Rather than write a large Mussar Drasha at the start of Elul I will just advise people to do two things that I am working on for my own improvement. First start off word-word on the Shemona Esrey Prayer and learn a little more Torah. Since I have slacked on this, I work to repair my own faults and I suggest everybody do the same for their faults. For many a fault or weakness is between HASHEM and the individual.
A little factual humor: Hurricane Irene became a tropical storm when it hit the cyclone at Coney Island.
Laws of Noah (Noach)
People mistakenly think that the Torah's directive was to wipe out the Canaanites cruelly and indiscriminately. In truth, the Torah prefers that the Canaanites would avoid punishment; they were given many chances to accept peace terms. Even though abominable inhuman practice had been indoctrinated into the Canaanite psyche, the hope was that they'd change and adopt the seven universal laws of humanity. These "Laws of Noah" are basic to any functioning society:
- Do not murder.
- Do not steal.
- Do not worship false gods.
- Do not be sexually immoral.
- Do not eat the limb of an animal before it is killed.
- Do not curse God.
- Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
At the root of these laws lies the vital concept that there is a God Who created each and every person in His image, and that each person is dear to the Almighty and must be respected accordingly. These seven laws are the pillars of human civilization. They are the factors which distinguish a city of humans from a jungle of wild animals. Taken from: http://www.aish.com/print/?contentID=48938912§ion=/tp/i/ky
The Devarim Sandwich by Phil C. Torah Tidbits Published August 25, 2011 http://www.ouisrael.org/tidbits/print/Lead-Tidbit1/
There is a classic way to overview the book of Devarim. It is based on a Drash on the opening Pasukim of the book, in which the Torah tells us of three types of messages that Moshe is about to deliver in the remaining 37 days of his life.
In the GR"A’s analysis, the first three sedras - Devarim, Vaetchanan, and Ekev - the Torah - via Moshe - reviews the basics of Judaism. In those sedras we find the first two passages of the Shema. We find a review of the Aseret HaDibrot. And we also find a survey of the formative forty years of the Midbar, whose lessons are part of the foundation upon which the nation and religion is based.
The following three sedras - this week’s Reeh with 55 mitzvoth, next week’s Shoftim with 41, and the following week’s Mitzva-leading Ki Teitze with 74 - are the “meat” of Moshe’s farewell message to the People (and to us). The concepts are developed by the study of and observance of mitzvoth. Grand mitzvoth and everyday mundane mitzvoth (which are no less grand).
And then Moshe tells the people several important ideas that give meaning to the whole thing. Ideas such as Free Will, Reward and Punishment, Teshuva… and more. More on this in the pre-Rosh Hashanah weeks.
But let’s look at things a little differently. Let’s look at an amazing, prizewinning “sandwich”. The filling of the sandwich consists of the 170 mitzvot in the three “middle” sedras. Actually, it is the entire body of mitzvoth that is in this sandwich, either expressed or implied.
But let’s for a minute or two, look at the bread that sandwiches the delicious filling. The bread is important to the sandwich. Pastrami goes on rye or pumpernickel - not on white bread. (Resist the temptation to argue - AL TAAM V’AL REI’CH EIN L’HITVAKEI’ACH, De gustibus non est disputandum.) The point is, the bread of a sandwich is important. Halachically, it draws the Bracha and covers to filling on the inside.
But this is just the MASHAL. Let’s look at that which actually sandwiches the mass of mitzvoth in Reeh, Shoftim, and Ki Teitze.
It is simply - CHOICE and Free Will.
R’ei is introduced by our being told that after we enter the Land of Israel, we will undergo a special ceremony of Blessings and Curses on Har G’rizim and Har Eival. Why are the people being told that now?
May we suggest that the significance of this information is not the ceremony to come after entrance into Eretz Yisrael, but rather the definition of Blessing and Curse. Blessing is defined as keeping the mitzvoth. K’lala is defined as the opposite.
This is the slice of bread that immediately precedes the huge number of mitzvoth contained in the book of Devarim.
And the other slice? See what follows these three sedras - the instructions as to what to do after entry into Israel on Har Gerizim and Har Eval. Details about that which Reeh starts with. That makes twice that the Torah discusses that which was to take place at a time in their near future. Again, why?
Not just to tell us what will take place - the Torah does not do that in detail about other events. It is to link the observance of mitzvoth with the Berachos and k’lalot.
And as long as we mentioned pastrami on rye, let’s add the great pickle that goes with it.
As mentioned above - we have FREE WILL. We are given choices in life and we must exercise our Free Will.
Hopefully, we will choose wisely. Parshas Ki Savo sets down the choices and the consequences of each choice.
And then Parshas Nitzavim spells out the choices once more - and presents us with the Mitzva and concept of Teshuva in case we are foolish enough to choose poorly (and who isn’t?).
Finally, we have G-d’s “recommendation”. CHOOSE LIFE.
Sandwiched thusly, we get a better understanding of what G-d wants of us and of how many different things He commands us. Our challenge is clear. Let’s do it!
When I read Phil’s section, I had to relook at what I mistakenly taught. I wrote the last 7 days of Moshe’s life mixing up the ancient Hebrew Word for 11th month with 12th month. I can correct it in my word publication but I have to reteach it as 37 days.
16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God gives thee, tribe by tribe; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
In fact a town with 120 or more males could have a small Sanhedrin but most likely a group of farms and villages got together for a Beis Din and the Sanhedrin was a very large town or populated village.
19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a gift; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Often people are judged by us by their looks – that toothless old…, that handsome or beautiful, the outer package and clothing or status in society should be equal in the eyes of the judges even though they are human.
20 Justice, justice shalt thou follow, that thou may live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God gives thee.
The distance between false and true; guilty and not guilty are a hair’s breadth and it is easier to fall victim to a lying tongue than a stuttering truth. By your life in this world and the next weigh out everything carefully to the right or left; up or down or diagonally but seek and pursue the truth.
21 Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 22 Neither shalt thou set thee up a pillar, which the LORD thy God hates.
We look at this nonsense today and laugh but in the times of the Bible, there were reportedly negative spiritual creatures that occupied trees and stones according to the Talmud until they were banned and they would lead men astray. Berachos, Pessachim and other Tractate.
17:1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God an ox, or a sheep, wherein is a blemish, even any evil thing; for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Kayn offered inferior quality animals while Hevel offered the best and most beautiful fruit and that is why G-D accepted Hevel’s Korban vs. the inferior one of Kayn which lead to the first manslaughter for beforehand there was not concept of murder or death to humankind.
2 If there be found in the midst of thee, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God gives thee, man or woman, that does that which is evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have commanded not; 4 and it be told thee, and thou hear it, then shalt thou inquire diligently, and, behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 5 then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, who have done this evil thing, unto thy gates, even the man or the woman; and thou shalt stone them with stones, that they die.
Note a man and a woman wither adultery or civil suits are treated as equal before the Judges. It is not as feminists would charge – he is the big man and she is the little woman – not so. It does not matter if he is a Talmud Chacham and she is a slut and they are arguing in the court one against the other, justice must be done equal and fair.
6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee.
From here we learn that two witnesses are needed to bring a person to an Halachic Trial. Also we learn that it is witness who testify that must lay their hands on the guilty party.
8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. 9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee.
Some of this is based on the Urim and Tummim of the Cohain Gadol which does not exist since the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash. It also refers to the Sanhedrin and of course in lieu of both our greatest Rabbis today.
11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that stand to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
But as the Sedra started off this week we expect a fair and balanced approach and a Judge that is fully qualified who will not rest until the case is settled rather than the nonsense which occurs in Rabbinical Courts.
14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou may not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother.
A King or Ruler can only be from the Tribes of Yisrael and the same with a Judge. One cannot accept a person to Judge unless they are either born of at least one Jewish Parent or a few Generations of Converts. Shemaya, Avtalayon and Rabbi Akiva were from a few generations of Converts and all our Torah is from the first pair. The over expenditure of horses (military might) or wives was forbidden and in the end even Melech Shlomo the wisest of all men was made a fool of by some of his wives.
Here is a reason that Melech Shlomo failed because he intermarried and did not fully convert the women. Political Correctness is not necessarily what the L-RD wants. The Torah in Parsha VaEschanan warns us in Chapter 7:
3. You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son.
ג. וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם בִּתְּךָ לֹא תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ וּבִתּוֹ לֹא תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ:
ד. כִּי יָסִיר אֶת בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי וְעָבְדוּ אֱ־לֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְחָרָה אַף יְ־הֹוָ־ה בָּכֶם וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מַהֵר
Rashi comments: כי יסיר את בנך מאחרי:
בנו של גוי כשישא את בתך יסיר את בנך אשר תלד לו בתך מאחרי. למדנו שבן בתך הבא מן הגוי קרוי בנך, אבל בן בנך הבא מן הגויה אינו קרוי בנך אלא בנה, שהרי לא נאמר על בתו לא תקח כי תסיר את בנך מאחרי, אלא כי יסיר את בנך וגו':That will remove your son behind: the son of a Goy when he will marry your daughter will remove your son whom your daughter bore.
The children of your children are considered yours but only from your daughter with a non-Jew the Judaism does remain and is considered your son but the Gentile parent will lead him astray.
Next we learned that a daughter of the Goy called your son, but a son coming from your son via a Goya corpse is not called your son but her son, as was said about his daughter did not take that you remove your son from behind, but that will remove your son, etc.:
In my condensed translation of Shulchan Aruch Eben HaEzer on Siman 4 Se’ifim 4 and 5 I wrote:
Se’if 4: A pregnant Egyptian woman who converts and afterwards gives birth, the child is considered a second generation Egyptian convert.
Se’ if 5: If a Yisrael has relations with one of the above-mentioned peoples, the infant has the status of the lesser one. If one of these discounting a Maumzer had relations with a Jewess, the child is kosher. (Please note that the "Mithaber" R' Yosef Karo Ztzal says that the child is blemished to marry a Cohain based on the logical commentary of the Rosh while the Rif and the Rambam say that this child can marry a Cohain and this is how the Bash commentary holds)
For this reason one should avoid an intermarriage at all cost for there is no Christian Muslim, Buddhist Muslim, Jewish Muslim, Jewish Christian, Christian Jewish, etc. but only a pure religion and the combination is bound to confuse the children and ruin out on pure Judaism.
The Torah warns about Jews taking on the ways of the Gentiles around them. In the time of Moses it was idol worship. Today our local Arab neighbors who are excellent thieves, murderers of women and children, and plenty of sexual abominations. When I became Shomer Shabbos some 35 years ago, I had to change my way of thinking. Not that I became a less patriotic American but to the way a Jew thinker and the way our Creator Thinks. This week I took an IQ test and it turned out to be approximately 20 to 30 points less than I thought I possessed. Since it was on the internet, I relooked over the test and lo and behold I had answered one question the way G-D created animals but not what the tester wanted. The question was choosing one of 5 which animal is different from the others. a) Mule (b) Kangaroo (c) cow (d) sheep (e) horse. Immediately my mind remembered the Gemara about the debate between Rabbi Yoshua and the Gentile Philosophers. The conversation went like this:
P: What do you use when salt loses its flavor?
RY: You put on the after birth of a mule!
P: Can a mule give birth?
RY: Can salt lose its flavor?
Meaning: What will happen when Torah loses it's meaning to you? I will put on your barren philosophy. Can a barren one give birth? Can Torah lose its flavor/meaning? The mule being barren and the other animals were capable of breeding. That is how HASHEM created the world. But for the tester it was Kangaroo as the rest go on four legs and can be domesticated. Does that mean I have a lower IQ, not really but a different way of looking at the world around me.
The Good Shabbos Story about Ralph and his wife below is about two Jews – a religious and a non-religious Jew and the family all the more so about two religions.
16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.18 And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.
The King had to recognize the supreme authority of the Torah and abide by it. David in the case of Uriah the Hittite and Bas Sheva admitted to Natan his guilt and repented.
The next two chapters deal with Priests and Levites salaries from Teruma and Maaser and fairness in Judgement. Now comes the section of the Cohain that is anointed for bringing the troops to war and dismissing the faint hearted lest they flee in battle and cause a rout of the army due to panic.
20:1 When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for the LORD thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be, when ye draw nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, 3 and shall say unto them: 'Hear, O Israel, ye draw nigh this day unto battle against your enemies; let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, neither be ye affrighted at them; 4 for the LORD your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying: 'What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man is there that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not used the fruit thereof? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use the fruit thereof. 7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.' 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say: 'What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart melt as his heart.' 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that captains of hosts shall be appointed at the head of the people.
It is not hard to get stressed out as I wrote last week because we at the center of the country did not know what truly was going on the Lebanese Border and the ground shaking from the shells and real not movie bullets and mortars flying and flares over one’s head were enough to instill faintness in the heart of one who was not prepared. Once prepared properly and with fear of HASHEM not the battle, a certain alert calmness prevailed. But it is a combination of preparedness and fear of HASHEM and not mankind that really allows a soldier to go into combat areas. (There is more truth to poetry in the statement ‘There are no Atheists in Foxholes.’)
19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou may eat of them, but thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee? 20 Only the trees of which thou know that they are not trees for food, them thou may destroy and cut down, that thou may build bulwarks against the city that makes war with thee, until it fall.
Do not destroy fruit trees in Israel for a war but for making use of the land for other purposes yes such as planting other trees or crops or building something on ones property.
21:1 If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God gives thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath smitten him; 2 then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain. 3 And it shall be, that the city which is nearest unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke. 4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which may neither be plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near--for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto Him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and according to their word shall every controversy and every stroke be. 6 And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 7 And they shall speak and say: 'Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Forgive, O LORD, Thy people Israel, whom Thou hast redeemed, and suffer not innocent blood to remain in the midst of Thy people Israel.' And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD.
This goes for a body of a man who was murdered, killed by animals or even a snake that the people of the city did not accompany him safely through the area.
B'H "Parsha Shoftim"(Deut. 16: 18-21:9)
"You will set up for you judges and executive agents in all your gates."
Our Sages explain that the words "for you" which seem to be superfluous actually confer a wider meaning to this precept and imply that everyone of us must act as his own 'judge and executive agent.' But how shall we put it into practice?
As an introduction to the Proverbs, King Solomon enunciates the principle, "To know wisdom and morals" (Proverbs 1,2). Morals means to understand the serious disadvantage caused by transgression. The judge of Israel is he who conveys the knowledge of divine wisdom, while the agent is the one who imposes it on the people. Similarly, the person must check his actions, to judge himself in accordance with the dictates of this wisdom, and to put them into practice by pervading himself with the importance of the commandments.
The month of Elul is meant to be the most favorable period for examination of conscience and Teshuva, (repentance), prior to Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment when, as stated in the Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashanah 16b), "Three books are opened, the book of the righteous (Tsadikim), the book of the wicked (Reshaim), and the book of the mediocre people (Benonim). The righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life, the wicked are inscribed in the book of death. As to the third category, their judgment is left pending, they are granted a delay until Yom Kippur and are thus offered the possibility of taking a sincere and firm resolution of repentance.
In His desire to bestow merit on us, G-d shows us the way to follow in order to obtain a favorable verdict, "Invoke before Me the verses glorifying the Kingship of the Eternal, so as to make Me reign among you" (Talmud - Tractate Rosh Hashanah 34b). That G-d is Al-mighty is not an abstract notion. We feel it as a reality when realizing the magnitude of historical miraculous events such as the Exodus and the Divine revelation at Mt. Sinai, witnessed by a whole nation. The truth and the Divine source of the Torah received by Israel at Mt. Sinai are put in evidence by the immortality of its recipients, the chosen People, who miraculously survived among hostile nations, and whose civilization is the only one which has been perpetuated.
The realization that G-d is our Al-mighty King and that His doctrine, the Torah, is true and perpetual, must guide us to make Him reign among us by subjecting ourselves to his will and observing His commandments. Towards this aim we must study wisdom and morals, the respective "judges" and "executive agents" who impose on us interior order.
They chastise our evil urges, they govern our individual wills opposing the Al-mighty's will, they purify us and convert us into faithful mirrors of Divine glory, which reveals itself in us, in all our limbs, through all our actions. Then, our whole being converges to the central and all pervading leading force, the One G-d.
If we recognize the truth and let it dictate a sincere return to Judaism and a firm resolve to stay on the path of the Torah, we will be favored with divine indulgence on the Day of Judgment and we will merit inscription in the Book of life.
Sources: Deut. 16,18, Proverbs 1,2, Talmud, Tractate Rosh Hashanah 16b, 34, Rabbi Zissel
Halacha from Danny Schoemann
Most of the Halachos this week were on Rosh Chodesh which are repeats and therefore ignored
Rosh Chodesh Elul - we started blowing the Shofar. Starting Thursday - Sephardim say Selichos before Shacharis and continue doing so the entire month of Elul until Erev Yom Kippur. This year Selichos - for Ashkenazim - start on Sunday (26 Elul / 25 September), 4 days before Rosh Hashana. Selichos should be said before Shacharis, towards the end of the night. The end of the night is an "Eth Ratzon"; an auspicious time when Hashem is more receptive to listening to one's prayers. When arising for Selichos one should wash one's hands even if it's still night, and make the Bracha "Al Netilat Yadayim". One should say the 2 Berachos of Birkas HaTorah before saying Selichos. After Selichos one should wash ones hands again (if the first washing was pre-dawn), but one does not repeat the Bracha. One should preferably stand during Selichos; during the "Kel Melech Yoshev", 13 Midos and the Viddui one must stand. The Chazzan for Selichos should preferably be a Torah Scholar, well liked and if possible married with children and over 30 years of age. However, any Jew can be a Chazzan as long as the community approves. The same applies to the Chazzan for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur as well as the person blowing the Shofar. Selichos are not said on Shabbat. Source: Shulchan Aruch 581, 1 Ktiva Vechatima Tova; may all your prayers be answered, The Neitz Minyan aka Sunrise Shemona Esrey is predawn. What I think Danny was referring to is prior to Aliyah Amud HaShachar prior to twilight for dawn. Only if washed before Aliyah Amud HaShachar would a second washing be required.
One may not cut off hangnails on Shabbat; not with an instrument, nor by hand and not even by biting it off. (Hangnail: A small piece of dead skin at the side or the base of a fingernail that is partly detached from the rest of the skin.) One may not cut nails on Shabbat. If a nail is partly disconnected it may not be detached on Shabbat. If a nail is almost completely detached - and will eventually fall off - and it's causing discomfort, one can remove it by hand but not with an instrument. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:55
Shabbat Shalom - Danny
Three Approaches to Pain by Rabbi Tilles
In 1948, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman, the Lelover Rebbe, was invited to participate in a Pidyon HaBen [Redemption of a First-Born Son] ceremony and festive meal in Jerusalem. The Rebbe left his home in Tel Aviv early, in order to arrive on time. But the hour to begin the celebration came, and there was still no sign of the guest of honor.
The guests waited an hour, and another hour. The Rebbe had still not arrived. Three hours passed before the Rebbe finally arrived, his face beaming with joy as he rushed to wish mazal tov to the father of the month-old baby boy. Nobody asked him why he had arrived so late, nor did he offer an explanation.
After the meal was over, the Rebbe slipped away quietly and made his way to a doctor's office. He told the doctor that several hours earlier, when he was en route to Jerusalem, the bus on which he was traveling was involved in an accident. The bus had turned over, and several passengers had fallen on the Rebbe, crushing him beneath them. The doctor examined him and discovered that several of his ribs were cracked.
The doctor stared at the Rebbe in amazement. "How could you sit calmly through a meal, acting as though nothing was wrong? Broken ribs cause excruciating pain!" he exclaimed. "How could you bear it?"
To the Rebbe, however, there was no other way to behave. Unwilling to detract from another person's joyous occasion, he had chosen to ignore the pain and suffer in silence.
In his last years, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman suffered a tremendous amount of pain. His doctors could not understand how he could bear it silently, without crying out.
His explanation was simple. "If one keeps in mind that everything comes from G-d and that everything that happens reflects His will, then one can learn to tolerate anything."
Another time he said, "You wonder how I can bear so much suffering? It is simple. I wholeheartedly believe that Mashiach will arrive at any moment and all pain will disappear. Since I know that my suffering will last only seconds longer, it is easy to bear."
Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman (1903 - 24 Tevet 1987), sixth-generation Rebbe of Lelov, lived in Tel Aviv for many years, later moving to Bnei Berak. He was accepted also by many Karliner Chasidim as the new Rebbe after the passing of Rabbi Yochanan of Karlin-Stolin in 1956. His second son, Rabbi Shimon Nosson Notte Biderman, lived most of the year in Tzfat, due to health reasons, where he was beloved by his Chasidim as well as many others who came to seek advice from him.
Autistic Children Part 2
Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, along with EMP attacks and complete financial meltdown - these should be on all our watch lists.
The financial system of the world is collapsing due to greed and over spending by the Western Nations and the greed of the Arab Nations, the Autistic Children predict this not major financial advisors. When George Soros is selling gold and buying farm land he knows where the value is going to be. People who have gardens and room for growth of food. However the very important quantity water will be scarce at least in Israel during the war of Gog and Magog. The children tell us to have water storage available from plastic containers to a water tank on the roof.
Do not be surprised if you see many non-religious straight and honest people surviving Gog and Magog and turning towards religion and many false, hypocritical, and dress-the-part religious people not making it. The reason is simple only the Emmes (truth) can survive in the times of the Moshiach. The signs are there but the people are blinded too much by temporary pleasures and fads in this world that they cannot see the truth.
Much of the message was directed towards the ultra-Orthodox Community and what was wrong with it. Some of it was directed for the general population such as modesty in behavior and dress.
o From my cousin Samuel on Avos: Some words of Torah from Rav Chaim Sabato Shlita:
Rabbi Akiva identifies three levels in which people are beloved (Avos 3:14):
1) Humans are beloved since they were created in G-d’s image.
2) The nation of Israel is beloved since they are referred to as “children” of G-d.
3) The nation of Israel is further beloved since it was given the Torah.
The second of these three levels is proven using a citation for this week’s Parsha (14:12): “בנים אתם לה' אלוקיכם,” ‘you [the Jewish people] are children of G-d.’ There is a dispute among the tana’im if this is a statement that is true at all times or only when the nation acts like children of G-d (Sifrei Re'eh 96). Rabbi Yehuda says that only when we act like children are we considered G-d’s children while Rabbi Meir says that we are always children of G-d, regardless of our actions.
The latter opinion (Rabbi Meir) is supported by the Gemara (Kidushin 36a) which cites several verses about how we are G-d’s children even if we have no faith in G-d and if we are corrupt: “They are drunken children” (Yermiyahu 4:22), “children who have no faith” (Devarim 32:20), “children that deal corruptly” (Yeshaya 1:4).
Clearly we are always “children” of G-d. However, the Meshech Chachma explains that Rabbi Yehuda comes up with his opinion based on the juxtaposition of the previous Pasuk in the Parsha: “כי תשמע בקול ה' אלוקיך...” ‘when you listen to G-d’s voice (to keep His mitzvoth…’ When Bnei Yisrael act properly, that is when those who see will exclaim: ‘these must be the children of G-d.’
HE WHO IS RELIGIOUS WHO LIVES OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL IS LIKENED TO AN ATHIEST AND A NON-RELIGIOUS PERSON WHO LIVES IN ISRAEL IS AS IF HE HAS A G-D. ALL THE MORE SO TO MOVE HERE INSTEAD OF AMERICAN IDOL: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4115885,00.html
There are a number of videos on the Marannos or Anusim who want to return to Judaism: Here is one and others can be found on the right hand side of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1PeS4TS_cM&feature=related & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Ph3bQyO80&feature=player_embedded
Question: It is forbidden for a Jew to make tattoos. I want to convert, I have as a non-Jew made Tattoos now what can I do? Answer: I have a friend at the gym who has a blue tattooed number on his arm from the Concentration Camp. He wears it as a badge of honor as a proud Jew who survived a Goy gave him the markings. The Goy in you gave you the markings now after you convert you can continue to have it or if it is so hateful to you, then have it removed by laser at a good expense which might be better used on charity.
Raiders of the Lithuanian Ark: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/145800
The Yom Kippur War was 38 years ago and I have written about it but came across this story: http://www.military-quotes.com/forum/yom-kippur-war-shmuel-askarov-t6939.html
From V: List of some family names that may have been forced to convert in Portugal by the Inquisition:
O que toda essa história tem a ver com você? Estima-se que cerca de um décimo (1/10), da população brasileira seja de descendentes de judeus cristãos-novos - alguns historiadores afirmam que na verdade essa proporção é de 35%. Isso equivale, na menor das estimativas, a 17 milhões de pessoas. Segue-se uma lista retirada do livro "As raízes judaicas no Brasil", de Flávio Mendes de Carvalho, com os sobrenomes de cristãos-novos, brasileiros ou residentes no Brasil, condenados pela Inquisição nos séc. XVII e XVIII e que constam nos arquivos da Torre do Tombo em Lisboa. A sua família pode estar citada aqui! É bom lembrar que os judeus, por ocasião da conversão forçada e para esconder suas raízes e evitar a perseguição, adotaram muitos sobrenomes de cristãos-velhos. Assim o fato de um sobrenome estar na lista não nos garante dizer que todas as pessoas que o carregam são descendentes dos cristãos-novos. Por outro lado, o fato de outro sobrenome não estar, não quer dizer que não seja de origem judaica, posto que a pesquisa de Flávio Mendes não abrangeu todo o período de atuação da Inquisição e ainda que muitas famílias conseguiram manter-se em segredo. Na obra do historiador, também descendente de cristãos-novos, constam os nomes e na maioria das vezes a naturalidade, o parentesco e residência dos judaizantes - termo como eram chamados os conversos descobertos praticando o judaísmo. Há vários casos em que muitos dos membros de uma mesma família foram condenados e torturados para delatar a sua própria gente.
Nota sobre os nomes de árvore como sobrenome judaico
Corre pelo Brasil uma certa crença de que todos os sobrenomes com nomes de planta e de animais são sobrenomes de cristãos-novos. Isso é um mito porque muitos desses nomes são bastante antigos e usados igualmente por famílias cristãs-velhas. Ainda há, como pode ser visto na lista, diversos outros tipos de sobrenomes também adotados pelas famílias de conversos, como os de origem geográfica (p. ex. Toledo, Évora), os de alcunha (p. ex. Moreno, Bueno), os de profissões (p. ex. Ferreira), os derivados de nomes de pessoas (p. ex. Henriques, Fernandes), entre outros.
Abreu Abrunhosa Affonseca Affonso Aguiar Ayres Alam Alberto Albuquerque Alfaro Almeida Alonso Alvade Alvarado Alvarenga Álvares/Alvarez Alvelos Alveres Alves Alvim Alvorada Alvres Amado Amaral Andrada Andrade Anta Antonio Antunes Araujo Arrabaca Arroyo Arroja Aspalhão Assumção Athayde Ávila Avis Azeda Azeitado Azeredo Azevedo
Bacelar Balão Balboa Balieyro Baltiero Bandes Baptista Barata Barbalha Barboza /Barbosa Bareda Barrajas Barreira Baretta Baretto Barros Bastos Bautista Beirão Belinque Belmonte Bello Bentes Bernal Bernardes Bezzera Bicudo Bispo Bivar Boccoro Boned Bonsucesso Borges Borralho Botelho Bragança Brandão Bravo Brites Brito Brum Bueno Bulhão
Cabaco Cabral Cabreira Cáceres Caetano Calassa Caldas Caldeira Caldeyrão Callado Camacho Câmara Camejo Caminha Campo Campos Candeas Capote Cárceres Cardozo/Cardoso Carlos Carneiro Carranca Carnide Carreira Carrilho Carrollo Carvalho Casado Casqueiro Cásseres Castenheda Castanho Castelo Castelo Branco Castelhano Castilho Castro Cazado Cazales Ceya Céspedes Chacla Chacon Chaves Chito Cid Cobilhos Coche Coelho Collaço Contreiras Cordeiro Corgenaga Coronel Correa Cortez Corujo Costa Coutinho Couto Covilhã Crasto Cruz Cunha
Damas Daniel Datto Delgado Devet Diamante Dias Diniz Dionisio Dique Doria Dorta Dourado Drago Duarte Duraes
Eliate Escobar Espadilha Espinhosa Espinoza Esteves Évora
Faísca Falcão Faria Farinha Faro Farto Fatexa Febos Feijão Feijó Fernandes Ferrão Ferraz Ferreira Ferro Fialho Fidalgo Figueira Figueiredo Figueiro Figueiroa Flores Fogaça Fonseca Fontes Forro Fraga Fragozo Franca Francês Francisco Franco Freire Freitas Froes/Frois Furtado
Gabriel Gago Galante Galego Galeno Gallo Galvão Gama Gamboa Gancoso Ganso Garcia Gasto Gavilão Gil Godinho Godins Goes Gomes Gonçalves Gouvea Gracia Gradis Gramacho Guadalupe Guedes Gueybara Gueiros Guerra Guerreiro Gusmão Guterres
Henriques Homem Idanha Iscol Isidro Jordão Jorge Jubim Julião
Lafaia Lago Laguna Lamy Lara Lassa Leal Leão Ledesma Leitão Leite Lemos Lima Liz Lobo Lopes Loucão Loureiro Lourenço Louzada Lucena Luiz Luna Luzarte
Macedo Machado Machuca Madeira Madureira Magalhães Maia Maioral Maj Maldonado Malheiro Manem Manganes Manhanas Manoel Manzona Marçal Marques Martins Mascarenhas Mattos Matoso Medalha Medeiros Medina Melão Mello Mendanha Mendes Mendonça Menezes Mesquita Mezas Milão Miles Miranda Moeda Mogadouro Mogo Molina Monforte Monguinho Moniz Monsanto Montearroyo Monteiro Montes Montezinhos Moraes Morales Morão Morato Moreas Moreira Moreno Motta Moura Mouzinho Munhoz
Nabo Nagera Navarro Negrão Neves Nicolao Nobre Nogueira Noronha Novaes Nunes
Oliva Olivares Oliveira Oróbio
Pacham/Pachão/Paixão Pacheco Paes Paiva Palancho Palhano Pantoja Pardo Paredes Parra Páscoa Passos Paz Pedrozo Pegado Peinado Penalvo Penha Penso Penteado Peralta Perdigão Pereira Peres Pessoa Pestana Picanço Pilar Pimentel Pina Pineda Pinhão Pinheiro Pinto Pires Pisco Pissarro Piteyra Pizarro Pombeiro Ponte Porto Pouzado Prado Preto Proença
Quadros Quaresma Queiroz Quental
Rabelo Rabocha Raphael Ramalho Ramires Ramos Rangel Raposo Rasquete Rebello Rego Reis Rezende Ribeiro Rios Robles Rocha Rodriguez Roldão Romão Romeiro Rosário Rosa Rosas Rozado Ruivo Ruiz
Sa Salvador Samora Sampaio Samuda Sanches Sandoval Santarém Santiago Santos Saraiva Sarilho Saro Sarzedas Seixas Sena Semedo Sequeira Seralvo Serpa Serqueira Serra Serrano Serrão Serveira Silva Silveira Simão Simões Soares Siqueira Sodenha Sodré Soeyro Sueyro Soeiro Sola Solis Sondo Soutto Souza
Tagarro Tareu Tavares Taveira Teixeira Telles Thomas Toloza Torres Torrones Tota Tourinho Tovar Trigillos Trigueiros Trindade Uchôa
Valladolid Vale Valle Valença Valente Vareda Vargas Vasconcellos Vasques Vaz Veiga Veyga Velasco Velez Vellez Velho Veloso Vergueiro Viana Vicente Viegas Vieyra Viera Vigo Vilhalva Vilhegas Vilhena Villa Villalão Villa-Lobos Villanova Villar Villa Real Villella Vilela Vizeu Xavier Ximinez Zuriaga
People were under death threats at the Glenn Beck rally: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/beck-reveals-restoring-courage-event-changed-last-minute-due-to-threats/
Congratulations to NATO for putting Al Qaeda into power in Libya: http://www.debka.com/article/21249/ & http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4113940,00.html
Caroline tells it like it is: http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com/2011/08/glick-glenn-becks-revealing-visit.html
Too bad he or Michelle Bachman probably cannot win the Republican Primary for they love Israel: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1127848874001/herman-cain-tackles-foreign-policy-in-israel/?playlist_id=86858
Tea Kosher of Pessach http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4113882,00.html
One day we will have to hit him http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4114381,00.html
Mischief from Iran: http://www.debka.com/article/21244/
US intelligence can chalk up another victory: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4114462,00.html
A week plus ago some illegal Arabs from the Shomron were injured in Ashdod (security fence or no security fence) and now from Schem a 17year old with a large knife – the police and others will have to search for these characters: http://www.debka.com/article/21250/
Do as I say not as I do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob2TiiGWfow&feature=share
Threatened continuing terror: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4115022,00.html
Just to let you know who loves Obama: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4115732,00.html
From Lynette - Rabbi unnecessarily loses his life trying to save a child: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/selfless-rabbi-electrocuted-while-saving-8-year-old-boy-during-hurricane-irene/
European Anti-Semitism grows larger and larger: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4115718,00.html
The best defense is a good offense not a bunker mentality even through it saves lives: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/147397
WALKING BEHIND THE ‘PILLARS OF FIRE’ WITH GLENN BECK By Helen Freedman
From Cheryl Jacobs Lewin forwarded by Gail Winston, Mid East Analyst & Commentator
I am so proud AFSI was represented at Glenn Beck’s “RESTORING COURAGE” events in Israel.
If you are interested in joining AFSI on our next Chizuk (strength) trip to Israel, Nov. 14-21, 2011, please contact Helen Freedman. You will see and experience the Israel that most tourists never see. Here is the link to the tentative itinerary.http://AFSI.ORG/chizuklate2011.htm
-Cheryl Jacobs Lewin Chicago Chapter co-chair Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI
Helen Freedman, Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, 1751 Second Ave., New York, NY 10128; firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-828-2424; www.afsi.org<http://www.afsi.org> ;
August 27, 2011
WALKING BEHIND THE ‘PILLARS OF FIRE’ WITH GLENN BECK By Helen Freedman
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night; the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” Exodus 21/22
The inspirational gatherings that were part of the Glenn Beck mission to Israel occurred against a very grim backdrop. It was ironic that the subject of ‘Restoring Courage’, the theme of Glenn Beck’s mission in Israel, was so starkly presented by the events that unfolded as I arrived in Israel on Thursday afternoon, August 18.
A series of terror attacks on buses and private cars had just occurred on the road from Be’er Sheva to Eilat that left many Israeli civilians and soldiers dead and wounded. Israel “retaliated,” followed by Kassam rockets and Grads falling all over Israel’s south. My friends in the trailers in the Gush Katif refugee camp in Nitzan were forced to take cover in the huge sewer pipes that the government had given them for their safe rooms.
Moshe Saperstein, having been expelled from his beautiful home in Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif, Israel, said he refused to die like a rat in a sewer and he would not take shelter in the “sewervilla.” The red alert was sounded in Sderot, Nitzan, Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ofakim, and so many other Negev communities. Again, the Israeli government “retaliated.” It also apologized to the Egyptians for shooting back at terrorists dressed in Egyptian soldier uniforms. As of this writing, the Egyptians are violating the peace agreement with Israel as they proceed with the demilitarization of the Sinai, bringing forces and weapons into the area, possibly preparing to march on Israel. What will Israel’s response be if that happens? Will Israel’s leaders have the courage to protect Israel’s citizens?
Glenn Beck would answer these questions by urging Israel’s leaders not to fear world condemnation – to use the shields of courage and truth to banish fear – and not follow the path to surrender. He would encourage Israel to follow G-d’s ‘Pillars of Fire’ to which he referred in his powerful address at the Davidson Center outside the southern wall of the Old City in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, August 24.
Following the glorious kick-off event in Caesarea on Sunday night, August 21, with the theme of the ‘Courage to Love,’ the Glenn Beck express stopped on Monday night, August 22, at the Old Train Station, built in the 1890’s in Jerusalem. The theme this night was the ‘Courage to Remember’. Beck explained that the site was chosen – first because it was big enough to hold the crowd, but also because of the association with the trains of the Holocaust. This was the night to have the courage to remember that nightmarish time in Jewish history when Hitler’s Nazi regime systematically worked at exterminating Jewish life in Europe.This was the night to confront the past and refuse to be silent – to vow to construct a better world in memory of those murdered.
Jon Voight, who had joined us on Sunday night, was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. He spoke of the new type of holocaust, where terror is used for political ends. Beck confirmed this by declaring, “If you stare evil in the eye, it backs down; it is a coward!” Beck declared, “This will be the generation that will say “Never Again” to the repeated holocausts against the Jews.
We then saw a touching film tracing the return, after seventy years, of Holocaust survivor Kleiner Rudy Wolff to his boyhood home of Norden, Germany, from where he was deported and where his parents had been murdered by the Nazis. A commemoration dinner was arranged by the townspeople of Norden to welcome Rudy. At the ceremony he repeated over and over again that all the killing was only because the victims were Jewish. We learned that after the war, Rudy, at age 15, went to Palestine. He arrived penniless and without any family or support system. The story has a very happy ending as Rudy married at age 21 and became a proud father, grandfather, and great grandfather to 16 children. At the conclusion of the film, the entire family came on stage, including Rudy’s granddaughter, Michelle, who was the filmmaker. Rudy had made peace with his past. That he had the courage to do so is remarkable.
Tuesday night, August 23, the fortunate invitees to the Glenn Beck dinner at the Bible Lands Museum gathered to enjoy the glorious setting and another extraordinary evening. The museum was at its best. Docents were available to provide insights into the ancient treasures. Dinner tables were set up in the beautiful garden. The mood was festive. Friends, old and new, were greeted warmly. We were there in support of Israel – of Jerusalem – and, as suggested by MK Danny Danon – in support of the annexation of Judea and Samaria. This proposal brought loud cheers from the crowd, as did Glenn Beck’s declaration that “Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution!”
By 3 P.M. on Wednesday afternoon, August 24, the crowds began arriving at the Davidson Center, adjacent to the southern wall of the Old City. Again, the setting was perfect. The stones were golden in the warm afternoon sun and radiated with the spirit of love, friendship, peace, harmony and courage around which these gatherings had been forged. Wonderful music was provided by the Jerusalem choir, orchestra, and renowned cantor, Dudu Fisher. Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, held an ancient beautiful bell and declared, “Our past is our destiny in Jerusalem, and we will not be derailed from our vision.”
Glenn Beck then appeared, dramatically walking towards the stage, and proudly declared that this was the throne of the Lord, where G-d spoke to Abraham and where Solomon built the Temple. He confirmed Jerusalem’s importance to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Beautiful ‘Restoring Courage’ medals were awarded to honor Faith, Hope, and Charity. Leah and Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, mayor of Itamar, received the medal for ‘Faith’, as the horrible details of the Fogel family massacre were retold. The ‘Hope’ award was given to the Jewish and Arab co-owners of the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa that was attacked by a suicide bomber on Oct. 4, 2003, killing 21 and injuring 51. It was re-opened two months later. Rami Levi was given the ‘Charity’ award for his generosity in providing the distribution of free food from his chain of supermarkets. We know how quickly he came to the aid of the surviving members of the Fogel family.
Glenn Beck took the stage and electrified the audience with stirring words of courage. The crowd roared in agreement when Beck declared, “There is more courage in one IDF soldier than all the bureaucrats at the U.N.” He denounced that world organization for abusing the meaning of the term, “human rights.”
Beck spoke about the mounting threats and the evil that is growing. As for the ongoing condemnations of Israel, Beck believes the diplomats know the truth, but it doesn’t matter because they are cowards. With rapt attention, the audience heard Beck assert that “Israel is here because G-d keeps his covenant…Fear is the pathway to surrender…Truth and courage will overcome…If we follow Him, G-d will lead us.”
Beck charged everyone with the Responsibility to alter the course of history by being willing to speak the truth. When the “human rights” organizations exercise their double standard, we must declare, “Not in My Name!!” He called for truth seekers to link arms with him – to stand with courage – and to walk behind G-d’s ‘Pillars of Fire’ – to choose life – with no more lies.
The dynamic gathering was closed by Beck asking us to remember – and to teach these lessons to our children – and to obey G-d’s word. When we are asked, “Where were you when the world was on the edge again, when the West, Israel and the Jews were blamed again, we can say that “We stood with Israel.”
And so the ‘Restoring Courage’ events came to an end. Those who were privileged to be there with Glenn Beck will always remember and treasure this exceptional experience. For me it was an affirmation that it is the leadership that must restore its courage. The problem does not lie with the people, who turn out in masses in search of truth and honesty. It is our leaders who betray us. From the local Jewish organizational level, to many of our clergy, to the Israeli government that has conceded too much to the enemy, to the Obama administration that would have Israel cut itself in pieces to appease terrorist organizations, to the United (Arab) Nations, to the media and the academics who revise and distort history, the honest, courageous people have to deal with weakness, deception, and evil. It is therefore with a grateful heart that I heard Glenn Beck’s message of Courage to Love, to Remember, to speak the Truth, to bear Responsibility and to trust in G-d’s covenant with the Jewish people. To those who have difficulty accepting the fact that a Christian would care so deeply about Israel that he would create and finance such an amazing four day series of events in support of Israel, I can only recommend researching the facts oneself and not relying on the false media to relay accurate information. Go towww.glennbeck.com and read the reports on the website. Subscribe to GBTV. Once you read and hear Beck’s words for yourself, I believe you will join me in thanking him for his extraordinary and courageous support of Israel.
Helen Freedman is Executive Director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, www.afsi.org
Taken from my Achieves on line with a Good Shabbos Story as what I have is a repeat but since this came from Sept. 2003 it deserves to be published again.
Some of you receive my weekly Torah Drasha list which includes Matis Wolfberg's Good Shabbos stories as well as my stories for a series of books.
Now for Matis Wolfberg's Good Shabbos stories from prior to Rosh Hashanah 5764:
Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah tells us in this week's Parsha Ki-Tzeitze: "For Hashem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you so your camp shall be holy, so that He (Hashem) will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you." (Devarim 23:15) From here we learn that Hashem's holy presence - the Shechina - departs from places of licentiousness and immodesty. We as Jews want Hashem to walk among us. Therefore, we strive to invite Hashem into our lives by always endeavoring to live with the utmost modesty.
The laws of modesty are referred to as Tznius, a word which comes from the root meaning hidden. The basic concept underlying Tznius - modesty, is that certain things in life should be hidden and covered-up.
We learn about the concept of Tznius - modesty from animals. Animals walk around without clothes, and they feel no shame. "Intelligent" animals such as dogs and more intelligent animals such as chimpanzees have distinct personalities and feelings and are capable of showing and even communicating basic emotions such as happiness, sadness and amusement. However, even these "intelligent" animals feel no shame for walking around with nothing on.
Why is this so? Because, even with all their intelligence, animals have no Daas, no wisdom to analyze and to discern. Humans, on the other hand, have been endowed with wisdom. Therefore, we humans have the ability to feel shame. We see this concept with the first couple in the history of the world. When Adam and Chava (Adam & Eve) ate from the Tree of Wisdom, they became aware of their lack of clothing and they felt ashamed. Thus we see that modesty shows wisdom.
One of the biggest attacks on modesty in recent years is the proliferation of TV, movies, videos, and most internet advertising and internet "entertainment." Watching the aforementioned inculcates its viewers with warped values and encourages violent and deviant behavior; besides the fact that watching them violates multiple mitzvahs of the Torah, including the prohibition in this week's Parsha of " so your camp shall be holy, so that He (Hashem) will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you." For us Jews who seek to feel Hashem's holy presence, these spiritual "weapons of mass destruction" have no place.
Let us now tell an inspirational story from about 15 (now 23) years ago which can teach us a great lesson about modesty. Regardless of whether this story has a happy ending or not, it will succeed in encouraging us all to distance ourselves from negative influences in life.
Ralph Gold, not his real name, grew up a secular Jew in the New York area. Unfortunately, like many American Jews, Ralph's bar mitzvah marked the end of his Jewish education. Therefore, Ralph's understanding of Judaism remained incomplete and infantile. Despite of his lack of spirituality in life, Ralph was happily married with children and had a very successful business.
All of this changed one day when someone opened Ralph's eyes up to traditional Judaism, in the area of Monsey, New York. Little by little, Ralph began to grow in his interest in Judaism. He began to spiritually connect with his rich Jewish heritage. He took upon himself Shabbos, Tefillin and kosher eating. Soon, he was even wearing a yarmulke in public and he even sprouted a short beard. His teachers were very proud of him. Ralph felt really fulfilled for the first time in his life. He felt that he was fulfilling his obligations in life as a Jew.
However, there was one problem. Ralph's wife was not at all interested in Judaism. Not only was she not interested, but she was against her husband's new found life style. She actively tried to thwart any move by the family towards traditional Judaism. Predictably, this situation led to bitter arguments between Ralph and his wife. Eventually, Ralph and his wife decided to get divorced.
Unfortunately, the decision to get divorced began a long drawn out court battle between Ralph and his wife. The primary battle was over custody over the kids. Ralph spent all of his fortune on legal fees in efforts to gain custody of his children. In the end, Ralph lost the custody battle. He was all alone. He had no wife, no children and no money. However, throughout those trying times, he remained faithful to his faith. In fact, his faith and his Torah study strengthened his resolve and helped remain happy, despite the unfortunate situation in which he found himself.
In order to make a living, Ralph sought any job that he could find. Eventually, he found work as a carpenter. It was not as prestigious as the position he had held as a businessman. However, at least the carpentry job paid his bills. During his free time, Ralph continued to study and to grow in Judaism. One of the things that Ralph took upon himself was not to watch TV. Because, Ralph came to recognize all the transgressions which are involved with watching TV; for example, foul mouth speech, Lashon Hara
(gossip), lies, indecent exposure, violence, not to mention the non-Jewish values portrayed.
One day, Ralph noticed that his legs were not carrying him the way they used to. He went to the doctor and his worst fears were confirmed, he had a degenerative nerve disease. The doctor told Ralph that he had a few months to live, and he described to Ralph the progression of the disease: little by little Ralph would lose motor control of his entire body, then he would lose his mind, then a coma and then the end. A month or so later, Ralph checked into the hospital where people check in, but they do not
check out. All during these unbearably difficult final days of Ralph's life, Ralph remained true to his faith.
When he checked into the hospital, he was barely able to move his body and he lay in bed all day long. His mind however, remained lucid. The doctor was concerned that Ralph should have some mental stimulation, so he asked the nurses to wheel in a TV set. Ralph let the doctor know that under no circumstances were they to let a TV set into his room. The doctor was dumbfounded, but he complied with Ralph's wishes.
Eventually, Ralph lost almost all physical movement. However, he could still talk and his mind was clear. He continually refused to let them bring a TV set into his hospital room. Soon after, however, Ralph completely lost his mind. At that point, the doctor ordered that a TV set be brought into the room. Almost immediately after the nurses turned on the TV set, Ralph went into a coma, from which he never recovered.
After his untimely death, those close to Ralph marveled at his strong dedication to Torah principles, even under such unbearable circumstances. Throughout all his suffering, Ralph held strong in his stance against TV. Ralph recognized that although his body was slipping away, the flame of his soul burned brighter than ever; and, he would not risk dousing this flame by exposing himself to the impure expressions, ideals and visions, which TV presents. (Heard from Reb Abba Chiya Tauber, Monsey, New York)
Social scientists would have us believe that humanity has made great strides over the millennia. However, this claim fails in the area of modesty. In today's world, the norm is to flaunt that which should be hidden. We as Jews must now, more than ever, strengthen ourselves in the area of modesty. Especially by distancing ourselves from those technologies, which are harmful to the soul. Then we will fulfill the words of the verse: "For Hashem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you so your
camp shall be holy" Good Shabbos Everyone.
Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah tells us this week in Parshas Ki-Savo, "if you observe the mitzvahs of Hashem, your G-d, and you go in His ways, then all the peoples of the earth will see that the Name of Hashem is proclaimed over you and they will revere you." (Devarim, 28:9,10) The simple meaning of this verse is that Jews gain the respect of the world, when they act according to Hashem's Torah. The source of Jewish pride is therefore Judaism, read: TORAH. The following amazing true story illustrates how one Jew managed to inspire others with his strict adherence to Mitzvahs.
Rav Sholom Schechter, a prominent elderly rabbi, was on a TWA flight to Eretz Yisrael, with a stopover in Athens where he would board a connecting flight. It was two days before Rosh Hashanah, and the last few days in New York had been exhausting. Expending his energy in raising funds, selling Sefarim, packing, and preparing for his trip had all taken their toll on this seventy-year-old man. Extremely tired, he fell into a deep sleep as the plane crossed the Atlantic.
He asked to be awakened when the plane landed in Athens, but someone forgot to do so. On board were many people of many nationalities, heading towards many different destinations, so it didn't seem unusual that the rabbi with the long beard remained asleep even as the plane landed in Athens and people disembarked. He remained asleep throughout the stopover and awoke only as the plane roared down the runway, taking off to its next destination.
The captain greeted everyone and then detailed the flight plan. The next stop was Lebanon!
Rabbi Schechter blinked his eyes a few times in disbelief. Lebanon? Were they being hijacked? What had happened to Athens? He soon realized that he had slept through his changing point and unlike a bus, he couldn't just get out and walk back to his correct stop. His baggage was probably on its way to Eretz Yisrael, but he most certainly was not.
This obviously Jewish-looking man would certainly be in danger in Lebanon, a land full of fanatics. He mentioned his predicament to the flight attendant who discussed the situation with the captain and then came to Rabbi Schechter with their advice. They suggested that since all the passengers were either American or European tourists who would in all probability not report the Jewish passengers to the Lebanese authorities, the crew might be able to protect him from being seen by any Arabs who might assist the disembarking passengers, or by Arabs who might come on board to check and clean the plane. He should pretend to be sleeping and blankets would be heaped all around him, covering him almost completely.
As the trip continued, Rabbi Schechter busied himself studying the Sefarim he had taken along. When the plane eventually came to a halt in Lebanon, his heart was in his throat. For this landing he was wide awake. He sat trembling with fear, covered in darkness by the two blankets that the stewards provided for him.
No one gave the "sleeping" traveler more than a passing glance and then once again the plane took off, the next stop being India. Rabbi Schechter knew that there were Jewish communities in Bombay and Calcutta, but en-route the captain informed the passengers that due to civil disturbances in India, only those people holding Indian passports would be permitted to disembark.
Rosh Hashanah was only a day off. Checking plane flights and schedules, Rabbi Schechter realized that he had no chance of getting back to Eretz Yisrael on time for Yom Tov. He couldn't help but wonder where in the world this incredible journey might take him. He was confused and emotionally drained. Why was this happening to him? Was this wandering a punishment for something? Or was he destined to accomplish something special at some unknown destination? He would have to get off at the first stop after India, regardless of where it might be. He soon found out - Bangkok, Thailand.
By the time the plane taxied to a stop at Don Muang airport and Rabbi Schechter was cleared through customs, it was only a few hours before Rosh Hashanah. After some desperate inquiries he was told that there was indeed a synagogue in the center of town. He made his way there, hoping that someone would be kind enough to invite him home. The people turned out to be more than kind.
He had no trouble conversing with the congregants, for most of the men who attended the synagogue were in Thailand on business, and they spoke English. He was invited by the president of the synagogue, a Mr. Atlas, to be a guest in his home, and it was there that Rabbi Schechter stayed for the next few days.
At Mr. Atlas' table, Rabbi Schechter ate only some cake, fruit and vegetables, that his daughter had packed for his trip, and Matza, which his host provided. He was introduced to Mr. Atlas' children, two of whom were brilliant young scholars studying at Oxford University in England. Among many things they discussed was the fact that in the synagogue tomorrow, aside from the regular Rosh Hashanah services, there was going to be a bar mitzvah. "This trip gets more interesting every step of the way ," Rabbi
Schechter thought to himself.
When he came to the synagogue the next morning, he had another surprise waiting for him. Not only was there no Mechitza separating the men from the women, but the congregants were all sitting together. As an Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Schechter prayed alone in an anteroom to the side of the main sanctuary. After Shacharis (morning prayer), he asked the rabbi if he could address the people, to explain why he had not joined them for the prayers. He was granted permission.
"My dear brothers and sisters," he began... The story continued, he managed to explain to them the value of the Mechitza and modest prayers. They voluntarily moved and he joined in the prayers. After Rosh Hashanah he found a flight to Hong Kong and one to Israel. He then understood that he WAS SENT to Thailand for a purpose higher than his own will. Good Shabbos Everyone
A healthy and wonderful year to all and a peaceful Shabbos, Pray for the welfare of Israel and the USA stay healthy,