Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chastisements from Love, Parsha Ki Teitze, halacha, stories

Quote of the week from Stephanie Taylor: 24 hours after 9000 Jews were expelled from Gaza hurricane Katrina did its deadly damage. Maybe America should stop dictating to us and leave us alone in our land maybe then the hurricanes will stop.

Reminder if you are having trouble reading the direct post especially the small amount of Hebrew thrown in albeit translated go to

Mussar for Elul

Deut 18:13 Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God. תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶי

Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God: Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever happens to you with [unadulterated] simplicity and then, you will be with Him and to His portion. — [Sifrei]

As we enter the new lunar month of Elul  the month of love and compassion  it is a bit difficult for some to feel beauty and hope.

No doubt, there is much beauty in the world. Humans continue to demonstrate noble acts of gallantry. In many little corners of the globe unsung heroes shine and illuminate their environments.

But collectively we are living in troubled times. The economy is just the latest of challenges facing us all. Many people have been laid off from work, many are suffering deep financial losses. Even those with jobs and money are profoundly affected. The climate is one of fear about an uncertain future.

On the international front, a deep cloud hangs over the globe  not only for millions of people in the Middle East, but for populations in virtually every hemisphere. The toxic air can ignite a new attack at any moment, in any place. No one knows when and where the next crisis will strike. The Middle East in particular, with the growing upheaval in Iran, remains a hotbed waiting to erupt.

Add to the equation the personal and emotional anxieties that people grapple with daily, the psychological forces that drain us, and we have, shall we say, quite a "bundle" (a "pekel" as the good Yiddish expression goes) to deal with. Much, much baggage weighs us down.

The compassionate power of Elul seems very distant.

But what else is new? Elul was never an easy process. The source of this months history and power goes back 3321 years ago, and tells the entire story

Y. Y. Jacobson

It is time to think about where we are, where we hope to be going and perhaps in which direction. Life is dynamic and not stagnant. I have plans if not so much for myself for what legacy that I can share with my children and grandchildren in the future. However, with all the uncertainty I wonder what will be. Sometimes one does everything right – a real Tzaddik (righteous person) but he lives in a world of Sodom. So he pays cash for his house, no credit debit, squirrels him money away for a rainy day and yet when Sodom collapses economically, he is hit. The same thing with a business as we saw suddenly right wing owners of car dealerships having their franchise undermined. We live in a wicked world where the government does not allow for off shore drilling making the US energy sufficient for the next couple decades. Instead the government gives two billion dollars to Brazil’s Petrobras for off shore drilling. However, there is method to their madness – George Soros who is one of the big financers of “move on” (to the left) has invested Billions in Petrobras so it is the right hand washing the left hand. We have to wake up as a clean politician like Rabbi Yacov Mizrachi Zal, Rabbi Peretz Shlita, Rav Azran Shlita are so rare that one can just about count them on their fingers who is clean in their life time. Rav Yerachmiel Boyer Shlita told my Kollel how he was dumbfounded at the filth floating around in Bnei Berak politics.

The Torah asks what does G-D expect of you. The answer is to follow all the Commandments. Some of us are weak but to the utmost of our abilities. No OMNIPRESENT BEING would expect a person with a 60,80 or 90 IQ to learn Torah and Mitzvos and observe them like one with a 120, 130. 150 IQ or a cripple to run to Schul to be the first in the minyan. Just do your best. As I wrote last week, one does not become shomer Shabbos, shomer Kashrus and shomer Taharos Hamishpacha over night neither does one learn a foreign language. However, to make an attempt and try to improve oneself is the main goal. This is why Elul is the season of repentance not under fear of the Judgement of Rosh Hashanah but for the love of being able to atone for past mistakes before Yom Kippur.

Yes we have all sinned before HASHEM in one way or another. It could be going over board with jokes, politics, etc. instead of learning Torah. On these issues, I beat my own breast. What about other sins besides wasting Torah time or wasting Torah time by idle chatter, womanizing or women flirting with men on line with no intention of marriage just to get some attention and nice words, or being deceitful and forgetting that there is an all seeing eye and an all hearing ear. Not to mention the tale bearing of Lashon Hara. We all have something in our own ‘act’ that we have to put together and clean up. Once is a while take 5 and see what you really did that day and perhaps what you might have down or should have done.

In the month of August, not counting hit and run drivers, 16 people in Israel were murdered and the press began to react if we are being Al Capone’s Chicago.

Last week, we had “Justice; Justice you should pursue … don’ take bribes.”

Elul Part 2

As the week rolled on from the time of my writing the above, I noticed things that bothered me so much that I had to add on here more Mussar. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary racism 1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. racism 2: racial prejudice or discrimination

There are two different Beis Yacov schools being built in Eretz Yisrael side by side - One for Sephardim and one for Ashkenazim! I don’t want myself to sound like an anti-Ashkenazi Bigot, but I have found Sephardi wives more respectful of their husbands, very clean and baalabusta cooks. My friend Eddie (Maimon) Ben Attar Shlita was born and raised in England along with his wife. They are completely ‘western’ Sephardim does that mean their daughters must be considered inferior to Ashkenazi girls. Fortunately in my Kollel, we have Yemenites, Sephardim and Ashkenazim. I would not have it any other way. I have found some good and some bad apples in each and every ethnic group in Israel and I never posul another Jew because he was brought up with a different way of thinking. Who is to say that freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assembly is good versus the way the other person was brought up? Could you imagine bigots kicking the RAMBAM, RAMBAN, RIF, MECHABER, etc. out of Jewish law texts because they were Sephardim or the Sephardim removing Rashi, Rabbaynu Tam, Chatam Sofer, Moshe Feinstein, the Baal Shem Tov, etc. out of their books. When I see such a sad state of affairs, IT IS TIME TO CRY OUT YOUR BIGOTRY AND GROUNDLESS HATRED IS PREVENTING THE MOSHIACH FROM COMING. I hope that I am not alone in my desire to bring the redemption by the Moshiach now!

There was another point that I found upsetting this week. I am far from being a liberal democrat but I put in a few good words for Edward Ted Kennedy on Facebook in his memory. He was at times bi-partisan despite is very liberal views, after an Arab killed Robert, he became super-pro-Israel if he wasn’t before. He was rolling in money and did not need to work as a Senator up to the age of 77. He loved his work and literally worked until he dropped. I received a number of comments about some of the bad things that he did in the past especially an incident in the summer of 1968. I then replied that suffering in this world atones for the bad based on Gemara Berachos.

Daf 5: Raba (some say, R. Hisda) says: If a man sees that painful sufferings visit him, let him examine his conduct. For it is said: Let us search and try our ways, and return unto the Lord. If he examines and finds nothing [objectionable], let him attribute it to the neglect of the study of the Torah. For it is said: Happy is the man whom Thou chasten, O Lord, and teaches out of Thy law. If he did attribute it [thus], and still did not find [this to be the cause], let him be sure that these are chastening of love. For it is said: For whom the Lord loves He corrects.

Raba, in the name of R. Sahorah, in the name of R. Huna, says: If the Holy One, blessed be He, is pleased with a man, he crushes him with painful sufferings. For it is said: And the Lord was pleased with [him, hence] he crushed him by disease. Now, you might think that this is so even if he did not accept them with love. Therefore it is said: To see if his soul would offer itself in restitution. Even as the trespass-offering must be brought by consent, so also the sufferings must be endured with consent. And if he did accept them, what is his reward? He will see his seed, prolong his days. And more than that, his knowledge [of the Torah] will endure with him. For it is said: The purpose of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

R. Jacob b. Idi and R. Aha b. Chanina differ with regard to the following: The one says: Chastenings of love are such as do not involve the intermission of study of the Torah. For it is said: Happy is the man whom Thou chasten, O Lord, and teaches out of Thy law. And the other one says: Chastening of love are such as do not involve the intermission of prayer. For it is said: Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me. R. Abba the son of R. Chiya b. Abba said to them: Thus said R. Chiya b. Abba in the name of R. Johanan: Both of them are chastenings of love. For it is said: For whom the Lord loves He corrects. Why then does it say: 'And teaches him out of Thy law'? Do not read telammedennu, [Thou teach him] but telammedenu, [Thou teach us]. Thou teach us this thing out of Thy law as a conclusion a fortiori from the law concerning tooth and eye. Tooth and eye are only one limb of the man, and still [if they are hurt], the slave obtains thereby his freedom. How much more so with painful sufferings which torment the whole body of a man! And this agrees with a saying of R. Simeon b. Lakish. For R. Simeon b. Lakish said: The word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with salt, and the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with sufferings: the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with salt, as it is written: Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking. And the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with sufferings, as it is written: These are the words of the covenant. Even as in the covenant mentioned in connection with salt, the salt lends a sweet taste to the meat, so also in the covenant mentioned in connection with sufferings, the sufferings wash away all the sins of a man.

It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yochai says: The Holy One, blessed be He, gave Israel three precious gifts, and all of them were given only through sufferings. These are: The Torah, the Land of Israel and the world to come. Whence do we know this of the Torah? — Because it is said: Happy is the man whom YOU chasten, o Lord, and teaches him out of Thy law. Whence of the Land of Israel? — Because it is written: As a man chastens his son, so the Lord thy God chastens thee, and after that it is written: For the Lord thy God brings thee into a good land. Whence of the world to come? — Because it is written: For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light, and reproofs of sufferings are the way of life.

A Tanna recited before R. Johanan the following: If a man busies himself in the study of the Torah and in acts of charity and [nonetheless] buries his children, all his sins are forgiven him. R. Johanan said to him: I grant you Torah and acts of charity, for it is written: By mercy and truth iniquity is expiated. 'Mercy' is acts of charity, for it is said: He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, prosperity and honor. 'Truth' is Torah, for it is said: Buy the truth and sell it not. But how do you know [what you say about] the one who buries his children? — A certain Elder [thereupon] recited to him in the name of R. Simeon b. Yochai: It is concluded from the analogy in the use of the word 'iniquity'. Here it is written: By mercy and truth iniquity is expiated. And elsewhere it is written: And who recompenses the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children.

R. Johanan says: Leprosy and [the lack of] children are not chastisements of love. But is leprosy not a chastisement of love? Is it not taught: If a man has one of these four symptoms of leprosy, it is nothing else but an altar of atonement? — They are an altar of atonement, but they are not chastisements of love. If you like, I can say: This [teaching of the Baraitha] is ours [in Babylonia], and that [saying of R. Johanan] is theirs [in Palestine].7 If you like, I can say: This [teaching of the Baraitha] refers to hidden [leprosy], that [saying of R. Johanan] refers to a case of visible [leprosy]. But is [the lack of] children not a chastisement of love? How is this to be understood? Shall I say that he had children and they died? Did not R. Johanan himself say: This is the bone of my tenth son?8 — Rather [say then] that the former saying refers to one who never had children, the latter to one who had children and lost them.

R. Chiya b. Abba fell ill and R. Johanan went in to visit him. He said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? He replied: Neither they nor their reward. He said to him: Give me your hand. He gave him his hand and he raised him. I tried this trick with Yacov Glicksman TzZal before he passed away. It was Sunday, Tzom Gedaliah and Joey and Seth came to learn with him Gemara Shabbos about the cow of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah going out on Shabbos. He was in the hospital on and off oxygen. After I gave him my hand to pull him up on the bed, he even arose and walked to the toilet. Unfortunately, he was fading fast and he was sent home with oxygen to rest nearby his family. I saw him again on Wednesday evening and late Friday morning erev Yom Kippur he returned his soul to his MAKER.

R. Johanan once fell ill and R. Chanina went in to visit him. He said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? He replied: Neither they nor their reward. He said to him: Give me your hand. He gave him his hand and he raised him. Why could not R. Johanan raise himself? He normally had the power to work miracles and even turned once a wise guy to a pile of bones and flesh by looking at his audacity (If I remember correctly this was Tractate Taanis) — They replied: The prisoner cannot free himself from jail.

R. Eleazar fell ill and R. Johanan went in to visit him. He noticed that he was lying in a dark room, and he bared his arm and light radiated from it. An example of the power of Rav Yohanan. Thereupon he noticed that R. Eleazar was weeping, and he said to him: Why do you weep? Is it because you did not study enough Torah? Surely we learnt: The one who sacrifices much and the one who sacrifices little have the same merit, provided that the heart is directed to heaven. Is it perhaps lack of sustenance? Not everybody has the privilege to enjoy two tables. Is it perhaps because of [the lack of] children? This is the bone of my tenth son! — He replied to him: I am weeping on account of this beauty that is going to rot in the earth. He said to him: On that account you surely have a reason to weep; and they both wept. In the meanwhile he said to him: Are your sufferings welcome to you? — He replied: Neither they nor their reward. He said to him: Give me your hand, and he gave him his hand and he raised him.

Once four hundred jars of wine belonging to R. Huna turned sour. Rab Judah, the brother of R. Sala the Pious, and the other scholars (some say: R. Adda b. Ahaba and the other scholars) went in to visit him and said to him: The master ought to examine his actions. He said to them: Am I suspect in your eyes? They replied: Is the Holy One, blessed be He, suspect of punishing without justice? — He said to them: If somebody has heard of anything against me, let him speak out. They replied: We have heard that the master does not give his tenant his [lawful share in the] vine twigs. He replied: Does he leave me any? He steals them all! They said to him: That is exactly what the proverb says: If you steal from a thief you also have a taste of it! He said to them: I pledge myself to give it to him [in the future]. Some report that thereupon the vinegar became wine again; others that the vinegar went up so high that it was sold for the same price as wine.

As for the above Tanayim and Amorayim suffering so I too suddenly have some health problems. I look at it as pain of love. When I finish mending my ways perhaps the illness will stop or get milder in the mean let me accept the troubles in this world for relief in the next. A Jew knows that his real home and kingdom is not in his worldly villa and bodily vestments but in the next world in German which might be close to Yiddish J=Y Jeden Welt. Since I have kept learning some Torah by hook or by crook, it is from Ahavah (love).

Parsha Ki Teitze

21:10 When thou go forth to battle against your enemies, and the LORD thy God delivers them into thy hands,

This Parsha always falls close to or during Elul when we are supposed to fight our main enemy the evil inclination. In ancient times as I have written in past years it was a military custom to capture the women even if they did not slaughter the men. Plutarch writes about Rome and the Sabine Women. The Torah did give the soldier a chance to take a beauty. The Torah also has rules for treatment of such a woman so that she is not completely degraded – she was created like Chava in the image of G-D and should be treated as such. All right soldier you want this beauty to give you beautiful children; then that is OK perhaps a stupid reason as maybe she has an IQ of 80 or the worst habits in the world. But assuming that she is normal let her some room for dignity and teach her Kashrus, Family Purity, etc.

Only because she may hate you for raping her and carrying her away from her home and perhaps killing her brother or father in war (West Side Story Plot), she might produce a son who will rebel against you out of her hatred for you. That is why the Torah puts the Ben Sora v’Moroh (rebellious son) right after the captive woman. FELLOWS THIS GOES FOR MEN WHO DO NOT TREAT A WIFE LIKE BONE OF MY BONES FLESH OF MY FLESH AND WHAT WE CALL CHEATERS TODAY. LADIES IF YOU DO NOT TREAT YOUR HUSBAND AS YOUR OWN BONES, YOU TOO ARE IN TROUBLE SO JUST REMEMBER MARRIAGE IS A DOUBLE EDGED GIVE AND TAKE. GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT AND LOVE IN LOVE OUT!

and thou carry them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and would take her to thee to wife; 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou may go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her.

The Torah lets the woman feel that she is not a sex slave of the man – now isn’t G-D wise! No commentary exists if the woman falls in love with him, because he is a really nice fellow to her and doesn’t drink smoke, curse and provides for her and complements her cooking, cleaning, etc. and she hugs him.

15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated; 16 then it shall be, in the day that he causes his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born; 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the first-fruits of his strength, the right of the first-born is his.

Even though the Torah allows a man to take a second wife, the son of his first wife is the first fruit of his original love and should be treated properly. Sometimes even the husband still likes his first wife but due to illness, menopause or some other factor takes on a second wife. The Torah tells him how to behave and who should inherit. If so, should we have a grudge against Yacov Avinu for not giving Reuven the Bechor and instead gave Yosef double tribes? The answer is that Yacov wanted to marry Rachel and therefore her son was the first born and the beloved. Yacov did not hate Leah – from where do I know this. He orders Yosef ben Rachel to bury him in Chevron next to where he buried Leah. Such a case is not that of a second wife’s son getting the Bechor. Rather Yacov was giving the Bechor to the woman he thought that he was marrying only G-D and Lavan and other plans for him.

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not hearken to the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city: 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he doth not hearken to our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.' 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is a reproach unto God; that thou defile not thy land which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance.

Such a son becomes an Abshalom – perhaps beloved of his father, but a danger to society with his gluttony and thievery. If left unchecked this son to support his habits will become a member of a gang of thugs and perhaps a mafia type leader – Years ago there was a book on the market The Mob Runs America and Meir Lansky Runs the Mob.

22:1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep driven away, and hide thyself from them; thou shalt surely bring them back unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, and thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it home to thy house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother require it, and thou shalt restore it to him. 3 And so shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found; thou may not hide thyself. 4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fallen down by the way, and hide thyself from them; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.

Returning a lost item is a big Mitzvah. Now a donkey or a cow will have some color combination, strip, streak or something that the owner could identify or a collar or today a tag number. If somebody loses jewelry usually there is a way of identifying it and a note should be placed near the find for the loser to look for and identify the loss. Money might not have a sign on it but if one finds near someone’s work bench, one can ask if anybody is missing money. If they say, something like I had a 50 in my wallet or purse and now it is missing then one can return it. Even though one can halachically take the money as all fifty notes look alike, it is above and beyond the mitzvah to return it. Certain one will not be a multi-millionaire from the money and the other person may suffer not only a loss but be stuck somewhere without cash to return home or do their shopping.

5 A woman shall not wear that which pertains unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Now where did I see that word abomination in the Torah before could it be: Lev.18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination. 23 And thou shalt not lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto; it is perversion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you. 25 And the land was defiled, therefore I did visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land vomited out her inhabitants. What about the nice symbol of the rainbow which the modern people calling themselves ‘Proud’ mean? The Rainbow unfortunately is a symbol that G-D will not destroy the world although deserving of destruction for angering HIM, so these abominations are say Na Nya no flood on us. However, earthquakes, fire, poison air are still DIVINE options on the table forewarned can bring about repentance. As for Pride, in Hebrew it is called “Ga’avah” and the Chayay Adam writes on the confession for Yom Kippur under Gimmel: “Gaeeti – sheh katuv toyavat HASHEM kaul ga’avat lev” – Mishlei 16:5 ({I have sinned, I have been} proud as is written an abomination before the L-RD is every proud heart – Prov.16:5) Also from Mishlei 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. I was reading what my great-great granddad Shlomo HaMelech wrote in his Proverbs about the Gay Pride Parades 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better it is to be of a lowly spirit with the humble, than to divide the spoil with the proud. One might try Psalms 101.5 I will cut off whoever secretly slanders his neighbor; I will not endure the man who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart.

In Meseches Sotah 5:A Rabbi Alexandri said: Every man, in whom there is haughtiness of spirit, will be disturbed by the slightest wind. As it is said: But the wicked are like the troubled sea If the sea, which contains so many quarters of gallons of water, is ruffled by the slightest wind, how much more so a human being who contains but one quarter of a gallon.

Rabbi Chiya b. Ashi said in the name of Rav: A disciple of the Sages should possess an eighth [of pride]. Rav Huna the son of R. Joshua said: [This small amount of pride] crowns him like the awn of the grain. Raba said: [A disciple of the Sages] who possesses [haughtiness of spirit] deserves excommunication, and if he does not possess it he deserves excommunication. Rabbi Nachman bar Isaac said: He should not possess it or part of it; as it is written: "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord!"

Maimonides, Laws of Behavior 2:3

There are behaviors which a person is prohibited from doing even moderately. Instead he would distance himself from them in the most extreme fashion. An example of this is arrogance. For it is not sufficient for a person to be only humble, but he must be of lowly spirit, and his spirit should be very low, therefore it is written about Moshe our teacher that he was "very humble" instead of merely stating he was "humble".

Therefore, our sages commanded us to be of extremely lowly spirit, and they also said, "that anyone who has a haughty heart has committed heresy, as it is written: "With the haughtiness of your heart you have forgotten the Lord your God."

It was also stated, "A ban should be placed on the scholar who exhibits a haughty spirit"--even if only a little bit...

This plague is worst than the H1N1 virus as it brings on the destruction to the world remember Sodom and Amorah. When Homosexuality was called queer and the people who behaved that way by derogating names, it was not a plague. However, ‘modern’ liberality has made it a ‘normal’ action. In Biblical Times, there was known female behavior and a G-D fearing Cohain would refrain from marrying such a woman as the Torah viewed such an action as immodesty (Tznewt) and sleeping with a strange body next to one other than ones true mate.

Lastly, if such acts did not exist, the Torah would not have forbid them. Obviously they must have existed from ancient times and when the Torah uses words for Adultery and incest milder than Bestiality and Homosexuality you have to realize that this angers G-D even more. The first is a natural act going uncontrolled as for the last two draw your own conclusion.

6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young; 7 thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, but the young thou may take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou may prolong thy days.

Isa. 32:20 Happy are ye that sow beside all waters, that sends forth freely the feet of the ox and the ass. This refers to Moshiach

Malachi 3:23 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. This refers to Eliyahu HaNovi who announces the Moshiach.

The sending of the bird, ox and prophet use same Hebrew root word.

8 When you build a new house, then thou shalt make a parapet for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence.

In the times of the Tanach, there were no law suits about these things other than the family demanding fair compensation for the total loss of a bread winner, loss of work by an injured party, embarrassment, medical expenses, healing and pain that the Beis Din determined was a fair compensation – nobody made millions or tens of thousands on frivolously law suits. The Torah warns us something more than the danger and that is the blood upon your house and head. You’re going to be held fully accountable in the next world if you do not put up a guard fence around your roof. At the age of 14, I worked repairing shingles on a slanted roof on a mountain with the drop on one side about a storey and a half and on the other side three or four storeys so this Mitzvah brings back found memories and the true danger involved.

9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed; lest the fullness of the seed which thou hast sown be forfeited together with the increase of the vineyard. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together.

These are the laws of Shatnes – three of the 613 Mitzvos and forbidden mixtures. An Ox is strong and a Donkey is relatively speaking weak you put a load strain on either beast not to mention the possibility of a horse and a donkey making a mule or the Zebkey created by accident in the Biblical Zoo. The same goes of the Kilayim on the Vineyard which strangles both – as for the garment that is a mixture of plant and animal and although not Pig Genes put into Tomatoes. Let us remember that there are four cardinal things in this world that work together under DIVINE guidance and creation. The inanimate that provides living things with minerals and fluids, plants, animals and ‘Midaber’ or intelligent talking beings and these things have certain boundaries that HASHEM made to keep them in their place in the hierarchy of things.

12 Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith you cover thyself.

We have just finished the laws of Shatnes in clothing and Moshe comes here to remind us of another law already learned in Bamidbar 15:37 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 38 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; 40 that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.'

Moshe is ending his reign during the Drashos of Devarim as we already saw the repetition of the 10 sayings from Har Sinai so here Moshe is repeating a simple commandment. The Chatam Sofer was lying on his death bed and blessed “Al Mitzvah Tzitzis” and began to cry. In this world for a few dollars for strings, one can get such a rewarding Mitzvah and in the next world one has no more Mitzvos to do to improve his Neshama. That is how a Tzaddik dies not regretting missing on the roulette table, wild flings, funny jokes but regretting the loss of Mitzvos in the next world. Ah would it be upon us to try to realize the significance of each and every Mitzvah. “I’m traveling to Europe, I’ll get a hard boiled egg for breakfast at Christopher’s Ham and Eggs place.” Guess what an egg has osmosis and whatever was cooked in the pot before like good ole French frogs, chocolate covered ants, etc. you are getting embedded in your eggs. You are eating embedded trafe!

I am always worried about mixtures of shortening and milk in bread out in the Midwest after all lard is “natural” and “organic” so I avoid anything baked that does not have an OU on it. My philosophy is BYOM = Bring Your Own Matzos and avoid problems. There are places like Los Vegas that have one supermarket with a kosher section that the Rabbis have arranged for and I found some Kosher Bread and other items there. Maybe there will be Thomas’s English Muffins that are Milchig in West Yellowstone, ID during the main tourist season and maybe not. Do you really want to trust the K on Sunshine Crackers since they lost the OU? I guess if one was in danger such a diabetic or a person who had to eat for some reason, one could trust this – if they sold it in the store but why put yourself in such circumstances. When I traveled around Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland; I carried my own cans of meat, fish, etc. and trusted the black bread that the Jewish Community there trusted along with butter (see Yoreh Deah) and other items that were kosher. Ok, I had carrots, celery, apples coming out of my ears.

23:1 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt.

This was a common practice in those days among the nations of world – the wife as not his mother. It seems that in the series “The Bold and the Beautiful” this practice appears to exist today. Then after the son divorces the father returns etc. etc. etc. Believe me I don’t particularly care to watch these series but it is on in the Gym sometimes before Dr. Phil.

20 When you beat your olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 21 When thou gather the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it after thee; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 22 And thou shalt remember that thou were a bondman in the land of Egypt; therefore I command thee to do this thing.

There is no communism, socialism or greed capitalism in the Torah. There is Chessed (mercy) for the poor. Of course that works fine in an agricultural society and for the immediate neighborhood. Today in an industrialized world the government would collect Maaser Ani (poor man’s dues) for the needy. This of course is over the regular 11% Teruma and Maaser which one should give. The minimum today is 10% of your take home pay to charity. Due to poverty in the religious community our modern Rabbis ordained up to half of that could be put aside for the education of the donator’s children or for purchasing religious books. However, major investors in HaOlam Haba Company (Next World Com.) give at least 10% and up to 20% of course I once met a ‘sinner’ who donated more than 20% of his income to charity and helped the Mercas HaTorah Campus tremendously.

25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, and the judges judge them, by justifying the righteous, and condemning the wicked, 2 then it shall be, if the wicked man deserve to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to the measure of his wickedness, by number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, he shall not exceed; lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should be dishonored before your eyes. …

And if the Judges don’t check well, the wicked can get justified as what happened to the son of Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach. (Tractate Sanhedrin)

17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt; 18 how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear, when thou was faint and weary; and he feared not God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all your enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget!

Since we don’t have all the lineage of every anti-semite alive today, we have to watch his actions. If they attack the young, elderly and bus passengers along the way or people in the London Underground or Madrid Trains, we have to go under the assumption that they are Amelek and blot them off the face of the earth. If one has mercy (see Inyanay Diyoma) upon them, they will come back to blow up an equivalent of a Pan Am plane and put another airline out of business.

Torah and our Times from Rabbi Nightingale: This week's Torah portion includes the laws of Aydim Zomemim - Conspiring Witnesses. It consists of a court case whereby a second group of witnesses prove the initial witnesses false by showing irrefutable evidence that the first witnesses who testified to the guilt of another were in another place at the time of the crime and therefore could not have seen the event in question take place.

If a false witness acts to testify wrongly against a person then the two men who have testimony to refute [the false witnesses] shall stand before God, before the priests and judges who are involved in that case. The judges shall carefully interrogate [the refuting witnesses], and if the [first] two witnesses are found to have testified falsely against their brother, you must do the same to them as they conspired to do to their fellow, thus removing evil from your midst. When the other people hear about this, they will have fear and never again do such an evil thing in your midst. Do not have pity in such a case: a life for a life, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.

As the Torah points out, the punishment is that the court must do the same to the false witnesses as they conspired to do the intended victim.

Humans have an innate need and desire for justice to be done and we intuitively sense that the greatest form of this is what the Talmud refers to as Mida KeNeged Mida - Measure for Measure or Poetic Justice as it is called in Western culture. We feel a sense of satisfaction when someone who wished to do evil to another suffers the same fate. Most people recognize that justice must be served for the greater good of a society - not only for its own sake, but to act as a deterrent to others. When the other people hear about this, they will have fear and never again do such an evil thing.

But unfortunately only most people understand this idea. Many have little appreciation of this concept and it is especially painful when those who supposedly represent justice haven't an inkling of this notion. This week we witnessed such a case by the Scottish government as Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill decided to allow Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of involvement with the Lockerbie bombing of the Pan-Am jet in 1988, go free on grounds of compassion.

How does one comprehend such inanity? Compassion? Al-Megrahi was convicted in the death of 270 people and this fool of a justice secretary is concerned for compassion to this evil man? The only thing more disgusting than this terrorist gaining his freedom is the idiocy of the words of MacAskill, "...however, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power." How ironic that he cites a Higher Power while completely ignoring God's will as expressed in the Torah/Bible. While we certainly agree that ultimate justice does belong to God and will be carried out by Him, at the same time the Torah constantly implores us to do whatever is in our means to ensure that we carry out justice from our this-worldly perspective and not hide behind hopes of justice in the hereafter.

"Justice Justice you shall pursue so that you may live..." is how the parsha begins this week; a complete contrast to the yet again example of spineless European appeasement to the Muslim world. Once again we are witness to the disintegration and loss of any semblance of historical greatness and leadership that once belonged to the United Kingdom.

Thousands of years ago the rabbis understood how misplaced compassion only opens the door to further acts of immorality and harm. "He who is kind to the cruel, ends up being cruel to the kind" As Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi came home to a hero's welcome in his native Libya, every Muslim terrorist and their supporters, which seems to be a large segment of the Muslim world, took note of the weakness of Western society that consistently caves into their threats. MacAskill's decision has emboldened every Muslim enemy to further their objectives of destroying the Judeo-Christian ethic that is the basis for Western society.

It is a sad day indeed when those who are entrusted to uphold justice display such a pathetic lack of understanding of their vocation. God save us from their "compassion".

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fools hand?

Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

-Bob Dylan

Rabbi Tzvi Nightingale
Aish South Florida


When writing to friends from the beginning of the month of Elul until after Yom Kippur, one should add seasonal greetings. This can be done at the start or end of the letter. One should wish them - or bless them - with a good year; to be inscribed in the book of good life. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128: 2

Some people have the custom to get their Tefillin and Mezuzos checked yearly during the month of Elul. At the very least one should check ones Mezuzos twice every 7 years. Tefillin that are used daily do not need to be checked unless those get wet. However, one should check them every few years since they do wear out eventually. Tefillin that are only used occasionally should be checked twice every 7 years.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3, 11:25, 10:26

Danny writes here about the need to understand what we pray: During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach:
- Teshuva; repenting. Improving ones Mitzva observance
- Tefillah; praying. Asking Hashem for help and praising and thanking Him for being good to us.
- Tzedakah; giving charity to those less fortunate than ourselves.
In order to pray properly one needs to understand what one is saying. If one is not fluent in Hebrew, one should get a Siddur and Machzor with an English translation. One should remember that one is praying - talking - to the One Above. If ones thoughts wander during prayers one should pause and recollect ones thoughts. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18: 3-4 The same goes for people who have their main language as German, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish, etc.

During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach:

- Teshuva; repenting.
- Tefillah; praying.
- Tzedakah; giving charity.

Learning Torah is a prerequisite for repenting; if one isn't aware of ones obligations, one cannot repent for not doing them, or for doing them incorrectly.
Every person has a Mitzva to learn Torah every day and every night. One should concentrate on learning practical Halacha, to review what ones obligations are and to discover their finer details. People who are too busy all week should learn at least one Halacha every day, and one at night. On Shabbat one should spend as much time as possible learning Torah; the less Torah one learns during the week, the more time one should spend learning Torah on Shabbat.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 27:2, 77:24
K'tiva V'chatima Tova; wishing you a year with lots of time to learn Torah, Shabbat Shalom, - Danny

How to put on Tephillin according to the Ashkenaz custom not according to the few other customs:

No Charles Darwin in the Appendix:|main|dl1|link3|

Drop a pebble in the water; just a splash and it is gone
But there’s half- a hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
Spreading from the center; flowing on out to the sea
And there’s no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water, in a minute you forget
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet.
And those little waves a -flowing to a great big wave have grown.
You disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word or careless, in a minute it is gone
But there’s half- a- hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading from the center as they go
And there’s no way to stop them once you started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word or careless, in a minute you forget
But there’s little waves a –flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet.
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you stirred
And disturbed a life that was happy, when you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness, just a flash and it is gone.
But there’s a half- a- hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave.
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness, in a minute you forget
But there’s gladness still a- swelling a there’s joy a circling yet.
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

Binyamin Jadidi

Several years ago, a teacher initiated a powerful class project. She gave each student three medals and asked them to start a “chain of recognition,” by giving one medal to a person that they wished to express appreciation to, and asking the recipient to continue the chain with the remaining two medals. One boy had a mentor on his block who was a corporate businessman. He went over to him after school, and presented him with a medal, thanking the businessman for the time that he spent to encourage and teach him. He then handed the businessman the other two medals to pass on.

The businessman pondered who would gain the most from receiving the medal. His thoughts turned to his busy boss, a rather grouchy fellow, who always seemed uptight. Although he was somewhat fearful of him, he wondered if the medal could touch some deeply buried place in the boss’s heart, and give him a more positive outlook on life. Deciding to act on this possibility, he went in to the boss, and presented him with the medal, saying, “I’d like to express my admiration for the wonderful job you do in running our department.” Visibly moved, the boss accepted the medal, and agreed to pass the last one on to another person.

That night the harried boss came home, where he usually spent the evening tying up deals with important clients and responding to his e-mails, rarely paying attention to his wife and only child; a teen- aged boy. But, this night was different, as his fingers closed around the medal in his pocket, and he thought of the warmth of those words of appreciation, words that he never heard before, despite his tremendous dedication to the company.

After greeting his wife, he turned to his son, and said, “Son, I’d like a chance to speak to you.” He sat down with him on the couch and began, “I know that I’m very busy, and I never really told you how I feel about you. But, tonight I’d like to present you with this medal, to tell you what I should have long ago. I want you to know that next to your mother, you are the most important person to me in my life.”

As he awkwardly put his arm around his son’s shoulder, the boy burst into wrenching tears, sobbing uncontrollably. After so many moments had passed, he was able to turn to his father, in a voice choked with emotion, and say, “Tonight, I had planned to commit suicide, because I didn’t think that I meant anything to you at all.” Today, we are presenting you with three certificates to start your “chain of recognition.” Take the time to fill in the certificate in a meaningful way, and give it to someone whom you genuinely wish to express your appreciation or admiration for.
Binyamin Jadidi – thanks to Gene Alberts

Inyanay Diyoma

Last minute news:

From my daughter-in-law who is a nurse: WASHINGTON (Aug. 24) -- The H1N1 flu virus could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths, mainly among children and young adults, if it resurges this fall as expected, according to a report released Monday by a presidential advisory panel.

The H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu virus, could infect between 30 percent and 50 percent of the American population during the fall and winter and lead to as many as 1.8 million U.S. hospital admissions, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported.

The report says 30,000 to 90,000 deaths are projected as part of a "plausible scenario" involving large outbreaks at schools, inadequate antiviral supplies and the virus peaking before vaccinations have time to be effective.

Up to 40,000 U.S. deaths are linked to seasonal flu each year, with most of the fatalities occurring among people over 65. With seasonal flu and H1N1, this fall is expected to bring more influenza deaths and place "enormous stress" on intensive care units nationwide, which normally operate near capacity, the report says.

An H1N1 resurgence may happen as early as September, at the beginning of the school year, and infections may peak in mid-October, according to the report. However, the H1N1 vaccine isn't expected to be available until mid-October, and even then it will take several weeks for vaccinated individuals to develop immunity, the report says.

The potential "mismatch in timing" could significantly diminish the usefulness of the H1N1 vaccine, the report says.

"Even with the best efforts, this will cause some illness, some severe illness and unfortunately, some deaths," Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

"But a lot so far has gone remarkably right," Frieden said. "There's a vaccine well on its way to being distributed, diagnostic tests available in well over 100 laboratories, treatments pre-positioned around the country ... and guidance issued for health care providers, schools, businesses and other communities."

Among the report's recommendations are for government agencies to:

• Prepare several "planning scenarios" to determine demand for supplies and care.

• Set up surveillance systems to track information about influenza-like illnesses.

• Develop plans to protect the public's most vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

• Speed up the production of the H1N1 vaccine and have an initial batch -- enough to vaccinate up to 40 million people, especially those who are at risk of serious disease -- by mid-September.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the government's preparation and guidance for the public was based on the need to strike a balance "on a continuum of being paralyzed with fear versus complacency."

So far, clinical trials for the H1N1 vaccine have not indicated adverse side effects beyond what are experienced with the seasonal flu vaccine, Sebelius said.

Skip over this content


However, there would be no formal decision to launch a vaccination campaign until those trials were complete, she said. That decision would be hers, she said, and she emphasized that any vaccination program would be strictly voluntary.

Pregnant women, health care workers and parents or guardians of infants under 6 months of age are among the most vulnerable segments of the population, Sebelius has said.

Adults under the age of 65 with an underlying health condition -- such as asthma -- are also considered to be more at risk from the H1N1 virus.

H1N1 preparation guidelines for the nation's businesses and school systems were released three weeks ago. The plans are available at the Web site

The H1N1 vaccine would require two shots, the second three weeks after the first. Immunity to the virus would not kick in until two weeks after the second shot.

The World Health Organization declared the H1N1 virus a global pandemic on June 11. More than 1,490 people around the world have died from the virus since it emerged this spring, a WHO official said last week.

This week I fwd on my humor list some political Satire. One person outside the USA wrote – “You made my day!”. Another person in the USA wrote: “I DON’T WANT POLITICAL MSGS” so that person I removed from my humor list. I make no bones in Inyanay Diyoma about being left of center. I try to bring responsible comments about Israel, the world and US politics. I do recognize just by my human nature that I most likely will be imbalanced in favor or my own personal views.

Inyanay Diyoma does have a lot of things related to the coming of the Moshiach and the future war of Gog and Magog. OTOH, although I personally would have preferred Norman Coleman instead of Al Franken in the Senate – When Sen. Franken came out by pushing legislation for giving blinded veterans a seeing eye dog, he received my praise. I do oppose health care panels giving wounded veterans aged 20 to 40 end of life consulting as that is for their family cleric or lawyer if need be and not the government.


Fe Fi Fo Fum I spell the oil of an England Man: The next DEBKA-Net-Weekly delves behind the obvious profit motive to discover what really drove the UK (and Scotland) to cut short Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi's life sentence for the 1998 Pan-Am bombing. And why the furious dust-up between Washington and London? Don't miss these new revelations - and more - in the coming

Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey set off a firestorm of controversy in a recent Wall Street Journal article, arguing against health care reform and the so-called "public option." Mackey contends that the United States can fix our healthcare crisis not by reining in insurance companies and improving access to comprehensive healthcare and affordable organic food, but by patronizing his overpriced WFM and further deregulating the insurance industry. In fact, Mackey believes that healthcare is not a human right, but a commodity that only the wealthy should have. Tens of thousands of organic consumers and health care advocates have responded by calling for a boycott of Whole Foods Markets.

Over fifteen thousand OCA members have contacted WFM in recent months, urging the nation's largest retailer of organic products to increase organic food access, implement comprehensive testing for GMOs in their private label products and eliminate dangerous chemicals from their body care products. WFM responded by bowing to OCA pressure and has promised to sell significantly more organics in 2010.

I believe that health insurance costs could go down drastically if the States set a limit to compensation for malpractice law suits. Also guide lines should be placed on what tests the physician should recommend and when to recommend it.

My friend Lynette, a righteous among the nations, called attention to this:

Randy sent me a post that gave me an Idea. I am glad that I am Jewish: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary racism 1 ~ : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. racism 2 : racial prejudice or discrimination. This fits in nicely with the next link that Steve Cooper sent me this post of how free government health care works:

When the charm runs out:,7340,L-3765282,00.html

I wrote so much with my Mussar and Drasha that I shortened my stories and did not post some of the writings of E. Winston and C. Glick. Perhaps next week I will be more fired up.

Now for M. Wolfberg’s story from last week binds that tie.

Good Shabbos Everyone. It was World
War II... grabbing their tefillin, the two young brothers the darted into the forest, dodging the gunfire from the German troops that had stormed and stampeded through their mall village.

They knew that many of their family and friends had been killed, and revenge was foremost on their minds, but now was not the time. Right now they needed to create as much distance as they could between themselves and the enemy.
Moshe and Chaim Lechovitch, the "fugitive" brothers, ran away as fast and as far as they could. After running for over five miles they finally stopped to catch their breath. They had barely had enough time to take their most cherished possession, their tefillin, but they had brought no food or drink, nor pictures of their loved ones. All they had now was their memories — their tefillin — and each other.
For the first time since they had fled they looked each other in the eye. Their emotions overcame them and they held each other close, fearful of what the future held in store.
Suddenly they heard a noise. They listened for a few moments, trying to remain completely silent. It sounded like a group of men, there was some gunfire, and it seemed very, very close. The brothers were terrified. They had obviously run from one regiment directly into another.
Moshe peeked through the overgrown marsh weeds and noticed that the men appeared quite different than German soldiers. He had heard that a growing number of partisan groups were roaming the area and assumed that this must be one. With no place to run, Moshe led his brother with their hands raised above their heads, toward the group.
As soon as the brothers were spotted, the soldiers raised their guns and took aim, but then realized that these two young teenagers were not the enemy. The brothers' lives had been saved.
Moshe and Chaim surveyed the group of scraggly men, whose numbers kept increasing as others joined, one at a time. They were not the finest class of men, neither very well armed nor trained, but Moshe and Chaim were grateful that these partisans had found them. After a brief training session in using weapons, the brothers became members of the troop.
Every morning they would wake up a few moments before the others and don their tefillin. The other members of the group, though mostly indifferent, thought that it was strange to practice religion in a world which to them was so obviously void of a G-d, but as long as it did not interfere with their movements and did not endanger the rest of the group's lives, it was fine.
One morning, as Moshe and Chaim were about to put on their tefillin, they heard some bushes rustling in the distance. Immediately they awoke the others and it was quickly decided that everyone move out. Moshe and Chaim ran with the Partisans through swamp and forest for nearly three miles until they reached a safe area and were able to stop.
When they unloaded their backpacks and placed their guns by their sides, Chaim and Moshe realized they had left behind their tefillin. They were absolutely devastated. Their one and only connection to their Yiddishkeit was these tefillin; without them, how would they differentiate themselves from their fellow soldiers, who were so bad mannered and boorish?
They could not help but wonder why the Hashem had allowed them to forget their tefillin. They had shown such mesiras nefesh - self sacrifice in order to put them on, and had done so solely to maintain a closeness to Him — and now they were gone.
Moshe and Chaim looked at each other and knew what they had to do. They were going back. They knew that they were risking their lives, but who knew when they would next find another pair? Who knew when this war would end, and if they would be victorious?
They informed their comrades; the crude men laughed and dismissed their religious friends as fanatics, warning them that if the need came to move on, the troop would not wait for them. But the brothers remained steadfast, committed to retrieve their treasured tefillin. And so they set out on their dangerous mission.
The three-mile hike was filled with moments of fear and apprehension. With each step that they took the battle within themselves raged on. Thoughts of second-guessing themselves for their foolish decision conflicted with the proud feeling of sacrifice for Hashem and His Torah.
Finally, they reached their destination and there, untouched, were the two pairs of tefillin. But their mission was only half over; they still had to return to the troop. Frightened and wary, they began the return trek.
Just over the hill was where they had last seen the Partisan troop. They hoped with desperation that the men were still there. They trudged to the top of the hill and could not believe what they saw. The entire troop was dead. They immediately realized what had happened. The Germans had deceived the partisans into thinking that they were approaching from one angle while they were really preparing an ambush from the opposite side.
The brothers did not say a word to each other. They were hit hard by the magnitude of what had transpired. They stared at the scene of wanton slaughter that lay before them and then looked at the tefillin they held in their hands. It all made sense now.
But they could not waste time. After all, it was almost sunset and they had not yet donned their tefillin. (Reb Yechiel Spero, Touched by a Story p.296)
The Torah tells us in this week's parsha, Parshas Shoftim, "For Hashem, your G-d is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you with your enemies, to save you." (Devorim 20:2) There are many levels of understanding of the Torah. On the surface, the Torah is telling us that Hashem escorts the Jewish nation when the Jewish nation goes out to battle. On a deeper level, we can perhaps say that the verse is coming to teach us that Hashem is our primary strength against the attacks by the Nations. The story we told illustrates this principle.
Let us remember this story and always put our faith in Hashem and dedicate our lives to His mitzvahs, especially the mitzvah of Tefillin. Good Shabbos Everyone.

Mr. Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah


memory of Shosha Malka bas R' Avrohom 21 Cheshvan Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi

Be well and have a great Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli