Thursday, June 24, 2010

Parsha Balak, 17th of Tammuz, & more


Parsha Balak

Last year if you recall I wrote in the the fact that Balak was called by the name Ben Tzippor (literally son of the bird) as he divinized with a statue of a bird and a tongue placed in its mouth. This year I am going to bring my introduction from the Medrash Rabbah.

What prompted Balak to call upon Bilaam in the first place? He saw mighty kings and fierce warriors defeated by Am Yisrael. First defeat was Amalek then the King of Arad who protected the southern flank of Eretz Canaan (Yisrael) and then on the northern and western flanks Sihon and Og were defeated. Balak was afraid of being conquered. Instead of the old saying – If you can’t lick them join them – as did Shimon HaTzaddik Cohain Gadol and Rosh Sanhedrin with Alexander of Macedonia, Balak chose a different strategy. He was able to analyze how Moshe was able to defeat the enemies of Yisrael and that was by the will of HASHEM Yisborach. Bilaam was known as a prophet of HASHEM and nightly he could have an out of body experience and talk with HASHEM while Moshe was usually called upon like a slave or servant of HASHEM and only rarely cried to HASHEM. Balak did not realize that Bilaam could only communicate with HASHEM in dreams and Moshe spoke face to face. Bilaam asked questions and got answers while Moshe was taught by HASHEM what he had to know. In some ways Bilaam was even a greater prophet of HASHEM as he was for all the Nations while Moshe was only for the Bnei Yisrael.

22:2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 And Moab said unto the elders of Midian: 'Now will this multitude lick up all that is round about us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.'--And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.-- 5 And he sent messengers unto Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the River, to the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying: 'Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt; behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me. 6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me; peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land; for I know that he whom thou blessed is Hblessed, and he whom thou cursed is cursed.' 7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spoke unto him the words of Balak.

From the Medrash: So in the future the Nations of the World will not say to HASHEM it is YOU who have abandoned us; G-D gave them prophets, seers and kings. Just as Shlomo HaMelech ruled over the whole earth so did Nebuchadnezzar come among the Goyim.

Regarding Nebuchadnezzar it is written in (Isa. 14:14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. HE gave David wealth and what did he acquire? He acquired the Beis HaMikdash in his name. HE gave Haman wealth and what did he acquire? He acquired a people in order to slaughter them. Likewise HE raised up Moshe in Yisrael and Bilaam among the Goyim. See what the difference is: The prophets of Yisrael caution against transgressions: (Yechezkel 3:17) 17 'Son of man, I have appointed thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; and when thou shalt hear a word at My mouth, thou shalt give them warning from Me. Even more than this, the prophets retained compassion for Israel and the Idolaters: (Jer. 48:36) Therefore my heart moans for Moab like pipes, and my heart moans like pipes for the men of Kir-heres; therefore the abundance that he hath gotten is perished - and (Yechezkel 27:2) And thou, son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre,

Success That Hurts by Rabbi Boruch Leff

The headlines shock us. It seems like every few weeks the newspapers report more and more crime scandals involving famous athletes or Hollywood celebrities. Some of the "heroes" that many of us grew up admiring turn out to be abhorrent criminals. In fact, it appears that involvement with drugs, alcohol, DWI, theft, murder and the like, is far more prevalent proportionally in celebrity circles than in the rest of society.

Why do so many of the rich and famous have such a difficulty living moral lives?

The explanation has many facets. But the most significant one is discussed in Parshat Balak.

Parshat Balak describes the story of the gentile prophet, Bilaam, and his failed attempt to curse the Jewish people. Rashi (Bamidbar, 22:5) inquires as to God's purpose in making the evil Bilaam a prophet in the first place:

"Why did the Holy One rest his Divine Presence upon a wicked gentile? So that the nations of the world should not have an excuse (as to why they didn't serve God). They would have said, 'If we had prophets, we would have repented.' So God established prophets for them."

We are left dissatisfied. Did Rashi answer his question? Can't the nations of the world still claim that God didn't play fair? To the Jews, God gave the holy and righteous Moshe to lead, but to the gentiles, God gave the evil Bilaam! The nations will still say that had God given them a holy and righteous prophet, they would have served God properly. Instead they had a wicked leader and prophet in Bilaam, so is it any wonder that they didn't serve God? What does Rashi mean?

Inescapably, we must understand the following. It is impossible that God would give the gentiles a leader who is corrupt, inept and downright evil in Bilaam. If He would do so, He would not be addressing the concern that the gentiles raised, as Rashi mentioned. Therefore, it must be that God searched all over the world for the right person to become the prophet of the gentiles. The best person for the position was Bilaam.

This is because the Bilaam that we know of post-prophecy is not at all the same Bilaam pre-prophecy. Before Bilaam became a prophet, he was super-righteous, holy, kind, and godly. He would analyze and criticize his own actions and continually work to grow spiritually. As Maimonides says (in his Laws of the Foundations of Torah, Yesodei Torah, Chapter 7):

"Prophecy can only be received by one who is extremely wise and learned, has mastered proper character traits, and battles and defeats his evil inclination constantly."

This would be true for Bilaam as well. Otherwise, he could not have merited prophecy.

Bilaam was the best potential leader the gentiles had to offer paralleling Moshe in his supreme righteousness. This is why God chose him to be the prophet and leader of the gentiles. But this was all before he became a prophet. Once Bilaam became a prophet, he was spiritually destroyed. He was not able to handle the powerful experience of prophecy and it was at this point that he came to be the wicked Bilaam that we know.

Becoming a prophet corrupted him. At Sinai, God chose the Jewish People to be His holy nation and nation of priests, leading humanity to ethics, morals, and proper beliefs. The entire world is expected to fulfill God's will and the Jews have the responsibility to lead the world on this path. This is the idea of the "Chosen People." As such, the Jews received prophets to guide them on their journey and responsibility. But how did they achieve the gift of prophets and prophecy?

Prophets are not created in a vacuum. Prophecy is not an artificial, superficial magic trick. It was only because Abraham was as great as he was, and he passed on his spiritual greatness to Isaac, who transmitted it to Jacob, and so on, that the Jewish people merited great prophets as leaders. Moshe may have been on the highest levels possible and may have received the clearest of prophecies (see Bamidbar 12-6:8), but he owed it all to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who established the roots of the nation that could produce a great prophet like Moshe. Prophecy only comes as a reflection of the entire nation. It will not came to an isolated individual who does not have the spiritual levels and backing of his/her nation.

Great people may individually merit becoming prophets but will not be able to do so if their nation and generation is not holy enough. If we lack prophets in modern times, it is not because individuals do not exist who are worthy, but is due to the nation's and generation's unworthiness. Prophecy cannot be achieved in a vacuum.

Bilaam was unable to handle prophecy because he had no nation backing him that was deserving of receiving it. Only the Jewish nation had a history as rich and as holy as it did, firmly rooted in the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, and only they could receive prophecy.

God's answer to the nations, according to Rashi, was: "Alright. I will give you a prophet chosen from your finest and most holy, and that person is Bilaam. But you will see what will happen to Bilaam and how much he will transform from holy to evil, when he becomes a prophet. He will be unable to control and gear his special power of prophecy and it will corrupt him because he is not designed for it. Only the Jewish people can produce prophets that remain responsible and sane as a result of the power of their heritage. This is exactly the lesson that I want to teach. I never sent a viable prophet to the other nations, not because I didn't want to or I was being unfair. Rather, it was impossible to send you such a prophet. If you receive something that is not designed for you, it corrupts you because it is too difficult for you to handle properly."

A power and gift that is given to a person that he cannot handle or maintain will corrupt him, making him into an evil person such as Bilaam.

Now back to our original question. Many celebrities have far too much money, power, and fame than they can handle. In addition, these gifts and blessings come to them so quickly that some of these stars have a tendency to abuse and misuse their money and fame. Instead of investing their millions wisely, they spend and indulge like there is no tomorrow until they feel empty and bored. Thereafter, any pleasure becomes worth the price even if it means breaking the law, hurting others and even hurting themselves. They are given blessings that they are not adequately prepared for and inevitably, like Bilaam and his prophecy, they become corrupted.

There are many things in life that we wish we had. But if we were to attain these things, would it make us better people or would it corrupt us? How many people do we know who used to be great and kind but as soon as they became wealthy transformed into nasty and selfish beings?

God knows what we can handle and He gives us the things we need for our individual, personal service of Him. Let's appreciate what we have been given and not hope for things that may be out of our league. (Most of the modern non-Jewish Prophets among the Nations like the late Seer of South Africa or Edgar Cayce did not do things for money or power but to help people – later on people wrote books about them and made some money but they, themselves were not interested in the money and in the case of the Seer even went to jail helping his people against the British in the Boer War.)

22:31. The Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a sword drawn in his hand. He bowed and prostrated himself on his face.

Why is it that the donkey saw and Bilaam did not? I heard a Rav on the Radio explain that dumb animals with no planning or thoughts live on instincts and therefore if they see Angels or negative spiritual beings called Shaydim (perhaps many of our UFO characters) they are not afraid as Angels and Shaydim only can really threaten or aid mankind which has thought and free will. With our own free will to create Mitzvos we create Angels and with our own free will not to eat kosher, not to observe Shabbos, not to give charity when we really can, not to observe family purity or to observe it with the wife but spill our seed or do dastardly acts then we create Shaydim. When a person dies, the Angels guard his body before judgement will the Shaydim want to take control of his physical body.

The opening of the eyes does it mean like the belief in a third eye that some far eastern cultures have? Did Bilaam have a cataract or other eye disease which suddenly was cured? Or is it an eye-opener like Adam and Chava had when they knew that they were naked? This questions can and will be answered by Eliyahu HaNovi just before the Moshiach comes or after.

The First Missionary Attack upon the Bnei Yisrael

Throughout the Centuries the Bnei Yisrael have perished by the hands of enemies trying to convert them in the name of Religion from this point in history and repeated under the administration of the Greeks and Romans. Many Jews died in their hands (as the ten tribes were carried off). This continued with the Crusades, Inquisition and Jihad and recently in modern times returning to the first missionary attack via love. Even more recently on Facebook I had some “friends” who were active missionaries. I don’t know if they wanted me as an Orthodox Rabbi as if to say they were Kosher for their work or they thought that I was a Messianic Rabbi. One of the Missionaries I publically exposed this week. People ‘took me to task for exposing a person’ like I did. Anybody trying to change my religious beliefs or convictions cannot be a real friend of mine. I started working at the age of 27 in Elta weighing 165 lbs which is a wee bit less than my weight today and a wee bit younger. An extreme anti-religious Jewish woman fell in love with me and made me an offer on the condition that I remove my Kipa (Yarmulke) – this was in my book perhaps physically very tempting but from my standpoint a missionary activity to get me away from Torah and Mitzvos. It did not matter if the Satan was the missionary or 12 year old Mary Ann who wanted to marry 12 year old me if I converted. The same people will rally against the Jihad killing Dhimmis who refuse to convert to Islam but don’t look in the mirror. Both Ms. Leftist and Mary Ann liked me and knew me vs. the 20 or more FB people who erased me from their friends list. Both people in my book were even nice human beings but with errors in their love making it dependent on a thing, religion, political idea, money, etc. Love should be and must be independent of anything else for it to succeed like Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yacov and Rachel (and later Leah), etc. for it to succeed. Even after 40 years like Al and Tipper Gore people can dissolve their marriage because it was not true love but a convenience and now it has become an inconvenient obstacle. On the other hand there are non-Jews on Facebook who do appreciate me like

L. Subject: dumb

Hi Rabbi, Whoever wants you to change is nuts. You are who you were born to be. I am not Jewish but I sure learn tons from you and I appreciate it. Just as we don’t look for converts (rather we put people through a rigorous test to convert) I don’t want people trying to change my religious beliefs.

The Medrash tells us that Bilaam advised Balak that G-D hated immodesty, idol worship and physical uncleanness. Moab started it with their Fertility cult and Midian their ally took over. What was the worship of Baal Peor (lord of excrement) it was to commit fornication in front of the statue and go to the toilet there. (In the middle of Gemara Sanhedrin there is a section of accidental crimes, death penalties, Korban Hatas (sin offering), idol worship etc. and the following stories come out. It once happened that a Goya wanted to make sure that she got into heaven so she worshipped any and every religion. She did this with a few hundred religions but when she came to Ball Peor with the excrement she said to herself this could not be the entrance into heaven and left it. Since I read this story about 37 years ago I can’t recall if she converted to Judaism or not.

The other story is of a Jew who was travelling along the road. He suddenly got the urge to go and went into the house of Baal Peor and defecated in front of the idol. But he decided that he would fix up the disgrace of the idol by taking a piece of wood or stone and smearing the stuff on the idol. The Priest came out and saw that and cried what a powerful prayer and worship such decoration of the idolatry such intent how wonderful a person is this Jew. He told the story to his Rabbi and was ordered to bring a Korban Hatas due to his accidental worship!

25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab.

Bilaam knew by conventional warfare that Balak and friends could not possibly defeat the Bnei Yisrael. However, through making the people steeped in the filth of idolatry and free harlotry they would be vulnerable. How many of my male readers could withstand the test of beautiful young women coming up to them and offering them their services for free? A human is made of flesh and blood and nobody is made of iron. It once happened that an elderly Rabbi was visited by an old sick woman and she entered his study in Yerushalayim. Suddenly the wind blew the door closed and he could not open it from inside. He hopped over the railing of the porch into the next room to open the door then from the hall. The woman said to the Rabbi in Yiddish and this is the translation: You are old and I am sick how can that be Yechidus (being alone with the opposite sex where one could theoretically perform some hanky-panky)? The elder answered: For the Yetzer I am young and you are healthy.

2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

And prostrated themselves to their gods: When his urge overcame him, and he said to her, “Submit to me,” she took out an image of Peor from her bosom and said to him, “Bow down before this.” - [Sifrei Balak 1]

I remember having seen a friend of Carl and I make out with a girl. She had a cross around her neck and he had a star of David and due to the intense kissing and movement the two became intertwined and entangled together. It took about 5 minutes to unwind. Now the Peor Statue was placed in a public toilet and there was a fertility cult about it too so I can imagine more that it was not bowing but relieving oneself in one way or the other and then go and get things which many of the G-D fearing women or women with menses would be forbidden from attending to the man. The men fell to basest of the base behavior.

3 And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Peor: [פְּעוֹר was so named] because before it they bared פּוֹעֲרִין their anus before it and relieved themselves. This was the manner of its worship. - [Sifrei Balak 1] and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel: He sent a plague upon them.

The shicksas gave the men spinach, beets, perhaps coffee and other ingredients that were stimulating the bowels to move. The whole prostitution of these women served a double purpose. 1) Either through bodily attachment make these men into to their allies so that their nation would not be conquered and killed and (2) under the advice of Bilaam that G-D hates immodesty make the “How goodly are thy tents O’ Yacov” into a curse instead of a blessing for now the tents were disgraced.

4 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them up unto the LORD in face of the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.'

Take all the leaders of the people: to judge those who worshipped Peor. — [Sanh. 35a] and hang them: The [idol] worshippers. and hang them: Heb. הוֹקַע. This refers to [death by] hanging, as we find with the sons of Saul [where a similar expression is used,]“and we shall hang them (הוֹקַעֲנוּם) for the Lord” (II Sam. 21:6), and there hanging is specifically mentioned. Idolatry is [punishable] by stoning, and all those stoned are also hanged [as is stated in Sanh. 45b according to Rabbi Eliezer: facing the sun: for all to see. The Midrash Aggadah (Mid. Tanchuma Balak 19) says: The sun identified the sinners, for the cloud folded back from the area above him and the sun shone on him. —

The Golden Calf was a representation of the L-RD as a calf and the legs of the calf are in the Holy Chayos that carry the Throne of G-D Yechezkel 1. Here it was the most base of the idols that they were participating with and like the accidental worship mentioned in Sanhedrin.

5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel: 'Slay ye everyone his men that have joined themselves unto the Baal of Peor.'

Each of you shall kill the men: Each one of the Israelite judges executed two, and there were eighty-eight thousand Israelite judges, as is stated in Sanhedrin [18a].

6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting.

Going above and beyond the mocking of Israel this man personally attacked Moshe for marrying Tzipporah who was also from Midian and shut down Moshe’s ability to answer in kind. (Not so Pinchas)

Then an Israelite man came: The tribe of Simeon gathered around Zimri, who was their prince, and they said to him, “We have been sentenced to death, yet you sit there [and remain silent] etc.,” as it is related in [the chapter of] Elu hen hanisrafin’ (Sanh. 82a). The Midianite woman: Cozbi the daughter of Zur (see verse 15). Before the eyes of Moses: They said to him, “Moses, is this one forbidden or is she permitted? If you say it is forbidden, who permitted for you the daughter of Jethro…?” as is stated there (Sanh. 82a). While they were weeping: The law [that anyone cohabiting with a non-Jewish woman is to be executed by zealots] eluded him. [Therefore,] they all burst out weeping. At the incident of the golden calf Moses [successfully] confronted six hundred thousand as it says, “He ground it until it was powder…” (Exod. 32:20), yet here he appeared so helpless? However, [this happened] so that Pinchas should come and take what was due to him. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 20]

7 And when Pinchas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand.

Pinchas…saw: He saw the deed and reminded himself of the law. He said to Moses, “I learned from you, ‘If someone cohabits with an Aramean [heathen] woman, zealots have a right to strike him [dead].’ ” He replied to him, “Let the one who reads the letter be the agent to carry it out.” Immediately, “he took a spear in his hand….” - [Sanh. 82a]

This Halacha is known but not taught lest we all become overzealous.

8 And he went after the man of Israel into the chamber, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

Rashi and the Medrash pull no punches and explain the exact spot there the spear was thrust through and miraculous they did not die to make Pinchas Tumay and he was granted strength like Shimon to pick them up and remove them from their tent before the eyes of Yisrael. Normally being caught in the act, one would put a blanket on the nakedness but here they were defiant before HASHEM and therefore their state was exposed before all the people.

into the chamber: Into the tent. Through her stomach: Heb. קֳבָתָהּ, as in,“the jaw and the maw (וְהַקֵּבָה)” (Deut. 18:3). He aimed for the male organ of Zimri and her female organs and everyone saw that he had not killed them for nothing. Many miracles happened to him…, as it is related there (Sanh. 82b). For Zimri was a prince of his tribe and Pinchas would have been in grave danger!

9 And those that died by the plague were twenty and four thousand. The Plague is stopped in its tracks by the quick action of Pinchas.

At this point I had two stories to write one about Yad LeAchim rescuing a Jewish woman and two of her children from a marriage with an Arab in the Shomron and a second story about a French Catholic in a happy marriage until the brother of the husband got the call to Jihad.

Mussar to myself: I like certain songs and words that I feel like singing at the Kotel even. I said to myself what intent and fervor I could sing this with at the Kotel. Then suddenly I realized that I am not really praying so fervently but - just saying the words to get it over with. I took a Siddur for a change and not by heart and looked at and tried to understand and say well each word that I prayed. It was not as good as if I were to pray in English but not far from it. Now is the time as things warm up between our enemies and ourselves and the Atomic Core in Iran is about to become hot that we pray harder.

Update on the Editorial regarding George C. Wallace last week – Rabbi Elyashiv Shlita and his Beis Din rule that the school should be integrated for the next two weeks.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak almost withdrew his opposition until he found that the Beis Din was Pasul (illegal) in that one of the members was a parent of a litigant and the Torah forbids this as written in Gemara Sanhedrin.

Halachos and Mitzvos from Danny Shoemann

One who does not want to redeem their firstborn male donkey with a sheep (as we learned in Mitzva #171), has a Mitzva to chop off it's head. The Mitzva is to use an axe and chop the back of the neck until it does. Even after it's dead, it may not be used for anything and has to be buried. Applies everywhere, always, to Israelites, since a donkey which belongs to a Cohen or Levi need not be redeemed. Verse: "and if you don't redeem it then chop off its head" (Shemos 34:20) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 56

A man who has sexual relations with an animal or bird gets stoned to death by Bet Din. The animal or bird also gets stoned to death by Bet Din. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it" (Vayikra 18:23)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 117

A woman who has sexual relations with an animal or bird gets stoned to death by Bet Din. The animal or bird also gets stoned to death by Bet Din. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "...neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it" (Vayikra 18:23)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 118

I want to again point out that in Prohibitions 117 and 118 the Torah does not use the language of complete disgust that it used for male homosexual acts – the results in this world are the same but the punishment in the next is different in the next.

One may not marry the daughter of one's sons or daughters. One who has relationships with his grandchildren deserves to be burned to death by Beth Din. By Rabbinical decree this includes great-grandchildren. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "The nakedness of your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter you shall not uncover" (Vayikra 18:10) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 119

One may not marry one's daughter. One who has relationships with his daughter - even if he never married her mother - deserves to be burned to death by Beth Din.Applies to everybody, everywhere, always There is no explicit verse for this sin, it's deduced by Kal-Vachomer and Gezeira-shava (Sanhedrin 76a)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 120

When seeing comets or falling stars one says the Bracha of "Oseh Maseh Beresheis" - "Who makes the work of creation".
ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית
The Bracha on falling stars can only be said once per night even if one sees different meteors every time. One can only say the Bracha once per comet, unless 30 days have passed since one last saw it. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2

When seeing the ocean one says the Bracha of "Baruch... Oseh Ma'aseh Breishith" - "... Who makes the work of creation". ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית
When seeing mountains that are famous for their height one says the same Bracha. These Brachot can only be said if one hasn't seen the ocean or that specific mountain for 30 days; excluding the day one last saw it and excluding the day of the current sighting.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:5, 12

I have been taught that for the Kenneret or Dead Sea that is the Bracha; however, for the Mediterranean or the Oceans the blessing is Oseh HaYam HaGadol.

Danny replied: It's a debate among contemporary Rabbis; so I decided to by the Kitzur. :-)

In the year 3,339, 3338 according to my sources on 10th Tamuz, the city walls of Jerusalem were breached by the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar's army. Four weeks later - on 9th Av - the first Bet Hamikdash was destroyed. For 70 years - until the second Bet Hamikdash was built - the 10th Tamuz was a fast-day. At the time of the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash the walls were breached a week later - on 17 Tamuz. The Rabbis decided not to burden the Yidden with having to fast 2 weeks in a row. Since the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash is more relevant to us, the original fast-day was dropped. The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta'anit 4:5) is of the opinion that the walls were breached both times on 17 Tamuz, but due to the turmoil at the time of the first destruction, the date was wrongly recorded as 10 Tamuz. Source: Tur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 549

It's customary not to say the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu during the 3 weeks from 17 Tamuz until after 9 Av. Therefore one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period. Since the "3 weeks" begin on Tuesday, one should finish one's shopping and wear all new clothes [at least for a short time] before then.
When eating a fruit for the first time in a season one says the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu. If possible, one should not wait for the "3 weeks" to eat those fruit for the first time.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2

It's customary not to have a haircut during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after 9 Av. This includes haircuts and shaving. Since the "3 weeks" begin on Tuesday, Monday is the last chance to have a haircut.
It's a Mitzva to have a haircut on Friday in honor of Shabbat, if one needs one.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72,:14, 122:3

Animal Vs. Human Flesh by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson Shlita

The following moving episode from the "other side" of the Atlantic was related by Cantor Moshe Kraus from Ottawa, who observed it first-hand.*

As a youngster, Moshe Kraus worked in the home of one of the great religious and spiritual Jewish personalities in pre-war Europe, the Rabbi of Munkatsh (a town in southwestern Ukraine), Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira (1871-1937), known as the "Minchas Elazar." In his duty of cleaning up and organizing the numerous scattered books in the Rabbi's study, Moshe Kraus regularly encountered the many people who came to have the Rabbi mediate their disputes and quarrels.

One day, as Moshe Kraus was organizing the books, the leader of a particular Jewish community, came to the Munkatcher Rebbe to settle an ongoing quarrel he had with the community Rabbi.

The community leader, who loathed the Rabbi deeply, has been hunting him down (what else is new in the world?). He went so far as to instruct his wife not to ask the Rabbi any questions concerning Jewish law. "Should you have any questions," he told her, "you ask me."

One Friday afternoon, a question arose regarding a chicken she was preparing for Sabbath, and her husband was not home. In desperation, she went to the Rabbi to receive a ruling concerning the chicken's kosher status. The Rabbi ruled it was Kosher. So the woman went ahead and cooked it.

When her husband came home and found out what happened, he was furious. After inspecting the chicken himself, he announced that it was not-kosher. "Aha! He exclaimed. You see, I told you he's not a competent Rabbi, as the chicken is not Kosher!" and with that he put away the chicken on the side and would not eat it.

After Sabbath, the husband, with chicken in tow, called on the Rabbi to come with him to the Munkatsher Rebbe to settle the matter. Once and for all, he would prove to the world that this Rabbi was indeed an ignoramus and unworthy of his position. Arriving at the Rebbe, the community leader proceeds to tell the whole story, showing the Rebbe the chicken. Finishing his narrative, he says: "Rebbe you see, the Rabbi is feeding us non-kosher food! He must be dismissed from his post."

The Munkatsher Rebbe did not say a word. He simply took the chicken and examined it well. Then he took a piece of the chicken, closed his eyes, recited the blessing of shehakol (the blessing we recite before eating chicken or meat), and ate it.

The verdict has been stated: the community leader was in the wrong; the Rabbi was in the right. The community leader left the home angry and upset. His scheme to dethrone the Rabbi did not materialize.

Present at this occurrence was the Talmudic scholar Rabbi Yitzchok Sterhell (author of Kochav Yitzchok on the Jerusalem Talmud.) After the two plaintiffs had left, he turned to the Munkatcher Rebbe and asked: "Although according to basic Jewish law the chicken was indeed kosher, it was certainly not "Glatt?" It was certainly not on the highest level of Kashrut. Why did you have to eat from it; you could have merely said that it was kosher?"

The Munkatsher Rebbe slammed his fist on the table, causing all of the books to shake, and replied sternly: "And human 'meat' is Glatt Kosher?!"

The message the Munkatcher Rebbe was conveying was that if the laws of kosher food are being enforced while human flesh is being consumed, at the expense of human dignity and basic kindness, you ought to be weary of this type of "kashrus." The Munkatcher was ready to lower his religious standards of kosher, in order to put an end to the ugly witch hunt of an innocent human being.

Where's the Apology?

It is troubling to say, but such a form of "kashrus" has recently developed. A few years ago, a new kosher symbol by the name of "hekhsher Tzeddek" originated by rabbis within the Conservative movement and has been endorsed by the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis. Its mission statement was to introduce higher ethics into the preparation of kosher food.

The new certification resulted from the initiative of Rabbi Morris Allen of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, following investigative reporting by Nathaniel Popper in The Forward (a weekly Jewish newspaper) regarding working conditions at the Rubashkin Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa.

In an interview with Pamela Miller from the Star Tribune, Rabbi Allen states, "While it [the team led by Rabbi Allen] was not able to verify all of the Forward's claims, 'we witnessed some things that went against the dignity of workers.'" Allen argues that "We should not be eating food that has been produced in a way that has denied the dignity of the laborer. We should not be more concerned about the smoothness of a cow's lung than we are about the safety of a worker's hand."

Noble instincts indeed.: Alas, as it turns out, this new kosher certification speaking in the name of ethics has been established on the foundations of tragic and unjust human abuse. For years, leading activists of Hekhsher Tzeddek slandered the Agri kosher meat plant and its manager Shalom Rubashkin for the supposedly horrendous mistreatment of workers. Yet, on June 7th, a jury in Waterloo, Iowa proclaimed kosher slaughterhouse manager Shalom Rubashkin not guilty of all 67 child labor violations he has been charged with. It turns out that the accusations were unfounded.

[In separate charges for obtaining bank loans for the company through fraudulent reports, Rubashkin was sentenced today to 27 years in prison. The bank loans were being used to sustain the Agri plant and were paid up till the Federal government shut down the meat plant. The lawyers vowed to appeal this uniquely harsh sentence.]

We have not heard an apology from the Rabbinical Assembly for the creation of a new kosher symbol dedicated to ethics fueled, inspired and validated by the unjust character assassination of Mr. Rubashkin and his company. Does the Jewish world really want a kosher mark born of Jewish suffering?

Hath not Shalom Rubashkin eyes? Hath not Rubashkin hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? If you prick him, does he not bleed?

*) Cantor Kraus related this story to Rabbi Pinchas Williger from Montreal, who shared it with me.

Guest Editorial on Eretz Yisrael:,7340,L-3908303,00.html

In Israel you are guilty until proven innocent and the same with Conversion now. I was discussing with Rabbi Aharon Michaelson Shlita the abuse of Conversion because of the Reform and Conservative movement.,7340,L-3896261,00.html

Inyanay Diyoma

I got this post about the same time I sent out my blogspot last week so for those who received it on my personal list please scroll down.

If Israel goes down, we all go down.

By José María Aznar
former Spanish Prime Minister published in the British newspaper
'The Times' on 17 June 2010

For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.

In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organized a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.

In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.

Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.

Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbors using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathizers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.

Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.

For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.

The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.

The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.

Israel is our first line of defense in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.

The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.

It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.

What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.

Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.

José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.

Boy scouts be prepared:

Europe should not condemn Israel so quickly they might be next.

Taliban may win thanks to a weak Islam believer in the white house:

A political cartoon:

Good News for once:

This was erased from the UN records because it spoke the truth:

I cannot believe everything with the current US Administration:

Ex-Mossad Chief speaks out:

For those who want a cheap vacation in Turkey think twice:

Enemy Ships raise ME tension:

And Barak Hussein and Al Gore were silent:

Why can’t we get oil skimmers?!

Emanuel Winston over the course of the years has written and I have published here articles regarding the coming of Gog and Magog:


By Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator FOLLOWED BY:


The following article by Daniel Henninger in the Wall St. Journal June 3, 2010 reminds me of the many articles I have written, forecasting the Gathering of the Nations against the Jewish State of Israel. I claim no honor in being first since that prediction was written by G-d in the Biblical Torah during ancient times. Any observant Jew or Christian who has read what is predicted to come in the Biblical text knows that the nations will, indeed, descend upon Israel to take the Land and attempt to eliminate the Jewish people.

The underlying reason can be explained in a simple phrase of a few lines. The Jews have made a Covenant with G-d to be His servant as a Light Unto The Nations, practicing in plain sight the cosmological laws of G-d-s Universe as set forth in the Torah.

All pagan gods would be dismissed and mankind could no longer follow the teachings of religious cults to worship and sacrifice humans to their pagan deities. The priest cults hated the restrictions set down in the Torah by G-d and taught their followers to hate the message and the messengers.

History is replete with the hideous treatment of the Jews through the centuries that the shriek of agony had to travel deep into the cosmos and certainly to G-d.

After Israel was once again allowed to rise out of the ashes from the Holocaust, the pursuers of the Jews caught their collective breath and, once again, ramped up their hatred and started back on the trail after their prey.

On a more practical level, I noticed that the Europeans decided they needed a Rapid Deployment Force but didn-t want to spend their own money to build it so they went to NATO to act for them.

Clearly to me, it meant they needed an adversary to practice on and that was designated to be the small nation of Israel. This global act of hostility was to be merely an extension of collective Genocide as practiced by the Church, the Aristocracy and the peasantry during the centuries.

So I began writing about what would logically follow with the aggression and the penalties to follow. It was my practical conclusion that many of the seemingly natural calamities would simply follow as an eye for an eye punishment.

As the nations bonded with subhuman Terrorists, terrible catastrophes began to happen: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, crashing of the world-s wealth sending people into the streets to riot.

I recalled the prediction that G-d would send fire out across the nations. So the Ring of Fire began to crack open, starting in Iceland, sending huge ash clouds across Europe as a precursor of what's next to come. I watched America sustain terrible blows as the eye for an eye played out as Israel-s former protector began to reach out to the plague of Islam. The Gulf oil spill is killing the once pristine fishing grounds just as President Barack Hussein Obama allowed Iran to go Nuclear.

I am deeply aware that speaking about G-d, Torah, predictions of the future are generally discarded into the mystic waste basket.

On the other hand, since I mostly write about the practical aspects of war, weapons, political and war plans of various nations, its not a leap of imagination when I observe the Nations Gathering to attack, crush and eliminate the Jewish nation. I see the fall of Europe into chaos.

Regrettably, I see America follow as it ramps up its attacks of Israel-s defense against primitive enemies. Obama and his hand-picked anti-Semitic advisors linked to the Arab Muslims want Israel eliminated and America is already paying the price.

I once thought that the obligation of the Jews was limited to being "A Light Unto The Nations" by merely teaching the laws of humanity. I now see that Israel was created to show the nations how to fight evil which Israel has been doing. Regrettably, the nations were given the choice of following good or evil and, so far, has chosen evil. Israel could lead the world out of despair and lethargy IF the nations would only follow the Light.

Will we be surprised to see a 9.2 trembler under Ankara, Turkey?

Will we see the Euro disappear, followed by the total collapse of the European Union?

Will the spreading oil in the Gulf send a message to Obama, with follow-on Super Hurricanes?

So, what is simply nature in turmoil and what is reminiscent of G-d-s Plagues that forced Pharaoh to free the Jewish people?

Or are they really both the same?




The ease with which the world-s governments condemned Israel over the flotilla incident has been something to behold. The Jerusalem-based correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail could not help but notice: The speed and intensity with which governments around the world condemned the Israeli behavior appear unprecedented. Why?

For starters, denouncing Israel for something like this is convenient for leaders who have failed repeatedly to do anything about more important and difficult problems such as Iran, North Korea or sovereign debt. Also, lesser nations learn by example: The Obama administration-s unrestrained criticism of the Israeli government in March over East Jerusalem settlements lowered the threshold for teeing off on Israel.

Still, I can-t think of any other nation, no matter how scummy and uncivilized its practices, that produces this response. Or any other event, such as testing a nuclear bomb.

Fast out of the gate was France-s nimble President Nicolas Sarkozy, who criticized the disproportionate use of force. But somehow it is only Israel that seems to elicit the disproportionate use of language.

Turkey-s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the incident state terrorism. His foreign minister described it as piracy, banditry and barbarism. Also invoking barbarism were Saudi Arabia (inhuman), Syria (blatant defiance of . . . civilized values) and Morocco.

Italy-s foreign undersecretary, Stefania Craxi: the massacre of Gaza. Russia, always light on irony, condemned the use of force against civilians. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists: an open attack on civil society and the true face of barbarism. U.N . Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was shocked.

Denmark, Spain, Greece and Sweden summoned their Israeli ambassadors for an explanation. British Foreign Secretary William Hague extended his sympathy to the families of the victims. The Vatican voiced concern. The president of Bosnia likened the Gaza blockade to the 1992-96 siege of Sarajevo (at least 10,000 dead). The president of the European Parliament drew attention to a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention. All of this on Monday.

Turning on the evening news in New York City, one saw that a pro-Palestinian demonstration of a 1,000 or so had materialized in Times Square. Identical demonstrations mushroomed on the Champs Élysées, and in the streets of Washington, London, Rome, Cyprus, Oslo, Stockholm and Athens.

Catherine Ashton, the EU-s high representative for foreign affairs, demanded an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the Gaza blockade. This is especially noteworthy.

Until High Representative Ashton-s demand to end the blockade, the EU had been party to a clear, explicit policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Since 2002, a group known as the Quartet consisting of the EU, Russia, the U.S. and the U.N., with Tony Blair as its current special envoy has said that no one could deal with Hamas, the occupier of Gaza, until Hamas fulfilled three conditions: Recognize Israel-s right to exist. Renounce violence. Accept agreements already made by previous Palestinian negotiators.

Hamas hasn-t met any of those conditions. After Ms. Ashton-s outburst, it knows it doesn-t have to.

The world-s peoples may pay soon for their leaders display of such a disproportionate double standard. Recall that the other, recent instance when the world-s governments deployed their collective authority and wrath was last June, against Lilliputian Honduras. The conclusion is inescapable: The smaller the problem, the larger the world powers output of hot air. But if a problem is large or difficult especially if the problem is nuclear they blink and deflate, and will do so repeatedly. Example: It emerged this week that the International Atomic Energy Agency believes Iran is pursuing higher-enriched uranium and the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. The world yawns. Or hides.

In any of the places where men discuss truly monstrous and dangerous plans, in Kim Jong Il-s Pyongyang or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-s Tehran, watching this hyperventilated criticism of Israel for a shoot-out on a boat must strike them as laughable. If one-s opponents save their collective status and authority for something like this, then the world is ultimately not serious about who must comply with its rules of behavior. With this unbalanced double standard, the world increases the odds that a truly irresponsible regime will miscalculate.

To its credit, the U.S. delegation on duty at the U.N. Monday managed to dilute the language that a somewhat unhinged Turkey demanded from the Security Council. (Amusingly, what the Turks called the U.S.s delays caused the negotiations to slip past midnight into Tuesday morning when, like Cinderella-s pumpkin, Lebanon-s presidency of the Security Council expired and passed to less invested Mexico.). Germany-s Angela Merkel was also circumspect in her remarks. An adult or two is still on duty.

Set aside the troubling fact that the Jewish state alone gets this routine treatment. Israel should not be immune from criticism. But if the world-s powers unload like this only on relatively small, isolated nations like Israel, then clearly the keepers of the world order find it easier to be blowhards than statesmen. And that means we have a problem.

Sean sent me this: Read this through inside about one of our scouts I don’t know if I served with him but many Druze and Bedouins sat next to me in the same Jeep or border Patrol and risked their lives for Yisrael:

White House linked to flotilla organizers

Israel official ties president's adviser to controversial 'Free Gaza Movement' By Jerome R. Corsi

Forwarded with commentary By Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator


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Have a wonderful peaceful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli