Parsha Lech Lecha
The first 75 years of Avram’s life without the oral tradition we would not know anything about it. Terach was an idol maker by profession and Avram at the age of three had questions about praying to man made statues. He thought about praying to the sun, but when it set it was replaced by the moon and visa versa. Avram came to the conclusion that there was a higher authority that created everything. Rabbi Avigdor Miller Z”L in his writings pointed out that Avram was born in 1948 and Noach was still alive until 2006 so he could have talked to and blessed each grandchild etc. until his passing.
Nimrod was the Saddam Hussein of his day ruling the Shinar Plain which later would be known as
This law was written in the life time of Avram. The question remains to me is that after he survived the fiery furnace if there was a mild revolution and Nimrod or the ruler was deposed and Avram put in power. Then Nimrod over throws Avram or the Rabbi about the time of Bavel and Avram flees. This would be in the time frame of Avram being in the age group of 23-25 years old and ruling to the age of 63 to 65. The laws of the code are similar to Torah Laws in many respects and I can only speculate as we have no Medrash regarding this time period. It is also possible that Avram was raised out the furnace and served as a prophet to Nimrod or the ruler until being forced out by cabinet pressure and influence on the king. When Eliyahu HaNovi comes, this will be a question to ask him.
The Parsha is rich with many subjects, from how to deal with people who murder husbands in order not to commit adultery with the wives and the miracle that occurs for Sarai, the message and teaching how to cope with the war of Gog and Magog (Armageddon) regarding the battle of the 4 kings vs. the 5 kings. The Bris between the pieces and the ability of G-D to take Avram above the planet Jupiter to show him that Astrology comes from G-D and that one who performs the Mitzvos of G-D and makes a Kiddush HASHEM can rise above the average Astrological influences. Instead the playing around with the Gematria of a couple’s name can be and influence in changing of the luck. (I know a woman who was having trouble remarrying and the Rabbi told her to change her name from Frieda to Shlomit and soon after she found a husband.) Finally the prophecy concerning Yishmael and the Bris Milah with Avram becoming Avraham via Circumcision concludes our Pasha.
12:1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of
A possible theory is that Avram fled the dictator Nimrod when the division of languages occurred in the year 1996 with the
13:1 And Abram went up out of
Anybody who drives from
11 So Lot chose him all the plain of the
Our Sages tell us that the L-RD hates immodesty and by nature, the
14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that
The souls that Avram made from birth stayed with him. Lot liked the sin city stuff in
Now the Torah comes to tell us about the war of the two alliances of kings but it is also an example of the war of Gog and Magog in the future. Avraham, the Mikubal who prays near me also claims that this war represents according to the secrets of the Torah the war between the 4 ways the evil inclination attacks a human vs. his five senses.
14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,
To be continued next week.
15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying: 'Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, thy reward shall be exceeding great.' 2 And Abram said: 'O Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go hence childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of
since I am going childless: Heb. עִרִירִי. Menachem ben Saruk (Machbereth p. 137) explained it as meaning an heir, and a similar instance is (Mal. 2:12):“a son (עֵר) and a grandson (וְעֹנֶה).” Hence, עִרִירִי would mean without an heir, as you would say (Job 31:12):“and it will uproot (תְשָׁרֵשׁ), all my crops” [meaning] it will tear out its roots. Similarly עִרִירִי means childless; in Old French, desenfantez. It appears to me, however, that עֵר וְעֹנֶה is derived from the same root as (Song of Songs 5:2):“but my heart is awake (עֵר)” whereas עִרִירִי is an expression of destruction, as in (Ps. 137:7):“Raze it, raze it (עָרוּ עָרוּ)” and as in (Hab. 3:13):“destroying (עָרוֹת) the foundation,” and as in (Jer. 51:58):“shall be completely destroyed (עַרְעֵר תִּתְעַרְעַר) ,” and as in (Zeph. 2:14):“for the cedar work will be destroyed (עֵרָה).”
and the steward of my household: וּבֶן מֶשֶׁק בֵּיתִי, to be interpreted like the Aramaic translation, (וּבַר פַּרְנָסָה הָדֵין דִי בְּבֵתִי) : and this sustainer who is in my house). My entire household is sustained by his orders, as (below 41:40):“and by your orders they will be sustained (יִשַׁק).” [בֶּן מֶשֶׁק \'82 means]“my administrator,” but if I had a son, my son would be appointed over my possessions.
