Friday, April 9, 2010

Editorial, Parsha Shemini with Dr. Harry H's poem, 5 stories


Pekuach Nefesh where the video is in English with Hebrew subtitles:

Good Morning. Just to let you know that Cigarette Filters come from Pig's blood another reason for Jews to quit smoking - published by a Goy down under. – Foxnews

This week I spoke to Rabbi Yerachmiel Boyer Shlita and asked him as a passing thought about all the Rabbis that I was praying for. Considering their ages most are in relative good health that could be expected of people that age so since I am taking off four names of men, I are Reviving Prayer List:

Asher ben Malka, Avraham ben Devorah, now has a STRESS FRACTURE on the right knee, blood sugar out of whack, because of the Passover foods. Zvi Yechezkiel ben Leah, Shalom Charles ben Gracia, Avraham ben Leah, Bentzion Michael ben Chaya Zipporiah, Eli ben Merel, Zvi Moshe ben Mireiam Rachel, Chazkel ben Frumet, Eliyahu Hershel ben Sharon, YOSEF MOSHE BEN PEREL. His is having Cancer surgery on April 22nd, in New York City.

Keren Neshama bas Esther Ruth, Chaya Melecha Rachel bas Baila Alta, Zviah Simcha bas Devorah Yached, Sarah bas Yehudit, Bryna bas Gina Sarah, Rachel bas Chana, Fiege Rachel bas Taube, Nurit bas Mazel, Miriam Rivka bas Adina Leah, Chana bas Simcha, Fruma bas Rachel, Tahel Chaya bas Michal, Rina bas Sharona , Chava Baila bas Elka, Sara Chana bas Fayge

Time for a Mussar Spiel (Ethics talk)

Delaying the Coming of the Moshiach

Nothing gets my temper up more than delaying the coming of the Moshiach through groundless hatred and abuse. I have always had an affinity towards Yemenite Jews from days with them in the Grodno Yeshiva in Ashdod, though my teacher Rabbi Yacov Mizrachi the Tzaddik of blessed memory who stayed clean in the Knesset. The Yemenite and for that matter the Indian and Pashtun Bnei Yisrael are Caucasian Racial in nature but their pigmentation is dark to olive skinned.

In the Brochfeld section of Modiin Illit, there were Ashkenazi Synagogues existing in a complex for free. A Yemenite Synagogue was also in the complex. The alleged ‘owner’ of this government granted building charged them money some of which he gave them a receipt and other money they received no receipt. The ‘owner’ not only took their money but wanted them evicted for not paying enough. The whole thing was a swindle and only used a ruse to get rid a Yemenite Schul. After all these folks are dark and pray differently than their lighter complexion brothers.

REMEMBER THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED ON GROUNDLESS HATRED. This case is a combination of bigotry, thievery, forgery, removing the property marker in Eretz Yisrael and just plain the worst in human beings dress up in Charedi costumes. I know a person who dresses up like somebody going to a baseball or basket ball game put prayers with such devotion and kisses the Aharon in the Synagogue and prayers before leaving. I have a secret admiration for his devotion. His father was a Rabbi who used to be the first one in the morning in the Sharei Tephilla Synagogue in North Miami Beach until his passing. A good G-D fearing family where nobody put on the airs that they were holier than you rather they did it for the sake of heaven. Contrary the characters that put on an air of being Charedi when the only thing they are Charedi about is getting money and power.

I was informed this week of an institution in Meah Shaarim in that was supposedly helping non-Jewish women become Orthodox Jews. Instead the scandal is so bad that if I repeated every bit of information, I would be acting as a prosecutor against Am Yisrael. And these people call themselves ultra-religious!

In the Spring

When I was a child we would repeat in a song the top line and then sing “all the birdies sing”. Unfortunately with the birds come the bees! I was flipping through my Facebook Friends. The married women as a rule were dressed modestly enough for their beliefs except perhaps one or two … On the other hand many unmarried people start advertising meat in a butcher shop as Rabbi Boyer Shlita calls it. M.W. is an exception a 39 year old beautiful Jewish woman who just hasn’t had the luck in finding a husband but she is reasonably modest in her photos. This past week I received a number of posts from bachelorettes from the ages of 20 to 30 wanting to become my Facebook Friend. Most might be intelligent but they don’t advertise their intelligence. Some the top half or the bottom half of 50 to 70 kg and others both halves like meat in a butcher shop. Did it every occur to these females that if a man with a healthy evil inclination sees the meat for sale advertisement of Facebook the first thing on his mind is not her intelligence or marriage. Those who understand will understand. Most of the males in my circle of friends are not looking for a wife who will continue advertising herself after the Chuppa but a partner in intelligence, religious, political views and a future mother for joint children. So the men are looking for the modest type for a wife and these meat advertisers as fun things. It is terrible but it is true. The cycle as years go on gets worst and worst. I cannot tell people to dress as stringently as Rabbi Falk’s book considering that my wife does not dress that way but good enough to follow in general.

Lastly, on this subject, the earlier after 18 years of age that a woman marries, the better man she will catch. It is true that divorce can follow but recently I saw a vibrant mature Jewish woman (Sandra Bullock) marry at the age of 40plus for the first time. She married a nobody of a character and he was really had. The same with Ofra Haza the singer who married late to a man who knew he had aids and he really killed her. You see a man who marries at a young age is marrying for a number of reasons but one is sure that he is looking for companionship. Rebbitzen Drapkin OBM told my ex-wife “When you marry at 18 you get a man who is A++ or as we say in the bond market triple A rated. When you marry at 20 to 22 plus/minus you get a man who is an A. When you marry at 23 a B+ and each year the good men are taken until you end up with the worst.

This year I wrote a general statement about men who look for somebody as beautiful as Sarah, rich as Solomon, smart as the Queen of Sheba, cooks better than Martha Stewart, sews and keeps a clean house like Betsy Ross etc. etc. Then I wrote the reverse about women – all in general not personal. However, on the thief the hat burns as we say and one woman removed friendship and blocked me on facebook before I could say that it was a general statement. In short the longer one waits the more settled one gets and the lower the quality of the males/females out there. Of course we have exceptions but I write in general as the percentage of the remaining bachelors and bachelorettes. So start looking in earnest. The flame my 24 year old son-in-law saw in my daughter at almost 21 is still there or more so as they approach 15 years of marriage.

My Battles

Unfortunately for me the Roshei Yeshivas and Kollelim have target practice aiming at my heart for charity money. When I give to others, my own Kollel suffers and I am so rotten about making appeals that I end up with most of the time under a $100 a year or in a great year under $200. It is hard for a man who has things to go out and appeal for those who haven’t. I certainly am not convincing. Now in Politics when I feel that somebody has stepped on my toes, Robert’s toes, Dennis’s, Gail & Avraham’s toes then I give a whooping ‘We the people’ shout and it works. I is getting easier for me to say no or I’m broke since the downturn in the economy but still I don’t like to do so as the Yeshivas need my help.

My main battle is with Torah and Mitzvos. I have a big Yetzer HaRa not to do this or that Mitzvah or to do it at a minimum observance level. Prayers in Hebrew don’t mean for me the same as prayers in English. I spoke to my friend the Kabbalist about this. He told me that I should continue to pray all in Hebrew as the combinations of letters and words joined together release positive energy in the upper 310 or more worlds. So he told me in the Bracha Shomaya Tephilla (harkens unto prayer) that I should add from the heart things in English. It is a compromise as I know how to talk in Hebrew but it is harder to express myself or bring out my Midos. Don’t be afraid ever to discuss your spiritual weaknesses on an honest and sincere level as a solution and help for your needs can be found.

My battle for Shabbos, Kashrus and Taharos HaMishpacha - I write about these three fundamentals of Judaism which follow the belief in One G-D who actively participates in human affairs. I never play G-D as I am only the messenger and don’t know where any one friend is at one time. However, if Israel has reached Motzei Shabbos and I know some friend or reader is supposed to be in Brooklyn and they have about 7 to 8 hours until Motzei Shabbos and I suddenly get an AOL or other notice that Avraham, Yitzchak, Yacov, Moshe, Aaron and David are on line it is like a failure on my part that I did not put in a strong enough to make them Shomer Shabbos. But on the other if I can see that hermosa joven in Argentina or belle jeune fille in Paris or finer mensch in Berlin is online so can HASHEM know this. Other times I read that Sarah, Rivka, Rachel or Leah write on Facebook – last night my date took me out to the Red Lobster and we had great Shrimps and Octopus – I feel that I have failed to explain what Kashrus does for the spiritual components of the soul and ones Midos like Compassion, Severance, Spiritual Beauty, Eternalness of the soul and all the nation of Yisrael, etc. Pirkei Avos tells me that it is not my job to finish the spiritual battle but I must try harder to do better to influence people to straighten out their own Mitzvah performance.

G-D knows what is in your heart and how weak you are so if you try to observe Shabbos but fail from time to time but keep trying to improve or you slowly observe more and more Kashrus, you will be blessed despite your fallings and failure to be complete. However, if you do the reverse and go from Shomer Shabbos and Kashrus that is terrible.

I have travelled to about 70 % or more of the States in the Union and at least 8 foreign countries and have observed Shabbos and Kashrus in adverse conditions, so there is no excuse for a person Frum from Birth not to put in the same effort. A person attempting to be Orthodox may slip up here or there and it has happened under extenuating circumstances and storms that people failed to make it to their destination on Shabbos but one should take as much as possible into consideration so that one is not left panting Erev Shabbos as have happened to some travelers. For even “MACHMAT OHNES” (A condition above and beyond a person’s ability to cope with) should not become somebody’s excuse. {Remember the story I told about 3 or 4 years ago about a traveler who was stranded due to bad weather in a city without Kosher Wine and Food just before Shabbos and was just lucky enough to get a hotel room – well it turned out that the particular hotel room had been rented by a Frum person the week before and due a certain circumstances had left some Matzo and Wine and canned Kosher food in the room. Don’t rely on miracles though.}

Even in the Gashmiyus World I have my battles to fight but I am not alone as most frequent fliers will agree with this article:|main|dl4|link3|

You might wonder why I have not mentioned Taharos HaMishpacha because until one dies even if he is observant, he must suspect himself, myself at my age too, as we say there is no guarantor for promiscuity. Don’t think that I failed but one does not know from one moment to the next who will or what trick of fate may come his or her way in the future. Tiger Woods is the sportsman of the decade with such a gorgeous young wife, or somewhere there is woman with a rich, strong and successful husband that can cheat on the spouse. I just take one headline at the time of writing just to show how weak human beings are. HOWEVER, TRY AND TRY AND DON’T GIVE UP EVEN IF YOU FAIL. After I married, I asked the wife of my younger Rosh Yeshiva who was about 45 at the time but had the dynamics of a 30 or 35 year old - how he fought the Yetzer? She said that he slept on a couch in another room. Barzilai HaGiladi put a sword between himself and the wife that Shaul took away from David to give him to stop the Yetzer. Others will sin at the drop of a pin:

When National Secrets are in the balance the public does not have the right to know

Leftist steals 2200 or more classified military documents including troop formations and fortifications command control communications, etc. and updated:

One not well known fact is that ALL the founding fathers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were very religious men and were only against organized State Religion and 34% of the early Supreme Court Decisions were based on Sefer Devarim which was the most quoted.

Parsha Shemini

Dr. Harry H. wrote an inspiring poem: "A continuous fie shall burn upon the altar, you must not extinguish it" (Lev 6.6)

My heart is an altar, an eternal flame

The fire burns stronger when I call out His name

Hear o' Israel our G-d is one

My sacrifice is when His will is done

He commanded that the fire must never go out

as a sign that our covenant would not be in doubt

G-d split the sea, and we walked on dry land

To Mount Sinai we were led by His mighty hand

For seven days we were told to stay inside

On the eight day the Tabernacle His spirit abides

We were scattered, broken, and at times felt alone

Our hearts never weakened, they became G-d's home.

9:1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;

Rabbi Yitzchak opened up his Drasha on this Parsha as follows: Mishlay: 8:30 I was daily all delight, playing always before Him, and I don’t know why he did not use this Pasuk: 29 He appointed the foundations of the earth?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe in a Drasha regarding a Bris Milah talked about the nature of the Physical World 6 Days of Creation and 1 Day set aside called Shabbos Kodesh when the ABISHER rested from HIS creation. But the eight day is above and beyond the natural order of things in a World of Gashmiyus. Hence the Bris which is a spiritual or Ruchniyus Creation and I take the liberty of adding so the Mishkan too when it was dedicate on the 8th day the permanent Kehuna began to serve forever.

For when the Mishkan was dedicated the accuser came before G-D and said that mankind will provoke him. To which G-D replied that I am long - suffering with much Chessed. Rabbi Chiya commented in his Drasha that on the day the Mishkan was built, the Oral and Written Torah came together as is written: Bereshis 1:26 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.' This is the first time that I see the use of the Oral and Written Torah being consulted ‘us’, ’our image’ as the use of the plural in the creation. For it is Oral Tradition that G-D was consulting with the Angels during the creation of mankind along with his Midos and Attributes of Justice and Mercy and we see here also the two types of Torah.

2 and he said unto Aaron: 'Take thee a bull-calf for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD. 3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying: Take ye a he-goat for a sin-offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt-offering; 4 and an ox and a ram for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meal-offering mingled with oil; for to-day the LORD appeareth unto you.' 5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tent of meeting; and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD. 6 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do; that the glory of the LORD may appear unto you.' 7 And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Draw near unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make atonement for thyself, and for the people; and present the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.' 8 So Aaron drew near unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself. 9 And the sons of Aaron presented the blood unto him; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver of the sin-offering, he made smoke upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses. 11 And the flesh and the skin were burnt with fire without the camp. 12 And he slew the burnt-offering; and Aaron's sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about. 13 And they delivered the burnt-offering unto him, piece by piece, and the head; and he made them smoke upon the altar. 14 And he washed the inwards and the legs, and made them smoke upon the burnt-offering on the altar. 15 And the people's offering was presented; and he took the goat of the sin-offering which was for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first. 16 And the burnt-offering was presented; and he offered it according to the ordinance. 17 And the meal-offering was presented; and he filled his hand therefrom, and made it smoke upon the altar, besides the burnt-offering of the morning. 18 He slew also the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which was for the people; and Aaron's sons delivered unto him the blood, and he dashed it against the altar round about, 19 and the fat of the ox, and of the ram, the fat tail, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver. 20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he made the fat smoke upon the altar. 21 And the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded. 22 And Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. 24 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlita writes: The deaths Of Nadav and Avihu in this week’s parshah are always very troubling. No question that they made a BIG mistake in bringing their unauthorized fire before God, but still, on such an important occasion, kill them so dramatically? After all, it was their religious fervor that drove them, their intense desire to become even closer to God that inspired them, so why punish them so severely?

One thing is for certain: God did not overdo it. Unlike a parent, who can overreact to a child's transgression and make the punishment a little more than called for, God punishes only measure-for-measure. Humans can make the mistake of overkill, but God's responses are right on the mark, and if they do not appear that way to us, it is because we don't understand the severity of what went wrong.

I want you to understand that we have an Oral tradition that:

(1) Nadav and Avihu were not married. The Torah in Acharei Mos (after their deaths) mentions that on Yom Kippur that the Cohain Gadol has to make atonement for himself and his house – Chachamim (Sages) tell us that his house indicates his wife. Not getting married for a Cohain is not holiness that he is with G-D all the time but that by not performing the Mitzvah of procreation, he is in fact sinning.

(2) The two sons of Aaron were inebriated with too much wine. In the Midrash we are told that wine leads to levity and this in combination with circumstances can lead to lewdness. For example a wife might say to her husband in the middle of an act that a red flower has broken out and he must let the player of the act die. However, in an inebriated condition he continues with a Niddah. This goes for other things. It once happened on Purim that one Chassid of the Lubavitcher had too much Vodka and he staggered home and beat his wife to a pulp. The Rebbe then made a Gezaira that one cannot drink more than three shots of Vodka at a Verbrengung.

A Rabbi can say things that embarrass his office. Once I heard a first born son tell me in private as I chatted with the current Pittsburgher Rebbe Shlita in his father’s Sukkah, “Go home your wife is waiting for you.” All I can tell you is that a Heilige Rebbe does not talk so lewdly. Wine can also bring out secrets about people. There was once a Kabbalist who died of siroccos of the liver because he used wine while studying Kabbala. Perhaps he too brought strange fire before the L-RD like the sons of Aaron who were very holy in all aspects.

3 Then Moses said unto Aaron: 'This is it that the LORD spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.' And Aaron held his peace. 4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them: 'Draw near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.' 5 So they drew near, and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said. 6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons: 'Let not the hair of your heads go loose, neither rend your clothes, that ye die not, and that He be not wroth with all the congregation; but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled. 7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tent of meeting, lest ye die; for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you.' And they did according to the word of Moses.

Cohanim have different mourning than the rest of the Nation. When my son-in-law’s grandfather, the Cohain, passed away my Mechutan (daughter’s father-in-law) went to identify the body just before burial.

8 And the LORD spoke unto Aaron, saying: 9 'Drink no wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tent of meeting, that ye die not; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 And that ye may put difference between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11 and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.'

11:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: These are the living things which ye may eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. 3 Whatsoever parts the hoof, and is wholly cloven-footed, and chews the cud, among the beasts, that may ye eat. 4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them that only part the hoof: the camel, because he chews the cud but parts not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. 5 And the rock-badger, because he chews the cud but parts not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. 6 And the hare, because she chews the cud but parts not the hoof, she is unclean unto you. 7 And the swine, because he parts the hoof, and is cloven-footed, but chews not the cud, he is unclean unto you. 8 Of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you.

Recently countries befriending the Arab Nations have begun using camel’s milk in chocolates and selling camel’s milk for its “benefits”. It is forbidden to eat/drink these products. Pork is a staple in many countries and bacon is most tasty – fortunately we have soy substitutes which taste almost the same and have no harmful fat. We don’t eat these animals or products not because of health reasons, not because of bad taste, not because of lack of protein or nutritional value but because G-D forbade them unto us. He just us from all the peoples of the earth and we are HIS “Nation of priests”, “A light among the Goyim” and a “Holy People”.

9 These may ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may ye eat. … 13 And these ye shall have in detestation among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the great vulture, and the bearded vulture, and the osprey; 14 and the kite, and the falcon after its kinds; 15 every raven after its kinds; 16 and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kinds; 17 and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl; 18 and the horned owl, and the pelican, and the carrion-vulture; 19 and the stork, and the heron after its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat. 20 All winged swarming things that go upon all fours are a detestable thing unto you.

On the Wings of Eagles – or perhaps I have the wrong bird By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

Question #1: My Chavrusa and I are studying Chullin, and we recently discovered a Tosafos who states that a nesher is not an eagle; yet every Chumash I have seen translates kanfei nesharim as the “wings of eagles.” Are all these translators ignorant of this Tosafos? In Modern Hebrew a Nesher is a Vulture!

Question #2: While camping in Western Canada, we saw thousands of wild, roaming, land birds called “prairie chicken,” that are clearly different from the common, familiar chicken, but appear similar enough that I was tempted to bring one to a Shochet to prepare for us. Halachically, could I have done this?

(A third question was written and the answer will come next week so I have removed the question for now.)

To answer these questions accurately and thoroughly, we need to explain the background how one identifies kosher and non-kosher species, and the differences in Halachic practice that have developed.

The Torah describes the exact indicators that render fish and animals kosher, providing us with relatively clear simanim, indicating signs, to determine whether a species is kosher or not. However, regarding birds the Torah simply inventories a list of non-kosher varieties, implying that all other birds are acceptable for the Jewish palate (Vayikra 11:13- 19; Devarim 14:11- 19). Indeed, the Gemara notes that there are countless kosher bird species (Chullin 63b). After analyzing the Torah’s list, the Gemara concludes that 24 varieties (or possibly, categories) of bird are non-kosher, the remaining species all being kosher (Chullin 61b). Thus, someone who can identify all 24 species of non-kosher fowl could indeed shecht and eat any other species of bird he discovers. Furthermore, the Gemara rules that a hunter who recognizes all 24 non-kosher species may teach other people which species are kosher (Chullin 63b).

On this basis, why do we restrict ourselves to eating only familiar species? Also, is there any way that a non-hunter can identify whether a bird is kosher?


Are there any signs that indicate whether a variety of bird is kosher?

The answer is yes and no.

The Mishnah, indeed, lists four simanim that identify a bird as kosher. However, before introducing and explaining the four simanim, I need to clarify a major difference between the function of simanim in identifying kosher birds as opposed to those of fish and land animals. Any animal that possesses both simanim, that is, it has both fully split hooves and chews its cud, is kosher; any animal possessing one siman but not the other is definitely non-kosher. In the case of fish, the Torah rules that any species that possesses both fins and scales is kosher; and the Mishnah teaches that there are no species possessing scales that do not possess fins. Thus, any species of fish possessing scales is kosher, and any without scales is not.

In the case of birds, however, a bird containing all four kosher simanim is definitely kosher, and a bird that possesses none of the four simanim is not kosher. Concerning birds that possess some of the four signs but not all, some are kosher and some are not. The Gemara teaches that of the 24 species mentioned by the Torah, only the nesher lacks all four simanim. (Rashi explains that any bird variety lacking all four kosher simanim is considered a sub-category of nesher. We will see shortly why I have not translated the word nesher.) The peres and the azniah, two of the 24 non-kosher varieties, each possesses only one of the kosher simanim and lacks the other three. The oreiv usually identified as the raven (see Tosafos, Chullin 62a s.v. mipnei who discusses whether this identification is accurate) and the zarzur each has two kosher simanim and lack the remaining two, and the remaining 19 types of non-kosher bird each has three of the simanim and lacks only one. (This follows the approach of most interpretations of this passage of Gemara.)

However, there are many varieties of kosher bird that only possess some kosher signs and lack others. For example, geese contain only three of the four kosher simanim, and yet are 100% kosher!

Any bird possessing some, but not all, of the simanim is still kosher if it is not one of the 24 species listed by the Torah. Since this is true, how can one tell whether a bird containing some kosher signs is indeed kosher? Only if one knows all 24 types of non-kosher birds mentioned in the Torah, could one thereby identify the remaining kosher varieties. This is exactly what the expert hunter of the Gemara does. Furthermore, he may educate others that a specific species is kosher. However, those of us without access to his expertise would not be able to consume birds unless we had a Mesorah, an oral tradition, that this is a kosher bird, in which case one could eat it even if it does not have all four kosher simanim (Chullin 63b).


According to the Mishnah, someone who finds a variety of bird for which he has no Mesorah may still eat it based on the following rules:

“Any bird that is doreis (defined below) is not kosher. Any that possesses an “extra claw,” and has a crop, and whose gizzard can be peeled is kosher (Chullin 59a).” I will shortly explain what these simanim are.

According to Rashi, the Mishnah is teaching that if we can identify a bird that has all four of the simanim, that is, it is not doreis, it possesses an “extra claw,” has a crop, and has a gizzard that can be peeled, the bird is definitely kosher. The Gemara records that all the varieties of dove mentioned by the Torah as Korbanos have these four indicating simanim. Thus, according to Rashi’s understanding of the Mishnah, one may only eat a variety of bird that has no Mesorah if it possesses all four simanim. (It should be noted that most other Rishonim interpret the Mishnah differently, and indeed rule that, under certain very specific circumstances, one may eat certain birds based on some, but not all, of the simanim.)

Although a bird may have only some of the four simanim and still be kosher, any bird with all four simanim is unquestionably kosher according to the Mishnah.

What are the four simanim?


I. Any bird that is doreis is not kosher. Thus, the kosher siman is that a bird is not doreis.

People often mistranslate the word doreis as predator. However, this is inaccurate, since chickens, which the Mishnah teaches are kosher, are technically predators since they feast on worms and insects.

The Rishonim debate what the word doreis means; here are five different interpretations:

A. The bird lifts its prey from the ground with its claws when feeding (Rashi, Chullin 59a s.v. hadoreis).

B. It grips and restrains its food while eating (Rashi, Chullin 62a s.v. vehani milei).

C. It preys on smaller birds or rodents, which it devours while they are alive (Rabbeinu Tam, cited in Tosafos Chullin 61a s.v. hadoreis).

D. It poisons with its talons (Ran, Chullin, page 20b in Rif, as explained by the Aruch HaShulchan 82:5) (A talon is a claw, but the word "talon" is typically used only for predators.)

E. It pounces on its prey with its talons (the above-quoted Ran, as explained by the Shach, Yoreh Deah 82:3).

Thus, by observing a bird’s feeding and clawing behavior one may be able to determine that it is non-kosher.

It must be emphasized, that although all birds that are doreis are non-kosher, the inverse is not true. There are varieties of fowl that are not doreis, yet nevertheless are not kosher.

The Gemara does not state that a bird must be doreis frequently to qualify as such. Rather, it implies that a bird is non-kosher if it is ever doreis (Chullin 62b). Thus, it may be difficult to easily identify a bird as a non-doreis, a fact with major ramifications.


The Mishnah records an alternative method of verifying whether a bird is doreis: Rabbi Eleazar ben Rabbi Tzadok rules that any bird that splits its talons, two before and two behind, when it grips a rope, is doreis and therefore not kosher (Chullin 59a, as explained there by the Gemara 65a). (Note that the Halachic authorities all quote this opinion as definitive [Tosafos Yom Tov ad loc.].)

It is noteworthy that an early Halachic authority cites a different Mesorah for identifying a bird that is not doreis. Any bird with a wide beak and webbed feet is not doreis (Baal HaMaor). The Rishonim quote this approach and it is recorded in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 82:3).

Tosafos raises a question: How did Chazal research that not one kosher species anywhere in the world is doreis? How can the Gemara confidently say that none of hundreds of kosher bird species is doreis? Tosafos rules out the explanation that this was an oral tradition communicated to Moshe Rabbeinu at Har Sinai (Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai) because if that were true, the Torah need not have mentioned all 24 varieties of non-kosher bird in order to identify all non-kosher varieties. Instead, it could have succinctly taught that all birds that are doreis are non-kosher, and in addition, listed the remaining small list of non-kosher birds that are not doreis.

Tosafos concludes that Noah, who knew which birds are kosher and which are not, observed that none of the kosher varieties were doreis (Chullin 61a s.v. kol of). Thus, the siman that a doreis is not kosher is an oral tradition dating back to Noah.


So far, we have identified one siman that identifies some non-kosher birds, which is based on avian feeding behavior. The other simanim are all anatomical features, two internal and one external. One of these simanim is the crop such as is found in doves, chickens, and most, but not all, varieties of bird that we are accustomed to consider kosher.

What is a crop?

The crop is a very interesting part of a bird’s digestive system. It is essentially a storage bag for undigested food that Hashem provided for smaller birds to enable them to survive in the wild. A brief description of the life of a small bird will help us understand the Chessed Hashem performed for these birds.

Smaller birds always need to worry that they are potential lunch for larger ones. As such, they must be careful to expose themselves to harm very briefly before returning to their safe hideouts. What happens if a small bird finds a plentiful supply of seeds that would keep it satisfied for a while, but the seeds are located in a place where a leisurely feast could easily render the bird into an available dinner for a predator?

Hashem came to the rescue of the smaller bird and provided it with a crop! The crop does not digest the food, but functions as an expandable storage pouch allowing the small bird to gobble its food quickly. Once the gizzard and crop hold as much as they possibly can, the bird escapes to its safe cover, secure from predators. At this point, the gizzard grinds the seeds inside it, and when empty receives more from the crop. This way the bird gradually turns into nutrition what it quickly gobbled without having to reach for a bottle of Tums to recover from the huge indigestion that afflicts humans when they eat too much at one time.


Although we cannot be certain of the reasons for the Torah’s mitzvos, the commentators conclude that we should attempt to understand why the Torah commanded us concerning the mitzvos. Perhaps the crop is a siman of kosher birds since smaller birds that eat seeds usually possess this organ in order to protect themselves from predators. Thus, although man usually lauds the large, impressive birds such as the eagle, falcon, and condor, the Torah is teaching that its message is better conveyed through the smaller birds that protect themselves by fleeing. We find this idea in a Midrash, which points out that the only bird kosher for the Mizbayach are doves, which are hunted by larger birds of prey.


One of the four simanim of a kosher bird is that one can peel off the inside of its gizzard. We are all familiar with a chicken’s gizzard, although many of us know it by its Yiddish name, the pupek. The hard muscle of the pupek grinds the food, which begins its digestive process. A bird swallows its food whole, which means that its gizzard must accomplish what humans achieve with their teeth and saliva.

How does the toothless bird “chew” the seeds it eats? Hashem, who provides food even for the young raven (Tehillim 147:9), provided all birds with the ability to digest their food in incredible ways. The bird swallows pebbles which are held in the gizzard. The powerful gizzard muscles grind the food with these pebbles.

The special lining of the gizzard protects the gizzard itself from becoming damaged by these stones. In birds containing all four kosher simanim, this lining of the gizzard can be peeled off the gizzard (obviously, only post-mortem).


The Gemara discusses eight varieties of bird that have uncertain kashrus status. In all eight cases, the birds were not doreis and may have been kosher. However, these birds’ gizzards can be peeled only by a knife, and not with one's fingernails. The Gemara was uncertain whether this qualifies as a kosher siman. Since we cannot positively identify these eight varieties of bird as kosher, and we have no Mesorah identifying them as such, we must treat them as non-kosher (Chullin 62b).


One of the four simanim that can identify a bird as definitely kosher is the possession of an “extra claw.” Where is this extra claw located?

The Rishonim disagree, some understanding that this claw points in the opposite direction from the other claws of the birds; whereas others explain that in addition this claw must protrude at a higher point on the leg than the other claws. A third approach understands that the claw is on the same side of the bird’s leg as the other claws but protrudes outward farther than the others.

Although these differences seem rather technical for those of us who are not habitual bird watchers, there is a significant nomenclature concern that results from this discussion. Is a nesher indeed an eagle?

Chazal tell us that of the 24 non-kosher birds identified by the Torah, only a nesher lacks all four kosher signs. This means that only a nesher is doreis, does not possess an “extra claw,” is crop-less, and has a gizzard that cannot be peeled. Any bird that has some of these simanim, but not all, may indeed not be kosher, but it is not a nesher.


“Everyone” knows that a nesher is an eagle. However, Tosafos notes that an eagle possesses a talon that is opposite the other claws on its leg, and on this basis he concludes that a nesher cannot possible be an eagle since a nesher should not have this sign (Chullin 63a s.v. neitz). Those of us distressed to discover that the United States national bird is not a nesher will find solace in the explanation offered by the Aruch HaShulchan – that the kosher siman is that the opposing claw must also be raised higher than the other claws -- whereas an eagle’s opposing claw is directly opposite the other claws (Yoreh Deah 82:3). Thus, our national pride indeed possesses no signs of kashrus!

21 Yet these may ye eat of all winged swarming things that go upon all fours, which have jointed legs above their feet, wherewith to leap upon the earth; 22 even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kinds, and the bald locust after its kinds, and the cricket after its kinds, and the grasshopper after its kinds. 23 But all winged swarming things, which have four feet, are a detestable thing unto you. 24 And by these ye shall become unclean; whosoever touches the carcass of them shall be unclean until even. 25 And whosoever bears aught of the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the evening. … 43 Ye shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. 44 For I am the LORD your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy; neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of swarming thing that moves upon the earth. 45 For I am the LORD that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46 This is the law of the beast, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that swarms upon the earth; 47 to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten and the living thing that may not be eaten.

Below is a short essay entitled: You are what you eat –

In this week's Torah portion we are introduced to the laws of keeping kosher. There are many misconceptions surrounding these laws, my favorite being that kosher food is that which the rabbi blessed. (In the old days when they used to serve food on planes, flight attendants universally shared this belief.)

The logic behind kashrus is difficult to comprehend. There are two types of mitzvot: Mishpatim and Chukim. The former are those mitzvot that seem intuitive and make sense, such as not stealing, committing murder and speaking slanderously about another, to name a few. On the other hand we have Chukim which are laws that are above and beyond our understanding and logic. Kashrus laws generally fall into this category. Nevertheless commentaries throughout the ages have attempted to get a better understanding of keeping kosher. Indeed, the Talmud says that non-kosher food desensitizes the heart. I do not claim to know nor understand how it works, but apparently the idea is that somehow non-kosher food makes one less sensitive to spirituality. It may not necessarily block the arteries but it will somehow tie up the spiritual lines of communication to God.

Generally we do not perceive how food affects us other than physically. We literally are what we eat inasmuch as our body is made up of the food and beverage that we intake. It is no secret that our food is transformed into our cells and tissue. So while there is a whole industry about the effects that food has on our physical well-being, we seldom pay attention to the non-physical effects that food may have on us.

But think for a moment. If you were to see two groups of 50 people each: one a group of vegetarians, and the other regular meat-eaters, and lets say you were asked to guess which group is which. Would there be any doubt in your mind that you could not guess the correct answer? The veggies would be thinner, they would be wearing Birkenstock sandals, tie-dye t-shirts, passive, a little pasty skinned and dreamy looking. The meat-eaters would have larger bellies, probably a Bud in their hand, waiting for football season to start and voting Republican.

I know that these are generalizations, but you get the idea. As a group, vegetarians by and large do look and act differently than meat-eaters. Just as the food we eat becomes us physically, so too it becomes us spiritually. And just as food physically affects us gradually over time - a bad heart does not happen overnight but through the many years of bad eating habits - so too the spiritual effects that food has on us is a gradual process that we usually cannot and do not detect. Since we are not sensitive enough to distinguish the spiritual effects of food, we need directives from God to assist us in this important and daily part of our lives.
This is a very important message as it tells us what will happen from eating a snake, pig, rat, baboon or lion to our spiritual being.

Another important aspect of food is the central role that it plays in holiness. All Jewish holidays are centered around food. The greatest example of this is the recently completed holiday of Pesach. The only holiday not defined by food is also defined by the lack of it - Yom Kippur.

Furthermore, we start every special occasion in Judaism by blessing it with wine. Recently there was a very interesting article in the New York Times about the role of wine in one's home. The article titled, Can Sips at Home Prevent Binges? By Eric Asimov illustrates something that Judaism has known for many centuries with regard to alcohol:

"You have to look at a family and decide where alcohol fits," said Dr. Ralph I. Lopez, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College who specializes in adolescents. "If you demonstrate the beauty of wine, just as you would Grandma's special pie, then it augments a meal. If a family member had an alcohol problem, or if cocktails were served regularly for relaxation, he said, "That's a different message than wine at the table." I called Dr. Paul Steinberg, a psychiatrist in Washington, who is the former director of counseling at Georgetown University. "The best evidence shows that teaching kids to drink responsibly is better than shutting them off entirely from it," he told me. "You want to introduce your kids to it, and get across the point that that this is to be enjoyed but not abused."

In 1983, Dr. George E. Vaillant, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, published "The Natural History of Alcoholism," a landmark work that drew on a 40-year survey of hundreds of men in Boston and Cambridge. Dr. Vaillant compared 136 men who were alcoholics with men who were not. Those who grew up in families where alcohol was forbidden at the table, but was consumed away from the home, apart from food, were seven times more likely to be alcoholics that those who came from families where wine was served with meals but drunkenness was not tolerated.

So, Bon Appetite! Remember that you really are what you eat in many different ways. And don't worry about giving the little ones a sip or two of the Manishewitz. You may very well be teaching them a valuable lesson about using and not abusing one of God's gifts.

Oh, who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and
makes the world taste good

-Sammy Davis Jr.

Rabbi Tzvi Nightingale Aish South Florida
Note in my Torah studies we spelled G-D or G-d so as not to make our papers holy Rabbi Tzvi Shlita had Rabbis of another opinion.

Halachos and Mitzvos by Danny Schumann

One is prohibited from being inaccurate when counting, weighing or measuring, when dealing with Jews or non-Jews. If one transgressed, one has to make up the shortfall.
This is besides for the positive Mitzva of accuracy in counting, weighing and measuring. Bet Din is required to appoint people to check the weights and measures of merchants, and to confiscate inaccurate ones. Applies to everybody, always, everywhere Verse: "Do not be dishonest in counting, weighing and measuring" (Vayikra 19:35)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 83

One is not allowed to have in one's possession scales or rulers or any other item for weighing, measuring or counting that is in accurate. This is true even of one does not use the inaccurate item for it's designated purpose, but keeps it as a paperweight or a souvenir. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always

Verse: "You should not have in your pocket an inaccurate weight..." (Devarim 25:13)

Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 84

The day after Pessach, Sukkoth and Shavuot is called Isru Chag.

That would be yesterday (Tuesday) in Israel and today (Wednesday) everywhere else.

On Isru Chag the custom is to eat a larger meal than usual. Nobody - not even a bride and groom on their wedding day, nor a Yahrzeit - may fast on Isru Chag.

One does not say Tachanun on Isru Chag. Some communities don't say למנצח (before Uvo L'Zion in Schacharis) on Isru Chag.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 22:8, 103:14, 146:2

Stories from the Lubavitcher Rebbe


Some 30 years ago, Rabbi Yitschok Vorst,*** was just beginning his assignment as a Chabad representative in Amstelveen, Holland. Shortly before Passover, he received a phone call from Lubavitch Headquarters in Brooklyn. Rabbi Hadokov, the Rebbe’s personal secretary, informed him that the Rebbe want him to go to a certain small town and give shmura matza, the special matza hand-made from flour that was guarded against moisture, to the Jew that lived in that town. The young rabbi asked for the name of this Jew, whereupon he was informed that the Rebbe did not mention any names. Rabbi Hadokov assured him, though, that he would be able to locate him once he got to the town.

Rabbi Vorst attempted to explain that the town was many hours’ drive from Amsterdam, that he was busy making preparations for his first communal seder in Holland and distributing matzas, and besides, he did not believe there were any Jews located in that town anyway. Rabbi Hadokov was adamant. The Rebbe said that he should leave tomorrow for this town. There was no choice.

The next morning Rabbi Vorst packed a lunch and spent the day driving to this secluded town. Once there he spent hours searching and inquiring for any Jews in the town, to no avail. He finally decided that the expedition was a total waste of time and went to fill his car with petrol for the return trip. The gas station attendant asked the rabbi what had brought him to town. Upon hearing his story the attendant replied that he believed that a worker at the local butcher shop was indeed Jewish.

With nothing to lose, Rabbi Vorst made his way to the shop. When he walked in, the man behind the counter took one look at him and fainted. When he revived he told Rabbi Vorst the following story:

His mother and he were the only survivors in his family of the Nazi horrors. They moved to this secluded part of Holland to avoid further persecution. On her deathbed, his mother made him swear never to marry a non-Jewish girl and always be true to his faith. That had been five years prior. For the last several months the local priest had frequented his shop and began proselytizing him. They would enter into long discussions, but for this man, conversion was out of the question.

Eventually, though, the priest began to make headway. One of his arguments G-d had abandoned the young man, as proved by the fact that he was the only Jew in the area. Therefore he should convert and become part of a community.

After several months of being worn down, the young Jew agreed to be baptized. But, he insisted, first he wanted three days to think it over further.

He felt confused and depressed. He was indeed all alone. But how could he abandon his faith? How could he renege on the vow he made to his mother? He cried bitterly.

Finally he called out to the Almighty, “I will wait for you, dear G-d, to show me a sign that you are still watching over me. If I do not see anything from you by 6:00 PM on the third day, I will convert!”

And so the man cried. For three days he became more morose. He found work impossible. The third day had arrived and still no sign. The man spent the day looking at the clock. At lunch time he took a break and again beseeched the Almighty. There was less than six hours before he would agree to convert.

During his 3:00 break the man again turned and prayed. Now there was less than three hours. If he did not see some sign indicating that the G-d of the Jews still cared for him, he would be baptized.

As the minute hand passed the 5:00 mark, the man was besides himself. Perhaps the priest was right after all. Maybe it would be better for him to convert. The minutes ticked on. Each one felt like an entire hour. At 5:45, he began closing the store. At 5:55 PM Rabbi Yitschok Vorst, armed with his matza from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, walked into this man’s store.

After hearing this story, Rabbi Vorst begged the man to come back with him to Amsterdam and spend Passover. The man agreed. Every step of the way was a new beginning for this man. He had never been exposed to Judaism as his mother wanted to hide him from it. After Passover, he thanked the Rabbi and left.

Twenty-five years later, Rabbi Vorst traveled to Jerusalem for the wedding of a relative. He was praying devoutly at the Western Wall, deep in concentration, when he heard his name being called and felt a hearty slap across his back. He turned and saw a large, burly man. The man asked him in Dutch, “Rabbi, don’t you recognize me, I am so and so from the town of …. I spent Pesach in your house one year. Now I live in Jerusalem with my family. I owe everything to you.”

Sometimes, it is possible to make a deal with the Almighty.


[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from different English versions]

*** Editors note: Many people –including Chabad Chassidim!—claim this story is not true. Eight years ago, in a phone conversation with Ascent, the Vorst family said that the story is authentic. (although perhaps not all the details of this version); however, the Lubavitcher was not Rabbi Vorst but an emissary from New York.

If you recall in my Mussar above I did not say too much about Taharos Mishpacha. Here is an example of its power:


One day, in 1983, a chassid from Israel who was living in New York at the time went to the store of a business acquaintance on the Lower East Side. When he entered, he noticed a young couple with a little daughter about four years old. They were obviously Israelis, and they had the look of tourists that had embarked on their first shopping expedition. The man was even carrying a suitcase. As soon as he noticed his visitor, the storekeeper said to the Israeli couple, “Ask him; he is a Lubavitcher.” The young man approached him. “Tell me,” he demanded, wasting no words on introductions, “Does your Rebbe have supernatural powers?”

The loyal chassid hesitated, unsure of the questioner’s intentions. “It would seem so,” he said, after a moment.

“Can he read thoughts?” flowed the next question immediately.

“I believe so,” he answered.

“And can he see things that happen in distant places?”

“Yes. He is a tsaddik, and tsaddikim see things that ordinary mortals cannot.”

“That’s right,” said the Israeli, “I think so, too,” and turned back towards his wife and child. “One moment!” exclaimed the chassid, his curiosity piqued. “Now it is your turn to answer me one. How did you hear about the Lubavitcher Rebbe?” At first the Israeli seemed reluctant to respond, but how could he not after his own relentless interrogation? He put down his suitcase with a sigh, as if only now realizing its weight.

“We are from a kibbutz in the North of Israel,” he began. “Our daughter was born with soft bones in her legs. The doctors said this is an extremely rare condition for which there is no cure – she would never be able to stand, they said. At first we refused to accept this dire prognosis. We took her from hospital to hospital, from doctor to doctor, but no matter where we went, we received the same answer as at first. Eventually we were drained of hope. We had to get used to the idea that our darling adorable daughter would all her life never be able to move around without a wheelchair. One day, we attended a lecture on the kibbutz about religion and about Chabad by a Chabad representative that had been invited to come and speak. After it was over, when he saw me wheeling our little girl in a stroller, he stopped me to ask about her. I explained to him about her situation. He looked surprised and asked me, “Didn’t you write to the Rebbe yet?”

“Now it was my turn to be surprised. I laughed out loud ‘With all due respect,’ I said to him, ‘What would be the point of writing to him? Is he a doctor? I’ve already been to the biggest specialists, and they all stated there is no cure. And anyway, your Rebbe lives in Brooklyn, so what could he do for me anyhow?’ But that Chabad man, he just kept pestering me, until finally I gave in, saying, ‘Okay, but you do it for me.’ Immediately he pulled out pen and paper and began to write. I was surprised. He began the letter with a respectful salutation to the rebbe just as if it were from any Chabad Chassid, and used other terms and abbreviations that I didn’t recognize. Not a word or a hint that I was a secular Kubbutznik, that I didn’t keep Shabbos or eat kosher, etc. When he finished, he told me that I should copy it in my own handwriting. It seemed such a strange idea, but he insisted and so I did it, copying exactly what he had written, word for word. When I finished, he took it from me, and in the margin jotted his own address and a request that an answer be sent through him. Finally, he put it in an envelope, addressed it in English to the Rebbe, and said he would mail it when he went back to town.

“Several weeks later, the Chabadnik appeared at the kibbutz. He had an answer to me from the Rebbe! The Rebbe had written that I should start observing the Laws of Family Purity and then the Al-mighty would bless us with good news. I almost fell off my chair in surprise. The letter was written just as if I were a Chassid from birth; how did the Rebbe know I was non-observant? I don’t know what came over me at that moment, but I decided to go along with the Rebbe’s advice. We started to study the laws with the Chabadnik and his wife, slowly putting into practice what we learned.

“Three months went by. I was sitting in our salon watching television one evening, when all of a sudden my wife in the kitchen started screaming. I ran in and she was standing there, now dumbstruck. She pointed at our daughter. I looked over but it didn’t register. ‘What happened?’ ‘Are you blind?’ she shouted at me. Then my head exploded, All of a sudden I realized our daughter was standing! There she was, in a corner of the kitchen, standing on her own two feet, for the first time in her life, leaning on the arm of a chair. The doctors who had all declared that she would always be wheelchair-confined nearly went crazy from surprise. They started her on physiotherapy, and it wasn’t too long before she was walking just like any normal healthy girl. Here, you can see her for yourself,” he ended with a big happy smile.

The chassid took a good look at the girl and was overwhelmed. You hear a lot of stories about the Rebbe, but to have a living breathing wonder revealed before your eyes…. “We just now arrived from Israel,” the man added, “solely in order to meet the Rebbe and thank him personally, and to have him see how nicely our daughter walks.”


I was preparing a small special for Pessach at the request of my neighbor Yitzchak to write something for the Seder to tell to children (ble neder next year - no vows)

I have something that can be used all year around not just on Pessach: A neighbor named Penina Westreich gave me this recipe many years ago for making Kosher LePessach Parve Ice Cream. 1 Rich Whip Cream which has a special Kosher LePessach printed on the carton. 50 or more grams of minced wall nuts (almonds can be substituted but not as tasty) 100 grams of grated chocolate and 4 separated eggs and sugar. Mix it and put it into the freezer.

Chabad put this out for thanks to Rabbi Aryeh Nachman ben Chaim Shlita

Also Zviah made beaten separated Eggs with Strawberries and sugar as the only ingredients makes an nice Strawberry dessert.

Israeli Health News:

Glatt Trafe Dept. "It's not just the phosphorous in industrial pig s---t that causes trouble downstream," Tom Philpott, food editor for and co-founder of Maverick Farms in North Carolina, told AOL News. "It's also full of nitrogen, which feeds dead zones and puts nitrates in folks' drinking water. Indeed, waste from factory pig farms is essentially an industrial pollutant: It contains ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, cyanide and heavy metals."
Human pathogens are also a problem, he said, and pig waste carries a range of diseases. Including the antibiotic-resistant strain of staphylococcus MRSA. – And the Reform say that the original kashrus was for health reasons only – OK so be it let them continue to eat this stuff since the “health reasons don’t exist anymore”.

Well, as I recall -- the GI tract of pigs is close to that of humans. If you infect one, you infect the other. MRSA is a nasty bug that the pharm co.'s aren't (or weren't) targeting. - Laib

For the first time in 25 years I agree with Shimon Peres!!! But wait it is because of Rabbi Amar Shlita:,7340,L-3871528,00.html

Miracle in China:

Tonight, Friday evening, April 9, we count eleven days, which is one week and four days of the Omer.

Saturday night, April 10, we count twelve days, which is one week and five days of the Omer.

Day 11 - Netzach of Gevurah: Endurance in Discipline

Effective discipline must be enduring and tenacious. Is my discipline consistent or only when forced? Do I follow through with discipline? Am I perceived as a weak disciplinarian?

Exercise for the day: Extend the plan you made on day two for a longer period of time listing short-term and long-term goals. Review and update it each day, and see how consistent you are and if you follow through.

Day 12 - Hod of Gevurah: Humility in Discipline

The results of discipline and might without humility are obvious. The greatest catastrophes have occurred as a result of people sitting in arrogant judgement of others. Am I arrogant in the name of justice (what I consider just)? Do I ever think that I sit on a higher pedestal and bestow judgement on my subjects below? What about my children? Students?

Exercise for the day: Before judging anyone, insure that you are doing so selflessly with no personal bias.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2010. All rights reserved.

Since this week is Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day I cannot end this section without a Holocaust Story:

Inyanay Diyoma

Arabs are trying to compete with Eliyahu HaNovi suddenly the ‘dead’ come to life:,7340,L-3871373,00.html

During Chol HaMoed:

B. Hussein loves Israel on the grill:

MK’s tell Netanyahu:

FIDEL CASTRO PRAISES OBAMACARE! Now we know how good it is.

Laser system will take 5 more years to become operational:

With these guys praying for us, I’d rather be a hermit:

Nuclear Summit is not for Israel:,7340,L-3873471,00.html

Jeff and Mordechai are filling me in on growing anti-Semitism: The Jewish Defense Organization just demanded that Great Neck cancel an upcoming neo-nazi "Death to the Jews" march by one Fred Phelps that was just scheduled to happen. JDO swung into action as soon as the JDO Intelligence Unit was tipped of about this upcoming hate fest against the Jews Phelps runs neo-nazi white supremacist group that has given platforms and works day and night to try and get Jews killed. He even had a "Victory Rally" for neo-Nazi Von Braun 12 weeks ago shot up the Holocaust Museum in DC.

Now for Mathis Wolfberg's Good Shabbos Stories Part 2 from before Pessach "Passing over" and "Who dun it"

Good Shabbos Everyone. Continued from last Shabbos… After their seder was over, the children of R' Shea respectfully approached their father. "We understand that you wanted to help the widow and her family," they began, "but what about your own family? We were kept waiting for hours'. And besides, what about your own mother? She is an older woman, and she too is a widow! Why did you favor the widow there over the widow here?"
R' Shea understood that their questions were justified. Patiently he said to them, "My dear children, your questions are legitimate. I will answer them with a story that happened to me many years ago with the Chazon Ish."
This is the story he told them: Many years earlier, R' Shea and a group of friends were studying in yeshivos in Bnei Brak. One of the older fellows in their group was having a difficult time finding a shidduch (partner in marriage). One day a number of the young men in the group were told that the Chazon Ish wished to see them. Immediately they made their way to the home of the great sage.
After inquiring as to their own personal welfare, the Chazon Ish said to them, "As friends of this young man [with the shidduch problem], it is your obligation to work on his behalf as diligently as possible to find him a suitable partner in marriage."
The Chazon Ish stressed the importance of this mitzvah and encouraged them to do whatever they could. The young men obeyed his directive and dedicated themselves totally to the effort. They contacted everyone they knew, they made calls, they visited people, they spoke, they cajoled - and finally they were told about a girl who would be suitable for their friend. The young man was introduced to the young lady, and within a short time the two of them decided to marry.
The young men in the group were thrilled. They had accomplished what they had set out to do, and now they couldn't wait to tell the Chazon Ish. They ran to his home to announce that they had fulfilled their mission. The Chazon Ish was overjoyed. The boys informed the great sage that later that same evening there would be a t'na'im (official engagement) and they invited the Chazon Ish to come, for they assumed he would want to participate in this wonderful simchah. The Chazon Ish told them that indeed he would like to come, but that he was occupied at the time with certain matters; however, he asked that once all the people were assembled and the families were ready to make the t'na'im, they should please call for him and he would come.
That evening the families and friends got together, the chassan, and kallah made their entrance, and after some joyous singing, two young men (one of them was R' Shea) were sent to bring the Chazon Ish to the festivities. When R' Shea and his friend came to the home of the Chazon Ish the door to his room was open, so they knocked softly and walked in. They saw that he was involved in a detailed discussion with a man and a woman. The Chazon Ish realized that the young men had entered, but the two young me understood that they could not interrupt the Chazon Ish. They were sure that he would finish with the people shortly and then make his way with them to the t'na'im of the new chassan and kallah.
But the Chazon Ish was in no rush. The two people had a very long list of items written on a sheet of paper from which they were reading. The man would mention an item and the woman would say, "Should we buy this?" If the Chazon Ish said, "No," they would go to the next item. If he said, "Yes," one of them would ask, "How much should we pay for it? Is that the cheapest price we can get it for?" Over and over the same questions were asked for every single item on that sheet. Patiently and carefully the Chazon Ish thought about each item mentioned and then gave his opinion as to whether they should stock the item or not.
Finally, after more than an hour, the man and the woman rose to leave. They couldn't stop thanking the Chazon Ish for his valuable time. Only then did the Chazon Ish get up to go with the two young men. "You must be wondering," began the Chazon Ish, before the two young men could even ask, "why I kept you waiting so long, and what was so important about my discussion with those two people. Let me explain. You see, that husband and wife are survivors of the concentration camps. They recently came to Eretz Yisroel, hoping to rebuild their lives. They decided to open a store and they came to me for help. I couldn't help them with money, so the least I could do is help them with advice. Every shekel they invest is important for their future and so I tried, to the best of my ability, to help them decide what to purchase for their store. It is my mitzvah to assist them, but it is not only my mitzvah - it is your mitzvah as well- because by your waiting you also had a share in that mitzvah, as did all the people who were kept waiting at the t'na'im. We all had the obligation to help those two get started in business again so they could begin a new life."
"And that is the reason," said R' Shea to his children, late into the night, that Pesach, "why I went to the widow with the young children and helped them with their seder before coming home. Because all of us - myself, you, your mother and grandmother - as members of Klal Yisroel had the obligation to help her. By your waiting patiently for me to come back, you too shared in the mitzvah of helping that unfortunate family through this seder night."
The Talmud tells us that a Jew is distinguished by three character traits: Shyness, Mercifulness, and the tendency towards doing of acts of kindness. (Yevamos 79b) The Talmud goes so far as to say that someone who lacks one of these qualities must be checked out to make sure that he is really Jewish.
Let us use these weeks between Pesach and Shavuos to work on ourselves, especially in the area of helping others. The more desperate one is for our help, the bigger the mitzvah it is to help them. Sometimes we wonder in life how and why certain opportunities to do chesed (kindness) for others, materialize in our lives. The answer is, that Hashem is sending us a test, to see where we are holding in the midah (character trait) of kindness. Good Shabbos Everyone.

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's Torah portion Shimini, we read about the tragic deaths of Aharon's sons Nadav and Avihu. Nadav and Avihu are among the few people mentioned in the Torah by name, who were killed directly by Hashem. This fact signifies the severity of their crime, becuase usually the Torah does not mention by name those who are struck down; and furthermore, rarely do we read that people are directly struck down from Heaven. (Heard from my father my teacher Reb Tovia Shlita).
The Torah tells us that Nadav and Avihu were killed because, "they brought before Hashem an alien fire [of burning incense] that He (Hashem) had not commanded them." (Vayikra 10:1) Nadav and Avihu had good intentions. Their problem was however, that they tried to serve Hashem in their own way, i.e., disregarding the holy "protocol" established by Hashem Himself.
The spiritually uplifting message of this incident is: we will have the best spiritual results in life when we serve Hashem according to His rules, i.e., when we serve Hashem the way He wants to be served, not the way we FEEL like serving him. There are those who drive to the synagogue on Shabbos, and they justify their acts by saying "otherwise I wouldn't be able to go pray with the minyan." However, they should ask themselves how "religious" they are during the week, when it is permissible to drive to the synagogue to pray... do they drive then to pray with the minyan? (Heard from Michoel Zuckerbraun).
The following ironic true story illustrates how some Jews unfortunately serve Hashem with a "feel- good philosophy," while ignoring the basic spiritual guidelines that Hashem Himself has given us.
Sally and Michael Korn were discussing plans for their son Gary's Bar Mitzvah. Sally insisted that they have a rock-music band at the hall, and that each classmate receive a sweatshirt bearing the slogan "I had a blast at Gary's Bar Mitzvah."
Michael, who was a little more "traditional," however, had only one request. He remembered his grandfather making Kiddush at his home on Friday nights; and to commemorate that ritual he wanted his son to recite the Friday night Kiddush on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, even it were to take place on a Sunday morning. Anyone who understands the meaning of the Friday night Kiddush, would surely view Michael's idea with skepticism. However, Michael could only think of how much he had loved his grandfather and how he wanted to perpetuate his memory by reliving that experience, absurd as it may have seemed to make kiddush on Sunday morning.
The plans were finalized and Gary practiced chanting the Kiddush in the tune that Michael recalled from the days he had spent with his grandfather. The big day on Sunday morning arrived and the family traveled to the Beth El Synagogue, a good half-hour's drive from Gary's home.
The guests began to arrive and Gary was pleased to have his friends there for support. Finally Michael approached his son and motioned to him that it was time for him to put on his tefiliin and for the ceremony to begin.
Rabbi Bruce Perlman was the officiating Rabbi. Beth El was the type of place where something unusual like reciting Kiddush on a Sunday morning would not raise eyebrows at all. The rabbi felt that if it was a meaningful religious experience it might lead to something more concrete, so he allowed it. Prior to Gary's recitation, the rabbi explained the reason for the ritual and why it was so important for Gary to carry on in his grandfather's footsteps. (sic.)
The rabbi finished and Gary, while wearing his tefillin got up to recite the Friday night Kiddush that Sunday morning. Holding his grandfather's antique silver cup in his hand, he spoke about his grandfather's wonderful attributes and ended with the wish that he himself follow in the ways of this special man. His "performance" was quite good; his father Michael was soon in tears.
Everyone congratulated Gary on a job well done and the tefillin were quickly removed and put aside. The time for the celebration had begun.
As the crowd moved toward the ballroom next door, the rabbi took the cup and eyed it carefully. He was impressed by the exquisite workmanship. He turned toward the president of the synagogue and remarked, "It is a real beauty. I will just take it into my office and wash it out."
The lively reception lasted for over three hours and as the Korns were preparing to leave, Michael remembered his grandfather's Kiddush cup. But when he went back into the sanctuary to look for it, it was nowhere to be found.
The president of the synagogue mentioned that he had last seen it in the rabbi's office, but the rabbi had already gone home. The family continued to look for it but it was no use. The precious heirloom was gone? Not being able to find the Kiddush cup dampened Michael's spirit and took away some of the joy of an otherwise perfect affair.
Gary had heard the whispers. He couldn't believe that the rabbi would be so uncouth as to steal a priceless family heirloom. And while Gary wanted to call the rabbi at his home, his father Michael insisted that it was disrespectful to do so. By the following morning, Gary and his family had forgotten about the kiddush cup.
Ten years passed. Gary went on to college, came back home, and soon became engaged to a girl from a local family. His parents were overjoyed and the wedding date was set. Prior to the wedding, Gary was planning to go to Rabbi Perlman (the same rabbi who had officiated at his Bar Mitzvah) with his fiancé to discuss the guidelines for a Jewish marriage. But the thought made Gary very ill at ease, because he remembered all too well the incident of the missing Kiddush cup from his Bar Mitzvah and was not interested in speaking to the rabbi about his upcoming marriage.
But once again his parents insisted that he listen to what the rabbi had to say. The bride and groom entered the rabbi's study and Gary shifted uneasily in his chair. He could barely look the rabbi in the face. But he was committed to controlling himself.
However, when the rabbi began to speak about the hallmarks of a Jewish marriage being honesty and trust, Gary lost control of himself. "Rabbi, how dare you lecture me about honesty and trust when you stole my great-grandfather's Kiddush cup?!"
The rabbi was startled. He thought for a moment and remembered the incident but did not realize that the family had never found the treasured Kiddush cup. "Gary, I promise you. I did not steal any Kiddush cup." By now Gary was furious. He was red in the face and embarrassed that he had lost control of himself in front of his fiancé.
"Well, then, where is it? You were the last one seen with it." "Gary," the rabbi spoke calmly. "I put it back where I knew you would find it. I put it in your tefillin bag." (From Touched by a Story 2, P. 75, Reb Yechiel Spero)
The Bar Mitzvah marks the beginning of a Jewish male's obligation to perform mitzvahs. It is a shame that many Bar Mitzvah celebrations have a "bar" but not the "mitzvah." Let us be inspired by this story - and let us remember the examples of Nadav and Avihu, so that we will serve Hashem according to the way He wants, not according to our own "feel good" Judaism. 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

Rachamim Pauli