Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parsha Noach, Halacha, Stories only

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv B”H is better.

I received today a request for a young child who was brought to the hospital since

I am wary of H1N1 please pray this next week for Ofek ben Inbal.

A few months ago I asked everybody to pray for a Shidduch for this girl:

With great happiness and thanks to Hashem we would like to announce the engagement of our daughter Sara to Eran Shachad of Tel Aviv/Jerusalem May they be zoche to build a bayit ne'eman b'yisrael
May we all Share in many Smachot together.
Steve and Esther

I have decided with the advice of a few friends to remove Inyanay Diyoma from the Drasha. I will probably be sending out my News Bulletin again – If you do not receive it just send me an e-mail with news in the title and I will add you. Certain Jews like the Miracle of the baby carriage that rolled on to the tracks in front of a train entering the station and the baby only had a minor head bang, I will continue to add. Click the arrow to view even though it turns out all right, it is hard to view:


This would have been in the old Inyanay Diyoma about the times before the Moshiach from Eric: Shavua tov, Rabbi Pauli. We have some serious issues of the most grave nature taking place in Chicago right now with the rise of anti-Semitism against our community. Things are becoming pretty frightening after what took place at the University of Chicago on 10/15/09.... I assume that Olmert’s speech and the Arab protests before and After.

Parsha Noach

6:9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

These are the generations of Noah-Noah was a righteous man: Since Scripture mentions him, it tells his praise, as it is said (Prov. 10:7): “The mention of a righteous man is for a blessing.” - [Pesikta Rabbathi 12]. Another explanation [for why the names of the children are not mentioned immediately following: “These are the generations of Noah”]: To teach you that the main generations [progeny] of the righteous are good deeds. — [Mid. Tan. Noah 2]

in his generations: Some of our Sages interpret it [the word בְּדֹרֹתָיו] favorably: How much more so if he had lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. Others interpret it derogatorily: In comparison with his generation he was righteous, but if he had been in Abraham’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance. — [Sanh. 108a, Gen. Rabbah 30:9, Tan. Noach 5]

Noah walked with God: But concerning Abraham, Scripture says (below 24:40):“ [the Lord] before Whom I walked.” Noah required [God’s] support to uphold him [in righteousness], but Abraham strengthened himself and walked in his righteousness by himself. — [Tan. Noach 5]

When ever we see generations (Toldos in Hebrew) we are dealing with children/progeny such as here and the children of Yitzchak. The Malbim writes about 3 types of progeny: 1) Biological Children. (2) Offspring of man’s godly aspect or lofty knowledge. Such as I receive from my Rosh Yeshiva: “What was bothering Rashi that he had to write that explanation in his commentary?” or in Talmud: “What is the CASE? LAW? REASON?” – Rabbi Yacov London of righteous and saintly memory who took me into the Yeshiva with no real means of payment but time and energy and before me in the Kollel sit two of the boys of Yacov Glicksman ZATZAL who was one of the older Talmidim in the Yeshiva. (3) We are told that Noach dealt by example with his fellow human beings. He was by nature Righteous and Upright. The later contrasts the behavior and double dealing of his generation. He was righteous in his generation. Rabbi Yehuda said that if he lived in the generation of Moshe he would not have been a Tzaddik. Rabbi Nechemia thinks all the more so he would be a Tzaddik as that generation was more righteous. The truth is that Noach lived until 950 years and Avraham was 48 years of age. His righteous could have been a foundation to Avraham. Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zatzal wrote that Adam taught the original knowledge to Methuselah who taught it to his grandson Noach who taught it Shem, Ever and Avraham.

Now in the generation of Avraham the nature of the earth had changed with the rainbow in the clouds. His generation was not stooped in sexual depravity. However, most of the generation forgot G-D and instead began to invent gods of this, that and the other thing. They worshipped stars, planets and constellations. The reasoning originally was that if the KING does this and that like on earth one must honor the ministers. Only Avraham proclaimed that G-D represented true belief and light. Noach walked with G-D like a small child going hand in hand with his father. Avraham walked before G-D as an older child and Moshe spoke to G-D face to face like a young adult speaking to his father for guidance.

10 And Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

was corrupt: Heb. וַתִּשָׁחֵת is an expression of immorality and idolatry (other editions add: immorality, “for all flesh had corrupted (הִשְׁחִית) its way,” and idolatry), as in (Deut. 4:16):“Lest you deal corruptly (תַּשְׁחִיתוּן).” - [Sanh. 56b, 57a]

and the earth became full of robbery: Heb. חָמָס, robbery, (other editions add: as it is said (Jonah 3: 8):“and of the dishonest gain (הֶחָמָס) which is in their hands.”) - [Sanh. 108a]

Violence = Hamas in Hebrew and that was the way of all the people prior to destruction Rashi implies violent robbery and not a thief in the night burglarizing a home. And from this we learn that the Moshiach must be just around the corner as G-D does not let such corruption fill the earth for too long. Unfortunately many will die because of the corruption and bribery and only about one third of the world and a small percentage of the Jews will survive. Rashi in Shemos indicates 20% while the Lubavitcher Rebbe says the Shoah cleaned out the Jewish people. Let us hope and pray that the Rebbe is right.

12 And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

For all flesh had corrupted: Even cattle, beasts, and fowl would mate with those who were not of their own species. — [from Tan. Noach 12]

13 And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

The end of all flesh: Wherever you find promiscuity (and idolatry), a pestilence comes upon the world and kills both good and bad alike. — [from Gen. Rabbah 26:5] Note that parenthetic words do not appear in Gen. Rabbah, Lev. Rabbah, or in early mss. and printed editions of Rashi. We have translated אַנְדְרוֹלוּמוּסְיָה as pestilence, following Aruch. See below.

For the earth has become full of robbery: Their verdict was sealed only because of robbery. — [from Sanh. 108a]

From the earth: [אֶת הָאָרֶץ] is similar מִן הָאָרֶץ : “from the earth.” Similar to this is (Exod. 9:26): “When I go the city” [meaning] “from” the city; (I Kings 15:23): “He was stricken his feet” [meaning] “from” his feet (i.e., he suffered from a foot ailment). Another explanation: אֶת הָאָרֶץ means “together with the earth,” for even the three handbreadths of the depth of the plowshare were blotted out and obliterated.

When mankind was thrown out of Gan Eden the properties of the earth remained. As the Malbim shows later on, the whole nature of the earth changed. Before a mist would arise at night and water the land, now only rains and the salty water and pressure on the land changed its fertility.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; with rooms shalt thou make the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Make for yourself an ark: Many ways to bring relief and rescue are available to Him; why, then, did He burden him with this construction? In order that the people of the Generation of the Flood should see him occupying himself with it for one hundred twenty years and ask him, “For what do you need this?” And he would say to them, “The HOLY ONE, blessed be He, is destined to bring a flood upon the world.” Perhaps they would repent. - [Aggadah Beresheis 1:2, Tan. Noach 5, Tan. Buber Beresheis 37, Gen. Rabbah 30:7]

Gopher wood: That is its name. Now why from this species (גֹפֶר)? Because of sulphur (גָפְרִית) with which it was decreed upon them to be blotted out. — [from Bereshith Rabbathi p. 66]

Compartments: individual dwellings for each domestic animal and wild beast. — [from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 23]

With pitch: Heb. כֹּפֶר This is זֶפֶת in Aramaic, and we find in the Talmud (Shab. 67a, b, Ned. 51a, Git. 69b, B.M. 23b, 40a, 70a, Ar. 19a) the word כָּוּפְרא [meaning pitch]. In Moses’ ark [i.e., the ark in which Moses was placed in the Nile], since the water was calm, it was enough to have mud on the inside and pitch on the outside. Another reason: so that this righteous man [Moses] should not smell the bad odor of pitch. But here, because of the force of the water, he caulked it with pitch both inside and outside. — [from Gen. Rabbah 31:10, Sotah 12a]

The author of “In Search of Noah’s Ark” claims that analysis of wood brought back from Mt. Ararat which is above the tree line indicates oak. There is an old joke asking who was the first businessman in the Torah? The answer is Noach who floated a company while the whole world was under liquidation. Believe it or not, the Malbim raises a serious similar idea. The old world order is going to be disposed of in the deluge and a new world order kept afloat.

15 And this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

A skylight: Heb. צֹהַר, lit. Light. Some say [that it was] a window, and some say [that it was] a precious stone, which gave them light. — [Gen. Rabbah 31:11]

The Malbim associates the dimensions of the Teva (Ark) as related to DIVINE NAMES and the Kabbala spends time on this and the Zohar or light built in the upper area above the windows is a hint to the heavenly Rakiah above the Divine Chariot (Yechezkiel Chapter 1) with all the mystical significance mentioned there. As I mentioned in past years the physical stowage or holding capacity of the Teva was equal to railroad box cars lined up for 25 miles or 40 kilometers – Rabbi Avigdor Miller.

Bottom [compartments], second-story [compartments], and third-story [compartments]: three stories, one above the other; the upper compartments were for people, the middle ones for [animal] dwellings, and the bottom ones for waste matter. — [from Sanh. 108b]

It would appear to me that unless mankind had a waste management program before the flood the waste would be thrown perhaps not in the first 40 days and nights but later on overboard. I say this because the gases and stench of the decomposition would be too much or occupants of the Teva to take. Bears and other animals would most likely hibernate for about six months – that would be well according to the Tana who holds that the flood occurred in Mar Cheshvan as the bears would have eaten for the summer. But according to the Tana who holds that the flood occurred in Iyar, the bears in the spring are lean and could not hibernate – only if miraculously Salmon and other fished jumped through the window into the bear, lion, tiger, etc. cages. Still the job of feeding the animals would be tremendous unless there was a hopper system with auto-feed to the animals in place. This idea would be based on the fact that Tubal-Kayn and others did invent things prior to the flood. Still each cage would have to be checked daily that the system was working and each cage would have to be cleaned. Certain insects and reptiles would also pose a greater storage management problem than the mammals. I really don’t know how zoos manage all these creatures.

17 And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the fowl after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.' 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

And I, behold I am bringing: Behold I am ready to agree with those [angels] who urged Me long ago (Ps. 8:5):“What is man that You should remember him?” - [Gen. Rabbah 31:12]

The flood: Heb. הַמַבּוּל that wore out (בִּלָה) everything; that mixed up (בִּלְבֵּל) everything; that transported (הוֹבִיל) everything from the high [ground] to the low [ground]. This [the last interpretation] is [the basis for] the rendering of Onkelos: טוֹפָנָא, a flood [from טוּף, to float], because it caused everything to float and brought them down to Babylon, which is deep, and this is why it was called Shinar, because all those who died in the Flood were shaken out (נִנְעִרוּ) there. — [Yer. Ber. 4:1, Gen. Rabbah 37:4] the flood, water

And I will set up MY covenant with you: A covenant was necessary for the fruits, so that they should not rot and become putrid, and so that the wicked of the generation should not kill him. — [from Gen. Rabbah 31:12]

You and your sons, and your wife: the men separately and the women separately. From here, we deduce that they were prohibited to engage in marital relations [in the ark]. — [Sanh. 108b]

Of the fowl after its kind: (Gen. Rabbah) [Note that this derash is not found in Gen. Rabbah, but in Tan. Noach 12] Those that mated with their kind, and did not corrupt their way, and came by themselves, and all that the ark accepted, [i.e., the ark repulsed the unfit animals and did not let them enter], he brought into it. — [Sanh. 108b, Tan. ad loc., Zev. 116a, Gen. Rabbah 32:8 from 7:16; Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 23 from ibid. 15; only Mid. Hagadol from this verse]

The whole building process was over years of work and the collecting of the animals a long time too. There are some that say this lasted 120 or 100 years (see the Rashi on 14 above). It was called Noach’s folly by his generation. Despite his warnings to them that G-D was going to cause a flood, they just laughed at him. Prior to the flood, there was no mention of rain. There is a Medrash that says once there was a flood perhaps from an earth quake damming the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and then bursting their banks in a massive flood that flooded 1/3rd of Babylon and wiping out a large number of people. Still the people chose to ignore Noach. Had they just believed enough to make an Ark for themselves of a smaller size, they too could have saved themselves even if they were not fully righteous just for the belief in G-D. This is the general command and the clean animals 7 pairs were to be taken for food and sacrifice after a year.

7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah: 'Come you and your entire house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, each with his mate; and of the beasts that are not clean two [and two], each with his mate; 3 of the fowl also of the air, seven and seven, male and female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I blot out from off the face of the earth.' 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. 6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. … 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

And Noah…and his sons: The men separately and the women separately, because they were prohibited from engaging in marital relations since the world was steeped in pain. — [Tan. 11]

because of the flood waters: Noah, too, was of those who had little faith, believing and not believing that the Flood would come, and he did not enter the ark until the waters forced him to do so. — [Gen. Rabbah 32:6]

The second Rashi reminds me of my grandfather who had $300,000 in Switzerland and thought to retire in Austria when Hitler made Anschluss. As a result he brought the money back to Austria instead of looking for a safer place to retire with his money. Back in 1938 and 1939 that money was like $6,000,000 or more today.

On interest alone he could have retired with honor.

Here too we find a dispute between whether the 2nd month is Iyar which is after the rainy season in Eretz Yisrael or Mar Cheshvan which is the start of the rainy season in Eretz Yisrael. The Tanya who holds by Iyar presents a larger miracle. Eventually every thing died and the Malbim holds disintegrated. However, it appears to me that according to the laws of nature they would become fish/shark food.

8:1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;

And God remembered: Heb. אֱלֹהִים This name represents the Divine Standard of Justice, which was converted to the Divine Standard of Mercy through the prayer of the righteous. But the wickedness of the wicked converts the Divine Standard of Mercy to the Divine Standard of Justice, as it is said: (above 6:5ff.):“And the Lord (י-ה-ו-ה) saw that the evil of man was great, etc. And the Lord (י-ה-ו-ה) said, ‘I will blot out, etc.’” although that name is the name of the Divine Standard of Mercy. — [Gen. Rabbah 33:3, Sukkah 14a] That Noah prayed in the ark appears in Tan. Noach 11, Aggadah Beresheis 7:3, Sefer HaYashar.

And God remembered Noah, etc.: What did He remember regarding the animals? The merit that they did not corrupt their way before this [the Flood], and that they did not copulate in the ark. — [Tan. Buber Noach 11, Yer. Ta’an. 1:6]

And God caused a spirit to pass: A spirit of consolation and calm passed before Him. — [Targum Jonathan and Yerushalmi]

Over the earth: Concerning [events on] the earth.

And the waters subsided: Heb. וַיָשֹׁכָּוּ, like (Esther 2: 1): “when the king’s fury subsided,” an expression of the calming of anger. — [from Tan. Buber Noach 12]

Could HE have forgotten Noach? – of course not – however it made it did appear to Noach like a child with his parent watching that he was being ignored.

…20 And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled the sweet savor; and the LORD said in His heart: 'I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.'

from his youth: This is written: מִנְעֻרָיו [i.e., without a “vav”] [implying that] from the time that he [the embryo] shakes himself [נִנְעָר] to emerge from his mother’s womb, the evil inclination is placed in him. — [from Gen. Rabbah 34:10]

I will no longer…and I will no longer: He repeated the words to denote an oath. That is what is written (Isa. 54:9): “That I swore that the waters of Noah shall never again pass over the earth,” and we do not find an oath concerning this matter except in this [statement, in] which He repeated His words, and this [repetition denotes that it] is an oath. So did our Sages expound in Tractate Shavuot (36a).

So long as the earth exists… shall not cease: Each of these six seasons has two months, as we learned: Half of Tishri, Marcheshvan, and half of Kislev are “seedtime.” Half of Kislev, Tevet, and half of Shevat are the “cold” season, etc. in B.M.(106b). (Other editions add:

Winter: Heb. חֹרֶף, the time for sowing barley and beans, which are early (חִרִיפִין) to ripen quickly. The cold period is half of Shevat, Adar, and half of Nissan.

Summer: קַיִץ This is half of Sivan, Tamuz, and half of Av, which is the time of the gathering of the figs and the time when they dry them in the fields, and it (the dried fig) is קַיִץ, as (II Sam. 16:2):“the bread and the dried fruits (וְהַקַיִץ) for the young men to eat.”

And day and night shall not cease: From here we deduce that they ceased for the duration of the Flood: the planets did not function, and day was indistinguishable from night. — [from Gen. Rabbah 25:2, 34:11]


To me it appears that before the flood, the seasons were like in Hawaii which has a basic temperature range from 60 to 80 F or 17 to 25C all year around. The season came about as a result of massive upheavals and changes on the globe.

The Malbim concurs with my view by bringing scientific evidence of bodies of Elephants and Monkeys which live in warmer climates being discovered in digs in the Artic Circle. The most famous being the Mammoth with buttercups undigested in its stomach embedded in a glacier indicating sudden and massive upheaval on the planet not giving the animal even time to flee southward but instant free.

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all wherewith the ground teems, and upon all the fishes of the sea: into your hand are they delivered.

How can it be that sometimes animals do attack men? A Chassidic Rebbe was once riding in a coach in the forest and wolves were getting closer and closer to the coach and the horses. Everybody was in panic. The Rebbe after finishing up what he was doing opened up the window and stuck his head out and the wolves ceased. The coachman and the passengers asked him how this could be. “Simply”, he replied, “When somebody looks like a man and behaves the way G-D wants him, the animals fear him. If not and he acts like a beast, the animals see him not as a man and will attack him.” (Those who understand will understand and those who don’t, better still.)

3 Every moving thing that lives shall be for food for you; as the green herb have I given you all. 4 Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it; and at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man. 7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; swarm in the earth, and multiply therein.

The above are the 7 mitzvos of the Bnei Noach one can google ‘Commandments of the children of Noah’ for further details.

10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood. 2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

I put in red these people/places because they have to do with the coming of the Moshiach and the war of Gog.

8 And Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; wherefore it is said: 'Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.'

Rabbi A. Miller wrote that he inherited the garment of Kayn that allowed him to hunt and Esav killed him as he was a dictator and took the garment and Esav became a great hunter too. The main reason for bringing down Nimrod is that he was the king who threw Avraham into the furnace along with Haran.

10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and Rehoboth-ir, and Calah,

This I bring down because of the Prophet Yonah.

12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah--the same is the great city…. 21 And unto Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, to him also were children born. 22 The sons of Shem: Elam, and Asshur, and Arpachshad, and Lud, and Aram. 23 And the sons of Aram: Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24 And Arpachshad begot Shelah; and Shelah begot Eber. 25 And unto Eber were born two sons; the name of the one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. 26 And Joktan begot Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah; 27 and Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah; 28 and Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba; 29 and Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan. 30 And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou go toward Sephar, unto the mountain of the east. 31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

11:1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another: 'Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said: 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'

The Medrash states that one third of this tower settled underground, one third remained and the top third was destroyed. Many non-Jews Scholars picture it as either this something similar in nature:

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6 And the LORD said: 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withheld from them, which they purpose to do. 7 Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

This whole section was brought down to teach mankind about the dispersion of mankind to the various nations and languages. The sin of Bavel is not mentioned here.

10 These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a hundred years old, and begot Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived after he begot Arpachshad five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 12 And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years, and begot Shelah. 13 And Arpachshad lived after he begot Shelah four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. 14 And Shelah lived thirty years, and begot Eber. 15 And Shelah lived after he begot Eber … 16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begot Peleg. 17 And Eber lived after he begot Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters. 18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu. … begat Nahor begat Terah. …26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28 And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

All this is to allow the children of Avraham to trace back their roots to Adam HaRishon. Up to this point the wives are modest background players in our narrative and not mentioned.

29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. 30 And Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.

Haran was one of the few areas where one could live free from the dictatorship of Nimrod. Haran is located in Eastern Turkey close to the Kurdish area today and the rugged terrain kept out the forces of Nimrod from bothering with the few tribes in this area.

Halacha/Chofetz Chaim on Mitzvos

One may not eat nor drink Chametz (leaven) on Pessach. One may not even derive benefit from Chametz during Pessach (e.g. by burning it and enjoying the heat). One who eats an olive-worth of Chametz on Pessach on purpose, gets punished with the heavenly punishment of Kares. If one eats it accidentally one owes a Chatas-sacrifice when the temple will be rebuilt (speedily in our days). Applies to everybody, everywhere during Pessach. Pasuk: ...and do not eat Chametz... (Shemos 13:3) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 4

During Pessach one may not eat any mixture of foods that include Chametz (leaven). If the quantity that one ate included an olive-worth of Chametz, then one has transgressed this Mitzvah. Applies to everybody, everywhere during Pessach. Pasuk: Any mixture of Chametz do not eat (Shemos 12:20)

Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 5

One may not do any of the 39 categories of forbidden work on Shabbat. (See for a list.)

One also has to ensure that ones animals are not doing forbidden work. Since the laws of Shabbat are numerous, complicated and are applicable every week, one should be sure to study them thoroughly and review them often. Asking a non-Jew to do work for a Jew on Shabbat is forbidden by Rabbinical decree. Saving lives takes precedence over Shabbat observance. Shabbat is one of the bonds between Hashem and the Jewish people, and one who purposely transgresses the Shabbat publicly has the status of a non-Jew (for being counted in a Minyan or a Mezuzah, touching wine, being a witness, etc.) Applies to everybody, everywhere, every Shabbat. Pasuk: Do not do any work (4th of the Ten Commandments, Shemos 20:10) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 6

The Torah forbids one to walk more than 12 Meel (about 12 Km) beyond the city limit on Shabbat, (according to the Rambam and the Rif). By Rabbinic decree one may only walk 2,000 Amos (about 2 Km) beyond the city limit on Shabbat, unless one extends it by another 2,000 Amos with an Eruv-Techumim. Inside a city one may walk without limit. Applies to everybody, everywhere, every Shabbat. Pasuk: Nobody should leave their place on Shabbat (Shemos 15:23) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 7

It's a Mitzvah to fear and be in awe of Hashem. Fear and awe of Hashem is acquired by studying the awesome ways in which Hashem runs the world.

When one has the chance to do a sin and decides to refrain because Hashem watches everything we do, one has fulfilled the Mitzvah of fearing Hashem. Applies to everybody all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: You shall fear Hashem your G-d (Devarim 6:13) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 4

One must be prepared to be killed - or lose all ones money - in order to publicize ones belief in Hashem and the Jewish laws. One must be prepared to be killed rather than agree to convert to another religion. Even pretending to agree to convert - in order to save ones life - is forbidden. One must be prepared to be killed rather than transgress any of the sins in the Torah publicly; i.e. in the presence of 10 Jews.

In private (without 10 Jews present) one must be be prepared to be killed rather than transgress one of the 3 cardinal sins: Idol worship, Adultery and Murder.
This applies even if the request comes from somebody with altruistic - and not religious - reasons. At a time of Shmad - when by law one may not be Jewish - one must be prepared to be killed rather than transgress any sin - even in private. One who is killed in the presence of 10 Jews rather than transgressing (as above) has done a public Kiddush Hashem and has attained the highest level of worshipping Hashem that one can reach.

Applies to everybody, all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: I shall be sanctified amongst the Bnei Yisrael (Yavikra 22:32)

Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 5

On Rosh Chodesh one says Hallel after the Amida - but one skips 2-half paragraphs. Hallel must be said standing, and one may not interrupt the Hallel by talking. If the congregation is saying Hallel while one is saying Psukei D'Zimra, one says Hallel with them, without its opening and closing Bracha. (This can only be done on days that one says the shortened "half"-Hallel.) If one arrives late to Schul and the congregation is already up to Hallel, one says Hallel with them, and then one starts ones morning prayers. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:4

Causing a person's blood to drain from his face is considered murder. In Hebrew, embarrassing somebody is referred to as מלבין פני חברו - whitening a fellowman's face; since the blood drains from his face when embarrassed. Embarrassing somebody is forbidden - whether verbally or otherwise - and could make one lose ones portion in Olam Haba - the world to come. Embarrassing somebody is forbidden both in private and obviously in public. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:17

Stories and Parables

From Gene and F. Sinai posted this about Lashon Hara:

A tsunami starts quietly, hidden within the depths of the sea. A tsunami explodes- this one with the force of 9.5 million pounds of TNT- the equivalent of 23,000 of the atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima. A tsunami erupts miles beneath the surface, so that a person drifting peacefully upon a small boat in the open sea, will notice nothing. A tsunami destructive forces surge forth beneath the surface, racing at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour. A tsunami can cause destruction thousands of miles away from its point of origin. It can travel 3,000 miles across the ocean, retaining its full power until it reaches its destination. A tsunami is uniquely deadly among all of nature’s destructive forces. No other force of nature can move this far, this fast and this quietly. Its victims only recognize what is hitting them when it is too late.

Tsunami is similar to Lashon Hara! Lashon hara stars quietly, hidden within the course of daily conversation.. Lashon hara explodes with immeasurable destructive force… Lashon hara spoken at a social gathering, as a person drifts peacefully through a conversation, can completely escape his notice. And yet a power has been unleashed that could surface years from that moment, and destroy someone’s friendship, business or even marriage. Lashon hara destructive forces surge forth, unseen, traveling, at the speed of sound. Lashon hara can cause destruction thousands of miles away from its point of origin. It can travel 3,000 miles across the ocean, retaining its full power until it reaches its destination. Lashon hara is a uniquely deadly force. No other destructive force can move this far, this fast and this quietly. Its victims only recognize what is hitting them when it is already late.

In this week portion of Torah, Parshat Beresheis we are introduced to the nahash (snake). The first malshin (slanderer, gossiper) that slandered behind Hashem. The snake was cursed and punished.

What was his punishment? Originally, the snake looked like a human being with hands and feet, now it was cut off. He had to crawl on the ground and the dirt became his food. This is a general formula for an expert slanderer. First they get a boost and a name by slandering and putting down others. But it’s very temporarily and they will end up crawling on the ground like the snake. And their curse will be that whatever they gain; money, wealth… it will turn to dirt, they will loose it all and they will never get to enjoy it.

Please do not hiss at least for your own sake.

Binyamin Jadidi

This story comes from R’ A.L. you might think it fiction but I hate to tell you this but it reminded me of a Holocaust survivor who met his wife in Israel and would visit her daily where my mother of blessed memory was in the Alzheimer Home in Ramat Gan. He would hold her hand for some time each day until about noon. RP

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived at the hospital to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove the sutures and redress the wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, then he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.

He told me she had been there for a while and the she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a little bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in the past five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are??"

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is." I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life." True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. With all the jokes and fun that are in e-mails, sometimes there is one that comes along that has an important message. This one I thought I could share with you.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. "Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

Now for M. Wolfberg’s story scoop.

Good Shabbos Everyone. Perhaps the greatest source of happiness in our lives is knowing that life has meaning. This week we are going to talk about how to make our lives more meaningful. When life has meaning, everyday is a happy day. The primary source of meaning in life is knowing that Hashem created us for a purpose and Hashem gave us a mission to carry out, which is detailed in the Torah.
This week is Parshas Bereishis, we read “In the beginning Hashem created the Heaven and the Earth.” This is the first and the most famous line of the Torah, and it is perhaps the most important principle for us to recognize. Hashem created the earth and everything on it and Hashem created everything for a reason. According to Rashi, the Torah begins this way to establish Hashem’s sovereignty over the universe. The first step to having meaning in life is believing in Hashem. The following story will inspire us to believe that there is a Ruler over the world.
Gershon Ber Jacobson was a well known journalist, according to some he was the journalist's journalist. He wrote for several major newspapers around the world, was fluent in many languages including French, English, Yiddish, Russian, Georgian and Hebrew, had a fluent, often stirring style, an eye for often uncomfortable detail and an unquenchable drive for often life-threatening scoops,.
But in addition to all this, or perhaps we should say foremost, he was a totally observant Jew and a devoted Chassid (follower) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, perhaps the greatest, most erudite Jewish leader in history who teaches his followers to do everything possible to improve mankind. And it saved his life at least once.
The scene was immediately after the Six-Day war. Israel had decimated the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and the other Arab nations surrounding them and the idea popped into the mind of Gershon Ber, who at the time was the chief correspondent in New York for the Israeli newspaper 'Idiot Achronot' the biggest daily in Israel, to get a really hot story. He decided that the scoop of scoops would be to get into Egypt and get an interview with none other than the Prime Minister himself; Abdul Nasser!
He began to go about getting the necessary papers, when he got a phone call from another important personage from the 'other side' of the coin; 'Isar Harel' the head of the Israeli Secret Service the 'Mossad'. "Jacobson are you insane?" he screamed, "Listen, we have information that if you go through with this you'll never come back. Why, they'll arrest you as a spy and you'll never get out of jail! And we won't be in a position to help you! Do you understand? Don't go! And if you do we will take no responsibility!"
Jacobson thanked Harel, hung up the phone and called the headquarters of the Lubabvither Rebbe. It wasn't long before he got a reply. The Rebbe said he definitely should go but he should do the following things 1) Take several pairs of new Tefillin 2) Take a new 'sh'chita' knife for slaughtering birds 3) check into the best room in the most expensive hotel 4) before leaving write short letters to all his friends and important acquaintances telling them he is in Egypt and mail them as soon as you arrive 5) as soon as he enters the hotel call all the foreign ambassadors living in Egypt and 5) at the first opportunity visit the Jewish community there.
Gershon Ber did exactly what the Rebbe told him and a week or two landed in Cairo. He told the driver to take him to the finest hotel and on the way he stopped at the post office and mailed the letters he had written. Then he checked in to his room and immediately set about calling all the foreign representatives in Egypt as the Rebbe said. And the response was fantastic!
In fact one of the ambassadors was so impressed (he claimed that in the fifteen years he was in Egypt no one had ever called him) he insisted on coming to see him and when he arrived insisted on being Jacobson's personal driver!
"Very well!" he answered. "Then let's go visit the Jewish community here." With the ambassador (I heard it was the representative from Canada) as his driver they pulled up at the home of the head of the Jewish community. Jacobson brought greetings from the Rebbe and began asking journalist questions; how was life in Egypt, Was there anti-Semitism, was anything affected by the Six Day War? etc. etc.
The community leader answered that although there was not overt anti-Semitism it was nevertheless very difficult for them to get around and impossible for them to contact the outside world. For instance what they really needed were a few pairs of tefillin (phylacteries) because several had become disqualified for use and a sh'chita knife for slaughtering chickens because the one they had somehow broke and was irreparable. But they couldn't get out of Egypt to get these things replaced.
You can imagine his joy and amazement when he produced exactly these items and told him how the Lubavitcher Rebbe somehow sensed their need. Jacobson got the interview with Nasser and when he arrived safely back in New York he got another call from …. Isar Harel. "Listen Jacobson. We know for SURE that they were planning to arrest you for spying. But when you got there and made such a storm with those letters and phone calls they didn't want to arouse adverse public opinion. Tell me, where did you get the idea to do those letters and phone calls?" 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

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

Be well and have a great Shabbos. Mazel Tov to Leah Gila and Ariel Pasternak on the Bar Mitzvah of my eldest grandson this Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli