A guide to Purim http://njop.org/resources/holidays/complete-guide-to-holidays/purim/
An interesting book review that Chayim L. posted: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0212/letter_to_deborah_feldman.php3
Please add to the prayers for the sick. Aharon ben Chana and pray an extra Psalm for Leah Nikia bas Bertha Sara who is having extreme kidney problems. Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib ben Gittel Faiga Steinnerman Shlita is out of the hospital.
MIRACLE follow up
Shortly after Gilad Shalit went into captivity, Israel went into Gaza in a brief but bloody war that followed. In one incident the lieutenant of the soldiers got married and the next day returned to the front lines to lead his men. Aharon was in command and gathered Nechemia his second in command and his communications soldier together in what they thought was an empty building in Gaza. The communications soldier was knelling down to get the weight off his back while the two commanders talked. Suddenly a terrorist ambushed them with a grenade. Aharon was not expected to live and Nechemia was injured in medium condition while the communications soldier received light wounds.
Against all odds, the doctors managed to save Aharon and the question was if his bride would be married to a vegetable. Nechemia recovered and after six months or more was back on his feet. Aharon went through operation after operation. Finally he was all repaired except for cosmetics on his nose. He was sent to the States for that. It was a big miracle that he lived and was able to speak and function. Now a few years later more miracles a boy and another child on the way – as told to me by Dr. Schrader the father of the communications soldier.
This week is one of those rare occasions when I have to repeat myself on the identification of the Breast Plate Stones but I hope this year to add some of the mystical properties of the stones. We have to remember that the Onyx Stones places on the top of the Apron of Aaron had engraved on them the name of six tribes on each one for each shoulder. This week we have 12 stones representing 12 tribes on the Breast Plate.
Last week we saw the engineering design for the Mishkan. In this week’s Parsha, we continue but this time with the oil used for the sacrifices and the garments of the Kohanim. Moshe is at this point either physically on Mt. Sinai or has ascended before the Divine Throne. There is a nice Midrash which states that the Angels came against Moshe: “What is man that you should consider him?” - Psalms. G-D tells Moshe to reply to the fire breathing Angels and he tells G-D that he is afraid. So HASHEM tells him to hold on to the Throne. Moshe then replies, “Have you been slaves in Egypt? Do you have a Yetzer Hara to commit Idol Worship? Do you desire to commit adultery? Violate the Shabbos? Etc. “Immediately the Angels give him presents including the Angel of Death with the secret of the Ketores (Incense).
One aspect of our Pasha is the clothing of the Cohanim. The Cohain had to be Kadosh (holy) in mind and body. He had pants for modesty so even the stones of the altar could not view his nakedness during the service. His garments as Rav B. Wein Shlita points out in the name of Rabbi S. R. Hirsh Ztzal this week were for honor and glory not only for the Kahuna but for Am Yisrael to obtain honor and glory by the presence of the ALL MIGHTY. Each garment had its special powers. The Katones (tunic) had the power to atone for sins with blood such as causing people to bleed, injuring a person, killing an animal on Shabbos and accidental manslaughter perhaps also accidental relations when the wellsprings of Niddah opened up. This came from the blood on the Katones of Yosef HaTzaddik. The Tzitz of the Cohain Gadol did atonement for most sins especially on Yom Kippur. The bells on the garment of the Cohain Gadol with their noise nullified and voided idle talk, Lashon Hara, tale bearing, rumor spreading, general falsehoods, etc. In past years I mentioned the healing of the stones on the breast plate and the Onyx Stones uniting the tribes together. The modesty of the belt separating the heart from the body atoned for immodest behavior and even lewd gestures. Each piece of the holy garments on the purified and holy Cohain made up for raising the spiritual level of Am Yisrael.
DISCLAIMER: My source is the internet and not the Zohar or other Kabbalistic Work and my word here is only research and should be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand HASHEM give properties to everything and the inanimate objects is one of the four kingdoms or domains of Kabala so please keep an open mind just take my word as one who has copied and pasted the information.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons Shlita started off this week by discussing that while in Gan Eden Adam and Chava were naked and saw each other as Neshamos with the body as a capsule but after eating from the tree, they saw the nudeness of the body and the physical. The Cohain Gadol in my opinion takes the Gashmiyus Cloth and Stones and turns it into Ruchnios. His garments consist of three of the four forms on this planet. Inert nature in the stones, plants in the cloth and animal in the wool and he represents the fourth or talking creature. This is essentially a reverse process from the original Gan Eden Process. "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7) HASHEM rejects only physical appearance but with the Cohain Gadol it is different for the clothes make the man holy when combined with his intentions.
27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.
Israel is compared to an olive until beaten the finest and purest does not come out.
21 In the tent of meeting, without the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall set it in order, to burn from evening to morning before the LORD; it shall be a statute forever throughout their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
From evening to morning: Give it its measure so that it will burn from evening to morning. And the Sages estimated [that this is] a half of a log [between 6 and 10.6 fl. oz.] for the long nights of Teveth, and similarly for all the nights. If any of it remains, it does not matter. [from Men. 89a]
28;1 And bring thou near unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for splendor and for beauty. 3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron's garments to sanctify him, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office.
To sanctify him, [so] that he serve Me [as a kohen]: Heb. לְקַדְּשׁוֹ לְכַהִנוֹ-לִי, to sanctify him, to initiate him into the kehunah through these garment [so] that he would be a kohen to Me. The expression of kehunah means service, serjanterie [or serventrie] in Old French.
Shlomo HaMelech wrote, Proverbs 7:4 Say unto wisdom you are my sister. Moshe found some women of valor to make the garments.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a tunic of chequer work, a mitre, and a girdle; and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office. 5 And they shall take the gold, and the blue, and the purple, and the scarlet, and the fine linen.
G-D as planner has just given a general description of the materials involved in the making of the garments. Also the name and type of garments were described above. The girdle was more like a very wide type of sash. I would assume that it was at least 4 inches or 10 cm wide this would be understood by those living at the time. It was 32 Amos long (cubits) and 32 in Gematria is Lamed Bet or Lev (heart)* and therefore would atone for the sins of the heart. Below is the specific description. (Gematria thanks to Rav Yossi Jankovits Shlita)
6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of the skillful workman.
A Choshen: = breastplate An ornament opposite the heart. An ephod: = apron I did not hear (that it was a garment) [i.e., I have no tradition concerning the ephod], and I did not find the explanation of its pattern in the Baraitha [Melecheth HaMishkan]. My heart tells me that he [the Kohen Gadol] was girded with it [the ephod] from behind, its width being like the width of an [average] man’s back, similar to a kind of apron called porzent [or pourceint], [a kind of] belt, Avnet in Hebrew [like an] apron [back to front] that princesses wear when they ride horseback. So it was made from below [i.e., for the lower part of the body], as it is said: “and David was girded with a linen ephod” (II Sam. 6:14). [Thus] we learn that the ephod was a belt. It is impossible, however, to say that it was only a belt, because it is said: “and he put the ephod on him,” and afterwards, “and he girded him with the band of the ephod (בְּחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד)” (Lev. 8:7), which Onkelos renders: בְּהֶמְיַן אֵפוֹדָא. [Thus] we learn that the חֵשֶׁב was the band and the ephod was a separate decoration. It is also impossible to say that because of the two shoulder straps in it, it is called ephod, for it is said: “the two shoulder straps of the ephod” (verse 27). [Thus] we learn that the ephod was a separate entity, the shoulder straps were a separate entity, and the band was a separate entity. Therefore, I say that because of the apron below it is called ephod because he decorates and adorns himself with it, as it is said: “and he decorated him with it” (Lev. 8:7); the חֵשֶׁב is the band above it, to which the shoulder straps were attached. Moreover, my heart tells me that there is evidence that it is a kind of garment, for Jonathan rendered “and David was girded with a linen ephod” (II Sam. 6: 14) as כַּרְדּוּט דְּבוּץ and he renders likewise מְעִילִים as כַּרְדּוּטִין, in the narrative of Tamar, Absalom’s sister, “for in this manner the king’s virgin daughters dressed, in robes (מְעִילִים)” (II Sam. 13:18). A robe: Heb. מְעִיל. It is a kind of tunic, as is the כְּתֹנֶת, only that the כְּתֹנֶת is [worn] next to his flesh and the מְעִיל is [what is] called the outside robe. Of checker work: Heb. ךְתַּשְׁבֵּץ. Made of boxes (מִשְׁבְּצוֹת) for beauty. The boxes are similar to holes made in gold jewelry as a setting for precious stones and pearls, as it is said regarding the ephod stones: “enclosed in gold settings (מִשְׁבְּצוֹת) ” (verse 11), and in Old French it is called cha(s)tons, settings. [I.e., the boxes of the checker work on the tunic are like settings for precious gems.] A cap: Heb. מִצְנֶפֶת, a type of dome-shaped hat, called cofia in Old French, because elsewhere (verse 40) [the Torah] calls them מִגְבָּעוֹת, and the Targum [Onkelos] renders: כּוֹבָעִין And a sash: This is the belt on the tunic, and the ephod is the belt on the robe, as we find in the order they were put on: “and put upon him the tunic, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, put upon him the ephod” (Lev. 8:7). Holy garments: From the offering sanctified for My name they shall make it.
The simple Cohain wore a Kipa or Yarmulke as opposed to that of the Cohain Gadol who wore a Mitre similar to that which the Papal imitation looks like but the Tzitz was written Kodesh Le HASHEM.
From OU Torah Tidbits 5762 [SDT] The letters of CHOSHEN rearrange to spell NACHASH, meaning "snake" but also meaning divination through the occult and black magic, powers in this world which are anathema to Torah and Judaism. L'havdil, the Choshen is one of our legitimate tools for revealing hidden things. Significant that these opposite "forces"are actually two sides of the same coin.
CLARIFICATION The yarn for the Ephod and Choshen was produced as follows: Six stands of T'cheilet-dyed wool (blue, opinions vary as to the shade) were twisted with a strand of gold to produce a thread. The same was done with Argaman-dyed wool (purple, blue-purple, other opinions) and gold, Shani-dyed wool (red, crimson) and gold, Sheish (white linen) and gold. Each thread was made of 7 strands - 6+1 of gold. Then the four threads were twisted together to form the yarn from which the Eifod and the Choshen were woven.
Note that these garments (and some of the others) were Shaatnez. Yet rather than be forbidden, it was a mitzva for the Kohen Gadol to wear these garments. No contradiction here. He Who said not to wear Shaatnez, commanded the K.G. to wear these garments. He who said that it is forbidden to slaughter an animal on Shabbat, commanded that the daily korbanot and the Musaf be done on Shabbat. He is the Boss. Forbidding something in general and commanding the same thing in a specific situation underscores the idea of G-d's mastery of all.
of gold, blue, purple, and crimson wool, and twisted fine linen: These five kinds [of substances] were twisted into each thread. They [the workers] flattened the gold into a sort of thin plate and cut cords out of them [the plates] and spun them, one thread of gold with six threads of blue wool, and one thread of gold with six threads of purple wool, and similarly with the crimson wool, and similarly with the linen, for the threads of all the kinds were doubled six fold, and one thread of gold was [twisted] with each one [kind of thread]. Afterwards, he would twist them all together. Thus, their threads were doubled into twenty-eight strands. This is explained in tractate Yoma (72a), and it is derived from the following verse (Exod. 39:3): “They flattened out the sheets of gold and he cut cords [out of them], to work (the gold cords) into the blue wool, into the purple wool, etc.” We learn that a thread of gold was twisted with every kind [of thread]. the work of a master weaver: Heb. מַעִשֵׂה חוֹשֵׁב. I have already explained (Exod. 26:1) that this is the weaving of two “walls,” [and] that the figures of its two sides are unlike one another.
Besides the nice physical look all these materials had spiritual elements to them.
7 It shall have two shoulder-pieces joined to the two ends thereof, that it may be joined together.
At both its ends: [I.e.,] to the width of the ephod. For its width was only against the Cohen’s back, and its height extended opposite his elbows, which are called coudes in French, as it is said: “they shall not gird themselves in a place that sweats” (Ezek. 44:18). [I.e.,] they should not gird themselves in a place of perspiration, [namely] neither above their elbows nor below their waists, but opposite their elbows. -[from Zev. 18b] and it shall be entirely connected: the ephod with those two shoulder straps of the ephod. He shall connect them [by sewing them] with a needle below [the shoulder straps] to the band, and he shall not weave them [together] with it, but weave them separately and then connect them.
The shoulder stripes of this garment had the Onyx Stones in the middle and were not bans like suspenders but wider similar one would see on a slash like the boy and girl scouts wear. It was probably between 5 to 10 cm = 2 to 4 inches wide at the shoulders and the larger number seems closer to the required width.
8 And the skillfully woven band, which is upon it, where with to gird it on, shall be like the work thereof and of the same piece: of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the six that remain on the other stone, according to their birth.
According to their births: According to the order in which they were born [i.e.,]: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, on the one; and on the second one, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zevulun, Joseph, Benjamin spelled full, [בִּנְיָמִין], for so it is written in the place of his birth (Gen. 35: 18) [totaling] twenty-five letters on each one [stone].
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones, according to the names of the children of Israel; thou shalt make them to be inclosed in settings of gold. 12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, to be stones of memorial for the children of Israel; and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. 13 And thou shalt make settings of gold; 14 and two chains of pure gold; of plaited thread shalt thou make them, of wreathen work; and thou shalt put the wreathen chains on the settings. 15 And thou shalt make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skillful workman; like the work of the ephod thou shalt make it: of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16 Four-square it shall be and double: a span shall be the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof. 17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: a row of carnelian, topaz, and smaragd shall be the first row;
Taken from 3 years ago: Hebrew: אֹדֶם פִּטְדָה וּבָרֶקֶת Now the Carnelian or Odem is on the top right corner per the model that I have before me and is colored more pink than red but the Wikipedia calls it: Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a reddish-brown mineral which is commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker. (The difference is not rigidly defined, and the two names are often used interchangeably.) Both carnelian and sard are varieties of the silica mineral chalcedony colored by impurities of iron oxide. The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration.. Rashi comments later on every one according to his name: According to the order of their [the progenitors of the tribes] births shall be the order of the stones, odem for Reuben, pitdah or jade for Simeon, and similarly for all of them. The stone can be clear, blue or even an orange-red hue. The Medrash indicates that on the Odem was also the names of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov but most commentaries I have seen seem to hold the same way as Rashi. Shimon’s stone was white in nature. And Levy bareket but the translation yields Agate.
Carnelian improves analytic abilities and clarifies perception. It sharpens concentration and dispels mental lethargy. Protects against envy, rage and resentment. Calms anger, banishes emotional negativity and replaces it with a love of life. Carnelian boosts fertility. Carnelian treats lower back problems, rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia and depression. It regulates the kidneys, and accelerates healing in bones and ligaments. Improves vitamin and mineral absorption and ensures good blood supply to organs and tissues. Jade is a symbol of serenity and purity. It signifies wisdom gathered in tranquility. It increases love and nurturing. A protective stone, Jade keeps the wearer from harm and brings harmony. Jade attracts good luck and friendship. It stabilizes the personality and promotes self-sufficiency. Soothes the mind, releasing negative thoughts. Stimulates ideas. A “dream stone”, Jade brings insightful dreams. It aids emotional release, especially of irritability. Jade encourages you to become who you really are. Jade aids the body’s filtration and elimination organs. It is excellent for treating kidney problems and adrenal glands. Jade removes toxins, rebinds skeletal and cellular systems, and heals stitches. It assists fertility and childbirth. Jade balances body fluids. Green Emerald is known as the “stone of successful love”. It brings loyalty and provides for domestic bliss. It enhances unconditional love, unity and promotes friendship. Keeps partnerships in balance and can signal unfaithfulness if it changes colour. Emerald stimulates the heart chakra, having a healing effect on the emotions as well as the physical heart. It ensures physical, emotional and mental equilibrium, bringing harmony to all areas of one’s life. Focusing intention and raising consciousness, it brings in positive actions, eliminating negativity and enhancing the ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Emerald enhances psychic abilities, opens clairvoyance, and stimulates the use of greater mental capacity. It helps bring awareness of the unknown to conscious recognition, imparting reason and wisdom. Emerald assists in inciting activity and focus in ones actions. It strengthens memory and imparts clarity of thought. It inspires a deep inner knowing, promoting truth and discernment. Emerald treats disorders of the heart, lungs, spine and muscular system. It aids in recovery after infectious illness, helps sinuses and soothes the eyes, improving vision. It has a detoxifying effect on the liver and alleviates diabetes and rheumatism. (This is also the color of Islam)
18 and the second row a carbuncle, a sapphire, and an emerald;
Hebrew: נֹפֶךְ סַפִּיר, וְיָהֲלֹם Nofach is for Yehuda and a Yellow Diamond. Yissachar is the sapphire they have is not the dark blue but purple in hue so I am not a gem expert but am uncertain to the little model that I have at home and certainly my model has the wrong order of things because the Yaalom or clear Diamond is way down in the wrong row clear cut diamond. I went and googled the Sapphire for example and got this: Sapphire (Greek: sappheiros) refers to gem varieties of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide (Al2O3), when it is a color other than red, in which case the gem would instead be a ruby. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give corundum blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange, or greenish color. Pink-orange corundum are also sapphires, but are instead called padparadscha.
Yellow Diamond: Makes us more considerate and thoughtful and also symbolizes purity. The Blue Sapphire is traditionally associated with purity and love. It assists you to stay on the spiritual path, releasing blockages and providing strength. Blue Sapphire facilitates self-expression, assisting in communication and expressing your truth and beliefs. It opens and heals the thyroid and the throat chakra and has a calming and balancing effect on the nervous system and also represents wisdom. Emerald - a mind stone. Enhances memory, promotes clear and quick thinking, and right action stemming from right thought.
19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
Hebrew: לֶשֶׁם שְׁבוֹ, וְאַחְלָמָה The Leshem or jacinth or opal is light sky blue in color and is of the tribe of Yosef, the Shavu is very orange brown in color and is used as a camaya (charm) for pregnant women that they should not have a natural miss abort and the tribe of Benyamin where Rachel died in childbirth hence the camaya. Achlamach is a darker purple than the sapphire and is of the tribe of Dan.
Opal is an emotional stone and reflects the mood of the wearer. It intensifies emotions and releases inhibitions. Encourages both freedom and independence. Opal enhances cosmic consciousness and induces psychic and mystical visions. It stimulates originality and creativity. Helps to release anger and claim self-worth, aiding in accessing and expressing one’s true self. Opal strengthens memory. It encourages an interest in the arts. Wearing Opal brings loyalty, faithfulness and spontaneity. Opal strengthens the will to live and treats infections and fevers. Purifying the blood and kidneys, Opal also regulates insulin. It eases childbirth and alleviates PMS. Agate is an excellent stone for rebalancing and harmonizing body, mind and spirit. It cleanses and stabilizes the aura, eliminating and transforming negativity. Agate enhances mental function, improving concentration, perception and analytical abilities. It soothes and calms, healing inner anger or tension and creates a sense of security and safety. Agate heals the eyes, stomach and uterus; cleanses the lymphatic system and the pancreas; strengthens blood vessels and heals skin disorders. There is a loan fund in Bnei Barak for pregnant women of this gem to prevent natural abortion of a fetus.
20 and the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be inclosed in gold in their settings.
Hebrew: תַּרְשִׁישׁ וְשֹׁהַם, וְיָשְׁפֵה Tarshis is ivory white and the tribe of Naphtali. (I found a translation which calls in the Aquamarine.) Onyx or Shoham is jet black like the shoulder pieces and is the tribe of Gad. Yispah or Jasper was a darkish brown and the tribe of Asher.
There is another opinion brought down by the OU Torah Tidbits in 5759 as follows: The name of Binyamin was engraved on the stone known as YASHFEI, jasper. The g'matriya of the name of the stone is 10+300+80+5 = 395. The g'matriya of Binyamin ben Yaakov is 2+50+10+40+ 10+50 (162) + 2+50 (52) + 10+70+100+2 (182) = 396. (apparently, +1 or -1 doesn't ruin a G'matriya match.) The name of Binyamin was engraved on the stone known as YASHFEI, jasper. The g'matriya of the name of the stone is 10+300+80+5 = 395. The g'matriya of Binyamin ben Yaakov is 2+50+10+40+ 10+50 (162) + 2+50 (52) + 10+70+100+2 (182) = 396. (Apparently, +1 or -1 doesn't ruin a G'matriya match.)
Mystical Properties: In Ancient Rome Beryl was used to treat liver and eyes diseases. Romans also believed that this stone promotes matrimonial love and glorifies the owner. The Onyx - one could be a master of his own fate and control his Yetzer. Aquamarine is a stone of courage. Its calming energies reduce stress and quiet the mind. Aquamarine has an affinity with sensitive people. It can invoke tolerance of others and overcomes judgmentalism, giving support to those overwhelmed by responsibility. Clarifies perception, sharpens the intellect and clears confusion and is good for the throat and thyroid. Jasper is known as the “supreme nurturer”. It sustains and supports through times of stress, and brings tranquility and wholeness.
21 And the stones shall be according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names; like the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes.
Every one according to his name: According to the order of their [the progenitors of the tribes] births shall be the order of the stones, Odem for Reuben, pitdah for Simeon, and similarly for all of them.
From the 5761 Torah Tidbits: Rashi, however arranges the names in order of birth, so Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehuda are on the same stones, as are Yosef and Binyamin. Rashi puts Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher before Yissocher and Zevulun.
Rambam has the same arrangement as Chizkuni, but he puts the names Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov on the Reuven stone, and the words Shivtei Y'ah on the Binyamin stone.
Note that in addition to the names of the tribes, there are additional letters that spell the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Shivtei Yeshurun (another name for Bnei Yisrael). These additional letters are added to each successive stone so that each stone will end up with six letters engraved on it (according to Chizkuni).
All letters of the Alef-Bet are now represented, so that the Kohen Gadol can receive Divine communication via the Urim V'Tumim and the letters on the stones of the Choshen, which were illuminated and then interpreted by the K.G.
From 22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate plaited chains of wreathen work of pure gold. … until 30:8 is skipped this year.
30:8 And when Aaron lights the lamps at dusk, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-offering, nor meal-offering; and ye shall pour no drink-offering thereon.
You shall offer up on it: On this [golden] altar. Alien incense: Any donated incense; they are all alien except for this one. -[from Men. 50a, b] Burnt offering, or meal offering: Neither burnt offerings nor meal offerings. A burnt offering is one of an animal or fowl. A meal offering is one of bread.
10 And Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of it once in the year; with the blood of the sin-offering of atonement once in the year shall he make atonement for it throughout your generations; it is most holy unto the LORD.'
Parsha Zachor and Purim
Going back through posts 6 years ago I found this gem which I want to share with the hundreds of people who did not receive my posts back then. It is good advice to find a husband and good advice even for men to have modesty: The Cohain walked up the Mizbayach (altar) on a ramp and not stairs so as not to expose himself even with the pants that he wore. I think this note of modesty for a man is important. All the more so for a women who is called bas or the (householder) Bais as the Rabbis doresh. Her beauty is inward and not exposed like the movies and TV would have us believe. Yes again as the spring and summer approaches, I appeal to parents and young unmarried women to think about their attire before the King of Kings. On Rosh Hashanah when the world is judged we shout “Avinu Malkaynu” (our father our king). What princess goes out improperly dressed when she is representing the king?
Rav Shraga Simmons wrote about this in his weekly Drasha with the famous joke (revised by me). Two girl friends go out to choose a dress from one of them to have a prestigious interview with a law firm as a new lawyer. One says to the law graduate: “Here is a great mini which is also low cut. The lawyer says, “Are you crazy, I want them interested in me for my intellectual skills not my extra-office hours.” The other pipes back, “So here you are looking for a job that might last a year to five until you want to move up the ladder. Yet when it comes to getting married to a man whom you expect to be your companion until old age, what do you do? You display your body instead of your personality.” (Listen to: Why does being single happen to good people? https://aishaudio.com/search/resultsdetail?class=38243 )
On the subject of modesty and beauty but related to Purim that falls this week, I would like to quote Yaffa: "HER BEAUTY" There were four beautiful women, Sarah, Rahab, Abigail, and Esther (Megillah 15a). Her name was Hadassah. Why then was she called Esther? Because the nations of the world called her Istahar, meaning beautiful as the moon, she was called Esther because she hid her origins, as it is written, Esther still told nothing of her kindred or her people (Esther 2:20) (Megillah 13a). The heathens called her "star of light," after Istahar (Yalkut Shimoni, Esther 1053). Esther had an unseemly greenish complexion, but a thread of grace was drawn over her so that she was deemed beautiful (Megillah 13a). Esther was greenish, the color of an Esrog (Zohar 2:277). Just as the myrtle (hadas) had a sweet smell but a bitter taste, so Esther was sweet to Mordecai but bitter to Haman (Esther Rabbah 6:5).
An extra Sefer Torah is taken out of the Aron this week as our Rabbis ordained that we should read prior to Purim Parshas Zachor. Remember what Amelek did for you by the way! Yaffa wrote: This is the only Shabbat each year that (according to most authorities), every man and woman is obligated by Torah law to go to Synagogue. On this day, the three verse passage [Deut. 25:17-19] that starts "Zachor" is appended to the weekly Torah reading. By hearing it read publicly on the Shabbat, immediately preceding Purim, we fulfill the Torah commandment in it, "Remember what Amalek [the ancestor and inspiration of Haman, the villain of Purim] did to you."
Anyone, who is unable to be present at this reading, should make an extra effort to hear the Torah reading [Ex. 17] that takes place immediately before the morning Megillah reading on Purim, or at least to hear "Zachor" read when it comes up in the Shabbat cycle of Torah readings, as the final verses of the portion, Ki Teitze.
Amalek is the national embodiment of baseless, irrational challenge.
Only when the Jewish people had succumbed to the "Amalek" within them, could they be threatened by the armies of Amalek the nation, as when Amalek attacked Israel "on the road, on the way out of Egypt" as they were headed toward Mt Sinai to receive G-d's Torah, and their mandate as His people. It was when the Jewish people challenged G-d, saying "Is G-d amongst us or not?", Then came Amalek and attacked Israel".
This is why Amalek and what he represents, constitutes the arch enemy of the Jewish people and their mission in life. Truth can refute the logical arguments offered against it. Truth can even prevail over man's baser instincts, over his selfish drives and desires: for intrinsic to the nature of man is the axiom that "the mind rules over the heart", that if a person truly understands and appreciates a truth, it is within his power to implement it in his behavior and ingrain it in his character. But man's rational powers are not equipped to counter the onslaught of an Amalek who brazenly mocks the truth and cools man's most inspired moments with a casual "so what?"
Amalek the embodiment of self-gratification, greed, anger, the quest for power and lust may get the better of us. As long as we are imprisoned in our own personal [Mitzrayim], Egypt where our truth was enslaved along with our souls, we face being attacked over and over again by this fierce
So how do we respond to Amalek? How is one to deal with the apathy, the cynicism, the senseless doubt within?
With Faith, not to be attained, but only to be uncovered, as it is already woven into the very fabric of the soul's essence. Through Faith in G-d, one can transcend Amalek in its totality. Through truth of G-d, one can cast Amalek down to the abyss and win over our own personal AMALEKS inside each and every one of us.
The Jew's response to Amalek is to "remember", to call forth his soul's reserves of super-rational faith, a faith which may lie buried and forgotten under the mass of his mundane involvement's and entanglements. A faith which, when remembered, can meet his every moral challenge, rational or not.
"Remember what Amalek did to you, Do not forget."
Sources: Exodus 17:7-8, Zohar 111 P.224a, Tanya ch.12, Maimonides' Laws of Repentance 10:2, Deuteronomy 25:17-19.
Amalek a story from 5 years ago as we remember what Amalek did: A bad train ride
From Jewish Views: Southern Florida (Ft Lauderdale) hosts display of Nazi train car Posted by: "fenderbender_5" www.cnn.com/2007/ WORLD/americas/ 02/13/nazi.rail.ap/index. Html
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) -- Three teenagers were pushed onto a cattle car in 1943. They stood for two days in the sweltering car, lurching as the train rattled toward Auschwitz. Only one survived, the digits 5-7-7-7-9 tattooed on her arm.
Joyce Wagner trembled Tuesday before the railroad car, just as she remembers trembling before that similar car six decades ago in Poland.
"I was thinking -- my brother, my sister. Where did we stand?" said Wagner, 84, her voice wavering. "I'm the only one who survived, from nine children."
Wagner joined about 150 other Holocaust survivors Tuesday to view a railroad car of the type used to transport Jews from Poland's Warsaw Ghetto to a Nazi death camp during World War II.
The 31-foot (9.3-meter) railroad car still bears a faint swastika stamped into the paint peeling off its side. It arrived in Florida last month from Poland. Officials plan to park it on railroad tracks that end near the site of the planned South Florida Holocaust Museum, scheduled to open next year. A handful of similar cars are displayed at museums in Israel, throughout the U.S. and at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
"This particular car was seized from the Germans at the end of the war on Polish territory," Rositta Kenigsberg, the center's executive vice president, said Monday. The car could have carried Jews to the infamous Polish death camp, Treblinka. It also could have transported Nazi soldiers or war supplies, officials said. Even without proof it carried human cargo, the car is a disquieting reminder of the Nazi war machine.
When exterminating Jews village by village, one by one, became too inefficient, too cumbersome for individual death squads to handle, the Nazis mobilized their victims instead.
"The trains were the indispensable ingredient that made all this happen," said Michael Berenbaum, a Holocaust historian who oversaw the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The six major Nazi death camps were all located along rail lines. Auschwitz alone had 44 separate railroad tracks -- about twice as many as Penn Station in New York -- to receive trains from throughout Europe, Berenbaum said. About half the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust rode to their deaths in such trains, Berenbaum said.
Officials asked the 150 survivors in attendance to stand during the unveiling ceremony. During the war, most of them would have been squeezed into a similar railroad car with no food or water. Many passengers on such cars died en route. The car's unveiling ceremony included a recitation of the Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer.
Rabbi Akiva and the Orphan The classic story to explain why a mourner says Kaddish http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/514617/jewish/Rabbi-Akiva-and-the-Orphan.htm
Rabbi Akiva was strolling through a cemetery when he saw a naked man, black as charcoal, carrying much wood and hurrying like a horse. "Stop!" the rabbi ordered him. And the man stopped. "What is with you?" demanded Rabbi Akiva, "What is this harsh labor of yours? If you are a slave and your master is so harsh, then I will free you. And if you are poor, let me make you wealthy." The man answered, "Please, rabbi, do not delay me! My supervisors may become very angered if I am late!"
Rabbi Akiva responded, "Who are you and what do you do?" The man replied, "I am dead. Every day, they send me to chop wood upon which they burn me every night." Rabbi Akiva asked, "And when you were in this world, what was your work?" "I was a tax collector," the man answered. "I would favor the wealthy and persecute the poor." "So," asked the rabbi, "have you heard anything from your supervisors about any way you could be redeemed from your punishment?"
"Yes," the man replied. "I heard from them, but it is something that could never happen. They said that if I had a son and if that son would stand among the congregation and say Kaddish and the congregation would answer, "Amen! Y'hay shmai rabba Mevorach!"—then they could acquit me from my punishment."
"But," he continued, "I did not leave a son behind. True, my wife was pregnant when I died, but I do not know whether she gave birth to a boy. And if she did, who would teach him Torah? I do not have a single friend in the world!" On the spot, Rabbi Akiva resolved to search for that child. He asked the man for his name. "My name is Ukba. My wife was Shoshiva. My town was Lanuka'a." Immediately, Rabbi Akiva set out for that town. When he arrived there, he asked the townspeople about Ukba. "May his bones grind in hell!" they replied.
He asked about his wife Shoshiva and they said, "May her name and her memory be erased!" He asked about her child and they said, "She had a boy and he is uncircumcised." The people hated her so much, they hadn't even bothered to circumcise her child. Without further delay, Rabbi Akiva took this child and circumcised him. He sat the child before him to teach him, but the child would not learn. So he fasted for forty days. After forty days, a voice came from heaven: "Rabbi Akiva, what are you fasting for?"
He replied, "Master of the Universe! Have I not already made myself a guarantor before You for the lad?" Immediately, G_d opened the boy's heart and the rabbi was able to teach him how to read Torah and how to say the Shema Yisrael and the Silent Prayer and Grace After Meals. Then he stood him before the congregation and he said Baruchu and they answered him. He said Kaddish and they answered him, "Amen! Y'hay shmai rabba Mevorach!"
His father was freed and came straight to Rabbi Akiva in a dream. "Let your heart rest assured that you saved me from the judgment of Gehennom." Seder HaDoros
Purim Torah Chag HaShickerim
Rabbi Yosef Ber Soleveichik once gave a lecture with disputes and arguments on a section of the Rambam and all the students took him seriously. However, it was on a non-existent section of the Rambam and laws that never existed. The joke ended up being on the students as they tried to follow all the erudite arguments.
The Pittsburgher Rebbe Avraham Aba Leifer Ztzal compared Purim to both Yom Ha Kippur and Pessach. For on Yom Kippur we eat and then we fast and it atones for us. On Purim we fast and then we eat and it atones for us. On Pessach we drink Arba’ah Glasses of wine or four cups while on Purim we drink harbear (many) cups of wine.
The object is not to get drunk and put oneself in danger or to make himself into a disgusting drunk on the streets or retching his guts out. Rather to drink just enough to make himself drowsy and take a slight nap in which during his sleep will not know the difference between blessed be Mordechai and cursed be Haman. Needless to say it is sufficient to even without a drink to take a small nap and complete the Mitzvah.
Having said this in mind I found a commentary written by a D.F. hidden in my air-conditioner: The Machtenister (you make me sore you’re my mother-in-law) Maven
Have you’ve tried Frumster, E-Shidduch, Saw You at Sinai, Saw you on the other side of the Mechitzah, Saw you talking in Schul? Have you been to every shadchan in your neighborhood, your friends’ neighborhoods and every neighbor’s neighborhood and not met your bashert? Has every bubbe and zaide complained about your not finding anyone and how you’re slowly aging them? It’s not your fault, darling, really.
Anyone can try to put a boy and girl together, dress them up nicely, and get you under the Chuppa quickly. Sure, you’ll be happily married for Sheva Berachos and until the chosson finishes Kollel or the callah is pregnant, whichever comes first.
But, what about those in-laws? Who will guarantee that they get along with each other? You know what they say? You don’t just marry each other; you marry the whole family!
You need much more than an ordinary shadchan. You need the one and only Machtenister Maven. She has twenty years of success in making happy successful marriages where the in-laws get along. Imagine not having to worry about whose house you’re going to for Pesach this year. No more arguments which bubbe gets to see the kids! The Machtenister Maven guarantees that all the in-laws will be spending every Yom Tov crowded in your house where everyone will get along and be happy while you slave and service their every wish and whim. All just to keep the machtenister happy! The machtenister maven is your personal advisor before and after the chasseneh, always making sure that if the machtonim are happy, then you’ll be happy.
So, don’t waste any more time wondering what will happen to you and your future. Call the machtenister maven, today. Call 1 – 800 – MCHUTAN
Also found that after a drink or two on Purim somebody will start singing off-key:
To the Tune of: The Flintsones
Goldbergs. Meet the Goldbergs. They’re a Modern Jewish Family.
From the town of Crown Heights. They do all the Mitzvos Six One Three.
Let’s ride in a Lubavitcher Mobile. Do a Mitzvah. See how good it makes you feel.
When your with the Goldbergs. Have an oy-ye-yoy-ye-yoy time. A yo-boy-boy time.
You’ll have a joyous time!
To the Tune of: Take me out to the Ball Game
Take me out to the minyan. Take me out to the shul.
Find me a siddur and yarmulke
I want to get through the Kriyat Shma
Then I’ll stand right through Shmoneh Esreh. Say Kdushah with the chazzan.
For it’s five, ten, eighteen brachot
Then we all sit down.
To the Tune of “A Wonderful World”
Don’t know much about Gemara
Don’t know much about the Mishna
Don’t know much about the Braita
Don’t know much about the Tosephta
But I know that if I daven well
And say Shma Yisra’el
I could help bring Mashiach Tzidkeinu
Don’t know much about Kaballah
Don’t know much about Halacha
Don’t understand my Gemarah word list
Can’t even read Rashi script
But I know that if I daven well
And say Shma Yisra’el
I could help bring Mashiach Tzidkeinu
Now, I don’t claim to be Talmid Chacham
I don’t even know how
But if I daven and shuckle with kavanah
I might help bring Mashiach now
Rav Chiya and Rabbi Elazar were walking along and suddenly they met Rabbi Shimon who smelled smoke in the Auditorium and it was not the Ketores from the Cohain Gadol. Rav Chiya, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shimon all chimed in unison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjbOEEJC3kw
Rabbi Rachamim began drinking Yayin (wine) which is in Gematria Sod or secret and began rabbling on about Moshiach: I can tell you that once upon a time there was a Rabbi who came from David King of Israel and he used to rise in the morning and say: I am prepared and willing to observe the Mitzva of loving my neighbor as myself I love all Jews as told personally to me by Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita on his meeting with the Rebbe of Lubavitch! Why not like all ethnic groups who observe Torah and Mitzvos???
Madkivif lay Rav Nudnik: How can this be so have you ever seen a Tunisian Jew who is willing to marry a Moroccan Jew? - Tayku = we will know the answer when Eliyahu HaNovi comes.
Pre-Purim Torah thanks to Michael Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1TURXJDyrlE#!
Gill had a post with a picture on it: Windows cannot find the file do you want wine instead: yes no please click your desire.
Tanu Rabbanan: Why is it that all year along we are very serious and learning deeply and on Purim we are only interested in Stewyot b’meets agvaniyot (Nonsense in Tomato Juice)? Rabbi Mimran says, Tomato Juice contains vitamin C which fights colds and flu. Rabbi Rachamim said that on all other days we are either serious or tell jokes but on this day we only tell jokes. Dr. Mohel says that laughter is the best medicine. Rabbi Shem Ra says why laugh and be a clown? Rabbi Rachamim answered for on all other days we tell jokes either standing or sitting but on this day only sitting because we are soused to the gills.
In a commentary on Tractate Megillah found in a Geniza in Scotland there was a foot note: If one has not wine and a Lubavitcher has no Vodka they can “yozeh key-day Hovato al yeday Johnny Walker, Glen Fiddish, Glen Cambell, Mac Gregors, Haig and Haig, Black & White, Teachers, or on a 12 year Single Malt.” Rabbi Rachamim says, “On all other holidays we are usually very sober but on this holiday the Mitzvah of the day is to be as far from sober as “Goy Ehad B’ Aretz” (Heb. Literally One Nation on the planet meaning Israel but it can mean one drunk non-Jew in the dirt which is the context of this sentence).
Reb Yacov Glicksman say “Lie on your toes” instead of good night. Reb Dracula said “A good night for everybody” when he was drunk but meant to say “A good body for every night”.
I also found in Kiriat Sefer a Meshech Purim but the Rabbis had too much wine to Canonize it but a great Sefer at that. That leaves it among the books like The Peace and Compromise of Genghis Kahn, Ethics in Marriage by Tiger Woods, A reasonable case to add to the Defense Budget by Barak Hussein Obama, My love for the Jewish People by the Ayatollah Khomeini, Dr. Frankenstein’s guide to class violin playing, What I did by Dr. Doolittle, Love thy fellow man by Joseph Stalin, The value of savings lives and being merciful by Joseph Stalin, Shoe banging by Nikita Khrushchev, Swimming holes for a Siberian Winter by Eismann and finally Why one must always be truthful at all cost by A. Politician.
After such a collection of books there were other candidates that were real heavy reading and one of quotes applicable today like the most famous quote of the then Secretary of State John Forster Dulles (you know the airport is named after him). “Why can’t the Jews and Arabs get together like good Christian Gentlemen?” Also there is a book out on the Wisdom of John Forster Dulles and Why the Edsel is the best car ever built by McNamara, Ways of Winning a Debate against JFK by Richard M. Nixon.
New Purim Song for 5772 “You’re nobody until your Bubbe loves you” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIAEAVKcKrs
All time lyrics for Purim “When the world seems to shine like you too much wine” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AieUk2AH4w&feature=fvwrel
Coming back down to earth.
At a Gush Katif Museum Dedication in Crown Heights: http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=18812&alias=glenn-becks-fiery-speech#.T0t6RfewGu8.facebook
Purim for Children site: http://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/354749/jewish/Purim.htm
From Rabbi A.L: No Olam HaZeh only Olam Haba: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/sports/jewish-schools-team-refusing-to-play-during-sabbath-loses-trip-to-state-semifinals.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
An abusive husband leads to a messed up wife: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4193292,00.html
I am not the author of the words "These are the times that try men's souls" but Thomas Paine does apply today.
On Friday Morning we woke up to the news in Israel that NATO was planning to strike at Syria soon and Patriot Missiles were being sent to northern Yarden to defend Israel from a massive Syrian Missile Attack. Also their proxy Hezballah might get into play. Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak in a clip that I posted a while back asked everybody to store food for two weeks’ worth of trouble and Major Mike sent me this site: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters
BUT THEN Obama never fails to make a fool out of the USA and weaken our deterrent. http://www.debka.com/article/21772/
The Iranian Aryan Master plan: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/the_iranian_plan_to_annihilate_the_jews.html
Fireworks in the South: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194275,00.html
It would be nice to stay in my sixties for another 55 years or more. http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=259003
Something is wrong here for a person who died as a Jew on a Kiddush HASHEM: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/mormons-posthumous-baptism-anne-frank_n_1292102.html?ref=mostpopular
In Haifa almost a lynch on Shabbos: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194551,00.html
Dore Gold speaks out about Campus Apartheid Week against Jews: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194551,00.html
The west sends medical supplies to Syria: http://www.debka.com/article/21770/
Big Bro in the USA: http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/domestic-drones-lining-up-to-invade-privacy/
Ed op about Tel Aviv’s blatant want to violate the Holy Shabbos maybe make it Tel Islamabad? : http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194524,00.html
We are being held back by Ehud Barak and a certain Barak Hussein: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153157#.T0pAXfmPafM
The Russians are a big danger to the world as in the not too distant past. http://www.debka.com/article/21774/
Act of Valor an anti-Semitic Diatribe in the movie: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/47601/wknd-box-office-act-of-valor-wanderlust-gone/
So much for trusting Obama and the so-called strategic alliance which BHO abandoned. http://www.debka.com/article/21776/
In lieu of Netanyahu’s arrival to the USA Obama wants to be a rough tough cream puff: USAF has plans for Iran just in case: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4196979,00.html
Hezballah chooses a candidate for President of the USA: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/47714/hezbollah-endorses-ron-paul/
The following post is speculative but possible
HOW ISRAEL MIGHT STRIKE AT IRAN: STRIKE OPTIONS By Jonathan Marcus BBC
While describing exactly How Israel might attack Iran's Nuclear Capability, Jonathan Marcus continually picks at Israel's capability to do so. - As one might expect from the BBC which continually denigrates Israel on all fronts. However, he also shows how it is possible for Israel to successfully attack this existential threat against the life of the Jewish State and her people. So, bring along your salt shaker, but consider the possibilities and be proud of our country.
forwarded with commentary by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Middle East BBC
HOW ISRAEL MIGHT STRIKE AT IRAN: STRIKE OPTIONS By Jonathan Marcus BBC Diplomatic Correspondent
An Israeli attack would have to cope with a variety of problems.
For all the myriad challenges facing Israel over the past decade it is the potential threat from a nuclear-armed Iran that has preoccupied the country's military planners.
It is this that in large part has guided the development of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) over recent years.
The IAF has purchased 125 advanced F-15I and F-16I warplanes, equipped with Israeli avionics and additional fuel tanks - tailor-made for long-range strike missions.
In addition, Israel has bought specialised bunker-busting munitions; developed large, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft; and much of its training has focused on long-range missions.
Israel has a track-record of pre-emptive strikes against nuclear targets in the region.
Israel has a track-record of pre-emptive strikes against nuclear targets
In June 1981, Israeli jets bombed the Osirak reactor near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
More recently, in September 2007, Israeli warplanes attacked a facility in Syria that Israel, the US and many experts believed was a nuclear reactor under construction.
However, a potential strike against Iran would be nothing like the attacks in Iraq and Syria. These were both against single targets, located above ground, and came literally out of the blue.
An Israeli attempt to severely damage Iran's nuclear programme would have to cope with a variety of problems, including range, the multiplicity of targets, and the nature of those targets.
Many of these problems are daunting in themselves, but when put together, they only compound the difficulties facing Israeli military planners.
How to get there?
For a start it is a very long way from Israel to Iran. As a rough estimate many of the potential targets are some 1,500km (930 miles) to 1,800km (1,120 miles) from Israeli bases. Israeli warplanes have to get to Iran and, equally important, get back.
At least three routes are possible.
There is the northern one where Israeli jets would fly north and then east along the borders between Turkey and Syria, and then Turkey and Iraq
The central, more likely route would take Israeli warplanes over Iraq. With the US military gone, the Iraqi authorities are far less able to monitor and control their air space, effectively opening a door to an Israeli incursion
The third, southern route would take Israeli jets over Saudi air space. Would the Saudis turn a blind eye to such a move given their own concerns about Iran's nuclear programme? Could this route be used by Israeli aircraft on the return leg of their journey? We just do not know
What we do know, given the range, is that Israeli aircraft will have to be topped up with fuel en route.
Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, says that "air-to-air refuelling will be critical".
IsraeliF-15 fighter jets refuel during an airshow at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots in the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on Jun 30, 2011.
Israel is believed to have between eight and 10 large tankers based on the Boeing 707 airframe.
"Israeli aircraft," he says, "need not just to get in and out of Iranian air space; they need to have enough fuel to provide time over their targets and they need sufficient fuel to cover any contingencies that might arise during the mission."
The initial tanking, Mr Barrie says, might be done over the Mediterranean or even in Israeli airspace. "One option," he notes, "would be to take off with a full bomb load and drop tanks containing additional fuel; to climb to cruising altitude and then at this point to replenish their tanks, before setting course for their targets in Iran."
Israel is believed to have between eight and 10 large tankers based on the commercial Boeing 707 airframe, but experts believe that tanking capacity will prove one of the limiting factors in the scope of any operation.
What targets to hit?
The problems of range, the nature of some of the targets, and the availability of tanker aircraft will determine the nature and scope of any Israeli operation.Iran nuclear sites
A general view of the water facility at Arakon January 15, 2011"
Natanz - Uranium enrichment plant
Fordo, near Qom - Uranium enrichment plant
Arak (pictured) - Heavy water plant
Isfahan - Uranium conversion plant
Parchin - Military site
Douglas Barrie, of the IISS, says that "Israeli planners will be looking for where they can do most damage with the limited number of platforms at their disposal".
"They'll be asking where the main choke points are in the Iranian programme. Clearly, striking enrichment facilities makes a lot of sense from a military point of view," he adds.
So the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, south of Tehran, and Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, would almost certainly be prominent on the target list.
The heavy-water production plant and heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak, in the west, might also figure, as would the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan.
It is unclear whether Israel would have the capacity to strike a range of other targets associated with Iran's missile programmes and explosives testing.
But this target list raises another set of problems. The enrichment facilities at Natanz are underground and the new plant at Fordo is buried deeply into the side of a mountain.
Can Israel destroy buried targets?
For an attack like this, says Douglas Barrie, you need good intelligence information. "You need to know", he says, "about the geography of the target site; its geology; the nature of the earth; and the details of the design and construction of any buried reinforced concrete chambers."
"You can assume," he asserts, "that the Americans and the Israelis have been watching these sites closely over time."
The target would have to be attacked from relatively close range, meaning any attacking force will have to fight its way in and out of heavily-contested airspace"
said Robert Hewson of IHS Jane's Air-Launched Weapons
To reach buried targets you need special kinds of munitions. Deeply-buried facilities are not exclusive to the Middle East. There is a kind of race between the diggers and the weapons designers and it is one where the Americans have considerable experience.
The main weapon in Israel's arsenal is the US-supplied GBU-28. This is a 5,000 lb (2,268kg) laser-guided weapon with a special penetrating warhead. For an assessment of its capabilities I turned to Robert Hewson, the editor of IHS Jane's Air-Launched Weapons.
"The GBU-28," he told me, "is the largest penetrating weapon available for a tactical aircraft and, since it was first used by the US in 1991, it has been improved with better warheads and more accurate guidance.
"However, Israel's use of this weapon would be hindered by several key operational factors. Realistically, the F-15I - the only delivery platform - can carry only one bomb, so a sizeable attack force would be required - demanding tanker and other support assets that Israel does not have in large numbers.
"The target would have to be attacked from relatively close range, meaning any attacking force will have to fight its way in and out of heavily-contested airspace."
Furthermore, he says that "very accurate targeting data is required to use a weapon like GBU-28 to best effect".
"The potential for success of a GBU-28 attack is not determined by the 'book' performance of the weapon alone."
Of course, the great unknown question is how capable these weapons would be against buried Iranian enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo.
Israel's 'Bunker Buster' bomb
1. The bombs are carried by Israeli F-15Is - but only one per aircraft, which would mean a large attack force for multiple attempts on numerous targets
2. Bomb is released almost vertically over the target, and guided by lasers
3. The bombs can penetrate up to 6m of concrete or about 30.5m of earth before detonating the 4,400lb warhead
Mr Hewson says that the GBU-28 is "effective against any hardened or deeply buried target - up to a point".
"For a weapon like the GBU-28, velocity and angle of impact determine the penetrating effect, so the ideal drop is made from high altitude at maximum speed and hits the target at a near vertical angle," he explains.
"This is less easy to do against a cave or mountainside, so the weapon will be less effective - but still more effective than pretty much any other available munitions."
Indeed, as Douglas Barrie notes, one weapon might be insufficient.
"You could", he says, "attempt to 'dig your way in' using several weapons on the same impact area to try to get through the soil, rock and concrete. Or you could try to block access to the facility by destroying tunnel entrances.
"In addition," he says, "all of these facilities are power hungry, so you could attempt to destroy power supplies and any buried cabling.
"The aim would be to present the Iranians with a compound problem of blocked entrances, no power and collapsed underground chambers."
Does Israel have other military options?
So far we have discussed only the known elements of Israel's capabilities, mainly US-supplied aircraft and munitions. But Israel has a hugely advanced aerospace and electronics industry of its own and this may well have produced systems relevant for an attack against Iran.
The Eitan, the Israeli Air Force's latest generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), flies over a ceremony introducing it into the 210th UAVs quadron on February 21, 2010 at the Tel Nofair base in central Israel. The Eitan, or Heron TP, weighs in at 5,000kgs and has a 26 meter wingspan. It can carry a heavy payload, is equipped with more advanced technological systems than its predecessors and has a 20-hour high-altitude flying time."
The Eitan, the Israeli Air Force's latest generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Douglas Barrie says that there is much about Israel's capabilities, especially its home-grown technology, that we do not know.
"Israel's long-range Heron or Eitan drone could be used to gather an assessment of the damage done by any strikes, but perhaps could also be put to use helping to spoof air defences," he adds.
"Indeed, this kind of deception or cyber-operation will likely be an integral part of the mission with the aim of blinding radars or generating a false picture of what was going on."
What about Iran's air defences?
Iran's air defences are largely Russian-supplied systems familiar to Israeli pilots, though Iran also deploys the US-built Hawk system dating back to the days of the Shah.
Continue reading the main story
Hawk surface-to-air missiles (bottom-C) are seen in Khandab near Arak, 290 kms (180miles) southwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, during military maneuvers on November 26, 2009."
Surface-to-air missiles - Hawk system
For high altitude targets - SA-5 or S-200
For low level targets - Tor-M1/SA-15 Gauntlet
Long-range systems - S-300
Iranian Air Force - Russian-built Mig-29s, US-built F-14 Tomcats
Some of its most capable defenses are Russian SA-5 missiles intended to target high-altitude threats, while it also deploys the mobile Tor-M1/SA-15 Gauntlet system optimised to engage targets at lower level.
Russia has consistently refused to supply Iran with the much more capable S-300 long-range system, though the Iranians claim to have procured some batteries elsewhere.
Iran's surface-to-air missile force may be old but still represents a threat. Look at how much effort Nato and the US put into taking down Libya's similar vintage air defences last year.
Israel will not have the time or the resources to embark upon this kind of protracted air campaign and thus the electronic element of any strike to suppress Iranian defences is likely to be as important as the actual dropping of weapons.
Israel's small submarine force could potentially play a role here too. Douglas Barrie says that "there must be a reasonable assumption that Israel has an operational sea-launched cruise missile capability based upon their German-built Dolphin submarines".
Escorted by navy missile ships, Israeli submarine 'Dolphin' sails along the Mediterranean Sea near the coastal city of Tel Aviv during special naval maneuvers ahead of Israels 60th Independence anniversary on May5, 2008. The Dolphin', a German-built submarine, is 56.4m long with a cruising range of 4500 nautical miles. It is armed with ten
21-inch multi-purpose tubes for torpedoes, mines, missiles and decoys."
Israel's small submarine force could play a role
"These could be used to go after older but capable SA-5 air defense sites and big search and surveillance radars."
But, he notes: "Adding a naval dimension complicates the co-ordination of any attack."
Iran's air force is seen by experts as being totally outclassed by its Israeli counterpart.
It has a small number of US-built F-14 Tomcat fighters and a significant number of relatively more modern Russian-supplied MiG-29s.
But the potential threat from Iranian aircraft again complicates Israeli planning and any air-to-air combat might place additional strains on the limited fuel supplies carried by the attacking aircraft.
Would an Israeli strike succeed?
Most experts agree that Israel could hit multiple targets in Iran and do considerable damage to its nuclear program. They would, however, do much less damage than a full-scale US attack using all of the resources at Washington's disposal.
"Even if successful, it would only delay Iran's nuclear program" said Douglas Barrie International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The Israelis would be operating at the very limits of their capabilities. "If they pulled it off," says Douglas Barrie, "it would be an impressive display of power projection against a difficult and dispersed set of targets."
Only a small number of air forces in the world, he notes, could mount such an operation. But, Mr. Barrie stresses: "Even if successful, it would only delay Iran's nuclear programme."
It is a point echoed by IHS Jane's Robert Hewson.
"Israel does not have the mass of forces and will not be given the operational freedom [by Iran] required to destroy Iran's nuclear complex," he says. "If you bury enough stuff deep enough, enough of it will survive. Any Israeli attack can only damage and possibly not even slow the Iranian effort.
"The consequences of such an attack would be dire and global. It is impossible to see any up-side to this venture."
That's a view shared for now by Israel's most important ally.
Only a few days ago, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, said that an Israeli attack would not be prudent. *****
Such a strike, he said, "would be destabilizing and would not achieve their long-term objectives".
However Israel's calculus is very different. Knowing all their operational limitations, might they launch such an operation anyway?
****WASHINGTON Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey:
"I DIDN'T COUNSEL ISRAEL AGAINST IRAN STRIKE!" Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff who recently said an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites would be imprudent now tells Senate committee he only discussed time issue with Israeli officials
Martin Dempsey told a Senate panel on Tuesday he did not counsel Israel against attacking Iran over its nuclear program. "We’ve had a conversation with them about time, the issue of time," he said. Dempsey was referring to his most recent visit to Israel a month ago.
Speaking at a Senate Budget Committee meeting, the US general also defended his comment that Iran was a rational actor. "We can’t afford to underestimate our potential adversaries by writing them off as irrational," Dempsey said
THE WASHINGTON POST February 29, 2012
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Parroting”a repeat
Good Shabbos Everyone. This week we will read an incredible story of how a parrot brought a Jew and his family under the wings of the Shechina - Hashem's holy presence.
Yossi Wallis is one of the founders of the famous organization Arachim, which has worked to bring thousands of Israelis and Jews around the world back to Judaism. Yossi happens to be found of parrots. In fact, the Wallises had for many years a parrot in their house. The parrot was very smart and learned several expressions in Hebrew, which of course is the language spoken in the Wallis household.
One day, a member of the Wallis family mistakenly sprayed water on the parrot. Now, at the time, the parrot was not in his cage, as his wings were clipped and it was considered safe to let him roam around the house. In any case, by this time, unbeknownst to the Wallises, the parrot's wings had ground back considerably. To make a short story long, the parrot was spooked by the spraying of the water and he flew out of an open window.
Yossi was obviously extremely distraught at this mishap and he and other members of the family went outside immediately to search for the lost parrot. Unfortunately, even after looking high and low, they could not find the parrot. Soon after, Yossi's mother called him to tell him that she thought that she was hallucinating, because she thought she heard Yossi's voice emanating from a tree next to her house. Thankfully, she was not hallucinating; it was Yossi's parrot in a tree. The parrot had learned to parrot Yossi's voice and was doing so quite nicely outside of Yossi's mother's house.
Yossi rushed over to his mother's house but to no avail; the wayward parrot had escaped once again. Yossi and his family did not give up. They posted signs in the adjoining neighborhoods and even put ads in the newspaper. But... there was not a hide nor hair nor feather of the parrot. The Wallises sorely missed their parrot and, seeking a replacement, they bought a new one.
Fast forward six months... One day, someone in the Arachim office told Yossi about a "fresh" Baal Teshuvah (retrunee to Judaism) who had a fondness for parrots. Being that Yossi was a parrot aficionado, the staff though it was a good idea for Yossi to contact the man to discuss parrots (and Torah).
Soon after Yossi found himself driving from Jerusalem to Bnai Brak on his way to bring his son to a shidduch (a formal introduction). Suddenly, Yossi's cellphone range and it was "Moshe" (not his real name), the Baal Teshuvah who was interested in parrots.
Yossi and Moshe got to talking and Moshe began to tell his amazing story of how a parrot made him a Baal Teshuvah. One Shabbos afternoon, Moshe, who was not observant at the time, was playing soccer on a field with a bunch of his friends. Suddenly, they noticed a parrot nearby. The parrot appeared to be sickly. Moshe had pity on the bird and brought it home, intending to nurse it back to health.
As soon as he brought the parrot into his apartment, the bird said "Yom Ha'Shishi.." (the opening words of kiddish said on Friday nights). Then the bird said "Boruch Hashem." Moshe and his family were shocked. They had never heard a bird speak so much, let alone say such things. Moshe got to thinking. "If a bird can sign Hashem's praises, why can't I?" Little by little he began to investigate Judaism and soon after, he and his family became fully observant!
Yossi listened to the story. He mentioned some identifying characteristics of the parrot and Moshe confirmed that it was his bird. Yossi immediately diverted his car to drive straight to Moshe's house. Yossi positively identified the parrot and it was returned to its rightful owner. (Heard from Reb Label Lam, who heard it from Yossi Wallis himself.)
Hashem commands us this week saying "Make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them." (Shemos 25:8) The commentator Ohr HaChayim points out that the verse states "Make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them" It would seem to make more sense if the Torah had said "Make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in it" Explains the Ohr HaChayim, when the verse says "them" it is referring to the Bnai Yisroel. Hashem feels at home where there is holiness.
The Medrash says the following about the verse "...I will dwell among them" "If they (the Jewish People) will do My will, my Shechina - holy presence will never leave them." (Tanchuma parshas Bechukosai 3)
If a Jew opens up his soul just a little for Hashem, then Hashem will shower him with an infinite amount of goodness and he will merit to have the Shechina - Hashem's holy presence, rest upon him. Good Shabbos Everyone. . Matis Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah Sponsored by Mishpachas Arons in honor of the yartzheits of their beloved grandmothers and great grandmothers Zissi bas Herschel, a”h, and Malka bas Herschel, a”h.
I want to wish everybody a wonderful warm and peaceful Shabbos and much joy, happiness and fun of Purim,