Regarding: Rafael Alexander Alter ben Sheina – he underwent brain surgery and we have been asked to continue praying until June 30th!
I am Furious don’t expect Moshiach unless it is truly the end of time
My Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yacov London ZTZAL once had a very bad incident and he repeated to himself perhaps to calm himself and maybe do something about it, “I am angry, very angry” quite a few times. I spoke to him and said, “I hope you are not angry at me.” “No, Rachamim not at you. I am angry, very angry.” “Rabbi, can I help you in any way?”
“No, Rachamim!” What can I say about the following article which has been one of the main points on the news lately. It is a story of ground less hatred and for groundless hatred the Temple was destroyed and we were driven into exile. It has happened in Ohr Yehuda, Petach Tikva and other places in Israel before this. However, this case was exceedly brutal. White Charedi Chassidic girls learning with Ethiopian girls in the same school was too much for the majority of white parents and they build a wall in the school and physically separated sections and classrooms. When the Supreme Court ordered them to integrate, they refused to comply and finally started a pirate school.
The problem exists all over Israel and Kiriat Sefer is no exception. Rabbi Shlomo Mimran Shlita sends his children to an exclusively Sephardi School not that our Kollel is not integrated but because he is from Sephardic Background it does not matter that he was educated up to the University Level in Canada and is a Dayan in Bnei Barak. My grandchildren go to a school that is almost exclusively Ashkenazi. This nonsense should have stopped after all most of the children are third if not fourth generation Israelis and have been raised by parents who may or may not have attended integrated Yeshivas and schools. We had in my Yeshiva black Jews, Sephardi Jews, South American Jews under the Rabbi London Brothers and I turned out no less religious for it. In fact meeting with Rabbi Yosef Azran Shlita, the late Tzaddik Rabbi Yacov Mizrahi, Rabbi Sharabi Shlita, and the two Rabbis Kochavi Shlita have enriched my Jewish cultural base.
I am really very angry at the bigotry and furious at the groundless hatred: http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=174279
B”H my family is not like this. My daughter teaches some Ethiopian children and one boy with speech and other problems was to be put into a special class and the mother was against it so my daughter agreed to take the boy for a second year considering that he was a bit younger than his class and he was not giving her disciplinary problems as she knows how to treat the boy with tender loving care and strict rules. MY FRIENDS IF YOU WANT THE MOSHIACH TO COME PLEASE PRAY FOR AN END TO GROUNDLESS HATRED AND LASHON HARA.
Finally before Moshiach we are experiencing a topsy-turvy world. Anat Kam who stole all the secrets of the army sits at home. A boy, the son of a career officer, is in jail for refusing to change his Yeshiva when he contracted with the army to serve in soldier-Yeshiva style. He sits in jail – who violated his contract the Defense Minister not the soldier.
Rabbi A. L. sent me this but too late for last week THIS IS SPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO HUSBANDS:
Rabbi Moshe Laib of Sassov explains it as follows: He said, "I learned the true meaning of the Mitzvah from a Russian peasant. Once I saw two peasants sitting and drinking together. One of them turned to his friend and said, "Do you love me??"
"Sure. I love you very much," replied the other. "In that case tell what I am lacking," challenged the first.
"How should I know what you are lacking when you did not tell me," replied the second peasant. His friend gave him a deep sigh and said, "If you do not know and feel what I am lacking then how can you claim that you truly love me??"
Rabbi Moshe Laib explained that this taught him the true meaning of, "Love your fellow as yourself." Just as a person know their own needs, so too, true Ahavas Yisroel means to know and feel what the other person is lacking. One should take an interest in another person's needs, even when they do not come to ask you for help.
The previous Parsha ended with the following words in general to Am Yisrael to make them Holy as an Am Kadosh:
20:27 A man also or a woman that divines by a ghost or a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.
Now the Kehuna has a special holiness only to themselves as not to make contact with the dead or even grave stones.
21:1 And the LORD said unto Moses: Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them: There shall none defile himself for the dead among his people; 2 except for his kin, that is near unto him, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother; 3 and for his sister a virgin, that is near unto him, that hath had no husband, for her may he defile himself. 4 He shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.
The Zohar HaKadosh explains in this section WHY THE JEWS TRY TO BURY THE DEAD WITHIN 24 HOURS. Sometimes a Jew has to go to Judgement or the Soul has to Transmigrate and this cannot happen until the body is buried. During this time negative spiritual forces can attack the body and spread Tuma throughout the world. None of us know the accounting of G-D. Now the only reason for burying the dead later than 24 hrs should be – allowing a loved one to return to the funeral, honoring the dead by transporting the body to Eretz Yisrael for burial, delay in burial due to a natural disaster,
The following is not from this week’s Zohar but a Shuir from Rav Yehuda Yosefi Shlita. Also taken from stories of clinic deaths leading to out of body experiences and many other Rabbis in the course of the years including Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak Shlita.
When a person passes away, his Neshama separates from the body. The evil spiritual powers created by his sins want to grab and hurt the Neshama and the body. The Neshama is bewildered and often guardian angels come to protect it. People praying and saying Tehillim or Mishnayos for the dead can also aid in this process. The Neshama cannot be put on trial of the heavenly Beis Din nor reincarnate until buried. There are also problems with scattered body parts (nobody has explained to me organ transplants in this context so until spiritually the process is explained to me I am a bit wary of this). Assuming that the person passed away like most people in the whole form or even if the person lost a limb it is already buried properly then the soul proceeds through the area called the ‘well of souls’ in the Yitzchak room of the Machpella Cave in Chevron (guttural CH). Somewhere along in this process, the soul meets its dead relatives even those of long past generations. If they are smiling happy is he and it is good but if they are frowning the soul should be prepared for a rougher trial and get ready for a give and take with the heavenly Beis Din. The soul then goes into a crystal Palace where it awaits its turn in Beis Din. The soul is so afraid and insecure that if the person in life did not say a Pasuk with the letters of his name on it two lines before one moves backwards during the epilogue of the Shemona Esray Prayer, he even forgets his name.
Finally the soul reaches trial. Oh Ho – his life story is played before him at frightening speed and he can laugh, cry, feel ashamed for all his past doings of all the times he did not behave like a Jew should and be happy at the Mitzvos that he did. Then an accusing Angel stands on one side before the Beis Din and a defending Angel on the other side.
The Beis Din consists of past Rabbis
5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corners of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.
Hezballah does things like this once a year with knives on their heads in a ceremony dating back to idolatry in Lebanon.
6 They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God; for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the bread of their God, they do offer; therefore they shall be holy.
The following Mitzvos exist today with the exception of the Cohain’s daughter others that can only exist during the times of the Beis HaMikdash and Sanhedrin. 7 They shall not take a woman that is a harlot, or profaned; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband; for he is holy unto his God. 8 Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offers the bread of thy God; he shall be holy unto thee; for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy. 9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father: she shall be burnt with fire. 10 And the priest that is highest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil is poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not let the hair of his head go loose, nor rend his clothes; 11 neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; 12 neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD. 13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 A widow, or one divorced, or a profaned woman, or a harlot, these shall he not take; but a virgin of his own people shall he take to wife.
Theoretically one who is a Cohain today could take an unmarried woman as a wife that had relations previously only with other Jews and not for compensation. However, he would automatically disqualify himself for service in the Temple see Yechezkel below for what will be permitted to a Cohain in the future. A true G-D fearing Cohain should be prepared for Beis HaMikdash times any moment.
15 And he shall not profane his seed among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctify him. 16 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 17 Speak unto Aaron, saying: Whosoever he be of thy seed throughout their generations that hath a blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath anything maimed, or anything too long, 19 or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed, 20 or crook-backed, or a dwarf, or that hath his eye overspread, or is scabbed, or scurvy, or hath his stones crushed; 21 no man of the seed of Aaron the priest, that hath a blemish, shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire; he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
The question then arises do we then ignore the Gezaira of Yechezkel for these people and how do we treat a Cohain who had a fracture or break and has healed so that on the surface not blemish or weakness is observed – I would think that considering the amount of people who are Cohanim today that the Pshat interpretation would be followed.
22 He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. 23 Only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not My holy places; for I am the LORD who sanctify them. 24 So Moses spoke unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.
22:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, which they hallow unto Me, and that they profane not My holy name: I am the LORD. 3 Say unto them: Whosoever he be of all your seed throughout your generations, that approaches unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from before Me: I am the LORD. 4 What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath an issue, he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso touches any one that is unclean by the dead; or from whomsoever the flow of seed goes out; 5 or whosoever touches any swarming thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; 6 the soul that touches any such shall be unclean until the even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he bathe his flesh in water. 7 And when the sun is down, he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat of the holy things, because it is his bread. 8 That which dies of itself, or is torn of beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the LORD. 9 They shall therefore keep My charge, lest they bear sin for it, and die therein, if they profane it: I am the LORD who sanctify them.
Doesn’t some of these Mitzvos apply also to ordinary Jews and Leviim? The Chumash comes here to reinstate these laws only to single out the special holiness of the Cohain.
10 There shall no common man eat of the holy thing; a tenant of a priest, or a hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.
The exception is the Jewish slave of the Cohain: 11 But if a priest buy any soul, the purchase of his money, he may eat of it; and such as are born in his house, they may eat of his bread. 12 And if a priest's daughter be married unto a common man, she shall not eat of that which is set apart from the holy things. 13 But if a priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father's bread; but there shall no common man eat thereof. 14 And if a man eat of the holy thing through error, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give unto the priest the holy thing. 15 And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they set apart unto the LORD; 16 and so cause them to bear the iniquity that brings guilt, when they eat their holy things; for I am the LORD who sanctify them.
… 32 And ye shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD who hallow you, 33 that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.
23:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: The appointed seasons of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed seasons. 3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work; it is a Sabbath unto the LORD in all your dwellings.
When G-D repeats something in the Chumash over and over again it is not necessarily for the generation that witnessed the miracles in Egypt nor for the Companions who frequent the Beis Medrash all the time but for all of Am Yisrael. WE ARE NOT LIKE THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD THAT HAVE 7 COMMANDMENTS WE WERE GIVEN 613 COMMANDMENTS to guard and observe 24/7. The Shabbos being so holy that we take it upon ourselves earlier by a few minutes or even well before Sundown as many congregations do. We add to the Shabbos not just the time it takes to get dark but until there appear in the sky 3 stars which for Ashkenazim are between 42 to 45 minutes after Sunset and for Sephardim slightly less and for those who hold according to Rabbaynu Tam 72 minutes after Sunset.
4 These are the appointed seasons of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season. …
Pessach and Motzei Yom Rishon (after the first day of Yom Tov):
15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete; 16 even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall present a new meal-offering unto the LORD. 17 Ye shall bring out of your dwellings two wave-loaves of two tenth parts of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, for first-fruits unto the LORD. 18 And ye shall present with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams; they shall be a burnt-offering unto the LORD, with their meal-offering, and their drink-offerings, even an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD. 19 And ye shall offer one he-goat for a sin-offering, and two he-lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace-offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first-fruits for a wave-offering before the LORD, with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And ye shall make proclamation on the selfsame day; there shall be a holy convocation unto you; ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest; thou shalt leave them for the poor, and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
This is the Mitzvah of counting the Omer. One of the few Mitzvos that don’t cost anything and takes a minute or so to do, the only catch being is to remember which day it is and add on the proper day. Even if one does the counting without a blessing he has fulfilled the Mitzvah. Example: Today is one and thirty days which are four weeks and three days in the Omer. That would be the complete Mitzvah. But if one only says “What today is 31 days in the Omer” or to Omer he/she has completed the Mitzvah!
23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 27 Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any manner of work in that same day, that soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye keep your Sabbath.
While when Yom Tov falls on a weekday we can transfer a flame from place to place to light candles, slaughter or cook for the Yom Tov animals that are in our possession or live fish that we have set aside for the Festival on Yom Kippur we must treat it with the holiness of Shabbos. The difference being that we read on a week day Yom Kippur six portions of the Torah and on the Holy of Holies, the Shabbos, we read seven portions of Torah.
33 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. 36 Seven days ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD; on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD; it is a day of solemn assembly; ye shall do no manner of servile work. 37 These are the appointed seasons of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt-offering, and a meal-offering, a sacrifice, and drink-offerings, each on its own day; 38 beside the Sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill-offerings, which ye give unto the LORD. 39 Howbeit on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
Parshas Emor includes the Torah section relating to the Jewish holidays. Regarding the mitzvah to take the Four Species [Vayikra 23:40], the Baalei HaTosfos write that one of these four species, the Esrog, has both a pleasant taste and a pleasant aroma. This fruit represents righteous Jews who have the aroma of Torah and the taste of good deeds. The palm tree, on which the Lulav grows, has pleasant taste but no aroma. This symbolizes the average Jew who has the pleasant taste of doing mitzvos but does not necessarily possess the aroma of Torah scholarship. The Hadas [myrtle], with aroma but no taste, symbolizes Jews who have Torah scholarship but do not possess the pleasant taste of having done good deeds. The Arava [willow], with neither taste nor flavor, symbolizes the Amei HaAretz [peasants] who have neither the aroma of Torah nor the taste of good deeds. The Baalei HaTosfos conclude with t he well known homiletic teaching: We bind all four species together to symbolize that G-d is not pleased with the Jewish people until they bind themselves together as one unit.
Am Ehud – Lev Ehud as with Matan Torah (giving of the law) on Har Sinai. At this time the people cried, “We will follow the commandments and will listen unto them.” Just like a soldier first follow the command and then listen and reason as to why it was given – for the poor soldier or Jew in our case can only see what is before him while the general or The L-RD sees the whole picture of what is going on.
Let us analyze the symbolism of the Baalei HaTosfos in equating the aroma of the Esrog and Hadas with the aroma of Torah. What does it mean to say that a Talmid Chacham has the "smell of Torah"? Rav Simcha Zissel makes a very interesting comment: The Moshiach is described in Yeshaya [11:1-2] as "an offspring from the great plant of Yishai upon whom will rest the Spirit of G-d, the spirit of wisdom and discernment, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and Fear of G-d." After all these accolades describing the Moshiach, the Pasuk says [11:3] "and G-d will cause him to have an aroma (v'heericho) of Fear of Hashem, such that he will not need to judge by the vision of his eyes nor argue based on that which he hears with his ears."
This aroma that he will possess will give him the uncanny ability to rule not only based on his eyes and ears but even with that special quality of aroma that G-d will grant him. What is this idea of "V'heericho"?
The Ramban in his Torah commentary on the Pasuk "And you shall do that which is straight and proper in the Eyes of Hashem" [Devarim 6:18] explains this mitzvah as attempting to ascertain the true Will of the Almighty behind each of the 613 mitzvos. Even regarding the things which we are not explicitly commanded, we should try our hardest to do that which we feel is right and proper in His Eyes, for He loves that which is good and straight.
Even if something does not appear in the list of mitzvos and does not appear in the Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law], we have an obligation as Jews to try to understand what the Almighty really wants from us. The Moshiach is going to be gifted with this intuitive knowledge of what the Almighty really wants. G-d will infuse him with this innate - almost instinctive knowledge of what He really wants. Therefore, there will be cases appearing before him that do not appear in Shulchan Aruch and yet he will know what to do despite the lack of any legal precedent. He will have the "aroma of the Almighty" about him. He is so permeated by the Spirit of Hashem that he will be able to smell what is right and what is wrong.
Why is the smell of the metaphor for knowledge?
When one walks into a room and his wife is making chicken soup for Shabbos, he does not need to taste the chicken soup to know what's cooking. He knows what's cooking. He smells the chicken soup. When there is aroma, one does not need taste to understand what is there. This is the quality that Moshiach will have.
This is what the Baalei HaTosfos mean when they speak about the aroma of Torah (in comparison to the aroma of the Esrog or Hadas). They mean a person who has the "sense of smell" of Torah. He can smell what is right and what is wrong. This is the concept of "Daas Torah". One who possesses true "Daas Torah" has the aroma of Torah such that he can intuit what is right and what is wrong, even in the absence of clear precedent. He can perceive what the Torah wants and want the Almighty wants by instinct, as if by smell. – Rabbi Y. Frand from the www.torah.org
41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year; it is a statute forever in your generations; ye shall keep it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths; 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed seasons of the LORD.
24:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.
Command the children of Israel [and they shall take to you pure olive oil… to kindle the lamps cont: This is the passage of the commandment of the lamps, and the passage [that begins with] “And you will command…” (Exod. 27:20-21) was stated only in context of describing the construction of the Mishkan, i.e., stating the necessity of the menorah. And the meaning [of that passage] is: “You will eventually command the children of Israel regarding this” [namely, here in our passage].
This Ner Tamid was an everlasting symbol burning bright in the Mishkan/Beis HaMikdash.
3 Without the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, shall Aaron order it from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations. 4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.
5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth parts of an ephah shall be in one cake. 6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six in a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. 7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense with each row, that it may be to the bread for a memorial-part, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 8 Every Sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually; it is from the children of Israel, an everlasting covenant. 9 And it shall be for Aaron and his sons; and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, a perpetual due.'
Funny I remember something all the way back in Beresheis of G-D placing the Shabbos aside after the six days of creation.
10 And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. 11 And the son of the Israelitish woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him unto Moses. And his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12 And they put him in ward, that it might be declared unto them at the mouth of the LORD.
The Story Behind the Story
Parshat Emor primarily teaches law:(1) Laws concerning the Kohanim, and laws regarding the various festivals, make up the majority of the Parsha. There is a short narrative section at the end of the Parsha, which itself introduces more law, then returns to narrative:
And the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel; and this son of the Israelite woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. And the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the name of God, and cursed. And they brought him to Moshe; and his mother's name was Shlomit, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody, that they might make a decision according to God's Will.
And God spoke to Moshe, saying: 'Banish the person who has cursed from the camp; and let all who heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation pelt him with stones. And you shall speak to the People of Israel, saying, "Whoever curses his God shall bear [the consequences of] his sin. And he who blasphemes the name of God shall surely be put to death; the entire congregation shall stone him; as well the stranger, as he who is born in the land, when he blasphemes the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.... You shall have one kind of law for the stranger, as for one of your own country; for I am the Almighty your God.' And Moshe spoke to the People of Israel, that they should bring forth him who had cursed out of the camp, and pelt him with stones. And the People of Israel did as God commanded Moshe. (Vayikra 24:10-23)
While the law of the "blasphemer" is certainly important, both the context and the style in which this law is transmitted raise questions: are somewhat irregular. The law is told in the form of a narrative, rather than in the dispassionate legalistic form of the surrounding text in this Parsha and elsewhere in the Torah. Even if we assume that the narrative style is crucial to the transmission of this law, the narrative itself is somewhat irregular: Why is this story told here? There seems to be nothing within the episode to indicate that it transpired at the particular time and place in which it is inserted into the text. Furthermore, why is the identity of the blasphemer revealed? When compared to other incidents of individual sinners in the desert, such as the wood-gatherer, this seems a departure from the norm.(2) Finally, what was so unique about this case that Moshe found it necessary to consult with God in order to clarify the law? A closer examination of the events and the individuals involved in this incident may help us understand why the story is told at this juncture.
The blasphemer is described as the son of an Egyptian man and an Israelite woman. By making this identification the Torah seems to be pointing out that his problematic lineage plays no small role in his sin: The curse he utters springs from his Egyptian.(3) The reader is subtly referred back to Pharaoh's impudent question, "Who is God, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I do not know God, nor will I let Israel go." (Shemos 5:3). And yet, the Torah goes beyond a general statement of his lineage, and supplies us with the name of his mother; there must be something even more specific that we are meant to learn from this uncharacteristic detail. In fact, the rabbis go even farther, and identify the Egyptian father of the blasphemer.
'Whose father was an Egyptian' (Vayikra 24: 10). Our rabbis and R. Levi differ on the interpretation. Our rabbis say: Although there were no bastards among them at that time, he was a bastard. R. Levi says: He was definitely a bastard. How is this to be understood? [During their enslavement] the taskmasters were Egyptians and the officers were Israelites. One taskmaster was in charge of ten officers and one officer was in charge of ten men. Thus a taskmaster had charge of a hundred men. On one occasion a taskmaster paid an early visit to an officer and said to him: 'Go and assemble me your group.' When he came in the other's wife smiled at him. He thought: 'She is mine!' So he went out and hid behind a ladder. No sooner had her husband gone out than he entered and misconducted himself with her. The other turned round and saw him coming out of the house. When the taskmaster realized that he had seen him, he went to him and kept beating him all that day, saying to him: 'Work hard, work hard!' The reason was that he wanted to kill him. Thereupon the Divine Inspiration began to stir in Moshe; hence it is written, 'And he looked this way and that' (Shemos 2:12). What is the significance of the expression 'this way and that'?-[Moshe] saw what the taskmaster had done to the officer in the house and in the field. He thought: Not enough that he has misconducted himself with his wife but he must seek to kill him! Instantly, 'When he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian' (ib.). (Midrash Rabbah - Vayikra 32:4)
The father of this man (4) was none other than the abusive taskmaster whom Moshe saw beating the Jewish slave.(5) According to the Midrash, the Egyptian first abused the wife and then attempted to kill the husband. In the course of the abuse of the wife a child was conceived. This child joined the Jewish People and left Egypt with his mother. Now, he has an altercation with another man, and curses God.
We cannot avoid the impression that all three members of this tragic triangle are less-than sterling characters; the Egyptian is clearly the most evil character in the scene, taking advantage of his position of power over those under his thumb. The husband is described as an officer of his fellow slaves; this is not a position to which men were appointed because of their high moral standards or their popularity among the Israelites. This was an abusive position, held by men who were able and apparently willing to force their fellow Jews to obey the Egyptian taskmasters. It is unlikely that he was beloved by his people, nor would any of the Israelites have been likely to go out on a limb in his defense. Nonetheless, even this officer is seen by Moshe as a brother. Moshe's commitment to justice, as well as his commitment to protecting every Jew, was uncompromising, unparalleled. Moshe takes action; he steps in to save this Jewish officer from being beaten to death, killing the Egyptian taskmaster. Later, when Moshe again intercedes to try to stop an altercation between two Jews, his previous action is thrown back in his face:
And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews struggled together; and he said to the one who did the wrong, 'Why do you strike your fellow?' And he said, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?' And Moshe feared, and said, 'Certainly this thing is known.' (Shemos 2:13-14)
According to the Midrash, the two who were fighting on the second day were Datan and Aviram, two provocateurs known primarily for their activities in the desert.
And he went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were striving together (ib. 13). This refers to Datan and Aviram, whom he calls 'striving' on account of their subsequent record; for it was they who said this thing; it was they who left over of the Manna; they it was who said: 'Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt' (Bamidbar 14:4). It was they who rebelled at the Red Sea. (Shemos Rabbah 1:29)
At almost every turn in the desert, whenever trouble brewed, Datan was on the scene, and this Midrash informs us that this was nothing new: The two men whom Moshe saw fighting in Egypt were none other than Datan and Aviram. When we add this information to another Midrash concerning Datan's background, the scene becomes even more charged: According to the Midrash, the reason Datan knew of Moshe having killed the Egyptian in order to save a Jew, was because Datan was that Jew. The Midrash explains that Datan was the husband of Shlomit, the daughter of Dibri.
When Moshe saw this, he knew by means of Divine Inspiration what had happened in the house and what the Egyptian was about to do in the field; so he said: 'This man certainly deserves his death, as it is written (Vayikra 24): 'And anyone who strikes another person [with mortal blows] shall be put to death'. Moreover, since he cohabited with the wife of Datan he deserves slaying, as it is said (Vayikra 20:10): "Both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death'. Hence does it say: "And he looked this way and that way'(Shemos 2:12); namely, he saw what [the Egyptian] did to [Datan] in the house and what he intended to do to him in the field. (Shemos Rabbah 1:28)
One day Datan struggles with the Egyptian taskmaster who wished to kill him; the next day he struggles with another Jew. On both occasions, Moshe intercedes and saves him. Datan, though, is ungrateful, even resentful. This resentment is especially ironic if we consider the debt Datan owed Moshe - his very life.
The two men enmeshed in this triangle are, therefore, unsavory characters: the disgraced husband, Datan, was a "kapo" of sorts, who resented Moshe and challenged his leadership every step of the way. The Egyptian was a cruel taskmaster, a rapist, and a would-be murderer. The third member of the triangle was Shlomit, the daughter of Dibri - Datan's wife, the mother of the blasphemer. What was her role in these sordid episodes? The midrashic material is not of one mind, with various Midrashim attributing different degrees of responsibility. The first Midrash we examined made a point of her flirtatious behavior: "When he came in the other's wife smiled at him. Thought he: "She is mine!" While the Midrashim do not go so far as to call Shlomit a willing participant, there is most definitely a school of thought that points an accusing finger towards her less-than-modest comportment: some commentators read something ominous in her name: Shlomit, the daughter of Dibri, implies that she was too talkative, too loquacious, somehow more effusive and outgoing than propriety would dictate.(6) On the other hand, other sources seem to indicate that what transpired was not only without her consent, it was completely without her knowledge!
Once an Egyptian taskmaster went to a Jewish officer and set eyes upon his wife who was beautiful without blemish. He waited for daybreak, when he dragged the officer out of his house and then returned to lie down with the woman, who thought that it was her husband, with the result that she became pregnant from him. When her husband returned, he discovered the Egyptian emerging from his house. He then asked her: 'Did he touch you?' She replied: 'Yes, for I thought it was you.' (Shemos Rabbah 1:28)
But even this source is introduced by a more damning statement: Tradition tells us that the Jews remained chaste during the duration of their enslavement. There was one exception:
Whence do we know that they were not suspect of adultery? Because there was only one immoral woman and the Bible published her name, as it is said: 'And his mother's name was Shlomit, the daughter of Dibri.(7) (Shemos Rabbah 1:28)
Although the Midrash tells us that the Egyptian violated her without her knowledge, and ostensibly against her will, the prefacing remarks concerning her immorality belie a less-than flattering attitude toward her. Perhaps both Midrashim should be seen as complimenting one another: Shlomit behaved immorally by sending out inappropriate signals to the Egyptian taskmaster, but she was not a willing participant in the results of her own flirtation. We may perhaps discern this same split in the reasoning Moshe employed before deciding to kill the Egyptian: the basis for his "verdict" is a verse concerning adultery, not rape: "Both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death." (Vayikra 20:10)
From a sociological perspective, and in light of what we know from world history, the question of sexuality in a slave society is often extremely complicated: The slaveholder believes that the slaves are property, owned - body and soul - and used at will to satisfy the needs of the privileged class. The slave, on the other hand, often uses sexuality to improve living conditions or to guarantee survival. Slavery thus undermines the most basic relationships, overturning the most basic human rights. Loss of personal dominion over one's body casts a shadow over the ability of men and women of the slave class to form stable relationships, free of mistrust and beyond the suspicion of promiscuity. By the time the Jews are redeemed from slavery, a certain doubt has crept in to the collective consciousness. Not all the Jews were completely confident that their spouses had remained chaste. It is in this context that the Zohar explains the enigmatic episode at Marah:
Rabbi Eleazar adduced here the verse: "And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter.... There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them" like a Sotah is proven (Shemos 15: 23-25). 'I wonder', he said, 'how it is that people take so little trouble to understand the words of the Torah. Here, for example, one should really inquire what is the point of the words "There he made for them... and there he proved them". The inner significance of the water mentioned here is this: The Egyptians claimed to be the parents of the children of the Israelites, and many among the Israelites suspected their wives in the matter. So the Holy One, blessed be He, brought them to that place, where He desired to put them to the test. Thus when Moshe cried to God, he was told: 'Write down the Divine Name, cast it into the water, and let all of them, women and men, be tested, so that no evil report should remain in regard to My children; and until they all be probed I will not cause My Name to rest upon them. Straightway "God showed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters", the tree being thus identical with the Divine Name the priest has to write for the testing of the wife of an Israelite (who suspects her of infidelity). Thus "There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them". Now it may be asked: This was properly done for the women, but why include the men? But, indeed, the men also had to be probed to show that they had not contaminated themselves with Egyptian women, in the same way as the women had to be probed to show that they had kept themselves uncontaminated by Egyptian men, all the time they were among them. And all, male and female, were proved to be pure, were found to be the seed of Israel, holy and pure. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, caused His Name to dwell among them. (Zohar, Bamidbar 124b)
As in the Sotah ritual, the prerequisite for the Divine Presence to dwell amongst the people was the drinking of bitter water which contained the Divine Name. At Marah, the Jews were given an opportunity to lift the cloud of suspicion that had cast its shadow between husbands and wives. Each and every one was proven to have remained chaste, and husbands and wives were reunited. There was one woman, though, who could not have passed such a test; Shlomit and Datan both knew that her son was the child of the Egyptian taskmaster. Apparently, Shlomit was not tested at Marah. She was no longer married, and therefore was not given the bitter waters to drink.
The various characters in our short but strange narrative are beginning to come into focus: Datan and Shlomit, a worthy match; her son by her Egyptian paramour, and an unidentified individual with whom this son becomes embroiled in strife and fisticuffs.
And the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel; and this son of the Israelite woman and the Israelite man strove together in the camp. (Vayikra 24:10)
What was the root of the controversy?
R. Chiya taught: He went out as a result of the section regarding pedigrees. For he came with the intention of pitching his tent in the camp of Dan, so they said to him: 'What right have you to pitch your tent in the camp of Dan?' Said he to them: 'I am descended from the daughters of Dan.' 'It is written,' they told him, ' "By their fathers' houses; every man with his own standard, according to the ensigns" (Bamidbar 2, 2);-- fathers' but not mothers' houses.' He appealed to the court of Moshe and lost his case, so he rose and reviled God. (Vayikra Rabbah 32:3)
This indeed explains the source of his discontent but not the reason for his altercation with the Israelite. The Zohar explains the reason for the fight and the identity of his antagonist:
'And his mother's name, etc.' Up to this point his mother's name was concealed, but now that he had uttered blasphemy his mother's name is mentioned. Said R. Abba: 'Were it not that the Sacred Lamp is still alive, I would not reveal this, since it is not meant to be revealed save to those who are among the reapers of the field: a curse on those who want to reveal to those who should not know! The Israelite man mentioned here was the son of another woman, and his father was the husband of Shlomit. When an Egyptian came to her in the middle of the night and he returned home and became aware of it, he separated from her and took another wife. Hence one is called "the Israelite man" and the other "the son of the Israelite woman". Now if they quarreled, how came the Holy Name to be involved? The reason was that the Israelite man reviled the other's mother, and the latter took the He from the Holy Name and cursed with it to defend his mother; hence the word nakav (lit. hollowed) is used, to show that he separated the letters of the Holy Name. But all this is only for "the reapers of the field".' (Zohar Vayikra, 106a)
While certain elements of this Zohar are clearly too obscure to explain, there are some points that we can decipher. These men who fought had something in common - their parents were once married. Moreover, their fathers once fought; both seemed to have inherited contentious constitutions from their respective fathers.
When the son of Shlomit is denied the right to dwell with the tribe of Dan, the son of Datan provokes him. Perhaps possessing the tact and congeniality of his father he calls the formers' mother a whore. He tells him how his mother cheated on her husband, with a hated Egyptian. He is further told of how Moshe himself intervened and killed his father.(8) Now perhaps this man suspects that he knows why he lost his case, assuming that Moshe would never rule in his favor because of his background. So he curses. He uses the great and awesome name of God to vent his anger, sadness and frustration.
But why curse with the name of God? Why utter the ineffable, the unspeakable? The Midrash provides the explanation:
R. Nehemiah says: He saw that there was none who would mention over him God's name and slay him. The Sages said: He saw that there was no hope that righteous persons would arise from him or his offspring until the end of generations. When Moshe saw this, he took counsel with the angels and said to them: 'This man deserves death.' They agreed; hence it says: "And when he saw that there was no man" to say a good word for him, "and he smote the Egyptian." With what did he slay him? ... The Rabbis say that he pronounced God's name against him and thus slew him, for it is said: "Do you say to kill me?" (Shemos 2:14). (Midrash Rabbah Shemos 1:29)
The method of execution of the Egyptian was by uttering the Divine Name. Now, when the son of the Egyptian utters the Divine Name he is placed in detention, awaiting a Divine directive. It is possible that Moshe's silence is not due to lack of knowledge, rather to what he may feel is an inappropriate legal decision on his part. A similar phenomenon is discerned in the case of Zimri and Cozbi. Moshe had married a woman from Midian; why couldn't Zimri do the same? Of course Moshe knew the response; he sensed, though, that it would be unseemly if it was meted out directly by himself without Divine instruction.(9
But where did the man learn the ineffable name? The sages say he heard it at Sinai. When God said "I am the Almighty, your God..." the ineffable name was articulated. This man, born of a forbidden union and raised as one of the Jews, a man who witnessed the plagues and the splitting of the sea, who stood at Mount Sinai and saw the heavens open, who saw and heard the Voice of God together with all of Israel, was only able to distill from these experiences the ability to curse. The failure was his own; while it is true that he was most likely livid with rage, emotionally ravaged, utterly humiliated, nonetheless his response indicates a complete breakdown, a total moral failure.
The use he makes of the Divine Name is so different from that of Moshe. When he sees a man abusing his slave, Moshe feels obligated to stop the unjustified beating. Moshe uses the name of God to achieve peace, in much the same way the Divine Name is used at Marah, and in the Sotah ritual: There, too, the Name is utilized in order to create peace. The son of the Egyptian did not seem to understand this, or did not wish to understand this. His action is as different as Moshe's as Zimri's affair with a Midianite woman differed from Moshe's marriage to Zipporah.
At Sinai, the greatest event in the history of the world, all witnesses should have been transformed, elevated. This man concluded the wrong lesson from Sinai: Instead of truth, understanding and holiness, he walked away with venom.
Perhaps now we also understand why this narrative is taught at this juncture. The next verse is the start of a new Parsha, "Behar", which tells us what Moshe learned at Sinai:
And Moshe spoke to the People of Israel, that they should remove the person who had cursed from the camp, and pelt him with stone[s]. And the People of Israel did as God commanded Moshe. (Vayikra 24: 23) And God spoke to Moshe at Mount Sinai, saying... (Vayikra 25:1)
This section stands in stark contrast to the lesson learned by the son of the Egyptian at Sinai. Instead of beauty, he saw emptiness; for him, Sinai was just another hill, the Tablets of Stone only rocks. Rather than allowing what he had seen, heard and experienced to uplift him, instead of using God's Name for blessings and holiness, he degraded himself by blaspheming and defiling the Holy Name. He took all the great spiritual gifts he had been offered and turned them into something hurtful and vile. In a sense, he "missed the mountain;" perhaps that is why he was stoned.
1. The only other section of narrative is the tragic deaths of Nadav and Avihu, however their deaths seems to be introduced in order to teach the laws of holiness which follow the laws of the Mishkan.
2. In contrast, the wood-gatherer remains anonymous, though at least one authority identifies him with Zelafhad. See Talmud Bavli Shabbat 96b.
3. See Daas Zekeinim m' Baalei HaTosfos on Vayikra 24:10.
4. According to the Ari Zal (Shaar HaPoskim, Emor) the taskmaster was a reincarnation of Kayin. See Explorations, Parshat Beresheis, for a discussion of this idea.
5. See Explorations, Parshat Beresheis. Moshe was a reincarnation of Hevel: Rather than seeking to kill his brother, Moshe attempts to help his brother, and kills in defense of his brother, in stark contrast to the heinous crime of Kayin. According to the Midrash, Moshe merited prophesy due to this gesture. "God then said to him: 'You have put aside your work and have gone to share the sorrow of Israel, behaving to them like a brother; well, I will also leave those on high and below and only speak with you.' Hence it is written: 'And when God saw that he turned aside to see' (Shemos 3, 4); because God saw that Moshe turned aside from his duties to look upon their burdens, He called unto him out of the midst of the bush.' (ib.)"(Shemos Rabbah 1:27).
6. See Rashi ad loc.: Shlomit is derived from Shalom - she would say hello to all- and Dibri - she was too talkative and outgoing.
7. In his comments on the verses in our present parsha, Rashi labels Shlomit a "harlot." On the other hand, commenting on the verses in Shemos in which Moshe's execution of the Egyptian oppressor is recounted, Rashi states that Shlomit was unaware that the man with whom she was intimate was not her husband. Moreover, whereas her name is not mentioned in Shemos, in Vayikra her name is recorded, which Rashi clearly sees as an indication of her personality; see above, note 6. My conclusion from these conflicting portraits is that Rashi felt her provocative behavior had provoked the assault. While this resolution may not be 'politically correct', it may be the only way to resolve the contradictions between Rashi's two comments.
8. Zohar Vayikra 106a "R. Yitzhak said: Besides insulting his mother, he mentioned that his father was the man whom Moshe had slain."
9. See comments of Rabbeinu Bahia ad loc.
13 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 14 'Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: Whosoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 And he that blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him; as well the stranger, as the home-born, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. 17 And he that smites any man mortally shall surely be put to death. 18 And he that smites a beast mortally shall make it good: life for life.
This is not a replacement of the life of a beast for that of a man but usually another beast smiting a beast. Whatever it is, the loss of property must be made good for.
19 And if a man maims his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him:
He is brought to the Beis Din and even without a crooked lawyer the three judges can grant the man proper compensation for injury, embarrassment, hurt, loss of livelihood, and healing. Not worth trying in the first place. And if this is in this world you can imagine what can be in the next unless this is some sort of Karma from a previous Gilgul.
20 breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he hath maimed a man, so shall it be rendered unto him.
Monetary compensation as explained above with the exception of first degree murder but not accidental murder.
21 And he that kills a beast shall make it good; and he that kills a man shall be put to death. 22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the home-born; for I am the LORD your God.' 23 And Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and they brought forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stoned him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.
I have ignored Pirkei Avos one can listen to audio by Rabbi Yosef Korp Shlita:
A powerful idea fwd from Dr. Harry H.
>Many years ago John F. Kennedy spoke, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". Both in America and Israel people have forgotten about service, and say instead, "Because I am so important, I want to know what the country and everyone else is going to do for me!" In relationships, again people are concerned only about their needs and personal fulfillment, and not about the other. Children eat dinner, and walk away from the table without clearing their plate, or washing the dishes. They feel entitled to being fed and taken care of. When we are only concerned about the Avodah and service of the self, we have fallen to the lowest level of idol worship, the worship of the self. It is no wonder that marriages fail, kids are delinquent, and our country is going bankrupt. The Charedi in Israel are the worst of all, refusing to work or serve Israel, while demanding a free ride because they "serve G-d". They worship the golden calf of self, and don't care about what their fellow man or G-d requires in terms of Avodah.
This year I have really had not much time to deal with Pirkei Avos but Rabban Gamliel says that it is good Torah with Derek Eretz (work) for without that one might come to sin.
>So how should the ideal of Avodah or service really work? Avodah in the Temple was Service.
>We have the responsibility of Avodah to G-d, and Avodah to our fellow man. In order to serve G-d we have to know what He wants in terms of our conduct. We also have to listen, as everything we see, hear, or experience is a message and clue from G-d as to what he wants us to do. We have to study Torah daily, in order to understand the positive and negative commandments so we may serve G-d properly. We also have to serve G-d with the right positive attitude and heart, as who wants a grumpy miserable employee or servant. Service to G-d is simple and very near to us. We must contemplate the universe that He has created and all the blessing of our life. We have to give thanks daily for all we have been given. We must read the "Owner's instruction manual" the Torah, so we understand the rules we must operate under. Finally, when our "Boss/King" sends us a message we must listen and do!
>In regards to our service to man, in order to know what to do the people in America and Israel must be properly educated. Everyone should be given a free college education, for without education we can do nothing. Following this period of study, we must serve our country for an equal number of years. No exclusion shall be permitted from this service for religious reasons. You want to go to school, you want to live here or in Israel: serve or go live somewhere else! The service may be to the military, government, or community. We must teach at home and in the schools that service to another is more important than service to ourselves. Husbands must be taught to think about the needs fo their wives before their own needs. Children must be taught that nothing comes to them without helping and service to their family.
>The Baal Shem Tov teaches that, "everything we see and experience is an instruction for our conduct from G-d. We must wake each morning thankful for another day of life, and then ask how can we serve others and make the world a better place! We must develope an unselfish love for others and our countries, and in this manner the love will be returned to us. We must shatter the idols of self worship, entitlement, and stand up and do something for someone other than ourselves. In this manner we may learn that in all things we do, our Avodah and service is to G-d, because nothing is separate from him. When we worship ourselves, we separate ourselves from others and G-d. To paraphrase JFK, "Ask not what G-d can do for you in your prayers, but instead ask what you can do for Him." The more we begin to give in avoda, the more we will get, without having to even ask.
>May we work each day to make this world a better place for others, and thereby a place for G-d to dwell.
Lastly please help me computer wise. I cannot explain for the over-run of things that I personally wrote last week and ran over the allotted space in my
or in my direct post. I am working with Word 2007 on this computer. Please contact me with the subject “Help for Word 7” and please tell me how to prevent this in the future.
Halachos and Mitzvos by Danny Schoemann
It's a Mitzva to marry one's deceased brother's wife, if he died without leaving behind offspring. This is called "Yibum". (Since nowadays one cannot be sure that the intention of the marriage is only for the purpose of fulfilling the Mitzva, Chalitzah is always performed instead.) Applies to everybody, always, everywhere Verse: "When 2 brothers live at the same time and one of them dies... the brother of the deceased shall marry her" (Devarim 25:5)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 45
Don't eat limbs from a live animal. One may not eat any part of an animal that was cut off before the animal was slaughtered. One who eats such, deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Don't eat the soul and the meat" (Devarim 12:23) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 90
One may not cook meat with milk - even of one does not intend to eat the mixture. One who cooks an olive-size of meat and milk together deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din.
One may not use the mixture resulting from meat cooked with milk - even to feed one's animals. Applies to meat from Kosher animals with milk from Kosher animals. One may cook and use Kosher milk with meat from non-Kosher animals, or Kosher meat with milk from non-Kosher animals; though one may not eat the mixture (obviously).
Applies to everybody, always, everywhere Verse: "Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk" (Shemos 23:19)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 91
One may not eat meat and milk that were cooked together. One who eats either the meat or the milk deserves 39 lashes in Bet Din. By Rabbinic decree, meat and milk that were mixed together but not cooked are also forbidden to be eaten, but one may derive benefit from the mixture. By Rabbinic decree poultry is considered to be meat and may not be eaten with milk. Kosher grasshoppers, eggs and fish may be cooked and eaten with milk. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always
Verse: "Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk" (Shemos 34:26) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 92
One who eats meat or milk from an animal that does not have split hooves or does not chew its cud deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din. Mother's milk is Kosher, however nursing is forbidden for anybody over the age of 5. Honey is Kosher. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "These are the animals you may eat..." (Vayikra 11:4)
Human flesh is also forbidden, but not from this verse. Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 93 Shabbat Shalom
May one put colored medication on wounds? The Torah explicitly forbids tattooing; coloring the skin permanently. Both puncturing the skin and filling the holes with ink as well as putting ink on the skin and then injecting it are forbidden. However, one may put colored medication on wounds even if it will cause a permanent discoloring, since the wound will leave a scar making it obvious that it's not a tattoo. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 169:1
The Torah prohibits men from removing their Payos. The Payos-area is the hair in the triangular area from the top of the ear to the forehead to the bottom of the ear.
According to some opinions even cutting the Payos very close to the skin with scissors is forbidden. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 170:1
A man may not wear clothes or jewelry that only women wear - nor may a woman wear men-only apparel. "Who-wears-what" is defined by local custom and may change over time. A man may not pluck out even a single white hair (unless all his hair has turned white) nor may he dye his white hair. A woman may.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 171:1, 3 This means that a ‘Galabiah’ which an Arab wears or a Scottish Kilt would be OK for men where they are worn.
Today - Wednesday - is Pessach Sheni - the 2nd Pessach. In the time of the Bet Hamikdash, if a person couldn't bring the Korban Pessach on Erev Pessach, they have a 2nd chance a month later. In the afternoon of 14th Iyar they would bring the Korban Pessach and roast it. After nightfall they would eat it with Matza and Marror. The leftovers were burnt the next morning. Unfortunately this year we again missed both chances to bring the Korban Pessach. Source: Bamidbar 9:9-12
Hair cut time is here for those who started the mourning for Rabbi Akiva’s students (essentially no mourning during Pessach) Motzei Pessach this would be on Sunday or Monday coming up: Lag B'Omer - the 33rd day of the Omer - will be on Sunday. One may have haircuts on Friday (tomorrow) already, in honor of Shabbat. All other customs of mourning are to be observed until the morning of Lag B'Omer. Those who have the custom to mourn from Rosh Chodesh Iyar, resume the mourning customs after Lag B'Omer. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 120:6, 7 Note: Many Sephardim only stop the mourning on the 34th day of the Omer.
An old Lori Story sometimes you talk to a wall and it answers back (my msg): http://www.aish.com/sp/lal/48941991.html
Hang in there Shabbos is coming and Motzei Shabbos is Lag B’Omer.
Authorities had not released a list of the dead. All inquiries were referred to Coroner Ricky Shivers who nearly became a victim himself when the twister flipped his truck four times. He went back out in his hospital gown to help identify bodies and was back in the hospital late Sunday. He was in his pickup truck when he turned a corner and saw the truck going upward in the funnel. His windshield was hit by a large tree branch which was stopped by the windshield. He went up in the air before the truck came down again and spun over. All he could say was, “L-RD I am in your hands”. The interview was live on Foxnews. The brief story is here:
Let’s talk about the future for once.
Ephraim the head of Chevrutha group at Shamos Org. mentioned to me that I am very gloomy in my current writings. The answer is that all the Mussar on Shabbos, Kashrus and Taharos HaMishpacha is to prepare the world for the cleansing before the Moshiach. As we are in very dark times now therefore, just like the Novi Yechezkel and his predictions of destruction of the Temple, in the end he saw light.
44:1. And he brought me back by way of the Outer Sanctuary Gate that faces eastward, and it was closed. א. 2. And the Lord said to me; This gate shall be closed, it shall not be opened, and no man shall come through it, for the Lord God of Israel comes through it, and it shall be closed. ב. 3. The prince [I permit]-he is a prince; he shall sit therein to eat bread before the Lord; by the way of the hall of the gate he shall come, and by the same way he shall leave. ג. 4. And he brought me by way of the Northern Gate before the House, and I saw that behold the glory of the Lord filled the House of the Lord, and I fell upon face. ד. 5. And the Lord said to me; Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I am speaking with you, regarding all the statutes of the House of the Lord and regarding all its instructions, and you shall mark well the entrance of the House with all the exits of the Sanctuary. ה.
This is the same Prophet who warned that the Temple would be laid siege and destroyed. However, at the end of the Book there is hope and a future Temple that will not be destroyed. This however is after the war of Gog and Magog and as the Prophet Daniel wrote far away off from his time at the end of days.
6. And you shall say to the rebellious [people], to the House of Israel; So said the Lord God: You have done enough of all your abominations, O House of Israel. ו. 7. By bringing aliens of uncircumcised heart and of uncircumcised flesh to be in My Sanctuary to profane My House, by offering up My food, fat and blood, and they broke My covenant in addition to all your abominations. ז.
What I want to mention is that just because somebody or Prophet has seen a temporary bleak times for Am Yisrael does not mean that it is forever. There is a Keitz or ending to the bleak times proceeding the Moshiach and the light exists for those who believe and follow the Mitzvos and even those who try their best and honestly fail to be 100%. But not for the ones who purposely violate out and out the commandments. Let us resolve therefore from this day onwards to slowly try to do our best to observe the commandments.
G-D does not expect a non-religious person to turn “cold turkey” and observe everything over night. One starts slowly by stopping to eat forbidden sea creatures, forbidden land creatures, and slowly move on to eating only kosherly slaughtered animals that have had the blood removed according to halacha the then to have separate utensils. The same with Shabbos, one resolves not to knit, sew, plough, plant, pick fruit or tend the garden on Shabbos and then move on to not washing and drying clothing on Shabbos. Slowly one takes on another and another Mitzvah on Shabbos. For some the not driving or not going on line during Shabbos is hard and for others it is not putting on make-up on Shabbos or painting the garage. The reward is in the effort of resting and being with one’s family or husband and wife taking a stroll together.
In guarding the holiness of the Beis HaMikdash, please place a sign on your desk, my desk and desks of your children reading “The buck stops here!”.
Yechezkel is not being told of some Goy living in Mongolia but a Ger Toshav such as a Druze soldier who will risk his life for Yisrael and has accepted the 7 Commands of Noach. For a Ger Tzeddek is a Jew as far as the Temple goes.
10. Only the Levites who distanced themselves from Me when Israel strayed from Me after their idols, and they shall bear their iniquity. י. 11. And they shall be ministers in My Sanctuary, appointed over the gates of the House; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifices for the people, and they shall stand before them to serve them. יא. 12. Because they served them before their idols and were for the House of Israel as a stumbling block of iniquity; therefore, I lifted My Hand upon them, says the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity. יב. 13. And they shall not approach Me to serve Me, or to approach all My hallowed things in addition to the most holy things, and they shall bear their disgrace and their abominations, which they committed. יג. 14. And I will make them keepers of the watch of the House for all its service and for all that is performed in it. יד.
In this part of the Prophecy is a combination of a warning for his own times similar to my Inyanay Diyoma and also Prophecy for the future. The same guarding that we do on Shmura Matzos from the cutting of the wheat, harvesting and winnowing through the baking process we have to do in the future even more so for the holiness of the Temple. WHEN IT COMES TO MITZVOS THERE IS NO “HAFEEF” OR GLOSSING OVER. This is why we make sure that all pens, cash, credit cards and tools are not in our pockets or on our persons as Shabbos enters lest we forget and do some form of Melacha.
The Haftarah of this week starts here:
15. But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Tzadok, who kept the charge of My sanctuary when the Children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me, and they shall stand before Me to offer Me fat and blood, says the Lord God. טו. 16. They shall enter My Sanctuary, and they shall approach My Table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge. טז. 17. And it shall be, when they enter the gates of the Inner Court, they shall be clothed with linen garments and no wool shall be upon them when they minister the gates of the Inner Court and within. יז. 18. Linen hats shall be upon their heads, and linen breaches shall be upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves in a place that sweats. יח. 19. But when they go out into the Outer Court, into the Outer Court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they minister and place them in chambers belonging to the Sanctuary and clothe themselves with other garments, and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments. יט. 20. And [the hair of] their heads they are not to shave but also not to let it grow wild; they must be careful to trim the hair of their heads. כ. 21. And wine may no priest drink when they come into the Inner Court. כא. 22. And neither a widow nor a divorced woman may they take for wives, but they shall take virgins from the descendants of the House of Israel; also the widow who is only a widow, some of the priests may marry. כב. 23. And My people shall they teach the difference between holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the impure and the pure. כג. 24. And in dispute they shall stand in judgment, according to My ordinances shall they decide it; and My teachings and My statutes shall they keep in all My appointed times, and My Sabbaths they shall sanctify. כד. 25. To no human corpse shall they come to defile themselves, except to father and to mother and to son and to daughter, to brother and to a sister who has had no husband, shall they defile themselves. כה. 26. And after his purification they shall count seven days for him. כו. 27. And on the day that he enters the Sanctuary, into the Inner Court, to minister in the Sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord God. כז. 28. It shall be to them for an inheritance, I am their inheritance; You shall give them no possession in Israel, I am their possession. כח. 29. The meal-offering and the sin-offering and the guilt- offering are they to eat, and everything that is vowed to be banned in Israel shall belong to them. כט. 30. And the first of all the first-fruits, and every heave-offering; everything from every sort of your heave- offerings shall belong to the priests; also the first out of your kneading-troughs shall you give to the priest, to bring enduring blessing into your home. ל. 31. Anything that has died of itself or is fatally wounded, whether it be bird or beast, the priests may not eat.
The question arises what is Yechezkel trying to tell us which is new from this and the answer is in line 22 for a simple Cohain could marry a widow. For if Cohain brother number 1 passed away without any children it was up to Cohain brother number 2 to perform Levirate Marriage or Yibum as Danny Schoemann brought down in his Halachos this week.
Our weekly Haftarah was taken from the above and the future continues after the Haftarah in the Novi.
45:1. And when you divide the land by lot for inheritance, you shall set aside an offering to the Lord, holy from the land, its length twenty-five thousand and its width ten thousand, it is holy within all its borders around.
A Mikvah story from B.E.
This adventure has turned into a short story. Although a frustrating experience, it is rather comical. I am quite certain that my friends that know me well would say: “Only You!” So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
A person would wonder why a simple thing like going to a Mikvah could turn into a complicated situation and a fiasco. But I do believe things happen for a reason.
To begin, I must set the stage, because you will only be able to grasp the enormity of the situation by understanding the preparation for the Mikvah. It all started about a month ago. Being a “Baal Teshuvah” (returnee to Judaism) and on a spiritual journey, I began to study many aspects of this beautiful religion. During this study period, my spirit felt that I needed to become “spiritually clean”…I didn’t like the feeling that I was impure spiritually-speaking. So I asked my Rabbi’s wife if it would be appropriate for me to go to a Mikvah. Her reply was a very positive “Yes”. She said that she would even accompany me there and teach me what I needed to do to “prepare”.
The preparation was rather surprising. I had to spend exactly seven days prior to going to the Mikvah doing a “test” to make sure that I was not “bleeding”. I won’t go into any graphic details other than to say that the test had to be done with only cotton material…fortunately I found an old t-shirt of my son’s that I could cut up into squares!
Finally the big day came but I was informed that further preparation was necessary. This included removing all nail polish, cutting and or filing my nails (hands & feet), removing any dead skin cells, and washing thoroughly (body and hair) and soaking in the bathtub for 30 minutes. After my hands started to look like “prunes” I figured I satisfied this requirement.
I was exhausted after this but forged ahead and drove an hour to the Mikvah located in Brighton, Massachusetts. My Rabbi’s wife said that she was in a meeting down the street and to call her when it was my turn to get “dunked”. The “Matron” of the Mikvah came out to greet me. She was pleasant but didn’t smile. My first mistake was telling her that this was my very first time going to a Mikvah. She could obviously tell that I wasn’t a young spring chicken so she began to ask me questions. The plot thickens…. I was none of her darn Business!!!
She began her questioning which made me feel like I was a “prisoner of war”! “What is your menstrual status?” When I chose the multiple choice answer “C” (post-menopausal), she looked very confused and asked “Then why are you here?” I told her that I wanted to be spiritually pure. She went on to tell me that this didn’t make any sense to her because I am not married, not menstruating, and not engaged to be married…and that she would have to call “her boss” because they have “rules”! Rules, I thought…Oy, I don’t like the sound of this. She is the biggest boor, idiotic Am HaAretz and ignoramus that I heard of.
I decided to tell her that I was going to get married (Hey, I was desperate…after all this preparation and driving for an hour, I wanted to go into that Mikvah!). She asked me “when” I was getting married. I couldn’t lie so I said “some time”. LOL! Now she got personal! She asked “Are you engaged?” I replied “not yet, but I have a boyfriend”…she looked at me curiously with her eyebrows frowning and said sternly, “You mean you are dating someone??!!!”. I said “Yes, but he is taking his time proposing.” Then she exploded with “That’s the very reason that you should NOT go into the Mikvah…if you become spiritually clean then you might feel that you have license to touch a man!”
At this point, I toyed with the idea of calling whatever guy friend I could reach to ask them to “propose” (just for the night) and tell her that we are getting married within 4 days! But I realized that this would be dishonest and that telling a lie would defeat the entire purpose.
I thought that I might have some “pull” though if I told her that my Rabbi’s wife suggested I go to the Mikvah. She didn’t give a hoot who told me anything…because they have rules! I put the grouch on my cell phone to talk to my Rabbi’s wife…she reluctantly took the phone and went into another room so that I couldn’t hear what she said. After the phone call, she made it clear to me that she thinks my Rabbi and his wife are lunatics and meshuganahs! I did not like her speaking negatively about these wonderful people. This woman needs a “deep dip” to get pure in her spirit! In my book she is the Yarayach-tick.
At this point I didn’t think of her as a “matron” but more of a “battle-ax”! So she went into another room to call her boss. Her boss turns out to be the “Bostoner Rebbe”! Oy Vey! A simple thing like wanting to go to the Mikvah is now going to be shared with a Rebbe! So while she was calling him, I called my Rabbi’s wife and explained the situation. Her immediate reaction was “Oh, no…I am so sorry and completely apologize…I should have realized that “she” was going to be there tonight and that she would give you a hard time.” She suggested that I politely thank her and leave and that she would make some calls so that I could go to another Mikvah right away.
When the battle-ax returned, I immediately told her that I called my Rabbi’s wife, but the big “B” didn’t care. She said that she has never heard of anything so ridiculous as coming to a Mikvah if you are not married or not about to get married. She also said that she called the Chabad who confirmed that she was right and that the Bostoner Rebbe said point blank “No, this woman cannot have a traditional Mikvah”. The Rebbe did tell her though that I could go into the Mikvah just for an experience, that I should not do any preparation (too bad, folks, Ha, Ha, I already prepared!), that I could only dunk one time instead of the traditional 3 to 7 times, and that it would have no spiritual meaning. When I relayed this info to my Rabbi’s wife, she said to leave and go to my car because she made alternative plans for me.
So I drove following her car to Natick which took another 30 minutes (further from where I live) to a Chabad Mikvah. The Rebbitzen of Natick met us there (it was 10:15 PM) and let us in. She was a lovely person…the exact opposite of the battle-ax…her smile was like an angel and you could almost feel her beautiful spirit. This place was gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything like it. Spotlessly clean…a bathtub, shower, slippers, towels, robe, toiletries, and every accessory you can think of. It was nicer than a 5-Star Hotel!
Well, I thought things would go smoothly now but such was not the case. It turns out that you must remove all jewelry. Well the brand new solid gold anklet that I was wearing got tangled in the clasp and wouldn’t come off! My Rabbi’s wife said that I either had to break it so it would come off or forget going into the Mikvah and do it another time. Another time! Are you kidding?!! No way, after all I had been through. I was going to get that sucker off my ankle no matter what. I found some tools in the drawer (scissors, tweezers, etc.) and tried to untangle the clasp to no avail. I tried to cut the anklet but it wouldn’t break. I became a desperate! Finally, having invincible determination and asking Hashem for help, I was able to untangle the thing and get the clasp to open. Boy, prayers really do work! I am so glad that I didn’t have to break the anklet. I waited 2 years to buy this.
So, I was now on my way…I got into the shower and soaped up but all of a sudden the water temperature become so hot (about 120 degrees) that it was burning my skin! I turned the knob, pushed and pulled it but the temperature would not change. I thought I was going to faint from heat exhaustion. I somehow managed to rinse off but my skin had turned beet red. Oh, please let this be the last challenge…and thankfully it pretty much was.
So now, feeling like a princess, I entered the Mikvah room with my Rabbi’s wife. The Mikvah was beautiful and quite large…almost like a small swimming pool. I de-robed and walked down the stairs into the pool. My Rabbi’s wife gave me full instructions and guided me through the entire process. The Chabad custom is to dunk 7 times and when dunking to think of something that I want for other people or myself. Every time I dunked, I was told “Kosher” which meant that I did it properly. Unfortunately, though, you are not allowed to hold your nose so on one of the dunks I breathed in the water and began to choke! But at this point, nothing was going to stop me from finishing.
After the 7th dunk, my Rabbi’s wife left me alone in the Mikvah so that I could pray and meditate. It was extremely relaxing and an incredibly uplifting spiritual experience.
So, do you think all went smoothly now? Nope, you’re wrong! I was one and half hours from my house, with a nagging backache, and took a wrong turn off of the highway. I ended up in a “not so good” area of Boston heading right to a place that would be like “Harlem” in New York City. Thankfully, I know the names of streets and was able to find my way out of the spider web of streets. I returned home after 11:30 PM thoroughly exhausted but so thankful that the ordeal was over with and that it truly ended up to be a beautiful spiritual experience.
I now believe the reason all this happened was two-fold. I had to fight all negative things to make this happen which made the experience even more meaningful….and also if I had gone into the first Mikvah, the Battle-ax would have been the one to inspect me and guide me through the process. Ewwwwwwwww!
I will never forget this experience. And now I feel so “clean” that I want to stay pure until marriage. I wonder if this is possible??!!!
IN CONCLUSION I ALWAYS WRITE IN MY BLOG THAT I AM RELIGIOUS NOT BECAUSE OF THEM BUT IN SPITE OF THEM!!!
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The Talmud Sotah 49 A – B on Gog v. Magog
A number of years ago I bought this down with comments. I will let you read it and understand just the Pshat – plain simple meaning here.
49A: RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS IN THE NAME OF R. JOSHUA:15 FROM THE DAY THAT THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, THERE IS NO DAY etc. Raba said: And the curse of each day is severer than that of the preceding, as it is stated: In the morning thou shalt say: Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say: Would God it were morning.16 Which morning [would they long for]? If I say the morning of the morrow, nobody knows what it will be. Therefore [it must be the morning] which had gone.17 How, in that case, can the world endure?18 — Through the doxology recited after the Scriptural reading,19 and [the response of] 'May His great Name [be blessed]' [which is uttered in the doxology] after studying Aggada;20 as it is stated: A land of thick darkness, as darkness itself, a land of the shadow of death, without any order.21 Hence if there are Scriptural readings, it is illumined from the thick darkness.
THE DEW HAS NOT DESCENDED FOR A BLESSING AND THE FLAVOUR HAS DEPARTED FROM THE FRUITS etc. It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar Says: [The cessation of] purity has removed taste and fragrance [from fruits]; [the cessation of] tithes has removed the fatness of corn. R. Huna once found a juicy date which he took and wrapped in his mantle. His son, Rabbah, came and said to him, 'I smell the fragrance of a juicy date'. He said to him, 'My son, there is purity in thee',22 and gave it to him. Meanwhile [Rabbah's] son, Abba, came; [Rabbah] took it and gave it to him. [R. Huna] said to [Rabbah], 'My son, thou hast gladdened my heart23 and blunted my teeth'.24 That is what the popular proverb Says, 'A father's love is for his children; the children's love is for their own children.'
R. Aha b. Jacob reared R. Jacob, his daughter's son. When he grew up, [the grandfather] said to him, 'Give me some water to drink'. He replied: 'I am not thy son'.25 That is what the popular proverb says: 'Rear me, rear me;26 I am thy daughter's son'.
MISHNAH. DURING THE WAR WITH VESPASIAN27 THEY [THE RABBIS] DECREED AGAINST [THE USE OF] CROWNS WORN BY BRIDEGROOMS AND AGAINST [THE USE OF] THE DRUM.28 DURING THE WAR OF QUIETUS29 THEY DECREED AGAINST [THE USE OF] CROWNS WORN BY BRIDES AND THAT NOBODY SHOULD TEACH HIS SON GREEK. DURING THE FINAL WAR30 THEY DECREED THAT A BRIDE SHOULD NOT GO OUT IN A PALANQUIN31 IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY, BUT OUR RABBIS DECREED THAT A BRIDE MAY GO OUT IN A PALANQUIN IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY.
WHEN R. MEIR32 DIED, THE COMPOSERS OF FABLES CEASED. WHEN BEN AZZAI33 DIED, THE ASSIDUOUS STUDENTS [OF TORAH] CEASED. WHEN BEN ZOMA34 DIED, THE EXPOSITORS CEASED.35 WHEN R. AKIBA36 DIED, THE GLORY OF THE TORAH CEASED. WHEN R. HANINA B. DOSA DIED, MEN OF DEED37 CEASED. WHEN R. JOSE KETANTA DIED, THE PIOUS MEN CEASED; AND WHY WAS HIS NAME CALLED KETANTA? BECAUSE HE WAS THE YOUNGEST38 OF THE PIOUS MEN.39 WHEN R. JOHANAN B. ZAKKAI40 DIED, THE LUSTRE OF WISDOM CEASED.41 WHEN RABBAN GAMALIEL THE ELDER DIED, THE GLORY OF THE TORAH CEASED, AND PURITY AND ABNEGATION PERISHED. WHEN R. ISHMAEL B. FABI42 DIED, THE LUSTRE OF THE PRIESTHOOD CEASED. WHEN RABBI DIED, HUMILITY AND FEAR OF SIN CEASED.43 R. PHINEAS B. JAIR SAYS: WHEN [THE SECOND] TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, SCHOLARS44 AND NOBLEMEN WERE ASHAMED AND COVERED THEIR HEAD,45 MEN OF DEED WERE DISREGARDED, AND MEN OF ARM AND MEN OF TONGUE46 GREW POWERFUL. NOBODY ENQUIRES,47 NOBODY PRAYS [ON THEIR BEHALF], AND NOBODY ASKS.48 UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. R. ELIEZER THE GREAT SAYS: FROM THE DAY THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED, THE SAGES BEGAN TO BE LIKE SCHOOL-TEACHERS,49 SCHOOL-TEACHERS LIKE SYNAGOGUE-ATTENDANTS, SYNAGOGUE-ATTENDANTS LIKE COMMON PEOPLE, AND THE COMMON PEOPLE
- Caused them suffering in this world by our death in childhood. By this plea the bereaved parents are spared punishment.
- Earning a precarious livelihood.
- Ps. IX, 21 (E.V. 'Put them in fear'). ['Them' are Israel, and the prayer is that God will bestow on them worldly goods which will secure for them the esteem of the nations.]
- Through poverty.
- Hab. III, 2.
- 'Thy work' is the study of Torah; and 'drawing together of two' refers to two students sharing one garment.
- II Kings II, 11.
- One being the cause of the other's death, he has, so to speak, to flee to a city of refuge; he is exiled.
- Deut. IV, 42.
- Hos. IV, 6.
- Isa. XXX, 19. The people dwelling in Zion symbolise students of Torah.
- Ibid. 20 sic.
- Ibid. 'Teacher' is applied to God.
- Hiding the glory of God from man.
- The wording in the Mishnah is: R. Joshua testified.
- Deut. XXVIII, 67.
- Because yesterday was less severe than today. Therefore they longed for its return.
- If every day is worse than the preceding day.
- [Kidushah-de-Sidra. Lit., 'the doxology of the order'. This name is given to the passage recited at the conclusion of the morning service which begins 'And a Redeemer shall come unto Zion' (v. P.B. p. 73) and which consists of Scriptural verses including the doxology in Hebrew and Aramaic. It was designed according to Rashi to take the place of the daily study of the law which is enjoined upon every Jew. For other explanations v. Abrahams, I., Companion to the Daily Prayer Book, p. LXXXIII.]
- V. p. 197, n. 1.
- Job X, 22. The word for 'order' is the same as that for the Scriptural reading.
- For that reason he was able to smell its fragrance.
- With his purity.
- By displaying more love for the son than the father, because he gave him the date.
- He claimed that the duty of honouring parents did not apply to grandparents, although he had been reared by him.
- And yet I have not the duty of a son.
- Which ended in the destruction of the second Temple.
- At wedding festivities.
- The text has Titus; but Neubauer's Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles, II p. 66 has the correct reading. Quietus was a Moorish prince, appointed by Trajan to command the army which overran Babylon in 116 C.E.
- Rashi explains: when the Temple was destroyed. More probably it refers to the last stand against Rome under Bar Kochba in 135 C.E.
- In which she was conveyed to her husband's house.
- He was renowned for his fables, V. Sanh, 38b.
- He was wedded to the Torah. V. supra p. 15.
- He was a famous expositor. V. Ber. 12b.
- [The text of the separately printed Mishnah adds: WHEN R. JOSHUA DIED, GOODNESS DEPARTED FROM THIS WORLD. WHEN R, SIMEON B. GAMALIEL DIED, THE LOCUST CAME AND TROUBLE INCREASED. WHEN R. ELEAZAR B. AZARIAH DIED, WEALTH DEPARTED FROM THE SAGES.]
- He studied every letter of the Torah and derived ideas from every peculiarity of expression.
- The phrase has been variously interpreted. V. Buchler, Some Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety, pp. 79ff, He explains it as men who devoted their lives to deeds of loving kindness.
- I.e., the last of them. There is no other mention of him in Rabbinic literature.
- [J. B.K. III, makes him identical with Jose the Babylonian, the son of Akabia b. Mahalaliel. V. Derenbourg. Essai, p. 483.]
- His disciples called him 'the lamp of Israel'. V. Br. 28b.
- [On the wide sweep of his knowledge embracing the whole gamut of sciences known in his day v. B.B. 134a.]
- Appointed High Priest by Agrippa II in 59 C.E. He was executed in Cyrene after the destruction of the Temple (Josephus, War VI, II, 2.).
- Since Rabbi (Judah I, the Prince) was the redactor of the Mishnah, this paragraph is clearly a later addition. V. Bacher, Agada der Tannaiten, II, p. 222, n. 4.
- Haberim, v. Glos.
- Through the insolence of inferior Persons who grew powerful.
- Concerning Israel's plight.
- About the welfare of his neighbour.
- They deteriorated in quality.
Sotah 49B: BECAME MORE AND MORE DEBASED; AND THERE WAS NONE TO ASK, NONE TO INQUIRE. UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MESSIAH1 INSOLENCE WILL INCREASE AND HONOUR DWINDLE;2 THE VINE WILL YIELD ITS FRUIT [ABUNDANTLY] BUT WINE WILL BE DEAR;3 THE GOVERNMENT WILL TURN TO HERESY4 AND THERE WILL BE NONE [TO OFFER THEM] REPROOF; THE MEETING-PLACE [OF SCHOLARS] WILL BE USED FOR IMMORALITY; GALILEE WILL BE DESTROYED, GABLAN5 DESOLATED, AND THE DWELLERS ON THE FRONTIER WILL GO ABOUT [BEGGING] FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE PITY ON THEM; THE WISDOM OF THE LEARNED6 WILL DEGENERATE, FEARERS OF SIN WILL BE DESPISED, AND THE TRUTH WILL BE LACKING; YOUTHS WILL PUT OLD MEN TO SHAME, THE OLD WILL STAND UP IN THE PRESENCE OF THE YOUNG, A SON WILL REVILE HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER WILL RISE AGAINST HER MOTHER, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, AND A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD;7 THE FACE OF THE GENERATION WILL BE LIKE THE FACE OF A DOG,8 A SON WILL NOT FEEL ASHAMED BEFORE HIS FATHER. SO UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
- Just before his advent.
- Jast. renders; the nobility shall be oppressed. In Sanh. 97a there is a variant: honour will be perverted; or, according to Jast. the nobility will pervert (justice).
- Through the spread of drunkenness.
- These words are omitted in the Talmud ed. of the Mishnah. The meaning is: The Roman Empire will go over to Christianity. V. Herford, op. cit., p. 207.
- Perhaps Gebal of Ps. LXXXIII, 8, i.e., the Northern part of Mount Seir. [Others: Gaulan, E. of the Sea of Galilee and the Upper Jordan.]
- Lit., 'scribes'.
- V. Micah VII, 6.
- Impervious to shame. [In some editions the whole of this passage beginning 'R. Phineas b. Jair' is introduced with 'Our Rabbis taught', and not as part of the Mishnah.]
From Lukas: By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer – Wed Apr 28
Nearly all of Anne Frank's diary went on display Wednesday for the first time at the house where she wrote it during the two years the Jewish teenager was in hiding from the Nazis.
The notebooks and pages that comprise the World War II diary have been moved into the Anne Frank House museum to mark 50 years since it opened its doors to the public.
Dutch Queen Beatrix opened the exhibition, then attended a commemoration at the 17th century Western Church a few dozen steps from museum.
The original red plaid diary in which Anne began writing on her 13th birthday has been at the museum for several years.
But that covered just six months of the 25 months she hid with her family and four other Jews in a concealed canal-side apartment in Amsterdam. Two other school exercise books and other pages were stored at the Netherlands War Documentation Center, the government war archives.
Now on display are the three parts of the diary, a book of short stories she wrote called "Tales from the Secret Annex," and a notebook of her favorite quotations.
Anne also wrote 360 loose pages written on flimsy paper, mostly revising earlier diary entries with the intention of publishing it after the war. Because of the papers' fragile state, the museum said it will display 40 sheets at a time and rotate them.
The diary and other papers have all been studied, published and in some cases reproduced in replicas. But it will be the first time visitors see nearly the full collection in Anne's own hand in one place.
The museum also launched a "Secret Annex Online" on its website Wednesday, allowing people to tour it online.
"The generation of people who experienced the war and Nazi persecution of the Jews is shrinking fast," said former Prime Minister Wim Kok at the church ceremony. "Their stories must be kept alive and passed on to new generations. The Anne Frank House is one of the places where that happens."
The diary has been translated into dozens of languages, has been read by millions of people and is on the curriculum of many schools.
The cramped apartment, with two stories and a small attic, was restored and opened to the public on May 3, 1960, by Anne's father, Otto Frank, the only survivor among the eight Jews who hid there.
The museum now includes the front of the building, where Otto Frank once had a warehouse and office, and a new building next door. It receives about 1 million visitors a year, compared with 9,000 the first year.
The diary chronicles Anne's life and coming of age from June 12, 1942, until August 1, 1944. The house was raided three days later and its occupants deported to Germany. Anne died of typhus at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, about two weeks before the camp was liberated.
Winds of War to be continued: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3882510,00.html
New images of the Sun: http://gblsharing.app.aol.com/pop-up/
Iran wants the bomb and Saudia too working on one. A middle-east war this summer would be a good distraction for them: http://www.debka.com/article/8745/
You tell me who the Bigot is:
Turkey cannot be trusted in NATO anymore and many Euro Countries are going bankrupt due to socialism – Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy: http://www.debka.com/article/8744/
Honor among missiles? http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/137272
Richard A. forwarded this to me. This might not have direct implications on Eretz Yisrael but it shows how the media is manipulated. A major coup for Bill Nelson, the Democratic Senator from FL and the President:
Subject: Obama's Visit to Kennedy Space Center and His Announcements
THIS WAS SENT BY TWO FRIENDS WHO WORKED AT THE SPACE CENTER FOR MANY YEARS...... (Lyn’s friends)
Thought you all might like to know what the "visit" from the President to the workers at the Kennedy Space Center was really like.
The day before the meeting, a 747 landed and unloaded 6 limousines and a small army of his security staff. They drove 3 miles to the building where he would be, checked it out, then turned around and drove back and got into the 747 and left. (Your tax dollars at work). The meeting was held at one of the smallest buildings on KSC. All the staff in this building were told to stay home and not come to work. (This I can verify from the Clinton visits to Yisrael during his presidency also other details I shall omit as I don’t want to ruin security of US officials.)
Then only 40 guests were invited to hear him speak. ALL DIGNITARIES AND VIPS AND NOT ONE, I REPEAT NOT ONE, WORKER FROM ALL THOSE THAT WORK HANDS ON AND ACTUALLY WITH THE SHUTTLE WERE INVITED. It was so staged and phony, it just makes my blood boil.
Then that man said he wants to land on an asteroid!!!! Idiot! Here he is giving the Space Station to the Russians who want to charge us 100 million dollars per seat to fly one of our astronauts to the Space Station. Rumor now has it that the last mission also may be canceled. We really feel so bad for the workers out there, some are still raising families and have bills to pay. From the time his 747 landed to the speech given to the VIPS and return to take off was about 90 minutes. He was in a hurry to get to Miami where Gloria Esteban was having a rally for the Cubans.
So there you have it. I will leave you with your own conclusions. I sure have mine. Vote the bums out!
I for one am not shocked. There is nothing new under the Sun for at least the last 2000 years or if we go back to Haman or the first Amalek attack in the year 2448 then it is a long time that the Bnei Yisrael and Jews have been hated. Jews blood has an open season on it. The problem is that the main stream media never cover this – R’ A.Y ben Chaim and this came from Brenda. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/31165/israel-deputy-ambassador-shocked-violent-protest
WHO OWNS JERUSALEM? By Dr. Jacques Gauthier & Jerusalem Legally Belongs to the Jews By Ted Belman (written in Nov 07) forwarded with commentary by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Many nations invaded and conquered Jerusalem but, in time, all were eradicated or made so lowly that they lived in poverty - even to this day. Israel’s enemies wanted not the loot the golden holy serving pieces in the Jewish Temple as their primary goal. Rather they aimed to capture the One G-d of the Jews to add to their own panoply of pagan gods.
They often succeeded in capturing the stones and mortar of Jerusalem - after slaughtering, raping and enslaving the Jewish people living there. But, they never could find the G-d of the Jews.
Granted, all Jerusalem conquerors evolved fantasies about how the Jews had abandoned our Covenant with G-d and, therefore, both Christian and Islam claim that only they are the chosen, proper servant of G-d on earth.
So now, despite all claimants vanishing, we now have Hussein Barack Obama speaking for America and, in partnership with Islam and the Church of Rome, claiming Jerusalem - along with all her adjoining territories.
Perhaps it is not so strange to see America, well on its way to bankruptcy, oil wells bursting forth with the likelihood that the fishing and shellfish industries of the Gulf of Mexico will be decimated and the shores of four American states will be coated with thick oil for years.
Whatever Obama touches while driving his assault on Jerusalem and Israel has resulted in a catastrophe for America. Is the great nation of America to disappear, alongside with the presumptuous conquerors of the past?
COMMENTARY BY EMANUEL A. WINSTON
April 18, 2010 Jerusalem legally belongs to the Jews by Dr Jacques Gauthier
I urge you to watch this video interview of Dr Jacques Gauthier in Nov ‘09 in which he explains that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. As it happens I know him from Toronto. He gave me a copy of his thesis.
On April 24 and 25th he is participating in the Second San Remo Conference to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the decision granting Palestine to the Jews. It is taking place in San Remo.
By Ted Belman ISRAPUNDIT (written in Nov 07)
I attended a lecture tonight by Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian Lawyer who just received his PhD after twenty years of research on the legal status of Jerusalem and the writing of a dissertation of some 1300 pages with 3000 footnotes. He had to present his thesis to a panel of two leading international lawyers and one world famous Jewish historian. The reason for so many footnotes was to enable him to defend his thesis from intense attack by one of the lawyers who happened to be Jewish anti-Zionist and who had represented the PA on numerous occasions. Gauthier is not Jewish.
Here’s what he said in point form,
1. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 started the whole process but it didn’t create international legal rights.
2. The San Remo decision made on 25 April 1920, incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. It was the basic decision upon which the Mandate for Palestine was constructed. While the decision made at San Remo created the Palestine Mandate de-facto, the mandate document signed by Great Britain as the Mandatory and the League of Nations made it de-jure. It thus became a binding treaty in international law.
The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory, to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
He pointed out that the Arabs weren’t even mentioned but that civil and religious rights only were accorded other inhabitants . This thereby excludes political rights.
3. Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations provides for the creation of mandates.
To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.
The legal significance here is that “the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization”. The Mandatory Power was the trustee of that trust.
4 The Palestine Mandate of the League of Nations, included the following significant recital,
“Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;
This had never happened before in history. Palestine was to be held for the Jewish people wherever they lived. No such recognition had ever been according to anyone else, anywhere, ever.
ART. 2. The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.
Thus the operative clause specifically referred to the preamble and reiterated that there were no political rights for other inhabitants.
ART. 5. The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.
ART. 6. The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
5. The United Nations took over from the failed League of Nations in 1945 and its Charter included
Article: 80 .. nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.
Thus the Palestine Mandate continued without change.
6. In 1947, the General Assembly of the UN passed Res 181 which became known as the Partition Plan pursuant to which both Jews and Arabs could announce their state.
First it must be noted that the Charter of the UN specifically gave no power to the General Assembly because that would infringe on the sovereign power of individual members. So the GA could recommend only. Secondly, this recommendation was in violation of the terms of the Mandate. See Art 5 above.
This resolution also provided for a Special Regime for Jerusalem which had the following defined boundaries,
A. SPECIAL REGIME The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United Nations.
B. BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY The City of Jerusalem shall include the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most western, ‘Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern Shu’fat, as indicated on the attached sketch-map (annex B).
But this regime was to be limited in time. It was not to be an “international city ” for all time as we have been lead to believe.
The Statute elaborated by the Trusteeship Council the
aforementioned principles shall come into force not later than 1 October 1948. It shall remain in force in the first instance for a period of ten years, unless the Trusteeship Council finds it necessary to undertake a re-examination of these provisions at an earlier date. After the expiration of this period the whole scheme shall be subject to examination by the Trusteeship Council in the light of experience acquired with its functioning. The residents the City shall be then free to express by means of a referendum their wishes as to possible modifications of regime of the City.
This provision for a referendum was of critical importance to the acceptance of Res 181 by Ben Gurion. He knew that the Jews were in a majority within these boundaries and would be in 10 years when the referendum was to be held. Thus he was confidant that Jerusalem would return to Jewish hands.
Keep in mind that the disposition of this area was to be determined not by Israel but by the residents of Jerusalem so defined. Currently the Jews have a 2:1 majority there.
Needless to say that after the Armistice Agreement of ‘49 the Jordanians who were in control of Jerusalem violated every provision of this resolution calling for among other things respect for holy places. The referendum never took place.
After the ‘67 war in which Israel regained the land to the Jordan including Jerusalem, Res 242 of the Security Council was passed authorizing Israel to remain in possession of all the land until they had “secure and recognized boundaries”. It did not require Israel to withdraw from all of the territories and it was silent on Jerusalem.
Also it “Affirms further the necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem”. There was no reference to Res 181 nor was there a distinction made between Jewish and Arab refugees.
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Stories “Benefit of a doubt”, “Tell a friend”
Good Shabbos Everyone. Hashem created the world and all that is in it. If we want to be good people in Hashem’s world, we must play by Hashem’s rules. Many of Hashem’s rules involve our thoughts and feelings. For example, we have a mitzvah to love Hashem. We see therefore that our thoughts and emotions do have spiritual consequences. Unfortunately, thoughts can also be used for bad. In order to prevent causing bad to others with our thoughts, we must constantly study what the Holy Torah has to teach us about human relations.
We will focus this week an often overlooked mitzvah involving thought. We are referring to the mitzvah to judge others favorably. As Hashem commands us this week, “With righteousness you shall you judge your friend.” (Vayikra 19:15) In general, Rambam explains that this mitzvah commands us to do the following: When we see a generally righteous person doing something which appears to be against the Torah, we must give that person the benefit of the doubt and try to explain his actions for the good. (Mitzvah 177, Sanhedrin Chapt. 21 halachos 1-3)
We must be very careful with what we think about others. Because when we judge others unfavorably, we awaken negative spiritual forces against that person; it is as if we call the heavenly prosecutor to trial against that person. The following two stories illustrate the extent to which we must give others the benefit of the doubt.
As Rabbi Shlomo Yadin of Bnei Brak settled into his seat on his El Al flight from New York to Israel, he noticed someone a few seats over to his left who looked as though he was either an American rabbi of a shul or a rebbi in a yeshivah. Too far away to begin a conversation, Rabbi Yadin made himself comfortable, buckled his seat belt, and waited for takeoff.
After the plane was airborne, R' Shlomo noticed that the American rabbi took an obviously secular book from his attache case and settled down to read it. Even from where he was sitting, Reb Shlomo could see that it was not a sefer (Torah book.) It was definitely a secular book, and Reb Shlomo was a bit surprised. What about the mitzvah of “And [you shall study Torah] while you walk on the way?” (Devarim 6:7) R' Shlomo himself had taken along two sefarim for the long trip, and although he realized that not everyone followed his example, he felt that at least in public a rabbi should be reading from a sefer (Torah book.)
A few hours later as the slender orange rays of the sun began to appear over the horizon, numerous men made their way to the back of the plane to form a minyan for Shacharis – the morning prayers. The American rabbi remained in his seat, and R' Yadin was upset. The American was not sleeping, so he had certainly seen people going down the aisles with their talleisim and tefillin. Perturbed, Rabbi Yadin thought, "The man dresses like a tzaddik (a righteous person), and he is probably observant where people know him. But on a plane, among strangers, he acts like an irreligious Jew. What a hypocrite!"
When the next meal was served, Rabbi Yadin looked to see if his fellow traveler was reciting brochos (blessings). To his shock, the man ate without a brochah and when he finished his meal, did not recite Birchas HaMazon (Grace After Meals).
Rabbi Yadin was getting more and more furious. It took all his self-control to refrain from saying anything to the American. However, he decided that if there was a group of religious-looking people at Ben Gurion Airport waiting to greet this so-called "rabbi," he would inform them that he was an impostor.
When the plane landed and the passengers had gone through passport control and luggage claim, Rabbi Yadin walked behind the American to see who was awaiting him. To his amazement, when the American passed through customs and left the terminal, there was indeed a group of Orthodox people waiting to receive him.
Rabbi Yadin was about to speak to one of the men in the group when he noticed them all walking towards an old gray van. The back of the van was open, and there Rabbi Yadin could plainly see a coffin, that of the American rabbi's mother! He had come from America to bury his mother in Israel.
Rabbi Yadin clasped his open hand to his forehead in sudden understanding of what he had seen for the past 12 hours. The American rabbi was an onen, a mourner on the day of a burial, and was thus prohibited from performing any mitzvos! He could not study Torah, pray, or recite blessings. (see Yoreh Deah 341:1) And now, to his own embarrassment, Rabbi Yadin realized that he had wrongfully suspected this man of SO many misdeeds! (Along the Maggid’s Journey, Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, p.98)
And now for our second story, which has similar if not worse results: About 20 years ago, the Goldhirsh family planned a large chasuna (wedding.) The Goldhirshs invited all their extended family and friends. Soon after, they sent out invitations.
When people started to receive the wedding invitations, they became very excited, because the Goldhirsh family was very popular in that city. There was one family, however, which did not receive an invitation. The Roth family checked their mailbox everyday as the wedding approached, but they received no invitation. The Roths considered themselves close friends of the Goldhirsh family. Understandably, the Roths felt very offended that they were not included in the Simcha.
The night of the wedding was an overwhelming success. The music was lively, the food was good and everyone left with a smile on their faces. However, the Roths stayed home that night.
The Roths were merely offended at first. However, with time, they later became bitter and angry that they had not been included in the wedding. They cut off all contact with the Goldhirsh family. The Roths never told anyone what had happened. And the Goldhirsh family was therefore at a loss as to why the Roths had cut all contact.
What followed was decades of hard feelings, distrust and hatred, with the Roths and Goldhirshs avoiding each other at weddings and fund raisers, etc. Some 20 years after the Goldhirsh wedding, the Roths received a curious letter in the mail. The letter was one letter with a plastic bag attached to it. The main letter was a letter from the United States Post Office with something like the following:
“During our recent remodeling, we found the attached letter under one of the older machines. We apologize for the delay in delivering this piece of mail. Better late than never! Thanks for your understanding.” In the plastic bag was the Goldhirsh wedding invitation from 20 years previous.
In order to know how to treat others properly we must constantly study the Torah. Without a clear understanding of what hurts others, we may go through life hurting many people without ever realizing it. Good Shabbos Everyone.
Good Shabbos Everyone. Hashem commands us this week saying: "You shall count for yourselves... seven weeks, they shall be complete." (Vayikra 23:15) This is the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer - the counting of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuos, the period in which we currently find ourselves.
The Sages have taught us that the time of Sefiras HaOmer is a time of special spiritual importance. Specifically, the Sages tell us that this is a time to work on our character. This is hinted to in the gematria - numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word "Omer" which is 49, which is also the numerical value of "midah" - character.
Historically, a great calamity befell the Jewish people during this period. Namely, 24,000 students of Rebbi Akiva died during Sefiras HaOmer because they did not treat each other with respect. (See, Yevamos 72b) Therefore, this is a special time of the year to work on ourselves. Let us focus this week on one aspect of character which tends to play a very important role in our relationships with others; the issue of money.
The Sages tell us that one of the three ways we can really know someone is by the way he deals with money, (drinking and anger are the other two ways.) (Medrash Tanchuma, Warsaw, Korach 12:2)
There is a common expression, "don't mix business with pleasure." Unfortunately, many of us have found this expression to be a good general rule. Experience is the best teacher. Money has a tendency to bring out the worst in people. Therefore, we have to be very careful in our money dealings so as not to wrong others. Quite simply, if we borrow money, we should pay it back timely. If we buy something (especially from an individual), we should pay for it promptly and completely. If we damage another's property, we should pay the damage. One who follows these general guidelines will avoid problems in his relationships with others. The following story can inspire us in this area of character development.
After the fall of the Evil Communist Russian regime in the 1990's, hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews were finally able to leave the big prison formally known as the Soviet Union. Most of these Jews made their way to Eretz Yisroel. Deprived of even a basic Jewish education, many of these Jews sadly did not know even the "aleph-beis" of Judaism.
One such Jew was the elderly Reb Laibel, who left behind his native Russia to arrive in Eretz Yisroel in the 1990's. Even though Reb Laibel did not have much of a background in Judaism, the Jewish spark within his heart still burned bright, and he strongly desired to be more observant. Little by little, Reb Laibel began learning more and more about Judiaism. After a remarkably short time, Reb Laibel was learning Torah and praying the statutory three prayers a day.
Reb Laibel was generally a happy person. However, one incident from his younger years weighed heavily on his shoulders. Knowing that he was to give a reckoning of all his deeds in the Supreme Court in heaven above, Reb Laibel wished correct his past misdeeds.
Several years previous, Reb Laibel wrote a letter to the Russian government in which he accused another Jew of wrongdoing. Due to Reb Laibel's incriminatory letter, the other Jew was fined 20,000 rubbles, which was a tremendous amount at the time.
Now, several years later Reb Laibel regretted his behavior. Although there may have been reason to believe that the Russian police had manipulated him, Reb Laibel still believed that he was to blame. Reb Laibel wanted to do teshuvah - to correct his ways. However, after so many years he doubted he could find the Jew he had incriminated. Perhaps that Jew was no longer alive. Finding his heirs would be difficult. Reb Laibel did not despair. He prayed that Hashem should help him somehow resolve this issue which weighed so heavily upon his soul.
Reb Laibel hurried to his Rabbi, Reb Shmuel Trebish, of blessed memory, to ask him what to do. After some talking, Reb Laibel asked his Rav to write him a note. Reb Laibel asked that Rav Trebish write in the letter that Reb Laibel had sincerely done all that he could to find the man whom he had wronged. Reb Laibel said then that he wanted to be buried with the later, so that he would have something to show at his trial in heaven.
Rav Trebish later determined that perhaps this letter would not be enough to protect Reb Laibel in the next world. Therefore Rav Trebish told Reb Laibel that he was calling together other Rabonim to consider this issue over the coming 10 days.
Before the 10 days were up, Reb Laibel returned to his Rav with incredible news... Reb Laibel had rectified his wrong! Rav Trebish listened intently as Reb Laibel retold the amazing events of the previous couple of days.
Earlier in the week, Reb Laibel had gone to the doctor for a routine check-up. Reb Laibel was not familiar with the way of doctors' offices, so he showed up at 6:30 a.m. and knocked on the door. The office was of course empty at the time. So, Reb Laibel found some shelter under a bus stop and waited.
Soon, another Russian immigrant happened to sit down next to Reb Laibel. The two quickly found themselves in a conversation. It became apparent that the two men both came from Chernowitz, in the former Soviet Union.
Reb Laibel chanced it and asked the man if he knew the family of the man Reb Laibel had wronged so many years ago. Amazing, the Russian immigrant was a son-in-law of the man Reb Laibel had reported to the Russian authorities. Unfortunately, the man himself had passed away. However, Reb Laibel was able to get the names of his heirs.
Thankfully, Reb Laibel had some money in a savings bank in Chernowitz. So, the heirs were able to go to the bank and withdraw their equal portions. Reb Laibel had only asked that the heirs send receipts of the money they had withdrawn from the bank account in Chernowitz.
Later, Reb Laibel instructed Rav Trebish that he wanted to be buried with those receipts. Soon after, Reb Laibel closed his eyes for the last time and returned his soul to its Maker. The Chevrah Kadisha (burial society) dutifully fulfilled the wishes of the deceased and Reb Laibel was buried with the bank receipts in hand. (Heard from Reb Yosef Chaim Greenwald)
How many people do we owe money to? How many people are upset with us over money issues? Let us all use the Sefirah days to improve our character for the better, especially in the area of our dealings with money. Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah Refuah Shleimah to Chana Ashayra bas Dodi Refuah Shleima to Reb Avraham Yoel Ben Chaya Bina
Have really a wonderful, peaceful and restful Shabbos get all your tensions out by thinking of the holy things.