Thursday, November 5, 2009

Parsha Vayera, halacha and stories

For this Shabbos: Natania bat Sarah has a wicked eye and face infection. Abigail Malka bat Chana Yehudit, for a refuah shaleima.

For a longer time: My Rosh Yeshiva Shlita Rabbi Yechiel Yehuda ben Shprinsa, Please daven for young Rafael Chaim Simcha Binyamin ben Devorah Aliza, who has been fighting Leukemia the past 18 months and is having terrible reactions to the bone marrow transplant

A film in English on how Shabbos Candles are lit in case you have never learned this or want to teach your children:

Lech Lecha Part 2

I started preparing chapter 14 which deals with the war of Gog and Magog and found myself lacking in time due to all sorts of little issues that took up hours of my time. On the other hand, I laid down all the Rashi and some of the comments for a high quality post. Furthermore with the Rashi, and my off the cuff comments, the material is already over two pages long and I haven’t gotten into to the nitty-gritty of the Chapter. Please be patient and you should get some good quality soon.

Parsha Vayera

18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

Supposedly Avraham was having a vision of G-D and was talking to him and asks to be excused to make a Kiddush HASHEM. Rabbi Yossi Jankovits Shlita mentions that Avram came to all his friends for advice about performing the bris and each told him no. Avram wanted to make it into a Kiddush HASHEM by doing the bris. Mamre told him to go ahead. For this reason HASHEM rewarded Mamre and he is mentioned especially here as Avraham was sitting under his oak trees in the shade after the bris. The time is the 15th of Nissan 2047 as we shall see that next year at this time, Yitzchak was to be born. It was also one of these days where the winds blew in from Iraq and brought the temperatures up into the 40’s C or 104 ++ F.

2 and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth,

Three Bedouins and standard idol worshippers appear before Avraham. They do not look like Angels at all! Now watch Avraham’s behavior compared to our average hot air politician of almost any political party. Note in such a heat after a major operation for a 99 year old, he runs to greet them – just like we do at our are without the operation!!!

3 and said: 'My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. 4 Let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree.

Why the water? You see that Adam was taken from the dust of the earth and it became a wayfarer form of worship to pray to the dust of the earth. Therefore the washing of the hands and especially the feet was necessary to remove the idolatry from them so that they could receive the word of G-D from Avraham. It would seem strange to me that Avraham could offer them a place under the oaks of Mamre as he was the land owner – thus there is a hidden message here, that Mamre believed that G-D was the ruler of the land and he had promised it to Avraham and Mamre followed him faithfully.

5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and stay ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on; forasmuch as ye are come to your servant.' And they said: 'So do, as thou hast said.'

A morsel of bread but the next Pasuk says: kneed the finest semolina and make cakes with eggs and honey and perhaps raisins and nuts, etc. For we see that Avraham promised a little and gave a lot.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said: 'Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.' 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hastened to dress it.

Avraham did not walk, but ran to serve these Bedouins. He first served as we see below creamy milk and butter while three tongues were cooking for the tree idol worshippers so that upon eating they would bless HASHEM for the land and for the food that he gave Avraham.

8 And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

It is unheard of in Arab society to talk about the wife of a person or question about her yet the Bedouins ask Avraham the following question: 9 And they said unto him: 'Where is Sarah thy wife?' And he said: 'Behold, in the tent.'

Not only the question was extraordinary but how did these three know the new name of Sarah which was only changed three days ago?

10 And He said: 'I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.'

The commentary on Avraham’s pleading for the cities of Sodom, Amorah and the other three were mentioned last year so I continue here.

Now Lot still had some of Avraham’s hospitality left in him. The cities were full of immodesty and a blight before the L-RD. After they had tried everything and anything within their home, they began to become bored and the whole neighbor and cities fell into depravity. (If you think that sections of our western society has not become like this, you are mistake. This was the thing that led to the decline of Greece, and the Roman Empire. Swingers are everywhere, if I am sitting in Ramat Modiin hear about swingers in Paris near the Arc De Triumph, Boro Park, Texas and all over the plague is wide spread – hopefully only a small percentage of the population.) One should not put himself in a situation of temptation. Lot managed to withhold himself from the depravity but his wife missed the gossip in the area. His daughters, who had not known a man, did not escape unharmed from the influence as we see later on.

19:1 And the two angels came to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them; and he fell down on his face to the earth; 2 and he said: 'Behold now, my lords, turn aside, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your way.' And they said: 'Nay; but we will abide in the broad place all night.'

And they said, “No…”: But to Abraham they said, “So shall you do…” From here [we learn] that one may refuse an offer by a person of lesser importance, but should not refuse an offer by a great man (Gen. Rabbah 50:4).

At this point from the Angels know whom they are dealing with and don’t want to jeopardize Lot.

But we will stay overnight in the street: Heb. כִּי. This כִּי is used to mean “but,” for they said, “We will not turn in to your house, but we will stay overnight in the street of the city.”

3 And he urged them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

And they turned in to him: They took a circuitous path toward his house. — [from Gen. Rabbah 50:4] and he baked unleavened cakes: It was Passover.

It was a year before Yitzchak was born and Yitzias Mitzrayim was to take place 401 years later during 2448 and on top of that since when do non-Jews observe Pessach so unfortunately Rashi is not here to answer my question on him.

4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter.

When they had not yet retired, the people of the city, the people of Sodom: It is interpreted in Gen. Rabbah (50:5) as follows: When they had not yet retired, the people of the city were the topic of conversation of the angels, for they were asking Lot about their character and their deeds, and he told them that most of them were wicked. While they were still speaking about them, “And the people of the city,” etc. The simple meaning of the verse, however, is: “and the people of the city, people of wickedness, surrounded the house.” Because they were wicked, they are called people of Sodom, as Scripture states (above 13:13): “And the people of Sodom were very evil and sinful…”

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him: 'Where are the men that came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.' 6 And Lot went out unto them to the door, and shut the door after him. 7 And he said: 'I pray you, my brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters that have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do nothing; forasmuch as they are come under the shadow of my roof.' 9 And they said: 'Stand back.' And they said: 'This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs play the judge; now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.' And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and drew near to break the door.

But they said, “Back away.”: Heb. גֶשׁ הָלְאָה, “Get yourself away over there” ; i.e., “Draw near to the sides and distance yourself from us.” And similarly every [instance of] הָלְאָה in Scripture is an expression of distancing, as in (Num. 17:2): “Scatter away (הָלְאָה)”; (I Sam. 20:22, 37):“Behold the arrows are beyond you (וָהָלְאָה).” Thus, גָשׁ הָלְאָה, means: “Back away,” in Old French: trete de nos, go away from us. This is a word of rebuke, as if to say. “We don’t care about you,” and similar to it is (Isa. 65:5):“Keep (קְרַב) to yourself; do not come near me”; and so (ibid. 49:20):“Move aside (גָּשָׁה) so that I may dwell,” meaning, “Draw aside for my sake so that I will dwell beside you.” [The Sodomites were saying as follows]: “You intercede for the wayfarers? How dare you?!” In response to what he said to them about his daughters, they said to him, “Go away,” a mild expression, but in response to what he said in defense of the wayfarers, they said, “This one has come to sojourn.” You are the only stranger among us, for you have come to sojourn here, “and he is judging,” [meaning] and you have become our chastiser!?

10 But the men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and the door they shut. 11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great; so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12 And the men said unto Lot: 'Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city; bring them out of the place;

Whom else do you have here?: The simple meaning of the verse is: Whom else do you have in this city besides your wife and your daughters who are at home?- A son-in-law, your sons, and your daughters: If you have a son-in-law or sons and daughters, take them out of this place. Your sons: The sons of your married daughters. According to the Midrash Aggadah (Gen. Rabbah 50:5) the interpretation of עֹד is: “Still, after they have committed such a disgraceful deed, do you still have an excuse to defend them?” For the whole night he [Lot] was speaking in their favor. This may be read: עֹד מִי ל‏ ְפֶּה : Do you still have a mouth? (i.e., Do you still have anything to say to justify them?)

We have seen this story repeated in different ways over and over again. My grandfather had $300,000 in Switzerland in 1939 he could have fled Austria and lived out his life like a king and I could have been born on Easy Street or Park Ave but instead he brought it back to Austria to retire there. We saw this with Syrian Jews, Iranian Jews and Egyptian Jews after the founding of the State of Israel. People don’t want to leave their money behind and their property and as a result, they either become stuck behind or are stuck behind and lose everything like my grandfather who was dependent on my grandmother’s sewing skills and my father’s help. He had been a strong active banker and weight lifter until the Nazis worked him with weights three days non-stop and he had a non-fatal heart attack.

13 for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxed great before the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.'

If I were in his place, I would be scared out of my wits start backing what I could and flee as soon as possible. Like myself and many others, we don’t look around just to save our own bodies but want to save others. How many times have I written Shabbos, Mitzvos, Kashrus, Family Purity, etc. and more often than not I feel that in many cases that I am writing nice stories for the son-in-laws of Lot who don’t believe that Mitzvos, Tshuvah, Tephillah and Tzedakah will avoid the birth pangs of the Moshiach’s coming.

14 And Lot went out, and spoke unto his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said: 'Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy the city.' But he seemed unto his sons-in-law as one that jested.

His sons-in-law: He had two married daughters in the city. The suitors of his daughters: to whom those in the house were betrothed. — [from Gen. Rabbah 50:9]

Lot managed to escape with some of his belongings but not much else. So at this point he flees with his wife and two younger daughters and some jewelry and provisions leaving this vast herds of sheep and cattle behind, his mansion, etc.

15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying: 'Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are here; lest thou be swept away in the iniquity of the city.'

Pressed: Heb. וַיָאִיצוּ, as the Targum renders: “and they pressed” [meaning] “they rushed him.” perish: You will be destroyed. [The verse] “Until all the generation expires” (Deut. 2:14) is rendered by Targum as, “until the entire generation perished.”

Even Lot, the believer, has just the faintest belief. He is not rock solid like Avraham willing to sacrifice his only real heir, Yitzchak.

16 But he lingered; and the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him. And they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

But he tarried: in order to save his possessions. — [from Gen. Rabbah 50:11] took hold: Heb. וַיַחִזִיקוּ [in the plural form] (Gen. Rabbah 50:11). One of them was an emissary to save him and his companion was to overturn Sodom; therefore, it is stated: “and he said: Flee…,” and it is not stated, “And they said.”

A person in this world is an accumulator of wealth it is in his nature. It is very rare that a person can live like Rav Eliezer Schach the late Gaon who used orange crates for bookshelves and had a small table and chair where he sat and learned in his house. I visited him twice or perhaps three times and was impressed by his lack of any material possessions except holy books and a place for a guest or two and for him to learn.

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said: 'Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be swept away.'

Flee for your life: Let it suffice for you to save lives. Do not worry about possessions. — [from Tosefta Sanh. 14:1] do not look behind you: You dealt wickedly together with them, but in Abraham’s merit you are saved. You do not deserve to see their punishment while you are being saved. — [from obscure midrashic source] in the entire plain: the plain of the Jordan. Flee to the mountain: Flee to Abraham, who dwells on the mountain, as it is said (above 12:8): “And he moved from there to the mountain.” And even now, he was dwelling there, as it is said (above 13:3): “until the place where his tent had previously been.” And although it says (ibid. verse 18):“And Abram pitched his tents, etc.,” he had many tents, and they extended until Hebron.

You miserable wretch, you were with the Torah of Avraham and instead you left it for lust of this world in Sodom. You were only saved for the sake and merit of Avraham and the Kiddush HASHEM of your father Haran and not for your own sake. But even though the wife was of good family and good merits in her roots, the lusty lure and riches of Sodom caused her too look back.

18 And Lot said unto them: 'Oh, not so, my lord; 19 behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest the evil overtake me, and I die. 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither--is it not a little one?--and my soul shall live.'

Tractate Shabbos says that he Hebrew word Nun Aleph (Na = please) is used here. The Tower of Bavel had happened 52 years earlier and Sodom had been founded then but Zohar based on the Nun Aleph which is 51 in Gematria was founded a year later so being younger the city’s sins were less and thus did not merit the full destruction like the other 4 cities. However, had Lot fled higher up the mountain by another kilometer or two, it too would have been destroyed in the event.

21 And he said unto him: 'See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken.

Although his motives were selfish unlike the pleas of Avraham earlier in our Sedra, nevertheless, the Angels accepted his pleas for Zohar and spared it.

22 Hasten thou, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither.'--Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.-- 23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot came unto Zoar. 24 Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 and He overthrow those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

To understand the follow, one must go back quite a few centuries to the value of Salt. In English we have a saying “Worth his weight in salt”- today we would say gold or platinum. Venice became a great commercial center and Genoa too in the time of Marco Polo because the traded in salt which was the main preservative of the area. Part of Avraham’s hospitality was by giving his guests plenty of salt to eat with even if they would take some with themselves because of the value. Lot kept up with this custom but see what Rashi writes about Mrs. Lot.

And she became a pillar of salt: She sinned with salt, and she was punished with salt. He said to her, “Give a little salt to these guests.” She replied, “Also this evil custom you wish to introduce into this place?” - [from Gen. Rabbah 50:4]

27 And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.

The oddity of the background of the ancestry of the Moshiach: If I were to make up a story about the ancestry of the Moshiach, I would choose the cream of the crop and the most heroic thing. Greece had their story of the birth of Hercules or the birth of Perseus and their heroic deeds. However, Judaism and the Torah is Emmet. So we find that on the great grandmother of David Melech Yisrael we have Ruth who comes from the seed of Moav. And here we have the story of the birth of Moav and where his mother grew up and was educated and influenced by the neighborhood (to put it mildly not exactly our average Beit Yacov schooling or Chabad’s Beit Rivka, etc.). There is a problem with the male progenitors of the Moshiach too. Yehuda did not deal faithful to his word with his daughter-in-law and she had to play the harlot to seduce him. David, himself started up after the divorced in name only Bas Sheva and later on she gives birth to Shlomo. The whole story of the background of the family of the Moshiach doesn’t sound complete Glatt Kosher to the reader. This strange oddity of hanky panky produces the redeemer of mankind. The truth is always stranger than fiction.

30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. This shows that Zohar was only a temporary place to take refuge in. He had figured that he could not make it up to the mountains before the destruction of Sodom. He did not realize that the Angel would have waited until he was safely out of range for the righteous Avraham. After either an atomic explosion – the people were blinded from all the radioactive material that they had gathered to light their night or alternatively a cosmic event of a meteor or small comet raining down on Sodom.

31 And the first-born said unto the younger: 'Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth.

Our father is old: And if not now, when? Perhaps he will die or will no longer be able to beget children. And there is no man on earth: They thought that the entire world had been destroyed, as in the Generation of the Flood (Gen. Rabbah 51:8).

By not fleeing further and looking for Avraham’s tent to be concerned if he was still alive, perhaps this daughter would have married Yishmael or some other young man. However, she felt that like after the flood; the world had been destroyed and she had to keep up mankind. Even though it was even according to the Children of Noach a sin, she did it for the sake of mankind.

32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.' 33 And they made their father drink wine that night. And the first-born went in, and lay with her father; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

And lay with her father: But in the case of the younger, it says:“ and she lay with him.” Since the younger one was not the initiator of the illicit relations, but rather her sister taught it to her, Scripture covers up for her and does not explicitly tell of her disgrace. But [concerning] the elder, who initiated the illicit relations, Scripture publicizes her explicitly (Tan. Buber, Balak 26). The word וּבְקוּמָה, mentioned in conjunction with the elder, is dotted (i.e., there is a dot over the second “vav”), to denote that when she arose, he did know, but nevertheless, he was not careful not to drink on the second night (Nazir 23a). (Said Rabbi Levi: Whoever is inflamed by the lust for illicit relations, will ultimately be made to eat his own flesh (i.e., to commit incest). - [from Gen. Rabbah 51:9] [This does not appear in all editions of Rashi.]

34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the first-born said unto the younger: 'Behold, I lay yesternight with my father. Let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.' 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose, and lay with him; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the first-born bore a son, and called his name Moab--the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

Moab: This one, who was immodest, publicized that he was from her father (מוֹאָב-מֵאָב), but the younger one named him euphemistically (עַמִי בֶן the son of my people) and was rewarded in the time of Moses, for it is stated concerning the children of Ammon (Deut. 2:19):“You shall not involve yourself in strife with them” at all, but concerning Moab, He warned them only not to wage war with them, but He permitted them [the Israelites] to cause them pain. — [from Nazir 23b]

38 And the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi--the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

Our Parsha ends with the last test of Avraham and the sacrifice of Yitzchak and the announcement of the birth of Rivka.


From the Torah Forum: The question: I was talking with my rabbi briefly before services on the topic of creation. Personally, I believe in evolution - and I know there's another creation thread right now, but I wanted to make a post about this separate. Myself, I believe in evolution and creation as an integrated. Creation, being greater than evolution since it is "the Source" of evolution.

He said that evolution can't happen between species, which I strongly disagree with. It says:

Verse 7: Ad-noy El-him then formed the man, dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the breath of life. And so man became a living soul.

I've been musing on the idea that Adam was created from whatever the previous matter was before - since all matter is essentially dust. All matter is made up of smaller particles. It seems offbeat from the normal track of thinking regarding the idea of evolution is impossible between species. The notion that it's possible through the story of Genesis I find to be a lot more believable than Darwin's views to be impossible through Genesis. That's just my point of view.

My reply section 1: Check out via google rabbipauli.blogspot + Beresheis (Noach) Check out posts dated in 2008 as I covered the new scientific belief in close to spontaneous generation of species. Also see the book Fossils and faith by Prof. Natan Aviezer.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in intelligent design evolution. However, Rabbi Avigdor Miller wrote books and put out a few books and over 100 tapes and disks "Evolution is the most pernicious doctrine known to man." Scientists today have thrown out Darwin's Evolution into the garbage today. it is unfortunately still taught in schools.

On one of the recent threads I also posted why 24 hr days cannot make sense until the 4th day and when on the 4th day is unknown. One has to have a measuring scale such as a revolution of day and night as we know it now or number of grains of sand falling in a minute or a shadow created by the sun on a stick or sundial.

It actually does not bother a true believer if evolution occurred in 6 x 24hrs or 144 hrs or it occurred in billions of years. The truth is that nothing happens by accident.

When a leaf falls and where it falls there is a guiding hand behind it. I am sure if you were to show this reply to your Rabbi, it would not lessen his belief.

The Rambam seems to imply that miracles are performed according to the laws of nature. I call it a matter of time and place. Let us say once every 6000 years the Nile will turn to a blood color and kill off the fish and even affect the ground water which is dug everywhere but in Goshen. It is the second that Moshe meets Pharaoh and the river turns to blood that makes it a miracle. If you or I were to go to the President of Egypt by the Nile this would not happen. Nor a earthquake blocking the Jordan River off just as the priests enter their feet into the water in the time of Yehoshua.

This was told to me in my College days by an Orthodox Physics graduate. The probabilities come out to billions of billions against one.

A Lubavitcher Scientist told me that according to physicists the number of electrons, neutrons and protons meeting other atoms since the creation of the universe according to scientists is either 2 or 10 to 108th power. Now the probability of a DNA molecule being made by accident is to the 110th power. So the probability was against life being created. Not to mention turning into an amoeba, nervous system, skeleton, circulatory system, endocrinology system now, etc.

Lastly, regarding the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I have a neighbor who is a heart specialist with 4000 private patients and he is assistant dept. head in one of the departments in Tel HaShomer. He told me that when he met the Rebbe, his knowledge of medicine was like that of a Cardiologist with years of experience.

My Reply section 2:

Verse 7: Ad-noy El-him then formed the man, dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the breath of life. And so man became a living soul.

I’ve been musing on the idea that Adam was created from whatever the previous matter was before – since all matter is essentially dust. All matter is made up of smaller particles. It seems offbeat from the normal track of thinking regarding the idea of evolution is impossible between species. The notion that it’s possible through the story of Genesis I find to be a lot more believable than Darwin’s views to be impossible through Genesis. That’s just my point of view.

My grandfather who lived in Prague in the 1500’s until about 1609 named Rabbi Yehuda Loew aka the Maharal make a Golem together with his son-in-law and Shamash and put the DIVINE NAME into river clay and the Golem came to life. When the Nazis tried to go into the Attic of Alterneuschul to view the Golem like in the Indian Jones Movies; soldier after soldier fell off the ladder and died until they gave up trying to view the Golem.

Go to Prague and hear the story yourself.

Halacha/Mitzvos as written by Danny S.

It's a Mitzvah not to worship idols in the manner they are normally worshipped. Even of it's a disgraceful act - like throwing stones at Markulis (Mercury along the way) - it's forbidden and the one who transgresses deserves to be stoned to death by Bet Din. One who kisses or embraces an idol or who sweeps or washes it's room or otherwise shows it respect has transgressed. One may not drink from water that is pouring out of the mouth of an idol-water-fountain, since it looks like one is kissing the idol. Applies to everybody, all the time, everywhere. Pasuk: ...And don't worship them... (2nd of the Ten Commandments - Shemos 20:5)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 12

One may not swear by an idol's name. One should not mention the name of an idol in one's conversations. Even mentioning an idol as a landmark is forbidden. E.g. "please meet me next to [name of idol]". One may mention idols mentioned in Seforim (E.g.: Tanach or Gemara) like Peor and Nevo. One may not cause others to swear in the name of an idol - including non-Jews. Applies to everybody, everywhere, all the time. Pasuk: And the name of other gods do not mention (Shemos 23:13) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 13

לכן אדם לא צריך להשתמש בשם שותף כמו ישו, גם כאשר מקלל כפי שאפשר לבוא חושב כי הדת זה מוזר מתפלל יהודי.

One who persuades others to worship idols gets killed by stoning, even if he himself never worshipped idols. Applies to everybody, everywhere, all the time.
Pasuk: "... should not be spoken about by you" (Shemos 23:13) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 14

Food that was sacrificed to idols is forbidden. One who eats, drinks or has any benefit from such food is given 39 lashes by Bet Din. By Rabbinic Decree one may not drink any wine that was touched by a non-Jew, unless it was previously boiled. .One may also not eat at the wedding of an idol worshipper even if one brings one's own food and is served by a Jewish waiter. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always. Pasuk: "Beware... lest he call you to eat from his sacrifices" (Shemos 34:15) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 15

It's a Mitzva to tie Tefillin on one's left arm. The correct place is on the elevated (muscle) part of the upper arm. Applies to males, everywhere, every weekday.
Pasuk: "and tie them for a sign on your arm" (Devarim 6:8) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 8 The right hand is used for left handed people.

A Sefer Torah needs to be stored in its own special place which must be kept clean. One may not spit in front of a Sefer Torah. One may not touch the parchment of a Sefer Torah unless it is covered. One who sees a Sefer Torah being carried must stand up. If a Sefer Torah is carried past one, one should walk behind it.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:3

One may not sit in the same bench or chair as a Sefer (any book from which one can learn Torah-related subjects). If the Sefer is placed on the bench on top of another item that is at least 1 Tefach (~10 cm) high, then one may sit on the bench. One may not put a Sefer on the floor. One may sit on a cupboard that has Seforim inside, but not if there's a Sefer Torah inside. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:4

One may not put a Sefer on ones knees and then rest ones elbows on it. One can put a Chumosh (5 books of Moses) on top of a Nach, but one may not place a Nach or any other Sefer on top of a Chumosh. One may put a Neviim on a Ketuvim, or Ketuvim on top of Neviim. One can put any other Seforim on top of each other. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:4

One may not throw Seforim. One may not put Seforim upside-down; not with the cover facing the table, and not in the bookshelf with the letters upside down.
If one sees a Sefer upside-down one has to turn it over. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:6

Spilling water onto fertile soil is forbidden because of "Zore'a" - planting, since the water could help things grow. Therefore one should refrain from eating in the garden, since it's almost impossible that something won't be spilt onto the floor. This is besides the problem that one cannot always carry into the garden unless there's a proper Eruv. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:28 Shabbat Shalom, Danny

From R’ A.L. The Executioner by Rachel Ginsberg

For years, the details of arch-Nazi Eichmann's hanging by the State of Israel was shrouded in secrecy -- from his being given his last glass of wine, to the noose being placed around his neck, to his lifeless body being incinerated in a specially-designed over and his ashes spread over the sea outside Israel's territorial waters.

Most of those involved in Israel's first and only execution in 1962 and no longer living. But Nagar was "discovered" 12 years ago, when an Israeli radio station wanted to produce a 30th anniversary program of Eichmann's capture and hanging. After sitting through prison records and following tips from former prison employees, Nagar, "the short Yemenite guard" as he was remembered, was located and asked to reveal the memories he had stored away for so many years. At the time, Shalom Nagar, having retired from the Prison Services, was living in Kiryat Arba and learning in Kollel from dawn to midnight.

"For years, I was sworn to secrecy. My commanders feared reprisals from neo-Nazis and others who thought Eichmann was a hero. But Isser Harel, the Mossad chief in charge of Eichmann's capture in Argentina, had already written a book about it, so what did I have to fear?? Besides, I was involved in the great Mitzvah of wiping out Amalek." (Amalek is the implacable enemy of the Jews the one who tried to kill our forefather Jacob, the nation that attacked the Israelites on their departures from Egypt, the nation from Haman descended, and according to various sources, the spiritual ancestor of the German, Nazi machine.)

Eichmann, the engineer and supervisor of Hitler's "Final Solution" shared the primary responsibility for the systematic murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust. After the war he went into hiding to avoid the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, and then made his way to Argentina, where he lived in relative security with his wife and four children, as an anonymous manager of a Laundromat. For years the Mossad was on his tail, and in 1961 he was captured and hauled off to Israel to stand trial for genocide.

The trial, which publicity rehashed the horrors that the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews, elicited a torrential emotional response in Israel and around the world repressed memories burst forth into the standing-room-only courtroom. People screamed, cried, and tried to attack and kill Eichmann, who was ensconed during the proceedings in a bulletproof glass box.

On December 11, 1961, he was sentenced to death by hanging. Following the rejection of an appeal to the Supreme Court for clemency, he was executed close to midnight on May 31, 1962. The following morning, a one-line announcement of his hanging was broadcast on Kol Yisrael. Although the trial was in the spotlight for nearly a year, the details of his incarceration and of the execution itself would only be revealed decades later by his executioner Shalom Nagar.

Shalom Nagar recalls the events that led up to that fateful night. "I was working as a guard for the Prison Services then, after finishing the army and working for the Border Police. At first, Eichmann was brought to a prison in Yagur outside of Hafia. He was transferred to Ramle Prison, where I worked, for the last six months of his life.

"We were a unit of 22 guards, known as the Eichmann guards," carefully selected to make sure that we had no revenge motives. After all, it was only 16 years after the Holocaust, and many prison employees had either gone through the campus or had lost family. They were disqualified. Eichmann's "apartment" as we called it, was in a special wing on the second floor, but no Ashkenazi guards were allowed up. There were five rooms, one overlooking the other.

"For six months I guarded him, facing his cell in the innermost room, standing in close proximity where he rested, wrote his memoirs, ate, and used the facilities. He was extremely clean, and washed his hands compulsively. One reason for our careful supervision was that he might have wanted to take his own life, and we were to prevent that at all costs. Outside of my room was another room overlooking it, with a guard who watched over both me and Eichmann. In the next room was the duty officer, who guarded all of us. And the last room in where we rested during shift changes.

"Food was brought in, in locked containers to prevent any attempts at poisoning. Still, before I gave him his meal, I had to taste it myself. If I didn’t drop dead after two minutes, the duty officer allowed the plate into his cell.

'There were guards who had numbers on their arms, but they weren't allowed unto the second floor. However, before we were clear around this rule, one guard from downstairs, Blumenfeld, who had survived the camps, asked if he could switch with me one night. I assumed he just wanted to get a look at the man who destroyed his family. Anyway, we were all in the same unit, so I figured - why not?? Blumenfeld approached the door of the cell and rolled up his sleeve. "Once I was in your hands, and now the tables have turned. Look who has the last laugh. "It was the middle of the night, and Eichmann jumped up from his bed and started ranting in German. I, of course, couldn't follow the conversation, but from then on we had clear instructions. No switching or we'd get court martialed."


Adolph Eichmann was born in 1906 in Soligen, Germany. His family moved to Austria and he joined the Austrian Nazi Party in 1932. In 1939 he headed the "Jewish desk" of the Gestapo and spent the next six years implementing Hitler's "Final Solution," perfecting the murderous efficiency of the death camps and gas chambers. After the war, he managed to hide out in Europe until 1950, where he escaped to Argentina. He sent for his wife and children two years later.

His whereabouts were hidden for years. But in 1957, the Mossad got a tip that Eichmann was alive and living in Buenos Aires under an alias. The hunt was on; it lasted four years. Mossad leader Isser Harel was determined to capture him, but not to kill him. He wanted him brought to justice in front of the Jewish people. The investigation moved slowly and carefully.

"The investigators couldn't risk the danger that their prey would learn he was being followed. Even more difficult was the necessity of identifying their man beyond the shadow of a doubt. The only thing worst than losing the read Eichmann would be capturing the wrong one," wrote Harel in his book, The House on Garibaldi Street.

But Eichmann had destroyed all evidence of his for identity. He'd even cut way that tattoo that all SS men had under their left armpit. There were no fingerprints, just some blurry photo from before the war. In 1959, the Israelis discovered that Eichmann had changed his name to Ricardo Klement. But one son still used the original family name, and his trail led the agents to Garibaldi Street in Buenos Aires. For weeks, they surveyed the house and the bespectacled man who lived there. They fell certain it was Eichmann, but they needed proof. The proof came on March 21, 1960, as Ricardo Klement walked toward his home with a bouquet, giving it to a woman as the door. The children were dressed festively. March 21 was Eichmann silver wedding anniversary.

The Mossad flew into action. The kidnapping had to be perfectly planned; there must be not hint that over 30 Mossad operatives were flying into Argentina. As Harel we knew, Israel would be violating Argentina's sovereignty by kidnapping Eichmann and taking him out of the country. The night of the kidnapping, two Mossad operatives parked on Eichmann's street and began tinkering with their car. Another car, with other agents, was parked behind them. As Eichmann approached them coming off the bus from work, the agents pounced on him, gagged him, and bundled him off in one of the cars. Harel guessed that his family would not report him missing, since this might reveal something about his previous Nazi past. His family did call hospitals, but avoided the police. They did call their Nazi friends - dozens had taken refuge in Argentina - but no one helped. Instead, they scattered, fearing that Israel's far-flung net would catch them too.

The Mossad had him, but now they had to get him out of the country without arousing suspicion. They dressed him in an El Al uniform, and in a drugged stupor, led him unto the plane. His identity was supposedly that of an El Al employee who had suffered a head injury and was not sufficiently recuperated to be able to fly back home. One of his compulsively efficient, detail-oriented to procure the proper forms. True to his compulsively efficient, detailed-oriented nature. Eichmann cooperated fully with his captors, even reminding them that they had forgotten to put on his airline jacket. "That will arouse suspicion," Eichmann lectured them, "for I will be conspicuously different from the other crew members who were fully dressed."

Eichmann appeal to the Supreme Court, on the grounds that he was merely carrying out orders of the Reich and had no personal interest in killing Jews, was rejected, as was his appeal for clemency. As the execution day drew near, the Prison Service approached several employees who had no personal account with the Nazi. Someone had to carry out the sentence. Nagar, a former paratrooper and decorated soldier who was an orphan in Yemen during World War II, was approached by Avraham Merchavi, the Head Warden.

"I said maybe he should fine someone else to do the job. Then Merchavi took me and several other guards and showed us the footage of how the Nazis took innocent children and tore them to pieces. I was so shaken that I agreed to whatever had to be done."

As the same time, a man named Pinchas Zeklikovsky was summoned by the police for a special mission. Zeklikovsky, whose family was wiped out by the Nazis, worked for an oven factory in Petach Tikva and was an expert over builder. He was asked to build an oven the size of a man's body, which would reach 1,800 C. He worked on the oven in the factory, telling inquiries that it was a special order for a factory in Eilat that burned fish bones. On the afternoon of May 31, 1962, after the other workers left, an army truck rolled into the oven factory and loaded on the oven. Under heavy guarded, the oven made its way to Ramie Prison.

The world knew that Eichmann's days were limited, but his hanging was made public only after the fact. All the preparations were done secretly, for fear of sabotage by Eichmann supporters. Streets around the prison were cordoned off for several blocks that afternoon.

Meanwhile, that same day, Shalom Nagar was on a 48-hour furlough. He was walking with his wife, Orah, and infant son in his Holon neighborhood when a police van screeched to a halt in front of him and pulled him inside. It was Merchavi. Nagar knew immediately what this special invitation was about.

"I realized I had won the "lottery". But I told him, "You now had a problem, because although you want the hanging kept top secret, my wife thinks I've been kidnapped. She'll call the police." He agreed, and the car made a quick reverse, so I could explain to my wife that this was my commanding officer and that I'd be working late. We arrived in Ramle Prison, and I was given a stretcher, some sheets and bandages, and was told to go and was downstairs. Meanwhile upstairs, Eichmann was with the priest, and was given a glass of wife. By the time I was summoned, the noose was already around his neck and he was standing on a specially-made trapdoor which would open under him when I would pull the lever."

According to an officer account, there was supposedly two people who would pull the lever simultaneously. So neither would know for sure by whose hand Eichmann died. But Nagar say he knows nothing about that. "I didn't see anyone else there. It was just me and Eichmann. I was standing a few feet from him, and looked him straight in the eye. He refused to have his face covered, and he was still wearing those trademark checkered slippers. Then I pulled the lever and he fell, dangling by the rope."

After an hour, Nagar and Merchavi went downstairs to release the body. A scaffold had been built in order to reach him - to take him off the gallows.

"Merchavi told me to climb the scaffold and lift him, and then he would loosen the rope. For years I had nightmares of those moments. He face was white as chalk, his eyes were bulging and his tongue was dangling out. The rope rubbed the skin off his neck, and his tongue and chest were covered with blood. I didn't know that when a person is strangled all the air remains in his stomach. So when I lifted him, all the air that was inside came out and most horrifying sound was released from his mouth - "baaaa" - I felt that Angel of Death had come to take me too. Finally a few other guards arrived and we managed to get him onto the stretcher we had prepared earlier.

"We took him to the other side of the courtyard, where the oven was waiting. One of the guards, his name was Luchs and he had been in Auschwitz, was given the job of heating the oven. The oven was so hot it was impossible to get too close. So they'd build tracks so that the stretcher could slide into it. It was my job to push the stretcher into the oven, but I was shaking so hard that the body kept rolling from side to side. Finally, I was able to push him in and we closed the doors."

Nagar was slated to escort the ashes to the port, but he was in such a state of trauma that Merchavi had him sent home with an escort. In the very early hours of the morning, the ashes were removed from the oven and transported by police van to Jaffe Port, where a Coast Guard boat carried them beyond Israel's territorial waters, so that they would not defile the Holy Land.

"Over four decades have now passed since the Eichmann execution," Nagar says, "and in spite of all of the trauma, today I understand the great merit I was given. Hashem commands us to wipe out Amalek, and "not to forget" I have fulfilled both."

Gene mailed these thoughts:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings,
But shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints;
We spend more, but have less;
We buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families;
More conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
More knowledge, but less judgment;
More experts, but more problems;
More medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little
Drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom,… and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love to seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life;
We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
But have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space;
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

Binyamin Jadidi


Finally the media and big lies – a short editorial:

This time it is only about two things, the Goldstone report where the man claims to be a Zionist. With him and some wild anti-religious politicians out there it is not wonder to me that Meah Shaarim groups are anti-Zionist. I rest my case.

The second media hoax was perpetrated in the USA and exposed in Israel. A woman claimed that she got a swine flu injection in August and since then has to walk most of the time backwards or jog because when she walks her knees buckle. The woman and her condition were shown on Israel TV and I have received this film around the internet from every anti-injection person that I can think of. THE EMMET (TRUTH) AND FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THERE WERE NO DOSES OF SWINE FLU AVAILABLE IN THE USA IN AUGUST AS IT WAS BEING TESTED IN EUROPE AND THEN SOLD TO AUSTRALIA AND OTHER WINTERY PLACES. THE WHOLE THING IS A BIG LIE TO PROVE AN AGENDA. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a vegetarian you have close to a zero chance of getting mad cow disease but one should publish the truth and whatever happened to this woman did not, I repeat did not come from the swine flu injection as advertise.

Strive to do your best to have a peaceful, pleasant and holy Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli