This week I start off with a few stories and Mussar as told by Rav Feuer Shlita. Rav Feuer lives in the Sharei Chessed section of Yerushalayim (literally gates of mercy section). I am going to try to repeat the lecture from memory.
The Rav sometimes prayers especially in the afternoon in the Klal Chassidim Schul and there he met a young man. He asked the fellow where do you learn. “In Yeshiva so-and- so of HaRav HaGaon …” “Would it be so that I could learn under such a Rav and what did the Rav teach you today?” “He said that when we make the third Bracha on the Torah learning in the morning we should have the Kavanah (intent) of renewing the receipt of Torah from Har Sinai for a new day.”” What a powerful intent that each and every day we should intend to receive the Torah a new.”
The young man began to have is eyes filling with tears. He told the Rav, “Four years ago I was an empty non-observant fellow. I earned a lot of money and wasting my youth in the life of Tel Aviv. I went on a trip to the heart of Africa. I was driving along in the darkest and remotest corner of Africa. There was a little boy who stopped my jeep by the road and asked for a piece of candy. I fiddled in my pockets to find him some candy and lo and behold 25 towering adult males jumped out of the bushes. I had been set up and now I was shaking in my boots. The first man asked me where I was from. I replied Israel. He suddenly said, ‘You chose people’ and one by one the ambushers came up to me and told me ‘You chose people’ they were gawking at me. I did not have the faintest notion what the chosen people were about. Immediately on the spot, I decided to turn around and go back home to see what the chosen people were really about. Upon my return to Tel Aviv, I saw at a Synagogue a sign. ‘Daf Yomi at such-and-such an hour” I began learning every night. After a while, the Rabbi came up to me and told me ‘isn’t it time that you put on a Kipa = Yarmulke and perhaps learn more than just the Daf Yomi?’ I went with his help to Yerushalayim and began learning, eventually found a Frum Wife and am continuing.”
For some people it takes going in darkest Africa to discover the light of Torah. [If you recall a number of years ago a Jew went the top Rosh of the entire Buddhist after fasting and he was told to improve himself he has to go back and learn what Judaism is because he is of the chosen people. (If you will recall that the head of the Buddhist is called Roshi meaning my head or leader in Hebrew. – Draw your own conclusion what was the religion of the wise man whom Buddha met.) Or the Jew helping the then insurgents against the Russians in Afghanistan who was saved by a cobra blocking his path for eight hours- when he reached the Afghanis in his unit, they were all dead from a helicopter attack.]
Rav Feuer continued to speak of the intent of praying with fervor as if one was accepting the Torah a new each day and the powerful thoughts behind this. Of course my own big thing is the prayer just before the morning Shema of renewing creation each day. As I wrote many years ago it is difficult for scientists to understand how different components of the cell of atoms are ‘glued’ or held together. I claimed since I was 21 years of age “Ratzono” that held each atom together (literally HIS will). The prayer talks about this and as usual – myself included – we hurry to our business to go about our prayers quickly whether it be rushing to learn Torah, going to work, purchasing food from the market, etc. Around 30 years ago, I was in a special day of learning for working men in Rehovot to take off a day from work twice a year to learn Torah. The Maggid, Rabbi Shwadron of righteous memory used to say, “Every morning before the Shema we say, [my translation] ‘Our Father, the Father of Compassion, have Compassion and Mercy upon us and put into our hearts to understand and gain wisdom & knowledge (Lehazkail) to listen and learn & teach to observe and further and physically observe at ALL YOUR TORAH with love. My YOU wake up our eyes through YOUR Torah and our hearts shall be glued to YOUR Mitzvos together with our hearts with love and fear to YOUR name that we should not be embarrassed forever.” What is this that we pray for mercy and compassion to not only learn and observe but to understand and have wisdom on no less than the entire Torah and as soon as the prayers are over everybody runs out and not to the Beis Medrash to learn but to work to the market or some other place. Where is the request for great mercy and compassion to learn Torah and to get love and fear of G-D are we all liars?” This is powerful Mussar from the Maggid.
Rav Feuer continued and mentioned that this year is 100th year since the passing of the Saba from Telshe. The army of Czar of Russia used to forcefully conscript citizens and among them hapless Jews from the various small Jewish Towns and Villages. Usually the term of service was 25 years and after eating Trafe and Tumay for this period without Torah learning and prayers or a wife these fellows were strange people in the Jewish Community when and if they returned home. The communities were poor and could not re-educate and readapt them to society. Among the children taken was a fellow named Kahanemann. The Saba from Telshe saw him as a brilliant rising star in Judaism. The Rav was also Rabbi of the city and asked the Shamash to open up the Aron HaKodesh of the Synagogue and he took out of the Aron the only silver crown of the whole city. He sold it and redeemed the boy. The Congregation came to the Synagogue and saw the Silver Crown missing first they enquired about it before going to the police. The Shamash told them to ask the Rav. The Rav said, “I have changed a silver crown for a gold crown. I have redeemed a boy who will be a light unto Yisrael.” And so it was little Kahanemann became the Ponovitcher Ruv. He established the famed Ponovez Yeshiva in Bnei Barak and from it came the many sub-divisions in Ashdod, Kiriat Sefer and Tiveria.
*As you may recall my Rosh Kollel from my after work Kollel, Rav Boyer Shlita, said many times that Tumay (food) ‘mitomtem’ meaning it makes us have idiotic thoughts. Earlier this week a certain Prime Minister from a Middle-Eastern Country, who has a very religious Orthodox Jewish father of pro-settlement belief, was caught eating with his wife in a glatt Trafe restaurant. Then you wonder why there is a settlement freeze. For Pirkei Avos says Mitzvah brings about another Mitzvah and Avaira brings about another Avaira. (Ethics of our Fathers – a good deed or commandment following brings about another and a sin brings about another).
This Parsha contains the engineering specifications as given by HASHEM for the Mishkan (Tabernacle). It contains material and dimensional specifications to such a degree that if a Mishkan was needed in our generations or future generations, it could be built from these materials. That is on the physical level known as Gashmiyus.
Now for the Spiritual Aspect known as Ruchniyus based on the word Ruach or spirit, wind in the physical term and also a component of the human soul. The materials chosen had varying spiritual properties. Gold stands for the Din (Judgement), Silver which is used often in charity stands for Chessed (Mercy), and Brass/Bronze is a combination of the two. The other materials represent Midos and Sifros – The colors represent, Malchus aka Royalty of G-D in this world and the other Sifros which are mentioned in Sifros HaOmer and the three others.
25:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man whose heart makes him willing ye shall take My offering.
Offering: Heb. תְּרוּמָה, separation. They shall set apart from their property an offering for Me.
Whose heart inspires him to generosity: Heb. יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ, an expression of נְדָבָה, which is an expression of good will, present in French, [a] gift.
You shall take My offering: Our Rabbis said: [The word תְּרוּמָה, mentioned three times, denotes that] three offerings are mentioned here. One is the offering of a beka [half-shekel] per head, from which they made the sockets, as is delineated in [Exod. 38:26, 27, in the parsha] “ אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי, These are the accounts.” Another is the offering of a beka per head for the [community] coffers, from which to purchase the communal sacrifices, and another is the offering for the Mishkan, each one’s [Israelite’s] donation (Talmud Yerushalmi, Shekalim 1:1; Meg. 29b). The thirteen materials mentioned in this section [i.e., this chapter] were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the Cohanim, [as you will find] when you study them closely (Tan. 5, Song Rabbah 4:25).
The sum did not matter whether little or large but what mattered was that it was given from the heart with good intent.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them: gold, and silver, and brass;
3. And this is the offering that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper;
gold, silver, and copper, etc.: They were all given voluntarily; each person [gave] what his heart inspired him to give, except [for] the silver, which they gave equally, a half-shekel for each individual. We do not find throughout the entire work of the Mishkan that more silver was required, as it is said: “The silver of the community census was…a beka per head…” (Exod. 38:25, 26). The rest of the silver, which was given there [in the work of the Mishkan] voluntarily, they [the workers] made into service utensils.
The materials used had as mentioned above spiritual qualities and each donor felt raised in spirit. Sometimes one does not know who is the recipient of the charity and other times he does know and is disappointed. X comes to Y to ask for charity to feed his children. Y donates whole heartedly the first time. The next time X comes to Y smelling like a brewery and smoking a cigarette. Y gives and tells X that he is in capable of supporting him every week. The person giving to the Mishkan had the pride of seeing is measly or mighty donation shining forth here and there in the Temple. It did not matter if his worth was 5 silver, 5 gold and 5 brass atoms or a few kilograms of these substances in what he all had equal pride in the achievement for it came from the heart and the same applies with the rest of the materials used.
4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair;
4. blue, purple, and crimson wool; linen and goat hair;
blue…wool: Heb. תְכֵלֶת, wool dyed with the blood of the Chillazon [animal], which bears a blue color. — [from Men. 44a, Tosefta Men. 9:6]
purple…wool: Heb. וְאַרְגָּמָן, wool dyed with a kind of dye named אַרְגָּמָן.
linen: Heb. שֵׁשׁ. This is linen. — [from Tosefta Men. 9:6]
and goat hair: Heb. וְעִזִים, the hair of goats. Therefore, Onkelos rendered: וּמְעַזֵי, [i.e.,] what comes from the goats, but not the goats themselves [i.e., not the goat skins], for Targum’s [Onkelos] translation of עִזִים [goats] is עִזַיָא (Gen. 30:32).
5 and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins, (Giraffe Skins) and acacia-wood;
5. ram skins dyed red, Tachash skins, and acacia wood;
dyed red: Heb. מְאָדָּמִים. They were dyed red after being tanned.
Tachash (Giraffe) skins: This was a species of animal that existed only for a [short] time, and it had many hues (גַּוָּנִים). Therefore, [Onkelos] renders [it] סַסְגּוֹנָא, because it rejoices (שֶׁשָׂשׂ) [ס and שׂ are often interchangeable] and boasts of its hues (גַּוָּנִים). -[from Shab. 28a, b]
and acacia wood: Where did they get these [trees] in the desert? Rabbi Tanchuma explained that our father Jacob foresaw with the holy spirit that the Israelites were destined to build a Mishkan in the desert, so he brought cedars to Egypt and planted them. He commanded his sons to take them with them when they left Egypt. — [from Mid. Tanchuma 9]
Modern Zoologists concur that the Giraffe meets all the standards – it is kosher, it has many colors and although existed in Africa aka Egypt did not exist in Eretz Yisrael. Tachash skins are associated with the unicorn and see my Drasha of last year on Terumah and other places where I brought down sources that it was not “seal” skins but the skins of Giraffes with the accompanying picture of the one horn on the head in between the Antlers.
6 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense;
6. oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the incense;
oil for lighting: Pure olive oil to continually kindle the light.
Spices for the anointing oil: which was made to anoint the vessels of the Mishkan and [for] the Mishkan itself to sanctify them, and spices were required for it, as is delineated in [the parsha] כִּי תִשָׂא (Exod. 30:22-33).
and for the incense: Heb. וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים, which they burned every evening and morning, as is explained in [the parsha] וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה (Exod. 30:7, 8). The word קְטֹרֶת means the raising of smoke (קִיטוֹר) and columns of smoke ותִּמְרוֹת עָשָׁן.
The secret of the smoke rising upward was in the type of grass used and the particular combination or state of (wet/dry/in between). The secret died with one family of Cohanim when the second Temple was destroyed. However, there is no reason to believe that only the grass did this for perhaps it was an outright miracle. In short, it could be a combination of the grass and the miracle that wind could not overcome the column of smoke or cloudburst put out the fire on the Mizbayach. For me as a scientist/engineer, I can only believe in a phenomenon higher than the natural order of things as smoke under normal conditions moves in the direction that the wind pushes it.
7 onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
7. Shoham stones and filling stones for the ephod and for the Choshen.
Shoham stones: Two were needed there [in the Mishkan] for the ephod, mentioned in [the parsha] וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה (Exod. 28:9-12).
filling: Since they make for them a seat out of gold, like a sort of hole, and the stone is placed there to fill the hole, they are called filling stones. The place of the “seat” is called מִשְׁבֶּצֶת, a setting.
For the ephod and for the Choshen: The Shoham stones for the ephod and the filling stones for the Choshen. The ephod and the Choshen are explained in וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה they are types of ornaments [worn by the Cohanim].
Choshen pronounced with Chet is the Breastplate of the Cohain Gadol. (High Priest) Shoham are Onyx stones – black colored crystals.
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it.
The whole purpose of gathering of these rare materials was that HASHEM could put HIS presence in the midst of the camp of the Bnei Yisrael and a meeting place for the Bnei Yisrael three times a year – on Chag HaPessach, Chag HaShevous and Chag HaSukkos.
10 And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11 And thou shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall thou overlay it, and shall make upon it a crown of gold round about. 12 And thou shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four feet thereof; and two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 And thou shall make staves of acacia-wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 And thou shall put the staves into the rings on the sides of the ark, wherewith to bear the ark. 15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.
The Staves would have had to be treated so that centuries would go by without the wood rotting. Not to be removed at all from the Ark at all. Based on the weight of the wood and the amount of gold used, the ark would be very heavy. It normally took 6 Leviim to lift it – some say that it floated or levitated by miracle – see the commentary on Yehoshua of the crossing of the Yarden by the Bnei Yisrael.
16 And thou shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 17 And thou shall make an ark-cover of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
10. They shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.
They shall make an ark: like the chests that are made without feet, made like a sort of chest called escrin [in Old French, ecrin in modern French], (i.e., a chest or box), which rests on its bottom [without being raised off the floor by the attachment of legs].
11. And you shall overlay it with pure gold; from inside and from outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make upon it a golden crown all around.
from inside and from outside you shall overlay it: Bezalel made three arks, two of gold and one of wood. Each one had four walls and a bottom, and they were open on the top. He placed the wooden one inside the golden one and the [other] golden one inside the wooden one. He covered the upper rim with gold, thus it is found that [the wooden one] was overlaid from inside and from outside [with gold]. — [from Yoma 72b, Shek. 16b]
a golden crown: Like a sort of crown surrounding it above its rim. For he [Bezalel] made the outer ark higher than the inner one, until it extended upwards opposite the thickness of the ark cover and slightly higher than it, so that when the ark cover lies on the thickness of the walls, the crown extends slightly over the thickness of the ark cover (Yoma 72b). And that [the crown] is the symbol of the crown of the Torah (Tan. Vayakhel 8, Exod. Rabbah 34:2).
12. And you shall cast four golden rings for it, and you shall place them upon its four corners, two rings on its one side, and two rings on its other side.
And you shall cast: Heb. וְיָצַקְךְתָּ, an expression of casting, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders.
its…corners: Heb. פַּעִמֹתָיו. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: זִיוְיָתֵיהּ, its corners. They were attached on the upper corners, close to the ark cover, two from here and two from there, across the width of the ark, and the poles were placed in them [the rings]. The length of the ark separated the poles, two and one-half cubits between [one] pole and [the other] pole, so that the two people carrying the ark would walk between them [the poles]. So it is explained in Men., in the chapter entitled שתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם (98b).
two rings on its one side: Heb. וּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעֹת, lit., and two rings. These are the four rings [mentioned] in the beginning of the verse, and [Scripture now] explains to you where they were [to be placed]. This “vav” is superfluous, and it is to be interpreted as שְׁתֵּי טַבָּעֹת, two rings. But you can reconcile it [by interpreting it] in this way: and two of these rings [shall be] on its one side, [meaning, and two of the four rings mentioned in the beginning of this verse shall be on one side, etc.].
its…side: Heb. צַלְעוֹ, its side.
13. And you shall make poles of acacia wood and you shall overlay them with gold.
poles of: Heb. בַדֵּי, poles.
14. And you shall bring the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.
15. The poles of the ark shall be in the rings; they shall not be removed from it.
They shall not be removed from it: forever.
I mentioned a number of years ago that a Jew and an Arab stumbled upon some the treasures of the first Beis HaMikdash. He noticed in the reflection that the Arab was planning to kill him to plunder everything for himself. In self-defense he had to kill the Arab and hid the entrance to the cave where the artifacts lay. However, he did write to the Chofetz Chaim directions how to reach the place but since the Chofetz Chaim rested his soul in 1933 and the holocaust occurred, I don’t know if there is anybody alive with the directions.
I received an e-mail regarding a Gentile Archeologist who discovered buried deeply the ark and dripping blood. He suspected that it was the blood of a certain Jew who lived around 2100 years ago according to Jewish sources or 2020 years ago according to possible Jewish and definitely non-Jewish sources. For me that would be the blood of the Prophet Zachariah. (See the Medrash and other commentaries on Yechezkiel) The Gentile’s possible discover is not far from a 2nd Temple source but far enough away from where the Arabs tried to dig out the Temple Mount with 200 truckloads of material per day for a year or more. They found nothing and blame the Jews that their precious Shekutz on Har HaMoriah could cave in.
A second take on Raiders of the Lost Ark this week's Drasha of Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlita
For, according to Jewish tradition, Shlomo HaMelech, when building the Temple, had the Aron HaBris put on a platform which could be lowered down into a tunnel system if the Temple was ever over run. In 423 BCE, though Nebuchadnetzar's troops destroyed the temple and carried off Temple treasures, there is no mention of the Aron anywhere, probably because it was lowered into the cave system below and hidden away by the Leviim.
There are some prominent rabbis today who claim to have seen the room in which the Aron is hidden, just before the Arabs sealed off the area with their wall. The Arabs have claimed to have done this to protect their own places of worship above ground, but it is obvious that the finding of the Aron would be a big blow for the other major religions, including their own, immediately verifying the Torah's version of history, and the Jewish people as the Chosen People.
Contrary to what some people may think, Harrison Ford did not really go looking for the Aron HaBris, and he certainly did not find it. Furthermore, we can safely assume that it is not hidden today in some huge warehouse owned and monitored by the America Government in some restricted area in the United States. That is Hollywood's make-believe version of the story.
Rather, it is probably hidden under the Temple Mount, as the Talmud said it is:
To what does this refer? If you say to the First Temple, did they have the Paroches? Rather, it must refer to the Second Temple. But, did they have the Aron? It is taught in a bryesa: When they hid the Aron they hid with it the jar of Mann, the container of Shemen HaMishchah-Anointing Oil, Aaron’s staff that blossomed, and the container in which the Philistines had placed gifts for the God of Israel, as it says, "And take the Ark of God and place it into the wagon; and the articles of gold, which you shall return to Him as a trespass-offering, and place it in a box beside it." (Shmuel 1:6:8). Who hid them? Yoshiahu, king of Yehuda (3285- 3316/475-444 BCE). What did he see to compel him to do this? He found a verse: "God will drive you and your king whom you will place over you to a nation you do not know." (Devarim 28:36). So, he hid them. (Yoma 52b)
Furthermore, it says that once a Cohain happened to stumble on a loose floor stone in the Temple, but before he could tell anyone, he mysteriously fell and died. It was not yet time to reveal the Aron HaBris, so those who knew where it was were denied the opportunity to reveal it. It belongs to another level of reality, and when it comes time for that level of reality to take over and become our reality, the Aron HaBris will be found and revealed.
However, according to Yirmiyahu, that time is when God gathers in His people to Eretz Yisroel in mercy. Certainly that has been happening over the last 70 years, and especially over the last decade. At the same, talk has increased regarding the location of the chamber in which the Aron HaBris sits and waits for the moment in time that it, once again, will prove to the world that God alone is God, and the King of all kings.
May it happen quickly in our time.
Two and a half cubits its length: like the length of the ark. Its width was like the width of the ark, and it lay on the thickness of the four walls. Although [Scripture] does not give a measure for its thickness, our Rabbis explained that it was a handbreadth thick. — [from Succah 5a]
Bezalel built the Ahron HaKodesh with precision accuracy. Moshe saw how the Mishkan was supposed to be built and the builders both the women weaving, knitting and sewing the skins together and the artisans built it exactly even though Moshe had not the faintest idea how to proceed. Some people have special talents and gifts in one field and some in another. It would be a real boring world if we were all singers, dancers and artists or everybody was an astronomer and geologist. The diversity of mankind makes things interesting.
18 And thou shall make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shall thou make them, at the two ends of the ark-cover.
Cherubim: Heb. כְּרֻבִים. They had the features of a child. — [from Succah 5]
you shall make…of hammered work: [This means] that you should not make them separate and then join them at the ends of the ark cover after they are made, as smiths do [in a process] called solderez [in Old French], soldered. Instead, you should take a large quantity of gold at the beginning of the construction of the ark cover and beat it with a hammer and with a mallet in the center [of the mass of gold] so that its ends protrude upward, and [then you should] form the cherubim from the protrusion of its ends.
hammered: Heb. מִקְשָׁה, batediz in Old French, hammered, like “knocked (נָקְשָׁן) one against the other” (Dan. 5:6).
In English we pronounce the name like Cherry but the root of the Hebrew word in Keruv or bringing closer one to the other. When we try to bring back a Jew into the fold, we bring him/her closer to the source. We don’t tell him/her all the 15,700 plus Halachos in one swoop but bring him in one at a time. Esoterically the Cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant facing one another was bringing darkness into the light, evil into the good, stinginess into charity, pride and arrogance into humility, idol worship into true Torah, etc.
19 And make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end; of one piece with the ark-cover shall ye make the cherubim of the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubim shall spread out their wings on high, screening the ark-cover with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the ark-cover shall the faces of the cherubim be.
The cherubim shall have their wings spread upwards, shielding the ark cover with their wings, with their faces toward one another; [turned] toward the ark cover shall be the faces of the cherubim.
Their wings spread: [This means] that you shall not make their wings lying down [resting next to their bodies], but spread high alongside their heads, so that there should be ten handbreadths in the space between the wings and the ark cover, as is stated in Succah (5b).
Maybe the Cherubim were like in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and maybe they were figured more like a new born child or a child. Unfortunately we were not by the parting of the sea to have seen what a Cherub was to produce the work and we can only make a good speculation.
21 And thou shall put the ark-cover above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shall put the testimony that I shall give thee.
And into the ark you shall place the testimony: I do not know why it was repeated, for it already said: “And you shall place into the ark the testimony” (verse 16). We may say that it comes to teach that when it [the ark] is still an ark alone, without an ark cover, he [Moses] should first put in the testimony and then place the ark cover over it. So we find [that] when he [Moses] erected the Mishkan, it says: “And he placed the testimony into the ark,” and afterwards, “and he placed the ark cover on the ark from above” (Exod. 40:20).
The Ahron/Aron contained the broken Tablets and the second Tablets, the snake of brass up until the time of Hezkieyahu HaMelech, the original Sefer Torah written in ancient Hebrew and not our Assyrian Letters of today, Aaron’s rod, etc. as mentioned above. Another name for the Ark was the Ark of Testimony aka Witness to the past events such as the Mann, etc.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
I will arrange My meetings with you there: When I arrange a meeting for you to speak with
you, [it is at] that place that I will arrange for the meeting where I will come to speak to you.
And I will speak with you from atop the ark cover: But elsewhere it says: “and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying…” (Lev. 1:1). That is the Mishkan, outside the dividing curtain [whereas the ark was within the dividing curtain]. The two verses are found to contradict one another. The third verse comes and reconciles them. "And when Moses came into the Tent of Meeting…he heard the voice speaking to him from atop the ark cover" (Num. 7:89). [The solution is that] Moses would enter the Mishkan and as soon as he came within the doorway, a voice would descend from heaven to [the place] between the cherubim, from where it emanated and was heard by Moses in the Tent of Meeting. — [from Sefrei, end of Naso]
The L-RD will speak unto the Bnei Yisrael from between the Cherubim. Did HE appear as a sphere of light or just a voice, one does not know as the Beis HaMikdash is no longer and only the Cohain Gadol went into the area on Yom Kippur most likely with his eyes towards the floor so as not to die on the spot although the Talmud describes in one instant in the form of a man as man was created in G-D’s image or through the form and spirit of Aaron HaCohain. I have no idea and can only speculate and postulate from Yoma and other Talmudic Tractates.
23 And thou shall make a table of acacia-wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
90 to 100 cm long by 45 to 50 cm wide by 67.5 to 75 cm in height which is the specific specification for the table.
24 And thou shall overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
A golden crown: symbolic of the crown of kingship, for the table represents wealth and greatness, as they say, “the royal table.” - [from Yoma 72b]
Try to picture a table with a crown around it with the above mentioned dimensions.
25 And thou shall make unto it a border of a handbreadth round about, and thou shall make a golden crown to the border thereof round about. 26 And thou shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof. 27 Close by the border shall the rings be, for places for the staves to bear the table.
The rings shall be opposite the frame: on the legs, inserted opposite the ends of the frame.
As holders for the poles: Those rings shall be holders in which to insert the poles.
As holders: Heb. לְבָתִּים, for the purpose of holders.
For the poles: Heb. לְבַדִּים, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: אַתְרָא לַאִרִיחַיָא, a place for the poles.
Transportable through the desert into Eretz Yisrael into the resting places of the Mishkan.
28 And thou salt make the staves of acacia-wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
Shall be carried with them: Heb. וְנִשָׂא-בָם, the passive voice. The table shall be carried with them [by the poles].
29 And thou shall make the dishes thereof, and the pans thereof, and the jars thereof, and the bowls thereof, wherewith to pour out; of pure gold shall thou make them.
its spoons: Heb. וְכַפֹּתָיו. They were the spoons in which the frankincense was placed. There were two [spoons meant] for the two handfuls of frankincense that were placed beside the two stacks, as it is said: “And you shall place beside the stack pure frankincense” (Lev. 24:7). -[from Men. 97a]
its half-pipes: Heb. וּקְשׁוֹתָיו. They are sort of half-tubes, hollow and split along their length. They are similar to the tubes made of gold. Three [tubes] were arranged over each bread, so that each bread would rest upon those tubes. They would separate one bread from the other so that air would enter between them and they [the bread] would not grow moldy. In Arabic, any hollow thing is called kaswa. — [from Men. 96a, 97a] … Other Sages of Israel say that קְשׂתָיו refers to the branches, which harden (מְקֻשוֹת) it [the showbread] and strengthen it so that it does not break, and מְנַקִּיוֹתָיו refers to the pipes, which clean (מְנַקִּין) [the bread] so that it should not become moldy (Men. 96a). But Onkelos, who rendered [מְנַקִּיוֹתָיו as] מְכִילָתֵיהּ, understood it in a similar way to the words of the one [Sage] who says [that] מְנַקִּיוֹת are branches.
30 And thou shall set upon the table showbread before Me always.
Showbread: Heb. לֶחֶם פָּנִים, lit., bread of faces, [given this appellation] because it has faces, as I explained [on verse 29]. The number of breads and the order of their stacks are explained in [the parsha of] אֱמֹר אֶל הַכֹּהֲנִים, “Speak to the Cohanim” (Lev. 21:1).
We learn from the Mishna that the breads were baked on Friday and placed on the Table from week to week and would leave the Table warm and fresh as if they had been baked a few minutes before and not the previous week. This was one of the miracles of the Mishkan and Mikdash.
Mitzvos and Halachos by Danny Shoemann
It's a Mitzva to not eat and not drink from before sunset on Erev Yom Kippur until after the stars appear after Yom Kippur. One who eats more than usual on Erev Yom Kippur is considered to have fasted an extra day. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "However, on the 10th day of the month is Yom Kippur... and you shall afflict your souls" (Vayikra 23:27) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 32
It's a Mitzva to repent from your sins, and to acknowledge them (privately to Hashem). To fulfill this, one should say - in all honesty - something to the effect of "Please Hashem, I have sinned against you and done (mention the sin), and I regret doing so and am embarrassed, and I intend to never repeat the offense." Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Man and woman.... should acknowledge their sins" (Bamidbar 5:7) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 33
One is forbidden to ignore the plight of the poor and needy, and send them away empty handed. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Do not be unfeeling and do not shut your hand from your poor brother" (Devarim 15:7) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 62
Besides for the prohibition of cursing any Jew, one may also not curse a Dayan - a judge in a Bet Din. One who curses a Dayan with reference to Hashem gets two sets of 39 lashes by Bet Din. Included in this verse is the prohibition of cursing G-d; one who transgresses gets stoned to death by Bet Din. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always
Verse: "Do not curse the judge" (Shemos 22:26) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 63
One is prohibited from appointing incompetent judges to a Bet Din. A judge needs to be chosen for his knowledge of the relevant areas in Torah learning, and his fear of Heaven. Applies to everybody, always, everywhere Verse: "Do not show favor in judgement" (Devarim 1:17) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 64
A judge is prohibited from hearing one side of the case without both sides being present. A person involved in judgement may not tell his side of the story to the judge without the other side being present. Included in this verse is the prohibition of talking evil about others, and giving false testimony. Applies to everybody, always, everywhere
Verse: "Thou shall not raise a false report" (Shemos 23:1) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 65
On Purim one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים to the Birkas Hamazon during the 2nd Bracha. If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make mends.
However, if possible you should say the following during the HaRachaman's after the 4th Bracha: הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָנוּ נִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הַהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בִּימֵי מרדכי
and then continue with the rest of the עַל הַנִּסִּים. During every Amida of Purim one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים during Modim. If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make amends. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:16, 139: 21
Men wear Tefillin (phylacteries) every day during Schacharis (morning prayers) except for Shabbat and Yom Tov. Rosh Chodesh has some aspects of a Yom Tov, yet work is permitted. Tefillin are worn on Rosh Chodesh during Schacharis, Hallel and the Torah reading. They are removed before starting Mussaf. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 10:19
One increases joy when Adar begins because Adar and (next month) Nissan historically have been full of miracles, including the redemption from Egypt and (nearly a millennium later) the miracle of Purim. Adar is considered an auspicious month for the Jews. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:1
One of the 613 Mitzvot in the Torah is to obey the Torah Sages. The Sages instituted Purim and its Mitzvot. One of the Mitzvot of Purim is Matanos La'Evyonim - to send gifts to at least two needy people. This gift is usually money. Even somebody who lives off charity needs to fulfill this Mitzva. One needn't hand the gifts directly to the needy; one can send them via messenger (or charity organization). Purim is the only day of the year one does not check credentials; anybody who asks for charity on Purim is given something. Both men and women have an obligation to give Matanos La'Evyonim. Men may send Matanos La'Evyonim to women and vice versa. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:3-4
One of the Mitzvot of Purim is Mishloach Manos; sending at least two food items to one fellow Jew. These 2 food items need to be ready to eat. For example fruit, wine, cake or cooked meat. It’s commendable to send Mishloach Manos to a lot of people, but it’s even better to spend more on Matanos La’Evyonim to the poor and needy. Both men and women need to send Mishloach Manos. Men should send to men, women should send to women. A mourner (in the 12 months for parents or 30 days for siblings, spouse or child) also needs to send Mishloach Manos. One does not send Mishloach Manos to a mourner unless there are no other Jews around. One may give Matanos La’Evyonim to a needy mourner. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 142:1, 2, 4, 7
Nowadays as more and more non-Jews become Bnei Noach as they await Moshiach they are beginning to ask Rabbis questions
Meet the Adams Family By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff
Today, I will be meeting someone who is extremely concerned and knowledgeable about halacha, yet doesn't even keep a kosher home. Neither has he ever observed Shabbos. On the other hand, he is meticulous to observe every detail of Choshen Mishpat.
Who is this individual?
Allow me to introduce you to John Adams who is a practicing Noachide, or, as he prefers to call himself, an Adamite.
Adams asserts that he descends from the two famous presidents, a claim that I have never verified and have no reason to question. Raised in New England and a graduate of Harvard Law School, John rejected the tenets of the major Western religions but retained a very strong sense of G-d's presence and the difference between right and wrong. Study and introspection led him to believe that G-d probably had detailed instructions for mankind, and sincere questioning led him to discover that of the Western religions, only Judaism does not claim a monopoly on heaven. A non-Jew who observes the Seven Laws taught to Noah and believes that G-d commanded them at Har Sinai has an excellent place reserved for him in olam haba.
John began the practice of these laws. John is quick to point out that, with only one exception, these laws were all commanded originally to Adam. Since John is proud of his family name and lineage, he likes calling himself an Adamite.
What are the basics of Noachide practice?
We all know that a gentile is required to observe seven Mitzvos, six of them prohibitions, to avoid: idolatry, incest, murder, blasphemy, theft, and eiver min hachai (which we will soon discuss), and the seventh, the mitzvah of having dinim, whose nature is controversial. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah #416) and others note that these seven Mitzvos are actually categories, and a non-Jew is really required to observe several dozen Mitzvos.
Kosher, Noah style
I asked John if eating meat presents any religious problems for him.
“Well, you know that Noah was prohibited from eating meat or an organ that was severed before the animal died, a prohibition you call eiver min hachai,” said John, obviously proud that he could pronounce the expression correctly. “So sometimes I come across meat that I may not eat. The following question once came up: Moslem slaughter, called halal, involves killing the animal in a way that many of its internal organs are technically severed from the animal before it is dead. Because of this, we are very careful where we purchase our organ meats."
May a Noachide Eat Out?
“This problem went even further,” John continued. “Could we eat in a restaurant where forbidden meats may have contaminated their equipment?”
I admit that I had never thought of this question before. Must a gentile be concerned that a restaurant’s equipment absorbed eiver min hachai? Does a Noachide needs to "kasher" a treif restaurant before he can eat there? Oy, the difficulty of being a goy!
“How did you resolve this dilemma?” I timidly asked.
“Well, for a short time our family stopped eating out," he replied. "You could say that we ate only treif at home. My wife found the situation intolerable – no MacDonald’s or Wendy’s? Although I know that observant Jews do not understand why this is such a serious predicament, but please bear in mind that we made a conscious decision not to become Jewish. One of our reasons was that we enjoy eating out wherever we can.
“So I decided to ask some rabbis I know, but even then the end of the road was not clearly in sight.”
“Why was that?”
“I had difficulty finding a rabbi who could answer the question. From what I understand, a rabbi’s ordination teaches him the basics necessary to answer questions that apply to kosher kitchens. But I don’t have a kosher house – we observe Adamite laws. As one rabbi told me, ‘I don’t know if Noachide need to be concerned about what was previously cooked in their pots.’”
“How did you resolve the predicament?"
How treif is treif?
“Eventually, we found a rabbi who contended that we need not be concerned about how pots and grills were previously used. He explained that we could assume that they had not been used for eiver min hachai in the past 24 hours, which certainly sounds like a viable assumption, and that therefore using them would only involve the possibility of a rabbinic prohibition, and that we gentiles are not required to observe rabbinic restrictions. The last part makes a lot of sense, since there is nothing in the Seven Laws about listening to the rabbis, although I agree that they are smart and sincere people. [Note: I am not certain who it was that John asked. According to Shu”t Chasam Sofer, Yoreh Deah #19 (at end), there would be no heter to use pots that once absorbed eiver min hachai. There are poskim who disagree with Chasam Sofer (see Darchei Tshuvah 62:5), but many of these hold that there is no prohibition altogether with a gentile using pots absorbed with eiver min hachai.]
“The result is that we now go out to eat frequently, which makes my wife very happy. It was a good decision for our marital bliss, what you call shalom bayis. Although I understand that this is another idea we are not required to observe, it is good, common sense.”
Milah in the Adams Family
When John’s son was born, he raised an interesting shaylah. To quote him: “Circumcision as a religious practice originates with G-d’s covenant with Abraham, the first Jew. But my covenant with G-d predates Abraham and does not include circumcision. However, even though there was no religious reason for my son to be circumcised, my wife and I thought it was a good idea for health reasons.”
John is a very gregarious type, and loves to explain things fully. “We actually had two concerns about whether we could circ John Jr. The second one was that many authorities contend that the seventh mitzvah of instating ‘Laws,’ which you call ‘Dinim,’ includes a prohibition against injuring someone (Ramban, Genesis, oops, I mean Beresheis 34:13). According to this opinion, someone who hits someone during a street fight may lose his world to come for violating one of our seven tenets. I have come too far to risk losing my share in the world to come, so I try very hard not to violate any of the laws. I called some rabbis I know to ask whether there was any problem with circumcising my son for health reasons. The rabbi I asked felt that since we are doing this for medical reasons, it is similar to donating blood or undergoing surgery. The upshot was that we did what no self-respecting Jew should ever do: We had a pediatrician circumcise John Jr. on the third day after his birth, to emphasize that we were not performing any mitzvah.”
Proud to show off his Hebrew, John finished by saying: “So we had a Milah, but no Bris. We also decided to skip the bagels and lox. Instead, my wife and I decided it was more appropriate to celebrate with shrimp cocktails, even though primordial Adam didn’t eat shrimp. All types of meat were only permitted to Noah after the Deluge, which you call the Mabul. I believe that some authorities rule that Adam was permitted road kill and was only prohibited from slaughtering, while others understand he had to be strictly vegetarian. My wife and I discussed whether to go vegetarian to keep up the Adams tradition, but decided that if meat was ‘kosher’ enough for Noah, it is kosher enough for us. We decided we weren’t keeping any stringent practices even if they become stylish.”
Earning a Living
“Have you experienced any other serious dilemmas due to your being an ‘Adamite?’”
“Oh, yes. I almost had to change my career.”
I found this very curious. As John Adams seemed like an honest individual, it seemed unlikely that he had made his living by stealing or any similar dishonest activity.
Non-Jews are forbidden to perform abortions, which might affect how a Noachide gynecologist earns a living, but John is a lawyer, not a doctor. Even if John used to worship idols or had the bad habit of blaspheming, how would that affect his career?
May a Gentile Practice Law?
John’s research into Noachide law led him to the very interesting conclusion that his job as an assistant district attorney was halachically problematic. Here is what led him to this conclusion.
One of the Mitzvos, or probably more accurately, categories of Mitzvos, in which a Noachide is commanded in the mitzvah of dinim, literally, laws. The authorities dispute the exact definition and nature of this mitzvah. It definitely includes a requirement that gentile societies establish courts and prosecute those who violate the Noachide laws (Tosefta, Avodah Zarah 9:4; Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 9:14). Some authorities contend that the mitzvah of dinim prohibits injuring or abusing others or damaging their property (Ramban, Beresheis 34:13).
However, this dispute leads to another issue that was more germane to John’s case. There is a major dispute among Halachic authorities whether Noachides are governed by the Torah’s rules of property laws, which we refer to as Choshen Mishpat (Shu”t Rama #10), or whether the Torah left it to non-Jews to formulate their own property and other civil laws. If the former is true, a non-Jew may not sue in a civil court that uses any system of law other than the Torah. Instead, he must litigate in a Beis din or in a court of non-Jewish judges who follow Halachic guidelines. Following this approach, if a gentile accepts money based on civil litigation, he is considered as stealing, just as a Jew is. This approach is accepted by many early poskim (e.g., Tumim 110:3). Some authorities extend this mitzvah further, contending that the Mitzvos governing proper functioning of courts and civil laws apply to Noachides (Minchas Chinuch #414; 415). Following this approach, enforcing a criminal code that does not follow the Torah rules violates the mitzvah of dinim.
As John discovered, some authorities extend this idea quite far. For example, one of the Mitzvos of the Torah prohibits a Beis din from convicting or punishing someone based on circumstantial evidence (Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvos, Lo Saaseh #290; Sefer HaChinuch #82). If the same applies to the laws of dinim, a gentile court has no right to use circumstantial evidence (Minchas Chinuch #82, #409). Thus, John was faced with an interesting predicament. According to these opinions, a gentile who prosecutes because of circumstantial evidence might violate the Seven Mitzvos of Noah even if the accused party appears to be guilty. It is understood that according to these opinions, one may not prosecute for the violation of a crime that the Torah does not consider to be criminal, or to sue for damages for a claim that has no Halachic basis.
Napoleonic Code and Halacha
On the other hand, other authorities contend that non-Jews are not obligated to observe the laws of Choshen Mishpat; but instead the Torah requires them to create their own legal rules and procedures (HaEmek Shaylah #2:3; Chazon Ish, Bava Kama 10:1). These authorities rule that gentiles perform a mitzvah when creating a legal system for themselves such as the Napoleonic Code, English Common Law, or any other commercial code. Following this approach, a non-Jew may use secular courts to resolve his litigation and even fulfills a mitzvah by doing so. Thus, John could certainly continue his work as a D.A. and that it would be a mitzvah for him to do so.
It is interesting to note that following the stricter ruling in this case also creates a leniency. According to those who rule that a gentile is not required to observe the laws of Choshen Mishpat, a gentile may not study these laws, since the Torah prohibits a gentile from studying Torah (see Tosafos, Bava Kama 38a s.v. karu; cf., however, that the Meiri, Sanhedrin 59a, rules that a gentile who decides to observe a certain mitzvah may study the laws of that mitzvah in order to fulfill it correctly.) However, according to those who contend that the Mitzvos of dinim follow the laws of Choshen Mishpat, a gentile is required to study these laws in order to observe his Mitzvos properly (Shu”t Rama #10)).
The rabbis with whom John consulted felt that a gentile could work as a district attorney. However, John had difficulty with this approach. He found it difficult to imagine that G-d would allow man to make such basic decisions and felt it more likely that mankind was expected to observe the Torah’s civil code. He therefore gravitated to the opinion of those who held that gentiles are required to observe the laws of Choshen Mishpat. As a result, he felt that he should no longer work in the D.A.’s office, since his job is to prosecute based on laws and a criminal justice system that the Torah does not accept.
“What did you do?”
“I decided to ‘switch sides’ and become a defense attorney, which has a practical advantage because I make a lot more money.”
“How do you handle a case where you know that your client is guilty?”
“Firstly, is he guilty according to Halacha? Did he perform a crime? Is there halachically acceptable evidence? If there is no halachically acceptable evidence, he is not required to plead guilty. Furthermore, since none of my clients are Noachides or observant Jews, they can’t make it to heaven anyway, so let them enjoy themselves here. Even if my client is guilty, the punishment determined by the court is not halachically acceptable. It is very unclear whether jail terms are halachically acceptable punishment for gentiles. Philosophically, I was always opposed to jail time. I think that there are better ways to teach someone to right their ways than by incarceration, which is a big expense for society.”
Interesting Noachide Laws
“Have you come across any other curious issues?”
“Here is a really unusual question I once raised,” John responded. “Am I permitted to vote in the elections for a local judge? According to some authorities, the Torah’s prohibition against appointing a judge who is halachically incompetent applies equally to gentiles (Minchas Chinuch #414). Thus, one may not appoint a judge to the bench who does not know the appropriate Torah laws, which precludes all the candidates. When I vote for one of those candidates, I am actively choosing a candidate who is halachically unqualified to judge. I therefore decided that although there are authorities who rule this is permitted, and that therefore it is permitted to vote, I wanted to be consistent in my position. As a result, I vote religiously, but not for judgeships.
"John, did you ever consider becoming Jewish?"
“First of all, I know that the rabbis will discourage me from becoming Jewish, particularly since I don’t really want to. I know exactly what I am required to keep and I keep that properly. I have no interest in being restricted where and what I eat, and I have no interest in observing Shabbos, which, at present, I may not observe anyway, and that is fine with me (Gemara Sanhedrin 58b). I am very willing to be a ‘Shabbos goy’— and I understand well what the Jews need -- but it is rare that I find myself in this role. Remember, I do not live anywhere near a Jewish community.
Although I have never learned how to read Hebrew – why bother, I am not supposed to study Torah anyway – I ask enough questions from enough rabbis to find out all I need to know.
Although it seems strange for a non-Jew to ask a Rav a shaylah, this should actually be commonplace. Indeed, many non-Jews are concerned about their future place in Olam Haba and, had the nations not been deceived by spurious religions, many thousands more would observe the Mitzvos that they are commanded. When we meet sincere non-Jews, we should direct them correctly in their quest for truth. Gentiles who observe these Mitzvos because Hashem commanded them through Moshe Rabbeinu are called “Chassidei Umos HaOlam” and merit a place in Olam Haba.
The other side of the above subject is a full convert: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3845690,00.html
The end of the article I found most disturbing: More happy news was reported in the ultra-Orthodox sector when it became known that the 21-year-old granddaughter of one of the Neturei Karta leaders was matched with a 16-year-old young man. The hidden part which the reporter did not know is that normal 21 year old Orthodox females from good lineage are married with extra special Yeshiva Young Men their age or older. It is obvious to me that there was plenty of money flowing to attract a 16 year old who has not a fully developed brain to marry a defective 21 year old. Simply something smells here for those who know the ultra-Orthodox Community.
From Rabbi A.L.: One of the major transgressions throughout Jewish history is the sin of Loshon Hora, it is considered very bad as it may destroy individuals/groups lives, leading to bullying in workplace/school, ruining businesses, bringing a bad reputation, destruction of friendships, wrecking a potential Shidduch. Many people tend to stumble on the transgressions about speaking Loshon Hora and unfortunately the strong desire about gossiping and speaking evil of others (Whether true or not) is so high that gossipers/listeners do not realize they are committing a transgression which is considered as bad as the three cardinal sins. It is our job to try reproving and discouraging people that speak about others whichever environment they may be in during the day.
We learn in the Tanach that during the era of "King Achav" (A man who instigated idol worship and caused numerous murders during his tenure) as King of Israel, he was successful in most of his battles, because one of the major merits he had was his nation did not speak Loshon Hora about each other. However when the righteous King David was leader of the Jews, despite their being a flourish of Torah Scholarship in that era, Loshon Hora and baseless hatred was at a high rate, which led to Hashem helping King's David's army at a much lower rate when they went into battle in comparison to King Achav's tenure. It has been stated that 24,000 of Rav Akiva's students died because they spoke Loshon Hora about each other and did not give each other the respect that they should have.
Another major aspect in Loshon Hora is "ACCEPTING" the Loshon Hora spoken. Many commentators have stated that the exile of the 10 tribes of Israel was initially caused due to King David's accepting Loshon Hora, here King David made the mistake of listening to and believing Loshon Hora spoken by a greedy man of the name "Ziba", which in turn led to King David giving over half a man's rightful property (Mephibosheth), which should not have been given.
In life there are loads of examples when a person or a group of people may start a rumor about someone and then the rumor in turn spreads like fire, many people may actually accept the rumor which may also not at all be true, leading to ruined reputations and they are severely guilty of the transgression of speaking and accepting Loshon Hora.
We even learn in Parsha Korach (In book of Bamidbar), Dasan and Aviram wanted Moshe to be ousted out of his position as the leader of the Jewish people, so there is a Medrash that states they decided to start up a false rumor that Moshe had committed adultery, in order to seriously wreck his reputation. They realized that the moment one starts a rumor about another group or individual, the victim of the rumor will be finished. It is so hard to repent over the transgression of Loshon Hora, as in many cases the damage may be irreparable due to the slander that may have been spoken about the victim. Some commentators have stated that a person who speaks slander about another is considered similar to a "Snake."
The Second Beit HaMikdash was destroyed becaues of sinat chinum (Baseless hatred). The Gemara argues that we must understand the evil of sinat chinum to be equal to the combined evil of the tree cardinal sins (Idolatry, incest/adultery, and murder). Since our exile is still ongoing, and the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) has not been rebuilt, we know that we have not fixed the sin. We must know that Loshon Hora and embarrassing someone is compared to murder. Thus we realize that Loshon Hora is also one of the reasons the Beit Hamikdash has not been rebuilt. If we do introspection we will realize that Loshon Hora is a result of baseless hatred, not knowing how to tolerate and accept each other. Finding flaws in others makes us feel superior, and make us believe that we have the right to judge others. Judging others is a result of being arrogant, which is compared to idolatry. Who would be the idol?? Yourself. If we were humble enough (To see our own flaws) we would appreciate people's good qualities instead of finding flaws and we will be able to learn to forgive.
The Chafetz Chaim advises us to avoid places where there is Loshon Horan, and to rebuke those who do it. From something that we think so small a whole tragedy aroused.
We have not been able to learn to appreciate Hashem's creation. We were created Betzelek Elokim, thus we must realzie every person is intrinsically good and has a holy soul. Since we do not have the omnipotence that Hashem has, we are unable to read someone's heart or mind, and guarantee things as facts. This is why we should always give the benefit of doubt and also forgive. G-D is superior to all of us, who are we to judge His creation?? Furthermore, Hashem looks at the scale we use to measure others. And with the same measure, He measures us.
This week I had the time to read the last few Good Shabbos stories. I made Aliyah about 3 weeks before Rosh Hashana 5771. It was also time for the winter holidays and as my former wife’s mother was a teacher, she chose to travel to Eretz Yisrael for the break and see her pregnant daughter. We took buses to the Airport Erev Shabbos and waited for the plane. As usual El Al in those days had the reputation for Every Landing Always Late. The plane was delayed and was due in at one and we waited. When one rolled around the plane was coming soon. By the time my mother-in-law landed and picked up her suitcases, it was 3 O’clock. We took a taxi who was hit from behind by a car and he hailed another cab for us. By the time we got to Ashdod, I asked for my wife to be let off by the Mercas Klitah ([immigrant] absorption center) and we continued in the cab downhill to the only hotel in town. I stayed with my former-mother-in-law until I brought her belongings to her room. By the time I got up the hill it was candle lighting time. I quickly got dressed and was off to the nearest Schul. THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS EREV SHABBOS DO NOT TRAVEL BY PLANE UNLESS YOU MUST.
Finally, my neighbor ended up coming into Ramat Modiim one Erev Shabbos with just his carry on just about or after candle lighting – the same story but this was June – Erev Shabbos with a 6 hour plane delay.
HEAVEN HELP US – when I was born or even had my children nobody would have even thought about this. WHERE ARE WE? http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168364
Time to show this to both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the Senate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYscnFpEyA
When an American Major General tells us that the Israeli Government is sleeping on it’s watch, we should have our ears perked up!!!
Update by MG Vallely Middle East Israel
Limited Release and Distribution
February 10, 2010
Israeli and Middle East Options
By Paul E Vallely
On 9-11, Americans were attacked and the World Trade Center’s destroyed along with the deaths of almost 3,000 innocents in New York, Washington DC and over the fields of Western Pennsylvania.. It was a pre-emptive attack and a horrific unthinkable act that arose from great and thorough planning of Al-Qaeda and its Radical Islamists followers. At this point in history, Israel is facing such a dilemma as it seriously contemplates the consequences of a threatened nuclear/missile and ground attack from Iran and her proxies. Does Israel act preemptively to potentially protect its territory and six million citizens and potentially precipitate a full-on regional conflict or anxiously wait while Iran inches closer to nuclear launch capabilities and follows through with its threats of "Death to Israel?"
The media has been fraught with reports about Israel's action to this Iranian attack that appears more real each day in passing. Israel does not require a green light from the U.S. as a sovereign nation and “needs to do what it has to do”. It is now a political decision for Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. With the recent successful medium-range ballistic missile test and claims of 5,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges and additional facilities, Ahmadinejad has brought the situation to a critical tipping point as the rest of the world (to include the USA) sits, appeases and threatens more sanctions and provides almost no support to the Iranian Opposition. A Chamberlain type approach historically spells disaster.
It is obvious that Iran is not open to negotiation or compromise. The risk appears to have elevated since Iran's recent missile tests and their build-up of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Israel has been criticized for its failed efforts during Hezbollah's war against Israel in 2006 and the Gaza withdrawal. The fact that Hezbollah now has three times the number of missiles it possessed during the 2006 war and now has over 60,000 trained ground combat foot soldiers capable of penetrating the northern border into Israel. Intelligence also is reporting that Iran’s plan is to neutralize all Israel air bases by torrential missile attacks from Southern Lebanon. Syrian has reportedly shipped to Hezbollah Fateh-110 missiles able to destroy Israeli cities and the air fields. The secret transfer of the mobile surface-to-surface Syrian-made Fateh-110 (range 250km) missile to Hezbollah sparked the prediction Friday, Feb. 5 from an unnamed US official that cross-border arms smuggling from Syria into Lebanon outside state control was occurring military sources report that Israel warned Syria through at least two diplomatic channels against Hezbollah of having and using these lethal weapon, which are capable of reaching almost every Israel city.
How should Israel deter an Iran, both from launching direct missile attacks, and from dispersing nuclear assets from the Iran homeland and its terrorist proxies? Now there are obvious and real “fingerprints” all over the wall that necessitates action. This is especially significant because Ahmadinejad states that soon there will be a world without the United States and Israel coupled with his regular pronouncements to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. This sends serious nuclear alarm signals that must not be ignored. He announced to the world on February 11th that they now have enriched uranium.
A nuclear-armed Iran, whose president regularly calls for the annihilation of Israel, is an intolerable threat to the world and existence of the Jewish state. There is no quarter for acceptance of an Iranian bomb, which could set in motion regional proliferation to come as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Syria could potentially acquire nuclear capabilities. The geopolitical and economic consequences of an attack, although necessary for self-preservation, would be dire. Iran could retaliate by escalating attacks on U.S. military forces in Iraq and blocking the Strait of Hormuz and thus the flow of 25% of the world's oil. It could also decrease oil production and raise prices ultimately leading to a limited global recession and unleash its proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, in the USA, Lebanon and Gaza. The result could be a large-scale regional conflict. However, a well thought out strategy articulated and executed by the US and Israel would serve a strong deterrence. To be sure, it is not a simple or reassuring world. Strategic doctrine is always a complex matter, and any improved U.S. plan will have to be creative as well as comprehensive. If, for any reason, Iran is permitted to "go nuclear," our re-fashioned doctrine will certainly have to identify viable options for coexistence with that unpredictable country. In turn, these options will require enemy perceptions of persuasive American power and of a corresponding American willingness to actually use this power.
According to some reports, the Israeli Air Force has conducted secret training missions to prepare for a future attack which will be aided by the X-band radar system, capable of intercepting Iran's newly tested medium-range ballistic missiles, recently installed by U.S. military personnel. If Israel perceives that time is running out on Iran, it may be forced to muster the political will to defend itself from a nuclear nightmare that Ahmadinejad has repeatedly promised. We believe Iran is now nuclear capable to some degree. Notice that the US Administration never brings up the global support of international terror by Iran and continued support of Radical Islamic proxies like Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Hamas.
America's President seems to naively think that the way to a world without nuclear weapons is going to happen in our lifetime and with continuing sanctions on Iran. Perhaps, in the best of all possible worlds, all countries could actually turn back the clock, and impose effective limits on the always-evolving technologies of destruction. But we do not yet live in such a world, and the obvious incapacity to implement any real denuclearization means that (however reluctantly) we shall still have to reconcile our own national security with expanding nuclear proliferation. What option will Israel choose and what will their strategy be? And for that matter, what will the United States do and other responsible nations.
Paul E Vallely (MG, US Army Ret), Chairman of Stand Up America USA
Economic Recovery in Israel an investment opportunity: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3850159,00.html
SOMETHING BIG IN THE WHITE HOUSE IS VERY STRANGE! by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
President Barack Hussein Obama appoints a Muslim White House lawyer to be his personal representative to the Muslim World at the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference)...WHY?
Something very strange is going on in the White House...or is that an Oxymoron to begin with.
On February 16th, I listened to an interview by Megyn Kelly (a news anchor on Fox News) of Monica Crowley (a Fox News analyst). They seriously discussed Obama appointing Rashad Hussain, Deputy Associate Counsel to the President, as his representative to the OIC.
That Hussain is a Muslim should not matter - except for the fact that Sharia Law mandates Muslims to kill any Muslim who abandons their faith and thereby becomes an apostate. Obama does claim to be a Christian, having left the Islamic faith of his father. According to hostile Muslim clerics and the Koran this rejection of Islam could warrant a "fatwa" (Muslim religious order to kill).
Wasn’t Rashad Hussain vetted by the FBI before he was allowed into a position of personal trust inside the White House - let alone getting physically close to the President?
I wonder why Obama, knowing this, would take such a chance - unless the work he is doing makes his being a Christian or not a Christian acceptable to Islamic "Jihadists". If I didn’t know that Obama was a loyal patriotic American, it would appear that someone close to the President is planting moles at the highest levels of Government.
During the interview by Megyn Kelly, Monica Crowley spoke about the fact that Rashad Hussain had spoken out in defense of Professor Sami al-Arian who was convicted of funneling money to Terrorist Muslim Arab Palestinians.
Rashad Hussain was quoted in the "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs" of November 2004 as calling Sami al-Arian the victim of "politically motivated persecutions" and that "al-Arian was used politically to quash dissent". (2)
These remarks by Hussain were later deleted by the editor, Delinda Hanley of the Washington Report, although the author Shereen Kandil affirmed she quoted Hussain accurately. (3)
Prof. Sami al-Arian, a former professor at South Florida U., was charged in 2003 with heading U.S. operations of the Palestinian Islamic "Jihad" (war for Islam).
We just had a big visible blunder when two people crashed a White House Dinner and had their picture taken with the President. The Secret Service was lambasted for this blunder.
Why does there seem to be a dangerous stream of Obama appointees who have been able to by-pass vetting by the FBI and Congress?
Is Obama ruling America by fiat and proclamation?
How much more serious is it to have a Muslim in the White House who, in his early years, defended al-Arian, a confessed and convicted go-between for transferring money to Terrorists?
Did Obama personally invite Rashad aboard as he has so many Czars and Czarinas, many of whom have rap sheets as anarchists, Socialists, Fascists, even Communists - many with an historical agenda hostile to American values and who seem to have been positioned to replace Congress in any upcoming National Emergency?
I wonder why Congress has chosen to accept irrelevancy when the world of Islam has ramped up its Global "Jihad" (war for Islamic Global Caliphate) - especially threatening America.
Hopefully, someone in Washington can dig up the particulars on this appointee. What are his marching orders as Obama’s personal messenger to the Muslim world?
Here again we observe the President lurching toward appeasement and outreach to Islam, in effect, closing the circle he began as a Muslim child, learning the basic tenets of Koranic Sharia laws in a Madrassa.
Questions keep swirling around without anyone seeking real answers:
Who hired Rashad?
Was Rashad connected to anyone in the President’s circle of friends prior to election or after elections?
Who were Rashad’s circle of friends at Yale?
Who sponsored and funded Rashad at Yale - which is very expensive and hard to get into?
Did the FBI vet him prior to his employment at the White House or was he given a ‘pass’?
Who does he report to officially? Unofficially?
What are his duties as a legal advisor to Obama?
Are his Emails and advisory memos to the President considered privileged and secret?
Was he also a resource to advise Obama on Islamic affairs?
Was Rashad privy to vital intelligence with respect to U.S. planning to thwart Islamic Terror in America - or confidential planning to assist Israel in defending herself?
Did he attend a local Mosque and, if so, have any of its members raised a security flag? What was this Mosque’s reputation?
Are their other Muslims inside the White House and who appointed them?
Are there legislative assistants to Congress who are either Muslim or Anglos who favor Islamic States. There are 56 Islamic States in the world of which 22 are Arab. This is a job of vetting for the FBI but, under Obama: Is vetting no longer standing policy orders to the FBI and/or CIA, etc.
In conclusion, I would like to share some related thoughts to the preceding:
I have been concerned for some time that Islamists, such as the Saudis, have used their enormous wealth to advance Islam on a global scale never before imagined. Those who study Arab and Muslim history know that such countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Egypt and others have this remarkable ability to retain hostility toward the "infidel" (non-Muslim) - even over a thousand years.
They also have unswerving devotion to Koranic Sharia law and the "Hadith" (Oral Teachings) of Mohammed which guide their actions against the "infidel". Using their accidental oil wealth, they have expanded their goals of elevating the Ummah (the People), into a conquest of the Planet Earth to create one Global Caliphate under "Sharia" (strict Islamic) law.
In recent times, I have watched the emplacement in all the countries of the West,including America, of "Madrassas" - Muslim schools that teach "Wahhabi" Islam (strictest Islam), which is against all other religions and nations that have a Judeo-Christian base.
Given their patience and ability for long-long term planning, I have been very concerned about how and why Muslim-radical Islamist countries have been selecting especially bright students at an early age to fund their education. Later, using the power of their oil purse, the radical Muslim Jihadis influence the students acceptance into the West’s most prestigious Universities - like Yale, Harvard, Oxford, etc. There they learn to speak un-accented English,French and other tongues so that one day, with those skills, they can seamlessly enter the heart of political life of their host nations. They also specialize in Engineering,Nuclear Physics,Biology and Chemistry.
Such well-trained Muslims could have tremendous influence on policy, in addition to facilitating communication of their views of the strengths and weaknesses of their host countries - showing vulnerable points of attack. Such "moles" could reveal what the adversary Western nations are doing to protect themselves against Islamic expansion.
Having been educated with the best money can buy, they can infiltrate a targeted nation at every level, namely, government (big and small), business, banking, military, scientific research, especially in WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) Weapons. Someone like Rashad Hussain, with a Harvard or Yale degree is simply not questioned as to their agenda nor their loyalty to the host nation.
I notice that journalists and Media, in general, artfully avoid deep research and, even when something does appear on their radar, they simply turn their radar off. How can the people know if the Watch Dogs of the Media are either sleeping or simply choose not to speak about what they know.
We have already seen the journalists of Europe along with their governments cave into the demands of Muslim immigrants who have achieved "critical mass" (the number at which their influence for ill can burst out). Then by such blackmail, they can pressure for obedience to Islam. (Islam translates to "Submission".)
We see this expanding exponentially in America, in Government, businesses, factories, universities and on the streets, as increased numbers of Muslims demand new laws to accommodate them...or else! Even the prisons feed the growing radical Muslim population with easy converts to Islam.
The American Congress is failing the American people as they accept cash donations from Islamic sources for their elections, filtered via hidden methods including NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations - not for profit and, therefore, tax deductible).
I wonder if Congress and America’s 16 Intel Agencies will ever wake up to this national threat. If they don’t, they are literally forcing America to commit national suicide. That is true of our allies as well.
Something big is very, very strange!
1. "Obama’s Islamic Envoy Quoted Defending Man Charged with Aiding Terrorists" FOXnews.com Interview by Megyn Kelly of Monica Crowley February 16, 2010 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/president/ci.Obama%27s+Islamic+Envoy+Quoted+Defending...
2. Shereen Kandil Washington Report on Middle East Affairs November 2004
3. FoxNews.com http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/16/obamas-islamic-envoy-disputes-report-quoting....
Now for M. Wolfberg’s “A good Deed”
Good Shabbos Everyone. Everybody likes being treated nicely. So, when we treat others kindly and with respect, we fulfill the mitzvah of: “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Vayikra 19:18) It may sound obvious that must treat our fellow Jews respectfully and with feelings of love. Why then did Hashem give us a mitzvah to treat others with love and respect? The answer to our question lies in the definition of a mitzvah.
Many people think that a mitzvah is a “good deed.” A “good deed” is optional; it is a nice thing to do. The implication of this definition is that if you want to do a mitzvah, fine. If not, that is also fine. In truth, mitzvahs are much more than just “good deeds.” Mitzvahs are an obligation. This is why we have a mitzvah to be nice to one another. If treating others kindly were just a “good deed” then one may decide that he does not feel like being nice to others because, for example, he was forced to wait too long in a line, or he was not feeling well or he did not have enough sleep. That is why we have an obligation to be kind to one another. It is not just a “good deed” to be kind to our fellow Jew. We must be kind to our fellow Jews.
The Torah discusses the importance of treating others kindly in our parsha this week Mishpatim. Hashem tells us: “Do not oppress the widow and orphan. If you do oppress him, when he cries to Me, I will hear his cry. And I will become very angry and I will kill you with a sword, and your wives will be widows and you sons will be orphans” (Shemos 22:21-23) Rashi explains that this warning not only applies to widows and orphans, rather, the verse applies to all people. This verse is quite amazing. Hashem so much wants us to treat our fellow Jews with love and respect, that Hashem actually threatens to kill us if we mistreat another Jew.
Besides reading the following beautiful and inspirational story, we will also learn some important tips on how to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. We begin with the following true story: Avigdor Ribicoff, a member of a Kollel (a yeshiva for married men) in Tiberius, Israel, and his wife had been married many years and had unfortunately not been blessed with children. They sought medical help in Israel and abroad and had undergone various tests and procedures, but sadly, they still had no children. Despondency and desperation, heaven forbid, were beginning to gnaw at the young couple.
They both came from "Litvishe" families and had no connection with Chassidic Rebbes. Yet, friends urged Avigdor to go for Brachos (blessings) to various Chassidic Rebbes. Avigdor listened to this advice and went for blessings, if not reluctantly. During the summer vacation, when Avigdor saw his colleagues taking their children on outings, the pain of emptiness was worse than ever. He had to do something. Avigdor decided that he would go to the Nadvorner Rebbe, Rav Chaim Mordechai Rosenbloom (1904-1978), a Rebbe in Bnei Brak. When Avigdor went in to speak with the Rebbe, he broke down and cried.
The Nadvorner Rebbe listened sympathetically and asked Avigdor where he would be davening (praying) on Rosh Hashanah. Avigdor said he planned to daven at a yeshivah near his home in Tiberius, where he enjoyed those he prayed with and felt comfortable with the pace of the prayer service. "Come daven with us," said the Rebbe warmly." The first day of Yom Tov, the Torah reading is, ‘And Hashem remembered Sarah [and blessed her with a child] (Beresheis - Genesis 21:1), and the Haftarah is about Chana (who finally had her long-awaited child, Shmuel) (I Shmuel 1:1). It's a Segulah (omen) to have that Maftir. Come here for Rosh Hashanah, and with the G-d's help, things can happen."
Avigdor had never heard that it was a Segulah to be called for that Maftir, but he knew that in many Schuls the aliyos were usually sold for substantial sums of money on Rosh Hashanah. Did the Rebbe mean that he should buy that aliyah, or that he would receive the aliyah free of charge? He didn't have the courage to ask; he decided he would cross that bridge when he got there. Besides, if it meant having a child, he would pay anything, even if he had to borrow. Avigdor and his wife made plans to be in Bnei Brak that Rosh Hashanah. On the first night of Yom Tov, the Rebbe's shul was over-flowing with people and as Avigdor scanned the crowd, he wondered if the Rebbe would even remember him or his problem.
After davening, the warm ambiance in the shul was practically tangible. With radiant smiles everyone seemed to be wishing each other the traditional greeting: “May you be inscribed and sealed immediately, for a good year, good life, and for peace.” People stood on line, gradually making their way towards the Rebbe to receive his blessing. Avigdor stood back, allowing the "regulars" their chance to greet the Rebbe first. As he stood off to the side, he noticed another fellow his age, who also seemed to be a visitor. It appeared that the other fellow also knew no one, and he too was waiting for the "regulars" to clear the shul before greeting the Rebbe.
Avigdor approached the fellow and extended his hand in greeting. "Shalom Aleichem," he said. "My name is Avigdor Ribicoff. Are you from around here?" "Aleichem Shalom," came the reply. "I'm Yeruchem Lazar and I'm from Jerusalem. I am here to be with the Rebbe for Yom Tov." "Oh?" said Avigdor. "To tell you the truth," Yeruchem said, "I don't know how it's going to happen tomorrow, but I heard that the Rebbe said that if [I get] maftir, it's a segulah for children. Look at this crowd..." He let his words trail off.
Avigdor was crestfallen. He could not believe what he just heard. Hadn't the Rebbe told him to come get maftir tomorrow? That was the only reason he and his wife had come to Bnei Brak for Yom Tov. How could both of them get maftir at the same minyan? For the last month and a half he was waiting for the next day’s Torah reading - and now this? Avigdor did not allow his disappointment to surface. Not wishing to hurt the feelings of another Jew, Avigdor was silent. He continued to make small talk with Yeruchem and wished him well.
That night Avigdor was in turmoil deciding what to do the next day. The next morning Avigdor, in deference to Yeruchem, prayed in another shul. And sure enough Yeruchem had maftir. And within a year Avigdor and his wife had a baby girl. The Rebbe had said that "things could happen." And they did -and all because of Avigdor's extraordinary character in his willingness to relinquish a potential blessing. (Echoes of the Maggid p.39, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, names have been changed)
Instead of arguing with the other Jew and making a fuss, Avigdor put aside his personal feelings and emotions and kept quiet. We can learn from this example to always put first the feelings of another Jew. One of the simplest ways to treat others right is the following: One should make it his business to find out what certain people like and dislike. He should then try always to do those things that the person likes, and not do the things that the person does not like.
We are all children of Hashem, as the verse tells us “You are Children to Hashem your G-d.” (Devarim 14:1) Every parent who has ever witnessed children fighting can testify to how difficult a sight it is. Every parent who has ever witnessed children treating each other properly can testify to how beautiful a sight it is. Similarly Hashem wants very much that his children get along and show love for each other.
Let us make an effort to treat others kindly and with respect. Often the father promises a reward to the children who behave. How much more so will Hashem, our Father in Heaven, reward us for getting along with one another. Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by: In Memory of Leah bas R' Dovid Edlen (Wolfberg) Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi
Have a wonderful Shabbos, rest and reflect on the creations and miracles of G-D,