question which had tormented him for so long.
"Why, rebbe," he asked, "do so many thousands flock to you from all sides! What do they see in you? Why don't they come to me? For am I not a greater scholar than your are?"
"To tell you the truth," said the Chozeh calmly, "I am as amazed as you are. Because I know that I am not holding on a high spiritual level. Why then should people come to me in search of ways to grow closer to Hashem? In fact, they should go to visit you. For you are a scholar with an unquestioned reputation, a veritable Mount Sinai in Torah knowledge.”
"But perhaps here lies the catch,” continued the Chozeh. “Because I am surprised that people do come to me, that is why they come to me; and because you are surprised that they do not come to you, that is why, rabbi, they do not come to you..." (A Treasury of Chassidic Tales, Rav Zevin, p.421)
A man once complained to Reb Simcha Bunim of Parshischo, saying “The Talmud (Eruvin 13a) states that when a person runs away from honor, honor will run after him. I run away from honor, but honor does not pursue me.” “The reason,” explained the Reb Simcha Bunim, “is because you keep looking back, and therefore it hides from you.”(Gateway To Happiness, Reb Zelig Pliskin, p.283, citing Simchas Yisroel , p.57)
We read about honor seeking in this week’s Torah portion Korach . Korach “had it all,” but it was not enough. As Moshe said to Korach, “Is it not enough for you that the G-d of Yisroel has segregated you from the assembly of Yisroel to draw you near to Him [Hashem], to perform [as a Levi] the service of the Mishkan of Hashem, and to stand before the assembly to minister to them? And He drew you near, and all your brethren, the offspring of Levi, with you-- yet you seek priesthood (to be a Kohen) as well?!?”(Bamidbar 16:9-10)
When Korach failed to receive the honor he felt he deserved, Korach attempted to stage a revolt against Moshe. We see how Korach’s search for honor eventually caused his own death and the death of many others who supported him. The world literally swallowed up Korach. As the Sages tell us “Jealously, lust and glory-seeking remove a man from this world.”(Avos 4:28)
When the "Chozeh" was rebbe in Lublin, the city's rabbinical seat was then occupied by Rabbi Azriel Horovitz, whose Torah knowledge was so incredible that he was nicknamed "the iron-headed." He made it his business to constantly bother the Chozeh with all kinds of questions. Reb Azriel used to especially bother the Chozeh on one issue, namely: The Chozeh himself knew that he was not a Rebbe, yet he nevertheless continued to draw a large following after him and teach them his ways. "But what can I do about it," argued the Chozeh, "if they all make the long journey here without my urging?"
"Simple," said the Reb Azriel. "Next Shabbos announce to your followers that you are not a rebbe, and then they will leave you alone and stop coming to you."
Sure enough, the "Chozeh" faithfully took his advice. The very next Shabbos he stood up meekly before his congregation, and told them in plain, quiet words that he was really a man of very poor worth indeed. The effect, though, was not as expected. His chassidim were so moved by the genuine self-effacement of their rebbe that they made every attempt to learn from his humility, and sought to be even closer to the "Chozeh" than ever before.
When the "Chozeh" next met Reb Azriel, he told him that he had followed the advice, but to no avail. Reb Azriel now had an alternative suggestion: "Your chassidim love humility and run away from arrogance. Tell your followers, therefore, that you are a true tzaddik (a righteous Rabbi). Then they will be sure to go home and leave you in peace."
"I may not be a rebbe," responded the Chozeh, "but I am not a liar either. How, then will I be able to get up and say that I am a true tzaddik?" (A Treasury of Chassidic Tales, Rav Zevin, p.422)
Honor seekers are so desperate for honor, that if they don’t receive honor, they are unhappy. An honor seeker, for example, will have a "bad day" if the check-out clerk in the supermarket treats him disrespectfully. Usually, when one gets upset for not being treated well, one is in fact suffering from honor seeking. Because, in effect he is saying, "Hey, you can't treat me that way! I am a very important person. I deserve respect!" Thus, the happiness of an honor seeker depends on others.
Ideally, our happiness in life should come from inside, not outside. Because, if our happiness is dependent on others, we set ourselves up for disappointment. But if our happiness is independent of others, then we will be happier more of the time. Good Shabbos Everyone.
Be well and have a great Shabbos,