Friday, January 15, 2010

Parsha Vaiera, Rabbi Yehiel London Zal, Good Shabbos Story

Raphael Avraham Ben Golda, Chazkel ben Frumet need prayers.

Esther bas Chana has a few days to live so keep praying until further notice and Rivka bat Shirin Rachel (pancreatic cancer) passed away.

Nach Nafsha D’Rav HaGadol Mori Rabbi Yechiel Yehuda ben Spritza and Sturya London Zal

Behind the Scenes, the working of the Rabbi and his brother

The London Brothers formed Jewish Boys High School in the 1940’s and eventually expanded it into Yeshiva Haichel HaTorah. Rabbi Yechiel was 16 years old at the time and taught people quite a bit older than himself as well as the younger fellows. They inherited a reasonable sum of money from their father and poured that into buying the apartments for the dormitories and the school building. They took over an old convent, the defunct 149th Reform Synagogue and an apartment building in the upper west side of Manhattan that became in the course of time Spanish Harlem. It was right near the uptown branch of City College of New York. The Yeshiva functioned mainly on donations as the brothers took in Orphans, Jewish School drop-outs either due to financial problems or religious conflicts in the child with a modern society. They took in children from mixed marriages, broken homes and myself as a senior in College with essentially no money for tuition.

Rabbi Yacov Zal had an MS in Mathematics from Columbia University and could have gone further in secular studies and teaching. Instead, he gave that all up to become the Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbi Yechiel Yehuda Zal whom we called Rabbi Yehuda for short was the Dean of the High School. It was his job to wake up the boys because once Rabbi Yacov tried to wake up a friend in his Yeshiva Days and got a shoe thrown at him. When I came there, I had volunteered to work to pay my tuition through substitute teaching (I did that only once), working in the office, helping with Bingo and waking the boys up. Of course the Rabbi had to first wake me up at 7 AM with the “Modeh Ani” (I thank THEE for restoring my soul unto me). The Rebbitzen told me that the Rabbi woke up at 5AM daily and worked until 11 PM. The Rabbi’s job was not an easy job in keeping 9th to 12th graders under control and even we College aged fellows sometimes sort of laughed under their breath at the younger ones antics. The Rabbi could not allow these silly antics to disrupt a Torah Shuir or prayer.

Another fellow slightly older than I named Rabbi Aaron Vachss Shlita taught in Haichel and also learned in CCNY. He was in charge of keeping the Morning Prayer. Sometimes one or both Rabbis were going to morning Minyanim to raise money to pay for all the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva had a few cars that was donated to them. One was the famous Ford disaster called the Edsel which somehow ran and transported bread and cakes a day or two old from a Bakery from Washington Heights. They also donated Challos for Shabbos and rolls which were a plenty – yet most of young fellows never appreciated all this.

Sometimes the Rabbis educated young men whom were older than themselves like the late Rabbi Moshe Stewart Zal who passed away many years ago at the age of 79 and a man whom I met 40 years ago who was 54 years old at the time. During the 40’s they were the only baal Tshuvah Yeshiva perhaps in the world. The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe also took up the flag to help people from assimilated families and he opened up Hadar HaTorah in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The main cook of the Yeshiva was the mother of the Rabbis who was still going strong while the Rabbis were working on Russian Jewish Immigrants to the States in the 1970’s – 1980’s in Brooklyn NY. My daughter was just around 8 in 1982 when we visited the States and the Rabbi got mattresses and put us up in an apartment. My daughter like some of the Haichel Boys who were picky got angry when Mama London said, “Eat your eggs and drink your juice it is very good for you.”

The Rabbi and his Torah

The Rabbi had the unpleasant job of disciplining the boys. This might be paying a quarter for coming late to Torah Shuir, and when a teenage did something nonsensical to we adults, he was on the scene and would say, “I just don’t understand how you could do such a thing.” Being in College at the time and just past my teens, I sort of understood what the fellow had done and his illogic. But after I became a teacher and father, I understood the Rabbi’s question much better.

The Rabbi did not really rest on Shabbos. While the older Rabbi usually asked around the evening dinner table for the boys to explain the Parsha, each ending of one of the books of the Chumosh meant reciting the names of the Parshiyos of the Chumosh we have just finished and the names of the Parshiyos of the next Chumosh. For some it was easy as they were Frum from birth but for others like me it was quick memory that saved me from embarrassment. The younger had to look after his own little children who were at the table or riding a tricycle around the dining hall but also that the boys sang and were quiet during the meals. Most of the boys were well behaved but there is always an exception to the rule. A fellow whom we called Iowa was always wild and out of order perhaps he had an attention deficiency order one day in front of everybody dropped the F bomb at the Rabbi. The result was immediate suspension and the usual spectator situation turned ugly when he tried to get physical with the Rabbi. We older fellows jumped to our feet but the Rabbi said that he could handle it alone.

Being a Dean did not mean getting much teaching time in as somebody had to check up on maintenance workers, order the heating fuel worry about boys that took ill or in my case visit a mourner like myself less than a week into my Yeshiva learning. The Rabbi was running around preparing exams and meeting with and hiring secular teachers. He had to break up fights among the teens although reasonably rare at the Yeshiva. On top of all this, the Rabbi had to be a father to his children and a husband to his Rebbitzen.

Each week we would hear the Parsha from the Rabbi and he would step in and substitute for teaching us from time to time if our Rebbe could not be there for the Shuir. The Rabbi knew back and forth all the Yeshiva Gemaros. However, we never had a chance to hear him without his brother who eclipsed many a Rabbi. It was only when he came to visit his brother and sister-in-law in Eretz Yisrael did we get to hear him by himself give him speak for about 45 minutes Torah. Suddenly, I saw him on a level with the Roshei Yeshiva of Grodno and Ponovez. He was able for once to enlighten us by himself. He continued to give shiurim right up until he became ill about a month plus ago. I received this notice for this week: G-d willing, the Wednesday shiur of R' Yechiel, Zal will be in session tonight right after Maariv (at 1750 E. 18 St, Brooklyn, NY). The topic will be shigagas tumah & shigagas Mikdash in the beginning of Shavuos. Your attendance & participation are requested.

The high school boys did not appreciate the 24/7 of Dean, Principal, Guidance Councilor, Purchasing & Logistics, Maintenance and the one who worried where the next few meals of the boys were coming from – most fellows took this for granted.

Now the rewards in this world for the Rabbi were not financial but able to see some of his students become ordained in the Yeshiva, some go on to Lakewood and the large amount of students who went on to Eretz Yisrael. Some of the students of the Rabbi have produced after themselves two or three generations of Torah Scholars with daughters and granddaughters who are teachers or some other profession and raising frum children. If we consider that over 69 years the Rabbi worked with untold number of boys and young men, the influence is of his is in the thousands of people and their children learning Torah. His work in this world has come to an end but his nephews and son are continuing to further Torah among many. He told the doctors all throughout his hospitalization that he had a lot of work to do so he hoped that they would cure him. He passed away at the age of 85 but looked much younger than his age as his passion for Torah was that of a young man.

One of the older Talmidim of Rabbi London was interviewed by 5 Towns Radio:

Rabbi Dov Wolowitz, a close Talmid of Rabbi London, spoke with Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the 5TJT on Motzei Shabbos.

YH: Reb Dov, what can you tell me about Rabbi London’s earlier history - before he opened Nefesh Academy for Russians?

DW: Oh please, Nefesh was the last of his accomplishments. He goes back 60 years ago when kiruv was not popular at all. There was no one doing kiruv except for Lubavitch.

YH: Just to clarify, we are talking about Reb Yechiel London, and his brother who was niftar (passed away) a while back. What can you tell me about them?

They were brilliant. They were students of Rav Dovid Leibowitz Zatzal in Chofetz Chaim on South Ninth Street. I was a Talmid of them, at Yeshiva Heichal HaTorah maybe 55 years ago. We were on Howard Avenue. The neighborhood declined and they used an old shul in Brownsville. I remember sitting there once; they must have had at that time 50 people in yeshiva. There was no heat, we were all sitting in the Beis Midrash bundled up, and Rabbi London walked in and he took off his jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, the aish of the Torah will warm us up. That was the fire.

YH: Tell me more about Rabbi London.

DW: He had a special bren (fire) that no one else had.. I have been around for many years and have seen many people, but Rabbi London had a greatness that I never saw in anyone.. He had an untiring motivation to do for Klal Yisroel - all he though about and worried about was his lost brothers and sisters - assimilation. This was a fire that nobody else had. Nobody.

YH: How did he inspire people? How did he get people to come?

DW: We had a a camp in Mountaindale called Machane Torah we called it Camp MayTo for short. We would get Talmud Torah kids. In the old days, every shul had Talmud Torahs where kids would go after public school. They sent their kids to Hebrew school. We went around targeting these kids for the camp. Every summer we’d get 100 kids or so, and run a camp. We called it a Talmud Torah camp..

YH What was your involvement in this, you were a student of Rabbi London and helped him out?

DW: Yes. I went there at 15 years old. From public school I went to Rabbi London’s high school and then I went to Lakewood. I came back and helped him recruit boys for his high school.

YH: You went from public school to Rabbi London and then to Lakewood? That doesn’t happen!

DW: Well it did with me. There were a lot of other people too, now Roshei Yeshiva. Many went onto the other Yeshivos, the Mirrer, Chofetz Chaim, Rav Moshe Feinstein..

YH: When did Reb Yechiel’s brother pass away? Rabbi Yaakov London?

DW: About 4 or 5 years ago. They used to go out at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and go to Washington market. They would take the back seat out of the car and bring the sack of potatoes, vegetables, etc. Their mother was the cook. It is not like today’s day and age.

YH: What can we learn from them now?

DW: Nowadays, they just don’t do this. Try to get a boy from public school into a Yeshiva high school. They just don’t do it. No one even wants to do it. Well they did. Yeshivas could learn how he worried about people. He would say, “Five percent of Klal Yisroel is frum. 95% is not. Imagine if a person weighs 500 pounds and he loses 10 pounds do you see much of a difference?”

YH: What was talking with him like?

DW: There was never small talk with him. You would say how are you? He would say, “Tell me a vort…” (a word of Torah)
There was always munning - demanding of you to do and perform. He would say, “Are you learning??”

YH: Tell me about his efforts with the Russians..

DW: When the Russian Jews were coming to the United States, some came to Israel, but many came here to Kennedy Airport in the United States. They were in the airport. I got calls from Rabbi London at the airport. There were hundreds of Russian Jews sitting on top of boxes. They had no place to go. He was there with a table giving cake and sodas. Calling people at night erev Rosh Hashana to take them in. They called families in Brooklyn, putting them in taxis to take them to frum homes.

He was at least 85 years old.

He came to my office tzubrochen - either arthritis or Parkinson’s. He would just pop in and say, “You don’t know what is going on in the college campuses. Yeshiva kids are falling like flies. They become unfrum. You have no idea what is doing there. They take off their Yarmulkes and become completely irreligious. They stop davening. They don’t even put on Tefillin! He made in his basement and built a wing with rooms. Every Shabbos he had a Shabbos Yeshiva from the college kids. One Shabbos he had boys. One shabbos he had girls. He would learn with them and said, we got to keep these kids frum.
He did this at 85 years old. Can you imagine?

He was in the hospital the last seven weeks. I went to see him. He could barely speak. He said, “Dov you got to promise me, we have got to build more rooms, to take care of these frum people.”

He was a giant. There was nothing but Kiruv. Everyone used to laugh at him back then. Nobody did it. He was the only one that really cared. His wife was by his side every step of the way.

YH: Any other thoughts?

DW: I must tell you that there was nobody like Rabbi London. There was no such thing as batala by him. He was the greatest inspirational force in my life. I admired him I looked up to him. He was a gavrah rabbah. A giant. People did not appreciate him.

Yehei Zichro Boruch...By Rabbi Yair Hoffman - Published on 09/01/2010

P.S. - regarding the Russian Jews, the Rabbis took in the boys and educated them with secular and Jewish studies. One Shabbos they invited the families to stay over in the Yeshiva. The parents came with pens & paper and carried umbrellas. The Rabbis said nothing about these obvious Shabbos violation. They only talked in Yiddish about the wisdom of Torah and the Holiness of the Day. Gradually some of these whole families became Frum. Whoever saves one life is as if he saved the world as Adam was created single. The foundation to my own Torah learning was cast by both of the London Brothers who worked tirelessly for us, the students.

Rav Dovid Leibowitz Zatzal towards the end of his life was a frail man in his 80’s and could not make it up the States either in his house or the Yeshiva. Rabbi Yacov carried him up the stairs. From this I learned the honor one must accord to his Rosh Yeshiva. Yacov Glicksman Zal used to say, “My parents gave me life in this world; Rabbis London gave me life in the next.”

Reminder to all – Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh and a special version of the Mussaf Prayer and the Shabbos Maftir and Haftarah is read not to mention Hallel and grace after meals. This is the only Halacha that will appear this week: Rosh Chodesh Shvat will be on Shabbat. One has to add Ya'aleh Veyavo into the Amida and Birkat Hamazon. One should add an extra dish to the Shabbat meals in honor of Rosh Chodesh. After Hallel we will read from 2 Sifrei Torah; the second one for Rosh Chodesh, followed by the Shabbat-Rosh-Chodesh Haphtarah. In Mussaf one says the "Ata Yetzarta - אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ" version which talks about both the Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices. (The last time we said אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ was 9 months ago!) Ya'aleh Veyavo is not said in Mussaf. Source: Shulchan Aruch 525:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:3 Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov, - Danny

Parsha Vaeira

The preparation for the making of a Nation separated from the native land in which the Bnei Yisrael grew up and lived for 209 years is taking place so that when the 210th year occurs which is the 400th year of the anniversary of the birth of Yitzchak, they shall become a free Nation. If we look into the making of the United States where the men were free, it took from the 18th of April in 1775 until the 2nd Continental Congress and the inauguration of George Washington as President on April 30th 1789 a 14 year process did the United States as we know it become a nation. Am Yisrael was to make the transition in one year but to really mold a free-thinking people it would take 40 years in the Midbar to complete and remove the slave mentality.

