Friday, December 11, 2009

Parsha Vayayshev, Halachos Chanucha and two Good Shabbos Stories

The wounded newly wed from the Gaza War Aaron Yehoshua ben Chaya Shoshana Kirov has recovered so much that he only needs some corrective surgery on his nose. Contrary to US wounded warriors, the IDF takes care of everything. The whole left side of his scull is sewn up and his face is not 100% but his nose is awful.

After publishing my blog direct to my friends it turns out that Hitler would have wanted to kill David Beckham. Last week one could see David attending the funeral of his grandfather in a Jewish Cemetery. Too bad that old granddad did not insist on either marrying a Jew or a kosher Convert.


37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren, being still a lad even with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil report of them unto their father.

Huh? Yacov had 12 sons but Yosef was so important that he treated him greater than his brothers which lead to jealousy. Moshiach would come from Yehuda, Kahuna from Levy but still Yosef had righteousness and both internal an external beauty.

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colors.

This shows that he had a special places as the first born of Rachel for Benyamin should have also had an important spot.

4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

While Yosef had basically his nose to his books his complaints about less than righteousness children of Bilhah and Zilpah already had 4 brothers against him and his being spoiled with the rainbow colored from his father though the garment got the other 5 to hate him.

5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. 6 And he said unto them: 'Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and bowed down to my sheaf.'

If I were instead of Yacov, I would say, “ Keep your big month shut kid.”

8 And his brethren said to him: 'Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?' And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said: 'Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.'

A dream always has a sense of falseness about it and the fact that his late mother would bow down to him must be false.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him: 'What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?' 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.

From Esther: We learn from Parshas Vayayshev the importance of looking towards others to see their needs. Yosef HaTzaddik was in a hopeless situation but nevertheless felt the distress of his fellow man in need.

Rabbi Yehonatan Gefen 12/06//2009 15:46
Towards the end of the parsha, Yosef HaTzaddik finds himself in a hopeless situation, having been in prison for ten years with no prospect of freedom. At that point occurs the incident of the interpretation of the dreams of Pharaoh’s ministers which begins the process of his meteoric rise to the position of Viceroy over the whole of Mitzrayim. There is one easily overlooked pasuk which signals the beginning of the drastic upturn in Yosef’s fortunes. After the two ministers dreamt their respective dreams, they were very distressed because they did not know their meaning. At that point, Yosef sees their unhappy countenances; he asks, “Why do you appear downcast today?” This seemingly inconsequential question leads to the interpretation of the dreams which eventually results in Yosef’s liberation and incredible rise to power. Had Yosef never asked them why they were upset then they would probably never have confided in him and the golden opportunity for freedom would be lost. Yosef’s small act of thoughtfulness may not seem particularly noteworthy, however in truth it is quite remarkable considering his situation at that time: He had been living in appalling conditions for 10 years with no realistic hope of freedom. He had every right to be totally engrossed in his own situation and not notice the facial expressions of those around him. Moreover he was assigned to serve the two ministers who were very important people in Mitzrayim - they surely treated him as an inferior and gave him absolutely no attention. Yet he overcame all these factors and showed concern at their distressed appearance.

There is a great temptation to go through life so absorbed in our own lives that we do not recognize the needs of others. One of the keys to being a genuine baal chessed is to overcome our own self-absorption and notice the world around us. Sometimes, this even requires that we be mevater on our own needs for the sake of others. The most glaring example of this is found earlier in the parsha when Tamar is being taken to be burnt at the stake. She had every opportunity to save her life by revealing that the items in her possession were those of Yehuda. However she gave greater emphasis to the embarrassment that Yehuda would endure if she did so and therefore remained quiet. The Gemara learns from here that a person must give up his life before embarrassing someone else . Rabbeinu Yonah and Tosefos pasken this way lehalacho! This teaches us that there are occasions where we are obligated to give greater precedence to the feelings of others than even our own.

Gedolim epitomized the ability to negate one’s own needs and focus on the needs of others. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l was being taken in a car by a bachur from his yeshiva. As Reb Moshe entered the car the bachur closed the door onto his fingers, yet he remained completely silent as if nothing had happened. A bewildered onlooker asked him why he did not cry out, he answered that the bachur would feel incredible embarrassment about having caused him pain and therefore Reb Moshe controlled himself and kept quiet. This is a well-known story but it deserves thought; Reb Moshe exemplified the ability to ignore his own feelings in order to spare the pain of his fellow Jew.

It is not only in times of pain that we should focus on others. Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l and his son Rav Shneur zt”l went to Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer (Rav Aaron’s father-in-law) to say goodbye shortly before leaving Eretz Yisroel for Rav Shneur’s chasunah. Rav Isser Zalman stopped in the middle of the stairs on the way down rather than escorting them all the way to the street. They asked him about it and he explained, “Many of the people who live around here have grandchildren who were murdered by the Nazis, Yemach shemam. How could I go down to the street and embrace my grandchild, flaunting my joy publicly, when these people can’t do the same?! ”

These superhuman demonstrations of selflessness can be an inspiration to us. There are numerous examples where we can overcome our own self-absorption and show an awareness of the needs of those around us. When we are walking down the street we tend to be involved in our own thoughts but it is worthwhile to be aware of the people around us - there may be someone who is carrying a heavy load and would appreciate a helping hand . There are many occasions when we may not be experiencing great joy or pain but we may still tend to focus on our own Dalet Amos alone. For example, after hagbaah on Shabbos Shacharis the baal hagbaah is left sitting on a chair holding the Sefer Torah with no Chumosh to read the Haftorah. People are understandably focused on following the Haphtarah themselves, but it shows great thoughtfulness to hand him a Chumosh so he too can follow along. In Torah Vodaas there were occasions where there were not enough chairs in the room so the Bochurim had to bring chairs for themselves from another room. Rav Shraga Feivel Mendelowitz zt”l used to say that a boy who brought just one chair for himself was merely a shlepper, but a boy who brought two, one for himself and one for a friend, was a baal Chessed .

There are numerous examples of small acts of thoughtfulness that can light up people’s lives. And we learn from Yosef that we can never be certain of the consequences of one act of Chessed. The Alter of Slobodka zt”l says that we can also never know how much reward we receive for a small act of Chessed. He discusses when Yacov Avinu removes the stone off the mouth of the well so that everyone could drink the water. This small act of kindness would not seem to rank highly amongst the numerous mitzvos that Yacov performed throughout his life. However, it is in fact the source of great merit for the Jewish people. Every year we recite a special prayer for rain - Tefillahs Geshem. In this tefillah we mention some of the great acts of the Avos such as Yacov’s overcoming of Esav’s maloch. Yet we also mention Yacov’s removal of the stone: “He [Yacov] dedicated his heart and tolled a stone from the mouth of a well of water - for his sake do not hold back water.” Every act of Chessed done with purity of heart is of immeasurable value. May we all learn from our Avos and be true givers.

Rabbi Yehonatan Gefen is a Rosh Chabura in the kollel of Rav Yitzchak Berkovits shlita, a writer for a number of internet sites and magazines and also published one book on the Torah

Halachos and Mitzvos from Danny Shoemann Shlita

It's a Mitzva to keep company with Torah scholars and their students. Therefore one should try marry into Rabbinical families, and eat with them. It's also a Mitzva to give Torah scholars gifts and other benefits. One should endeavor to learn from their ways and their teachings. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always - Pasuk: "and stick with Him" (Devarim 10:20), from which we learn that keeping company with Rabbis is equivalent to keeping company with Hashem. Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 16

It's a Mitzva to stand up when a person over 70 enters the room. It's a Mitzva to stand up when a Torah scholar enters the room, even if he's not old. It's also a Mitzva to honor ones Torah teachers. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always. Pasuk: "Stand up for the elder and respect the wise" (Vayikra 19:32) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 17

One is prohibited from swearing in vain. This includes 4 types of oaths: - Swearing to change a fact. E.g.: that a boy is a girl, or a stone is gold
- Swearing for no reason. E.g.: that a stone is a stone
- Swearing to not a do a Mitzva that one is obligated to do
- Swearing to do the impossible. E.g.: To not sleep for 72 hours, or to not eat nor drink for a week.
One who swears in vain on purpose deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din. One who makes an unnecessary Bracha has also transgressed this Mitzva. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always - Pasuk: "Do not take G-D's name in vain" - 3rd of the 10 commandments Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 29 Practical Examples a man swears: I swear by the life of Bin Laden that I saw a real elephant fly with his ears. Or I swear by the life of Khomeini that I saw a tiger shark run a marathon on land.

