Last week, I wrote about “Rabbi” Berg and Madonna and a new paragraph about all my life I honored maids, the cleaning staff at work, secretaries as if I were to honor a General Manager. A few people were offended by it. So to clarify I would like to write the following:
1) I have respect for these people and they deserve honor too.
2) In my Condo in FL - it is the Secretary who does all the work but most people honor the manager. They are both paid by the apt owners but she works harder and he gets a larger salary.
When there was a glitch on AOL this piece remained and the main Drasha disappeared. I do not remember if it belonged to the part about Madonna, Dr. Phil or the Satan and Rebbe Meir so I pasted it where I pasted it.
The major point was why should the CEO get more respect than the janitor - both work hard for the company and hopefully both are honest. Last week an Israeli Company found that a truck driver was stealing from them and selling on the side and the whole company was taking a loss. In a large company in Israel, the 50 years of working General Manager was fired for taking a bribe from a supplier. The conclusion is: Honest hard working people deserve honor! In the Temple it was forbidden to take money from somebody who earned it by selling a dog or from a prostitute.
I have worked in construction, a Shamash in a Schul, a painter, at home a plumber in all what is required including cleaning out stuff most people are afraid to go near, an astronomer, chemist, soldier with all the duties involved and loss of sleep - flies and heat in the summer and cold in the winter, an engineer, a purchasing clerk and a postal clerk on the night shift, and assistant to the secretaries in the research foundation which entitled buying them ham sandwiches.
Honest people are not afraid to work an honest job. So I hope things are clear now. And the biggest embarrassment of all - was trying to collect money for poor Torah Scholars with people handing me a dollar or less – and I don’t take a penny for myself.
A few people like Liab HaCohain understood my intention and wrote things like this:
I end this with a personal story. At work, the cleaning lady, Zehava, used to ask me to bring her back Cigarettes from the duty free shop. Everybody who knows me personally that I am a fighter against smoking because I can’t stand it not to mention the link to cancer which came out already over 40 years ago. I bought her the cigarettes to save the lower income single parent some money. When it came time to marry off her daughter, she invited all the departments that she cleaned for to her daughter’s wedding all the way in Afula. I was the highest educated person in the department and probably the furthest away from Afula and yet I was the only one to attend the wedding. Bring joy and warmth to the mother on her daughter’s night made a world of difference to her. In Perkei Avos it says basically, “Don’t underestimate the reward of a simple Mitzvah vs. a major Mitzvah.”
The non-Jews have a saying that money is the root of all evil. Money is neither good nor evil. It can be good and can fund Yeshivos, purchase of Seforim Kodesh etc. It can also be used for bad purposes such as terror and agencies work on following the money trail http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-5740-San-Jose-Republican-Examiner~y2009m9d3-The-Terror-Bill--who-is-picking-up-the-check
Great is prayer in the sight of the L-RD for repentance. The Medrash in Nitzavim brings down the following in regard to the horrendous sin of envy and murder by Kayn of Hevel. Kayn was supposed to be a wanderer a complete Nomad running from land to land across the face of the earth. He could not stay in one place long enough to grow crops as is written. Ber. 4:12 When thou till the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.' Kayn then supplements before G-D in tears regarding his punishment. Kayn then supplements before G-D in tears regarding his punishment. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD: 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardons the iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger for ever, because He delights in mercy. Immediately Kayn found favor in the L-RD by his Tshuvah and he could find a resting place for his crop growing: Ber. 4:6 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
We now see that Kayn was allowed to dwell far form the future civilization in the land of Nod to the east of the Fertile Crescent. Let us look at poor Adam. He sinned and instead of say, “G-D, I have sinned and transgressed and I am sorry”; he tried to deny it and then blame the woman who in turn instead of repenting blamed the Snake. His punishment was that he refused to have anything to do with his wife for 130 years, he lost his son Hevel and his son Kayn moved away leaving him very lonely.
If we look further into the Nach on the case for Tshuvah: Isa.381 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amos came to him, and said unto him: 'Thus says the LORD: Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.' 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3 and said: 'Remember now, O LORD, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a whole heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight.' And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying: 5 'Go, and say to Hezekiah: Thus says the LORD, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. Now look how a few minutes of Tshuvah can add on years to ones life. And finally: Tehillim 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them. – The Medrash Rabbah.
If Kayn, the murderer, can repent enough before HASHEM – all the more so somebody who wasted time on doing Mitzvos, learning Torah, etc. To perform the Mitzvah of Tshuvah, one must regret the bad did he did and resolve in his heart never to do it again. However, certain things such as bitul Torah or not getting angry are almost impossible to stop cold so in these cases, even through ideally one should resolve never to do these things again, the practical case is to resolve it avoid these actions as much as one can. Nobody expects you or I to learn Torah like the Gaon from Vilna or to never get angry like Aaron HaCohain and Hillel. But we are expected to avoid these sins and to try to do our best.
The Talmud in Sanhedrin tells the story of a low level scoundrel named Azar ben Doddayan who was rich and spent his time and money on visiting prostitutes all over the world. He decided to undertake a journey to meet Miss Naughty who had a reputation the proceeded her. On the way there, the man heard a Bas Kol (heavenly voice) saying, “Azar ben Doddayan does not have a place in the world to come!” What did Azar do? He stopped in his tracks and dismounted his transportation animal. He cried out, “Eretz-Eretz my sins are so great that you cannot support them, mountains-mountains my sins are mightier and greater than you, the same with the sun, moon and planets. He kept crying, “I lift my hear until the mountains from whence will come my salvation?” Tehillim 121. He did not move from the spot until he expired. A Bas Kol came out from heaven saying, “Rabbi Azar ben Doddayan has a place in the world to come.” From this the Rabbis cried that some people work all their lives trying to etch out a little place in the world to come and others earn great realms there in a short time through repentance. And that is plain and simply the power of repentance. Ceasing and Desisting from sin. Just like it is almost impossible to wean an alcoholic off of drinks cold turkey so one has to wean a person off of Shabbos Violation and Eating Forbidden food and changing ones pots and pans to kosher ones slowly and with great guidance and car. Only a person about to expire like Azar can repent and be sure of oneself. Others have to take small steps until it becomes a giant observance.