6:2 And God spoke unto Moses, and said unto him: 'I am the LORD;

and He said to him, I am the Lord: [Meaning: I am] faithful to recompense all those who walk before Me. I did not send you [to Pharaoh] except to fulfill My words, which I spoke to the early fathers. In this sense, we find that it אִנִי ה is interpreted in many places [in Scripture] as “I am the Lord,” [meaning that I am] faithful to exact retribution. [It has this meaning] when it is stated in conjunction with [an act warranting] punishment, e.g., “or you will profane the name of your God; I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:12). When it is stated in conjunction with the fulfillment of commandments, e.g., “And you shall keep My commandments and perform them; I am the Lord” (Lev. 22:31), [it means: I am] faithful to give reward.

This is a very import principle. If you are loyal and loving to ME then I shall be the same to you and the reverse heaven forbid is true as stated in Parsha Behukotai.

3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name YHWH I made Me not known to them.

I made promises to them, in all of which I said to them, “I am the Almighty God.” but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them. It is not written here לֹא הוֹדַעְךְתִּי, “but My Name YHWH I did not make known to them,” but לֹא נוֹדַעְךְתִּי, “I did not become known.” [I.e.,] I was not recognized by them with My attribute of keeping faith, by dint of which My name is called YHWH, [which means that I am] faithful to verify My words, for I made promises to them, but I did not fulfill [them while they were alive].

Last year I wrote: NOTE THE FOLLOWING I HAVE TRIED TO BRING DOWN TO THE LAYMAN’S LEVEL: The NAME Yod-Kay (Kay = Hay but we do not say it or write it so according to modern custom) and Tetragramation Yod Kay Vav Kay, the three 42 letter NAMES and the 72 letter NAME were unknown in the past. The Patriarchs and Tribes knew Kale Shadkai which one can translate as ALL MIGHTY or OMNIPRESENT.

With the full NAME(S) of the L-RD, Moshe learned about other things about the physical and spiritual universe around him. First he learned that what we see with our eyes is only a fraction of the spectrum. The spiritual world is capable of seeing the Gamma Rays, X-Rays, Ultra Violet and infra-red spectrum and with that many spiritual things on the same plane. With ones eyes closed or on a physics graph one can imagine this. The same for sound, smell, taste and touch. (The amazing thing about all this to me is that long before science caught up, the children of Israel knew about these extra wave lengths.) Then HASHEM taught Moshe how he ruled over the four forms of matter Air (gases), Fire (Plasma), Earth (solids) and Water (liquids). For everything on earth Moshe learned there was a spiritual value. If we were to break down the four forms of creatures or things that are on this planet we would start with the lowest such as inanimate. Thus metals like gold, silver, iron and copper have different grades of spiritual values. (Moshe was not shown the periodic table but only the known metals of his time). I might add that the properties of each stone of the Ephod of the Cohain Gadol were shown to Moshe at this time and then repeated later on when the placement and tribe to be inscribed were made known to him. The next level is the plant kingdom where oak, cedars and other plant life were shown for their spiritual levels. Then came the animal kingdom and lastly the “Midaber” kingdom or mankind. The basic principles of reincarnation were made know to Moshe and he learned that in most cases a Bnei Yisrael will reincarnate depending on his merits as another Ben Yacov either as a Yisrael, Levi or Cohain depending on his Mitzvos and Avairos. A blind person we might look on as a poor person but he might be a big Tzaddik who had a Yetzer to go after his eyes and traded them in for the short time of 120 years in this world so has not to be tempted and then he could go to heaven. Of course for greater sins (when HASHEM told Moshe of the 613 Mitzvos) one might become a non-Jew so as not be tempted to violate the ban on pork, chelev (forbidden fat) or creeping things. [Recently one of the Israeli TV stations had a survivor type program where they had to eat these things – being ignoramuses. However uneducated as they were the program planners and the participants violated these negative commands. Since they were so boorish the sin was by shogeg (unintentional) and they will have to bring a Korban (Sacrifice) when the Temple is rebuilt speedily in our days. ] …

I began thinking deeper into the reason for the full name vs. the simple name. Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov were simple shepherds with honest to goodness simple faint hence the ALL MIGHTY was good enough for them to protect them, prophesize and live by. However, a nation with artisans, craftsmen, salesmen, traders, merchants needed a more awesome, fearsome, judging and merciful manifestation of the L-RD.

4 And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned.

And also, I established My covenant, etc.: And also, when I appeared to them as the Almighty God, I established and set up a covenant between Myself and them.give them the land of Canaan: To Abraham in the section dealing with [the commandment of] circumcision (Gen. 17), it is said: “I am the Almighty God… And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings” (Gen. 17:1, 8). To Isaac [it is stated], “for to you and to your seed I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham” (Gen. 26:3), and that oath which I swore to Abraham was spoken with the [name] “Almighty God.” To Jacob [it is said], “I am the Almighty God; be fruitful and multiply, etc. And the land that, etc.” (Gen. 35:11, 12). So you see that I vowed to them [many vows], but I did not fulfill [My vows yet].

5 And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.

And also, I heard: Just as I established and set up the covenant, it is incumbent upon Me to fulfill [it]. Therefore, I heard the moans [complaints] of the children of Israel, who are moaning. whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage. I remembered: that covenant [which I made with Abraham], for in the Covenant between the Parts, I said to him, “And also the nation that they will serve will I judge” (Gen. 15:14).

I love them and they love ME and I am faithful to whom I love and MY word.

6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel: I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments; 7 and I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am the LORD.' 9 And Moses spoke so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for impatience of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

… 13 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses: the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. These are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon and Kohath, and Merari. And the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years. 19 And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years.

Jochebed, his aunt: Heb. דֹדָתוֹ [Onkelos renders:] his father’s sister, the daughter of Levi, the sister of Kehath.

In places like India this could mean cousin. However, it does not matter if she is his aunt or Yacov married two sisters because this is before Matan Torah (giving of the law) and therefore they were subject to the laws of Noach only.

21 And the sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, to wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

The sister of Nahshon: From here we learn that one who contemplates taking a wife must [first] investigate her brothers. — [from B.B. 110a, Exod. Rabbah 7:5]

24 And the sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their families.

[one] of the daughters of Putiel-: Of the seed of Jethro, who fattened (פִּטֵּ ם) calves for idolatry (see Rashi on Exod. 2:16) and [who was also] of the seed of Joseph, who defied and fought (פִּטְפֵּט) against his passion [when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife]. — [from B.B. 109b]

Because this was also before Matan Torah marrying a non-Jewish convert would not reduce the Kahuna status of Pinchas as the nation went according to the father.

26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said: 'Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.'

That is Aaron and Moses: Who are mentioned above [verse 20], whom Jochebed bore to Amram, [these two] are [the same] Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, etc. In some places, [Scripture] places Aaron before Moses, and in other places it places Moses before Aaron, to tell us that they were equal. — [from Mechilta, 7:1]

This is the whole purpose of this whole section of the Torah.

27 These are they that spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron. 28 And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spoke unto Moses in the land of Egypt,

At this point something should be bothering everybody. The Torah explains all these tribes and leaves out Yehuda onwards so me only have 25% of the tribes mentioned here. Obviously G-D had a reason or two for this. The reason for three tribes is the order and also to show that each tribe was equal in the eyes of G-D. The reason of stopping at Levi was just to establish the lineage of Moshe.

29 that the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 'I am the LORD; speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee.' 30 And Moses said before the LORD: 'Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?'

7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'See, I have set thee in God's stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. 2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

For the first five plagues, Pharaoh was given the chance to repent. The magicians could duplicate with hydrochloric acid and phenolphalic solution that the ‘water’ turned to blood and with the frog they used witchcraft. However, the lice were too small for the Shaydim known in other religions as Demons, Genies, etc. to move them. Then it was ‘the finger of G-D’.

A bas Noach named Colleen asked me “Why did G-D harden Pharaoh’s heart?”

1) Because a normal human when he realizes that he is up against G-D chances his ways. (2) To work more miracles to sanctify HIS NAME. (3) The first 5 plagues were sufficient but each time Pharaoh hardened his own heart so that G-D closed the gates of repentance to him.

It would be improper of me not to bring down what Rashi says on the subject of hardening of Pharaoh’s heart: But I will harden: Since he [Pharaoh] behaved wickedly and defied Me, and I know full well that there is no delight among the nations to make a wholehearted attempt to repent, it is better for Me that his heart be hardened, so that [I can] increase My signs and My wonders in him, and you will recognize My mighty deeds, and so is the custom of the Holy One, blessed be He. He brings retribution on the nations so that Israel should hear and fear, as it is said: “I have cut off nations; their towers have become desolate… I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will accept reproof’” (Zeph. 3:6, 7). Nevertheless, in the first five plagues, it does not say, “And the Lord strengthened Pharaoh’s heart,” but “Pharaoh’s heart remained steadfast.” -[from Exod. Rabbah 13:3, 11:6; Tanchuma Buber, Va’era 22; Yeb. 63a]

4 But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.' 6 And Moses and Aaron did so; as the LORD commanded them, so did they. 7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spoke unto Pharaoh.

Since G-D is above time, HE knows the future as well as the fact stated in the Yom Kippur Machzor “HE knows what goes on in each kidney(s) and heart(s) (of mankind).” In the Machzor since it is the individual praying it says kidneys and heart – the purpose in my train of thought is that we can have 6-7,000,000,000,000 people on this planet and countless animals and insects, each one lives by the will of G-D and HE knows what is going on.

8 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 9 'When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying: Show a wonder for you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it became a serpent.' 10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their secret arts. 12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.

This is Pharaoh hardening his own heart and G-D did not do anything to harden his heart. It is only later like some narcissus politicians refusing to admit that they were wrong that G-D hardens their hearts. (Can anybody think or a dozen or more in Israel, United Kingdom and the United States) Sometimes G-D gives us a pat on the rear like a loving father and it is time to wake up. I can guarantee you that if Stephen Hawkins or Albert Einstein were politicians that the other side of the political spectrum would question their intelligence. About 900 years ago the Rambam was questioned on his philosophy by the religious establishment. Today we have the Zoo Rabbi approved and then rejected by the establishment. So in this vein of thought Pharaoh pursed his goal blindly and stubbornly.

14 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Pharaoh's heart is stubborn, he refuses to let the people go. 15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goes out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thy hand. 16 And thou shalt say unto him: The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, hath sent me unto thee, saying: Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness; and, behold, hitherto thou hast not hearkened; 17 thus says the LORD: In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD--behold, I will smite with the rod that is in my hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. 18 And the fish that are in the river shall die, and the river shall become foul; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink water from the river.' 19 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'

Their ponds: Water that does not spring [from beneath the ground] and does not flow [to any other place] but stands in one place. It is called estanc [in Old French], pond. Throughout the entire land of Egypt, even in the bathhouses and in the bathtubs in the houses. Even in wood and in stone: Water in wooden vessels and in stone vessels. — [from Onkelos, Jonathan, Exod. Rabbah 9:11]

I mentioned years ago that the Reform movement was trying to tell me that red clay fell into the Nile and caused a fish kill. However, it appears to me that this strange as this is not the rainy season and clay even from an earth quake should not last 7 days and the river smells foul. Could it have been red algae? But why would the water in wooden and stone vessels or pools collected before the river turned to blood turn red as it was good beforehand? The only conclusion that I can draw from this is a complete miracle for clay would have settled to the bottom of these vessels which were standing and water which was algae free the day before or longer would not form in these vessels as the Nile is flowing. This would be equivalent to bottled water turning suddenly red.

20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21 And the fish that were in the river died; and the river became foul, and the Egyptians could not drink water from the river; and the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 And the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.

With their secret rites: Heb. בְּלָטֵיהֶם, an incantation which they uttered silently and in secret (בְּלָּט). [This follows Onkelos.] Our Rabbis, however, said: בְּלָטֵיהֶם means acts of demons. בְּלַהִטֵיהֶם means acts of magic. — [from Sanh. 67b] [See above commentary on verse 11.] בלטיהם: And Pharaoh’s heart was steadfast: saying, “You are doing this through sorcery. ‘You are bringing straw to Aphraim,’ a city that is full of straw. So too you bring magic to Egypt, which is [already] full of magic.” - from Exod. Rabbah 9:11, Men. 85a]

23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he lay even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. 25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river.

The Egyptians may have had wine and other liquids that kept them from dying of thirst as no mention of man or beast dying during this period although this might have happened and just was not recorded as it was a relatively small percentage and insignificant for Pharaoh and his advisors.

26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses: 'Go in unto Pharaoh, and say unto him: Thus says the LORD: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 27 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs. 28 And the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into thy house, and into thy bed-chamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into your ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs. 29 And the frogs shall come up both upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.'

(Frog population is kept under control by the fish and the fish died during the plague of blood that without natural enemies the frogs over produced.) Because by witchcraft frogs could be made to appear and also because by logic mentioned above, the frogs could have gone up or down stream and not necessarily in front of Pharaoh and filled the land. Therefore, I still claim it was a miracle considering that each and every miracle occurred according to tradition precisely23 days after the previous one. This would give a date at the full moon of each month.

8:1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Stretch forth thy hand with thy rod over the rivers, over the canals, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.' 2 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 3 And the magicians did in like manner with their secret arts, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 4 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said: 'Entreat the LORD, that He take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice unto the LORD.' 5 And Moses said unto Pharaoh: 'Have thou this glory over me; against what time shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, that the frogs be destroyed from thee and thy houses, and remain in the river only?' 6 And he said: 'Against to-morrow.' And he said: 'Be it according to thy word; that thou may know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. 7 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.' 8 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried unto the LORD concerning the frogs, which He had brought upon Pharaoh. 9 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields. 10 And they gathered them together in heaps; and the land stank. 11 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.

Pharaoh might have been a god-king but in this case his promise is that of a political leader and typical of the words of the followers of Yishmael where lying is a means to an end.

12 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.'

And the lice were: The swarming, pedoiliee in Old French, the swarming of lice. [This accounts for the singular verb form.]

13 And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and there were lice upon man, and upon beast; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 14 And the magicians did so with their secret arts to bring forth lice, but they could not; and there were lice upon man, and upon beast. 15 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: 'This is the finger of God'; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.

It is the finger of God: This plague is not through sorcery; it is from the Omnipresent. — [from Exod. Rabbah 10:7]

How this version had gnats in it is beyond me unless if was from the King James Version and not corrected. ’Lice’ is the proper name for the plague.

16 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him: Thus says the LORD: Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

We now start the second round of three plagues each so Moshe meets Pharaoh at the same hour in the same place only 3 months later.

17 Else, if thou wilt not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 18 And I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that thou may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.

According to the Medrash, Goshen had fresh water during the plague of blood and nothing is mentioned of frogs or lice in or not in Goshen. However, we see from here on the plagues do not effect the Bnei Yisrael at all.

19 And I will put a division between My people and thy people--by to-morrow shall this sign be.' 20 And the LORD did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses; and in all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by reason of the swarms of flies. 21 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said: 'Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.' 22 And Moses said: 'It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God; lo, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?

The abomination of Egypt is the sheep whom they worshiped.

23 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as He shall command us.' 24 And Pharaoh said: 'I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away; entreat for me.' 25 And Moses said: 'Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.' 26 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the LORD. 27 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. 28 And Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

Like most politicians (not all) a coward and he went back on his word. Sharon the general was bold and brave. As a civilian he was threatened by the left with arrest for his crooked dealings so he sacrificed Gaza rather than risk jail. As brave a he was, he lost his credibility and reputation over a civil threat and removed Jews from Gaza – for what? Kassams, Katyushas, booby traps and one soldier captured alive.

1 Then the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him: Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 3 behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks; there shall be a very grievous murrain. 4 And the LORD shall make a division between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.' 5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying: 'Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.' 6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he did not let the people go.

Pharaoh’s stubbornness is so that it endangers the entire land of Egypt now. Sometimes in civilian life, it is better to make slight concessions to labor rather that risk a major strike and lose sums of money that is astounding. Either that or you replace the workers as Reagan did.

8 And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron: 'Take to you handfuls of soot of the furnace, and let Moses throw it heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.' 10 And they took soot of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it up heavenward; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. 12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

This time the advisors of Pharaoh cannot stand before him or Moshe because of the boils.

13 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him: Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 14 For I will this time send all My plagues upon thy person, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15 Surely now I had put forth My hand, and smitten thee and thy people with pestilence, and thou had been cut off from the earth. 16 But in very deed for this cause have I made thee to stand, to show thee My power, and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth. 17 As yet you exalt thyself against My people, that thou wilt not let them go?

Incite against you: Heb. מַשְׁלִיחַ בְּ, incite against you. Similarly, “and the tooth of beasts I will incite (אִשַׁלַּח) against them” (Deut. 32:24), an expression of inciting, antiziyer in Old French, to incite, to set upon. — [from Jonathan]a mixture of noxious creatures: [which includes] all species of wild beasts, snakes, and scorpions in, and they were destroying among them [i.e., among the Egyptians]. There is a reason [given] for this matter in the Aggadah, [i.e.,] for each plague, why this one and why that one. Following a king’s war strategy did He come upon them [the Egyptians], according to the order of a kingdom when it besieges a city. First they [the King’s army] destroy its [the city’s] springs, and then they blow and sound rams’ horns to frighten them and confuse them; thus did the frogs croak and make noise, etc., as is stated in the Midrash of Rabbi Tanchuma (Bo 4).

18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. 19 Now therefore send, hasten in thy cattle and all that thou hast in the field; for every man and beast that shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.' 20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses; 21 and he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

It is not the nature of water to have fire inside of itself – rather this is a miracle within a miracle.

22 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Stretch forth thy hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.' 23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down unto the earth; and the LORD caused to hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire flashing up amidst the hail, very grievous, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. 27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them: 'I have sinned this time; the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 28 Entreat the LORD, and let there be enough of these mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.' 29 And Moses said unto him: 'As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread forth my hands unto the LORD; the thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou may know that the earth is the LORD'S. 30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.'-- 31 And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not smitten; for they ripen late.-- 33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread forth his hands unto the LORD; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

Halachic Man Part 1: Cognitive Man Vs Homo Religious; Which One Are You? By Yitz Ritz

The following is excerpted from Halakhic Man by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. In this short (only 137 pages!), delightful and enlightening book the Rav tackles the worldview from three different types of perspectives: Cognitive Man, Homo Religious, and Halakhic Man.

In part 1 we will deal with Cognitive Man Versus Homo Religious and its fascinating to think about how many different realms this fundamental difference plays itself out in.

This is not about judgment of who is right and who is wrong. This is about recognizing the different mental approach to various subjects and how ones worldview, outlook, and sense of perception can be categorized with in these two parameters.

Atheists Vs G-d Believers

Evolutionists Vs Creationists

Documentary Hypothesis Vs Torah From Sinai

Mordechai Kaplan Vs Abraham Joshua Heschel

Non-believers in Astrology Vs Believers & Astrologers

NT’s Vs NF’s (Basic functioning parameters. I am not implying that NT’s can not be Homo Religious or vice versa, they can and are.)

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik also known as “The Rav” tends to write in a more complex style that requires having a dictionary handy as well as a focused concentration on the subject matter in order to comprehend it. In other words it’s not an easy read and requires a more scholarly approach. But the concepts he elucidates are so beautiful it makes me want to sing! So I do believe it is worthwhile to focus for a bit on this concisely defining material and reap the benefits by understanding the various approaches to life from a fundamental level. Thank you for this gift of deeper insight Rabbi Soloveitchik!

…The basic tendency of cognitive man: the search for the ordered and fixed in existence. He is profoundly engaged in rendering and accounting of the world and charts out for himself a structured plan of reality enclosed in borders of order and law, whose ultimate status cannot be denied. Cognition, for him, consists in discovering the secret, solving the riddle, hidden, buried deep in reality, precisely through the cognition of the scientific order and pattern of the world. In a word, the act of cognitive man is one of revelation and disclosure.

The homo religious acts differently. When he confronts G-d’s world, when he gazes at the myriads of events and phenomena occurring in the cosmos, he does not desire to transform the secrets embedded in creation into simple equations that a mere tyro is capable of grasping. On the contrary, homo religious is intrigued by the mystery of existence – the mysterium tremendum – and wants to emphasize that mystery. He gazes at that which is obscure without the intent of explaining it and inquires into that which is concealed without the intent of receiving the reward of clear understanding.

The dynamic relationship that exists between the subject-knower and the object-known expresses itself, for homo religious, not in the desire and ability of the subject to comprehend the object but, on the contrary, in accepting the fascinating, eternal mystery that envelops the object.

That is not to say that homo religious prefers the chaos and the void to the structured cosmos…Heaven forbid! Homo religious, like cognitive man, seeks the lawful and the ordered, the fixed and the necessary. But for the former, unlike the latter, the revelation of the law, and the comprehension of the order and interconnectedness of existence only intensifies and deepens the question and the problem. For while cognitive man discharges his obligations by establishing the reign of a casual structure of lawfulness in nature, homo religious is not satisfied with the perfection of the world under the dominion of the law. For to him the concept of lawfulness is in itself the deepest of mysteries.”
(Page’s. 5, 6, 7)

“Cognitive man concerns himself with a simple and “candid” reality. He does not seek to closet himself with the hidden in existence but rather focuses his attention on its revealed aspect. This is not the case with homo religious. He clings to a reality which, as it were, has removed itself from the cognizing subject and has barred the intellect from all access to it. He is totally devoted and given over to a cosmos that is filled with divine secrets and eternal mysteries. The very nature of the law itself, the very phenomenon of cognition is an open book for cognitive man and a closed one for homo religious.

When G-d appears to Job out of the whirlwind, He asks him: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast the understanding. Who determines the measures thereof, if thou know? Or who stretched the line upon it? Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the cornerstone thereof? ...Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee, etc? ...Does the hawk soar by thy wisdom, etc? (Job 38, 39)

The consciousness of homo religious is overflowing with questions that will never be resolved. He scans reality and is overcome with wonder, fixes his attention on the world and is astonished. Moreover, the astonishment that overwhelms homo religious does not serve simply as a prod to stimulate metaphysical curiosity, is not just a device to excite the cognitive imagination – i.e., is not just a means to an end, as Aristotle thought, but is the ultimate goal and crowning glory of the process of cognition of homo religious.

… Homo religious is eager to cognize natural phenomena and understand them, but knowledge itself for him is the greatest and most difficult riddle of all. Knowledge and wonder, cognition and mystery, understanding and secrecy, the law and the unknown, these constitute a unified phenomenon which reveals itself to us in a twofold fashion, all in accordance with one’s perspective and point of view.

However, knowledge does not forfeit its objective status and intrinsic significance as a result of the teiku, the irresolvable problem that peers out of its windows. On the contrary, the riddle adorns and embellishes cognition, bestowing upon it the splendor of eternity.”
(pg’s. 9, 10, 11)


“This characteristic attitude of homo religious toward existence directly entails the following conclusion: homo religious does not acknowledge any ontic [factual existence] monism [oneness and unity of reality]. Reality for him is not uniform and monochromatic but rather pluralistic and multilayered. Ontic pluralism is the very foundation of the world view of homo religious. When he approaches the world in order to cognize and evaluate it, he attempts to find in this concrete and physical world the traces of higher worlds, all of which are wholly good and eternal. He seeks to discover the source of plenitude in being and of the fullness of the cosmos in supernal [celestial, heavenly], ontic realms that are pristine and pure. This transcendent approach to reality constitutes a primary feature of the profile of the man of G-d. Homo religious is dissatisfied, unhappy with this world. He searches for an existence that is above empirical reality. This world is a pale image of another world.

Cognitive man, on the other hand, is not concerned at all with a reality that extends outside the realm of lawfulness, and he has no relationship with any mode of being that is beyond empirical reality and scientific understanding – for the law is his goal, and lawfulness is always and only to be found within a context of concreteness.

…Cognitive man pays no attention to and is wholly uninterested in a world that is above the rule of empirical reality. The object with which he is concerned is completely hemmed in by the total physical psychical reality.

But homo religious passes beyond the realm of concreteness and reality set within the frame of scientific experience and enters into a higher realm.

…The ladder of ethical perfection, like the biblical ladder of Jacob, is set fast upon the earth, upon the ground of concrete reality, and the top of it reaches unto the very heavens. The ethical and religious ideal of homo religious is the extrication of his existence from the bonds of this world, from the iron claims of empirical reality, its laws and judgments, and its elevation up to the level of being of a higher man, in a world that is wholly good and wholly eternal. The aim of religion is to liberate those who are bound in fetters and irons, those who dwell in darkness and gloom – “the king held captive in tresses” (Songs 7:6) – and crown them all with the royal crown of a supernal [celestial, heavenly], transcendental existence, emanating from holy, eternal realms.”
(pg’s. 13, 14, 15)

Based on the criteria and raison d'être listed above I am clearly and completely Homo Religious through and through. This worldview defines my essence, existence, and my approach to almost everything (including dating!) in day to day life.

I am sure that for many people it’s not so black and white and you may have a mixture of both mindsets. Which mindset dominates in your life? Perhaps religion may be the exception to your overall “cognitive man” approach to life.

Would you say that you are primarily Cognitive Man or Homo Religious? If it’s more of a mixture, then what percentage would you say you are of each? In which particular areas do you utilize one over the other?

Iran can be bombed:

There are two conflicting reports coming out of Iran and that is the Nuclear Scientist killed this week was an opposition supporter and the other:

Having border patrolled this area it was not for me to publicize the security breach:

This was on Fox and Clyde fwd it to me:

For Noahides from Tsila:

OBAMA INCREASES THREAT LEVEL AGAINST ISRAEL by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

It has been reported that American President Barack Hussein Obama has threatened Israel with a cut-off of aid and a cut-off of loan guarantees unless Israel bows to Muslim Arab Palestinian demands - in addition to Saudi demands.

This is too reminiscent of the threats by then President George Herbert Walker Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker III, when Yitzhak Shamir was Prime Minister. Bush and Baker threatened to withhold the loan guarantees to help absorb the million or more refugees from the Soviet Union. (Remember that loan guarantees are not gifts of money but, just ‘guarantees’ enabling Israel to gain funds on loan from banks as somewhat lower rates of interest.)

The Bush/Baker plan was to push Shamir out of office because he refused to accept another Muslim Arab Palestinian State within Israel’s heartland because Shamir correctly viewed that as too great an existential threat to Israel’s survival and sovereignty.

In addition, the U.S. President and Arabist State Department wanted an Israeli Prime Minister who would easily bend to U.S. demands that Israel accommodate Yassir Arafat. The U.S. then and now are using threats to force Israel to abandon strategic Land from our ancestral homeland, gifted to the Jewish people in perpetuity by G-d - as well as Jerusalem, our Eternal, Holy Capital.

Bush/Baker had selected Yitzhak Rabin as their designated Prime Minister who, along with Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin (all three long known as Labor Party Leftists), gave the U.S. the Oslo Accords.

Now it is Obama playing the same game of betrayal and pressure against current Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, not known for his will to resist pressure from Washington Arabists. Today’s threat comes through U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, who happens to be Lebanese.

There are some reports that Mitchell/Obama are downplaying this "implied" (but stated) threat. However, given Obama’s obvious hostility to the Jewish Nation/State and his efforts to bow to and placate the Muslim Terrorist States like Iran and Syria by threatening Israel, it is hard to believe any such denials of threat.

Moreover, prior threats to Israel, under both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush to accept the so-called Saudi plan for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 "border" (which were actually the 1948 Armistice Lines) tells a different story.

Israel was then (and perhaps now) threatened with a cut-off of aviation fuel, spare parts for aircraft bought from the U.S., technology - despite the innovations Israel had given to the U.S. - for aircraft, armor, artillery and more. Israel was threatened to force her obedience despite the existential risks to her safety, security and sovereignty.

It seems that Obama and his advisors - like James Baker III, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, among the other hostiles on his staff, such as Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, wish to promote a complete severence between America and Israel. Presently, Obama is backing away from even minor sanctions of Iran and continues his delaying plans, pushing Israel to make the strike against Iran’s nuclear operations. (If you want to eye-ball the Nuclear R&D sites in Iran, just view National Geographic’s August 2008 issue and its excellent map with those sites labeled clearly. A few new ones, formerly ‘secret’ like at Qom, need to be added.)

Iran’s nuclear threat would be catastrophic to Israel but, also to the 300,000-500,000 Americans based in the Middle East, Europe, Russia and even America by submarine or plane. Then, when Israel is forced to take out Iran’s Nuclear sites, Obama can castigate Israel for whatever retaliation Iran can muster - even to the point of severing relations with Israel, terminating paid for arms shipments and blaming Israel for what Obama should have done - but, he wimped out.

I hope it doesn’t turn out that Netanyahu is not a co-conspirator in this plan so he can claim he has no choice in evacuating 300,000 Jewish men, women and children from Judea and Samaria, plus 40,000 from the Golan Heights - the Jordan Valley, and 300,000 from Jerusalem. (G-d forbid!)

All of these pointless sacrifices of Jewish blood, sweat, savings and tears will only endanger the Jewish Nation/State - both in Israel and world-wide.

These have been favorite targets of the radical Leftist, Israel’s current Defense Minister Ehud Barak. If I was looking for the fingerprints of Israeli Leftists who deliberately practiced subversion against the Jewish Nation/State, I would check the documentary evidence (computers, emails, phone records, etc.) of Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Yossi Beilin and, lastly PM Netanyahu (who I hope would not be so implicated).

Obama needs a battle he can win through pressuring Israel under the false illusion that the Muslim Arabs, be they Palestinians, Fatah, Iranians, Syrians, Saudis, Hezb’Allah or Hamas will never cease assaulting Israel under their mandate of Koranic Law.

Obama confirms to the World that Allies had better watch their step when relying upon the promises of Obama to keep even the past treaties they have signed in good faith.

On the mystical level, many believe that the rise up of a people with evil motivations in their religion, like the radical Muslim Islamists, is a punishment for what the nations have done to the Jews. If that is a fact, Obama has tracked this filth into his own House and to America who didn’t deserve the catastrophes visited upon her innocent citizens.

I refer especially to the financial meltdown, the extreme weather, freezing oranges in Florida, earthquake in Eureka, California, tornadoes, hurricanes, swine flu, ‘et al’. Perhaps not so strangely, each time American and Europe join Islam in bashing Israel, terrible things happen to their countries: Money goes bad; crops are either frozen or killed by drought; disease becomes rampant, mutating into more virulent forms (and the vaccines have built-in dangers). Perhaps it is all ‘coincidental’ but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As Obama plans his attacks on Israel, up crops Yemen as another Afghanistan and Obama doesn’t know what to do. Perhaps he can send George Mitchell as an envoy to Yemen to talk-talk-talk to Al Qaeda.

AMERICA BELIEVES IRANIAN BOMB AT LEAST 18 MONTHS AWAY forwarded with commentary by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

America’s President Barack Hussein Obama buys political time by using a false report by unnamed inspectors. One is reminded of the fake NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) Report of December 2007 which was pushed by the U.S. Arabist State Department, saying that Iran had ceased its development of nuclear facilities in 2003. All of it was a lie - as eloquently stated by the former American Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton.

Their purpose at the time was to stop President George W. Bush from a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Those at State and the CIA should now be in prison for interfering with and endangering the safety of America and the world.

The simple and most obvious fact is that American Intelligence on Iran’s nuclear R&D timing does not exist. This time it is Obama and his advisors who are trying to stall any action against Iran - including any pre-emptive action by Israel in their own self-defense. It is Obama’s outreach policy towards the Muslim Islamists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs of Iran.

So, what is Obama going to do with his 18 month "stall"? So far he has stalled for sanctions which turned out to be merely more mellifluous speeches. Besides not being willing to face down Iran, 18 extra months will bring Obama past the mid-term elections of 2010.

Eighteen more months! will also give Iran time to compile more than one Nuclear Device and why would Obama want that?

Selling out America to reduce the expected Democratic losses in November’s election is a high price to pay for America, Israel, the entire Middle East - thereby negatively impacting the entire world. A Nuclear Iran will then be a theocratic dictator. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Oil States and even Egypt will all have to pay homage to Iran in its march toward over-lording a Global Caliphate for Islam.

The "dis-information" of Iran’s Nuclear capability being delayed for 18 months is terrifying - given that it could be 3 weeks or 3 months in reality.



America Believes Iranian Bomb at Least 18 Months Away by Yechiel Spira

YWN Israel

Adding to Israel's troubles is America's latest assessment regarding Iran's nuclear program, with experts stating Tehran is at least 18 months away from producing a nuclear bomb.

According to American reports, major problems and outdated equipment at Iran's Qom nuclear facility have resulted in a major setback, one that experts feel push Iranian nuclear independence back some 18 months. Many feel that this opens a major window of opportunity for imposing increased sanctions on Iran during this period towards compelling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to comply with the dictates of the United States and Western nations. American inspectors also report a 20% drop in the number of operating centrifuges in the Natanz facility, further strengthening their optimism at present.

A New York Times report uses the term "covert breakout", a term used by experts to signal the ability to secretly produce a workable nuclear weapon, explaining at present, there simply is no breakout opportunity. Other Western reports concur with this assessment.

On the less encouraging front, the White House is aware that three rounds of sanctions have failed to date, and with growing dissatisfaction in the streets of Iran, as is evident by the mounting protests, the White House does not wish to impose overly strict sanctions that will unite citizens against the US [as if they are supporters of America now].

Back in Israel, there is no sign of officials accepting the new assessment, and until this latest report, Jerusalem has been increasingly concerned with what appears to be Iran's rapidly approaching the point of no return, nuclear independence, Tehran's ability to produce an atom bomb.

It should be added that all along, the Americans have been overly optimistic compared to the assessments of Israeli intelligence, usually signaling the point of no return is not as close as it is viewed by Israeli experts, and once again, Israel may be compelled to act unilaterally if America does accept this latest position, believing it has an additional 18 months before being compelled to act.

Hertzl & Hitler thought alike. I saw this on Stephanie’s wall but have heard this from my Rabbis:

Mindy verified this and mailed it to me: FW: Ft. Hood killer on Obama's Security Force

What President Obama does not want you to below:

*SCARY INDEED!!!* Nidal Hasan, the terrorist killer at Fort Hood is on *Obama's Security Task Force.*.............

Now we have a little insight into why Obama said to not jump to conclusions about *Nidal Hasan* and why Congressmen were not briefed before the press
leak. And why he did not want to call it an act of Terror- only a crime. This murdering Muslim Terrorist who killed and wounded the soldiers and civilians at Ft Hood, Texas, was an *advisor to Obama's Homeland Security team.**

*Look on page 29 of the Homeland Security Institute link below.

I wonder how many more skeletons there are to come to of the cupboard. Who else is there in the government or its numerous advisors or Czars that will harm our country and citizens? Go to *page number 29*, scroll down toward the *bottom on the Left Column

Now for M. Wolfberg’s story.

Good Shabbos Everyone. Anyone wishing to see proof of the existence of Hashem, need only look at the Jewish people. We are a nation that by all estimates, should have been destroyed long ago. We are small among the nations. However, after years of persecutions, banishments, burnings, gassings, torturing and exterminations, Am Yisroel is alive and well.
We read about the indestructibility of the Jewish nation in our Torah portion this week Shemos. The Torah tells us about how Moshe Rabeinu (our teacher) saw a prophetic vision in the form of a burning bush. The verse tells us "…behold! The bush was burning in the fire but the bush was not consumed." (Shemos 3:2) The Midrash tells us that the bush symbolizes Yisroel. Although the nations may try to destroy us, we are not consumed… we will never be consumed. (Midrash Rabbah, Shemos [Margolios] 2,14) We are the eternal nation.
The Jewish Nation has ridden the storm of many generations of persecution. Unfortunately, some Jews have fallen away, by intermarrying and assimilating. However, no matter how far a Jew may stray, he still retains his membership in the eternal nation. The following amazing true story describes one Jewish family's journey back home to the eternal Jewish Nation.
Rabbi Rafael Grossman and his wife of Memphis, Tennessee, are involved in the important task of outreach, reaching out to those Jews who are ignorant of their heritage. One useful method for attracting Jewish youth from the local colleges is the regular Shabbos "oneg," where students are invited to enjoy good food and stimulating conversation-thus exposing them to the beauty of a Torah life.
On one occasion, Rabbi Grossman noticed a new face in the crowd, a young lady named Elizabeth Gordon. Rabbi Grossman asked Elizabeth a little about herself and he was surprised to hear what the young lady had to say: Her parents were both Jewish but her father worked as a minister in a church, and she herself was raised in a church home.
"So what brought you here today, Elizabeth?" Said Rabbi Grossman. "I'm Jewish," Elizabeth said evasively, "so I decided to come." "You haven't come here to evangelize, have you?" Asked Rabbi Grossman as politely as he could.
Elizabeth did not answer the question, and Rabbi Grossman realized that he would have to watch this young woman very carefully. As the oneg proceeded. Rabbi Grossman saw that Elizabeth was, indeed, trying to persuade the other students that Xtianity was superior to Judaism. Politely but firmly, Rabbi Grossman asked Elizabeth to stop.
She began to argue theology with Rabbi Grossman, but it soon became clear to the listening students that Elizabeth was completely outclassed. With patience and clarity, Rabbi Grossman calmly refuted her assertions, explaining how her quotes from the Bible were poorly translated and completely misinterpreted. In the end, Elizabeth's voice trailed off into flustered silence. "I don't mean to embarrass you," Rabbi Grossman told her gently "But I'm afraid you'll find it very difficult to maintain your arguments with anyone with a clear understanding of the Torah." "I don't..." Elizabeth stopped. Without looking at anyone, she rose from her chair and left the room. Rabbi Grossman assumed that he would not hear from Elizabeth Gordon again, but to his surprise, he received a phone call from her a few days later.
When Elizabeth arrived at the Grossmans' home a few days later, she was agitated and distraught. "I've been taught to believe in Xtianity my whole life," she blurted out. "But I see now that everything was a sham and a lie. Is there some way I could learn the real Torah?" "You surely can, Elizabeth," Rabbi Grossman assured her.
Some four weeks later, Elizabeth spent a Shabbos in the Grossmans' home. Her conversations revealed Just how far she'd come in such a short time. She loved the holy atmosphere of Shabbos, discussing the weekly portion with Rabbi Grossman's daughters and displaying a clear understanding of the very basic precepts of the Torah. Afterward, as she spoke privately with Rabbi Grossman, she poured out her distress. "I just can't live this way any longer… I've got to start living like a religious Jew, too!" Rabbi Grossman promised her all the support she needed, and Elizabeth soon embarked on a new way of life.
Her studies continued and she was a frequent guest in the Grossmans' home. Her enthusiasm for Torah proved infectious; when she met a young secular Israeli, she convinced him to meet Rabbi Grossman and learn the beauty of a Torah life, just as she had done. The young man was soon wearing tefillin on a regular basis and observing many more laws of the Torah. Some months later, Elizabeth and the young man came to visit Rabbi Grossman together. "We came to ask for your blessing that we should marry," the young man said shyly. Rabbi Grossman smiled warmly at the young couple, feeling tremendous pride in their great accomplishments.
As plans for the wedding got underway, however, a problem arose. Elizabeth's parents wanted to come to the wedding, but they were still practicing Xtians. Rabbi Grossman told the couple that they could come to the wedding but they would not be able to accompany their daughter to the chuppah or participate in the wedding ceremony itself. Elizabeth's parents did not care for the compromise. Rabbi Grossman soon received an angry phone call from Mr. Gordon.
On the day of the wedding, both Mr. and Mrs. Gordon did come for the ceremony. They sat in the back, speaking to no one, as their daughter was married according to the laws of the Torah. After the wedding, Elizabeth and her new husband moved to a small community. There they organized a regular minyan and encouraged spiritual growth. A few years later, with the birth of their first child, they moved to a larger community with greater opportunities. Elizabeth opened the city's first religious school and continued to dedicate her life to spreading Torah to others. Eventually, with a family of five, they moved to Eretz Yisrael.
A few months after the move, Rabbi Grossman received a phone call from Elizabeth's father again. This time, he seemed even angrier than before. "You've brainwashed my daughter!" Mr. Gordon stormed. "I have half a mind to start legal proceedings against you!" "I could suggest a good lawyer for you, if you'd like," Rabbi Grossman offered, completely unfazed. Mr. Gordon, taken aback by Rabbi Grossman's response, changed his tone. He calmed down and began to speak more rationally.
Over the course of the conversation, which lasted over five hours. Rabbi Grossman learned that Mr. Gordon had originally become a minister in order to support his family. "Listen," Rabbi Grossman said finally, as he prepared to hang up the phone. "You haven't lost a daughter; you've found one. If you are prepared, you can accept this beautiful gift that Hashem has given you." Mr. Gordon did not seem able to reply, and he ended the conversation.
Two years passed. Elizabeth's mother became ill and died shortly afterwards. Rabbi Grossman picked up the phone to hear Mr. Gordon's trembling voice on the other end of the line. "Rabbi," Mr. Gordon said hesitantly, "My wife, before she died, she said that she regretted her conversion. She didn't want to be buried in the church cemetery, but ..." his voice trailed off into silence. "It's all right," Rabbi Grossman encouraged him. "Go ahead and purchase a lot for her in a Jewish cemetery. No one will ask you any questions." "But isn't that fraud?" Mr. Gordon asked unhappily. "After all, she lived her entire adult life as a Xtian." "She did teshuvah."' Rabbi Grossman said softly. "She was born a Jew, and she died as a Jew. Have her buried according to Torah Law."
This time, Mr. Gordon did not simply hang up the phone and retreat from any contact with Rabbi Grossman. He called him often, seeking inspiration and encouragement. Rabbi Grossman offered comfort and support, recognizing that Mr. Gordon was a troubled, almost broken man. Things came to a head one Sunday morning, when Mr. Gordon went to his pulpit and gave a sermon that his Xtian congregants had never heard before. Instead of preaching about Xtianity, he derided Xtian beliefs and their way of life. Before the day was over, Mr. Gordon found himself fired. He was now completely alone; he had no wife, no job, and his daughter's family lived on the other side of the world.
Mr. Gordon went to Israel, where Elizabeth and her family greeted him warmly. Mr. Gordon was moved by the gracious welcome. Soon after, Mr. Gordon himself became a committed baal teshuva. He spent the last ten years of his life at peace, living as a Torah Jew. No one knew that the elderly man who stood in shul, immersed in his prayers, had spent years living as a Xtian minister before he finally found his way home. (From, Visions of Greatness, Rabbi Yosef Weiss, Volume 6, p.70)
We are a nation that by all estimates, should have been destroyed long ago. We are small among the nations. However, after years of persecutions, banishments, burnings, gassings, torturing and exterminations, Am Yisroel is alive and well. Every Jew, no matter how far he has strayed, can come home and rejoin the Eternal Nation. 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

Good Shabbos – please note next week there will be catch up Halachos and Mitzvos and a double Parsha. I will be taking a week or two off to put my Israeli Office back in order after I left almost 9 months of a mess there. I have to prepare myself for Income Tax seasons and see where I am.

Have a wonderful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli