Thursday, March 4, 2010

Parsha Ki Sisa, Para, Stories

Shalom, I get so depressed when I see the "get well" list. I don't really like sick people -- better said: I don't really like people being sick. I get angry. It doesn't do any good; may they all be healed, now! (For my sake, if not for theirs) Shalom, Laib

That is my problem. Sometimes they heal or have a miraculous extension of their lives but often they don't make it. In fact sometimes I get the msg. so late that the people don't make it to my list.

This week I am starting off with a prevention of cancer of the pancreas. Sodas not plain Seltzer but acidic types with Aspartame have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to cause cancer of the pancreas. The following is a publicity name change of the poisonous substance.


Also Israel has real honest to goodness health care not like the US plans of either party:

To my great sorrow I continue to receive msgs like this: Rina bat Sharonah a young mum who is about to start chemo next week, Chana Bayla bat Elka

For this Shabbos only Pinchas ben Esther who was in a car accident and Yacov Benyamin ben Ruth (I don’t know the extent of their injuries but I can’t over burden readers either)

Stephanie T. sent me this: A special prayer for the welfare of Israel

Dear G-d,

This last year you took away my favorite singer,

MICHAEL JACKSON, my favorite actor, PATRICK SWAYZE and my favorite actress FARRAH FAWCETT.

Let me remind you

that my favorite politician is MAHMOUD AHMEDINEJAD.

Please don't forget!!!

Thank you very much!

What goes around comes around

Rabbi Shlomo Mimran Shlita is a Dayan as well as a Rabbi and often consulted on a number of things from his country of birth. He has been consulting me about one potential convert whom I may or may not know. Last week, the person contacted Rav Mimran and mentioned that she saw his picture. She was googling the internet and came across a where Rabbi Mimran’s picture is at the bottom.

Ki Sisa

When the Bnei Yisrael wore the pants in the family so to speak: When Pharaoh placed the decree of death on any male babies born, the men did not want to produce anymore children into slavery and they knew that females could be easily used and abused by the Egyptians. The righteous women of Yisrael used their brass mirrors to beautify themselves and then put the men together with them looking into the mirror to show what a lovely couple they were. For this G-D rewarded them by taking their brass mirrors into the giant laver to wash the heads of the priests who bless Yisrael daily and make the sacrifices for atonement and wealth.

30:17 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 18 'Thou shall also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, whereat to wash; and thou shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and thou shall put water therein. 19 And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat; 20 when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to cause an offering made by fire to smoke unto the LORD; 21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not; and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.'

It was through these mirrors now in the laver that the future generations were given a chance to continue.

31:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the ark-cover that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the Tent; 8 and the table and its vessels, and the pure candlestick with all its vessels, and the altar of incense; 9 and the altar of burnt-offering with all its vessels, and the laver and its base; 10 and the plaited garments, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office; 11 and the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place; according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.'

The Brit Olam (sometimes this word means world as in Olam HaZeh – this world or Olam HaBah – the world to come and other times like here means everlasting) is our thing.

12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 13 'Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying: Verily ye shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you {A soul that wants more than the 7 Mitzvos Bnei Noach and wants all 613 Mitzvos which is over 15,700 laws has the hardest time violating the Shabbos before full conversion. Why is a Goy not allowed to observe the Shabbos while a Ger Tzeddek and a Jew can? The answer is here “Between ME and you throughout your generations”.} throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the LORD who sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

shall be put to death: If there are witnesses and a warning. מות יומת: אם יש עדים והתראה: will be cut off: without warning. -[from Mechilta] ונכרתה: בלא התראה: Those who desecrate it: Heb. מְחַלְלֶיהָ, [those] who treat its sanctity as profane. מחלליה: הנוהג בה חול בקדושתה

Just as the Covenant is for the Bnei Yisrael here and in the afterlife so too is repetition of death מות יומת to die in this world via the Beis Din and in the next world via Kares. So instead of being a Tzaddik going to the Beis Medrash of Maala to learn Torah from Moshe, Halacha from the Rambam, Mihaber, the Rama, etc. one becomes a spiritual equivalent of a paving stone for the Tzaddikim to walk or ride to the Beis Medrash upon. (Actually there is no standing, sitting, walking, etc. as we know it in this world but since I am not able to see into the next to view what goes on, I settle for this analogy.)

15 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest,

(a Sabbath of complete rest: For this reason, Scripture repeated it [the word, שַׁבָּת], to inform [us] that on it all work is prohibited, even what is needed for food. Similarly regarding Yom Kippur, in whose context it says: “It is a Sabbath of complete rest for you” (Lev. 23:32), all work is prohibited. However, concerning festivals it says only: “on the first day is a rest, and on the eighth day is a rest” (Lev. 23:39), [meaning that] on them [i.e., on holidays] only servile work is prohibited, but work needed for food [preparation] is permitted.)

holy to the LORD;

Holy to the Lord: The observance of its sanctity shall be for My name and by My commandment.

whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.'

And rested: Heb. וַיִּנָפַשׁ. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: וְנָח, and rested. Now every expression of נוֹפֶשׁ, rest, is an expression of נֶפֶשׁ, soul, for one regains one’s soul and one’s breath when one rests from the toil of work. He about Whom it is written: “He neither tires nor wearies” (Isa. 40:28), and Whose every act is performed by speech [alone, without physical effort], dictated rest in reference to Himself [only] in order to make it understood to the [human] ear with words that it can understand.

This is the reason why on Shabbos a person can read some Kabbala and not be damage for his soul is rested – others say it is because his soul expands הנשמה יותר (should have come out in Hebrew Neshama Yetaira) into having an extra soul this addition of more soul makes it possible to receive, learn and understand Kabbala that one would not be able to do during the week either because his soul is deficient or because during the week one is too busy with this world.

18 And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

The question that I always ask myself is “If the non-Jew wants so much to observe the Shabbos voluntarily – how come it is next to impossible for me to convince Jews to make a gradual effort not to write, use electronic devices, cook or travel on Shabbos?” I do it with a carrot, others like Eliyokum Cohen do it with a stick and some baalei Mussar do it with both. “What keeps so many Jews to being a stiffnecked people to Torah and Mitzvos?”

Last year I brought down this true story: There is a young Jewish housewife interested in Kabbala who was e-mail texting me on Shabbos and I tried to the explain to her that it is impossible to learn the kosher secrets of Torah without the true observance of Shabbos. There is a negative spiritual energy created by Jews not observing Shabbos (something like the concept of the dark side of the force in ‘Star Wars’) we call this the Sidra Acher or “different path”. The Sidra is created by all sorts of negative spiritual activities like eating forbidden fruit in Gan Eden, Cain murdering Hevel, a Jew believing in strange religious things like Buddhism, Mohammed, etc.

Just tell me maybe my logic is warped that if a person has a contract with a human boss and he violates the agreement does he deserve the bonus? Here the woman in my story (thank G-D after a year I haven’t the foggiest notion whom she is) has a contract with the boss of bosses, king of kings and yet she violates it and expects the bonus of Kabbala secrets. Am I warped in my mind for thinking that she does not deserve the secrets of Torah because she is violating her contract – “A sign between ME and you forever” or is she correct and thinks that she can figure out how much Chessed, Gevura, Tiferres, etc. is in sentence “Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Or perhaps she should get a gift G-D is so forgiving and great that she’ll get the secrets nevertheless even though she violated her contract. I think differently but if somebody can see why she could get this gift please write me as I am curious for the reason. On the other hand one who truly and faithfully observes the Shabbos perhaps does deserve to receive the secrets for he is “holy to the Lord.”

I found the following Drasha about the Erev Rav so fascinating that contrary to quotes here and there brought it down in its entirety. Credit should be given to Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlita and the Perceptions.

God told Moshe, "Go down. Your people which you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves." (Shemos 32:7)

AH, THE EREV RAV, where would the world have been without them? Where would the world be without them today? In Yemos HaMoshiach, that's where. All that went wrong for the Jewish people in the desert was instigated by the Mixed Multitude, just as God had forewarned Moshe Rabbeinu back in Egypt, on the way out.

And now, in this week's Parsha, their coupe de grace: the golden calf. Had it not been for the Erev Rav, the Jewish people would have waited peacefully at the foot of the mountain in their camp below for Moshe Rabbeinu to return with the Word of God. Maybe they would have asked, "What's taking him so long?" and been a bit concerned.

But, they certainly would not have responded with idol worship and licentious behavior. Only the Erev Rav, as intelligent as some of them may have been at the time, could do something so dumb at Mt. Sinai. It is always amazing how a bad trait can lay waste to intelligence; even use it to engineer one's own destruction. We're watching the very same thing happen today as well.

Interestingly enough, another name for the Erev Rav was "HaAm," or "the people," as noted above. In fact, Chazal say that every time the Torah refers only to HaAm, which, on a simple level, can apply to the Jewish people as well, it is really a direct reference to the Erev Rav themselves. Hence, when the verse says:

After Pharaoh sent the people away, God did not lead them through the land of the Philistines . (Shemos 13:17)

the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh says that it refers to the Erev Rav, whom Pharaoh sent along with the Jewish people to cause precisely the kind of trouble they cause in this week's Parsha.

Of all the nicknames to give to a troublesome people, HaAm is not so bad. At least, that is what one might think at first, until one considers that they are not supposed to be an "um," that is, a separate nation. They were Egyptians who, because of the Bris Milah Yosef, as Viceroy, had the Egyptians perform to get grain during the famine, became converts to the way of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. By the time they left Egypt, there should have been no trace of a different origin.

In other words, the name HaAm was a way of denoting the lack of integration into the Jewish people by these Egyptian converts, evidenced by how quickly they reverted to Egyptian ways in this week's Parsha. And, having not fully integrated into the Jewish people meant, means, that the conversion process was not complete on all levels, and therefore, that they remained a divisive force within Klal Yisroel.

In other words, in this case, HaAm is not compliment, but an indication of the Erev Rav's propensity to be divisive. If k'ish echad b'lev echad 1 describes the ultimate state of Jewish unification, HaAm, in reference to the Erev Rav, alludes to just the opposite. And, it has been by sowing disunity amongst Jews that the Erev Rav has been most successful in keeping us from fulfilling the ultimate dreams of our nation.

And, make no mistake about it: the Erev Rav comes in various different forms and types of people. In fact, the Zohar discusses in great detail five different categories of Erev Rav (Beresheis 25a), and all of them can have an application in every kind of Jewish community you can think of. And, as different as one group might be from the other, they all have one thing in common: they put themselves before the nation.

Therefore, says the Zohar, they can give charity, lots of it, even build synagogues and Torah study houses, but to act as base for their name plaque. Secondary to the good name they will receive for being so philanthropic is the good their actual contribution will do for the people for whom it is intended.

Or, they can take an activist role on behalf of some cause, or even specifically, a Jewish cause. But, if you truly analyze what they are doing, no matter how well-intentioned they make themselves appear on the surface, it is their personal mandate that they attempt to fulfill, not the national one of the Jewish people. Indeed, as they work on behalf of the Jewish people they in fact work against the Jewish people, often using their money and political clout to force their ways and means.

If they had their own flag, the golden calf would be their emblem in its middle. And, just as Amalek was the antithesis of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Erev Rav is just a derivation of that very antithesis. The trait of Moshe Rabbeinu was Netzach
one of the Sifros meaning everlasting, which meant that everything he did was for the sake of Eternity. The Erev Rav simply lived for today, investing all of their energy in the physical pleasure of the moment. I wonder if such politicians and movements and trends exist today???

The golden calf embodied this approach to life. A calf represents playful youthfulness, and gold represents longevity. In short, the golden calf represented man's desire to never grow up and take responsibility for himself and the world, so that he can party round the clock. And, when Moshe Rabbeinu came back down the mountain in this week's Parsha caring the antidote for such a lifestyle, that's exactly what he found going on in the camp below: a wild party.

This week is also Parshas Parah, so the Maftir jumps to Parshas Chukkas, where we find the laws concerning the procedure of the Red Heifer, necessary for a person who has become defiled by contact with a dead body, or implements that have. We read it now because of the closeness of Pesach, but its juxtaposition with the reading of the sin of the golden calf couldn't have been better timed, for like Moshe Rabbeinu himself, it is the antithesis of the Erev Rav and all that they stand for.

First of all, it is red, and not gold. If gold represents longevity, then red, the color of blood, represents human vulnerability and frailty. If a calf represents wistful youthfulness, then a heifer represents responsible adulthood, the ability to wear a yoke and to channel energy in a meaningful and productive manner. If the golden calf represents eternal youth, but really results in early death, the Red Heifer looked like death, but actually resulted in a return to life.

Hence, the Red Heifer and the golden calf represent two extremes on a single continuum, and therefore, the ongoing challenge of the Jew, indeed of all mankind. We are caught in an ongoing internal battle between the drive for immediate pleasure and satisfaction, and long term gain. It is a battle that not only defines us as individuals, but as a nation as a whole:

Why Israel is the world's happiest country
By Spengler

Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the state of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth at the 60th anniversary of its founding. It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands. But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation . Can it be a coincidence that this most ancient of nations, and the only nation persuaded that it was summoned into history for God's service, consists of individuals who appear to love life more than any other people? As a simple index of life-preference, I plot the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries, that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant, or life-loving, portion of the chart. Those who believe in Israel's divine election might see a special grace reflected in its love of life . In another location I argued, "It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life. They are quite sure that they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending extinction. It is not their individual lives that the Jews find so pleasant, but rather the notion of a covenantal life that proceeds uninterrupted through the generations."

In other words, Israelis, at least the traditional ones, feel a sense of eternity, and its has to affect their way of thinking, and therefore, their way of acting. The ones who have lost this sense of eternity, and many already have, have done two things: they have given up on the future and turned to extremely temporal pleasures. In short, they have adopted the life of the Erev Rav and have become, hopefully only temporarily, like them.

Not just in Eretz Yisroel, obviously. One can travel to just about any country Jews are found in the world today, which, amazingly, is almost every place people can be found today, and find Jews pursuing the golden calf way of life. To the extent that they ignore the eternal reality of the Jewish people is the extent to which they follow the ways of the Erev Rav. And, today, you can be religious as well and fall into the same trap.

Indeed, there ought to be an Erev Rav-golden calf thermometer. I'm not quite sure how it would work, but somehow it would look at a Jew's life, and determine how much the person leans in one direction or the other, either in the direction of the golden calf, or that of the Red Heifer. It would measure how real a person is with eternal life, as projected by his or her approach to the material world.

This message comes right in advance of Pesach because this is really what Pesach is all about. As we move away from chometz, the symbol of which is bread, in the direction of matzah, plain flour and water, we shed more than pounds. We leave behind an attachment to the golden (calf) way of life, a branch of Egyptian life.

That's why they built it in the first place. For, you can take the Erev Rav out of Egypt, but apparently, it is far harder to take the Egypt out of the Erev Rav, and the golden calf was their way of making the Jewish camp their home away from home, that is, their Egypt away from Egypt. Unfortunately, less that 100 days out of Mitzrayim, those Jews still suffering from the Mitzrayim Syndrome got pulled into the spiritual abyss, like errant dust into an industrial strength vacuum cleaner.

Interesting how some knowing Jews today refer to America, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as the "Golden Medinah," or, "The Golden Country." For, it has been, for decades, the place of great opportunity, especially for the Jewish people, a place where almost everything we have touched has turned to gold. The last time this many Jews were this wealthy was when the gold and silver of the Egyptian army washed ashore after they drowned in the Red Sea.

In some respects, it has served us well. It allowed us to rebuild the Jewish nation on American soil after the Jewish nation was wiped away from European soil. And, quite clearly, it helped pave the way for the Final Redemption, as countless Jews invested untold sums of wealth into the development of Eretz Yisroel, including the construction of many wonderful Torah institutions.

However, the same cannot be said about everyone who struck it rich in America. Some use their wealth, not to strengthen the Jewish people against the pitfalls of the golden calf lifestyle, but to encourage it. Some, as mentioned before, even use their financial clout, in the name of helping the Jewish people, to actually undermine the future of the State of Israel. They call themselves friends of the Jewish people, but then again, so did the Erev Rav.

And, before we say to ourselves with confidence, "Well, that's not me!" we should read the Zohar on the Erev Rav today. Once I did, I became very uneasy, and felt compelled to examine my lifestyle for any Erev Rav tendencies. Everyone ought to do the same thing, especially as scandals come to light from all sectors of the Jewish people.

At the very least, get back to Torah basics, and make sure that whatever you do, you do it for the right reasons, and with humility. Above all, let God be above all, meaning that you should fear no one but God Himself, and serve Him loyally. This will serve you the best of all, especially as we head into uncharted waters of history, and the world becomes less favorable to anything the Jewish people seem to do today.

Parsha Para

Before Pessach we read 4 Parshiyos – Shekulim, Zachor, Para and HaChodesh.

Shekulim is read to collect money (Shekel in the plural) to maintain the roads, public toilets, Mikvaos and drinking water facilities (these used to be giant stowage wells of water by the side of the road collected from rain water the previous winter) so one could rest and make it into Yerushalayim. The main roads were essentially via Modiim/Lod/Kiriat Ono or from Yericho. There probably were other roads from Hevron, Shehem and perhaps a different road from Ashdod/Yavne and Yaffo. These had to be maintained after the winter rains and in spots snow.

Zachor was a Mitzva to remember what Amalek did unto us when we left Egypt for Agog and his descendant Haman were from this wicked race with bad genetic traits. Since this is before Purim it is a reminder. One should note that between Purim and Pessach is one month. NOW IS THE TIME TO START AND PLAN YOUR PESSACH CLEANING.

Para is about being Tahor not only pure in a physical sense but in a spiritual cleaning from the Tuma so that one is not Tumay when sacrificing the Korban Pessach. One had to check if he had been in contact with a dead body in the course of a year. This would also indicate that our modern Chevra Kadisha would only work up until a week before Pessach or leave a few people behind on duty for washing and purifying the dead for burial and the normal amount of graves would have been dug and prepared. The rest would undergo purity and the remainder would observe Pessach Sheni or the family of the deceased would take care of burying.

HaChodesh is just around the new month for the preparation of the Pascal Lamb. The reminder to the Congregation to go out and start shopping for a Lamb for the Sacrifice, Matzos and other things for the holiday – for when Rosh Chodesh rolls around it is a good idea to have a shelf or two in the cupboard ready for purchasing Pessach goods. I always prefer to buy a little here and there and early for later as the holiday approaches, the lines in the supermarket are terrible. Couples sometimes manage this by having one get on the line with a few items and then the partner adds and adds to the cart while waiting.

Bamidbar 19:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.

This is the statute of the Torah: Because Satan and the nations of the world taunt Israel, saying, “ What is this commandment, and what purpose does it have?” Therefore, the Torah uses the term “statute.” I have decreed it; You have no right to challenge it. — [Yoma 67b]

3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face. 4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 And the heifer shall be burnt in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burnt. 6 And the priest shall take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. 8 And he that burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. 9 And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of sprinkling; it is a purification from sin. 10 And he that gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourns among them, for a statute forever. 11 He that touches the dead, even any man's dead body, shall be unclean seven days; 12 the same shall purify himself therewith on the third day and on the seventh day, and he shall be clean; but if he purify not himself the third day and the seventh day, he shall not be clean. 13 Whosoever touches the dead, even the body of any man that is dead, and purifies not himself--he hath defiled the tabernacle of the LORD--that soul shall be cut off from Israel; because the water of sprinkling was not dashed against him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. 14 This is the law: when a man dies in a tent, every one that cometh into the tent, and everything that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering close-bound upon it, is unclean. 16 And whosoever in the open field touches one that is slain with a sword, or one that dies of himself, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 And for the unclean they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the purification from sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel. 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him; and he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. 20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water of sprinkling hath not been dashed against him: he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them; and he that sprinkles the water of sprinkling shall wash his clothes; and he that touches the water of sprinkling shall be unclean until even. 22 And whatsoever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the soul that touches him shall be unclean until even.

Ritual Purity and impurity or Tahor and Tumay are based on a number of considerations. A dead body in our case, a dead rat or snake, a woman in the state of Niddah where the egg dies in her womb or a woman after child birth a dead placenta, etc. The Mikvah is part of the purification process but in the case of a human corpse we need the ashes of the Para Aduma and the whole Mishna tractate is based on this describing the process of checking over the Heifer and the slaughter etc.

The Mishna describes the procedure of slaughtering and sprinkling of the Korban of the Para Aduma

Why do we expect this of children?

From Kool Kipa: A powerful story and song from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

In his weekly sermon, Shas' spiritual leader retells Book of Esther, warns against intoxication during Purim. 'During holiday one must drink very little, only as symbolic act to remember Ahasuerus' feast – without getting intoxicated,' he says

By Kobi Nahshoni Yediot

Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia, Yosef said Saturday evening that "drunkenness is an abominable and nefarious act" and that in Purim one must drink very little wine, only as a symbolic act to remember Ahasuerus' feast – without getting intoxicated.

In his weekly sermon Saturday eve, Yosef said, "Haman was intoxicated, but we must act with good manners." The rabbi recommended drinking until one falls asleep – a situation in which one does not distinguish between 'Haman the agitate' and 'Mordechai the blessed'."

"A man that is drunk – what good is he?" wondered Rabbi Yosef, and stated that instead a man must "take a rest, rise up and practice religion throughout the day. Some people are up to no good. They get drunk and then take the bus and act in a rowdy manner – that is defamation of God," he said.

Hours after The Book of Esther was read throughout the country, Rabbi Yosef retold the tale, while adding his own interpretation and humor. He added that the people of Israel were rescued by the Torah, and called on the public to donate to the institutions where the Torah was being taught.

The rabbi noted that one does not fulfill the mitzvah of exchanging Purim gifts (Mishloach Manot) by giving them to gentiles, and explained that the purpose of the tradition was to "show a lot of affection and love," and therefore it did not matter if it was given to "a Hassid, a Lithuanian or a proselyte."

Mitzvos and Halachos by Danny Shoemann

The Rabbis decreed that one shake the 4 Species on all days of Sukkoth besides for Shabbat. On Chol HaMoed one may use a borrowed set of the 4 Species. Parents have a Rabbinic Mitzva of Chinuch (education) to ensure their boys old enough to handle the 4 Species also shake them. Applies to males, always, everywhere Verse: "And you shall take on the first day...." (Vayikra 23:40) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 36

One is forbidden from giving preferential treatment to important people in court. A judge may not show more respect to one defendant, nor greet one of them more effusively than the other, nor engage only one of them in conversation. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Do not favor the greater one" (Vayikra 19:15)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 70

A judge is forbidden from taking bribes - even if he intends to mete out justice. A judge who took a bribe has to return it. A judge may be paid for his time; but only if both parties pay the same amount. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Do not take bribery" (Shemos 23:8) One who gives bribes to a judge has transgressed "Do not put a [spiritual] stumbling block in front of the blind" (Vayikra 19:14) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 71

The intermediary days of Pessach and Sukkos are known as Chol HaMoed. Some types of work are permitted, others are forbidden. Chazal (our Rabbis of blessed memory) have some harsh words for those who don't honor Chol HaMoed properly. Honoring Chol HaMoed includes eating meals and wearing clothes that are closer to Yom Tov standards than regular weekday standards. On Chol HaMoed one may do all work needed to prevent a monetary loss. Preparing food for other days of Chol HaMoed or for the last days of Yom Tov is allowed. Gardening is forbidden besides for picking fruit for Chol HaMoed or Yom Tov, and to prevent plants dying, e.g. if they need to be irrigated. Planting is forbidden. Cutting hair is forbidden on Chol HaMoed. Cutting nails is only allowed if one also cut them before Yom Tov. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 104. Remember if you are on a medical diet try to keep it within Halachic and Minchag guidelines contact your Local Orthodox Rabbi for further guidance. With life saving medications, we do not hesitate to use them even if complete Chometz usually in miniscule quantities is used. I keep on line and type electronically because people do need a Rabbi on Chol HaMoed. There is no need to ask questions of a Rabbi if you are taking heart medications or cancer medications, but one can consult your MD to see if there is a substitute that is kosher for Pessach that will not interfere with your healing or endanger your life.

Matza is made from flour and water - nothing else. (From one of the 5 gains mentioned in the Torah thus gluten free Oat Matzos can be produced specially for Pessach.)
The water is drawn from a well or spring the night before it is used. The water for Sunday's baking is drawn on Thursday night. The flour is ground from wheat that was harvested while still slightly green; once wheat is fully ripe it can become Chametz (leaven) even before being harvested, if it comes into contact with water. The wheat needs to be ground into flour at least 24 hours before it is used, to give it time to cool down. 18 minutes after water is added to flour, the dough becomes Chametz. Matza baking happens in 18-minute batches after which all equipment is thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of dough. Matza used at the Seder needs to be made with the intention of it being used for a Mitzva; everybody involved in its production says "L'shem Mitzvat Matza" (for the purpose of the Mitzva of Matza) before all activities. This is known as Shmura-Matza. If a Matza has a fold in it, or a bubble more than a finger high (2.5 cm), then the fold or bubble are considered Chametz and need to be broken off and disposed of. The rest of the Matza can be eaten. One is forbidden to eat Matza on Erev Pessach. Most people have the custom to stop eating Matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan already. Some don't eat Matza an entire month before Pessach. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: 108, 109, And 110 To avoid questioning one can see in the stores, Wine Matzos, Egg Matzos, Diet Matzos etc. One does not fulfill the obligation of 3 olive bulks on the night of the Seder(s) by eating these types but only regular Shmura Matzos from wheat, barley, oats, etc. The Ashkenazi custom is not to eat at all on Pessach Wine or Egg Matzos except the elderly or ill people. The Sephardim can and do eat these type of Matzos but not everyone as many today follow the Ashkenazi custom. One has to be very careful if he is an Ashkenazi not to eat Legumes such as chick peas, soya, corn, etc. Some Ashkenazim eat peanuts and use cottonseed oil while others even use corn and soya oil as it cannot be made to look like Matzos. The Ashkenazim and some Moroccan Jews do not eat rice on Pessach except for children or persons with illnesses. In certain communities the people considered Tomatoes Kitniyos but that is so rare that one has to go out of his way or to know such people to come in contact with this Minchag.

This Shabbat a second Sefer Torah is taken out for Maftir and the laws of Para Aduma – the Red Heifer – are read. (The beginning of Parshat Chukkas, Numbers 19:1-22)
There are opinions that it’s a Torah obligation to hear it being read, and people who don’t have access to a Minyan should find one this week. A Kosher Para Aduma is a (female) cow past its second birthday that is completely ginger-brown. Even two white or black hairs near each other would invalidate it. The cow is slaughtered and burnt and the ashes mixed with spring water and sprinkled on people who come in contact with a corpse, on the third and seventh day of their purification process. This was a prerequisite for access to the Bet Hamikdash (Temple). Since there’s a Mitzva to go into the Bet Hamikdash on Pessach, we read this in anticipating of being able to implement it this year, or at least Bimhera Beyamainu – soon in our lifetime. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 140:2-3, Mishna Maseches Para, Ch. 1, Rambam Hil. Para Ch. 1
Shabbat Shalom

From Channah Rivka Changing Face in Poland - Skinhead Puts on Kippa: The New York Times

WARSAW—A former truck driver and neo-Nazi skinhead, Pawel, 33, has since become an Orthodox Jew, covering his shaved head with a yarmulke and shedding his fascist ideology for the Torah.

When Pawel looks into the mirror, he can still sometimes see a neo-Nazi skinhead staring back, the man he was before he covered his shaved head with a skullcap, traded his fascist ideology for the Torah and renounced violence and hatred in favor of God.

“I still struggle every day to discard my past ideas,” said Pawel, a 33-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jew and former truck driver, noting with little irony that he had to stop hating Jews in order to become one. “When I look at an old picture of myself as a skinhead, I feel ashamed. Every day I try and do Tshuvah,” he said, using the Hebrew word for repentance. “Every minute of every day. There is a lot to make up for.”

Pawel, who also uses his Hebrew name Pinchas, asked that his last name not be used for fear that his old neo-Nazi friends could harm him or his family.

Twenty years after the fall of Communism, Pawel is perhaps the most unlikely example of the Jewish revival under way in
Poland <> , of a moment in which Jewish leaders here say the country is finally showing solid signs of shedding the rabid anti-Semitism of the past.

Before 1939, Poland was home to more than three million Jews, more than 90 percent of whom were killed by the Nazis. Most who survived emigrated. Of the fewer than 50,000 who remained in Poland, many abandoned or hid their Judaism during decades of Communist oppression in which political pogroms against Jews persisted.

Today, though, Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, said he considered Poland the most pro-Israel country in the
European Union <> . He said the attitude of Pope John Paul II <> , a Pole, who called Jews “our elder brothers,” had finally entered the public consciousness.

Ten years after the revelation that 1,600 Jews of the town of
Jedwabne <> were burned alive by their Polish neighbors in July 1941, he said the national myth that all Poles were victims of World War II had finally been shattered.

“Before 1989 there was a feeling that it was not safe to say, ‘I am a Jew,’ ” Rabbi Schudrich said. “But two decades later, there is a growing feeling that Jews are a missing limb in Poland. The level of anti-Semitism remains unacceptable, but the image of the murderous Pole seared in the consciousness of many Jews after the war doesn’t correspond to the Poland of 2010.”

The small Jewish revival has been under way for several years around eastern Europe. Hundreds of Poles, a majority of them raised as Catholics, are either converting to Judaism or discovering Jewish roots submerged for decades in the aftermath of World War II.

In the past five years, Warsaw’s Jewish community had grown to 600 families from 250. The cafes and bars of the old Jewish quarter in Krakow brim with young Jewish converts listening to Israeli hip hop music.

Michal Pirog, a popular Polish dancer and television star, who recently proclaimed his Jewish roots on national television, said the revelation had won him more fans than enemies. “Poland is changing,” he said. “I am Jewish and I feel good,” he said.

Pawel’s metamorphosis from baptized Catholic skinhead to Jew began in a bleak neighborhood of concrete tower blocks in Warsaw in the 1980s, where Pawel said he and his friends reacted to the gnawing uniformity of socialism by embracing anti-Semitism. They shaved their heads, carried knives and greeted one another with the raised right arm gesture of the Nazi salute.

“Oy vey, I hate to admit it, but we would beat up local Jewish and Arab kids and homeless people,” Pawel said on a recent day from the Nozyk Synagogue here. “We sang about stupid stuff like Satan and killing people. We believed that Poland should only be for Poles.”

One day, he recalled, he and his friends skipped school and took a train to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, near Krakow. “We made jokes that we wished the exhibition had been bigger and that the Nazis had killed even more Jews,” he said.

Even as Pawel embraced the life of a neo-Nazi, he said that he had pangs that his identity was built on a lie. His churchgoing father seemed overly fond of quoting the Old Testament. His grandfather hinted about past family secrets.

“One time when I told my grandfather that Jews were bad, he exploded and screamed at me, ‘If I ever hear you say such a thing again under my roof, you will never come back!’ ”

Pawel joined the army and married a fellow skinhead at age 18. But his sense of self changed irrevocably at the age of 22, when his wife, Paulina, suspecting that she had Jewish roots, went to a genealogical institute and discovered Pawel’s maternal grandparents on a register of Warsaw Jews, along with her own grandparents.

When Pawel confronted his parents, he said, they broke down and told him the truth: his maternal grandmother was Jewish and had survived the war by being hidden in a monastery by a group of nuns. His paternal grandfather, also a Jew, had seven brother and sisters, most of whom had perished in the Holocaust.

“I went to my parents and said, ‘What the hell’? Imagine, I was a neo-Nazi and heard this news? I couldn’t look in the mirror for weeks,” he said. “My parents were the typical offspring of Jewish survivors of the war, who decided to conceal their Jewish identity to try and protect their family.”

Shaken by his own discovery, Pawel said he spent weeks of cloistered and tortured reflection but was finally overcome by a strong desire to become Jewish, even Orthodox. He acknowledged that he was drawn to extremes. He said his transformation was arduous, akin to being reborn. He even forced himself to reread “Mein Kampf” but could not get to the end because he felt physically repulsed.

“When I asked a rabbi, ‘Why do I feel this way?’ he replied, ‘The sleeping souls of your ancestors are calling out to you.’ ”

At age 24, he was circumcised. Two years later, he decided to become an ultra-Orthodox Jew. He and his wife are raising their two children in a Jewish home.

Pawel noted that he was still singled out by the same anti-Semites who once counted him among their ranks. “When younger people see me on the street with my top hat and side curls they sometimes laugh at me,” he said. “But it is the old ladies who are the meanest. Sometimes, they use the language I used when I was a skinhead and say, ‘Get out and go back to your country’ or ‘Jew go home!’ ”

And now he is studying to become a Shochet, a person charged with killing animals according to Jewish dietary laws. “I am good with knives,” he explained.

Click here:


Inyanay Diyoma


More of General Vallely on Iran:

Lt. Col Alan West talks strategy towards Iran:

From David L.

From Paul:

From Ben – the question arises can a blind man hear this at a crossing?

If you CAIR about aid to HAMAS read this one:

Isaac sent me this movie:

Gog and Magog is coming along with WMD’s repent now before the missile rush.

Loose Lips sink Ships:

SYRIA LAUGHS AT AMERICA by Winfred Caruthers forwarded with no commentary by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

America has been trying for a long time to get Syria to "move towards the moderate camp" and to "distance themselves from Iran". Of course, Syria seems to like its role as the evil menace (kind of like the Klingons from Star Trek). They have no intention of becoming "warm and fuzzy" to suit the fanciful notions of ivory tower would-be policy makes. They are "really mean" and they like it.

The best rejoinder, though, came today when Bashir Assad actually called a Press Conference to make fun of America. In a remark that had the Syrian press corps hysterical, Assad said: "Oh yes, when the Iranian leader comes to visit, we are going to sign an accord to join together to distance ourselves from each other." Well, in Syria they dont get much of an opportunity to laugh, but this caused them to break out into peals of laughter. Word has it that they were literally rolling on the floor.

So much for the past 30 years of American policy on Syria.

In the old days at least they would be afraid to laugh at America, lest the CIA do something unpleasant to them. Today Iran, Lebanon/HezbAllah and Syria just view America as an old toothless tiger. Iran is building up its nuclear capability, while America warns of useless "sanctions". Syria is helping Iran build HezbAllahs vast missile arsenal - while the U.N. forces their fail-to-notice anything untoward. Syria is building its own missile capability to try and hit Israel - Americas only real ally in the region.

The only thing America seems to be able to do is to sternly warn Israel not to take any pre-emptive action in self-defense. Or to force Israel to remove check-points placed to catch Terrorists on the roads. Or to join the campaign to pillory Israel for fictitious "human rights abuses" as a way of discouraging Israel from defending herself.

Get tough with Israel? You betcha. Fight Iran, Syria and the HezbAllah - no chance. So the Syrians and the Iranians just laugh. Can you blame them?


Shakespeare in one of his plays wrote: “Tis true tis pity tis pity tis true” and Shlomo HaMelech wrote: “Vanity of Vanities everything is Vanity”. I finished up the and I was about to send the weekly Drasha when I went to lunch. Bezek, my internet base had an internet collapse. The result is that without an earthquake, without a few Iranian Missiles, the main internet supplier of Eretz Yisrael broke down. So instead of going out on Thursday early in the afternoon I am stuck. I can only sign off with stay healthy and have a wonderful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli