Thursday, October 1, 2009

Miracles, Sukkos, Zos HaBracha, Gog and Magog

Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim ben Pesha Miriam (Harav HaGaon Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) Aharon Yehuda Leib ben Gittel Faige (Harav HaGaon Aharon Steinman Shlita) needs prayers for recovery.

I can’t keep up with R’ A.L.’s prayer list but this came from Rachel who gave me the names of cancer patients and one Yeshiva boy turned atheist.

Yehudit bat Sara Peshe, middle-aged, just moved to hospice (kidney cancer)

Eli ben Merel (older man just diagnosed pancreatic cancer)

Bracha Zahava bat Baila Leah (young mother finishing up treatment breast cancer)

Miriam Rivka bat Adina Leah (baby born with plumbing needing re-routing, awaiting 4th surgery)

Zev Yehuda ben Sarah Leah (Rachel’s 22 year old nephew, went to yeshiva, now is an atheist) {in the Shomaya Tephillah –listens to prays section)

Good news Leah bas Rachel has her cancer in remission lets hope that it was defeated completely.

Two Miracles (that are four or more) on 12 Tishrei 5770 (Our Sages say Mitzvah gets another Mitzvah so I ended up with more Miracle stories than I had)

Zvi Hirsch had 6 bullets hit his car. He had his left arm bone shattered by one of the bullets and he continued to drive and called his wife and she called the ambulance who met him by the gate to Shivut Rachel.

Zvi luckily fled from the terrorist and continued because they fired and missed the next vehicle before leaving the scene of the terror. The army sent up helicopters and search teams but they were gone with the wind.

As many of you know I have been having fibrillations since June 25 when I underwent my first hospitalization. On Friday or Erev Yom Kippur, my heart beat still was at rest about 84 with higher than my normal blood pressure. I went into Yom Kippur exhausted but with a trick with anti-acids and Rythmx to fast. I had to drink as I mentioned the Shuir of less than Maaleh Lugmo. (This despite the general ruling of the Rabbinute of Israel, I found the anti-acid pill heter to fast. – thanks to Dr. Rabbi Vilna who is a heart specialist and a friend.) Two Synagogues in my area made a special healing prayer for me on Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur I beat my breast over my sins but my head was with the prayers and my illness. Who will live and who will die – who will be raised up and who will fall. Most of the prayer, I had my head down resting so as not to strain myself. But I did sing very strongly the “Face of the Cohain Gadol Song when he left the Holy of Holies in the Beis HaMikdash on Yom Kippur in peace.” (Ma-Ray-Cohain.) Being a bit of clown I said to my friends that “My good friend Murray Cohain woke me up.”

I had been to my General Practitioner who also happens to be an Internal Doctor. One regular Cardiologist and a Professor in Cardiology. Everybody saw the fibrillations in my Electrocardiogram, halter, they felt it in my pulse. Today I went to Tel HaShomer Hospital and got the green light to reverse the fibrillations. Dr. Dafna comes into the room and takes my pulse – she says, “You are in sinus mode no need to reverse anything!” I look at her as if she was joking. She then hooks me up to the monitor after a long time of 75 – 84 beats per minute each time I measured the rate including my sports watch which only recorded a low of 82, I see the good ole 59 – 64 beats. She told me “Go home!” So I went home attended a bris and managed to sneak in a Hallel Prayer with the blessing for the private miracle! I told the Chabad Rabbi who made the prayers for the sick that I have to make some sort of a “Thank G-D Party”.

Perhaps Yom Kippur helped him too:

From Danny: It's a Mitzvah to believe that Hashem exists and that He created all that exists and continues to supervise all of creation. This is a fundamental belief of Judaism and one who doesn't believe this is not considered a full-fledged Jew. This is one of the rare Mitzvoth for which one is required to give up ones life rather than transgress it. This Mitzvah applies all the time to both males and females. One fulfills it every time one thinks about Hashem's existence. Pasuk: "I am Hashem your G-d"; the first of the 10 commandments. Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer haMitzvot haKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 1

Of course I got a few responses from friends about my miraculous cure as a half dozen cardiograms don’t lie. Leib wrote: Many years ago, my wife’s father went for his annual check up. In those days, a chest x-ray was more commonly done, and he had his. The doctor called him back into his office sooner than usual and announced that a spot had been found on his lung. My wife’s father didn’t know what that meant, so the doctor said that should get his papers in order. In those days, a diagnosis of lung cancer was considered nothing more than a death sentence. Nevertheless, my wife’s father took action. He quit smoking and repented, and, among many tears, everybody prayed and gave tzedakah (i.e., charity). My mother-in-law, not one to give up, also made an appointment for him to see a specialist. He arrived at the specialist x-rays in hand, but the specialist wanted to take his own images. So he went through another series of x-rays, and the images were developed on the spot. Then the specialist walked over to my father-in-law told him there was nothing to be done for him and to go home, and my father-in-law thought that even the specialist couldn’t help him and began to cry.

"What are you crying for," he asked?

"The x-rays say I am going to die!" My father-in-law said.

The specialist took the x-rays, but said, "You’re fine!" My father-in-law was incredulous. After a brief look at the x-rays, the specialist dismissed him with the words, "these are bad x-rays; you are fine."

That incident happened thirty-seven years ago, and he still lives. In fact, my wife attributes her father’s long life, in part, to the fact that he has given up smoking cigarettes. Every now and then, I wonder whether those original x-rays were bad or not, but I had learned an important lesson. Recently, when my father called to say that the doctors had diagnosed him with congestive heart failure, he felt his life was over, but I knew what to do. Tzedakah, prayers, and repentance flowed freely, and when my father went to his specialist, the specialist could find no evidence of heart failure. Conceptually, I’d say, another set of bad x-rays. Of course, I do not attribute his health to my prayers alone, but that is another story.

From Karen: Our new Rabbi Dovber Berkowitz and his wife Chaya had twins on the Eve of Yom Kippur, a boy and a girl. The miraculous thing is she was actually a little overdue with them, which is practically unheard of... and especially if you see how tiny this woman is you'd say it was impossible for her to have them even on time let alone overdue. Twins are almost always born pre-maturely and usually have to be in incubators for quite a while and can have health issues from the start. But, B"H! these babies are more than full term and very healthy (bli ayin hara). Dovber's brother Zalman and cousin Yaakov came and did the services for us and they had no idea that she was having twins until the babies were born. They were thrilled and said, "See, the congregation has already grown double!" So we couldn't be happier for them, and are looking forward to Dovber and Chaya arriving in a few more weeks to officially start our new shul out here.

Children of the L-RD

All Mankind is made in G-D’s image: Shemos (Exodus) 4:22 וְאָמַרְתָּ, אֶל-פַּרְעֹה: כֹּה אָמַר ה, בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh: Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, My first-born. Why wasn’t Avraham chosen? – because he had both Yishmael and Yitzchak. So why wasn’t Yitzchak the perfect sacrifice chosen? – because he had Esav and Yacov. Now Yacov aka Yisrael was chosen as all his sons followed the Mitzvos.

So Yisrael was chosen to be “A light unto the Nations” – Tehillim (Psalms) a chosen people with responsibilities. Other Nations like Iran, Lebanon, and Syria could be repulsive before G-D but the chosen nation would either carry out the Torah (law) or be punished. If we are good – we help the world and if we break away from Torah we can become a Karl Marx, Trotsky, and some even claim Joseph Stalin had a Jewish mother; this is bad for the world. Being the first born means that as the eldest followers of One G-D, we have to guide our fellow children of G-D on how to worship and follow HIM to fulfill our mission given to Adam of making the earth and heaven one unit both the mundane and the spiritual before the CREATOR of all.

From the Selichos we said: 7 Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. This now brings us to the theme of Sukkos.

Now regarding Chag Sukkos it is written: Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:12 And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days; 13 and ye shall present a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD: thirteen young bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year; they shall be without blemish; 14 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for every bullock of the thirteen bullocks, two tenth parts for each ram of the two rams, 15 and a several tenth part for every lamb of the fourteen lambs; 16 and one he-goat for a sin-offering beside the continual burnt-offering, the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 17 And on the second day ye shall present twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 18 and their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 19 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings. 20 And on the third day eleven bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 21 and their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 22 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, and the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 23 And on the fourth day ten bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 24 their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 25 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 26 And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 27 and their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 28 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, and the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 29 And on the sixth day eight bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 30 and their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 31 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offerings thereof. 32 And on the seventh day seven bullocks, two rams, fourteen he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 33 and their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance; 34 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 35 On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no manner of servile work; 36 but ye shall present a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD: one bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 37 their meal-offering and their drink-offerings for the bullock, for the ram, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the ordinance; 38 and one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the continual burnt-offering, and the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 39 These ye shall offer unto the LORD in your appointed seasons, beside your vows, and your freewill-offerings, whether they be your burnt-offerings, or your meal-offerings, or your drink-offerings, or your peace-offerings. Note 70 Sacrifices for the Nations of the world and finally on the 8th day aka Simchas Torah one Sacrifice for Am Yisrael. You can count them in the above. Shlomo Carlebach Simcha

This year we do not read Yechezkiel on the war of Gog and Magog as we have no Shabbos Chol HaMoed. We do read Zechariah. Combining the Galus (exiled) readings with Eretz Yisrael and placing the whole chapters together, the picture comes out as follows:

12:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying: 2 'The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus says the LORD of hosts: Return unto Me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return unto you, says the LORD of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings; but they did not hear, nor attend unto Me, says the LORD.

Now where did I hear this before – it must have been in ancient times in the days of the or from Eliyokum HaCohain or way back in the days of the Chofetz Chaim and his student Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman HY”D – old hat I guess. What happened to the L-RD’s Shabbos, Yom Tov, Taharos HaMishpacha and things like Kashrus. I WILL RETURN UNTO YOU IF YOU WILL RETURN UNTO ME!

5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? Gone but not forgotten but they had no power of enforcement except for a few Prophets.

6 But My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? so that they turned and said: Like as the LORD of hosts purposed to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath He dealt with us.'

It is time to learn your lessons.

7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shevat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying-- 8 I saw in the night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I: 'O my lord, what are these?' And the angel that spoke with me said unto me: 'I will show thee what these are.' 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said: 'These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.' 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said: 'We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sits still, and is at rest.' 12 Then the angel of the LORD spoke and said: 'O LORD of hosts, how long will YOU not have compassion on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

It is quite obvious that this Prophecy is talking about the Babylonian Galus but you can see that it is still partially applicable today to the eastern portion of Yerushalayim with the thorns in our side thanks to the idiocy of Moshe Dayan and other anti-observant Jews as the Six Day War ended and the inhabitants fled.

13 And the LORD answered the angel that spoke with me with good words, even comforting words-- 14 so the angel that spoke with me said unto me: 'Proclaim you, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy;

Baruch HASHEM for this and it is relevant every minute and every second of the space time continuum.

15 and I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped for evil.


16 Therefore thus saith the LORD: I return to Jerusalem with compassions: My house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem.

These words at the ending of Galus Bavel also apply through Galus Roma. THE TEMPLE WILL BE REBUILT and with the help of G-D soon.

17 Again, proclaim, saying: Thus saith the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.'

We can only look forward to this as there is nothing to look back to.

13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for purification and for sprinkling.

While the Arabs were digging up the Temple Mount to destroy all remnants of Judaism a few years ago, a fountain sprung forth and it took tons of cement to close it.

2 And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

With the exception of Atheism among Jews this is basically true today. Just like false gods is bad so non-belief is bad too it also basically the glory of oneself.

3 And it shall come to pass that, when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begot him shall say unto him: 'Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD'; and his father and his mother that begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesied.

This is Chomas Hapanim (ability to read ones personality for the face – forehead and perhaps aura about a person) and other knowledge that certain scholars have today. It is almost like faulty gene therapy for some future day.

4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be brought to shame every one through his vision, when he prophesied; neither shall they wear a hairy mantle to deceive; 5 but he shall say: 'I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondman from my youth.' 6 And one shall say unto him: 'What are these wounds between thy hands?' Then he shall answer: 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'

I have written often that “There are Rabbis and there are ‘Rabbis’ and certain people with halachic knowledge practicing as Judges that are not fit to even clean toilets” – this I did not get from prophecy but normal observation. Certain “Talmidei Chachamim” will be exposed as liars, cheats, and miserable people. I try my best too be honest and to give honest and true advice and look into ones spiritual level – whether fully observant or potential observant.

7 Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is near unto Me, saith the LORD of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn My hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

This is the war of Gog and Magog – no one on the planet will be exempt from what will happen. The righteous third of the USA, UK, Yisrael, etc. will be spared. THE QUESTION DEAR READER IS “AYACHA?” AS G-D SAID TO ADAM – “WHERE ARE YOU?”

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say: 'It is My people', and they shall say: 'The LORD is my God.'

It is not going to be an easy and pleasant process and not all of us will make it. Some families will disappear others will be spared and still others some here and some there will come out of the spiritual cleaning of the world – whether by earth quake, tsunami, fire, war, pestilence, famine, thirst and it does not have to be some plague that we know of such as H1N1, Bubonic Plague, Small Pox, Aids, etc. it can be something new and massive upheavals like in the legend of Atlantis.

14:1 Behold, a day of the LORD cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, but the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Those that live to see the war of Gog and Magog will not be in any pleasant situation. Terrifying artillery that shakes the earth, mighty hordes with tanks and armored vehicles attacking the city – I only hope that the half that goes into captivity will be the Arab half however, let us up that it is not Jewish women who will be ravished by these armies. There is no guarantee for anybody righteous or not. It could be a situation like in Tanya as Tzaddik and Ra (evil inclination) is his/her.

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fights in the day of battle. 4 And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, so that there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziel king of Judah; and the LORD my God shall come, and all the holy ones with Thee.

The earthquake will be horrendous of a magnitude that the modern world has not known and the seismographs will fly off their charts from the magnitude and the armies of Gog will be smitten and every Arab and many Jewish homes will fall and who knows who will survive such an event.

6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light, but heavy clouds and thick; 7 And there shall be one day which shall be known as the LORD'S, not day, and not night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light.

A tremendous amount of dust from all the atomic and hydrogen bombs going off and the volcanoes of the planet spewing forth in response and the sky will be blackened for those who dare venture outside and soldiers repelling the invasion of Gog and the Nations.

8 And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be.

As I mentioned above about the ton of cement poured to plug up the living waters on the Temple Mount.

9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the LORD be One, and His name one.

The realization will occur to everybody left alive whether Jew, Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. that there is only One G-D. As we say in the Talmud “D Cooley Alma Lo Plegee” The entire world will not dispute this fact any more.

10 All the land shall be turned as the Aravah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel unto the king's winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell therein, and there shall be no more extermination; but Jerusalem shall dwell safely.

I would assume that much of the city would have to be rebuilt after the massive upheaval and a new world order will come about.

12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the peoples that have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

Only two possibilities known to mankind can do this – a super staff infection or an atomic bomb can do this either in a matter of hours or a matter of split seconds.

13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor. 14 And Judah also shall fight against Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the nations round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.

The amount of metal and fuel in the vehicles and cloth in the uniforms from parade uniforms to combat uniforms and night vision goggles and the gold used in the electronic connections will be a great fortune which the survivors will gather up. From the sale and use of these items will come the money to rebuilt Yerushalayim with planned thoroughfares etc.

15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in those camps, as this plague.

EMP aka Electromagnetic Pulse will neutralize a lot of the weapons and perhaps some of the enemies of Israel.

16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

It is obviously that this is only going to be among the survivors of the war and the day of judgement. Only in a rebuilt Yerushalayim and Beis HaMikdash will this occur. The survivors of the enemy army shall come like slave laborers on a voluntary basis to help rebuild the city and return for pilgrimages on Sukkos.

17 And it shall be that whoso of the families of the earth goes not up unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, upon them there shall be no rain.

G-D will bring upon a drought to the Nations that refuse to come up to Yerushalayim to worship.

18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, they shall have no overflow; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the nations that go not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Essentially the Nile will dry up for them if they refuse to come to Yerushalayim.

19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that go not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Pessach is our own thing – freedom of slavery and Shevous is the giving of the Torah. But since the Nations will be living in tents during the war of Gog, it appears to me that these temporary structures will be like the Sukkah and thus this holiday also becomes theirs.

20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses: HOLY UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the basins before the altar. 21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holy unto the LORD of hosts; and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein; and in that day there shall be no more a trafficker in the house of the LORD of hosts

Zos HaBracha (Because my new readership has grown so much plus lack of time I will only write from last week)

33:1 And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

The Medrash and Zohar are filled this week with tales of Moshe vs. the Angel of Death at the time of his parting. The Angel of Death comes to him and he uses the DIVINE NAME to make him flee so that he can bless Yisrael.

2 And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came from the myriads holy, at His right hand was a fiery law unto them.

We can note the mention and hint here of the final Judgement of Esav and Mt. Seir in the days of the Moshiach.

He said: The Lord came from Sinai. Moses initiated his blessing by praising the Omnipresent, and then he addressed the needs of Israel. — [Sifrei 33:2] The praise with which Moses commenced, mentions the merit of Israel. All this was a way of conciliation, as if to say, “These people are worthy that a blessing should rest upon them.” came from Sinai. He came out toward them when they came to stand at the foot of the mountain, as a bridegroom goes forth to greet his bride, as it is said, “[And Moses brought the people forth] toward God” (Exod. 19:17). We learn from this, that God came out toward them (Mechilta 19:17). and shone forth from Seir to them. [Why did He come from Seir?] Because God first offered the children of Esau [who dwelled in Seir] that they accept the Torah, but they did not want [to accept it]. He appeared. to them [Israel] from Mount Paran. [Why did God then come from Paran?] Because He went there and offered the children of Ishmael [who dwelled in Paran] to accept the Torah, but they [also] did not want [to accept it]. — [A.Z. 2b] and came. to Israel. with some holy myriads. With God were only some of the myriads of His holy angels, but not all of them, nor [even] most of them. This is unlike the manner of a mortal, who displays all the splendor of his riches and his glory on his wedding day. — [Sifrei 33:2] a fiery law for them. It was originally written before God in [letters of] black fire upon [a background of] white fire. — [Tanchuma Bereishith 1] He gave it to them on tablets, inscribed, [as it were,] by His right hand [thus it is said here, “from His right hand”]. Another explanation of אֵשׁ דָּת : As the Targum renders it, that He gave it to them from amidst the fire.
3. Indeed, You showed love for peoples. [God] also displayed great affection to the tribes, each one of whom were known as a people, for only Benjamin was destined to be born when the Holy One, blessed is He, said to Jacob, “A nation and a multitude of nations shall come into existence from you” (Genesis 35:11). [Thus we see that Benjamin alone was called “a nation.” “A multitude of nations” refers to Ephraim and Manasseh. See Rashi on Gen. 35:11, 48:4.]- [Gen. Rabbah 82:4] all his holy ones are in Your hand. [This refers to] the souls of the righteous, which are hidden away with God, as It is said, “But my lord’s soul shall be bound up in the bundle of life, with the Lord, your God” (I Sam. 25:29). - [Sifrei 33:3] for they […] be centered at Your feet. And Israel is indeed worthy of this [privilege to have their souls hidden away with God], because they placed themselves right in the middle (תּו
ֹ) of the bottom of the mountain at Your feet [figuratively speaking] at Sinai. The word תֻּכּוּ is in the passive conjugation, which has the meaning: הִתְוַכּוּ,“They [allowed themselves] to be placed right in the middle (תּוֹ)” [of the underside of the mountain], between Your feet. bearing Your utterances. They bore upon themselves the yoke of Your Torah. — [Sifrei 33:3] Your Torah. Heb. מִדַּבְּרֹתֶי. The mem in it [i.e., in this word] is somewhat of a root letter [rather than a prefix], as in, “And he heard the voice speaking (מִדַּבֵּר) to him” (Num. 7:89); and, “And I heard what was being spoken (מִדַּבֵּר) to me” (Ezek. 2:2). This form is similar to מִתְדַּבֵּר אֵלַי, [speaking to Himself for me to hear, see Rashi on Num. 7:89]. This too, namely, the word מִדַּבְּרֹתֶי, means: “what You were speaking to let me know what to tell the children of Israel.” Tes porparledurs in Old French. Onkelos, however, renders [the phrase יִשָּׂא מִדַּבְּרֹתֶי as: “they traveled (יִשָּׂא like יִסַּע) according to Your commands (דַּבְּרֹתֶי).” Thus, the mem is a servile prefix, with the meaning of מִן, from . [Thus, according to Onkelos, the word מִדַּבְּרֹתֶי literally means, from Your utterances.] Another explanation [of this verse is as follows]: Indeed, You showed love for peoples-Even when You displayed Your affection towards the nations of the world, showing them a smiling [friendly] face, and You delivered Israel into their hands, all his holy ones are in Your hand. All Israel’s righteous and good people clung to You; they did not turn away from You, and You guarded them. — [B.B. 8a)] for they let themselves be centered at your feet. And they placed themselves right in the middle of, and entered beneath Your [protective] shadow; bearing your utterances. And they gladly accepted Your decrees and Your laws. — [see Tanchuma 5] And these were their words:

The Torah was first offered to Yishmael and Esav and both the other son of Avraham and the other son of Yitzchak rejected it. Only the Bnei Yisrael accepted the Torah without checking was written down but accepting how it would be distributed by saying “We will do and we will listen” – this is blind faith because usually the negotiator checks out what the fine print says and the Bnei Yisrael basically are saying shoot first and ask questions later.

3 Yea, He loves the peoples, all His holy ones--they are in Thy hand; and they sit down at Thy feet, receiving of Thy words.

HASHEM does not despise us even if we sin and HE rebukes us. It is the love of a father and a king to HIS Nation. NOW HEAR THE WORDS OF THE L-RD!

4 Moses commanded us a law, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. 5 And there was a king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.

Sentence 4 we teach to small children when they learn how to talk and sentence 5 we sing to a bride and groom under the Chupa. These words are ingrained in our people. Sometimes we will not observe each and every commandment. We will believe in reincarnation but not in an Eternal Soul in the Image of G-D. Why? I cannot tell you but I came across an intelligent man erev Yom Kippur who has these beliefs. But he is part of the Jewish People whether he sings the song “The glowing face of the Cohen” on Yom Kippur or not. If he does not believe, it may not be his fault. In fact it may be a Hitler or growing up in a non-Jewish society that made him this way. The natural state of a Jew (Bnei Yisrael) is in these two Pasukim. Yachad Shiftei Yisrael (Together the tribes of Yisrael).

6 Let Reuben live, and not die in that his men become few.

Reuven is a tribe that leads one of the four sides and has its own banner so why “Let Reuven Live”? Rashi comes to tell us: May Reuben live. in this world, and not die. in the world-to-come, that the incident involving Bilhah not be remembered against him. — [see Rashi Gen. 35:22; Sifrei 33:6] and may his people be counted in the number. May Reuben be counted along with the enumeration of the rest of his brothers. This [matter, that the incident involving Bilhah should not exclude Reuben from being counted together with his brothers] is similar to what is said: “[And Reuben went] and lay with Bilhah… and Jacob’s sons were twelve” (Gen. 35:22), [indicating] that he was not excluded from the number [of Jacob’s sons, on account of this incident].

7 And this for Judah, and he said: Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him in unto his people; his hands shall contend for him, and Thou shall be a help against his adversaries.


Rashi comes to bring us a Chiddush (some henceforth new point here). He juxtaposed Judah to Reuben, because they both confessed to the wrong they had done, as it is said, “that wise men have told… to them alone… and no stranger passed between them” (Job 15:18-19). [This verse alludes to the confession of Reuben and Judah (“that wise men have told”), and how they were consequently blessed here together (“them alone”); although Levi was next in line chronologically to Reuben, nevertheless here, in the context of this blessing, Levi did not come between them (“no stranger came between them”), but rather, he was blessed immediately afterwards (verses 8-11).]- [see Rashi Job 15: 19] Our Rabbis further explained that during the entire forty years that Israel was in the desert, Judah’s bones were rolling in his coffin, because of the excommunication which he had accepted upon himself [when he took responsibility for Benjamin], as it is said, “If I will not bring him to you… then I have sinned against you all of the days” (Gen. 43:9). [So], Moses said, “Who caused Reuben to [publicly] confess his sin? It was Judah…”(see Sotah 7b) [and thus, by placing Judah together with Reuben, Moses alluded to this merit of Judah, and, in effect, “May the Lord listen to Judah’s voice,” is a prayer that Judah’s bones would finally come to rest]. O Lord, hearken to Judah’s voice. [I.e., Also, hear the prayer of Judah’s descendants:] The prayer of David and Solomon, and the prayer of Asa because of the Ethiopians, and that of Jehoshaphat on account of the Ammonites, and that of Hezekiah because of Sennacherib. — [see Sifrei 33:7] and bring him to his people. in peace, from war. his hands will do battle for him. May his hands fight his battle (רִיבוֹ) , and may they exact his vengeance. and may You be a help against his adversaries. [Moses here,] was praying for [Judah’s descendant] Jehoshaphat, concerning the battle of Ramoth Gilead, [as Scripture states,]“Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him (עֲזָרוֹ)” (II Chron. 18:31). Another explanation: O Lord, hearken to Judah’s voice. Here, included within Judah’s blessing, Moses alluded to [and incorporated] a blessing for Simeon [the allusion being in the word שְׁמַע, the very root of שִׁמְעוֹן]. Also [in accordance with this incorporation of Simeon within Judah], when they divided Eretz Israel [among the tribes], Simeon received [his portion] out of the lot of Judah, as Scripture states, “Out of the lot of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon” (Josh. 19:9). - [Sifrei 33:7] Now why did Moses not devote a separate blessing for him? Because he held against him what he had done in Shittim [referring to the sin of Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of the tribe of Simeon (see Num. 25:1-14)]. So it is written in the Aggadah of Psalms. — [Shocher Tov 90]

8 And of Levi he said: Thy Thummim and Thy Urim be with Thy holy one, whom Thou didst prove at Massah, with whom Thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; 9 Who said of his father, and of his mother: 'I have not seen him'; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew he his own children; for they have observed Thy word, and keep Thy covenant. 10 They shall teach Jacob Thine ordinances, and Israel Thy law; they shall put incense before Thee, and whole burnt-offering upon Thine altar. 11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise up against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

The Tribe of Levi was Kahuna and Leviim. The Leviim were Torah teachers and guides for Yisrael and zealous in protecting the Torah and Mitzvos. The writing in line 11 is a future prediction of the Maccabees fighting the foreign gods in the Temple and other non-Jewish influences.

12 Of Benjamin he said: The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him; He covers him all the day, and He dwells between his shoulders.

Since we just dealt with Levi and the Cohanim, it is only fitting that we deal with Benyamin as on his shoulders (Har Habeis) sat and will sit the Temple.

13 And of Joseph he said: Blessed of the LORD be his land; for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that couches beneath, 14 And for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, and for the precious things of the yield of the moons, 15 And for the tops of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the everlasting hills, 16 And for the precious things of the earth and the fullness thereof, and the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the head of him that is prince among his brethren. 17 His firstling bullock, majesty is his; and his horns are the horns of the wild-ox; with them he shall gore the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

For throughout the inheritance of all the tribes, there was no land more full of goodness than Joseph’s land. — [Sifrei 33:13] and with the sweetness. Heb. מִמֶּגֶד [This word denotes] delicacies and sweetness. the deep. The [waters which lie in] the depth [of the earth] ascend, and moisten the land from below. You find that in the case of each tribe, Moses’ blessing resembles Jacob’s blessing [to the same tribe. For instance, Jacob blessed Joseph also with the וּמִתְּהוֹם רֹבֶצֶת תָּחַת] (Gen. 49:25). For Joseph’s land was exposed to the sun, which sweetened its fruit. — [Sifrei 33:14] the moon’s yield. Heb. יְרָחִים גֶּרֶשׁ. Some fruits are ripened by the moon (יָרֵחַ). - [Sifrei 33:14] These are cucumbers and gourds. Another explanation: [This refers to fruits] which the earth expels (מְגָרֶשֶׁת) and brings out [from itself] month (יֶרַח) by month. — [Targum Onkelos] And blessed with the fruits that are first (רֹאשׁ) to ripen, for its mountains advance (קֶדֶם) the ripening of their fruits [thus, “the early mountains”]. Another explanation: [This verse] teaches [us] that their creation [that of the mountains in the territory of Joseph] preceded (קֶדֶם) that of all other mountains. — [Sifrei 33:15] the sweetness of perennial hills. גִּבְעוֹת עוֹלָם. Hills which produce fruit continuously (עוֹלָם) and do not cease [to produce fruit even] because of lack of rain.

… there are some instances in which the word בְּכוֹר has the meaning of “greatness” and “majesty,” as it is said, “I will also make him a great man (בְּכוֹר) [the highest of the kings on earth]” (Ps. 89:28); and similarly, “Israel is My son, my firstborn (בְּכוֹרִי)” [denoting high status] (Exod. 4:22). [Thus:] בְּכוֹר here: The king who will descend from Joseph, namely, Joshua. his ox. whose strength is as mighty as that of an ox, to conquer many kings. is [given] glory. [Literally, “glory is his,”] was given to him [when Moses transferred some of his attribute of majesty to Joshua when he became leader], as it is said, [God said to Moses:] “And you shall give some of your majesty to him” [Joshua] (Num. 27:20). and his horns are the horns of a re’em. The ox is powerful, but its horns are not beautiful; [on the other hand,] a re’em has beautiful horns, but it is not powerful. [Moses thus] blessed Joshua with the power of an ox and the beauty of a re’em 's horns. — [Sifrei 33:17] the ends of the earth. [This refers to] the thirty-one kings [whom Joshua conquered in the Land of Israel]. Is it possible that these kings were all from the Land of Israel? [The answer is, that] there was not one king or ruler who did not acquire for himself a palace and a holding in the Land of Israel [even though he belonged to another country]. [And why so?] Because the Land of Israel was considered distinguished to all of them, as it is said [of the Land of Israel], “The finest inheritance of the hosts of nations” (Jer. 3:19). - [Sifrei 33:17] [For this reason, the thirty-one kings are referred to as “the ends of the earth.” these are the myriads of Ephraim. The ones who are to be gored are the myriads who were killed by Joshua who was descended from Ephraim [Joseph’s son]. and these are the thousands of Manasseh. They are the thousands killed in Midian by Gideon, [who was descended from Manasseh, Joseph’s other son], as it is said, “Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor…” (Jud. 8:10) [and the verse continues to enumerate many thousands of hosts which were there].

18 And of Zebulun he said: Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out, and, Issachar, in thy tents. 19 They shall call peoples unto the mountain; there shall they offer sacrifices of righteousness; for they shall suck the abundance of the seas, and the hidden treasures of the sand. 20 And of Gad he said: Blessed be He that enlarges Gad; he dwells as a lioness, and tears the arm, yea, the crown of the head. 21 And he chose a first part for himself, for there a portion of a ruler was reserved; and there came the heads of the people, he executed the righteousness of the LORD, and His ordinances with Israel. 22 And of Dan he said: Dan is a lion's whelp, that leaps forth from Bashan. 23 And of Naphtali he said: O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the sea and the south. 24 And of Asher he said: Blessed be Asher above sons; let him be the favored of his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 25 Iron and brass shall be thy bars; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

These five tribes whom [Moses] blessed last, namely, Zebulun, Gad, Dan, Naftali and Asher, have their names repeated [e.g., “And of Zebulun he said: Rejoice, Zebulun…”], in order to instill them with strength and power, for they were the weakest of all the tribes. And indeed [for this reason,] they were the ones Joseph introduced to Pharaoh, as it is said, “And from among his brothers, he took five men” (Gen. 47:2). [Joseph took these brothers and not the others,] because they looked weak, so that Pharaoh should not appoint them as his war officers. — [B.K. 92a] Rejoice, Zebulun, in your departure, and Issachar, in your tents. Zebulun and Issachar entered into a partnership [with the following agreement]: Zebulun would dwell at the seashore and go out in ships, to trade and make profit. He would thereby provide food for Issachar, and they would sit and occupy themselves with the study of Torah. Consequently, Moses mentioned Zebulun before Issachar [even though the latter was the elder of the two], because Issachar’s Torah came through [the provisions of] Zebulun. — [Gen. Rabbah 99:9] Rejoice, Zebulun, in your departure. Prosper when you go out to trade. and Issachar. Prosper when you sit in your tents to study the Torah, to sit [in the Sanhedrin] and to [calculate and] proclaim leap years, and to fix the months, as it is said, “And from the sons of Issachar, those who had an understanding of the times” (I Chron. 12:32) [and then the verse continues,] “their chiefs were two hundred”-the chiefs of the Sanhedrin occupied themselves with this, and in accordance with them, the seasons and leap years were fixed [for all Israel].

Beresheis 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea, and he shall be a shore for ships, and his flank shall be upon Zidon. 14 Issachar is a large-boned ass, couching down between the sheep-folds. 15 For he saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under task-work. 16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward. 18 I wait for Thy salvation, O LORD. 19 Gad, a troop shall troop upon him; but he shall troop upon their heel. 20 As for Asher, his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties 21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he gives goodly words. Was Yacov’s blessing to these tribes so why the difference?

The answer appears to me to be that Gad remained the same, Zevulun would continue with Commerce from Haifa and Yissachar in the Torah Tents in partnership as a supporter of Kollelim and the Kollelnik who prayers for the man with the stocks and bonds to have money so that he can continue learning Torah. The original sheep folds mentioned is Klaf of Mezuzos, Tephillin and Sifrei Torah. Gad and Dan continued with the original blessings but the strength of a lion is added by Moshe and Asher and Naphtali are given more material blessings. I just wonder if the real petroleum oil is in the southern part of the tribe of Asher from Moshe’s blessing or if we are only talking about olive oil – that of course is Rashi’s Pshat.

19. More on the blessing from Rashi: This is why the verse speaks of the assembly of the people in terms of “They will call”]. And there [at Mount Moriah, in the Holy Temple], the people will offer up righteous sacrifices on the Pilgrimage Festivals. for they will be nourished by the abundance of the seas. …Things covered up and hidden by the sand-the tarit [or “torino,” a kind of fish], the snail [from which a sky-blue dye was obtained], and “white glass,” all of which come from the sea or the sand. These were found in the territory of Issachar and Zebulun, as is taught in Tractate Megillah (6a): [Scripture says, “Zebulun is a people who jeopardized his life to die” (Jud. 5:18). [And why?] Because [as that verse continues], “Naftali is on the high places of the field,” i.e., Zebulun complained [to God] about his territory, saying, “To my brothers, You have given fields and vineyards [… while to me, You have given seas and rivers]!” [In reply, God told Zebulun that the other brothers will seek him out because of the hidden treasures contained within the seas and the sands.] the treasures. Heb. וּשְׂפֻנֵי An expression meaning a covering, as it is said, “And he covered (וַיִּסְפֹּן) the house” (I Kings 6:9); and, וְסָפֻן בָאֶרֶז, which the Targum renders as: “And it was covered with a covering of cedar” (I Kings 7:3). Another explanation: they will call people to the mountain: Through Zebulun’s commerce, merchants of the world’s nations will come to his land. … Zebulun and Issachar [will be nourished], that is to say, the sea will lavish them with wealth. Zevulun controls the land by the port of Acco and of Haifa.

20. Blessed is He Who grants expanse to Gad. This teaches us that Gad’s territory extended far eastward. — [Sifrei 33:20] He dwells like a lion. Because Zebulun was near the border, he is therefore compared to lions, for all those who are located near the border must be mighty [like lions, in order to protect themselves from attack]. — [Sifrei 33:20] tearing the arm [of his prey, together] with the head. Anyone slain by the Gadites could be readily identified: they used to cut off the head together with the arm in one blow. — [Jonathan Ben Uziel]

21. He saw the first portion for himself. He saw fit to take for himself territory in the land of Sihon and Og, whose land was the beginning (רֵאשִׁית) of the conquest of the Land. because there, the portion of the lawgiver is hidden. For Gad knew [through Divine transmission,] that within his territory would be contained a portion of the field designated for the burial of “the lawgiver,” namely Moses. — [Sotah 13b] of the lawgiver. That portion [of the field, where Moses was buried,] was hidden (סָפוּן) and concealed from every creature, as it is said, “And no man knows his burial place” (Deut. 34:6). And he came. i.e., Gad came. at the head of the people. This is the Golan Heights that defends from the North-Eastern front and open to expansion towards the Euphrates.

Dan is a young lion. Dan was also located close to the border, and so [like Gad], he is compared to lions. — [Sifrei 33:22] streaming from Bashan. [This is to be understood] as the Targum [Onkelos] renders it [“His land drinks from the rivers that flow from Bashan”]. For the Jordan [river] comes out from Dan’s territory, from the Paneas cave, which is [a place called] Leshem, within the territory of Dan. [The children of Dan conquered Leshem and incorporated it into their territory, calling it Dan after their father,] as it is said, “And they called Leshem, Dan” (Joshua 19:47). - [Bech. 55a] And its source (זִנּוּק) and flow is from Bashan. Another explanation [of יְזַנֵּק מִן-הַבָּשָׁן] is: Just as a water flow (זִנּוּק) issues from one place and divides itself [afterwards] into two directions, similarly, the tribe of Dan [started with one territory and ended up] taking a portion in two places. First, they took the northwest [of the Land of Israel], namely, Ekron and its surroundings. But this did not suffice them. So they came and fought against Leshem, which is Paneas, located in the north-east [of the Land of Israel]. [Now Rashi demarcates these two areas geographically:] For the Jordan comes out of the Paneas [or Banias] cave, which is in the east [and at the northern extremity] of the Land of Israel, and then the river flows from the north [straight down] to the south, ending at the edge of the Salt Sea [“Dead Sea”], which in turn, is in the east of Judah’s territory, Judah having taken his territory in the southern part of the Land of Israel, as is delineated in the book of Joshua (19:47). This is the meaning of what is stated there: “And the border of the children of Dan went out from them, so the children of Dan arose and fought against Leshem [and took possession of it].” The Banias from a modern political story is on the border with the “farms in Lebanon” that are under dispute where the first three soldiers were captured by the Hizballah.

23. favorably satisfied. Naftali’s land would fully satisfy all its inhabitants. Possess the sea and the south. The sea of Kinneret fell within Naftali’s portion; moreover, he took a rope’s length of fishing-coast on its southern shore for spreading out his nets and trawls. — [B.K. 81b] The sea supplies carp and Amnon Fish (aka St. Peter’s Fish) and is a good source of income for fisherman unto this day.
24. May Asher be blessed with sons. I saw in Sifrei the following (33:24): “Among all of the tribes, you will not find one that is blessed with sons as Asher was.” But I do not know in which regard. He will be pleasing to his brothers
. Asher pleased his brothers with “On pakinon oil” [oil of unripe olives, used for anointing one’s skin] and tasty foods (?), and they please him [by repaying him] with grain. Another explanation of “He will be pleasing to his brothers” : Because the women who came from Asher were beautiful [and were sought after for marriage]. This is the meaning of what is stated in Chronicles (I Chron. 7:31). [when it speaks of Malchiel, Asher’s grandson] “he was the father בִּרְזָיִת [literally, olive-child]” that is to say, his daughters were married to Kohanim Gedolim [and kings], who were anointed with olive oil (זַיִת) . - [Gen. Rabbah 71:10] and immerse his foot in oil. for his land flowed like a spring with oil. It once happened, that the people of Laodicea were in need of oil, and they appointed an agent [who was sent from place to place, until he found an olive farmer. The latter brought this agent to his home, and there, the olive farmer washed himself and then dipped his hands and feet, thereby fulfilling our verse here: “And dip his foot in oil.” Then, he supplied the agent from Laodicea with one million, one hundred and eighteen thousand maneh worth of olive oil!]. — [Tractate Men. 85b] Rashi continues that the money from the oil was paid in metals hence the blessing with the metals.

26 There is none like unto God, O Jeshurun, who rides upon the heaven as thy help, and in His excellency on the skies. 27 The eternal God is a dwelling-place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He thrust out the enemy from before thee, and said: 'Destroy.' 28 And Israel dwells in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of corn and wine; yea, his heavens drop down dew. 29 Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee? a people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and that is the sword of thy excellency! And your enemies shall dwindle away before thee; and thou shall tread upon their high places.

34:1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, even Gilead as far as Dan; 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the hinder sea; 3 and the South, and the Plain, even the valley of Jericho the city of palm-trees, as far as Zoar. 4 And the LORD said unto him: 'This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying: I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with your eyes, but thou shall not go over thither.' 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.

According to the Medrash HASHEM and three Angels dealt with Moshe’s burial. The fight is whether the Angel of Death will have power over Moshe and the Medrash states that HASHEM kisses Moshe and extracts the soul while Gavriel prepares the linens for the body and Michael the resting place with Chief Heavenly Scribe Zagzagel working on the burial of Moshe.

6 And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor; and no man knows of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; so the days of weeping in the mourning for Moses were ended. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses. 10 And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face; 11 in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; 12 and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.

This Simchas Torah we will should say Chazak and immediately start Beresheis again.


The days between Yom Kippur and Sukkoth are joyous days, since Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) inaugurated the first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) during this period. One does not fast even for a Yahrzeit, nor does one say Tachanun on these days. A Sukkah needs at least 3 walls that do not move in the wind. The roof of the Sukkah is made of branches or bamboo that have not been used for any other purpose. The covering must be thick enough to ensure that even on the last day of Sukkoth at midday there is more shade than sunshine. The covering must not be so thick that rain cannot get through. In rainy climates, one should make a Sukkah that can be covered, so that it can be used once it stops raining. One must be careful to open the roof before using the Sukkah. On the fist night of Sukkoth the roof should be opened from candle-lighting until nightfall, if possible. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:30, 31, 134:1

The Torah command us to live in the Sukkah for the duration of Sukkoth. 7 days in Eretz Yisrael, 8 days in the Diaspora. One should move into the Sukkah and bring along ones creature comforts; ones comfortable chairs and favorite dishes. The Mitzvah of Sukkah is one of the few where the Torah explicitly gives us a reason to accompany the Mitzvah: Sit in the Sukkah for seven days in order that your descendants should be aware that the Yidden dwelled in Sukkoth during their journey out of Egypt. Sukkoth could be referring to the Clouds of Glory that surrounded and protected the entire Jewish encampment(as per R' Eliezer) or actual Sukkah-huts that individual families lived in (as per R' Akiva). One should keep these "reasons" in mind when fulfilling the Mitzvah of Sukkah. One should treat the Sukkah with respect and not bring in items one wouldn't tolerate at a Shabbat table. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:1, 2

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Haddasim, 2 Aravot and an Etrog. When shaking them on Sukkoth, the Lulav, 3 Haddasim and 2 Aravot are tied together and held in ones right hand, and the Etrog in ones left hand. (Lefties hold the Lulav in their left, Etrog in the right.) All 6 branches must be facing upwards, with the side where they were cut off the tree facing down. The spine of the Lulav must be facing you. The 3 Haddasim are tied to the right of the Lulav. The 2 Aravot are tied to the left of the Lulav. The Lulav is first bound with 3 ties typically made of palm leaves. The 3 Haddasim and 2 Aravot are then bound to it with another 2 ties. The Haddasim should be slightly higher than the Aravot. The spine of the Lulav must protrude at least 1 Tefach (8 cm - 3") above the Haddasim and Aravot. The top Tefach of the Lulav should not have any ties on it. Since the first day of Sukkoth is on Shabbat, we will only start this precious Mitzvah on Sunday. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:8 Wishing everybody a Chag Samayach! Shabbat Shalom, - Danny

Note Rabbi Simmons wrote this for any year but this year we are more lenient because we do not bench Lulav on the first day.

The Laws of the Four Species by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

The Torah says:

"You shall take ... the beautiful fruit (Etrog), a palm frond (Lulav), myrtle twigs and willow branches of the stream -and rejoice for seven days before the Lord your God." (Leviticus 23:40)

On Sukkot, we bind all the branches together - two willows on the left, one palm branch in the center, and three myrtles on the right. We hold this bundle in our right hand, and then lift them together with the Etrog. We then shake them all together, three times in each direction: front, right, back, left, up and down. (Sephardim and Chassidim have a different custom for the order.) This mitzvah should be performed during the daytime, each of the seven days of Sukkot (except for Shabbat).

Before waving the four species, we say the following blessing: "Baruch ata Adonoy, Elo-heinu Melech HaOlam, Asher kid'shanu bi'mitzvo-sav, vi'tzivanu al ni-tilas lulav."

"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with His mitzvot, and instructed us to raise up the Lulav."

To be valid for the mitzvah, the four species must meet certain requirements. Since the details are many and technical, it is not recommended to search through the forest on your own for these species! (Particularly the Etrog, which can easily be confused with a lemon.) A better idea is to purchase a complete set from a reliable distributor. Your local Jewish bookstore may have a "Four Species Set" with a rabbinical seal certifying their validity.

To be an informed consumer, here are some basic requirements to look for:


Should preferably be turning yellow rather than green.

  • The peel cannot be punctured through in any spot, nor can it lack any of its inner skin.
  • The peel cannot be overly soft, cracked, dry or peeled.
  • Even a small black dot on the upper part invalidates it.
  • The shape should preferably be like a tower ? wider at the bottom and narrow at the top.
  • If this particular Etrog grew with a protruding stem (called a pitom), then that stem cannot be broken off. (However, if the Etrog grew in the first place without a pitom, it is still kosher.)


You will need three myrtle branches.

A kosher myrtle has a pattern of three leaves coming out from the same point in the branch. This three-leaf pattern must be repeated over at least half the length of the branch.

Each branch should be at least 11 inches (29 cm.) long.

The branch cannot be dried out.


You will need two willow branches.

The stem should preferably be red.

The stem should be at least 11 inches (29 cm.) long.

The leaves should be oblong, not round in shape.

The leaves should have a smooth edge, not serrated.


Look at the very top of the branch and make sure that the center-most leaf is not split, but rather is closed (at least half-way down).

The top cannot be cut off.

The branch cannot be dried out.

It should be at least 16 inches (39 cm.) long.

  • The straighter the branch, the better.

From Devorah Gonzales to Seth and reported here: Currently stationed in Iraq, Capt. Herman Herm" Shelanski is at the helm of the 'USS Harry S Truman.' The writer is executive editor of The Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.

The one thing that is constant about life on an aircraft carrier is the noise. The constant roar of jet aircraft engines on the deck is complemented by other sounds heard throughout the ship and below deck: the explosive booms coming from the catapults launching planes and the reverberations of the restraining wires on the steel deck that enables others to land.

Yet the sound that seems to garner the most attention on board the USS Harry S Truman is ironically among the softest they will hear: the even tones of the voice of Capt. Herman "Herm" Shelanski.

"I've never heard him even raise his voice confides one of Shelanski's officers, who admits this low-key style is hardly typical of naval behavior when it comes to the person in charge. But he's always in command of the situation. He's the sort of a person who makes you want to meet or exceed his expectations."

As another officer put it referring to the captain's average height (approximately 1.70 meters) His physical stature isn't so big. But his presence is huge. Everyone on board feels it.

Shelanski a native of Wynnewood Pennsylvania is a veteran of 27 years of naval service during which he has risen from a young aviator piloting E-2 Hawkeyes to being the commanding officer of one of the navy's elite weapon systems: a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier whose air wing of more than 80 tactical and support aircraft (including squadrons of the latest F-18 Hornets and Super- Hornet jets) can project America's strength around the world.

Shelanski married and the father of two teenagers took command of the Truman in the spring of this year. In the Atlantic in September some 320 kilometers from its home port of Norfolk Virginia the Truman sailed to the Persian Gulf where its aircraft and pilots will be flying missions providing support for US troops fighting in Iraq.

Shelanski's role is to be as he put it mayor of the city - of a floating airport that's home to more than 5 0 sailors and aviators.

As long as the Empire State Building is tall the Truman is an enormous vessel whose maze-like compartments below decks can take sailors weeks to find their way around.

While its namesake's trademark "give 'em hell" slogan is emblazoned around the ship as a symbol of its crew's fighting spirit another of the 33rd president's favorite sayings is embodied in the conduct of the man who commands it: "The buck stops here."

"There's a lot of different leadership styles and a lot of pressure to be who you are not says Shelanski. But I'm a believer in being who you are and treating people with respect."

Though decades of flying and sea duty have given him the experience of command he makes no secret of the fact that a big part of who he is can be traced back to his origins: as the grandson of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who settled in Philadelphia in the early 20th century.

When asked what would prompt the son of a prominent doctor to join the navy his answer is simple: "I always wanted to serve my country. And a lot of that has do to with being Jewish."

MILITARY SERVICE was hardly the norm for middle-class Jewish young people in the 1970s but Shelanski says that the message of pride and patriotism in America was a big part of his upbringing.

On his desk in his spacious and luxurious in-board cabin (used mostly for dinners and ceremonies) are pictures of his father Morris Shelanski who served as a doctor in the navy during World War II and a cousin who was a naval aviator. Their example of service was and remains important to him.

"I knew that I was fortunate. A lot of our family died in the Holocaust. It makes me think of what could have happened if we hadn't come to America he says. I wanted to give back to this country. I also understood that the strength of the United States is directly proportional to the safety of Israel."

Yet a career in the navy was not really in his plans when he attended the University of Colorado where he graduated in 1979. A self-described "outdoor kid" with an itch to fly the following year found him at a naval- aviation officers candidate school from which he emerged with the rank of ensign. Two years later he earned his wings and was flying E-2C Hawkeyes.

"But it was only going to be a temporary job recalls Shelanski. I was going to do it for a while and then go and be a doctor following in his father's footsteps.

What changed his plans?

I was having too much fun to stop he acknowledges. I really enjoyed what I did. The intensity the excitement and the thrill of it was what kept me in." And the fact that he was very good at his job.

It's clear from his record that from the start of his career Shelanski was selected by his superiors for special responsibilities.

Flying the Hawkeye - the Navy's tactical airborne warning-and-control-system platform - made him "the quarterback" of air missions.

During his first sea deployment he says that he found himself on the spot during a confrontation with Soviet aircraft that were attempting to track his carrier during a Cold War exercise in the Pacific.

As a lieutenant junior grade he decided to change his air wing's plans to meet the potential threat while in the air. Shelanski radioed the change of plans down to the commanding admiral on his ship and waited for the answer to hutzpa with baited breath.

After a pause he says the response came back. "Roger that" - terse approval that was all he needed.

"It was a big thrill he says.

From there, it was a steady progression of promotions as he rose to be a commander of a Hawkeye squadron, stints as executive officer of an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, commander of a fighting command ship, the USS La Salle, as well as various naval staff positions in the US and at NATO.

Along the way, he picked up a master of science degree in electrical engineering and space engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and studied at the Armed Forces Staff College, as well as receiving nuclear-power training. His duties have taken him to various parts of the globe, including postings in Italy and Bahrain.

PHYSICALLY FIT at 50, though he doesn't fly very much anymore, he still works out daily in the ship's gym and plans to compete with crew members in physical-fitness tests.

Yet one theme that has been constant throughout a career has been his willingness to be candid about his Jewish identity in a service where he often found himself one of the few Jews around, if not the only one.

Though he knows that anti-Semitism was commonplace in the military in his father's day, Shelanski says that he has discovered little prejudice, though a lot of ignorance, about Judaism and Jews.

It's a little bit more responsibility he says of being the first Jew a sailor may meet. I always understood and loved Judaism. To me being Jewish means asking how do you treat the stranger because we were strangers."

His philosophy has always been to "be open and honest to care for people and to take care of people. The secret of success as a leader is to understand people. I got that from my parents especially my dad."

Despite the difficulties of being cut off from all the usual Jewish connections he found ways of holding on to who he was while staying close to his comrades. In one instance he recalls while serving with a squadron in a remote location where all were away from their families on the holidays he served as a kippa-wearing Santa Claus to cheer up his friends at a Christmas party. Under all circumstances he says I wanted to say who I was.

And when the only food available at stops at navy bases was pork he says non-Jewish friends usually found him a piece of chicken or something else that he could eat showing the closeness and mutual respect that is part of naval life.

While keeping Judaism was tough as a junior officer it's much easier for a captain. On board the Truman Shelanski not only has his own private stores of food but has hosted kosher Seders in his quarters for the crew. He also regularly attends Friday-night services in the ship's chapel along with the 12 to 15 other Jewish crew members a group that includes a cross-section of the crew: officers aviators and enlisted personnel who say the Sabbath service provides an oasis of rest amid the stress of their 24/7 workdays at sea.

The centerpiece of Jewish life on the Truman is a Torah scroll kept in an ark donated by the chapel of the Naval Academy. The scroll which was dedicated in a formal ceremony this past June originated in Lithuania where it was saved from the Holocaust. At the ceremony was another Torah the one that Israel's first president Chaim Weizmann gave as a gift to president Truman and which was on temporary loan from the Harry S Truman Library in Independence Missouri.

For this affiliated Conservative Jew the Torah dedication was "very emotional as well as something that brought both the Norfolk Jewish community and the navy closer together.

As was the case on the Reagan, where he also helped bring a Torah to the chapel, most sailors didn't know what it was.

I wasn't sure what the sailors would think admits Shelanski. But the response was tremendous. There wasn't a dry eye in the place as non-Jews felt the importance of it. I've found that people liked to learn about Judaism. And Christians see it as a way to go back to their roots."

INDEED FAITH can be important in a profession in which lethal danger is commonplace. That was brought home to the crew of the Truman even before their deployment in Iraq when one of their Hawkeye radar planes crashed into the ocean after a takeoff at night during an August training session for a young pilot.

Shelanski who was asleep in his other much smaller cabin just off the bridge where he spends most of his time reports that he was at the helm directing the search- and-rescue efforts within seconds.

The search lasted 36 hours but it was rapidly apparent he says that the plane and the three people on board would not survive. What they found he adds was heartbreaking - wreckage and helmets but no bodies.

It was the first crash of a navy Hawkeye in 14 years. And it proves to Shelanski that the worst thing that can happen on board is "complacency something he continues to fight.

Carrier duty is very unforgiving of mistakes. We have to learn from our mistakes he concludes.

In the Gulf, the Truman's planes are scheduled to fly as support for soldiers and marines. Some of the crew are also slated to be on the ground, serving as liaisons between the troops there and the ship to coordinate missions.

Everyone and everything must be constantly checked and requalified, he explains. While in the Persian Gulf, he says, we know the pilots are going to be flying into harm's way. There's always a risk. The better we train the better our chance of success."

As a student of history Shelanski says that he is cognizant of the threat from Iran and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has declared his intention to destroy Israel and is attempting to gain nuclear capability.

"Most sailors and officers here are aware of the history. We know what happened when another nation Nazi Germany that made threats of annihilation was ignored. The sailors are happy that we're standing up to these people and hopefully our presence will deter them."

As with Iraq he defers to civilian leaders to make the decisions about what to do. Still Shelanski says that he hopes diplomacy and a coalition of Western powers will cause Iran to step back from the brink. But he warns the Iranians "should understand that we have more than enough to stop them."

THE CREW OF the Truman hopes to return home to Norfolk sometime next summer. When it does the first order of business for its captain will be to attend the bat mitzva of his daughter which has been postponed from earlier in 2008 to a date when he may be available.

That's all part of the job for a naval officer who has taken his family all over the world many times and dreads the long separations that sea duty demands.

As to his own future after his term as captain of the Truman ends (he is scheduled to leave it in early 2009) Shelanski is uncertain. Some in the navy consider him a serious candidate for promotion to admiral.

Though flattered by the idea he says that is a decision that will have to be made by his family. He's not certain that he wants to uproot them again which would be a certainty if he is promoted. "We'll figure that out when we get there he remarks.

But before the homecoming that he's already looking forward to, duty in a war theater awaits. With that in mind, would he want his own children to follow in his footsteps?

His answer is in the affirmative. I'd like my children to serve at least for one hitch, he says, so they can give back to his country as he has done.

But that makes you think about what's important enough to send my children out to get killed he notes. Unfortunately there are times when we must do that."

Noting that all aboard the Truman are volunteers he also says that "they're all someone's children." Most on board tend to speak of themselves as "warriors but their captain is aware of the cost of combat.

I understand as a father what it means to see the consequences of war he says. I know my sailors. They're not numbers. They're people. My goal is to bring everyone here home."

If the antisemites are right and we're bent on world domination, we'll do it the Jewish way: from the bottom up. So it comes as good news that we've conquered the south.

Antarctica is ours.

One of the few continents with more penguins than Jews, Antarctica may not be the land God bequeathed his Chosen People, but He didn't say we couldn't live there either.

Former Lubavitcher David Hornstein didn't go to the nether land to missionize among the natives, because there are no natives to speak of. Hornstein, originally from Melbourne, took his Yiddishe neshama (soul) and his scientific expertise and went forth unto Scott Base on "The Ice" where he lived for a year.

He had no problem deciding which shul not to attend. He could just about scrape together enough souls for a minyan - except that the other nine humans with him were gentiles, and two of those were women.

It's not easy being a Jew.

Keeping Shabbat was a bit of a problem, because in the summer, the sun never sets. He consulted his mentor Rabbi Kazen, a New York Lubavitcher, who instructed him to follow New Zealand time. "You can perform any (religious) task with the goodwill and tolerance of others," Hornstein said with what seemed like enthusiasm, but it was hard to tell because we conducted the interview in cyberspace. "Scott Base management even allowed me to put a mezuza on my door."

Every holiday was another challenging adventure. "I wanted to celebrate Pessah with a traditional Orthodox Seder," Hornstein relates. "On the C-130 Hercules resupply flight, I got enough matza and kosher wine - and a Haggada - to last over Pessah."

Hornstein and his nine Gentile Seder guests held what had to be the most southerly Seder in history. They went all the way, reading and interpreting the entire Haggada and feasting on chicken, chopped liver, matza-ball soup and helzel. "We even opened the door for Eliahu, but poor Eliahu had to battle minus 26 degrees and a snowstorm to get in.

"It was interesting that when the door opened for Eliahu, a white mist wafted in. A bit of Yiddishkeit for the Antarctic."

It's not as if Hornstein never saw another co- religionist on The Ice, as the region is known. "Sure, I met a few hardy Jews. Nat Polish from New York, studying penguins, David Lippman from the US Navy, Vicky Kraus from Denver, Eric Milstein, a C-130 Hercules navigator; we all celebrated Hanukka together."

Succot was especially ticklish: sitting down to a meal in a hut in remembrance of desert wanderers can be a bit of a problem when the soup freezes solid before you can dip a spoon in. "Anything containing large proportions of water freezes fast at 35 below. Pickles are out. But dried fruit and salmon patties won't freeze to the inside of your mouth."

Hornstein assembled a low-rise succa - "so it shouldn't be blown away by the Katabatic winds" - out of the only wood available to him, imported bamboo. Not traditional, perhaps, but perfectly halachic, and more important, in the right spirit. (Hornstein will provide free advice on how to make a succa penguin-proof.)

Hornstein, 37, left his family behind in New Zealand - wife Susan, Daniel, 10, Sarah, eight, and Moshe, five - to join the team at Scott Base. What did he do there? Hard to say; you can never get a straight answer from a scientist: "I ran ozone monitoring equipment such as spectrophometers, spectrometers, magnetometers, radar, three seismic stations and thermistor arrays." Uh-huh.

Then there are the maintenance tasks, such as "digging out the snow from in front of the freezers." Freezers? On The Ice? "Yeah, we use freezers to keep food warm." Hard to know when he's kidding.

It gets cold and it gets c-c-c-c-cold. Thermal gatkes can be the difference between life and death when the wind- chill factor gets as low as 70 below, but it does get positively balmy: "At one stage over summer it was slightly edging above zero."

Maybe only one Jew in a million will feel like Hornstein does about The Ice, but he does not see this land as God-forsaken - with a capital G. "It has the most awe- inspiring, pristine views of the wonders of Hashem. How else can you describe perfection and complete and utter desolation?"

He's now back with his family, thawing out in Christchurch, New Zealand. He dreams of going back to The Ice someday, but for now, he'll take any reasonable job that comes his way.

"I'm unemployed but I have plenty of experience," he says. "Is there a need in Israel for a Jewish polar explorer?"

A personal internet and family security measure for all: I posted about 300-400 photographs from Autumn Leaves, National Parks and Grandchildren on Facebook. I notice that my photo albums had a few hundred photos missing. I deleted all. I am not interested in letting my photos be stolen and sold by professionals or my grandchildren heaven forbid be tracked down even though their address was not given. If you have friends whom you trust, share your photos but Facebook, my Space etc. is too dangerous.

Rabbi Tovia Singer debates Jews of Yeshu:

A plea for sanity by Eliyokum to his fellow Jews: I look around the world right now and see very few bright spots outside of the Jewish world I am engrossed in. Everything has become completely insane. A robber sued the people he robbed because the dog bit him and he WON, the worlds most pathetic people have their own reality shows and people actually tune in, Islam is becoming a force no on wants to reckon with so they just let in manifest itself unabated, and people are falling further and further from the true purpose of life. WHATS WORSE? nobody really seems to care. I read what people post on this website and it makes me sad, how pathetic some people have become. Guys posting pics of themselves with shirts off, girls looking like complete sluts, what happened to the Jewish people. Jews as a whole have lost their will to right the ship and because of that people like Obama get elected, Arabs can shoot rockets into Israel with virtually no consequence, people don't even know what Torah is, and intermarriage is becoming rampant amongst our people. I know a lot of you out there are troubled by these issues, but what is being done about it? Before I became observant I used to say "well this isn’t right but what can I do about it"? Then I smartened up and realized why facebook was really invented. There is no other network on earth like facebook and this is how I plan to change the Jewish world. When I say I it really means We because there is no way to do this alone. When you see me post my link BEGGING for others to do it as well, just post it, when you have a spare 2 minutes during the day send out invites for people to join this group, and if you’re around a bunch of your friends at the mall just say "Hey check out the guy is nuts (Eli is tantamount to speaking Lashon Hara about himself to get you to listen to his ‘crazy’ ideas about getting a million Jews and being a light among the nations) but he makes some really good points"...I know people out there are busy, I know you’re overwhelmed, but its so easy for you to make a difference. Why don’t you care. Yom Kippur is upon us, a time for Jews around the world to beg Hashem for forgiveness. Don't you think He's more likely to forgive someone that actually CARES about Jews and about our problems. I'm not asking you to become observant or keep Shabbos, I'm simply asking you to help a fellow Jew on a quest to right the ship and help restore us back to our rightful place as the Light Amongst the Nations. This is my quest in life to unite 1 million Jews on facebook on one group and hopefully get them to my site. Just help out, watch the 3rd video on the website and see just how easy it is to earn millions of mitzvahs...Good Shabbos, have an Amazing Yom Kippur and lets start uniting...with numbers comes power and with power comes opportunity. Help me out, I beg you.

Lessons and Symbolism of the Sukkah and the Four Species by Rabbi Avi Geller

Mr. Jack finally arrived in the village of Radin, Poland. After a five-hour train ride from Warsaw, and a two-hour horse and buggy excursion, Jack concluded the last leg of his trip by foot. Upon arriving in the village, he immediately inquired as to the whereabouts of its most famous resident, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen, author of "Chafetz Chaim" (on the laws against gossip) and "Mishneh Brura" (on laws of daily observance).

With trepidation, Jack knocked on the door and it was opened by an old, bent-over man who asked him to please enter. Mr. Jack explained that he was visiting from America and strongly desired to meet the world famous authority. Looking around, Jack noticed that the house was bare of furniture as if it had been hit by a hurricane. There was just one table, two chairs, a bookcase and a bed.

"Rabbi, may I ask a question?"

"Certainly, my son."

"I don't notice any furniture in your home. Where is all your furniture?"

The rabbi, unaffected by the guest's chutzpah, asked in turn, "And may I ask you a question, young man?"

"Certainly," came the reply.

"Where is all your furniture?"

Taken aback by the response, Jack cried out, "I have a custom kitchen, oak dining room set, and beautiful bedroom set - all at my house in New York. Do tourists generally take such possessions along in a moving van? I'm only passing through!"

To which the rabbi replied, "And I also am only passing through."

This world is only a temporary stop. A person on a journey must consider his priorities - the true destination - and not only his comfort during the short trip.

* * *


The Torah bids us to leave the comfort of our warm homes and to live for a week in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling with an open roof, covered with branches that allow the wind and rain to enter. This teaches us that life is temporary and we should not become too comfortable in this world.

When a person dies, he is buried in shrouds with no pockets. "You can't take it with you!" A certain lady wrote in her will that when she passes away, she wants included in her coffin her tattered prayer book, Psalms book, and all the receipts for charity she had saved up during her lifetime. That is the only way to "take your money with you!"

* * *


During the 40 years that the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness, they were surrounded by "Clouds of Glory" in all four directions, and above and below. These supernatural clouds protected them from the wind, rain and sun, as well as snakes and scorpions. The sukkah commemorates this great miracle that endured for 40 years.

Question: Since the clouds appeared as soon as the Jews left Egypt, why don't we sit in a Sukkah at Passover time?

Answer #1: If we would enter a sukkah during the springtime, it would seem as if we are doing so only to enjoy the fresh warm weather. Only in the fall, when it begins to get chilly, is it clear we sit outside for the purpose of performing a mitzvah.

Answer #2: When the Israelites worshiped the "Golden Calf," the clouds left, only to return after Moses had achieved the final atonement on Yom Kippur. Therefore, we commemorate the clouds after Yom Kippur.

Question: Why does the Torah only commemorate the Clouds of Glory and not the other miracles of the desert, such as the manna and the Well of Miriam?

Answer #1: The manna and the well had other, negative connotations. The Jewish people had complained about the manna and the well - and were punished on both accounts. Also, Moses was not allowed to enter the Land of Israel, on account of an incident at the well (see Numbers ch. 20). The clouds, on the other hand, were always welcome and the people never complained about them.

Answer #2: The water and food supplies were necessities of life, without which the Jews could not have survived. However, the clouds' protection from the elements was a luxury - demonstrating the Almighty's love for His people.

* * *


According to the Zohar (classic book of Jewish mysticism), on each day of Sukkot we welcome a spiritual guest into our sukkah. They are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. We say a special prayer to welcome them and try to relate to the themes they represent.

Question: What is the specific connection between these great people and Sukkot?

Answer: The sukkah represents the idea of exile (galut). If it so happened that on Rosh Hashana we were decreed to receive exile, then instead of ending up in Siberia we fulfill the decree by exiling ourselves from our homes for one week.

Each of the above-mentioned personalities experienced exile in some form. Abraham was sent by God from his birthplace to a foreign land with no clan protection. Isaac wandered to the land of the Philistines when there was a famine and was mistreated there. Jacob was the classic "wandering Jew," running from Esav and Lavan, and who in his old age was forced to leave the Land of Israel for Egypt. Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers. Moses had to flee the wrath of Pharaoh. Aaron wandered in the desert for 40 years with the entire nation. David had to flee from King Saul and then from his own son. In spite of this, these great men trusted in God - and that is the lesson of the sukkah. (Eliyahu Kitov)

* * *


On Rosh Hashana we blow the shofar. One aspect of the shofar is the ability to break down walls. When Joshua sounded the shofar, the walls of Jericho fell down.

In a metaphysical sense, we do the same thing on Rosh Hashana. Every time we make a mistake, it adds a brick to the wall we construct between ourselves and the Almighty. That's why we often find it difficult to relate to God. But when we blow the shofar, the wall falls down and we find ourselves face-to-face with God. This is the experience of the High Holidays.

After Yom Kippur, however, we don't want to be distracted by the world around us that entices us to abandon our newfound relationship. Therefore we now proceed to build a wall between ourselves and the outside world. We sit in the shade of the Almighty for seven days with the Ushpizin as our guests. This intensive connection has the power to keep us close to God for the entire year to come. (Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe)

Sukkot is also the "harvest festival." The grain that was left in the field to dry during the summer is now gathered into the storage bins. The rich man with a full bin, who may feel the pride of his own accomplishments, is commanded by the Torah to leave his warm and comfortable home and sit in the little sukkah. He gazes at the stars through the cracks in the "s'chach" (covering of the sukkah) and remembers the Almighty, who took us out of Egypt and provided all of our needs in the desert. So don't take all the credit for your success!

On the other hand, the poor man (whose bin is far from full) is worried how he will feed his family in the cold winter. The Torah also commands him to leave his home and sit in the sukkah, see the stars and remember: Just as God provided for us in the wilderness, He won't forget us now, either. (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch)

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Sukkot is referred to as the "season of our joy." What is there to be so happy about on Sukkot?

On a historical level, we rejoice over the Exodus from Egypt - prompted by the reminder of sitting in the sukkah. Materially, we just reaped our harvest and rejoice with the land's bounty.

In a deeper metaphysical sense, the joy of Sukkot is connected with Yom Kippur. The main cause of depression is the mistakes we make in life. We constantly tell ourselves, "If only I could do that again or this again, then life would be different." Yom Kippur is the day we clean the slate and throw off the heavy pack of misdeeds that we have carried around all year long. Isn't that cause for celebration?!

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The Torah commands us to take four specific species on the first day of Sukkot. (Today we take them all seven days.) The oral tradition defines exactly which species are required: etrog (citron, a lemon-like fruit), palm branch, myrtle and willow branches. We bind the myrtle (three branches) and willow (two branches) to the palm branch. We take the lulav (palm) in the right hand, etrog in the left, recite the blessing, and then shake them together in all four directions and up and down.

Our sages offer different explanations of the symbolism of the four species.

(1) One explanation is a reference to the body parts. The etrog is the shape of a heart, the lulav is like a backbone (spinal cord), the leaves of the myrtle resemble the eyes, and the willow leaves are the mouth. These are the organs that can be misused for negative behavior. The eyes see, the heart desires, the body reacts, and the mouth speaks. We dedicate all our activities to serving the Almighty - above and below and in all four directions.

(2) Another explanation is that the four species correspond to the various types of Jews. The etrog contains a good smell and taste (when made into jelly) and symbolizes the Jew with Torah knowledge and who performs good deeds. The palm tree that grows dates (not coconuts) has a good taste but no smell - i.e. one with Torah knowledge but lacking good deeds. The myrtle has a beautiful aroma, but no taste - symbolizing one who always does good deeds, but lacks Torah knowledge. The willow has no taste and no smell - representing the Jew lacking both knowledge and deeds.

We put all types of Jews together and wave them in all directions, because every Jew can relate to the Almighty no matter where he is coming from. The etrog (in the left hand) rubs against the willow (on the left side of the lulav) and some of its beautiful aroma is absorbed by the willow. This symbolizes the tzaddik, reaching out to spread Torah among the masses. As the aroma rubs off, when you smell the willow, it smells like an etrog.

(3) Rabbi Hirsch explains the symbolism of the four species as follows: The etrog gives sustenance and has an aroma. This symbolizes things in nature that require no finishing touches by man - such as air, light and beauty. The lulav is sustenance without aroma. The myrtle is aroma without sustenance. The lulav and myrtle symbolize things in nature that man has to extract benefit from, such as food. The willow has no aroma and no sustenance. This symbolizes things that man must exercise mastery and skill, as nature supplies only the raw materials, such as dwelling, clothing and utensils. We take all these resources before God and acclaim that God gives us all that is good in life. Cling to them as a means of living in the presence of God according to His will. Rejoice in them before God as a means of fulfilling your duty.

* * *


The sukkah negates the idea of material possessions as an ultimate value. It teaches us not to appraise worldly goods too highly. The lulav teaches us to raise our property to God, to value them at their true worth. The sukkah prevents us from becoming too earthly, from being debased by our wealth. The lulav reminds us not to soar too highly above the earthly and to cherish our possessions and dedicate them to holy pursuits. It makes no difference how much you attain, as long as you lived dutifully with your possessions and joyfully fulfilled God's will on Earth. This is the ultimate happiness. When we shake the lulav in all directions, we proclaim that everything in the universe is God's creation. The blessing of God is everywhere and at all times. (Horeb)

* * *


During Sukkot in the Holy Temple, water libations were placed on the altar, as a prayer for rain. The rejoicing was so great that the Sages proclaimed: "He who never witnessed the Simchat Beit Hasho'eva, never saw joy in his life!" The Talmud describes a golden Menorah in the courtyard that shed so much light that every courtyard in Jerusalem was lit up to the extent that people could sort grain by its light.

At this celebration, the righteous people would dance to the music of the Levites playing their instruments. The Levites would sing the 15 psalms entitled "Shir Hama'alot" (a song for the ascension) and blow the shofar as they filled their vessels with water. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel would juggle eight lit torches. Levi would juggle eight knives, Shmuel eight glasses of wine, and Abaya eight eggs. They would dance all night long, (after a full day of offerings, prayer and Torah study!). Today in Jerusalem and Jewish communities throughout the world, there is dancing and music during the week of Sukkot as a reminder of these Temple celebrations.

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The last day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Raba. In Temple times, they would surround the altar with the four species every day of Sukkot, and on the last day of Sukkot a special encircling with the willow alone. Today we surround the bima where the Torah is read, since our reading is in place of the offerings brought on the altar.

The significance of the willow is that it grows on the riverbank and symbolizes rain, which we pray for on Sukkot. As we circle the bima with the willows, we say the prayer "Hoshana" which means "Save us, please!" As a result, the custom is to call the willows "Hoshanot."

On the night of Hoshana Raba, many stay up all night learning Torah and praying. In the morning, the chazan wears a kittel (special white robe also worn on Yom Kippur) and we return to the "High Holidays" mode. This is because the Sages say that although our judgment is "written on Rosh Hashana and sealed on Yom Kippur," the angel doesn't receive the k'vittel (piece of paper with the final verdict) until Hoshana Raba - so this is one last chance to repent. (Tradition also says that the angel doesn't actually carry out the sentence until the last day of Chanukah.)

We take the willow in our hands, which symbolizes the Jew without Torah learning and good deeds, but also symbolizes the mouth which means we only have one mouth to pray to God. The word "aravah" (willow) also means sweet, so that our prayers should be sweet before God. Today's guest is King David, the author of Psalms, the source of our prayer book.

We have a kabbalistic custom to beat the willow on the floor five times. We intend to banish evil decrees, and awaken the love between God and the Jewish people. It also hints to the atonement of our sins and the "g'mar chatima" (final decree).

On Hoshana Raba, we eat a festive meal, and before the day ends we eat a small meal to say "goodbye" to the sukkah. We pray to merit in the future to be in the sukkah of the "Leviathan" - the legendary giant fish that God will feed the righteous in the World to Come, and will make a sukkah out of its skin.

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Immediately following the seven days of Sukkot is Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. The Talmud says that Shmini Atzeret is a separate holiday which relates to Sukkot, just as Shavuot relates to Passover. After receiving our freedom in Egypt (Passover), we accepted the Torah seven weeks later (Shavuot). So too, following the pure joy of Sukkot, we immediately rejoice with the Torah (Simchat Torah). After experiencing the holiness of living with God in our Sukkah for an entire week, we simply cannot just return to our mundane weekday life and must first experience the holiness of a holiday in the house. This continues the process of bringing the spiritual growth of this holiday month into the year ahead.

In the Temple during Sukkot, 70 bulls were offered for the 70 nations of the world (who, had they known how beneficial the Temple was for them, would have surrounded it with a UN contingency army to prevent its destruction!). On Shmini Atzeret we offer only one bull for the Jewish people. The Sages offer this analogy: A King married off his only daughter and the festivities lasted an entire week. When all of the guests left, the king made a small party just for the bride and groom, to express how difficult it is for him to separate from his only daughter. After rejoicing with all mankind on Sukkot, the Jewish people have a private encounter with God on Shmini Atzeret.

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In the Diaspora, since there are two days of the holiday, we call the first day Shmini Atzeret, and the second day Simchat Torah. (In Israel, Simchat Torah is the same day as Shmini Atzeret.) Simchat Torah is the day when we finish reading the Torah and start reading from the beginning (Genesis) anew. When we end the Torah we immediately begin it again, to symbolize that it never ends. The Jewish people are above time and so is Torah. With that in mind we are ready to face the year ahead.

This is accompanied by great singing and dancing in celebration of the Torah. We hope that not only do we rejoice with the Torah, but also hope that the Torah rejoices with us!

* * *


We find a clear continuation between the month of Elul, the High Holidays, Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret. During the preliminary supplications (slichot), we open up the holy ark only once. On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, many times. On Sukkot we take out one Torah and march around it with our lulavs. On Hoshana Raba we take out all the Torah scrolls and march around them seven times. On Simchat Torah, we sing and dance with all the Torah scrolls. The next step, of course, is to actually study the Torah in the year ahead! (Rabbi Osher Weiss)

Inyanay Diyoma

From Richard Carr:

He is a better Foreign Minister than Prime Minister:

I think it was Monique Miriam who sent me the above.

Where the Iranians really are:

From Susanne regarding Iran:

From a retired Major General: “Enough is Enough” By MG Paul Vallely , US Army (Ret)

The world is advancing closer to a solution that requires Triumph and Victory over global radical Islam and world-wide terror operations. Radical Islamic goals and their leadership call for the destruction of democracy and freedom and the establishment of Muslim domination and Sharia Law. This militant ideology has created worldwide conflict and disruption. Enough is Enough!!!

What must be done? The United States must now re-evaluate the very meanings of power in world politics, with particular reference to principles that seek victory in warfare that is not prolonged. The first principle, “Objective,” states: When undertaking any mission, Commanders should have a clear understanding of the expected outcome and its impact. Today we call it the “Endgame.” Following Clausewitz and Sun-Tzu, political and military commanders at every level need to identify tangible ends and to understand precisely how military application can best to achieve these goals.

There is another section of the Art Of War that can especially help Israel and the United States. This is Sun-Tzu's repeated emphasis on the "unorthodox" .This is an unconventional war and must be fought as such. We must, from a high-level strategic view, look at this current global war as combating an enemy who fights in a completely unorthodox manner, and we must fight him the very same way, but more cleverly and more effectively. We must use our full military and intellectual arsenal as a super power to bring victory sooner rather than later. This can be done only with a specific endgame in mind, and with a corollary commitment to victory.

For now, every enemy state knows almost exactly how the Conventional Warfare leaders will initiate and conduct major military action, and how it will respond to armed attack and armed conflict. If, however, the United States and Israel did not always signal perfect rationality to its enemies, it could significantly enhance both its overall deterrence posture and its essential capacity to carry out certain preemption options. This same lesson applies to diplomacy and politics, which are also too often mired in complete predictability. So, yes, “war is hell,” potentially more hellish today than at any time in history, which is why we must never lose when fighting an enemy who will never quit. The Democracies in the world have no choice but to fight the terrorists, aggressively, unapologetically, with an absolute commitment to win on every front.

And that fight must be on our time-schedule … never the enemy’s. Denial is no longer an option and Hope is not a strategy.

PAUL E. VALLELY, MG (US Army Ret.), Author, Military Strategist and Chairman of Stand Up America USA and Save our Democracy

On Fatherland “Tomorrow Belongs to me” from Jonathan and Eytan for the uncensored one: but the BHO is censored

Uncensored from Eytan and Scott


My next door neighbors and Kiriat Sefer’s Neighbors:

From Steve: The treat of Iran and Russia even if you do not like the right for Israel’s sake hear the man out:

And David Horowitz of Front Page Magazine parts one and two from Steve:

Who is at risk with H1N1:

Anybody remember Bill anti-Semitic Carter well brother Jim Boy is not far behind from Sean:

From Steve more on the indoctrination of school children thanks to Bill Ayers and other friends of somebody we see on the news:

Remember this is Opinion only:,7340,L-3782326,00.html

Now for M. Wolfberg's Good Shabbos Story

Good Shabbos Everyone. Yom Kippur is also referred to as Yom HaKipurim - the day of atonements. (see Vayikra 23:27) If we look closely at the expression "Yom HaKipurim " we see that it contains the word "Purim." Purim is one of the most joyous of Jewish holidays, celebrating our miraculous victory over the Persians. It is therefore possible to translate Yom HaKipurim as - a day that is like Purim. We usually think of Yom Kippur as a somber day. In what way then is Yom Kippur like Purim?
Anyone who has ever been involved in a disagreement or an argument with a friend or family member, can attest to the uncomfortable feelings which follow. However, once the argument stops and the two forgive each other, then the love and happiness between the two people grows even stronger than it ever was before.
The relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people is one of great love. As the Mishnah teaches us "Beloved are the people Yisroel, for they are described as children of the Omnipresent. As it is said "You are children to Hashem Your G-d."(Avos 3:18 citing Deuteronomy 14:1) The love that Hashem has for the Jewish people is expressed allegorically in the Song of Songs. As the verse tells us "Even great waters cannot extinguish the love [between Hashem and His People Yisroel]." (Shir Hashirim 8:7) Therefore, when a Jew ignores or violates the mitzvahs, Hashem, as it were, feels insulted. After a Jew does wrong, the feeling in Heaven is one of: "Is this the way loved ones treat each other?"
On Yom Kippur each and every Jew can fix his relationship with Hashem. After a Jew returns to Hashem, the hurt and the pain dissolves and the love returns stronger than ever before. That is why Yom Kippur is Yom HaKippurim - a day with the happiness of Purim. Because, as we mentioned, there is no happiness like the happiness of reuniting with our loved ones. (heard from Rav A.C.Feuer)
To summarize so far: Hashem loves us very much. When we transgress the Torah, however, we upset our relationship with Hashem. When we do Teshuvah - return to G-d and apologize to Hashem and resolve to do better in the coming year, then we reunite with Hashem and the love between us is stronger than ever before. This week's Haftara speaks of teshvuah, as the verse states: "Shuva (Return) O Israel to Hashem, your G-d, for you have stumbled through your immorality." (Hoshea 14:2) This Haftorah is a call to return to Hashem as is hinted to in the word Teshuva, which, when broken down is Tashoov (return), Heh (to Hashem). Hashem is full of mercy. If He sees that a person is genuinely sorry about his actions, Hashem will wipe the slate clean.
Besides the duty we have to repair our relationship with Hashem, we also have a duty to repair our relationships with others. If used wisely,Yom Kippur has a tremendous spiritual power to reconcile our relationships with Hashem. However, the Talmud tells us that Yom Kippur does not have the power to reconcile our relationships with others.(Yuma 85b) In orther words, if we wronged someone, we cannot rely on Yom Kippur to wipe the slate clean. Rather, we must search out that person and beg for their forgiveness.
So, let us use these last hours before Yom Kippur to search out those we have wronged and repair our relationships with those individuals. Rabeinu Yonah of Gerona (1180-1263) was a famous Talmudic scholar who spent much of his life in self-examination and teshuva. A cousin of the eminent scholar Ramban, R' Yonah began to devote himself to writing and teaching about teshuva as the result of one of the worst tragedies in medieval Jewish life. In the city of Paris, the Catholic Church burned twenty-four wagon loads of the Talmud. At the time, the printing press had not yet been invented.
Thus, the loss of so many hand written copies of the Talmud was a catastrophe. R' Yonah saw the mass burning of the Talmud as a Divine punishment for the very sharp philosophical opposition to Rambam for writing Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide to the Perplexed), an opposition in which R' Yonah had been a leader. R' Yonah regretted his criticism of Rambam(1135-1205).
However, Rambam had long since passed away and was buried in Teveriah, in Northern Eretz Yisroel. Rabeinu Yonah therefore resolved to travel from Spain to Rambam's tomb in Teveriah to ask for his forgiveness.
On his way to Eretz Yisroel, R' Yonah was detained by communities who begged him to stay and teach. In many instances, R' Yonah agreed to stay and teach in Jewish communities, where he often quoted the Rambam with great respect. Before he could resume his journey to Eretz Yisroel, R' Yonah died suddenly in Toledo, Spain in 1263. (Machzor Zichron Moshe - Artscroll , p.8-11) One of R' Yonah's legacies to the Jewish nation is his insightful work The Foundation of Repentance. Many pious people have the custom of reading and studying this uplifting work before Yom Kippur, in order to be inspired to return to Hashem. R' Yonah teaches us that teshuva has a tremendous power to give us a fresh start in life.
No matter where our lives have taken us until today, we have teshuva as a means of starting over. As Rabeinu Yonah promises us in his Foundation of Repentance: "On that day, let him cast off all the misdeeds he has committed and consider himself as though he were newly born on that very day..."
In conclusion, Yom Kippur is quickly approaching. Yom Kippur is a day when Hashem waits for us to return to Him with open arms. In order to prepare for Yom Kippur, we must do Teshuva. Teshuva has the power to correct our relationships with Hashem. However, in order to fully repair our relationships with others, we must out those people whom we have wronged and beg forgiveness from them. If we have wronged others in financial dealings, we must repay them.
If we put our hearts and minds into our Yom Kippur prayers then the coming year will be a happy year full of sweetness and spiritual light and growth. We conclude with excerpts from the special additions to Amidah which are said between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur: "Hashem, please inscribe us in the book of life, blessing, and peace, and good livelihood, good decrees, salvations and consolations; may we be remembered and inscribed before You -- we and Your entire people the Family of Yisroel for life and for peace." And let us say: Amen! Good Shabbos Everyone.

Yom Kippur begins several minutes before sundown (depending on local custom) Sunday evening and ends at least 50 to 72 minutes (depending on the location and the custom) after sundown on Monday evening.

A Gmar Chasima Tova Everyone

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

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

Be well and have a great Shabbos and Chag Sukkos Samayach. Thank you to all that prayed for my healing.

Rachamim Pauli