One is prohibited from taking a false oath denying one owes money, when one actually does owe the money. This is besides for the general prohibition against swearing falsely. One who transgresses has to pay a 25% penalty, besides for the original debt. Applies to everybody, always, everywhere -
Pasuk: "Do not lie one unto another" (Vayikra 19:11) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 30

A Chanukah Menorah must be lit such that it could burn for the required half hour. If it didn't have enough oil, or the location was windy, then one has not fulfilled the Mitzva, and one must light them again. No Bracha is said the second time. If it was not a windy place, and it unexpectedly blew out, the Mitzva has been fulfilled, though the Minchag is to light it again. One cannot light one candle from another; one needs to use the Shamash or another source of fire.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:14

One is prohibited from making promises that one does not keep; whether past or future. One may not promise one did or didn't do something, if it's not true. E.g.: I did/didn't eat something or talk to somebody. One may not promise to do or not do something that one has no intention fulfilling. E.g.: I will/won't throw a stone.
Relevant to actions one can physically accomplish: Talk, eat, drink, sleep, etc. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always- Pasuk: "do not swear falsely in My name" (Vayikra 19:12) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Negative Mitzvah 31

During the week, the correct time to light the Chanukah Menorah is when the stars appear (about 18 minutes after sunset). One should light as close to this time as possible, however if one cannot light then, one may light later, as long as some other member of the household is still awake. If nobody is awake anymore, one lights without a Bracha. If one cannot light on time, one can already light - with a Bracha - from Plag HaMincha; 75 Halachic minutes before sunset. (Divide the daytime hours by 12 to get a Halachic hour.) Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:10
Many have the custom to light the Chanukah Menorah during the week at sunset. Source: Mishna Berura 676:11

Originally the Chanukah Menorah was lit at the entrance closest to the street, in order to publicize the miracle. When put in a doorway with a Mezuzah, the Menorah should be placed opposite the Mezuzah so that one is surrounded by Mitzvot. If the doorway doesn't have a Mezuzah, then the Menorah goes on the right, when walking in. Nowadays most people light indoors, preferably at a window. If this is not practical, the Menorah should be placed in a doorway.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:6-7 On Motzei Shabbat - the second night of Chanukah this year - one first makes Havdallah and then lights the Chanukah Menorah. In Schul the Menorah is lit after the full-Kaddish - before ויתן לך - on Motzei Shabbat. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:18
Some have the custom of lighting the Menorah before making Havdallah, since one already heard Havdallah in Schul. (Source: רמ"א 581:2)

This year the first and last day of Chanukah are on Shabbat. Since one cannot light fire on Shabbat, the Menorah is lit before Shabbat. The correct order is:
- Daven "early" Mincha, if possible.
- Light the Chanukah Menorah. One can light as early as 75 Halachic minutes before sunset.
- Light Shabbat candles at the regular time.
The Chanukah Menorah needs be stay lit until 30 minutes after dark. One needs longer candles or more oil than during the week, since it needs to burn for 70 minutes or longer. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:17 The Haftorah this week is the "first" Chanuka one (רני ושמחי from Zacharia 2:14)

A little halacha can’t hurt anybody but the wicked:

Neeman slammed for desiring Torah law

Justice Minister Yacov Neeman came under fire Tuesday, after apparently expressing hope that the state's current legal system will soon be dictated by the Torah. Former justice minister and current opposition leader and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni told Army Radio on Tuesday morning that such sentiments should "be troubling to every citizen in Israel," and expressed confidence that Israel's characteristics enable a healthy blend between temporal law and halacha.

Another former justice minister, Yossi Beilin, urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire Neeman following his 'Torah' statement.

According to Beilin, "A justice minister who advocates an Israeli theocracy needs to leave his post immediately."

Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz said that Neeman's comments "undermine the foundations of the value system and the laws of a democratic country."

She said that if he meant what he said, Neeman should reconsider his position since his remarks are damaging to "entire communities and to the delicate balance that exists between a democratic state and a Jewish state."

Fellow Kadima MK Ya'acov Edri called on Neeman to resign, saying that with his remarks, the justice minister had expressed a total lack of trust in the establishment that he was appointed to head.

Meretz chairman MK Haim Oron slammed the justice minister for his "disloyalty" to Israel's principles.

"It's unfortunate that the justice minister has detached himself from the basic values of the State of Israel and is not 'loyal' to the civic and statesman-like principles," Oron said in a play on the meaning of the justice minister's name, which is Hebrew for "loyal."

"His declarations indicate a worrying process of 'Talibanization' of Israeli society that has escalated to delusional levels," he warned.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, said in response, "A justice minister that is supposed to strengthen the democratic rule of law and the legal system in Israel has chosen instead to give his backing to a group of people who see civil courts as 'goyish' and in so doing undermines the trust citizens place in the rule of law.

"Allowing halacha to take over Israeli law does not fit in with basic democratic principles and with the enlightened and progressive character of the State of Israel.

"The fact that the justice minister of the State of Israel supports such a move, even as a personal wish, is a bad sign for Israeli democracy," Kariv said.

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkovitz, however, "applauded the justice minister for his intention to base the Israeli legal system on Jewish law and give it a Jewish soul.

"No one should have reason to fear the declaration of the minister, who embodies a combination of religious values and pluralism. But there is reason to fear alegal system that does not faithfully represent the diverse opinions of the Jewish people," Hershkovitz said.

Neeman had told rabbis and rabbinical judges attending a conference in Jerusalem on Jewish monetary laws that "restoring the former glory, so that the law of the Torah is Israel's law, is really the appropriate way to endow upon us the law of Torah in stages… step after step."

Neeman repeatedly used the phrase "restoring former glory," which has become associated with Shas, after it became the religious-Sepharadi party's slogan.

"Israel should regain the heritage of our Fathers, the primary and ultimate words of the Torah, which contain a complete solution to all the questions we deal with," the justice minister continued in his address on Monday night.

"Soon, in the near future, amen," he added.

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef sent a greeting to the conference in which he stressed the halachic prohibition against using secular courts, and said that there was no halachic difference between gentile judges and Jewish judges deliberating according to gentile laws.

He called on the public to choose Jewish courts in any litigation.

Yosef quoted a halacha which states that "anyone who legislates in secular courts is raising one's hand to the Torah of Moses our teacher, he is deemed a wicked person and cannot not be counted in a minyan."

The Justice Ministry tried to quell the uproar sparked by Neeman's words.

"In the wake of reports on IDF Radio regarding his remarks at a rabbinical conference last night, Justice Minister Prof. Yacov Neeman wishes to clarify that these remarks were not a call for Jewish religious law to replace the laws of the State of Israel, either directly or indirectly.

"Minister Neeman spoke in broad and general terms about restoring the stature of Jewish law and about the importance of Jewish law to the life of the country," the statement read.

Following the "insufficient response" to the allegations, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) on Tuesday afternoon called to conduct a "swift discussion" in the Knesset's Constitution, Justice and Law Committee, which Paz-Pines is a member of, and summon Neeman to it.

"A hidden agenda has been exposed here, showing a dark outlook," Paz-Pines said in a statement. "The justice minister expressed explicit mistrust in the Israeli justice system as well as an aspiration to turn the state into a state of halacha. A justice minister who does not believe in the system he is in charge of, should ask himself what he is doing in his position," the Labor parliamentarian said.

Nazi with no regrets:

Suspect in Nazi trial admits killings member of Waffen SS hit squad, but says, 'At no time did I act with feeling that I was committing a crime'
Former Nazi Heinrich Boere confesses to killing three Dutch civilians in 1944 as a former member of the Nazi SS being tried for murder admitted in court Tuesday that he killed three Dutch civilians during World War II, but insisted he was following orders.

Heinrich Boere told the Aachen state court in a statement read by attorney Gordon Christiansen that he had killed a bicycle-shop owner, a pharmacist and another civilian in 1944 as a member of a Waffen SS hit squad. "At no time in 1944 did I act with the feeling that I was committing a crime," the 88-year-old said in his statement. "Today, after 65 years, I naturally see things from a different perspective," he added.

Germany, on the outskirts of Aachen, where he lives today. The son of a Dutch man and a German woman, he moved to the Netherlands when he was an infant.

He volunteered for the SS after the Germans had overrun his hometown of Maastricht and the rest of the Netherlands in 1940. After fighting on the Russian front, ended up back in the Netherlands as part of "Silbertanne" - a unit of largely Dutch SS volunteers responsible for reprisal killings of their countrymen for resistance attacks on collaborators.

Boere admitted the three killings to Dutch authorities when he was in captivity after the war but managed to escape from his POW camp and eventually return to Germany. He was sentenced to death in the Netherlands in 1949 - later commuted to life imprisonment - but has managed to avoid jail so far.,7340,L-3816907,00.html

Ari wrote when I put this on Facebook the following: "Yeah, because having a "feeling" that you're committing a crime is an essential 
element of criminal conduct.
I would LOVE to use that defense.  Sure, my client stole a car after pistol 
whipping the driver, but he didn't have any feeling he was committing a crime.  
Case dismissed."

Gog u’Magog:

The wicked reign before the Moshiach:,7340,L-3818345,00.html

Are Osama bin Laden's whereabouts really unknown? December 10, 2009, 10:58 AM (GMT+02:00) Nearly a decade after al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden vanished, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources have a good sense of his present location. Find out about al Qaeda's new set-up and what bin Laden has in store - in our coming issue out this Friday.

Another story:

How to make money as a terrorist and finance your terror organization:

From Eliza will the real racist please stand up!!!

Now for Matis Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Stories: Indian Summer and Oil Spill

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's portion Vayishlach, we read some of the most amazing verses in the entire Torah. The Torah tells us how Yakov fought with a malach - an angel until the break of dawn. On the simplest level, the verses are describing how Yakov had a knock down, drag out fight with an angel. After fighting, the angel gave Yakov a new name, Yisroel. The verse states: "And he [the malach - angel] said, Your name shall be called no more Yakov, but Yisrael; for as a prince you have power with G-d and with men, and have prevailed." (Bereishis 32:29)
We can also understand these verses on a deeper spiritually rewarding level. Namely, all of our struggles in life are tests from Hashem. Hashem gives us challenges so that we can grow from them. This is similar to a teacher who gives assignments to his students so that they can learn. Just as Hashem sent the malach - the angel to fight with Yakov, so too does Hashem send us challenges every day.
A few years ago a young Israeli in his early twenties entered Rabbi Wilhelm's Chabad House and stood before the massive bookcase filled with Torah books with a bewildered look on his face. Rabbi Wilhelm asked him if he needed help and he replied that he was looking for a book on Judaism.
When the Rabbi suggested that perhaps they learn something on the book of Bereshis (Genesis) the fellow asked if that was a Jewish book and when he heard it was, agreed to sit and learn. The young man (we will call him Erez) grew up on an atheistic Israeli Kibbutz where religion (especially the Jewish religion) was branded as no more than a crutch for the crippled. So it was no wonder that he knew virtually nothing about Judaism. Erez told the Rabbi that a few months ago he and his girlfriend, from another Kibbutz, decided to ditch Israel for a few months (at least) and set off for an unforgettable tour of the Far East together …. like tens of thousands of other Israelis.
They traveled from one exotic country to another, met the people, ate the food, camped out in jungles, climbed mountains … but were careful to call home regularly to let their family know they were still alive.
Several months into their journey in one of his calls home Erez's parents made an interesting proposition. His sister was coming from Canada to visit Erez's parents in Eretz Yisroel for two weeks. They suggested that they would pay Erez's way, round trip, and they would love to have him for a family reunion.
He talked it over with his girlfriend, she agreed and a day later he was back in Israel with his family. There was a wonderful warm feeling of love and unity that he never felt before. They ate together, spoke, sang, laughed, reminisced and took walks together every day and after two weeks his sister flew back to Canada, he kissed his parents good bye and returned to his girlfriend in Thailand.
When his plane landed he called to tell his parents that he arrived safely but his mother, fighting back the tears gave him some terrible news. Just minutes after his plane took off his father suffered a heart attack and …. passed away.
The burial was to take place in a few moments. Erez was stunned. Not being religious he didn't even consider a period of mourning but it was a shock to his entire being; especially the wonderful irony of the family reunion. He felt "lucky" to have been able to spend time with his father before his untimely passing and he even began to feel that there was some G-dly force involved with that "luck."
But every time he brought it up to his girlfriend she just fell silent; she wanted to just enjoy the trip and concentrate on happy, non-religious things. And that's what Erez did. The weeks passed, the trip went on and they were enjoying every moment of it together.
But once in a while, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon as they were walking in the street, sometimes before he went to sleep, the mystery of it all suddenly welled up in his heart like a mysterious ocean until he took his mind off it. Then his girlfriend came up with a fantastic idea; she heard of that a very special yoga master in India was beginning an unforgettable ten-day silence and meditation seminar and she wanted that they should go. But for the first time Erez disagreed. How could it be that she didn't want to speak about Jewish things but she did want to go to an ashram? He respected her desire for the seminar, but he wanted something different. So they talked it over and decided that they wouldn't be able to be together in the meditation seminar. They would part ways for ten days and he would go to learn about Judaism.
In fact, he didn't really have much of a plan but he had been briefly in the Chabad House in Bangkok (his girlfriend stood outside and didn't even want to enter while he looked around) which was the only religious Jewish place he had been to in his life and figured that maybe they would teach him. Rabbi Wilhelm was more than happy to arrange a full day of teachers for Erez and even take time every day to personally teach him. But when he suggested that he should first of all put on Tefillin for a minute or so, Erez flatly refused; he hated religion, he came only to learn.
But at learning he was fantastic. He took to the books like a fish to water. He asked tens of questions on each detail and enjoyed the answers but at every opportunity he was careful to declare that it would never bring him to change his lifestyle. Then, two days later, he suddenly approached Rabbi Wilhelm and said he wanted to put on Tefillin. Rabbi Wilhelm didn't ask questions. Before Erez could change his mind he took out his Tefillin as quickly as possible and showed Erez how to put them on ….. for the first time in his life.
"You're probably wondering why I suddenly changed my mind and put on Tefillin." Erez asked when he finished. Rabbi Wilhelm nodded 'yes'.
"Well, last night when I called home and told my mother that I decided to learn in the Chabad House she began to cry. She said that she would never have even thought of telling me, but now that I mention Chabad, she has a secret about my father to reveal. She told me that over fifty years ago Chabad helped him to get out of Russia and he got to know them. He didn't like religion, not at all. But the Chabad people made a good impression and, well... he used to put on Tefillin every day. "He didn't want anyone to know. Especially the people in the Kibbutz, so he used to put them in the bathroom where no one would see. But he did it every single morning till the day he died. He was proud to be a Jew. And that is why I decided to put on today."
After her seminar Erez's girlfriend returned to Bangkok to resume their trip but she was in for a surprise; Erez wanted one more week and he wanted her to join him! It wasn't an ultimatum. He made it clear that he would do what she decided. So they talked it over. She agreed to the week but there was no way she would even set foot in the Chabad House. But on the other hand she knew that Erez was no fool. He was a clever young man, and had been as big an atheist as herself, maybe bigger. She didn't want to be closed minded. So they came to an agreement; he could have one more week and she would participate from 'outside'.
Every morning Erez would enter the Chabad House with a list of questions she had prepared the night before and after each class he would go outside, meet her, they would discuss the answers and he would enter with more questions.
The week ended, Erez announced that he was continuing his trip, said goodbye and Rabbi Wilhelm returned to the hundreds of visitors that pass through the Chabad House every day.
A year later Rabbi Wilhelm, was invited to speak at several institutions in Israel the last of which was the Yeshiva in Tzfas where four hundred-plus students learn. As he entered the building and the Rabbis there greeted him and shook his hand, someone from behind him yelled "Hey, Rabbi!!" and as he turned to see who it was one of the bearded young men ran up, hugged him warmly, gave him a kiss on the cheek and stepped back saying "Don't you recognize me?"
Rabbi Wilhelm was baffled. "It's me! It's Erez! Remember? A year ago? Remember? how my father passed away?"
The Rabbi could not believe his eyes. "Wow!" He exclaimed" Of course I remember! It's a miracle! But what about your girlfriend? What happened? How is she?"
"Listen Rabbi" Erez moved closer and spoke in a low voice, "You better watch out! There are a lot of people that I think are after your life! A lot!"
"My life?" he replied "Are you serious? Why? Who? What has that got to do with your girlfriend? Why are you smiling?" "Who?" Erez answered "All the people in my kibbutz… and in my girlfriend's as well!! That's right, she is now learning around the corner in M'chone Alte, the Chabad College for girls. And the people in our Kibbutzim are blazing mad! They're going out of their minds!"
A few months later Rabbi Wilhelm got an invitation to their wedding and just recently he heard they were hired by a Chabad House to do what the Rebbe sent him to do… wake up Jews.
If we fight hard and rise to the challenges as Yakov did, then we will merit to be called Yisroel, meaning, as the verse says: "a prince [who has] power with Hashem and with men." Good Shabbos Everyone.

Good Shabbos Everyone. More than 100 years ago, a rabbi from Jerusalem Reb Lipa Kalashefsky (not his real name) traveled abroad to collect money for a mitzvah cause. Reb Lipa arrived in Milan, Italy on erev Shabbos in the morning. Knowing nobody in Milan, Reb Lipa began walking through town hoping he would find a Jewish neighborhood and a place to stay for Shabbos. Suddenly, a horse drawn carriage drew up alongside of Reb Lipa. The carriage stopped and the passenger called out to Reb Lipa "Shalom Aleichem! What is a Jew like you doing in Milan?"
Reb Lipa looked up with surprise and said "I am here from Jerusalem and I am looking for the Jewish neighborhood." "You are in luck" said the wealthy carriage rider as he climbed down the steps of the coach and greeted Reb Lipa with a firm handshake. Mr. Hilvicht then invited Reb Lipa to spend Shabbos with the Hilvicht family. Having nowhere to stay, Reb Lipa quickly accepted the invitation.
Several hours later, Reb Lipa was sitting at the lavish Shabbos table of the Hilvicht family, enjoying a sumptuous Shabbos meal. The Hilvicht home was full of beautiful crystal bowls, flasks and silverware. However, among the expensive items in the china cabinet, Reb Lipa noticed a broken glass flask. The broken flask looked out-of-place among the china and silverware. Reb Lipa was very curious about the broken flask, and he asked Mr. Hilvicht what the story was behind it. Mr. Hilvicht then told Reb Lipa the following amazing story:
Mr. Hilvicht was born and raised in a Torah observant home in Amsterdam. When he was 18 years old, young Mr. Hilvicht traveled to Italy to help his ailing grandfather run his business. Soon after Mr. Hilvicht arrived, his grandfather passed away. His parents wanted him to sell the business and return home. However, young Mr. Hilvicht had already gotten a taste for business and therefore the young man decided to stay in Italy and run the business his grandfather left behind. Soon, business was booming and Mr. Hilvicht opened up a second store.
One day, Mr. Hilvicht was so busy with his work that he did not pray mincha. That was the beginning of his slide away from Yiddishkeit. Soon, he missed shacharis too. One by one, Mr. Hilvicht dropped all of his mitzvah observance. Eventually Mr. Hilvicht married and had children. He became very wealthy although his practice of mitzvahs was almost non-existent.
One winter afternoon, Mr. Hilvicht was walking down a street where some Jewish children were playing. All the kids seemed to be happy except for one boy who was crying "What will I tell my father?... What will I tell my father?" the crying boy kept repeating. Mr. Hilvicht stopped to see what was the matter. The crying boy told Mr. Hilvicht that his father had given him money to buy a flask of oil for lighting Chanukah lights. On the way back home, the boy with the flask of oil joined his friends and played with them. Somehow, the boy managed to drop the flask of oil, breaking it and losing the expensive oil. Mr. Hilvicht felt bad for the child and went back to the store and bought for the boy a much larger flask of oil. The boy headed home once again, this time more carefully.
As Mr. Hilvicht walked home, the words of the little boy rang in his ears. "What will I tell my father? What will I tell my father?" Indeed, thought Mr. Hilvicht, "what will I tell my Father in Heaven?" Mr. Hilvicht had almost forgotten about Chanukah. What excuse would he have before his Father in Heaven on Judgment day?
Mr. Hilvicht walked back to where the children were playing and gathered up the pieces of glass from the broken oil flask. That night, to the surprise of his wife and children, Mr. Hilvicht lit a Chanukah candle. The next night he lit two and with each passing night he increased the number of candles he lit. He stared at the flickering candles, thinking back to the home of his parents in Amsterdam. He suddenly felt how far he had fallen. That Chanukah was the beginning of his return to Yiddishkeit. With the understanding of his family, Mr. Hilvicht and his wife began to educate their children in the way of the Torah.
The Shechina does not rest within 10 handbreadths of the ground. However, it is mitzvah to place the Chanukah Menorah within 10 handbreadths of the ground. Why is this? Because the Chanukah lights have a tremendous power to bring holiness where holiness is not found. Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah 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

Remember to light the Chanucha Candles first about 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the Shabbos Candles. (See last week's blogspot) or Danny's post above.

Be well and have a great Shabbos and Happy Chanucha.

Rachamim Pauli