According to a commentary later on, Eliezer was black. Avram would like an heir but had no bigotry to give his equivalent of millions to his black servant. At this point G-D takes Avram in a vision heavenward and shows him that the planet Jupiter can be shifted on his horoscope if the changes his name as I previously mentioned.
16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bore him no children; and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. … 6 But Abram said unto Sarai: 'Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her that which is good in thine eyes.' And Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face. 7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said: 'Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, whence did you come? And whither do you go? And she said: 'I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.' 9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her: 'Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.' 10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her: 'I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her: 'Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 12 And he shall be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.'
A wild donkey of a man: who loves the wilderness to hunt beasts, as it is written (below 21:20f):“And he was an archer; and he dwelt in the
His hand will be upon all: [He will be] a bandit. — [from Tan. Shemos] and everyone’s hand upon him: Everyone will hate him and attack him. And before all his brothers he will dwell: for his seed will be numerous.
All my teachers have pointed out to me that first he is a Jackass then a human.
13 And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou art a God of seeing; for she said: 'Have I even here seen Him that sees Me?' 14 Wherefore the well was called 'Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' 3 And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying: 4 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the
Halacha/Chofetz Chaim Mitzvos
We learned that one may not embarrass anybody. Even calling somebody by a name or nickname which they're embarrassed about, is forbidden, One may not tell embarrassing stories about somebody in their presence; even if it doesn't entail Lashon Hara. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:17
On the first "Monday, Thursday and Monday" in the month following Pessach and Sukkoth the custom is to say extra Selichos. Some communities do this on the last "Monday, Thursday and Monday" of the month. Since Monday is "Yom Sheni" or "Yom Bet - ב" and Thursday is "Yom Chamishi" or "Yom Heh - ה" these days are referred to as BeHaB - בה"ב. Some people have the custom to fast on BeHaB. A special Mi-Sheberach was recited on Shabbat before the Torah was returned to the Aron Hakodesh to bless those who will fast. Despite being a "private" (not communal) fast day, a person need not "declare his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, if he answered Amen to the Mi-Sheberach. Yet, answering Amen to the Mi-Sheberach does not oblige one to fast. Even if one intended to fast when answering Amen and then on the designated day there was a Seudat Mitzva (e.g. Brit Mila or Siyum or Pidyon HaBen) one should join the meal and not fast. However, if one "declared his intention to fast" during the Mincha-Amida of the preceding day, then one needs to fast. Tomorrow (Monday), and Thursday and next week Monday are BeHaB in most communities. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 127:3, 14
It's a Mitzva for every male Jew to write his own Kosher Sefer Torah. Even if you inherited a Sefer Torah, you still need to write your own copy. You may not sell your Sefer Torah; in case of dire poverty, consult a Rabbinic authority. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:1
We learned that every male Jew has to write his own Sefer Torah. If you cannot write your own Sefer Torah, you can hire a Sofer (scribe) to do it for you. If you buy a Sefer Torah and correct a mistake in it, it's as if you wrote it. Similarly if you buy an unfinished Sefer Torah and complete it, it's as if you wrote it. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:1
Everybody has a Mitzva to buy Seforim to learn from. This should include the Chumosh (5 books of Moses), Mishna, Talmud and Practical-Halachic works. If one does not understand them in the original, one must buy them with a translation, since the point is to learn them. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:2
One may not remove the inedible and unwanted pieces from ones food on Shabbat. Rather one must remove the food from the inedible or the unwanted pieces.
This should only be done during the meal, or right before it. (This is one of many Halachos of "Borer" - separating, one of the 39 forbidden categories of work on Shabbat.) Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:15
One should make every effort to emulate Hashem's "personality". Since Hashem is kind we should be kind. Since Hashem is merciful we should be merciful. Since Hashem overlooks our shortcomings, we should overlook other people's shortcoming. So too with all other behaviors that we find are ascribed to Hashem in the Tanach and Medrash. Applies to everybody, everywhere, all the time. Pasuk: Walk in His ways (Devarim 28:9)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 6 My problem is that this makes me political as I must oppose the Atheist Communistic philosophy, be against the “Toayvah” (abomination) of Homosexuality and same sex marriage and against non-life saving abortions.
It's a Mitzvah to pray to Hashem every day. Prayer entails praising Hashem, then asking for ones needs and then thanking Hashem for all the kindness one has already received. Praying requires concentrating on what one is saying, ignoring all else, and assuming one is standing in front of the Divine Presence. One should not consider praying to be a burden that needs to be taken care of. Applies to everybody, everywhere, all the time. Pasuk: … and you should worship Him (Devarim 6:13) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 7 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny
It's a Mitzvah not to create idols that one will worship. One who makes an idol by himself, or who one asks somebody else to make him an idol to worship has transgressed and deserves 39 lashes. Applies to everybody, all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: You shall not make for yourselves any idols (2nd of the Ten Commandments - Shemos 20:4) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 9
It's forbidden to make idols that will be worshipped - even for non-Jews to worship. One who manufactures idols has transgressed and deserves 39 lashes. One who manufactures an idol for himself has transgressed twice; this sin and Mitzvah #14 - Do not create your own idols. Applies to everybody, all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: You shall not make idols (Vayikra 19:4) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 10
It's a Mitzvah not to bow down to idols - even of it's not the way this particular idol is worshipped - since bowing down is the way we worship Hashem. One who transgresses deserves to be stoned to death by Bet Din. Similarly one may not offer sacrifices, incense or wine to an idol, since these are all ways we serve Hashem in the Bet Hamikdash; even if the idol is not normally worshipped in this manner. One should agree to be killed rather than transgress any of the above. If one dropped something, or one gets a thorn in ones foot in front of an idol, one should not bend down to take care of it, since it looks like one is bowing down to the idol. Rather one should turn around - or to the side. Applies to everybody, all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: ...do not bow down to them (2nd of the Ten Commandments - Shemos 20:5) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 11
Although I have stopped Inyanay Diyoma this one editorial I felt worthy of the Torah section: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3795685,00.html
A different kind of real judgement (Justice and Mercy)
Shalom...tomorrow I will be heading to jail for a week (IYH) and they tell me that I will not be able to pass go and collect 200$ (grin). People keep telling me how lucky I am and what a good lawyer I have. People are so blind to the truth these days that they can't even see the basics of what went on here. I eluded about 20 police cars in a hi speed car chase ON COCAINE for 45 minutes, drove an ambulance off the road, ran over two of those tire poppers, swerved in and out of traffic, and terrorized everyone near me...AND ALL I GOT WAS A WEEK...if you want to chalk this up to my lawyer (who admitted to me he did absolutely nothing to minimize my sentence), luck, or any other lame phenomenon used by atheists/pathetic people then you will never be invited to any of my future birthday parties (and I was planning on having a pony and cotton candy). G-d hooked me up plain and simple, He didn't have to but He did anyway. I disgraced Judaism for 27 years of my life and then when I couldn't fall any lower I cried out to the Ribono Shel Olam and He answered. 7 days in jail (most likely), are you kidding me...I was facing 15-30 YEARS. When you realize that everything in your life was an illusion and you are completely clueless, like I did/was, your life will also start to turn around. You'll stop getting mad at things you can't control, l you'll start having a better relationship with your family, you're time at work will not be such a drag...EVERYTHING in life starts to turn around. There is a G-d in the world. If you still don't believe that then you need to be deported to
A Miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to the lump of gold, and stole it.
The Miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him overcome with grief and learning the cause, said, “Pray do not grief so; but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is still there. It will do you quite the same service, for when the gold was there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it.”
Learn to say I love you, I care for you , you’re important to me rather than keeping it in your heart and keeping it inside. Learn to do good, to help, to go out of your way, set the time aside for others, rather than just having good intentions.
That is what Rachel Emenu did for Am Israel, she stood up and defended Am Israel and succeeded to cancel the decree, what the forefathers and Tzaddikim weren’t able to do.
May HaShem will have mercy on Am Israel in her merit and we’ll see the redemption of Am Israel, very soon Amen.
A Kashrus Story
A woman sent her husband to the Av Beis Din to check if the slaughtered chicken was kosher. (People were not rich in those days and the Av Beis Din knew that if he did not find a heter, the chicken would be considered trafe and the poor lady would have no meat for Shabbos seeing that the butcher shops were closed or closing.) He began searching for a heter. In the meantime, seeing her husband was delayed; the woman went to the Gaon of Vilna and he poskined that the chicken was Trafe. The Av Beis Din found a Heckshir and declared the chicken kosher. The wife said one thing, the husband said another. The husband ran back to the Dayan and upon hearing what was done the Dayan ran to Gaon with the Husband. “Rabbi Eliyahu, you are above all of us in Torah knowledge, but I am the chief of the Rabbinical Court; if you Poskin for the people, they will lose respect for the Beis Din and not come to me any more.” The Rabbi agreed and said to the man, “Tell your wife that she should go according the decision of the Av Beis Din and I will come to dinner tonight to partake in the meal.” I have heard 3 endings to the story.
A) the Gaon and Dayan came and they partook in the meal. (B) There was a tallow candle (made from forbidden fat known as Chelev in the Torah around the intestines, kidneys, etc.) and the candle tipped over by accident into the boiling soup and made it trafe. (C) The woman in her haste and excitement to prepare the meal spilled a tremendous amount of salt into the pot making it unfit for human consumption. [The later two endings show it as a sign from heaven that the Gaon was protected by heaven.] Whatever way it turned out, the Gaon never gave a Psak for the rest of his life out of respect for the Rabbinute.
The following are frequently asked questions which Rabbis receive from time to time due to a mistranslation of the Bible into English.
Greetings brother, I was just wondering if you could answer a few questions concerning the book of Isaiah. In chapter 7 Isaiah announced the coming of Immanuel born of a virgin 14 then Isaiah in Chapt 9 told us of a promised son and went on in 53 about a sin bearing servant. Are these one in the same and do you believe that they have came or yet to come? God Bless you brother and may our Fathers peace forever fill your heart! R.
I brought down the original Hebrew with the English: Chapter 7:14 uses the word Almah meaning young woman not virgin.
יד לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא, לָכֶם--אוֹת: הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה, הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן, וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ, עִמָּנוּ אֵל. 14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
ה כִּי-יֶלֶד יֻלַּד-לָנוּ, בֵּן נִתַּן-לָנוּ, וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה, עַל-שִׁכְמוֹ; וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ, אֵל גִּבּוֹר, אֲבִי-עַד, שַׂר-שָׁלוֹם. 5 For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;
The Hebrew reads "Key Yaled Yulad Lanu" which is clear that 'we the people bear a son' this human 'will be an amazing hero who advises us and a minister of peace" - this is the translation (mine) of the long strung out name. You might want to translate wondrous instead of instead of amazing.
Of course I believe in the original Hebrew. However, I believe per my memory that Immanuel was referring to an actual person that was born while Isaiah was still alive.
I hope that this information helps you.
The following post belongs with Torah philosophy and therefore I added it here rather than in my news group at: Rachamim47@aol.com
"KILL THEM ALL AND LET G-D SORT THEM OUT" by Emanuel A. Winston,
Why do we call ourselves civilized when we allow rapists, pedophiles, sociopaths live to do it all again? Why do we give trials to hideous monsters who plan the death of nations and genocidal acts that astound the mind? Why spend the time discussing the minutiae of their crimes when we know what they have done - what they continue to do?
Col. Oliver North, in an adventure novel, "THE ASSASSINS", left us with a real and intended message. Gen. Oliver North is a warrior who sees things clearly and does not look for the political benefits for making his people expendable. Why not simply assemble judicious men, create a list of known monsters and summarily execute them at the earliest time possible? Why ponder while thousands are dying at their hands? Does anyone doubt that Mugabe of
We Jews have a long and available list of past persecutors and those still planning our demise who deserve summary execution before they can carry out their well-known plans. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ayatollahs have not only pledged the demise of the Jewish State of Israel but, they vow to kill all Jews. (Wasn’t that the same vow by Adolph Hitler in his "Mein Kampf"?)
Why not execute them now before they can carry out their promised Genocide? Are we so squeamish that we accept the idea of our families being slaughtered by a barbarous, pagan people whose atrocities are no less than cannibalistic? At least cannibals have this belief that they can absorb the heroic qualities of their victims by eating them.
Then there are the politicians willing to sacrifice their own nation and their own people to satisfy some pathological need to be admired by hostile nations who have exhibited barbaric hatred - even to the point of Genocide. Why are these politicians and generals any different than rapists or pedophiles who have irresistible urges that lead them to sacrifice their own people?
I cannot help but think of some Jews in Israel who, over the years, have conspired with our most vicious and dedicated enemies to put our people in mortal jeopardy and then preen and parade their duplicity to the nations, hoping for applause for their acts of perfidious treachery.
Politicians and Leftist Generals are allowed, even expected, to make grievous mistakes. But, when they repeat these mistakes, it’s not a "mistake" but it is a premeditated sin against their own people.
Granted, the average citizen cannot "connect the dots" but, those who can ought to act to protect all others. I will also grant you that the average person cannot pick up the tell-tale clues when they meet a rapist, a pedophile, even a genocidal maniac. These warped creatures smile; some even have families whom they treat well. However, the more aberrant give off subtle signals, reduced cues, "vibes" as to their true character.
Have you really listened to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad read the Koranic-based Charters of the PLO’s Fatah and Hamas? Or have you heard the Arab League as they brag about what they will do to the Jews?
Ahmadinejad is easier to spot because, besides his socio-pathetic character, he takes perverse pleasure in telling us all what he is going to do - not unlike a serial killer who visualizes what he will do to his next victim. In order to commit acts against humanity, be they pedophiles, rapists, politicians or generals, the "perps" must justify what they know is an act of maniacal vengeance against their selected victims. They claim it is the victims’ fault, especially if their victims resist and fight back.
Let’s progress from generalities to the personal. Would you who, no doubt, consider yourself a decent, caring person, accept putting your family in jeopardy because some law allowed a pedophile or a rapist to live safely in your neighborhood? Would you remain passive if a politician/dictator ordered you to accept Terrorists who were in striking distance of your children or your grandchildren, your home, wife, family? Who would be at fault? The Terrorists who have made their intentions well-known through prior threats and actions? Or the Politicians who arranged to put them or allow them to be there?
Why not consider both as one, given that the results will be either a day-to-day danger or, from past experience , a threat that had already killed neighbors, friends, family? Even if you are dedicated to observing the Law and have a moral conscience, is it your obligation to commit your family and yourself to the high probability of suicide and your nation to national suicide simply because "others" thought it was "in the best political interest" of the nation to do so?
Clearly the Biblical injunction to "kill those first - who come to kill you" is certainly applicable. Whether it’s a pedophile, a rapist or an evil ideological leader who is ready to put his nation and his people on a chopping block, there is no reason NOT to adhere to the Biblical injunction of saving yourself, your family and even your nation.
Now for two Good Shabbos Stories: “Take a hike” and “Peaking”
Good Shabbos Everyone. In our portion this week Noach, the Torah tells us of how Noach spent 120 years building the ark. Why did it take so long for Noach to build his ark? The commentators explain that Hashem wanted the people of the generation to have a chance to watch Noach and be motivated to change, to repent, to do Teshuva. Hashem wanted people to see the ark being built and to contemplate the flood which was coming. The following true story will inspire us all to change our lives for the better...
Guy, who recently turned thirty-one, is the son of an electrical engineer in Tel Aviv. In high school he was enrolled the enrichment program for gifted students. Upon completing his compulsory army service, Guy signed on for an additional five years as an officer specializing in logistics. He studied computer technology at college level, and at the same time, served as director of a private school which prepared students with learning difficulties for matriculation.
Even before Guy was discharged from the service, his parents decided to start observing Torah and mitzvos. It happened when Guy's mother and her sister, Guy's aunt, decided to surprise their own parents with a joint weekend trip to a luxury hotel in
When an Arachim staff member phoned them about an upcoming Seminar, Guy's parents enrolled. As a result of what they learned at the Seminar, the senior Lavones decided to become ba'alei teshuvah. Mr. Lavone joined a local shiur for newcomers to Torah study, and Mrs. Lavone attends classes three times a week at a local institute for baalos teshuvah. Guy's younger brother, Tomer, saw how enthused his parents were and decided to attend a Seminar for singles. He came back fully convinced. His sister, Ravit, is also well on the way to teshuvah.
Guy finished off his stint in the army, then enrolled in university. However, he took no interest whatsoever in his family's new outlook on life. He enjoyed his visits back home, joined their Shabbos meals and found the new atmosphere a pleasant one, and he would do whatever he could to fit in with the rest of the family. However, for himself, he was happy with his life just the way it was. After a short visit with the family, he returned to his dorm at school and continued to pursue his studies.
Even so, in the long run, Guy was affected by the change at home. It made him stop to ponder life: Where was he headed? What did he want to accomplish with his life? His parents and his brother and sister seemed very happy in their new life; would he be happy in his own? Very gradually, he also began to draw closer to his Judaism. Without letting anyone know, he began to wash negel wasser in the morning. On Shabbos, he would manage not to write anything down. Here and there, he kept other practices that he noticed his family had adapted. He had some basic knowledge, and was willing to learn and do more, but the pressures of work and his studies kept him from going into the topic at depth. Guy received his diploma in computer sciences at the height of the recession in the field. Two or three years earlier, he would have been overwhelmed with job offers; now, even experienced programmers were suddenly out of work. Under the circumstances, Guy decided it was time to give himself a break.
When Guy's mother, Shoshana Lavone, heard of his plans to leave for parts unknown, her heart was not easy. It was clear to her that her son was not planning a tour of the standard tourist spots. She turned to Guy with a request: "For your sake, and for ours, please keep Shabbos fully, for two weeks in a row."
Guy agreed. In retrospect, when he looks back on those two days he spent absorbing the sanctity of the Shabbos, Guy feels that their special atmosphere accompanied him on his travels, giving him strength to carry on during the trials that befell him, without falling into utter despair even in the valley of death. But we are jumping ahead in Guy's story, Armed with his parents' prayers and good wishes, with a siddur and a copy of Tehillim that his mother slipped into his backpack, Guy took a flight to Argentina.
From there he flew to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, located on the archipelago that stretches out from the southern tip of
Others say the name was given because of the numerous volcanoes the explorers found in the area. Guy arrived in Ushuaia in the middle of South America's summer, when the region enjoys twenty hours of sunlight out of every twenty-four. Even so, there are heavy rains during the season. The combination of melting glaciers and heavy precipitation causes the many rivers in the area to run fast and fierce. The region is noted for its spectacular waterfalls and abundant swampland.
In Ushuaia, Guy found himself a companion well-suited to his goal of spending time alone with himself in the bosom of nature. Michael, an Austrian, was an experienced mountain climber. An accomplished athlete in fine form, Michael suggested the two set out on a three-day jaunt along a route that would circle Ushuaia's glacier and meet up with the highway that led to the north. Guy left a message where he was staying that he would be back in a few days' time, and the two adventurers started out.
Their route twisted and turned up the mountain slopes, giving them one breathtaking view after the other. Rivers plummeted down the slopes and gathered in frothy rivers, often forming spectacular waterfalls. They looked down on crystal clear, blue lagoons that appeared untouched since the day they were first created. The original route seemed to easy to Michael. He pointed to the snowcapped peak beyond the lagoon and asked Guy: "Why not circle around that mountain, and come back to our starting point? The scenery there must be spectacular!"
Their new itinerary called for crossing a raging river whose waters were nearly at the freezing point. There was no bridge, only a large, slippery log joined the two banks of the frothy stream. One false move could cause a serious injury - or worse. Guy managed the crossing unharmed; but Michael tumbled into the frigid waters.
For a lesser athlete, it might have proven fatal, but Michael had his wits about him and pulled himself to safety. Together, the two adventurers climbed toward the peak, planning to descend back to their starting point once they reached the top.
However, when they reached the summit, they could see only one peak after the other. Before them lay an entire chain of mountains, with no end in sight. Guy wanted to return just the way they had come, but that was too tame a solution for an experienced adventurer like Michael.
"There must be a pass somewhere between the peaks," he insisted. "We just need to find it, and make our way back." Evening set in. They made camp, had supper from the provisions they had brought with them, and went to sleep. Next morning they arose refreshed, and carried on. They crossed a high plateau, thinking that they had almost reached the road that would lead them back to Ushuaia. However, they encountered an obstacle: a large lake blocked their path.
"No problem," announced Michael. "We'll just have to follow the shore and circle around it." The trek around the lake took them longer than they had anticipated. Darkness overtook them before they had reached their destination. Again they bedded down for the night. The next morning, they continued on their way. When they reached the river that flowed out of the lake, they followed along its banks. Their path led them onward until they reached a huge lagoon, which brought them to a dead stop. Where should they go from here? The expanse of water reminded Guy of
It was about the same size, and brought back fond memories. At this point, Guy would have given a great deal to be in his native land, hiking in familiar territory rather than in the hostile
Exhausted, they ate the last of their provisions and fell into a deep sleep. Dawn woke them to a new day fraught with problems: no food, no direction, and no path to follow. It was then that Guy recalled the copy of Tehillim that his mother had tucked into his backpack. When they stopped to rest, he opened it and began to recite the heartfelt words of David Hamelech. It nourished his soul and renewed his hope.
Michael climbed up to a nearby hilltop to get a view of the area around them. Perhaps he would see a path that would lead to some sign of civilization. On his return, Michael reported that the only way open to them was the riverbed below. They made their way down to the muddy canyon.
Again and again, they slipped and fell, but each time, they helped one another up and slowing moved forward. After twelve hours of plodding, with nothing to eat, they reached another large lake that brought them to a halt. Once again, they would have to tackle the mountain heights respite their weakened state. Frothy streams slashed the steep slopes as they rushed down to the lake below. They continued to climb without having the least hint which way would lead them out of this beautiful, but forsaken land. At one point during their climb, they suddenly heard a deep rumble in the distance. The ominous sound grew louder and louder. Suddenly an avalanche of ice, snow and rock tumbled down the slope only a few feet away from them. How close they had come to being buried alive! It was a terrifying experience, but Michael had still not lost his confidence.
"Just wait," he told Guy. "I'm sure we'll see the road right around the bend." Guy was not convinced. An inner voice warned him that they were heading in the wrong direction. "Let's go up to the summit so we can see the entire region, and find out where we are," he suggested. to be continued... Good Shabbos Everyone.
We now continue with our story from last week...
...Meanwhile, it was growing dark. They took shelter under a ledge, to protect themselves from another avalanche. Morning found them hungry, but hopeful that the view from the top would answer the question, which haunted them: Where were they? Another few hours' climbing brought them to the peak.
The view left them breathless. The creation in its fullest beauty lay before them, displaying a chain of sharp mountain peaks that bordered a huge, open bay. Instead of the road they had gone so far to locate, they saw only water and more water, as far as the eye could see. It was the top of the world! Or, perhaps, the end of the world. In every direction, they found not a single indication that another human being had ever reached the area. Overhead, two huge condors circled round. Guy wondered: Were they eyeing what they thought would be their next meal?
The two travelers were stunned. The wind cut into them, the cold numbed their senses, and clouds were closing in on the summit. They were desperate for food, and completely cut off from any human contact. Clearly, their wisest step now would be to change their plan of action. Rather than searching for a way to get back to civilization, they must concentrate on surviving until a search party could locate them. The two found a sheltered ledge of level rock where they could light a fire. Perhaps the smoke would be seen by a passing ship or helicopter. They pitched their tent, and gathered some twigs. However, the wood was too damp to catch fire. They would have to try their luck lower down.
They packed their gear and carefully descended to a valley, where they found some berries. They broke their fast, and continued down to the shore of the bay. There they found all the berries they could eat. This was their sole source of nourishment for the duration of their ordeal. While exploring the shoreline, they discovered a peninsula, and decided to pitch camp there until they were rescued. Michael refused to rest for a single minute. He demanded that they do whatever they could to make sure they would be rescued. Even when heavy rains poured down, even when Guy declared it was his Sabbath, and he could not work, Michael was a whirlwind of tense, desperate activity.
In contrast, Guy was calmer. He continued to recite Tehillim. An inner voice assured him that, eventually, they would be rescued. On Shabbos, Guy felt that his prayers had an additional dimension of depth that gave him new hope. He would recall scenes from the Shabbosos at home, before he left. The tunes of his family's zemiros at the Shabbos table came back to him. He hummed to himself, again and again, and drew new strength. One song, in particular, echoed in his mind: "Ki eshmerah Shabbos, Keil yishmereni – If I guard the Shabbos, HaShem will guard over me." What meaning these words took on, there at the end of the world!
Every seventh day, the words infused Guy with renewed hope. Guy explained to Michael that a Biblical verse declares that Hashem's salvation comes "in the blink of the eye." "It can happen so quickly," he explained to his Austrian companion, "that we won't have time to prepare for it."
The seasoned mountain climber remained pessimistic. "Perhaps our salvation has already come and gone, and it was so quick that we didn't even notice it!" He was not affected by Guy's faith. Summer was drawing to a close. The days grew shorter, the winds colder. The sun's rays heated the earth less and less. Fall would soon be upon them. In its wake, would come an icy winter which would quickly freeze them to death. Michael looked to the future with dread.
Guy continued to read Tehillim. Verse after verse seemed to express exactly what he felt in his heart, and he drew his optimism from its words. One day they heard the drone of a helicopter, but the clouds hid it from view. They listened as the sound of its motor drew closer, and then faded away.
Another time, they spied a ship in the distance, shell fishing the bay's deep waters, but it did not see them. Late one afternoon, Guy stood scanning the horizon, when suddenly a thought occurred to him. The whole time, they had been heading south. If so, east was to their left. But that was where the sun was now sinking downward, toward the horizon. The sun was setting in the east! How could that be? Guy felt his strength suddenly drain from him. His mind was flooded with melancholy thoughts. Perhaps all his life he had been going in the wrong direction? Maybe this was just another mistake in a long series of mistakes? This might well be far more than just another error; it might prove to be his last.
He turned to Michael: "Tell me, in which direction were we going all the time?" "Southward," answered Michael, mechanically. "If we were going south," retorted Guy, "then look! That way must be east, and that's where the sun is setting now. Do you want to tell me the sun is setting in the east?" "You're right," said Michael with a shrug of his shoulders. "I made a mistake. A bitter mistake! But what good does it do us to find out now that we're helplessly lost?"
Now Guy decided that he must be the one to take the lead. Above all, they must not lose hope! Together, they would do everything they could to make themselves visible to a passing ship or plane. They found logs whose bark had been whitened by the fierce winds. As weak and tired as they were, both men sawed away at the wood and dragged it into place. They knew their lives depended on someone's spotting them from afar.
After they had formed a wooden SOS they added a white frame, the better to attract attention should another helicopter chance by. It took several days, but they had to try. It seemed their only hope. Guy kept track of the days, and each Shabbos, he prayed. He also recited Tehillim, and sang zemiros. He remained full of hope, confident that somehow, they would be rescued. They finished their project. Another day went by, and another.
On the third day, Guy prayed with more concentration than usual. He pleaded with HaShem that this be the day of their rescue. Suddenly they heard the drone of a motor in the distance. They looked up and saw a helicopter, headed their way. Closer and closer it came. Their logs had been spotted! They were saved! The helicopter landed!
As the two men rushed up to it, out stepped the pilot, South American, and the passenger, a Japanese who was en route to
Quickly they took down their tent, packed up their gear, and climbed eagerly into the rescue plane. As the rotors began to spin and the plane left the ground, their hearts swelled with joy. They would live! They would see their families and dear ones once again!
The melody of "Yeshuas Hashem keheref ayin – Hashem's salvation comes in the wink of the eye – ran through Guy's mind again and again. Indeed, Guy's situation had changed in the time it takes to blink an eye. From the helicopter's pilot they learned that they were not in
Their rescuers took them back to civilization. Guy's first step was to contact his family back in
Dozens of friends and relatives had prayed for him constantly; groups of women had gathered daily to recite Tehillim on his behalf. The family sought the blessings of a number of outstanding rabbis and asked them to join in their prayers on behalf of the two adventurers.
It was a fateful month for the Lavone family in
After a short rest, Guy returned to
In this week's Parsha, we read about how Avraham Avinu was commanded to leave his place of birth and upbringing and go to a new land. It would be in the new land that Avraham Avinu would become the father of the Jewish People. With this the Torah hints to what a Jew's approach in life should be, i.e., to always seek to go away from the norms of bad behavior and improve one's ways. Just as Guy from the story took both a spiritual and physical journey to better himself, so too, must we all, like Avraham Avinu seek to improve our lives, to take our spiritual lives to the highest peaks! Good Shabbos Everyone.
Mr. Wolfberg’s Shabbos sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
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.