Friday, July 22, 2011

Parsha Pinchas, Matos, Finish of Chapter 1 of Perkei Avos

Quote of the Month or of the Year


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America ’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the

US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America ’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better.”


As most of my readers knew I was on vacation for the last 10 days. I made a great loop from FL to Denver by plane. I then drove to Yellowstone National Park, Salt Lake City for Shabbos by the Chabad of Utah staying in a nearby Motel then on to Arches National Park, Canyonsland National Park and Colorado National Monument and back to Denver for my flight back. The scenes were lovely with my 4th and maybe last time in Yellowstone and second time in the other parks. However, since the price of airline flights and rent a car has risen along with Motel Rates and food, I found it about the same cost of a cruise in a cabin with a small porch without having to schlep and purchase my food and drag the suitcases in and out of the car daily. Even a group tour is not too bad considering the convenience of somebody else worrying about the kosher headaches and gives you guidance and perspective that you might have missed out on. This time I bought a book on the geology of Yellowstone and took some photos in matching Yellowstone shirts of my wife and I. Just about every day I made a new blessing on a wonderous site during my trip. I saw a few lightning storms, rainbows and wonderful works of creation. I only forgot to say the blessing of different creatures over the Buffalo aka Bison.

Big Brother is here now! A Pithy Editorial

While I was on tour something aweful happened! I have two Facebook Profiles one with about 90 friends and one with 3670 “friends”. My last logon to the first profile did not work one day. So I tried to logon to the second profile which was last logged on in June from Israel. Now comes the scary part:

The second profile identified me as “Your last logon was in West Yellowstone Montana!” What the heck!!! Who and why am I being tracked where the heck I am in the world? What is it their business!!! Is it in the intel chip in my computer but Facebook mentioned it. MY wife had problems with Google too. Something not nice is going on. It is being gathered about us information that should be private!!! It is bad enough that every spy agency in the world intercepts most but the secure of the secure internet messages. But now individuals are being tracked around the world. When I am on a server in Israel, I get either sites in German or the UK. Why should this be or as we say in German WARUM? So if you want privacy use a private telephone and not a cellphone that will only involve normal spy agencies. Just look how Osama was caught by a cellphone slip-up!

Some of the companies are required to provide information to the government and you get yourself fully scanned at Denver Airport whether you want it so if you want privacy drive or cruise anywhere. It is terrible and disgusting. I watched the TSA pat down an elderly white Anglo-Saxon lady in a wheel chair. With my familiarity with terrorists for the last 41 years, I can tell you that granny did not fit the profile of an average male Gazan! So we have big brother and idiotic Homeland Insecurity supposedly making us safe at the expensive of our rights and dignity and believe me without being a master terrorist, I can figure how to sneak weapons about a plane. Terrorists have more brains than the TSA and note passing or sign language eliminates the watchful eye of big brother.

Parsha Pinchas

25: 10 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 11 'Pinchas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was very jealous for My sake among them, so that I consumed not the children of Israel in My jealousy. 12 Wherefore say: Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be unto him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.' 14 Now the name of the man of Israel that was slain, who was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a fathers' house among the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head of the people of a fathers' house in Midian.

I mentioned in past years about the reincarnation of Zimri as Rabbi Akiva and Cozbi as Rachel his wife and Zur as Kalba Savua. The 24,000 that died in the plague became the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva.

26:28 The sons of Joseph after their families: Manasseh and Ephraim. 29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites--and Machir begot Gilead; of Gilead, the family of the Gileadites. 30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Iezer, the family of the Iezerites; of Helek, the family of the Helekites; 31 and of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites; 32 and of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 33 And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34 These are the families of Manasseh; and they that were numbered of them were fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.

The Torah does not mince words. Every word written down in the Torah is poignant. This means that we have an important message here. When the land wass divided Zelophchad was to get a double portion or more for he was a first born the son of a first born (Talmud). But wait there is more! His daughters are mentioned in inheritance. In fact looking deeper in the generation of the children we seen Zelophchad and even more so his children. Not only children but female children!

What brought about the merit of the mention of these five women? We have to go back 38 years previously to the incident with the spies. The men wanted to return to Egypt while the daughters of Zelophchad wanted a share in Eretz Yisrael. The Torah tells us about Sara and Rivka that they had the ability to sense what Avraham and Yitzchak could not sense. They were able to understand on the level of feeling that reached a higher plain in spiritually than the level of logic. Men and Women think differently and one complements the other. Even though we sometimes miss the boat, the woman sense and seize spiritually things differently than men. The level of emotion is higher and this can be used as with the daughters of Zelophchad as a powerful spiritual mechanism to challenge their Tribal Leaders, Elazar Cohain Gadol and Moshe Rabbaynu. It was their love of Eretz Yisrael that gave them an inheritance forever. In short very often women have more faith and trust in G-D than men.

44 The sons of Asher after their families: of Imnah, the family of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the family of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the family of the Beriites. 45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites. 46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.

