Friday, July 1, 2011

Parsha Chukkas, Perkei Avos Chapter 4 Mishna 6-14 stories galore

Thanks to Aharon HaCohain - Planning to enter the USA for work illegally? Israelis think again:

Parsha Chukkas

This week’s Parsha deals with a person dying. Yet the Zohar HaKadosh has a story of a young son of a Rabbi who passed away and sometimes follows Sages on the road as a peddler. If one were to look at the words in the translation it would make for interesting reading but it has a deeper meaning. The boy could tell that the Sages being engaged in a Mitzva that day did not take out time to say the morning Shema prayer. He knew this from the way their clothing smelled. Just as a person who has problems with people who smoke can smell their garments especially woolen sweaters of cigarette smoke many meters away, in the next world our Mitzvos smell like Gan Eden and our sins stink, so the question is are we fragrant or the opposite on the day of Judgement.

The Kabbala speaks about the knowledge of reading one’s forehead and seeing what is going on. One Rabbi can tell health problems from the pupils of one’s eyes. So suddenly we are only dealing with physical death and Tuma of a dead person but we are really dealing with life in the next world from the standpoint of the Zohar.

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

With the possible exception of the story of the golden calf, the Sages could find no logic behind this law and it was the one Halacha that Melech Shlomo could not figure out. It is a Chok which is a Halachic equivalent to a constitutional law.

3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face. 4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 And the heifer shall be burnt in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burnt.

With the exception of the sprinkled blood everything else is burned. This is the only Korban where the blood itself is burned!

6 And the priest shall take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. 8 And he that burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

Pasukim 7 and 8 appear to be a repeat but it appears to me that the first Pasuk is dealing with the Cohain who slaughters the Parah and the second

9 And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of sprinkling; it is a purification from sin. 10 And he that gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourns among them, for a statute forever.

This deals with the Cohain that gathers the Ashes for purification. We then go to the rules regarding a Yisrael or Levi who touched the corpse or was under a tree, building or tent when the corpse was under it.

11 He that touches the dead, even any man's dead body, shall be unclean seven days; 12 the same shall purify himself therewith on the third day and on the seventh day, and he shall be clean; but if he purify not himself the third day and the seventh day, he shall not be clean. 13 Whosoever touches the dead, even the body of any man that is dead, and purifies not himself--he has defiled the tabernacle of the LORD--that soul shall be cut off from Israel; because the water of sprinkling was not dashed against him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. 14 This is the law: when a man dies in a tent, every one that cometh into the tent, and every thing that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering close-bound upon it, is unclean. 16 And whosoever in the open field touches one that is slain with a sword, or one that dies of himself, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

We now include one who has even contacted a small human bone or an olive bulk of flesh.

17 And for the unclean they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the purification from sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel. 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him; and he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. 20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water of sprinkling hath not been dashed against him: he is unclean.

There is a qualification that is one must be in Eretz Yisrael and have the accessibility to the ashes. Nowadays, we have access to Yisrael but not to the Ashes the Kares does not apply.

20: 1 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

The Torah offers a solution to the disease (Tuma) before it occurs. So death over takes Miriam.

2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying: 'Would that we had perished when our brethren perished before the LORD!

On Miriam’s merit for following the ark that held Moshe provided Yisrael with water for 40 Years.

22 And they journeyed from Kadesh; and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came unto mount Hor. 23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 'Aaron shall be gathered unto his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against My word at the waters of Meribah.

This notes two things (A) Aaron was not guilty of the sin of the golden calf. (B) Up until the incident with the waters in this week’s Parsha there was no problem with Aaron entering Eretz Yisrael now both he and Moshe will be gather. So a short time after Miriam passes away, Aaron passes away. Moshe too will pass away within the year.

25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.' 27 And Moses did as the LORD commanded; and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount; and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel

The whole war with Arad could have been adverted if the King had behaved himself but his land was to be given over to the Bnei Yisrael and so it was. If one travels from Kadesh past Sde Boker and Nahal Zin, he will end up via a route leading towards Beer Sheva/Dimona and towards Tel Arad and modern Arad. The Bnei Yisrael were on their way to travel down towards the Dead Sea and the route at Zohar.


"Parsha Chukat" Num 19:1-22:1

In this weeks Parsha "Chukat," we see that the people of Israel were much discouraged because of the arduous way they spoke against G-d and against Moses. The Eternal sent forth venomous serpents among them, and they bit them and many people of Israel died. The people confessed their faults. Moses prayed for them and G-d said to Moses, "Make you a serpent of copper and put it upon a banner and everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it shall live," and so it happened" (Numbers 21, 4-9).

Our Sages commented, "Could the copper serpent cause death or life? No! But when Israel looks up on high and subject their hearts to their Father in heaven, they are healed, otherwise they pine away."
(Mishna, Tractate Rosh Hashanah, Chap. 3,8)

We are confronted with a twofold miracle, the miracle of the healing itself and the miracle that the healing is caused precisely by means of the harmful animal (G-d's agent). This contradicts a proven medical fact according to which the sight of the animal which bites, whether it is a poisonous serpent, a mad dog or any other wild beast, aggravates the injury. But here we see, that healing comes precisely through that which caused the illness.

The Torah wanted to teach us here a very profound idea, the Satan is but a divine emissary for man's benefit. The Satan, which is synonymous with the evil forces acting within us all, has no other mission than being vanquished by man, and thus becoming instrumental to our spiritual elevation. It is victory over tests and difficulties opposing our missions that purify us, and raise us to a degree of elevation unknown to us before the test.

If G-d brings us suffering, it is only for our own benefit. The Gaon, Rabbi Chaim of Volozin, explains this idea by a parable about a child seriously ill and plunged in a deep sleep. The doctors warn the father that if sleep continues, the worst can happen and that everything has to be done to keep the son awake. The father uses several means to disturb his sleep. He first removes his pillow, then he replaces his soft bed with a hard couch.

Since this causes only a momentary awakening of the child followed by a new deep sleep, the father starts to take more radical measures to an extent of even torturing him by laying him on a bed of thorns. The suffering of the father who, out of love for his son, has to act with cruelty, is not less than that of the son. Once the latter is healed, he will redouble his love and attachment to his father, in gratitude for the sufferings he made him endure to save him.

Immersed in sin, our soul is ill and we do not hear the divine voice calling us, "Wake up from your deep sleep!" Then, in His infinite kindness, G-d makes us suffer more and more, and if we merit to feel the Divine Hand, and to amend our conduct, we come out purified by suffering and nearer to the Creator than ever before us. (Our parable above!)

We might think that the Eternal, Who is the source of all kindness, cannot also be the Creator of evil. This idea is wrong, for in reality, evil in its origin is dictated by the infinite kindness of the Creator, who only wants to bestow merit on man by imposing on him sufferings and ordeals.

If we want to return to the authentic values of Judaism, by confessing our faults, and becoming conscious that the serpent bites us because of the existence of that other inner serpent, if we look up to Heaven and understand that the serpent, transposed on high, originates from divine kindness, then we will be worthy of the double miracle of our healing and of our elevation through gratitude and infinite love for our Father in Heaven.
Sources: Numbers 21, 4-9, Mishna, Tractate Rosh Hashanah, Chap. 3,8, The Gaon, Rabbi Chaim of Volozin, R. Hazan, Zohar.


It Is All In God's Hands by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

God spoke to Moshe and to Aharon, saying: This is the statute of the law which God has commanded, saying: “Speak to the Children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer … (Bamidbar 19:1-2)

This is not the place of the Parah Adumah. Historically, the Jewish people were required to be sprinkled with the ashes of the Red Heifer before even preparing and eating their Pesach offerings, back in Egypt. And, the Torah didn’t push off this parshah until now because it simply had better things to discuss. It is here because this is where it belongs, conceptually-speaking.

The first explanation offered by the Talmud is that it was placed in close proximity to the death of the Miriam. This way we learn that just as sacrifices atone for the sins of the generation, so too do the deaths of righteous people atone for the generation, as they themselves were offered before God on behalf of the nation. But, that could have been taught by speaking of any other sacrifice here, or by speaking about it in close proximity to the death of another righteous person instead, such as Aharon HaKohen or even Moshe Rabbeinu himself.

So why the Red Heifer, and the death of Miriam specifically?

The Parah Adumah is the one mitzvah that best represents the idea of chok—statute—mitzvos that defy human reason. Also, there was something about the death of the righteous Miriam that was very chok-like. Hence, aside from the atonement-like quality of the death of Miriam, there is another very profound message to be learned as well, once we recall just who Miriam was, historically.

The redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt was inevitable. Nevertheless, Miriam played a major role in it. For some reason, she had the merit to be the redeemer of the redeemer. For, as the Talmud cites, it was Miriam who convinced her father, Amram, to remarry his wife, Yocheved, and take the chance of having a baby boy born in hostile Egypt.

When the baby Moshe was born, and panic ensued, it was Miriam’s voice of calm that prevailed, when she predicted that Amram’s new son would eventually lead the people out of Egyptian bondage (Sotah 13a). And, even when it looked that Moshe might be thrown into the river to drown like the other Jewish male babies, and Amram despaired, it was Miriam who kept the faith and knew that somehow, even against great odds, Moshe would survive and prevail to fulfill his destiny as the redeemer of the Jewish people.

Hence, it was Miriam, at great risk, who spied on Baby Moshe as he floated on the Nile river in a waterproof basket, waiting to see, with perfect faith, how God would arrange his salvation and rise to greatness. That is why she was there, at exactly the right moment when Basya found Moshe in the reeds, something that had not been necessarily simple or wise to do while in Egypt at that time as a Jewish slave.

But, because she was, she was able to arrange for the reunification of mother and baby in safer circumstances, in the very palace of the enemy. Because of Miriam’s belief in God and His promise of redemption, she merited to become an integral part of it, and eventually, identified with the very well of water that was miraculously keeping the Jewish nation alive in the desert. She was a true heroine of the Jewish people.

If so, then why did she die in the desert? Being the super hero that she was of the Jewish people, why did she not merit to enter Eretz Yisroel with the rest of the women, including Basya, Pharaoh’s daughter who became Moshe Rabbeinu’s surrogate mother? If anyone deserved to witness the settling of Eretz Canaan by the Jewish people, it was Miriam.

So why didn’t she? Miriam certainly had not participated in the sin of the golden calf, and you can be sure that when the Spies called for a return to Egypt, Miriam was at the forefront fighting for pushing forward towards the Promised Land. Her biggest sin seems to have been that she had been overly concerned about Tzipporah, Moshe’s wife, and that certainly was no reason to die in the desert instead.

The answer to the question? It’s a chok, a Divine decree. Yes, according to human logic, Miriam should have been from those who walked and lived on the land of our Forefathers. However, by Divine calculation, it was better for Miriam, and the future of the Jewish people, that she die there, in the desert, at that time, allowing her to atone for the sins of her people, just as the deaths of all righteous people do.

In essence, it is the issue of tzaddik v’rah lo—righteous people to whom bad things occur, the classic all-time question (until our generation, which has now been replaced with a more pressing question, “How do you get this gadget to work properly?). It is the question that Moshe Rabbeinu himself asked as of God when he thought he found a favorable moment on top of Mt. Sinai (Brochos 7a). And, of course, it is the basis of the story of Iyov—the Book of Job.

However, is such an issue really a chok? In everyday life, yes, perhaps, but not in the realm of Sod, or Kabbalah. For example, in the work Sha’ar HaGilgulim—the Gate of Reincarnation—it explains in many places various difference reasons that determine the length of one’s life, depending upon the source of one’s soul, regardless of sin or circumstance. Judgment is always very specific, and quite precise, and there is no such thing as an accident.

But what about tragedy? From our perspective, there certainly seems to be something called tragedy, because, unfortunately, we use the word often. Indeed, just last week, a young man of 23 suddenly died in his home as he prepared to enter his second son into the Covenant of Avraham Avinu. As a result, the Bris had to be postponed a couple of hours as the young father was buried instead, after which the Bris took place and the name of the father was given to the new born son.

And, that is but one of many stories that seem to be happening all around the world. Good people suffering. Good people taken from the world with little or no warning. Even if the medical reasons can be found and the death physically explained, the questions remain: Why this person? Why now? Why this way?

The Talmud says that one of the things that are denied to human beings is the time of one’s death, for obvious reasons. So, not knowing the day of our death, we assume that, just as most people live a relatively long life, we will too. And, until illness hits, God forbid, we assume that we are immune, at least to the more serious forms of sickness.

But, a man’s day of death is certainly known to God, and if everything is a function of Hashgochah Pratis, then so is the illness that does or does not affect him. And, a fundamental of Torah thought is that our free-will choices, or lack of them, can certainly have an impact on both, creating what seems to be a philosophical contradiction.

It’s like this. When times are good, spiritually-speaking, and man deserves a close relationship with God, then we become more privy to God’s plans for Creation. Not only that, but when people die, they do so in a way that may not be easy for us, but at least in a way that our minds can accept. The randomness in death seems to disappear.

However, when times are not spiritually good, and man acts towards God as if He really isn’t involved in the affairs of men, then He will act in the affairs of men in a way that makes it look as if He is not acting in the affairs of men, making natural death seem untimely and random. That’s when tragedy becomes a familiar term.

For example, it may be time for 50 people to die at or around a particular moment. In better times when God does not hide His hand so much, each person may die far away from each other, and their deaths will never be connected. It will be sad, death usually is, but tolerable, because the death of a single person in relatively normal circumstances is something our minds can usually handle.

However, during times of hester panim, when God hides His providence more, those 50 people may find themselves on a freeway, one they might not normally travel, or not normally travel at that time, when some driver causes a 100-car collision, God forbid, causing each of those 50 people to die in what seems like a reckless, random, and tragic occurrence. It will seem as if had they only not taken the freeway that day, they would have lived another one.

Which, of course, is not true. There is no cheating death, and if a person seems to have done so, it’s only because he was meant to come close to death but not to die. You can be sure that when a person’s precise moment to leave this world comes, he will not be able to circumvent it, no matter how many fail-safe systems he has created to protect himself from doing so.

What we can affect is how we die, and therefore, perhaps, how our deaths will affect the world around us. We want to be missed, but we do not want people to grieve too much, nor be shocked by our passing. We are obviously not talking about Neshikah, the Divine Kiss by which Miriam’s soul was taken in this week’s parshah, but at least as less a tragic a death as possible, hopefully after a long life, but at least in as logical a way as possible.

It is true, the death of 23-year old Charedi man who died suddenly before the Bris of his new son was shocking, and seemingly tragic. But, had he died in a car accident, God forbid, that would have been far worse. Instead, because he died preparing for such a holy act, the grieving family could at least see his death as a very special event, even calling him a Korban Tzibbur—a public sacrifice brought on behalf of the community.

It has to be true. But, regardless, whatever the case may be, this week’s parshah reminds us that death is in the hands of God, Whose calculations go way beyond our understanding of reality and history, and that, no matter how people are taken from this world, or when, it is never random, and always, ultimately, for the good of the person, and the world. Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Permission was given to me years ago by Rabbi Pinchas Shlita and the Torah organization required recognition for their efforts.

Perkei Avos Chapter 4 Mishnah 6 -14

6. Rabbi Yossi would say: Whoever honors the Torah, is himself honored by the people; whoever degrades the Torah, is himself degraded by the people.

We learn from Rabbi Yossi that Chachamim observed the fact that one who pokes fun at Torah will eventually be degraded by the public. For one who has no respect for the sacred is eventually despised. Such an example was an actor named David Goldenberg or Dudu Topaz who was at one point the king of entertainment. He started making fun of the religious and of Rabbis. A number of years went by and the man lost his status with the network. Instead of trying to rebuild himself, he plotted to injure and murder the people who had lowered him from his greatness. He was arrested and eventually committed suicide in prison despite being on a suicide watch.

7. His son, Rabbi Ishmael would say: One who refrains from serving as a judge avoids hatred, thievery and false oaths. One who frivolously hands down rulings is a fool, wicked and arrogant.

This is one thing that I learned to want to avoid. A Rabbinical Judge who makes a mistake opens up the depths of Gehenna before himself. One who delays a ruling will bring on war, famine and plague into the world because of him losing the track of the trial especially nowadays when a trial drags on and on. One must cut sweet and simple a trial. I am watching from time to time on the news a trial of one Casey Anthony who tells lie after lie after lie until perhaps she believes it to be her truth. Finally her lawyer has asked for a competency test after weeks of trial. This is something that an alert judge should have seen immediately. I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but there is something wrong with a person who tells more stories than Baron Von Munchhausen. If one is incapable of understanding both arguments thoroughly or seeing what is obvious before our eyes, one should not be a judge.

8. He would also say: Do not judge on your own, for there is none qualified to judge alone, only the One. And do not say, "You must accept my view," for this is their [the majority's] right, not yours.

One who thinks himself always correct will end up in trouble among his peers. For even though a majority can be wrong, one cannot always be right. Sometimes a little humility is in store for us and we should accept willingly the thoughts and ways of others.

9. Rabbi Jonathan would say: Whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty, will ultimately fulfill it in wealth; and whoever neglects the Torah in wealth, will ultimately neglect it in poverty.

Wealth is a gift from HASHEM. It comes with responsibility to give charity and aid others. If one honors the Torah in poverty and eventually his fortune turns by his merits he will honor the Torah in wealth. One who neglects the Torah in wealth if his fortune turns will neglect it in poverty. One has an obligation to give charity and if he gives, he advances his wealth not only in this world but as a store in the next world. I think the greatest example of learning Torah from poverty is the 14 years that Yacov learned with Shem and Ever and eventually he became very-very wealth.

10. Rabbi Meir would say: Engage minimally in business, and occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble before every man. If you neglect the Torah, there will be many more causes for neglect before you; if you toil much in Torah, there is much reward to give to you.

One is not given the task in life of being a Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs and other billionaires. One’s task in life is to learn Torah. The reward for learning Torah is greater than millions or billions and the person who is too rich loses his humility and is too woven into his wealth to enjoy sitting back a learning Torah. One needs money to live comfortably. One can have a pleasant home and some wealth like Yacov Avinu, but one should devote himself to learning Torah and teaching it to his children.

11. Rabbi Eliezer the son of Yaakov would say: He who fulfills one mitzvah, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser. Repentance and good deeds are as a shield against retribution.

When one takes out an insurance policy, there is no guarantee that he will ever benefit from it. Either his heirs or even there is no guarantee that the insurance company does not go bankrupt or that the disaster will be so great that nobody will benefit from the coverage. However, Torah learning and Mitzva doing is not like that for one builds up his own insurance policy. There is not one man who does not sin in this world. Moshe in our Parsha was supposed to talk to talk to the rock while similar to an earlier incident he hit the rock. By lack of making a Kiddush HASHEM, he did not acquire the merit of entering Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Yochanan the Sandal-Maker would say: Every gathering that is for the sake of Heaven, will endure; that is not for the sake of Heaven, will not endure.

The politicians will come and go. However even politicians will make a name for themselves if they do things for the sake of heaven. George Washington crossed the freezing Delaware River and held out with little supplies against all odds at Valley Forge for the sake of freedom. In the end his name endures while Benedict Arnold sold out his army and his name has been synonymous with treason for centuries.

What personally pleases me is that Rabbi Yochanan was a Cobbler and a custom Shoe Maker for little money and yet he learned Torah. The Rambam was a physician and still managed to learn and write his works.

12. Rabbi Eliezer the son of Shamua would say: The dignity of your student should be as precious to you as your own; the dignity of your colleague, as your awe of your master; and your awe of your master as your awe of Heaven.

Honor for one’s companions and peers are very important. Do not think that you are greater than your students for one day they may surpass you. In High School, I had a younger friend who I aided in the Astronomy Club and observing and encouraged him. I never really made a name for myself in Astronomy but the young fellow went on to get his doctorate and became the director of the Hayden Planetarium in NY.

13. Rabbi Judah would say: Be careful with your studies, for an error of learning is tantamount to a willful transgression.

Sometimes it is Lashon Hara and sometimes something not explained properly like this little example that follows for which the truth is not clear of the original statement was not 100% qualified. I know a person who has a Rabbinical Certificate who permits eating eggs cooked in pots by non-Jews. It is a simple fact from the Yoreh Deah that eggs absorb the nature of the pot via osmosis. But what if the Rabbi permits the eggs wrapped in double or triple wrapped aluminum foil which is like airplane food cooked on airplanes? It is a Halacha so I don’t know how he came to be liberal with that unless the non-Jewish restaurant is a vegetarian one or the pot was koshered by him. One instant of forgetfulness, misunderstanding, not learning well or one other error can lead to a Halachic failure. So in the end the truth is uncertain and the area in the vicinity of the misguided statement or misguided Rabbi gives somebody the right to eat something which is entirely forbidden.

Rabbi Shimon would say: There are three crowns--the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty--but the crown of good name surmounts them all.

This philosophy was adopted by the Baal Shem Tov for he always praised the simple Jew. He encouraged them to be good people and observe as many Mitzvos as they could for not everybody has the mental capacity to be a Kabbalist non does one have the time to memorize Shass Gemara like some Rabbis. Rather one has to do his best and with a good name.

14. Rabbi Nehora'i would say: Exile yourself to a place of Torah; do not say that it will come after you, that your colleagues will help you retain it. Rely not on your own understanding.

Unless you are a messenger for a Rabbi to establish a Jewish Community in an area, you should always live in an Orthodox Community for even if you are the Rabbi, you will learn from the student’s questions. We do not accept Gerim unless they eventually move into a Jewish Neighbor and live like Jews for a period of time. Ruth lived with Naomi and family and she knew what Shabbos, Torah, Kashrus and Family Purity was about long before she was considered a full convert. The only way a place of Torah will follow you is if you take with you a minyan of Orthodox Jews and it is a possible hub for Jews. For example one major airline has Dallas/Fort Worth as its Hub so that many Jews will pass through and some will eventually get stuck in the area for Shabbos and perhaps like it there or meet a partner by a happening planned in heaven.

Halacha from Danny Schoemann

Kosher meat that is given to a non-Jew to store or transport, needs 2 seals, to ensure it's not tampered with. The same applies to wine that is not cooked and to fish that no longer have their scales attached.
Cooked wine, wine-vinegar, milk, bread and cheese only need one seal. The above applies whether a non-Jew involved, or a Jew who cannot be trusted to keep Kosher. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 41:16

The Shulchan Aruch says that it's appropriate to fast tomorrow - Wednesday 27 Sivan - since about 2,000 years ago on this date, the Romans wrapped the great Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon in a Sefer Torah, and burnt him to death. Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon was one of the 10 martyrs. King David started Tehillim - Psalms - by declaring: Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the gathering of the scornful.
Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon taught (Avos 3:3):
- A gathering of the scornful is when Jews sit together and don't discuss Torah-related topics.
- When Jews do discuss Torah then the Shechina - G-d's presence - is with them.
- Even when a lone Jew learns Torah (like a Halacha a Day), Hashem takes note and rewards him.
Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:2

Read about the 10 martyrs at

Read about Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon at

When needed, one can Kasher utensils that are not Kosher. E.g. if one put a Milky spoon in a hot bowl of Meat it cannot be used until it is Kashered. Before Pessach one can Kasher certain Chametz utensils to make them Kosher for Pessach. Kashering must be done under the supervision of somebody who has learned all the intrinsic laws of Kashering, when possible. When utensils are Kashered, they become Kosher and Parve; neither milky nor meaty. The custom is to refrain from Kashering Meaty utensils to use them subsequently for Meaty, or Meaty utensils to use them for Milky.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:15, 116:18

Rosh Chodesh Tamuz will be on Shabbat and Sunday. Remember to add יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא into the Amida and Birkat Hamazon. One should add an extra dish to the Shabbat meals in honor of Rosh Chodesh. After Hallel on Shabbat we will read from 2 Sifrei Torah; the second one for Rosh Chodesh, followed by the Shabbat-Rosh-Chodesh Haftara. In Mussaf one says the "Ata Yetzarta - אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ" version which talks about both the Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices. יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא is not said in Mussaf. Source: Shulchan Aruch 525:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 97:3 Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov - Danny

Captured by a Nine-Foot Cobra by Rabbi Lazar Brody...a divine revelation in the jungles of South Vietnam, February 1969. Connection: Weekly reading -- Num. 21:9

Sergeant Sammy Adler, USMC, crouched shin-deep in the mud of the Vietnamese jungle less than a mile from the Laotian border. The Vietcong had been smuggling massive amounts of armaments into South Vietnam by way of Laos. His company's mission was to ambush the smugglers, confiscate the arms shipment, and capture whomever they could for interrogation.

An annoying mosquito buzzed in Sammy's ear, and a leech bit his wrist. He didn't dare slap himself, for the slightest noise could reveal his position to an enemy ambush. The mission therefore called for radio silence, which necessitated the three platoons of Company C to maintain eye contact with each other.

A heavy dawn mist descended on the jungle. The fog was so thick that Sammy barely saw Captain John Willis, his company commander, from a distance of three feet. Willis scribbled a note and passed it to Sammy: "Platoon B, 0800, green east".

Sammy looked at his watch and nodded in understanding. His orders were to crawl over to Platoon B, one hundred yards to the right, and to inform the platoon leader that at exactly eight a.m., all three platoons would leave their present position and approach the Laotian border due east of them.

Sammy slithered inch by inch in the mud. His life depended on his absolute silence. He looked at his watch again - five minutes after seven. He took a deep breath and continued, first an elbow, then a knee, another elbow, then another knee. He stopped dead in his tracks: A roundish brown object, the exact size and shape of antipersonnel mine, was right before his nose.

The "mine", none other than a turtle, stuck its head out and laughed in Sammy's face, and then crawled away nonchalantly. He exhaled deeply in relief, and continued in the direction of Platoon B.

Forty-five minutes expired; Sammy wiped the mud off the face of his watch, and read the time - ten minutes to eight. The fog lifted, but a heavy rain drenched the already saturated jungle.
All along the seemingly endless one hundred yards to Platoon B's position, Sammy kept track of his crawling pace. He counted four hundred movements of nine inches each, the equivalent of one hundred yards. He should have reached Platoon B by now, but saw nothing other than mud and jungle.
A minute before eight: What a mess, Sammy thought. In sixty seconds, Platoons A and C will be moving east, and Platoon B hasn't been informed yet. Where in daylights is Platoon B? Where the heck am I?

"Chikachikachik! Chikachikachik!" The cobra's forked tongue almost touched Sammy's nose. The snake snarled, exposing his two deadly fangs, and braced to an attack position.
Sammy froze - he thought that the pounding of his pulse could surely be heard for miles away. In a few split seconds, he envisioned his entire life flashing before his eyes. What a pathetic way to go, he lamented, killed by a cobra in the muck and mire of a Vietnamese jungle, ten thousand miles from home. He couldn't ask the cobra for a stay of execution until he had a chance to send a postcard to Mom and Dad.

Sammy's M-16 rifle lay in a futile silence beside him. His commando knife remained idle in its scabbard, as did the three assault grenades in his ammo belt. He didn't dare move a muscle. Beads of salty sweat from his forehead traversed his right eyebrow and then dripped down and stung his right eye. Wiping his forehead was out of the question.

Jungle survival school taught him that only a bronze statue lives through an encounter with an irate cobra. I'm a bronze statue, Sammy thought to himself; I'm a bronze statue.

Chikachikachik! Chikachikachik!" The cobra continued with his head cocked in a foreboding assault position. The snake seemed to lock itself - only his tongue darted periodically to and fro.
The cobra was massive - eight, maybe nine-feet long and no less than ten inches thick. It maintained direct eye contact with Sammy. An entire hour transpired, then another hour.
Eventually, the rain stopped and the sky cleared. The sun was in the treetops directly overhead, indicating that the time was approximately twelve noon. Sammy heard the staccato of machine-gun fire and the thuds of mortar shells in the distance. The snake wouldn't let Sammy budge; it had been holding the exhausted, nerve-shattered Marine at bay for four hours already.

Every muscle in Sammy's body cried out in pain. His neck was as stiff as granite, his fatigues were soaked, and the unbearable winter dampness seemed to chill the fibers of his soul.

Another two hours passed. Each minute was a trial of a lifetime. Sammy kept thinking to himself, "One more minute, one more minute. I'm still alive. Hold on, Adler, one more minute! You can stick it out for another minute. Thank you, G-d, for letting me live another minute."

G-d? When did He come on the scene?

Sammy surprised himself. He never prayed in his life. His parents never practiced any form of religion, even though his grandparents were religious Jews. Sammy Adler was raised American - baseball, apple pie, The Marine Corp, and nothing else.

The snake seemed to alter its facial expression from threat to understanding. The minute Sammy thought about G-d, he could have sworn that the snake nodded its head, as if to say, "You're correct, soldier!" At that very instant, the snake uncocked its head, performed a perfect West Point "at ease" and "about face", and slithered away to the thick of the jungle.

Sammy's head dropped like a two-ton anchor. He broke out in a cathartic sob, and his entire body shuddered for a good five minutes, releasing the pent-up tension from within. He looked at his watch - seventeen hundred hours, or five in the afternoon.

Who could ever believe it? A U.S. Marine had just been held captive for nine hours in the custody of a nine-foot cobra. Were it not for his aching muscles and the leech bites all over his body, he wouldn't have believed it himself.

After several minutes of massaging his legs, he was able to stand. He didn't have much time, for nightfall was less than an hour away. The last nine hours felt like nine years.

Sammy, a superb navigator, began walking in the direction of the company bivouac - exhausted mentally and physically, but alive. He arrived at the clearing by the river, in the proximity of his platoon's ambush position, and received the shock of his life: Captain John Willis and the Marines of Company C's three platoons were slaughtered to the last man in a counter-ambush.

The realization of the miracle hit Sergeant Sammy Adler like a ton of bricks: The Al-mighty had sent a gigantic cobra to guard over him. Were it not for the cobra, he would have returned to his company's position and would have been slaughtered too. Nine hours of unimaginable stress and suffering, with a deadly cobra staring him in the face, turned out to be the blessing of his life, a divine revelation in the jungles of South Vietnam, February 1969.
Source: Excerpted from "The Trail to Tranquility", by Lazer Brody.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- Num. 21:9

I heard this story as a similar story of a Jew who volunteered in Afghanistan against the Russians stopped by a snake and the Afghan forces were slaughtered – the man who told me this actually met the fellow so either way there is definitely a real person or two people with similar stories.

Rabbi Lazer Brody [//], affectionately known as Rabbi Rambo from his past as a commando in Israel's Special Forces, is an author, broadcaster and emotional counselor, and currently the director of the English section of // His published works in English include "The Trail to Tranquility" and "The Garden of Emuna."

Almost lost a rare book found in a dump:

If you did not think it was a good idea to remain a virgin until married read this new study:|main5|dl12|sec1_lnk3|72829

Inyanay Diyoma

The unfriendly and anti-Semitic skies of the suitcase fee thieves:

A new oil giant on the horizon:

FAA to investigate Delta Airlines good for them:

I don’t trust them but Assad shot himself in the leg:

A piece on anti-Semitism which I may or may not have sent but it is worth repeating. Also the allowing in of illegal Mexicans and various Arabs via the southern border vs. the deportation of Israelis is bigotry but actually in the days of the Moshiach will work favorably for the Israelis:

This was not a Palestinian Village but East Yerushalayim next to French Hill which is into full Israeli control and easy to enter by mistake:,7340,L-4087606,00.html

We get a slight reprieve:

Watch the left wing MSNBC dump DWS and Obama regarding Israel: thanks to Rebekah and the RJC too.

Now for M. Wolfberg’s “Right Place at the Right Time”, “Red Cow”

Good Shabbos Everyone. A man once complained to Reb Simcha Bunim of Parshischo, saying “The Talmud (Eruvin 13a) states that when a person runs away from honor, honor will run after him. I run away from honor, but honor does not pursue me.” “The reason,” explained the Reb Simcha Bunim, “is because you keep looking back, and therefore it hides from you.” (Gateway To Happiness, Reb Zelig Pliskin, p.283, citing Simchas Yisroel, p.57)
We read about honor seeking in this week’s Torah portion Korach. Korach “had it all,” but it was not enough. As Moshe said to Korach, “Is it not enough for you that the G-d of Yisroel has segregated you from the assembly of Yisroel to draw you near to Him [Hashem], to perform [as a Levi] the service of the Mishkan of Hashem, and to stand before the assembly to minister to them? And He drew you near, and all your brethren, the offspring of Levi, with you-- yet you seek priesthood (to be a Kohen) as well?!?”(Bamidbar 16:9-10)
When Korach failed to receive the honor he felt he deserved, Korach attempted to stage a revolt against Moshe. We see how Korach’s search for honor eventually caused his own death and the death of many others who supported him. If honor seeking is the source of evil, then surely shunning honor is a source of blessing. The following story, which is a continuation from last week, illustrates this point.
Last week, we read the story about 2 Bar Mitzvah boys whose bar mitzvahs came out on the same Shabbos, parshas Yisro. The Gabbai (attendant) in the shul, had forgotten that both boys had bar mitzvahs on the same shabbos. Thus, when both boys and their fathers approached the bima to read from the Torah, nobody knew what to do! One of the boys Shlomo, was new to the neighborhood and he had had a hard time integrating into the local yeshiva and making friends, etc.
The other boy Binyamin recognized Shlomo's difficulties. Binyamin overcame his desire to read the Torah that Shabbos, and instead he let Shlomo read the parsha. Four years later, Binyamin's knowledge of his bar mitzvah parsha came to good use.
One Erev Shabbos, Mrs. Neuman - Binyamin's mother was experiencing heart trouble, and she was rushed to the Hospital. Mrs. Neuman was taken straight to the Cardiology Department. A whole set of tests were immediately ordered. Mrs. Newman would have to stay in the hospital until the results were ready - after Shabbos.
Binyamin's father told Binyamin to stay with his mother in the hospital, and he went back home to be with the other children for Shabbos.
That evening Friday night, a doctor came into Mrs. Newman's room. "We've found the cause of the problem, Mrs. Newman. We can treat it with a new medicine, or we can operate. But you must decide by tomorrow, because if you want to take the medication we must start right away - and if you prefer surgery, we have to prepare you with other medicines."
Binyamin and his mother didn't know what to do. Mrs. Newman didn't trust herself to decide, and Binyamin was only 17... It was already Shabbos, so they could not call Binyamin's father and ask him what to do. Binyamin suddenly noticed how noisy it was in the hallway outside his mother's room. He went out to look.
"What happened?" he asked someone standing nearby. "Oh, didn't you hear? Rabbi Yoseif Shalom Elyashiv was admitted to the hospital just before Shabbos."
Rav Elyashiv is one of the greatest Torah leaders of our time, an elderly sage who lives in Yerushalayim. People from all over the world come to him for advice and guidance and with all kinds of questions, including medical ones. He had not been feeling well that Friday and was taken to the hospital. Although they did not find anything seriously wrong, the doctors thought that he should remain there until after Shabbos, just to be sure that everything was okay.
"Baruch Hashem," thought Binyamin, "I'll ask Rav Elyashiv what to do. Abba always goes to him for advice."
But as Binyamin watched, a crowd of people filled the end of the hallway near Rav Elyashiv's room. How would he ever get to see the Rabbi? Then he had an ideal
"This Shabbos is Parshas Yisro, my Bar Mitzvah Parsha," he thought. "I remember exactly how to read it. I will offer to read the Torah for the Rabbi's small minyan tomorrow, and then afterwards, perhaps I'll have a chance to speak to him."
Later that evening, Binyamin knocked quietly at the door of the Rabbi's room. "May I ask for the privilege of reading the Torah for the Rabbi tomorrow? It is my Bar Mitzvah Parsha and I know it very well..."
The Rabbi graciously accepted Binyamin's offer. And so, the next day, Binyamin finally read his Bar Mitzvah Parsha-four years late, but just in time now!
After davening, Rav Elyashiv called Binyamin over to thank him. Binyamin then told the Rabbi of his problem. "I have to give the doctors an answer right away," he said. Rav Elyashiv is a beloved, very well-known and deeply respected person, so Israel's best cardiologist (heart doctor) had been sent to take care of him.
"Don't worry, Binyamin," said Rav Elyashiv. "I will ask my own doctor, Professor Shammai Tzivoni, to see your mother. With the help of Hashem, she will recover completely
That night, right after Shabbos, Professor Tzivoni examined Mrs. Newman and then spoke to Rav Elyashiv. He recommended that an operation be performed as soon as possible. The professor decided that himself would do it, first thing the next morning.
Soon after the operation, Mrs. Newman returned to her family in full health, Baruch Hashem!" "Rav Elyashiv really did not need to be in the hospital at all," said Binyamin. "Hashem sent him to save my mother's life!" Hashem notices everything, no good deed goes un-rewarded..." Good Shabbos Everyone.

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's parsha Chukas, we read about the mysterious mitzvah of Parah Aduma, the red heifer. The procedure of the Parah Aduma involved the use of the ashes of a burned red cow to purify those who had been contaminated through contact with a dead body. The mystery of the power of the Parah Aduma to purify lays in the deepest level of understanding the Torah. Even the wisest of men Shlomo HaMelech, could not fathom the mitzvah of the red cow.
One lesson we can however learn from the mitzvah of the red cow, is a lesson in human relations. One irony of the red cow procedure is the following: it purified the impure; while at the same time, it made impure the Kohen who performed the procedure. After the procedure, the Kohen would himself have to undergo a ritual purification, albeit a less complicated procedure than the one who had touched a corpse. The lesson we learn from this irony is the following: We must do chesed - kindness for others, even when it causes us a loss of time or money, for example.
A survivor of the flames of the Holocaust, Shmuel Grunbaum left war-torn Europe and emigrated to America, hoping to rebuild a new life for himself. He made his home in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, among many other fellow Holocaust survivors. But they were all struggling for a livelihood. How would R' Shmuel support himself?
The hand of Hashem guided R' Shmuel. After various failed attempts to find a job, R' Shmuel found a position working in an egg store. It was a dependable job, but the salary was minimal. Reb Shmuel had to devise an additional means of income. Building on his current position, R' Shmuel began an innovative service: he would sell and deliver eggs directly to the customer.
Business began slowly, with an order here and an order there. Word of R' Shmuel's prompt and ethical business spread, and soon R' Shmuel received his first weekly customer. One afternoon, R' Shmuel was busy making his scheduled deliveries. He walked up the narrow flight of steps and carefully placed the carton of eggs on the doorstep of his one weekly customer.
R' Shmuel walked down the steps and began making his way down the street. Quite unexpectedly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Excuse me, can you help us make a minyan for minchah?" The man motioned toward the basement entrance of the building he had just left. "Certainly, I will join you." Within a few minutes, the afternoon davening commenced.
Their small minyan of ten grew as davening progressed. All proceeded normally until the middle of the chazan's recitation of the prayers. A sudden movement at one side of the shul caught R' Shmuel's attention.
A man was entering the low-ceilinged shul with a large carton in his hands. R' Shmuel had no trouble recognizing the carton—it contained the eggs he had just delivered! R' Shmuel watched in confusion as the man circulated the room. Each person took a few eggs from the carton and put them aside until the end of minchah.
When his turn came, R' Shmuel waved the man on, indicating that he had no need for eggs. He looked at the eggs in the man's hand, then stared around the shul. Each man there was now the proud possessor of one or two eggs. R' Shmuel was flabbergasted. What was the reason for this strange ritual?
When the davening was over, R' Shmuel approached the man with the now empty carton. "Tell me, where does this custom come from—to give out eggs by davening?" The man smiled at his puzzled expression. "This is the Skvere shtiebel (shul)" he explained.
"The Rebbetzin, who lives upstairs, wanted to support a fellow in the wholesale eggs business. She places a weekly order, but she doesn't really need so many eggs. So she asked me to give them out to the minyan so they won't go to waste. Understand? It is as simple as that."
R' Shmuel nodded thoughtfully. "Oh, yes," he said fervently, "I understand a lot better than you think." R' Shmuel thanked the man and ascended the stairs into the waning sunlight. His burden had been lightened by the discreet concern and chesed of the Rebbetzin of Skvere Trany Twersky, blessed memory.
We can learn from this story to try always to do chesed - acts of kindness for others. The Mishna teaches that in fact, doing acts of kindness is one of the three foundations upon which the world rests. (Avos 1,2)
The Kohen sacrificed his own ritual purity for the benefit of anther Jew. The same way, must we all sacrifice ourselves to do chesed for others. If we seek always to do kindness for others, then Hashem will surely do kindness with us, because, the mishnah in Sotah (1,7) teaches us that Hashem relates to us, based on the way we relate to others. Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah

I received this letter on Thursday this week. Since the father is a personal friend of mine and a Rabbi who just happens to be a person to put it mildly not swimming in money. I want to reprint his letter on behalf of his widowed daughter-in-law:I am sending you this email regrettably because of the tragic passing of our 35 yr. old Bechor Zvi Moshe olov hashalom after an almost 2 year battle with cancer . The loss has been unbearable for all who knew him and even for many who only got to know him after his passing. A beautiful rose was plucked out by Hashem . We are certain that all the crying and davening of so many of you has not gone unheard and we are very grateful.
He left an Aishes Chayil and 5 very beautiful children ages from 4-14.
A fund has been started under the auspices of the Vaad Harabonim of Eretz Yisrael. This is mainly necessary to help for the future physical and mental needs of the family and including covering medical and other debts incurred because of the long period of incapacitation.
Please see what you can personally contribute and just as important if not more important, to encourage and pass this on to all concerned people. All contributions are tax deductible with receipt provided and in many countries. In all your contact and communication you must mention Fund number 3059 (Keren 3059) in order for these funds to go towards Michal and the children.
In USA- the toll free number is 1-877-8223427 for info and credit cards..
Checks ( please note fund # 3059 on the memo part of the check) can be mailed to :
Vaad Harabonim
221 Regent Dr.
Lakewood, N.J. 08701 USA
In Israel the toll free number is 1-800-223636 or *072 for ""horohat Keva" info and credit cards.. Checks ( please note Keren # 3059 on the memo part of the check) can be mailed to :
Vaad Harabonim
P.O. Box 50585
Yerushalayim 91050

Have a wonderful Shabbos and a peaceful one,

Rachamim Pauli