Charity is a touchy subject. It is rare that I turn people down but sometimes people hear of my generosity and come to me looking for a tidy sum. One such man was a Rosh Kollel from Modiin. I gave him the equivalent of $10 but not what he was expecting there is a limit how much charity can afford to give and Yeshivot and Kollels one can support. In these financial times, I have found myself giving above and beyond what I should because of my internal pledge in my mind. But it hurts to reject the needy. There are some that come with false stories and one of my neighbors found a man who came around for years driving a new car worth more than his with still the original plastic on the seat covers he told him that if he ever sees him again in our Yeshuv he will expose his scam and call the police. There is a difference if I have enough change to give a shekel or five shekels to the various people who come to our Schul. As incomes go down, the numbers of collectors go up exponentially and the amount of money one has to give goes down geometrically until one runs out of charity money. Perhaps one will still give to a heart rendering story above his charity means but not anybody else. So one gives to a known charity or two his money and perhaps lives a little for the people who come to the Schul looking for money or to his door. Last year in the States, I received in the mail charity requests from about 5 or 6 Cancer Societies – Sloan Kettering, Children’s Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, etc. Then came Leukemia, Kidneys, Heart, Lungs, Birth Defects, Cleft Pallet, Cystic Fibrosis, Tuberculosis, St. James Indian School, Native Americans, etc. This does not even glaze ones own Synagogue, local Yeshiva, local Kollel, Zaka, Ezer MiTzion, etc.
You cannot outwit G-D. Charity one has to give it depends what one considers deserving. Once the Ponovezer Rav was on an airplane with a very wealthy man next to him. He tried to convince the man of the necessity to build up Torah in the land of Israel. The Rav later heard that the man donated money to a sports Stadium in Tel Aviv. The Rav said that he should have tried to work harder as after 120 years Mr. Bloomfield instead of building Yeshivos will be judged that he build a Stadium in which people waste Torah Time and violate the Shabbos with the games. So when you give charity look to where it is going and what use both HASHEM and mankind can get out of it. After 120 years can you wear your Mitzvah of Charity or do you want to hide it from the Angels?
Kollel Beit Shlomo c/o Rav Shlomo Mimran Rehov Ohr HaChaim 5/2 71919 Modiin Illit Israel is one Kollel Rav Mimran Shlita and I have started and I donate to. We would be honored to receive donations. Small donations due to bank fees in Israel, I deposit in the States and write out one large check as each check up to $10,000 cost approximately $3.50 to exchange. In the States it was Yeshiva Haichel HaTorah now has a subdivision Jewish Boys School that took me in without a penny but willingness to work for my tuition which also deserves a lot of credit and your charity dollars too as I and many others are products of this.
Regarding trying to outwit G-D, a year ago this true story was sent to me and I thought that I would share it again for my new readers:
Incredible Story from Nissan via Rabbi A.L.
Following is an incredible true story that happened recently: An elderly lady in a nursing home in the Midwest passed away. Her children, who always visited her
and took care of her, did their duty and did a proper Jewish Tahara and burial. On the 5th day of sitting Shiva, the phone rang and the daughter sitting Shiva
answered the phone. On the other end of the phone was her mother who she just buried. The daughter, in shock, immediately fainted. The phone rang again and
it was her mother again, complaining that no one came to visit her that week. The family then rushed to the nursing home and it turned out there was a mix up
at the nursing home and it was her roommate that passed away and not this lady. So now the nursing home had the grim job of informing the children of the
other lady that their mother died five days ago. The nursing home called and was trying to break it to these children slowly but before they could even tell the
children what happened, the children callously answered if this call has anything to do with our mother they are not interested. These children said “All day long
our mother wastes her time and just prays and prays and says Psalms”. The children then added- “And the one thing she prays for is that when she dies she should have a proper Jewish burial”. But, the children cruelly said, “We will outsmart her and when she dies we will spite her and make sure she will not have a proper Jewish Burial”. The nursing home staff then explained to them it was too late as she already received her proper burial! Look at the power of prayer and to the extent Hashem will turn the world around to answer a prayer. Here this pious religious lady only prayed for one thing, a proper burial, knowing it was almost impossible, yet she didn't give up. So Hashem orchestrated this whole mix up to respond to the prayers of this lady. Any of our prayers can have the same potential and power!
The story also brings us to the power of pray of the old lady. One does make his mistakes in raising children. Nobody is born a with a PhD in raising children. In fact I am 100% certain that we all have made mistakes some small and some blunders the eclipse the Himalayas and let we did them in good faith and only wanted the best for our children. It is obvious that the lady failed in certain ways of raising her children but her prayers were able to save herself from a Michael Jackson type of burial fiasco.
Ephraim and Rivka were childless for many-many years. Rivka’s brother was the Rav Shirabi Shlita of Rehovot and his prayers and their prays could only go so far.
Ephraim went to 770 Eastern Parkway and poured out his heart before the Rebbe from Lubavitch who was also childless. The Rebbe prayed for and blessed Ephraim. After some time, their only son Barak was born. Barak married and he and his wife Orly were childless for 8 years. Finally with prayers, blessings and the best of the doctors they had twin girls, then another girl. Still Barak was missing a son. Each pregnancy left Orly bed ridden for 8 months and Rivka and an aunt or two had to help along with Barak. Finally last week a boy was born and this week was the bris of baby Menachem Mendel. His family and their prayers and faith are similar to the prayers of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov for Rachel. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER!
I would not advise you about praying to win the lottery. Sometimes one wins and wastes his winnings. Easy come easy go. A friend of mine was in Las Vegas and saw a USN Sailor win $10,000,000. The next day he went out and tried every slot machine and other gambling things by the end of the day. He was like the fox and grapes came in poor and left poor. Rather pray for health, a steady good honest income, a roof over your head and food on the table. That ones children and grandchildren are healthy, financially stable and will keep themselves out of trouble. Pray for the welfare of the State – Perkei Avos. Pray for guidance from HASHEM. The Goyim have a prayer which would be great if every Goy would follow it. It goes, “I pray that everything I do or say in THY service be this day.” Then some of the national leaders go out and condemn Yisrael as occupiers of Yehuda, Shomron and Eretz Yisrael and want to praise cold blooded killers of their own women from wives to daughters for their masculine honor.
Pray for the right things that really matter and guidance from HASHEM. Follow your prayers with appropriate actions. “All I do or say in Thy service be this day” is fine if your actions try to help Am Yisrael and speed about the coming of the Moshiach. However, if your words say one thing and your actions another – how to you expect G-D to answer your prayers. If a Jew asks for Parnasa (income) from G-D and he knows that if his wife runs around immodestly dressed and without head covering a blessing cannot come on his house – so his actions or that of his household goes against his prayers. But if one follows the Torah like Ephraim and Rivka then the prayers can be answered.
The Sephardim already started the Selichos Prayers (forgiveness prayers) on Rosh Chodesh Elul and the Ashkenazim this coming Motzei Shabbos. Make sure that it is more than saying powerful and poetic words but truly asking things before G-D like “Don’t abandon us in our old age – when we lose our strength don’t throw us away”, “HE who heard Daniel in the will listen to us”, “That their Korban Olah and other Korbanos will be desired on MY Misbayach” (Burnt offerings and other sacrifices will be desired upon MY Altar) etc. Mean it like you were going to be judged for living or for death. Mean it like you need … Mean it like you want the Moshiach Now!
Repeated from last year with over 1000 new readers I felt this worthwhile: Mussar from a Dying Man
This came from Yacov Chanan Dov on the 17th of Adar Bet 5768, his soul came to eternal rest on Shabbos 27 Elul 5768. I have underlined some interesting points but it is interesting letter.
I have trouble staying alert for minutes at a time. Friday, I had IV fluids for dehydration (a weekly event) and promptly feinted in the doctor’s office. By the time I was on my feet again, I just missed spending shabbos in the hospital again. As it was I passed out or nearly did so several times.
- The last year has taught me so much about appreciating that which we have. Funny thing… Things that seem so important have little meaning now.
The Bottom line is that I am dying and I won’t be here to have 2nd thoughts about most things when the time comes. The knowledge of knowing that makes life’s biggest issues seem foolish.
I have spent much of my “awake time” this week on issues planning my funeral and legal matters. I wonder why. They are so important to the survivors, but to me just another chore.
I think more about what my day of judgment will be. How can I answer for my life? I am proud of the life that I have led, the father that I am, the husband that I have tried to be, the values and goals that I represent – even my failings, mistakes and all have always been the result of the best of intentions.
- Everyday that I am here is a bracha (blessing) for those who care about me but I have no expectations of tomorrows. The truth is that I no longer have the strength to keep fighting the cancer or anything else.
- The good news is that I have few regrets and I feel ready to stand at the gates of heaven and hear my decree. Nothing there could be worse than I feel now. I have a tired working brain in a near dead body and I feel ready for the big day.
Eliyokum wrote me regarding last week’s Parsha about Mussar: GOOD SHABBOS...people always tell me that mentioning the word punishment or Gehenna is counterproductive...oh yeah well tell that to G-d who invests quite a lot of time and effort laying out reward and punishment in torah...want a good example of this...READ THIS WEEKS PARSHA...there’s a paragraph on what happens when we follow Torah and one that describes the gruesome details and events that will befall the Jews when we stray … well ask the people that went through it when our Temples were destroyed and we were exiled about how it feels to feel the wrath of Hashem...the Torah isn’t a fairy tale, these things happened and continue to happen because we as Jews decide to do whatever we want constantly...punishment is all over Torah and its a fact of life...if you don’t believe in punishment then don’t ever discipline your kids, drive as fast as you want on the roads, and don’t abide by any rules of society...see how far that gets you...its time for Jews to take our heads out of the sand and start realizing that life isn’t always about a fancy car or a new outfit or going to that new nightclub that just opened...life was given to us by G-d to exalt His Name and be a testament to His power...that’s why we as Jews were created...so either heed the Torah or be prepared for the consequences...when your kid steps out of line, you discipline him so it doesn’t happen again...well why would Hashem be any different...with the responsibility we have comes the reward...an eternity of spiritual bliss that cant even be described...if living like the non-Jews and desecrating Torah is really worth forgoing the afterlife then I feel for you and I want your soul...good Shabbos
I don’t like some of the gruesome punishments – some that happened in the days of Elisha HaNovi and others in the Shoah. I am not the fire and brimstone type. Even some of the things that the Chofetz Chaim and the Zohar HaKadosh writes about fire and brimstone for married women going around without head covering is not my style.
My approach can be called soft sell in advertising. It is like a husband or wife being a Baal Tshuvah and trying to convince the other of the spirit or Shabbos. Imagine the husband giving the wife a hug and a kiss and saying let the spirit of Shabbos pass from my lips to yours. This is what we should be doing on Shabbos instead of arguing and me telling you that there will be fire and brimstone if you don’t observe Shabbos. Shabbos is a day where you and I don’t have to do work and we can give each other a back message (without rubbing in oils). There are some wives/husbands who will refuse to observe but it is better to set an example.
I know of a couple where the wife became Frum and after the husband made Kiddush, when he finished the meal he was watching TV. The children were Orthodox and the wife was Orthodox and there was peace at home. I also know of two cases where the wife used family purity to cast off the husband by refusing to go to the Mikvah. It is a matter of love and the strength of the marital bond. The non-religious partner can think like this: Assuming that one is uncertain of the existence of G-D. If HE exist and there is a spiritual life – so by following Mitzvos I am setting up a spiritual hedge fund. If he doesn’t exist so I did not kill and commit adultery am I really that worst off? Of course there will be others who have eyes, ears, noses and brains and refuse to recognize even the possibility of a CREATOR.
Interestingly enough, I wrote to Eliyokum a few e-mails back and forth about the mixed couple and why the Rabbis of Haifa and the wife preferred Shalom Beis over divorce. His dvrei Torah is a strong fervent passionate sale with the threat of Gehenna something like the Behukotai and Ki Savo Berachos and Klallos (curses) while my dvrei Torah is look at the bright and positive side. Any Atheist who hasn’t any belief in Gehenna is certainly not going to be afraid of it. However a path of Hillel and Aaron of Torah Peace and Love works more wonders with the intellectual stimulation and the rest and relaxation of Shabbos.
Just think 25 hours each week – no internet, no news, no Iranian threat, no hatred of …. (fill in Ethiopian Jews, Orthodox Jews, any Jew), no running here there and everywhere, no writing only relaxing and reading, praying and eating. 52 vacation days plus Yom Tov days each year. Less psychological damage from the pressures of the world and almost nothing to be tense about. 52 plus days of asylum from the modern world. No need for drugs and one can make Kiddush on Grape Juice to avoid alcohol. I just feel that if somebody violates Shabbos he doesn’t get Gehenna in the next world – after all I was a Reform Jew – he gets Gehenna already in this world!
29:9 Ye are standing this day all of you before the LORD your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,
You are all standing: [The verse says, “this day,” which] teaches us that on the day of his death, Moses assembled Israel in the presence of the Holy One, Blessed is He, to bring them into [His] covenant. the leaders of your tribes: Heb. שִׁבְטֵיכֶם רָאשֵׁיכֶם, [lit., “your leaders, your tribes,” referring to two separate entities, which does not make sense here because “your tribes” includes the leaders. Rather, this means here:] “The leaders of your tribes.” your elders and your officers: [We learn from the order in this verse that] the more distinguished ones were mentioned first, and after this: “every man of Israel.”
The estimated crowd attending the last series of Torah Teaching by Moshe Rabbaynu was somewhere between 2 – 3,000,000 people. 600,000 men and an equal amount of women, elderly, youths and maidens under twenty years of age to toddlers. There are two possibilities how the speech was transmitted. The first via miracle – Moshe’s voice reached every single member of the Bnei Yisrael over the crying infants etc. The second way of transmission is how lecturers were carried out in Temple Times. Translators or men with great memories and loud voices shouted out the message to groups of people within their hearing range. They in turn had translators going further and further back until a flag signal at the end went forward and the speaker continued. The task is surmountable. The only question remains if there was not a broken chain like the game of telephone. We pray upon entering the Beis Medrash not to make a Psak or learning on Tamay to be Tahor or Tahor to be Tamay; Kosher to be Trafe – etc. and that my companions with have joy form my Torah.
10 your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water;
[The mention of these people separate to the main community of Israel] teaches us that in the days of Moses, Canaanites came to convert [to Judaism], just as the Giveonites came [to convert] in the days of Joshua. This is the meaning of the verse regarding the Giveonites, “And they also acted cunningly…” (Josh. 9:4), [i. e., pretending that they had come from a far away country. When they were discovered, Joshua made them woodcutters and water drawers for Israel (see Josh. 9:3-27). Likewise here, the Canaanites attempted to deceive Moses,. but they did not succeed, and Moses did not accept them to be Jews. Rather,] Moses made them woodcutters and water drawers [i.e., slaves for Israel]. — [Tanchuma 2; Yev. 79a; see Rashi Gittin 23b]
From the lowest of the social status jobs to the heights jobs, they were all an integral part of the children of Yisrael. Everybody has his part in the running of the nation. This is the exact point that I made last week and above about giving honor to all.
11 that thou should enter into the covenant of the LORD thy God--and into His oath--which the LORD thy God makes with thee this day;
that you may enter: Heb. לְעָבְרְ [Meaning,] “That you may pass through [i.e., enter] the covenant.” One should not understand this verb [to be in the causative conjugation,] to mean “to cause you to pass through,” [but rather, the verb is in the simple conjugation, and means that you yourselves will pass through]. This is similar to the expression, לַעִשׂתְכֶם, “that you [yourselves] should do them” (Deut. 4:14). that you may enter into the covenant: [lit.] “that you may pass through the covenant.” This was the method of those who made covenants: They would set up a demarcation on one side and a demarcation on the other, and [the respective parties of the covenant] “passed through” between [these partitions], as the verse says,“[when] they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts” (Jer. 34:18).
If you make a contract with a manufacturer (not one that that does not allow you fulfill your transaction if you disagree with the slightest clause of his lawyers) as we see in our Computer Software. It is al pe Torah signing a contract under duress. I just spent so and so many dollars, pretty pennies, etc. for “Office”, “Photo Shop”, etc. I am not allowed to disagree with one comma or dash in the contract – that is under duress. That does not give one the heter to crack the code and sell 10,000 disks that are not original. However, if a family has 5 computers and it is for family use, one should be allowed to use this in his home. I stopped buying Norton Antivirus because my computer crashed within the year so many times due to this or that and Norton Antivirus would not let me reinstall the program in the computer after I replaced the faulty part. In the end it was a victory for Norton back a couple of years ago and I got the free-bee AVG which protects better. So who really lost out financially and who gained?
Now with a contract with G-D you might call it under duress – can you really go against CREATOR of heaven, earth and the seas with all the living creatures? However, we are given some good things in our contract. The Mitzvah of “Be fruitful and multiply” with the pleasure that is associated with it that the Rabbis call 1/60th of the taste of heaven – Berachos, the “Korban Todah” (thanksgiving sacrifice), blessings on your crops and work for just doing the Mitzvos and days of rest and relaxation for you. Yep if you eat and be satisfied you are supposed to thank your heavenly father for providing you with sustenance. If you are housed and clothed you have whom to thank too. Some thank G-D with fervor, the immature say - “Rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub” but worst of all are the ungrateful who do not thank at all. Each according to his own maturity, understanding and love of HASHEM. So although it is perhaps considered a one sided contract, it is slanted in favor of the man to whom it was given. Our Rabbis say about the Torah “Etz Chaim He” (a tree of life) and about the Mitzvos “Key Haym Chayanu le Aruch Yamanu” (For this is our life and the length of our days) – so the Torah and Mitzvos are a way of life. Get with it and starting living it up.
12 that He may establish thee this day unto Himself for a people, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He spoke unto thee, and as He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
in order to establish you this day as His people: [Why does God here warn Israel against idolatry by making such grave oaths and severe curses, unlike other commandments where He would simply make a warning and attach a punishment if the commandment was transgressed?] He goes to so much trouble here, for the purpose of keeping you as His people. [Since He promised not to exchange you for another people (see the following Rashi), He must ensure your faithfulness to Him. and that He will be your God: Since God has given you His word and [also] sworn to your forefathers not to exchange their offspring for another nation, therefore, He [ensures your faithfulness to Him by] binding you through these oaths, so as not to provoke Him to anger, because He cannot separate Himself from you. Until here, I have explained this passage according to its simple sense. The homiletic explanation is as follows: Why is Parshat נִצָּבִים juxtaposed to the curses [in Parshat כִּי תָבֹא]? Because when Israel heard these ninety-eight curses [delineated in כִּי תָבֹא, besides the forty-nine [curses] stated in Leviticus (26:14-38), they turned pale, and said, “Who can possibly endure these?” [Thereupon,] Moses began to appease them [as follows]: You are… standing this day: You have provoked the Omnipresent to anger many times, yet He has not made an end to you. Indeed, you still exist before Him [“standing… before the Lord”]. — [Tanchuma 1] this day: [You exist now] Just as this day exists. For [although] it becomes dark [for a period, nevertheless] it shines [again]. So too, here, God has made light for you, and He will again make light for you in the future. And the curses and sufferings preserve you and enable you to stand before Him [the curses, by preventing you to stray from serving Him, and the sufferings, by cleansing you of your sins]. Similarly, in the previous parsha [of כִּי תָבֹא, Moses spoke] words of conciliation, [e.g.,] “You have seen all that the Lord did…” (Deut. 29:1). Another explanation of “You are… standing”: Because the Israelites were now passing from one leader to the next-i.e., from [the leadership of] Moses to [that of] Joshua. Therefore, Moses made them stand [in assembled ranks], in order to encourage them. Joshua did the same [when he was about to die (Josh. 24:1)]. Also, Samuel [did likewise], when Israel passed from his leadership to that of Saul, [as the verse says,] “Stand now, and I will reason with you before the Lord…” (I Sam. 12:7). - [Tanchuma 1]
Sometimes our employers despite our best efforts fall upon hard financial times and we don’t get the raise that we really deserve and were promised. That is with mankind but G-D will keep HIS promise and contracts that he has made and the same way punishments for violating the contract. Isn’t it best to be on the right side of the Torah than a violator?
13 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; 14 but with him that stands here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day—
and [also] with those who are not here: also with future generations. — [Tanchuma 3]
For Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov were long buried and resting in Chevron and enjoying the fruits of the next world.
15 for ye know how we dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the midst of the nations through which ye passed; 16 and ye have seen their detestable things, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were with them-- 17 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood;
whose heart strays this day: from accepting upon himself the covenant. a root that produces hemlock and wormwood: [This refers to] a root that produces a bitter herb, like giddin , which are bitter [see Targum Jonathan on Lam. 3:19]. Here, then, the verse means:“[Someone who] produces and increases evil among you.”
18 and it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart--that the watered be swept away with the dry';
that he will bless himself in his heart: Heb. וְהִתְבָּר ֵבִּלְבָבוֹ [the word וְהִתְבָּרֵ stems from] the word for “blessing” (בָּרֵ) . [The verse means:] “In his heart, [this man] will imagine a blessing of peace for himself, saying: These curses will not come upon me. I will have only peace!” וְהִתְבָּרֵ Bendira soy in Old French [i.e., the verb is in the reflexive conjugation], like“ וְהִתְגַּלָּח, And he shall shave himself” (Lev. 13:33),“ וְהִתְפַּלֵּל, and he will pray” (I Kings, 8:42), [which employs the reflexive form of the root פלל]. I follow my heart’s desires: Heb. בִּשְׁרִירוּת לִבִּי אֵלֵ [Meaning, “If I follow] what my hin order to add the [punishment for the] unintentional sins [of this man]: לְמַעַן סְפוֹת הָרָוָה - Because I will add to him the punishment for what he heretofore committed unintentionally, which I would have overlooked, but now, he has caused that I combine them with the intentional sins and punish him for everything. Similarly, Onkelos renders [the verse here as]: בְּדִיל לְאוֹסָפָא לֵיהּ חֶטְאֵי שָׁלוּתָא עַל זְדָנוּתָא, [meaning,] That I shall add for him the [punishment incurred for the] unintentional sins to [that of] the intentional sins. הָרָוָה [lit.,“drunk.” Here, as explained, the word] refers to unintentional [sins], which [a man] commits as if in a drunken state, that is, unknowingly. הַצְּמֵאָה [lit., “thirsty.” Here, as explained, the word refers to intentional sins, that is] when [a man] commits [a sin] knowingly and out of lust.eart beholds,” as in [the verse],“I behold it (אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ) , but it is not near” (Num. 24:17). That is to say [the verse means]:“[Even if I go in the way] that my heart sees [fit] to do.”
One cannot think that by having temporary reward in this world he will escape the punishment in the next world or lack of reward. We are told that doing one Mitzvah in this world can give us the whole next world and one temporary moment of forbidden pleasure in this world can make us lose our reward in the next. An ounce of suffering in this world (a good word for my MS Patients, Cancer Patients, Heart and other Patients whom I pray for) may miss out on months of Gehenna by suffering days and hours in this world. Now what happens to a person, group of people (swingers swapping partners) or even a Tribe of the Bnei Yisrael -
19 the LORD will not be willing to pardon him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall be kindled against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven; 20 and the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law.
that is written in this book: Heb. בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה הַזֶּה, “written in this Torah scroll.” [Here, the word for “this” (הַזֶּה) is in the masculine form. However,] earlier, the verse says, “And also every sickness and plague… in this Torah scroll הַתּוֹרָה הַזּאֹת בְּסֵפֶר ” (Deut. 28:61), [where the word for “this” (הַזּאֹת), appearing in the identical phrase, is in the feminine form. How do we explain the difference of gender for the same word, appearing in an identical phrase in Scripture? The answer is that there in Deut. 28:61,] the הַזּאֹת, which is in the feminine form, qualifies the word הַתּוֹרָה,“Torah” [which is in the feminine form]. And [here in our verse,] the word הַזֶּה, which is in the masculine form, qualifies the word סֵפֶר, “scroll” [which is in the masculine form. How do we know that each respective mention of the word “this” is qualifying the particular word described, and not otherwise? Because in these two verses,] the cantillation symbols punctuate the words [of the phrase “this Torah scroll”] in two different ways, [as follows]: In the passage [describing] the curses [i.e., in Deut. 28: 61], the [cantillation symbol called] tipcha is placed under the word בְּסֵפֶר, [thus separating it from the next words הַתּוֹרָה הַזּאֹת,] while [the words], הַתּוֹרָה הַזּאֹת are attached to each other [also by virtue of the cantillation symbols]. Hence, [the verse] employs the הַזּאֹת [for the word “this,” because it clearly is qualifying the word “Torah,” which is in the feminine form]. However, here [in our verse], the tipcha is placed under the word הַתּוֹרָה [Thus, together with its previous conjunctive symbol, the meircha placed under the word בְּסֵפֶר, it] joins these two words, בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה, into one attached [expression]. Accordingly, the word [“this”] qualifies the [first word in the expression, namely,] “scroll,”[the direct object in the expression“ Torah scroll,” and since the word “scroll”] is in the masculine form [thus, the qualifying word הָזֶה takes on the masculine form here].
Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens came to Eretz Yisrael and he traveled the desolate land. He could not find another human on the road between where he was traveling and Yerushalayim. He only saw the barren hills like in the Arab areas of Shomron today. He could only look and perhaps think the following that is written. One thing for sure, he could not find a land flowing with milk and honey and today yields six times more wheat per acre than in any other country in the world. He was utterly astounded. Even my own father who was brought up as a Jew that was captured by his own father with non-religious ideas was astounded from his hotel room by the beach in Tel Aviv of the lack of Torah Observance in the Holyland. Less than existed in Europe or the States. Of course Thank G-D with regeneration among the religious and bringing back lost sheep into the fold and the down fall of the Socialist in Israel, things are becoming more and more positive.
21 And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the LORD hath made it sick; 22 and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath; 23 even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what means the heat of this great anger?' 24 then men shall say: 'Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; 25 and went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods that they knew not, and that He had not allotted unto them; 26 therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book; 27 and the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day'.-- 28 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God: Now, you might object [to God, saying]: “But what can we do? You punish the entire community because of the sinful thoughts of an individual, as Scripture says, ‘Perhaps there is among you a man…’ (verse 17 above), and after this, Scripture continues, ‘Seeing the plagues of that land [and the diseases with which the Lord struck it]’ (verse 21) [which seems to indicate that for the sinful thought of even one individual, the whole land would be struck down with plagues and diseases]. But surely no man can know the secret thoughts of his fellow [that we could somehow prevent this collective punishment!” In answer to this, God says:] “I will not punish you for the hidden things!” [I.e.,] because “[The hidden things] belong to the Lord, our God,” and He will exact punishment upon that particular individual [who sins in secret]. However, “the revealed things apply to us and to our children” [that is, we are responsible for detecting the sins committed openly in our community, and] to eradicate any evil among us. And if we do not execute judgment upon these [open transgressions, over which we do have control,], then the whole community will be punished [because they would be remiss in their responsibility]. There is a dot placed over [each letter of] the words לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ here, to teach us homiletically that even for open sins [which were not brought to judgment, God] did not punish the whole community-until Israel crossed the Jordan. For then, they accepted upon themselves the oath at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, and thereby [formally] became responsible for one another (Sanh. 43b). [When dots are placed over letters of the Torah, this denotes an exclusion of some sort. In our context, our Rabbis teach us that the exclusion refers to the period prior to the crossing of the Jordan.]
Mark Twain saw all this and documented it, do we need this to repeat itself or do we need to move closer to G-D? With that question and the following from this week’s Parsha I give you food for thought.
30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou should say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou should say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that You may do it.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, … JUST DO IT!
Kashrus News: OU’s First Advanced Kashrut Seminar for Women http://bit.ly/1tDvZB
Alerts from the UOS/Beth Din of Johannesburg http://bit.ly/3UwvGY
Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) Alerts http://bit.ly/6zgK
New Line of Kosher Poultry Products Available at Whole Foods Market http://bit.ly/4l7pso
This year Rosh Hashana, Sukkoth and Shemini Atzeret all start on Shabbat – The second day of Rosh Hashana will be on a Sunday. Outside Israel the second day of Sukkoth and Simchat Torah will also be on a Sunday. One may not prepare anything on Shabbat for Yom Tov – including setting the table and lighting candles.
After the time for Motzei Shabbat – when the stars are visible – one can say המבדיל בין קודש לקודש and start dealing with the second day of Yom Tov. One should eat the 3rd Shabbat meal early in the afternoon so as not to spoil ones appetite for the Yom Tov meal. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 96:3, 103:2
Since the Mitzvah of Sukkah is to move out of the house and into the Sukkah for the duration of Sukkoth, one should really sleep in the Sukkah. People who are meticulous about their Mitzvah observance will not even take a nap outside the Sukkah. Their entire family moves into the Sukkah; husband, wife and children.
There are numerous reasons why not to sleep in a Sukkah. However, if the Sukkah is not fit for sleeping (e.g. it’s too dangerous) then the Sukkah is not Kosher even for eating in. The slightest precipitation renders the Sukkah unfit for sleeping and one should then sleep indoors. Once one lies down inside one is exempt from returning to the Sukkah the entire night, even if the Sukkah subsequently dries. Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Sukkah, as it’s a time-bound Mitzvah.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:8, 9, 10
There are areas where there is heavy dew, mosquitoes, frost, scorpions – rats – snakes can creep up upon one in the middle of the night, etc. one is then patur (exempt) from sleeping in a Sukkah. The same goes for eating a meal if there is a fierce sandstorm, the heat of the day is unbearable as sometimes happens in Israel one is exempt.
The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkot are known as Chol HaMoed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden. Chazal (our Rabbis of blessed memory) have some harsh words for those who don’t honor Chol HaMoed properly. Honoring Chol HaMoed includes eating meals and wearing clothes that are closer to Yom Tov standards than regular weekday standards. On Chol HaMoed one may do all work needed to prevent a monetary loss. Preparing food for Chol HaMoed or the last days of Yom Tov is allowed. Gardening is forbidden besides for picking fruit for Chol HaMoed or Yom Tov, and to prevent plants dying, e.g. if they need to be irrigated. Planting is forbidden. Cutting hair is forbidden on Chol HaMoed. Cutting nails is only allowed if one also cut them before Yom Tov. A captive ransomed or a prisoner freed may be able to cut their hair in honor of the Shabbos, Final Yom Tov. CLOR (consult your local Orthodox Rabbi) Writing down information so that it won’t be forgotten is allowed. Writing letters to friends and family is allowed. The custom is to write the first line at an angle as a reminder that writing is only partially permitted. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104.Thus a person forced by his boss to work or facing a financial loss or an internet Posek like myself would have to make a change such as using the hunt and peck system of typing instead of ‘blind typing’. What is meant by an internet Posek – the Jew in WY, MT, MS, MO and perhaps OK or Antarctica does not have access to his LOR and in some places in UT the closest LOR is Salt Lake City and he might be unavailable. My ‘Congregation’ for questions extends to every State in the Union, South and Central America somewhere in New Zeeland, various places in Australia, Africa and other places in Asia and Europe. That is why I check my e-mail on Yom Tov. If I can save a Jew from making one Halachic mistake on Yom Tov or Shabbos, I have brought the Moshiach that much closer. My source is that the Cohanim in the Beis HaMikdash literally worked over time on Chol HaMoed – Nach, Mishnah, Gemara, etc.
The blessing of Shehechiyanu; - “… who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion” – is recited during Kiddush on all nights of Yom Tov, except on the last days of Pessach. There are two Minchagim (customs) regarding Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting on Yom Tov candles: - Some women have the Minchag of saying Shehechiyanu when lighting Yom-Tov candles (except on the last days of Pessach) – Others never say Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting If a woman makes her own Kiddush she must be careful to only say Shehechiyanu once; either at candle-lighting or during Kiddush.
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah there’s a Halachic debate if Shehechiyanu is required. To be on the safe side, one should wear a new item of clothing, or see a new fruit (that one hasn’t tasted yet this season) while saying Shehechiyanu on the second night of Rosh Hashanah; both during Kiddush and during candle lighting (if applicable). If one does not have a new item of clothing, nor a new fruit, on the second night of Rosh Hashanah, one still says Shehechiyanu.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:4, 129:23
This year Selichos start on Sunday (24 Elul, 13 September), a week before Rosh Hashana. Selichos should be said before Shacharis, towards the end of the night. The end of the night is an “Et Ratzon”; an auspicious time when Hashem is more receptive to listening to ones prayers. When arising for Selichos one should wash ones hands even if it’s still night, and make the Bracha “Al Netilat Yadayim”. One should say the 2 Brachot of Birkat HaTorah before saying Selichos. After Selichos one should wash ones hands again (if the first washing was pre-dawn), but one does not repeat the Bracha. One should preferably stand during Selichos; during the “Kail Melech Yoshev”, 13 Middos and the Vidui one must stand. The Chazzan for Selichos should preferably be a Torah Scholar, well liked and if possible married with children and over 30 years of age. However, any Jew can be a Chazzan as long as the community approves. The same applies to the Chazzan for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur as well as the person blowing the Shofar. Selichos are not said on Shabbat. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:5, 6, 7
[Sephardim say Selichos the entire month of Elul.] Ktiva Vechatima Tova; may all your prayers be answered, Shabbat Shalom, - Danny
A new tri-language blog spot English, French and Hebrew: http://samuelikan.blogspot.com/
From Meir – Anti-Semitic Extreme Left tries to destroy Israel labels at Trader Joes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN1-OUP62CQ
Two Miracles and the Second explains the reason for the first
Last Friday in Yediot Achronot there appeared the following story: “The heart stopped for 45 minutes but the patient lived!” Dateline USA Joseph Tilosi was without a heart beat for 45 minutes but shortly afterwards was revived with no apparent brain damage or side effects!
Asking how this can be - one must hear the following story in a tape made about life after life. An Israeli on a fishing trawler was far out in the ocean. Suddenly, he experienced a heart attacked and stopped breathing. Immediately, his soul departed his body and he was brought before Beis Din shel Maalah. In the heavenly court there was a debate back and forth on what should be for his soul. He had a defending Angel who said, “If you let him return to earth, he is a well spoken man and will repeat this story, become frum and make a big Kiddush HASHEM.” Immediately, his soul was returned to his body. In the meantime, his body had been placed in the ship’s deep freezer where the catch was kept. The doctor of the ship looked over his medical books as he made out the report. He noticed that there were a series of tests that he had to do before declaring somebody dead. Just for the fun of it as the man was in deep freeze already for two hours or so, he was going to try the tests. The body was brought out and when he tried the tests, the body responding indicating alive. Immediately the body was warmed up and Oxygen was given. The man told how he suffered from shoulder and back pains from being frozen. So the puzzle as to why Joseph lived is that somehow he passed positively through the heavenly court and was granted more life.
From Gene Alberts: Dear year 5769,
Just yesterday we stood at your entrance without any idea as to what your days would bring- all 365 of them. Now another 365 days are standing lined up one after the other, behind locked doors. We tried peeking in but failed; even the smallest speck was hidden from us. And now as I write to you, year 5769 who is about to exit now, I am shaking with awesome fright.
Would I have ever imagined what you would have looked like as I stood in the synagogue last Rosh Hashanah? I was full with wishes and hopes… and wondering: would you bring happiness, growth, success-or disappointment and failure? Would you be filled with good times, good friendships? With what would you fill up all you 8,700 hours, and 525,600 minutes? How would your newspaper headlines appear? Would they be filed with excitement and good news or God Forbid… What was in store for the peoples of the world- would major crucial changes take place? In my family? Or maybe me… or within me?
Everything… everything was written and signed already then from Rosh Hashanah till Yom Kippur of 5769. If I could have just know then what I know now by in mere turn of 365 days- just a turn of 13 months. If only I would have just imagined, for example, that within your days very precious souls would be taken away from this world…
How many measures of emotional strength and how many tears I would have invested in the words “Our father, our King do not turn us away from You empty-handed”. Had I seen then as I see now right in front of my eyes, the people who so desperately await their own personal salvation, but yet another year just passed them by unanswered, another 365 days. The 365 days, the 8,760 hours, and the 525,600 minutes, that you contained were all full with their suffering, yet with their hope. If only I had begged a bit more before Hashem stamped his final signature on that day! I have no doubt in me that had I seen it all before me, “I would have invested every last effort and intensified my prayer to no end.
Sadly, it was just then that my desperation and imagination decided to stall. Just then, when every hour, every minute was so crucial….
Where was my imagination? Where was I when I had the power in my hand to correct, to erase, to sweeten my fate and that of others?
When I flash in front of me the year that just passed, an accusing finger screams at me:
“WHY DIDN’T YOU TRY HARDER??”
Yes, year 5769, you are about to end. You’ve taught me a lot. This time I know. This time I’ll try. This time I won’t hesitate to let the tears fall. I don’t know what year 5770 will bring, but I do know how much power lies within me.
The three Hebrew letters: shin, nun, and hei when are put together can be read in three different ways. Shana (year), shena (sleep) and shoneh (change). The message here is that if we sleep through the month of Elul and through Rosh Hashanah we should not expect a better year to come.
But if we change ourselves for better the year also will be more blessed and successful.
So let’s leshanot (change) ourselves for the better, so we can all have a better and more successful shana (year).
When I first heard the story on the news and read it in Yediot and the Jerusalem post, I thought differently however in a revised text of the article the students were not really Yeshiva types - the Prison Rehabilitation Authority helped pioneer a program under which well behaved offenders are released two-thirds into their prison sentences to centers around the country, such as religious learning centers. When Mussar becomes murder. Their was a Talmudic Story goes that once two Cohanim were running to do the Mitzvah of Terumas HaDeshen (cleaning of the ashes) and one Cohain in order to win, stabbed the other in the heart. As the fellow lay dying either his father or another Cohain pulled out the knife and shouted that it was still Tahor. The following story is on the same level and just before the DAY OF JUDGEMENT WOE UNTO US. To put it mild it was not a Kiddush HASHEM but of course the News Media made it look like these guys were really Frum not criminals trying to learn Torah. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251804525135&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
If you still have questions after the above Chillul HASHEM (desecration of THE NAME) then learn MP3 about Tzom Gedaliah:
From Karen: Since the election of B.H.O. more and more of these anti-semitic ads are appearing: http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/icna_cair_anti_semitic_ads.htm
Inside the green line Arabs threaten building too: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3773001,00.html
NAT0’s first line of defense against Iranian missiles: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251804504678&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
More Gog and Magog preparation from Debka: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6255
Eighty plus years ago there was a nice British Chap named Neville Chamberlain who talked about “Peace in our Times” through appeasement. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3774716,00.html
Hebrew article regarding Israeli opinion of B.H.O. http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/003-D-40809-00.html?tag=23-03-19
US internal politics site: http://devinnorris.com/
Federal Judge finds legal grounds to order trial on Obama Birth Certificate: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=109242
Have and wonderful and peaceful Shabbos and Repentance that will work for the whole world.