Another Daughter! The Torah comes to teach us a number of lessons. Serah sang to Yacov that Yosef was still alive. When he found it to be true, he blessed her with longevity and supposedly she lived 400 years. It appears that she would be around 275 plus or minus years at the time of re-entering Eretz Yisrael based on the number 210 given in the Chumash and 40 years in the desert and 22 years of Yosef in Egypt. There is another Medrash that states that Serah was really the daughter of Asher’s wife and that she was accredited to him as he raised her as his own.

63 These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. 64 But among these there was not a man of them that were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the LORD had said of them: 'They shall surely die in the wilderness.' And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

There is a Medrash that states that 15,000 men survived because of their repentance, prayer and non-participation in the revolt of the spies. However, the Medrash goes against this straight forward Pasuk.

27: 1 Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.

If Moshe made this up he would never have given in those days so many rights as land ownership to women as he would have been stoned but if ordered by HASHEM he would be willing to risk his life.

6 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 7 'The daughters of Zelophchad speak right:

What made them correct was their unbounded love for Eretz Yisrael for the sake of heaven.

thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. 8 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. 9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. 10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. 11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it.

The land of Israel was meant for families and the various tribes and the order of inheritance had to be established now for the people about to enter the land. There is no learning like practical learning. 42.5 years ago I began learning the Mishnayos on Teruma and Maasros. It was hard and in theory only. Just close to 41 years ago, I came to Israel and Teruma and Maaser became a practical application for me. I have learned some of the laws of ritual slaughter and all of Chullin twice but to slaughter an animal kosher will not make sense to me until I get a hands on approach. The Korbanos are the same for me until I get to see the Tamid (daily sacrifice) in the Beis HaMikdash. The Pessach I have some idea based on various scenes of the sacrifice on Mount Gerizim.

Parsha Matos

This week’s Parsha always falls in the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av more about this time of year later on.

The Sages of blessed memory did not like people making vows in general and even though we have two of the twenty volumes of the Talmud - Nazir and Nedarim are based on vows they are not good to make. The Sages wanted a man not to make any vows at all. Vows only lead to problems therefore a person should not make a vow in the first place. Our Parsha opens up with vows. One who makes a vow is one who makes cereal for himself and then he has to eat what he made.

30: 2 And Moses spoke unto the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, saying: This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded. 3 When a man vows a vow unto the LORD, or swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceed out of his mouth.

This is clear and simple but the next Pasukim needs clarification.

4 Also when a woman vows a vow unto the LORD, and binds herself by a bond, being in her father’s house, in her youth, 5 and her father hears her vow, or her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father holds his peace at her, then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. 6 But if her father disallow her in the day that he hears, none of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand; and the LORD will forgive her, because her father disallowed her.

At first it appears that it is unfair for women and makes them inferior. However, if one stops and looks deeper he sees that in truth that the father is looking out for the daughter’s interest. For if a woman has a vow not to eat or drink something or a 12 year old vows not to marry A. and then when she grows up the boy A. becomes a Talmud Chacham and not a pest wouldn’t it be better for her that the father did not allow her vow.

7 And if she be married to a husband, while her vows are upon her, or the clear utterance of her lips, wherewith she hath bound her soul; 8 and her husband hear it, whatsoever day it be that he hears it, and hold his peace at her; then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. 9 But if her husband disallow her in the day that he hears it, then he shall make void her vow which is upon her, and the clear utterance of her lips, wherewith she hath bound her soul; and the LORD will forgive her.

Husbands are not known for tact and wives are emotional. What will happen if the husband complains about the Gefilte Fish and the wife in an emotional outburst of hurt and anger vows never to make the dish anymore. The husband can nullify the vow and the same with not having more children after a painful childbirth or no more family relations. If the husband is silent on the second one they must divorce according to Halacha.

10 But the vow of a widow, or of her that is divorced, even everything wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand against her.

We see here that the woman like the daughters of Zelophchad are independent of all authority and manage themselves. It will take a Talmid Chacham or a Beis Din to nullify her vow or that of a man who renounces his vow.

11 And if a woman vowed in her husband’s house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath, 12 and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not, then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.

An example a certain charity donation from her salary and the husband has no reason to be disturbed by this.

13 But if her husband make them null and void in the day that he hears them, then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips, whether it were her vows, or the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD will forgive her. 14 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may let it stand, or her husband may make it void. 15 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day, then he causes all her vows to stand, or all her bonds, which are upon her; he has let them stand, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. 16 But if he shall make them null and void after that he hath heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity. 17 These are the statutes, which the LORD commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between a father and his daughter, being in her youth, in her father’s house.

All these laws are for having peace at home between husband and wife.

‘There is no point in dying’

The sensational literary trove left by ‘the Norwegian Anne Frank’ has finally been published in Hebrew − 70 years after her death at Auschwitz. By Ofer Aderet

On October 16, 1934, Ruth Maier wrote in her diary: “I want to be famous. I don’t want to fall or die like a cog in the machine. I can’t imagine myself in the gloom of anonymity, as it were. People disappear. I want to live! To leave something behind, a document that I was here. Some big, beautiful enterprise.”

Maier was only 14 at the time − a Viennese girl from a bourgeois, intellectual, assimilated Jewish family. Like many girls her age, she envisioned great plans for the life that awaited her. Over the next eight years, her diaries filled up 1,100 pages. In addition to these she wrote some 300 letters. Her notebooks overflowed with philosophical debates, literary musings, poems and the experiences of an adolescent girl living in the shadow of the Nazi regime − unrequited love, first sexual experiences, confusion, fear, despair − as well as with evidence of a full, rich and cultured life.

At 22, Maier was murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. For almost 50 years her diaries lay hidden in the home of her lover, the Norwegian poet Gunvor Hofmo, whom she met during the final years of her life, as a refugee in Norway. The diaries, mostly written in German, were found in Hofmo’s estate following her death in 1995.

Processing and editing the material took more than a decade, and the work was completed after the subsequent discovery of Maier’s letters, which her family had saved. “Ruth Maier’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life Under Nazism” was published four years ago in Norway; the English edition, by Random House, came out in 2009. Now the diaries of “the Norwegian Anne Frank” − as she was dubbed in Europe − have been published in Hebrew (as “Yomana shel Ruth Maier,” Schocken Books; translated from German by Arno Baehr).

Maier was a person of contradictions, and her diaries are filled with examples of this: her attraction to men as opposed to her love for women; her disgust with religion and Jewish nationality in contrast to her Zionist activity and yearning for the Land of Israel; and also her love of life versus her desire to die. Her father’s death from illness, when she was 13, left its mark. Three years later she wrote in her diary: “Yesterday I lay in the hay wagon and looked at the sky. I asked myself what death feels like. The best thing will be if we are reborn again, if we come back and feel alive. Because it’s so good to be here. But if that isn’t possible, if it goes against reason, then it’s also good if we have lived just once.

Because after you’ve seen it all, the sun, the flowers, the forests, and if you have also loved someone, then in fact you’ve seen it all, and there isn’t any need to go on living.”
After perusing the condolence letters her mother received after her father died, she wrote: “It’s depressing to see that people wrote such pointless and stupid things. It’s sad to think that the turn of the pointless people who wrote such letters will also come ... When I think that all that remains of a beautiful and rich life is a few condolence letters, I feel like throwing up.”

Maier’s sense of life’s ephemerality was translated at times into a fierce desire to exploit it to the full.

“In life you have to look for the beautiful and the good. Not wait until it comes of its own accord. If you expect too much from life, you will surely be disappointed. But if you look at life without any expectation and hope, you discover the marvelous everywhere, and even in the smallest and lowliest place,” she wrote in May 1937. Five months later, she added: “Sometimes I think that everything is so fleeting, and everything living and vibrating that I hold fast to my heart today, will be gone tomorrow. And will rot in the grave. It’s hard to think this. It’s saddening. Frightening. And also: Every person should be loved, because life is short.”

By November she was looking at things around her through the prism of death: “How lovely to walk the streets, just to look and walk. To wander around, hands in pockets, and enjoy life. People playing a hand organ. A grandmother babysitting her grandson and waiting for his mother ... At that moment I thought: This boy, with the smooth, happy, innocent face, was born to shoot other people to death ... This boy, with the soft wrinkle-free face, they will incite to murder and blood. And this boy will be killed by a shell, and at the time of his death will cry out for his mother. It was so clear. All of a sudden.”

On that same occasion she also referred to herself: “I think it is not natural that life goes on only for so long as it goes on, 50 or 70 years. Perhaps I will get to live all of life. Perhaps I will get to create something or other. I shall act and write, or live. I will have a beautiful life, or perhaps paint ... Maybe someone will read this after my death. I wish him happiness ... There is no point in dying. I will fight for a better world. I make this promise. I will keep it.”
‘Shout and scream!’

In March 1938 the Nazis invaded Austria. On October 5, Maier wrote: “Early morning, no one is out on the street. A young Jew appears, elegantly dressed. Two SS men materialize.

One, and also the other, give the Jew a slap, he teeters ... grasps his head ... continues walking. I, Ruth Maier, 18, ask as a person, ask the world if such a thing is possible ... I ask why it is allowed ... I’m not talking about pogroms, about abusing Jews, about shattering windows, about looting in apartments ... there the abysmal despicableness is not as striking as here, in this slap ... If there’s a God: This slap must be avenged with blood.”

Further on she added: “What more will you demand? Slit my arteries so that my Jewish blood spills. Shout and scream! You pigs. And if you read these lines, pull out my hair, slap me. I am at your disposal ... And afterward play jazz music and enjoy life. Because it truly is a pleasure. Yes! I had clean forgotten that there are still fields, golden stalks, sun, soft wind, stars, blue skies. Now it is all so distant.”

The situation escalated and reached a climax later in the year, on Kristallnacht, November 9-10. “They beat us! Yesterday was the hardest day I have ever experienced. Now I know what a pogrom is, know what human beings are capable of doing. Human beings who were created in God’s image. There across the way a truck full of Jews. They stood erect, like sheep to the slaughter! That sight I shall not be able nor want to forget. We fled home like animals being pursued, we went up the stairs huffing and puffing. And after that it began: They beat, arrested, broke furniture, etc. We sat at home pale-faced, from the street Jews came up to us who looked like corpses.”

As was her custom, Maier also added commentary to her descriptions of events: “Even if we are all forced to bear a yellow patch − the morality, what is within us, the world we carry inside us, that they cannot take from us. And so they take out their fury on the display windows.”

The pogroms evidently augmented the young woman’s feelings of ethnic affiliation, despite her assimilated background − as seen in another entry in late November: “Yes! This is the thing, to feel at home, to feel secure, to be a human being. That is what the term ‘the Promised Land’ says to me. The life I could lead in England, in France, and maybe also in America, are nothing but ‘migrants’ lives.’ Who knows better than us, German Jews in the year 1938, how tragic, how horrific these ‘migrants’ lives’ are ... Is it not obvious that tears will come to our eyes when we see Palestine for the first time? Will we not feel like rejected children, tortured, pale, tired, sick and beaten, who have found their mother at long last?”

Ruth Maier’s sister, Yehudit, left Vienna two months later as part of one of the Kindertransport rescue operations, and along with thousands of other Jews found refuge in England. Maier described the farewell in her diary: “Grandmother cries and Mother cries.

Boys and girls with rucksacks and small suitcases. Another kiss, one more, and one final one ... heart-wrenching sighs. ‘Mother,’ I said, ‘Mother, look, this is our youth, the Jewish youth and it will stand tall, it has learned, it has suffered as only few have suffered, and it will build with its own hands a new life.’”

Maier’s mother and grandmother also escaped to England in the months that followed, but Ruth refused to join them − apparently because she thought she would be forced to work as a domestic servant there. In subsequent years all her efforts to obtain an entry permit to England or the United States failed.

At the end of January 1939 she fled to Oslo; a friend of her late father’s had agreed to host her in his home there. As happened with other older men in her life − including a Latin teacher and a famous sculptor for whom she modeled − the relationship with the Norwegian shifted between infatuation, sexual attraction and fierce loathing.

She never saw her family again. Contact with her mother, grandmother and sister was maintained through numerous letters, which reveal Maier’s distress and loneliness. In October she wrote her sister: “When I have no letter from you, you are far from me as though we were strangers to each other. I feel clearly that what connects us is only the few lines we exchange between us ... When I look at you in pictures, I sometimes feel that you are a stranger. It’s hard to believe that we lived together.”

Her entry in January 1940: “You are beginning to turn into supernatural legendary characters. The idea, that the four of us will be together again, is too beautiful to be real. And nevertheless that thought of you is what causes me to hear the word ‘future.’” And she added later, “It is terrible when you love and cannot meet. But there is nothing to be done. I live only for our renewed meeting.”

Too late, Maier realized the fatal mistake she had made in immigrating to Norway instead of England. “My coming to Norway was the biggest folly of the century,” she wrote. “I must get out of here.”

She found a measure of comfort in her romantic relationship with Hofmo. While their love also gave rise to immense pain, which led to Maier’s hospitalization following a nervous breakdown, it also led to a number of love poems that appear in the diaries.

On April 9, 1940, the Germans invaded Norway; the king and the leaders of his government escaped to London. Within a short while a local puppet government was installed, which operated under the orders of the German Reich. The authorities began persecuting the country’s Jews, despite protests among the public and the Church, and despite the activity of the underground resistance that fought the Nazis. Half of Norway’s Jews, some 800 people, perished in the Holocaust.

In the fall of 1942, some 500 of Oslo’s Jews were arrested and sent by boat to Stettin, in Poland, and then by train to Auschwitz. Maier was among them. Her final letter to Hofmo was penned on the boat: “I believe that it is good that it has come to this. Why should we not suffer, when there is so much suffering?”

Thanks to my cousin David:

Perkei Avos Chapter 1 Mishnah 12 – 18

12. Hillel and Shammai received from them. Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of Aaron--a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and raws them close to Torah.

Try your utmost to control your temper and love every Jew. Try to make it your business for peace in your house and for peace with your neighbors.

13. He would also say: One who advances his name, destroys his name.

A person who looks for fame and making himself a name by not doing anything to deserve it but promotes his name in a manner of advertising,

One who does not increase, diminishes.

In the times of inflation or even hidden inflation for example a half gallon of milk about a year ago was $2.38 and this year $3.40 plus or more yet the statistics base on the skewed way of conducting inflation statistics by the government knows that leaving money in the bank with no interest is not an option.

One who does not learn is deserving of death.

For being a boor in Torah one can only violate the Shabbos and either need to make a Korban, occur Kares or in the days of the Sanhedrin be over the death penalty. So one must learn the laws and further the observance the Torah.

And one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish.

People who learn Torah have no right to fool and trick people like quack Rabbis and false Kabbalists. In the end they will be found out and perish.

14. He would also say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

Don’t be selfish but on the other hand stand up for your rights. For one who tramples on others or one who lets others trample on him is not worth much. If you delay things they may never happen that is why Hillel the Elder tried to do things in a timely fashion all his life.

15. Shammai would say: Make your Torah study a permanent fixture of your life. Say little and do much. And receive every man with a pleasant countenance.

Make sure that you have a permanent place for prayer in your usual Synagogue and a regular seat and Chavrutha in the Beis Medrash. (Wait until I hear my own Mussar back from Rav Mimran Shlita after my vacation) Don’t be a chatterbox lest you say Lashon HaRa or blurt out something that should not be said. And treat all people well and equal in your eyes from the king or general manager to the janitor for one does not know when a person is going to need you or help you.

16. Rabban Gamliel would say: Assume for yourself a master; stay away from doubt; and do not accustom yourself to tithe by estimation.

Acquire for yourself a Rabbi or tutor in Torah even if you must pay for it. Do not enter into doubt in Halacha and give more than the required tithe by a little.

17. His son, Shimon, would say: All my life I have been raised among the wise, and I have found nothing better for the body than silence.

No idle talk with Rabbis but into the studies straight forward and the ability to listen and learn from everybody.

The essential thing is not study, but deed. And one who speaks excessively brings on sin.

Doing a Mitzvah is more important than studying theorectically the Mitzvah. As in the case of Teruma, Maaser and Shemita one can sit in Gateshead, Brooklyn, Paris or Melbourne and study about these Mitzvos more than the poor Moshav worker will ever know; but the farmer is doing and living these Mitzvos in Eretz Yisrael. So the farmer is not the star of Monsey, Lakewood or Ner Yisrael but he is giving Kiyum to Torah (existence of Torah in this world) for the purpose of creation is to bring up this world through deeds to the level of the next.

Excessive talk not only leads to sin like too much talk with the opposite sex but also leads to Bitul Torah.

18. Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel would say: By three things is the world sustained: law, truth and peace. As is stated (Zachariah 8:16), "Truth, and a judgement of peace, you should administer at your [city] gates.''

This world needs Torah and laws and the truth for lies cannot stand but without peace one is limited in his thoughts and actions and may not be free enough to have a composed mind to give the law properly.`

We have completed chapter 1 of Perkei Avos and will continue to relearn it in the future each time giving birth to more and more ideas about the same words of the sages as we shall see at the end of chapter five for the first time we learn the Mishnah is not like the hundred and first and we see new things each time.

Halacha from Danny Schoemann

The Bracha on falling stars can only be said once per night even if one sees different meteors every time. One can only say the Bracha once per comet, unless 30 days have passed since one last saw it. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:2

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

In the year 3,339, on 9th Tamuz, the city walls of Jerusalem were breached by the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar's army. Four weeks later - on 9th Av - the first Bet Hamikdash was destroyed. One may cut one's nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls. On each Shabbat of the "3 weeks" we read a Haftara in which the prophet warned about the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. The first week (this week) we read the first chapter of Yirmiyahu, which is the Haftara for "Matos" in most Chumashim. The second week we read most of the second chapter of Yirmiyahu. The third week we read the the first chapter of Yeshayahu - Chazon; most of it in the sad tune that Megilat Eicha is read.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:6, 5

Shabbat Shalom - Danny

For 70 years - until the second Bet Hamikdash was built - the 9th Tamuz was a fast-day.

At the time of the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash the walls were breached a week later - on 17 Tamuz.
The Rabbis decided not to burden the Yidden with having to fast 2 weeks in a row.
Since the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash is more relevant to us, the original fast-day was dropped.
The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta'anit 4:5) is of the opinion that the walls were breached both times on 17 Tamuz, but due to the turmoil at the time of the first destruction, the date was wrongly recorded as 9 Tamuz.
Source: Tur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 549
- Danny

It's customary not to say the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu during the 3 weeks from 17 Tammuz until after 9 Av.

Therefore one should not buy nor wear new clothes during that period.

Since the "3 weeks" begin on Tuesday, one should finish one's shopping and wear all new clothes [at least for a short time] before then.

When eating a fruit for the first time in a season one says the Bracha of שהחיינו - Shehechiyanu.
If possible, one should not wait for the "3 weeks" to eat those fruit for the first time.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2

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

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72,:14, 122:3

This week we will read the Haftara of Parshat Pinchas (starting at Melachim-I Ch. 18:46) which talks about Eliyahu Hanavi. Most years Parshat Pinchas is during the 3 weeks and we then read a Haftara (Yirmiyahu Ch. 1) relating to the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash.

For Sephardim the halacha is not like the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch but according to the Beit Yosef.

The woes of the Churban - the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash - began on 17th Tamuz and ended with the Bet Hamikdash being set alight on the afternoon of 9 B'Av.

The fire burnt until sunset the following day.

This period of 23 days - which start on Tuesday - is know as "the 3 weeks" or Bein Hametzarim - בין המצרים.

As we then approach the 9th of Av - 3 weeks later - the laws of mourning intensify, as we will learn in the coming days.

The mourning continues until the day after the fast of 9 B'Av; i.e. 10 Av - July 21.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1, 124:20

Tuesday - was the fast of 17 Tamuz which commemorates 5 major misfortunes which happened to the Jewish people on this date:

• Moshe Rabbeinu broke the Luchot - the tablets - upon seeing the Golden Calf being worshiped
• The daily Tamid sacrifice was suspended in the first Bet Hamikdash as a result of the siege
• At the time of the 2nd Bet Hamikdash the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the enemy, three weeks before the destruction
• Apustumus the wicked [Roman] burned a Sefer Torah
• An idol was placed in the Bet Hamikdash

On every fast-day there is Kriat HaTorah (Torah Reading) at both Shacharit and Mincha.

At Mincha, the 3rd Aliya also reads the Haftarah (דִּרְשׁוּ from Yeshayahu 55:6). Only somebody who is fasting should be called up to the Torah on a fast day.

During the Mincha Amida, individuals add the "עֲנֵנוּ" prayer into the 16th Bracha; שְׁמַע קוֹלֵנוּ. If one forgot, one does not need to make amends.

The Chazzan adds עֲנֵנוּ during both Shacharit and Mincha, as a separate Bracha before רְפָאֵנוּ.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:15, 19:14, 20:8

Nearly everybody above Bar/Bat Mitzva needs to fast tomorrow - Tuesday. The fast starts at dawn and ends at nightfall.

Pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt from fasting.

Anybody who isn't healthy shouldn't fast. When in doubt, consult your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi).

Children are not allowed to fast.

Those who are not fasting should limit their food intake to the bare minimum; only bread and water if possible.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:9

The period between the fast of 17 Tammuz and the fast of 9 B'Av 3 weeks later is known as Bein Hametzarim, or "The 3 Weeks".

Since the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) started on 17 Tammuz with the breaching of the walls, and ended 3 weeks later when it was set alight, this period of 3 weeks has been set aside as a time of mourning.

If one plays a musical instrument for a living, one may continue to do so for non-Jews until Rosh Chodesh Av.

Some have the custom of refraining from meat and wine during the entire 3 weeks, except on Shabbat and Mitzva-meals (like at a Brit Mila).

One may cut one's nails during the 3 weeks, until the week in which 9 B'Av falls. On each Shabbat of the "3 weeks" we read a Haftara in which the prophet warned about the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. The first week (this week) we read the first chapter of Yirmiyahu, which is the Haftara for "Matos" in most Chumashim. The second week we read most of the second chapter of Yirmiyahu.
The third week we read the the first chapter of Yeshayahu - Chazon; most of it in the sad tune that Megilat Eicha is read.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:6, 5 Shabbat Shalom - Danny

Inyanay Diyoma

Lebanon is basically ruled by the extremist Muslim not that Sunni Muslims are more loving of non-Islamics.

Old anti-Semitism resurfaces while one speaks out.

Arab Men preying upon Jewish Women who sunbathe:,7340,L-4096350,00.html

Arabs try to burn forest to ignite the natural gas storage site in Yerushalayim at five points simultaneous.,7340,L-4096535,00.html


Bravo Intelligence operations:

Clothing by Audrey Russo on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 9:33am

"We live in an era of extremism...These same people who want to shrink government until you can drown it in a bathtub also want mom to get back in the kitchen and to take her shoes off and get pregnant...They’re offended by strong powerful women. Here’s the sad part: some of them are women themselves — Michele Bachmann could be an example." Keith Ellison at his July 6th address to the 2011 Campus Progress National Conference in Washington, D.C.

If there's one thing that can NEVER be said about the religion/ideology of Islam: It loves and respects women.

After such a bold statement by Ellison, I think we must take a little look at Mr. Ellison first, and then we'll look at the validity of his statement on Rep. Bachmann...

Ellison: Fulfilled one of the Five Pillars of Islam (Hajj), sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), by way of their US front group the Muslim American Society. The amount? $13,350. The MB is dedicated to the spread of Sharia worldwide. Sharia is a death-sentence for women. Spent President's Day in 2009 speaking at Qatar University’s College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, in Qatar. (Ostensibly respecting Sharia over his country.)

§ Is a master of Taqiyyah (lying for the sake of Islam), his disgracefully-weepy and completely histrionic performance in front of King's Islamic Radicalization hearings in March, where his paltered about one man on 9/11 saving people and being persecuted because he was Muslim (and if that was an audition, get the hook).

§ Is a sweetheart of the Saudis, whom he visited in April of this year and stated "we have common interests and aspirations." (Really? Which ones are those...the amputations, beheadings, wife-beatings, worldwide Ummah, the spread of Sharia? I wish he was more specific.) (By the way, on his trip to Saudi Arabia, Ellison also said, My focus is on people-to-people contacts." I think we had enough of their interpersonal relationships on 9/11.)

§ Ellison clearly supports entities whose stated purpose is to spread Sharia globally...which means he too supports that agenda. THAT is misogynist in itself.

How DARE he open his pie-whole, concerning woman's rights, with just the smidgeon revealed above? He should be glad women don't form a posse and hang him from his testicular audacity.

Now let's look at the facts about Rep. Bachmann:

§ She graduated from William & Mary School of Law in 1988, when she received her LL.M. Degree in Tax Law.

§ She worked as an attorney for the IRS.

§ She started a successful counseling business, with her husband, called Bachmann & Associates.

§ She's had an active and poignant political career since 1976.

§ She had 5 children with her husband and provided foster care for 23 troubled children.

I'm sorry...where was the "back in the kitchen and to take her shoes off and get pregnant" part?

With these few facts, Ellison's comments have revealed he's either out of Prozac (and that's being kind), or he's a filthy misogynist, who loathes women so much that he has to spin lies about them when they are bold enough to think outside the Burqa.

I think what Mr. Ellison needs, as condign punishment for his paltering, is to spend an entire a an arranged a full Saudi Arabia...under Sharia Law.

And according to him and his brethren...what's not to love? Shalom through strength...

Now For M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story: “Everyone Counts”, “Pink Elephant”

Good Shabbos Everyone. Menachem was unfortunately born very premature and with many disabilities. Among his disabilities were blindness and cerebral palsy, which meant that his walking would be awkward all his life. Knowing that Menachem would not be able to attend a conventional yeshivah, the Eisenbachs sought a school specifically geared to handicapped children.
The only institution available was Achvah, a government-run secular school. It had excellent programs for handicapped children, but much to the Eisenbachs chagrin, Achvah provided no religious education - Nevertheless, Menachem proudly wore his yarmulke and tzitzis to school every day, and thus his religiosity was obvious to both students and staff alike.
The Eisenbachs tried to teach their handicapped son as much as they could at home about Torah and mitzvos. Father or mother would daven with the child every morning, and he began to recite berachos regularly, before and after eating. Every Shabbos, despite the difficulty, Menachem would walk to shul with his father, and he soon became familiar with the routine of Shacharis, Minchah, Maariv, and Krias haTorah (the reading of the Torah).
Another handicapped student at Achvah was the granddaughter of a prominent rebbe in Jerusalem, a charming eight-year-old girl named Yehudis. Yehudis unfortunately suffered from leukemia, and because she and Menachem were the only religious children in the class, they became friendly.
The Eisenbachs were very thankful to Yehudis because she went out of her way to help their blind and crippled son. She would walk alongside Menachem and carry his books so that he could steady himself as he slowly and hesitantly limped to class.
Both children progressed in their schoolwork, but Yehudis' health began to deteriorate. When she was absent from school, the children in the class would worry for her, but Menachem would be terrified. She was his closest friend, the eyes he had never had. In her absence, he missed her daily words of encouragement. Gradually she missed school more and more often, and eventually she was hospitalized. One dark day she passed away.
Parents and children in Achvah were devastated by her death, he and many came to be menachem aveil (pay a consolation call). Menachem, who was ten at the time, went with his father to Yehudis' family.
Sensing the sadness in the home, he asked to be brought to the little girl's mother. Standing unsteadily in front of the grieving woman, Menachem said, "Please don't cry for Yehudis- She is going straight to Gan Eden. She is with Hashem." Containing his own anguish, the youngster continued, "Don't cry. She is with all the tzaddikim (righteous ones)."
Those who heard Menachem's high-pitched voice fought to hold back tears as he concluded, "She was my best friend, but I am happy for her that now she is in Gan Eden and is healthy."
A week later, the school faculty decided to have a memorial service for the beloved Yehudis, Parents and students were invited to the auditorium, where they were to be addressed by the principal and a psychologist who would discuss how to cope with the loss of such a young child.
When everyone had gathered in the crowded auditorium, the speakers addressed the assemblage in comforting tones. When the principal announced the end of the assembly, Menachem stood up and called out from the back row, "I would like to say something for my friend Yehudis."
Startled, everyone turned around and looked at the blind, crippled boy leaning on the chair in front of him. It was common knowledge that Yehudis had been an enormous support to Menachem.
The principal knew that she could not deny Menachem this opportunity, and so she turned to him and announced, "Please, Menachem, we would be delighted to hear what you wish to say," Down the center aisle Menachem made his way slowly and laboriously towards the podium. His father walked with him and guided him up the three steps to the little stage.
Before we finish the story, let us briefly discuss one inspiration thought from the Torah this week. In this week's Torah Portion Pinchas, we read about the last counting of the Bnai Yisroel (the Jews) in the desert. Why did Hashem need to count the Jews, did Hashem not know how many they were? The answer is perhaps the following: every Jew counts. Rashi brings a parable in this regard, one who holds a valuable object in his pocket will constantly check to make sure that it is there. Thus is Hashem's love for the Jewish people. The Talmud brings that Hashem as it were, wears tefillin. Asks the Talmud, what is written on Hashem's tefillin? "And who is like you Yisroel, a [unique] Nation in the land..."
Menachem took his position by the podium, steadied himself, and turned his head first sideways and then upward. He began the words no one had ever heard him say before or even realized he knew: "Yisgadal, v'yiskadash Shemey Rabba ..." Slowly and tediously he finished the entire Kaddish. It was all he wanted to say. Menachem couldn't see that everyone wept. (Along the Maggid's Journey, p.76 Rabbi Peysach Krohn)
Good Shabbos Everyone.

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's portion Mattos the Torah tells us how the Bnai Yisroel used horn blasts in their battles against Midian. In this vein, the Midrash discusses some of the other uses of horn blasts in Jewish communal life.
The Midrash tells us that in earlier times, the custom on erev Shabbos (Friday afternoon) was to blow three horn blasts to inform the public that the Holy Shabbos was approaching. The attendant of the shul would go up onto the highest roof of the city and there he would blow the horn. The first set of horn blasts was blown earliest in the day, in order to give notice of Shabbos to those workers in the fields who were the farthest away from the city. The second set of blasts was later in the day and was directed at those working even closer to the city. The third set of blasts began as the final moments of Shabbos approached. By the end of the third set of blasts, all of the residents of the city were to cease from all the creative labors which are forbidden on Shabbos.
It is interesting to note that to this very day, many Jewish communities in cities such as Jerusalem and Monsey, New York, use horns to announce the arrival of Shabbos.
Besides the interesting historical value of this discussion in the Midrash, what spiritual lesson can we take out of the fact that Shabbos is announced with horn blasts? The commentators teach us a beautiful and inspirational lesson based on this section of the Midrash.
This world is compared to the six days of the week, while the World to Come is compared to Shabbos.(See Sanhedrin 97a) As we approach the World to Come, which is a time of the eternal Shabbos, horn blasts are being blown to call Jews home to Torah and mitzvahs. The first set of blasts is now being blown. As we mentioned above, in earlier times, this first blast was to call those workers home who were furthest away, in order to give them enough time to come home. So too, as we approach the redemption and the World to Come, the world of the eternal Shabbos, the first horn blast has been blown for those Jews furthest away to come home to Torah observance.
We should recognize certain events in our lives as the horn blast calling us home. The further we are away from Hashem, Torah and mitzvahs, the sooner we must begin coming home, in order to be ready for the days of the eternal Shabbos. The following amazing and even humorous true story illustrates how one Jew heard the horn blast and made his way home.
Rabbi Eliezer Sandler was fortunate; in 1973, he became the first full-time Chief Jewish chaplain in the South African army since World War II. As part of his duties, Rabbi Sandler would visit bases throughout South Africa and Namibia. At that time, the army was fighting terrorist elements who were trying to destroy the fabric of South African society.
On his first visit to a certain base, Rabbi Sandler was told that there were three injured Jewish servicemen in the infirmary.
"I will go there at once," said Rabbi Sandler. The first two patients were clearly ill, their faces were gaunt and pale. One wore a cast from the hip down. The other was recovering from malaria. But the third patient surprised Rabbi Sandler. This third patient was a tall healthy-looking soldier who did not seem to be hurting in any way.
"Why are you here?" Asked Rabbi Sandler in puzzlement. "I am recovering from shock." The young soldier explained. "You see, I was trampled by an elephant."
"An elephant!" Said Rabbi Sandler in astonishment. The soldier nodded and said: "Let me tell you my story: I was part of a reconnaissance patrol. We were roaming though the jungle, looking for the enemy. Now remember, this is a wild jungle. Besides the human enemy, we also have to contend with the danger of wild animals such as lions and tigers. And when you see those animals close up in the African jungle, they look a lot larger than when you see them in a zoo!"
"As the radio man, I always carry radio equipment on my back. The radio gear is a big heavy package. If we spot the enemy, it is my job to call it in on the radio.
"Well, one day we happened to bump into a huge elephant. My buddies were bored and they decided to have some fun by teasing the elephant, pulling at its ears and tail. Nothing much happened at first. But eventually the elephant got angry. He raised his tusks in the air, he blasted his horn and trumpeted his war march, and started coming for us.
"We got the message, and we started running away as fast as we could. But my radio pack was heavy; it slowed me down. I tripped over a root on the jungle floor and fell flat on my face. Seconds later, the elephant ran right over me!"
"Now, elephants are pretty heavy. (An adult male African elephant can be up to 11 feet tall and weigh up to 6 metric tons!) The radio pack on my back was squashed to the size of a penny. So why am I still alive? That is just it. It was an absolute miracle. The ground happened to be soft sand, and when the elephant ran over me I sank right into the ground. I ended up completely unhurt. I am here just to recover from the shock."
Rabbi Sandler was in shock himself when the soldier completed his amazing story. "I have never heard a story like that," Rabbi Sandler began to say. "You know, you have to bench Gomel (the thanksgiving blessing) and offer thanks to G-d for saving you."
"I have never heard of that," said the soldier with interest. “How does it work?"
"You have to go to a shul and make the blessing with a minyan." Rabbi Sandler explained.
The soldier raised up hands and said "I am afraid that I still do not know what you are talking about."
Rabbi Sandler explained to the under-affiliated soldier some of the basics of Jewish ritual, including the idea of praying together in minyan (a quorum of ten men) in a shul. The young man listened intently. Unfortunately, he had grown up without any real Jewish education. After hearing what Rabbi Sandler had to say, the soldier was even more interested in giving thanks to G-d, but there was no synagogue or minyan in the African jungle.
After his recovery, the soldier returned home to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he finally had the opportunity to "bench Gomel" in a shul on a day when the community read from the Torah. However, the soldier did not stop at just "benching Gomel." He was determined to find out more about his heritage, the heritage which he was deprived of while growing up. Little by little, the young man learned more and more about Torah and mitzvahs. Today, the young soldier has come home and is totally Torah observant. All of his Torah is because of the foot of an elephant! (Visions of Greatness Vol. 5, Rabbi Y. Weiss, p.90)
In our story, the soldier heard the horn blast from an elephant. We should recognize the horn blasts in our own lives. These blasts are sounded to bring us home to Torah observance; so that we will be prepared for the the times of the eternal Shabbos, the World to Come.
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

Wishing everybody a peaceful Shabbos.

Rachamim Pauli