Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parsha Ki Savo, Elul, Stories from the US Military

Pray for the people on my ill list from Parsha Devarim as some have took a turn for the worst. Andrea sent me the site where one can read the whole book by Adair on the Native Americans and since there was no politically accepted words they are called Indians or Natives and I would not worry about it.

Who is the boss?

A small business owner received a truck load of merchandise and paid some youths $100 to help put it in his basement. The next day or so there was the most horrific thunderstorm. What was placed on tables was fine but the storm caused the drains to back up and the windows were pushed out by the pressure. Into the basement ran water. The normal drains were built for even a burst faucet but not a storm drain overflow. The first 15 inches or more of merchandise were ruined. There were was insurance but the premium will rise next year and the deductibles will be there. The store owner had to reorder the merchandise and hire a person to remove the damaged goods. So the store owner learned who his employer really was in case he did not know. I always joke and say that my wife is my big boss but my real big boss is G-D. Man proposes G-D disposes.

Imagine Elul as a time for the preparation of a document to be sent to the Chairman of the Board during this period we prepare our case and brush ourselves up. We go and prepare our presentation and appear before the big boss. Yet somehow our presentation is a bit flawed. The Chairman says a nice presentation but look at this mistake you made with lights going on via your power on Shabbos look at what you did here and there in report you have until 10th by sundown to put a little more spice into the report and get some life into it. We have to seal in and deliver it on Hashanah Rabba. This adds a bit of urgency to it. The analogy with the company outside of the company being the Mafia it is not a matter of life and death but just a job but with the Mafia we could be into a life death situation. Each year we a judged for who will live and who will die and by what instrument of death. To reemphasize this, there was a 3.5 earthquake with the epicenter some kibbutz in Northern Yisrael.

Some people think that they are big and great but even the most powerful of men are only the tiniest specks in the Universe. When man was created the Angels asked G-D – What is man that YOU should consider him? The only purpose of mankind on this small plant around a medium size star is to raise the mundane into the holy. We are G-D’s channel for that. Anything else that we do – acquire money, acquire power are mere nothings. We all have seen Hollywood Stars in the height of their glory either commit suicide, become addicted to drugs or alcohol or both because they have nothing to satisfy the spirit. Last year we had in Israel a cheap entertainer who made fun of Torah Scholars get arrested and commit suicide for he no longer had the title Mr. Entertainer. The title means nothing without Torah and Mitzvos.

Worse than that is reality TV which gives everybody false illusions and the view thinks it is real. It was exposed by one of the newspapers that the so called desert island camp grounds was a 5 star hotel with a lot of woods and a great team of camera men and the imagination. The following is based on retroactive research on my part - Motti wins and loses. In the original copy-cat series in Israel of the Biggest Loser, Motti came in first place after losing 220 lbs. aka 100 kg and Mr. Motti is not the worlds thinnest fellow. He had is 2 or 3 days of glory by the TV network, won what he won and then went back to being just plain Motti. Having lost his moment of glory, Motti went back to being a little guy in society and out of nerves started eating again until he was bigger than before. For you see the producers and the members of the TV channel had really no follow up for their winners and losers. It is the attitude worse than a slave owner. For in the old planation when the slave became elderly, the master would let him live out his days doing some easy tasks like bringing the fishing gear for the master down to the creek or something. No these people had done their work and could now return to their old lives without any guidance.

On Tuesday, I went to my favorite Restaurant in Ohr Yehuda and received my usual drink and salads while we waited for placing our grill order at our leisure. Gabriel was our waiter today as Stella was on vacation. Near the entrance was a man with a small but really good video camera. Next to him was a small fellow and this fellow about my size in a sleeveless T-shirt. The camera crew asked for everybody to go and chant Motti-Motti. I didn’t know this fellow from a hole in the wall. The Mashgiach gladly participated as he was a restaurant worker. I probably looked like a UFO just landed in the camera’s direction. What had happened was as the new season of the Biggest Loser was about to start they wanted Motti back as a past hero but woe unto Motti. So they decided this time to make a whole series on him alone. The struggles of Motti and this time he would get some more fame. He went through stomach surgery and they started working to take the now 220 lbs. off again. The director watched a scripted phone call of Motti and checked every word for word. Motti then went out the Mashgiach welcomed him in as if he was his best buddy. Gabriel was bringing me sliced lemon to put into my diet-soda and my eggplant. Gabriel greeted Motti as if he tipped in ten dollar bills. This time I had a smile on my face as I knew who Motti was. Motti recited the script again and taking a bite out of his salad. The director said it is over. Motti this time placed an order for either something on a skewer or an Israeli food called Shewama in bread and something else to take out. The director and cameraman then drove away with Motti inside the car and prior to that told the Mashgiach that he could watch it on you-tube on Thursday. The Mashgiach did not know what was this thing called you-tube any more than I had known who was Motti before I took my wife out to eat.

The fact of the matter is that in the real world the false reality cannot work and in the Olah HaEmmet (the true world) when we get there to be judged we will see so much free will and non-scripted things. It will not be the world of material pleasure or skinny teens as our models but the world of spiritual pleasures and Rabbis much greater than me as models.

Repentance, Prayer and Charity

Teshuva: The act of returning to HASHEM or repenting our mistakes. Rosh Hashanah is a time to take stock of our deeds both good and bad. Where and why we have gone wrong and how can we improve ourselves? Did we make a fool out of ourselves? Did we embarrass others? Did we waste our time, energy and money on something? Are we on the right path?

Tefilla: How can I pray with more concentration and favors? What is the meaning of the words? What holy things am I doing when I even mouth words daily out of duty and why these particular words? Should I try English/French/Spanish/Italian instead of Hebrew to get the extra mile out of my prayer? – On this question the Kabbalist answered me and said that we don’t know how we move things in Heaven by just saying the words of the Sages at the right time and even without intent it is holier than with intent in English.

Tzeduka: Have I donated 10% minimum of my earnings to Tzeduka? (Earnings after taxes and realized investment losses) Two deductible expenses not to exceed 5% of our total earnings is Torah Education for children/grandchildren and Sefarim Kodesh. The exemptions should be used not by every family in every case.

A mother has a point of view on clearing things up for Rosh Hashanah:

Parsha Ki Savo, Tavo or actually Thavo as in word that.

Funny but in Modern Hebrew Savo in sound could mean – his grandfather – in modern Hebrew. The modern Hebrew pronunciation is the middle one and the Yemenite pronunciation is the last one and probably closer to the real Hebrew of our fathers. Just as Ayin, Chaf and Chet cannot really be pronounced properly by the English speaker who never learned Hebrew, Arabic, German in their youth so the Israeli ear cannot distinguish between these and those and calls them dees.

This week, our Parsha will have all the fire and brimstone one can imagine and yet Elul hints that during this time of repentance we say, “I am for my beloved (MAKER) and my beloved is for me.” From Elizabeth:

26:1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives you for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein;

And it will be, when you come… and you possess it and settle in it: This [verse, which is immediately followed by the commandment of bringing the first fruits,] teaches us that they were not obligated [to bring] “first fruits” until they conquered the Land and divided it. - [Kid. 37b]

2 that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shalt bring in from thy land that the LORD thy God gives thee; and thou shalt put it in a basket and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. … 5 And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God: 'A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.

And you shall call out: Heb. וְעָנִית [Usually meaning to “respond.” However, in this context, this word] denotes the raising of the voice. — [Sotah 32b]

An Aramean [sought to] destroy my forefather: [The declarer] mentions [here] the kind deeds of the Omnipresent [by stating]:“An Aramean [sought to] destroy my forefather.” That is, Laban, when he pursued Jacob, sought to uproot [i.e., annihilate] all [the Jews], and since he intended to do so, the Omnipresent considered it as though he had actually done it (Sifrei 26:5), for [regarding] the pagan nations of the world, the Holy One, Blessed is He, considers the [mere] intention [of an evil deed] as [being equivalent to] the actual perpetration [of the deed itself]. — [Yerushalmi Peah 1:1 at end]

I have always been bothered by this sentence. The second half of the sentence might give it a reason for being in the Haggada shel Pessach, but this sentence and the next do not appear to have anything to do with Eretz Yisrael and there is no mention of land or first fruits! Only in Pasuk 9 do we find anything about Eretz Yisrael.

6 And the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. 7 And we cried unto the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders. 9 And He hath brought us into this place, (The Beis HaMikdash) and hath given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land, which Thou, O LORD, hast given me.' And thou shalt set it down before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God. 11 And thou shalt rejoice in all the good which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thy house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of thee. … The rest of the confession is straight forward.

27:1 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying: 'Keep all the commandment which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over the Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God gives you that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster.

These were to be massive stones from the Yarden River and the stones from the land which were placed in the River still had 3 standing at the time of the Mishna and early Talmud Yerushalmi as these people recorded the spot which was somewhere around the current Adam Bridge.

3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over; that thou may go in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath promised thee. … 9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying: 'Keep silence, and hear, O Israel; this day thou art become a people unto the LORD thy God. 10 Thou shalt therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and do His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day.'

We now enter into what was going to happen when the Cohanim stood in the Schem area where Yosef was to be buried. The tribes for the blessings and the curses – Note to this day Har Gerizim is fruitful and Har Eval is barren.

11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying: 12 'These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin; 13 and these shall stand upon mount Eval for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zevulon, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice:

Why did HASHEM tell Moshe these tribes as HASHEM gives orders not by accident but by purpose? The Answer is in part Reuven because of two things the first being the rearranging of his father’s couch and the second is the Korach rebellion. This leaves now the four sons of the mistresses of Yacov leaving us with Zevulon. I can only speculate that Zevulon were traders and shipped out of Haifa and were not that much in Eretz Yisrael.

15 Cursed be the man that makes a graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen.

This would happen in the days of Michah and Yerevoam. The curse was put in motion from the time of the entrance into Eretz Yisrael.

16 Cursed be he that dishonors his father or his mother. And all the people shall say: Amen.

Who degrades his father: Heb. מְקַלֶה אָבִיו [The word מַקְלֶה means:] to treat cheaply [i.e., with disrespect]. It is similar to the verse,“ וְנִקְלָה אָחִי, your brother will be degraded” (Deut. 25:3).

Our generation (mine included) grew up with a cheapening of honoring parents. When the child becomes 13 in the case of a boy, he should no longer be corporeally disciplined. In fact seeing that my two children don’t use corporal punishment there are alternatives but parents have to be very firm against the child to use them. However, parents should set an example for the children tend to copy the behavior of the parent.

17 Cursed be he that removes his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say: Amen.

Who moves back his neighbor’s landmark: Heb. מַסִּיג גְּבוּל, moving it back and stealing the land. [The term מַסִּיג] is an expression similar to, “has turned backwards (וְהֻסַּג אָחוֹר) ” (Isa. 59:14).

It is most unfortunate that this happens sometimes by accident and sometimes by design. With one of my neighbors we built a mutual fence with workers that he hired and we split the bill one side was precise as we had the original land mark and the other side he gave me a few more inches because we wanted to save money on a surveyor. But in this case he moved his own border to my favor and it was not reverse as in the curse.

18 Cursed be he that makes the blind to go astray in the way. And all the people shall say: Amen.

There is always an idiot who will make a loud noise behind a hard of hearing person and one who thinks that he can play the fool to a blind person. The real fool in the next world is him and he shall tremble as he will be judges.

19 Cursed be he that perverts the justice due to the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say: Amen.

Pursuing Justice is a Mitzvah and the one who does the opposite is cursed. This does not mean that the just thing to do is to take something from the Orphans that was a pledge or loan to their father and the man who lent to their father is not going to collect his loan back whither an object or money.

20 Cursed be he that lies with his father's wife; because he hath uncovered his father's skirt. And all the people shall say: Amen. 21 Cursed be he that lies with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say: Amen. 22 Cursed be he that lies with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say: Amen. 23 Cursed be he that lies with his mother-in-law. And all the people shall say: Amen.

Incest in any way shape or form or bestiality is not acceptable. Egypt could have Cleopatra with her brother Ptolemy but this went against the laws of Noach also.

24 Cursed be he that smites his neighbor in secret. And all the people shall say: Amen. 25 Cursed be he that takes a bribe to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say: Amen.

Both are forms of bloody murder and differentiate from fight that got out of control with the second being worst. For murder as heinous as it is might be for vengeance while taking a bribe is performing a number of sins at once.

26 Cursed be he that confirms not the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say: Amen.'

There you have it. You want to violate the Torah purposely, you must be mad for you will be cursed by man and G-D.

28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth.

Just like in Parsha Bechukotai we have blessings before the curses so too here we have the same. The facts are out there in the last two sentences. 27:26 and 28:1 reflect actually what happens when one does not confirm vs. what happens when one conforms to the orders of THE CREATOR.

2 And all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

The blessings will OVERTAKE YOU for observing the Mitzvos! You are going to get abundance, your property will rise in value, your stocks will boom, your crops will yield, your ideas will be accepted and you shall get your raise.

3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou come in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou go out. 7 The LORD will cause your enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee; they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD will command the blessing with thee in thy barns, and in all that thou put thy hand unto; and He will bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God gives thee. 9 The LORD will establish thee for a holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the LORD is called upon thee; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11 And the LORD will make thee over-abundant for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The LORD will open unto thee His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them; 14 and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

From 15 to 68 are the bulk of the curses in this Sedra. In fact the curses in Bechukotai were more for the first Temple period and this Parsha for the period just before the destruction of the second Temple unto this day. There are 98 curses in total read this week. Paraphrasing what Dr. Harry Hamburger wrote me that sometimes we have a day where everything goes wrong sort of an obnoxious day. Our will does not work out because it is G-D’s will.

I normally avoid the curses here like I avoid a flu or virus. However, with the political situation between Israel and her Neighbors and the ambitions of a mad dwarf in Iran to bring about the Moshiach through war I must bring down a few of the curses to get people into shape. For as much candy coating that I have done on guarding Shabbos, Mitzvos, Taharos HaMishpacha and Kashrus I know from watching posts and comments of people in real time on the internet that at least Shabbos observance is far away. So HASHEM tells us that if it does not come from the carrot, it will come from the stick. Spare the rod of G-D and spoil the essence of creation so Elul is here and a reminder not to resolve to all in one day but over a period of a year or so to shape out before we have to ship out to the next world.

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. … 20 The LORD will send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou put thy hand unto to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken Me.

This is the start – to translate into modern terms 100 Kassams in the south and 100 Katushas in the north. Then the next phrase goes into effect from Rehovot to Beer Sheva in the south and from Metulla to Afula in the north until the whole country becomes one big target for our enemies.

… 22 The LORD will smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with drought, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. 23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. 24 The LORD will make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 25 The LORD will cause thee to be smitten before you enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven ways before them; and thou shalt be a horror unto all the kingdoms of the earth.

The fourth mightiest army and air force on the planet will be meaningless with our non-observant and non- G-D fearing leaders. For they have long forgotten that it is the L-RD of the world who reigns alone and supreme.

… and there shall be none to save thee.

What that Kenyan born Communist Muslim who was raised in the extreme Islam school in Indonesia is not going to save us and he might be yelling Allah Hu Akbar instead.

30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her; thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not use the fruit thereof.

You are after the physical world so HASHEM tells us that HE will show us who is Baal HaBies aka MASTER of the house here.

… 37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples whither the LORD shall lead thee away.

He is a Jew, a Kike a Hebe etc. You will be made fun of by the 70 wolves (now 180 to 190 nations) surrounding you.

… 38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39 Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worm shall eat them.

So keep going against the L-RD for your own physical pleasures fill your belly, womanize (or dig for gold if you are female), drink and sniff stuff and then you will be hit with things that you cannot imagine or comprehend. For it is I who created the Hurricane, Tornado, Blizzard, Hail and other destructive forces in the physical world like locusts, snakes, scorpions, escaped animals from the zoo, etc. says the L-RD G-D and CREATOR of the Universe.

… 45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee. 46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever;

Earlier in the Parsha I, HASHEM, gave you the blessing for observance but it was easier to grow both physically and mentally fat from the wealth that you have misused and abused and now I come to call the loan and the payment for the piper is due. All you had to do was:

47 … serve the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; … 49 The LORD will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the vulture swoops down; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; … 62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

During the times of the second Beis HaMikdash it was estimated from the amount of kidneys of the Korban Pessach collected that between 20 to 50,000,000 Jews participated in the Pessach. Nowadays, the whole Jewish population is estimated to be between 13 to 14,000,000 Jews. What happened to us over the centuries of assimilation, conversion, inquisition, pogroms, holocaust, etc. removed us from being as numerous as the countries of China and India. The blessings and warnings are there but they fall on deaf ears and non-observing eyes. We are in a dream of some virtual physical reality and a whirlpool of pleasure turning our heads round and round until we are dragged down. WAKE UP THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT is two weeks or so from now must G-D slap us more on the sides of the face to stop our hysterics? How long suffering and merciful is G-D that men can continue to have boyfriends, commit adultery, enjoy their bacon, (sailing, driving, swimming on Shabbos), women running around in essentially not much more than undergarments on the street – for when my wife’s summer nightgown is more modest than the walking flesh of women on the street something is wrong, not observing the Mikvah at all or just plain spitting out words to the elderly like a parrot.

Avos Chapter 2 Mishnah 1: Rebbe says: Which is a straight path that a person should choose? One that is both praiseworthy for the doer and praiseworthy from other people. And be [as] careful with a "light" Mitzvah as with a weighty one, for you don't know the reward given for [each of the] Mitzvoth. And calculate the cost of a Mitzvah against its reward; and the reward of a sin against its cost. And look at (scrutinize) three things, and you will not come to the hands of sin. Know what is above you: An eye which sees, an ear which hears, and all your actions are written in a book.

… 64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

Actually this will be a blessing in disguise for had not the Jews been scattered all over Esav would have consumed them: Beresheis 32:8 Jacob became very frightened and was distressed; so he divided the people who were with him and the flocks and the cattle and the camels into two camps. 9. And he said, "If Esau comes to one camp and strikes it down, the remaining camp will escape."

… 67 In the morning thou shalt say: 'Would it were even!' and at even thou shalt say: 'Would it were morning!' for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

In the morning, you will say, “If only it were evening!”: [I.e.,] if it were only yesterday evening! [The trouble will be worse in the morning, so that you will yearn for the previous evening]. — [Sotah 49a] and in the evening, you will say, “If only it were morning!”: [I.e.,] if it were only morning of that day! Thus, the troubles will always progressively intensify; each hour, the curse will be more severe than the preceding one. — [ibid.]

Have you ever felt this way opening up the news?

… 69 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

29:1 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them: Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 2 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and those great wonders; 3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 4 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 5 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink; that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 6 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them. 7 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. 8 Observe therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may make all that ye do to prosper.

Now is the time to observe and guard from moral deterioration for you all have hear the curses now guard and perform the Mitzvos will all your heart, all your might and all your soul.

As we finish this Parsha we come next week to a double Parsha the Shabbos Teshuva and finally Simchas Torah as the old year appears to end (still there is hope) without Moshiach due to our groundless hatred and bigotry. The day of Judgement and the year 5761 is coming upon us.

Mitzvos and Halachos by Danny Shoemann

It's a Mitzva to return a fellow Jew's lost property. If one found an item that is below one's dignity to pick up - and even if it was one's own property one would leave it on the street - then one need not deal with it. However, it's appropriate to anyway deal with it. Since it's a Mitzva to return a person's earthly property, then it's definitely a Mitzva to return a person's spiritual property; the Torah which is our heritage. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: " shall surely return them your fellow man" (Devarim 22:1) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Positive Mitzvah 69

One may not do any Melacha (work as defined by the Rabbis) on the last day of Pessach. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "And on the 7th day... all work you shall not do" (Vayikra 23:8) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 148

One may not do any Melacha (work as defined by the Rabbis) on Shavuos. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "And on the 15th of the first month... all work you shall not do" (Vayikra 23:21) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 149

One may not do any Melacha (work as defined by the Rabbis) on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "And on first day of the seventh month... all work you shall not do" (Vayikra 23:24)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 150

One may not do any Melacha (work as defined by the Rabbis) on Yom Kippur. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "..and all work you shall not do" (Vayikra 23:28)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 151

During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach:
- Teshuva; repenting. Improving ones Mitzva observance
- Tefilla; praying. Asking Hashem for help and praising and thanking Him for being good to us.
- Tzeduka; giving charity to those less fortunate than ourselves.
In order to pray properly one needs to understand what one is saying. If one is not fluent in Hebrew, one should get a Siddur and Machzor with an English translation. One should remember that one is praying - talking - to the One Above. If one's thoughts wander during prayers one should pause and recollect one's thoughts.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18: 3-4.

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Hadasim, 2 Aravos and an Esrog. The Esrog is a citron; Citrus Medica. It is held in one's left hand when shaking the four species, with the stem (where it was cut off the tree) facing downwards. By nature the Etrog tree is very soft (mine buckled during a light Jerusalem snow storm), therefore it is often grafted onto other trees to make it stronger. An Esrog from a grafted tree cannot be used when shaking the four species. (Grafted fruit is Kosher to eat, despite the prohibition against grafting trees.) The Esrog needs to be whole; scratches and dents may invalidate it. The Esrog should not have dark dots on it, though it may have light scabs that are a result of leaves and thorns brushing against it while it grows. (Esrog trees have thorns that grow to about 2" long.) The "nose" of the the Etrog - from where it starts getting narrow - should be perfectly clean. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 174:2, Shulchan Aruch 648

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Hadasim, 2 Aravos and an Esrog. Each Hadas is a branch of a myrtle bush, and must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long. Myrtle leaves grow on the stem in groups of three or more. A Kosher Hadas needs to be Meshulash; with each group of leaves growing out of the branch at exactly the same height. Preferably the Hadas should be Meshulash its entire length, though it's Kosher if only the top half is Meshulash.
The entire Hadas needs to be covered in leaves, the top of the lower leaves must reach the bottom of the higher ones. Myrtle bushes have berries growing on them. A Hadas should not have any berries on it; berries should be removed (with their stems) before Yom Tov. Make sure that the top of the Hadas is not cut off, it usually ends in a set of tiny leaves. Hadasim need to be kept fresh; dried out Hadasim are not Kosher. Source: Shulchan Aruch 646.

On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Hadasim, 2 Aravos and an Esrog. The Arava comes from a known type of willow tree with long leaves, non-serrated edges, and its bough turns red when mature. The Arava must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm - 10") long. If possible one should get Aravos from a tree that grows alongside a river. Willows dry up very quickly. A wilted Arava is not Kosher. Some say that once its leaves start drooping it is not fresh enough to be a Kosher Arava. Many have the Minchag to get fresh Aravos every day of Chol HaMoed Sukkos. An Arava is no longer Kosher if most of its leaves have come off, or its tip is cut off. This can happen if they are wilted, have been shaken too hard or while replacing them. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:5, 6, 7 and 137:6 Moed Sukkos.

An Arava is no longer Kosher if most of its leaves have come off, or its tip is cut off. This can happen if they are wilted, have been shaken too hard or while replacing them. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:5, 6, 7 and 137:6

One does not shake the four species on Shabbat. The Lulav, Hadasim and Aravos are Muktza on Shabbat. The Etrog is not Muktza and one may smell it on Shabbat - after making the Bracha of:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
הַנּוֹתֵן רֵיחַ טוֹב בַּפֵּרוֹת
On the other days of Sukkoth one should not smell the Esrog. One should not smell the Hadasim during the entire 7 days of Sukkos. An Esrog may be returned to its wrapping on Shabbat and Yom Tov, but may not be wrapped in a new wrapper - since the wrapper will absorb the aroma of the Esrog - and one may not add aroma to materials on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 137:7

It is time to do something about Jewish Tourism. I am used to canned goods and Bentzion Glixman lost 25 lbs. during his Coast Guard basic training.,7340,L-3936829,00.html

A small film clip thanks to Elizabeth:

A debate on Eretz Yisrael vs. a fictional land called Palestine:

Thanks to Lukas: The chestnut tree that young Holocaust victim Anne Frank wrote about in her now-famous diary has collapsed in a storm. The giant tree had lived for more than 150 years. The home where Anne Frank and her family hid, now a historic site, was not damaged when the tree fell. Several nearby buildings were hit.

The tree was one of the few things the Frank family could see from their attic hideout. It inspired young Anne, who wrote, “From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for any sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”

Anne mentioned the tree in other diary entries as well. In one of the last passages she wrote before her family was betrayed to the Nazis, she said, “Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”

A campaign had been launched to save the tree in 2007, after the 27-ton plant was discovered to be in very poor condition. City officials planned to chop it down, however, activists convinced them to support it with a steel structure instead.

Saplings taken from the tree have been planted around the world. However, a Support Anne Frank Tree group member told Reuters that there are no plans in place to replace the fallen tree with one of its saplings as was reported in some media outlets. “You have to bow your head to the facts,” he said. “The tree has fallen and will be cut into pieces and disappear. The intention was not to keep this tree alive forever.”

Parts of the tree have been offered for sale on a Dutch auction website. by Maayana Miskin (

The Chaplain and Semter Fidelis from Rabbi A.L.

This is little-known story from the Pentagon on 09/11/01.

During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon. I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. The chaplain told me what happened at a day care center near where the impact had occurred. The day care had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The day care supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs.

There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, "Well, there we on our own."

About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near to Potomac and the Pentagon. Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing, they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.

The chaplain then said, "I do not think any of us saw nor heard of this or any on the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there. There was not a dry eye in the room. The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted, could we expect any less from them?? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.

Remember Ronald Reagan's great compliment: "Most of us wonder if our lives made any difference. Marines do not have that type or problem."

G-D Bless the United States of America, our troops, and you:

It is the military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

It is the military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is the military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

Please pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

Luckily, it's NOT the military that gives! It's the people employed by the military – Liab … Actually in reality it is the will of HASHEM - RP

Rabbi Meir says – Don’t look at the pitcher but what is in it! No better Mussar than this a true story of a WWII hero.

Dear Rabbi Pauli,

I thought you'd find this inspirational and uplifting! Semper Fi! Best regards, Ben

Wharton Leadership Digest, December 2001
By Colonel James E. Moschgat, Commander of the 12th
Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph
Air Force Base, Texas

William “Bill” Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure,
one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the
U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us
referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron

While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic
exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or
never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping
and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the
mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory. Sadly, and for many years,
few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or
throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.
Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the
squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly,
he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning
toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe it was is physical appearance that made him
disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you
could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His
gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets.
And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an old man
working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal

Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost
invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He
seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen
very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with
stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle
and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. So, for whatever reason,
Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the
squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories,
kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford...well, he was just a janitor.
That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about
World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled
across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford
from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some
bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at
me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire ... with no regard for
personal safety ... on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly
attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the
United States ...”

“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think
our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.” We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII
Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort
of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on
Monday. We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the
page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces. He starred
at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s

Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another,
then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at
once we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?”
He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in
my life and it happened a long time ago.”
I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to
hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.
However, after that brief exchange, things were never again
the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire
among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst-Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had
won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now
greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.”
Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up started taking it
upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to
Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron
functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to
those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, starspangled
lapel pin.

Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of
our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice
the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more
purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a
direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked
smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed
to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something
that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally
acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.
As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in
our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in
June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time,
he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.”
With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky
and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the
Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where
he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in
a small town.

A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but
those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made
a difference for me. While I haven’t seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years,
he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor,
taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are ten I’d like
to share with you.

1. Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your
relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we
labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of
a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.” Likewise, don’t tolerate
the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”

2. Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr.
Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us.
He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner.
Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a
part of our team.

3. Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of
rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a
team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to
heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a
difference for all of us.

4. Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no
excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero
walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes
that walk in your midst?

5. Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard
definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his
Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who
rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your
proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the
team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.

6. Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes and some leaders are
anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s
athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve
come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford-he was too busy working to
celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.

7. Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military
work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you
just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you
weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you
should - don’t let that stop you.

8. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue
glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a
Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile,
is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.

9. Pursue Excellence. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin
Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper
you can be.” Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our
dormitory area a home.

10. Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME
class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory.
Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to
stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens
of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I
gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most
is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your
opportunity to learn.

Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model
and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable
leadership lessons.

Dale Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas,
comments: And now, for the “rest of the story”: Pvt William John Crawford was
a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company L 1 42nd Regiment 36th Division
(Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of Honor for his actions on Hill 424,
just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno.

On Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell,
halting the platoon’s advance. Pvt Crawford could not be found and was
assumed dead. The request for his MOH was quickly approved. Major General
Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill Crawford’s father, George, on
11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near Pueblo. Nearly two months after
that, it was learned that Pvt Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany.
During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle. Bill overpowered
him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard unconscious. A German doctor’s
testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death. To stay ahead of
the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched 500 miles in 52 days
in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one potato a day. An allied
tank column liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his
first hot shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before
retiring as a MSG and becoming a janitor. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan
officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford.

William Crawford passed away in 2000. He is the only U.S. Army veteran and
sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force

Inyanay Diyoma

So what else is new between friendly Iran and the world:,7340,L-3942216,00.html

I knew that Galant was going to be Chief of Staff from his facial features. He has lips similar to Colin Powell and a wider than average nose. He looks a lot like Colin Powell. The following is an article about the proactive general in regards to Iran and Syria:

Europe almost Eurostan and Obama are suffering from fatigue an Editoral:,7340,L-3943405,00.html

d"The announcement today that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will endorse Democrat Joe Sestak and campaign with him in Pennsylvania raises serious and important questions for the Jewish Community. "Specifically, it raises the question of whether Joe Sestak accepts or rejects Hagel's views on Israel and the Middle East.

To be fair I can’t stand Ron Paul’s views about cutting aide to Israel any more than I like Chuck Hagel.

This week I was bitterly disappointed by two mudslinging candidates with very big bucks winning in FL. I guess with large amounts of money it is easy to win over unwitting members of your party.

Have a wonderful Shabbos, rest and reflect on the creations and miracles of G-D, or as my friend from the Post Office Nathan Appelbaum used to say be prepared for where you are going on the Day of Judgement.

Rachamim Pauli