Friday, May 11, 2012

Parsha Behar, Stories, laws of Kings

Bryna bas Gina Sara passed away about three weeks ago I was negligent in following up her status. I have not been able to get an answer on Rachel Sara bas Chava so I am removing her from my list.

THE BEST NEWS THAT I CAN GIVE MY READERS IS THAT THIS WEEK IS THE LAST WEEK THIS YEAR THAT ERETZ YISRAEL WILL BE AHEAD OF THE DIASPERA IN THE WEEKLY PARSHA AND NEXT WEEK THE WORLD CATCHES UP AND WE GO BACK TO THE FUTURE. The second best is that one of the largest governments ever has been formed in Israel. It allows for unity vs. the divisions caused by an election.

Future topics to be covered here hopefully, I shall return to Sefer Yehoshua for Children and since 32% of the United States suffer from obesity and I am no light weight to put it mildly, I will be bringing down the Rambam’s advice from Mishneh Torah (ble Neder) after I finish the laws of Kings.

Parsha Behar 

On this week: This week’s Torah portion, Behar, begins with the words “G-d spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai…and the land shall keep a Sabbath-Shmitta-to G-d.” The commentator Rashi asks: What does the subject of Shmitta have to do with Mount Sinai? Were not all of the commandments given at Sinai? He answers his own question: Just as all the details and minutiae of the laws of shmitta were given at Sinai, so were all the details and specifications of the other commandments given at Sinai.

The commandment of shmitta teaches something about all the other mitzvot of the Torah. We must recognize that just as all the details of shmitta were given to Moses by G-d on Mount Sinai, so were all the other mitzvot and their details given in the same manner. If the Torah has chosen the particular commandment of shmitta to illustrate this fact, it must be that this mitzva expresses the general Jewish approach to life.

On the one hand, a Jew is enjoined “six years shall you sow your field and six years shall you prune your vineyard.” A Jew must conduct himself and his affairs according to the laws of nature. One must plant and toil in order to eat. A Jew is not required to retreat from the world and sequester himself only in learning Torah and praying; on the contrary, he must fully participate in a normal lifestyle.

At the same time, the Torah commands that every seven years the Jew must abandon the land and allow it to have a Sabbath, and devote himself to learning, praying, and worshipping G-d. He then asks, “What will we eat during the seventh year, if we don’t sow and reap our grain?” The Torah answers: “And I will command My blessing to be on you during the sixth year, and the land will produce enough grain to last for three years.” Here the Jew is being asked to rely solely on G-d and not on natural law for his sustenance.

At first glance the two approaches appear contradictory. How can we be required to live according to the laws of nature, and simultaneously be asked to rely on the supernatural? But this is exactly what the Torah wants from us. We must synthesize both approaches to life. We must do everything possible according to natural law, at the same time believing in G-d’s supernatural powers to sustain us.

Six years of active work followed by one of rest highlights this approach in a Jew’s daily life. The six years of work are the obligation we have to elevate the world by imbuing it with holiness through our actions. The shmitta year allows us to recognize that despite all of our accomplishments, we are ultimately dependent on G-d for our well-being, and that trust in man and nature is misplaced. Once every seven years we sever ourselves from the natural world and rely solely on G-d. A Jew draws spiritual strength from the shmitta year, rededicating himself to the knowledge that our task is not to be subservient to nature, but rather to rule over the natural world and imbue it with holiness.

Similar cycles are to be found within a Jew’s daily life as well. All day a Jew works in business or commerce, earning a living for his family, providing food, clothes and the like. But he must also dedicate certain times of the day for study and praying, thereby elevating himself from the mundane and connecting to G-d. Jews live their lives with a special combination of the natural and the supernatural.

Adapted from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Reprinted from – LYO / NYC)

This week’s Parsha deals with Shmita, Yovel (Jubilee) and valuations of donations to the Beis HaMikdash. I for one cannot understand why one would donate his house which might be worth 100 or 200 Shekels when he could donate the sum in the first place. Perhaps in those times it looked bigger and he wanted to show more love for HASHEM. One donating himself had better have money to redeem himself for otherwise the punishment as written at the end of the Parsha is great.

I found the following from 5768 which I thought I would retell again for I have over 1000 readers who never saw this: When a person dies because he is a Jew we say that he died sanctifying the DIVINE NAME. Therefore the news item that I bring you does not reflect my belief that this man was spared Gehenna (hell) but it has everything to do with the Parsha HaShavua Jimmy K. HYD, 48, killed by a mortar shell from Gaza He had stepped out of his house in Kibbutz Kfar Azza to work in the garden when he took a direct hit from a mortar shell Friday night, May 9. A kibbutz veteran and reserve paratrooper, Jimmy K. is survived by a wife and three children. Palestinian attacks also injured three Israelis, one a soldier who was seriously hurt. The two questions that one might bring to mind is why should a man die perhaps before marrying off his children – and if he is deserving of heaven so why take his life this way? Let us investigate two factors that immediately caused this early death. I found the reasons just by reading the article. The first factor is violating Shabbos. We are told that people who don’t guard the Shabbos are not guarded by the Shabbos (thus no miracle was available for saving him from the mortar shell). The second is the violation of Shmita and that could cause being expelled from Eretz Yisrael. Yet since Jimmy died on a Kiddush HASHEM for being a Jew, he has not a regular place but a special place in heaven. Like adults say to kids who watch movie stunts = DO NOT TRY THIS TRICK TO GET INTO HEAVEN.

25:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, 

There is a very strong Haykesh here with the same words in Ki Savo Devarim 26:1 where the Torah teaches us about bringing the Bikurim (first fruits) starting from Shavuos. 

then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 

Up until now HASHEM rested on Shabbos, Am Yisrael is required to rest on Shabbos but now we have a Chiddush (new concept) that the land is supposed to rest on a Shabbos of its own. But not the land of the Nations that are not made holy by HASHEM but only Eretz Yisrael for it is Kadosh unto HASHEM. An inanimate object is now holy.

a Sabbath to the Lord: For the sake of the Lord, just as is stated of the Sabbath of Creation (see Exod. 20:10) [i.e., just as every seventh day is a holy Sabbath day, acclaiming that God Himself rested on the seventh day and thus acclaiming that God is the Supreme Creator of all existence, likewise, man must rest from working the land on the seventh year, for the sake of God, not for the sake of the land, so that it should gain fertility by lying fallow for a year]. — [Sifthei Chachamim ; Torath Kohanim 25:7]

3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the produce thereof. 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath unto the LORD; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 

5769 Certain things were allowed such as watering so that the trees would not die or prevention of bugs destroying his trees. One was forbidden to fertilize his garden unless a tree might die but certainly not to enrich the fruits. The land was basically to lie fallow. Weeds around a tree could be removed if they or some wild plants were choking the tree. Our Sages have made rulings that are logical.

Since we are dealing with Shmita, I would like to add some words based on the ideas that I heard on a tape from Rabbi Eli Mansour Shlita but my own original thoughts of the subject. The Shmita year has the effect on not only the farmer but also on the religious consumer. If one holds by either the Chazon Ish Ztzal or Chabad, you have to not only let the field grow fallow or the fruit of the trees “Hefker” meaning for the taking of any one of the Bnei Yisrael and the Ger living in the land. This Ger being a full convert to Judaism and not a Ger Toshav as for example the Druse, Bedouin and Christian denominations living in Israel could grow their own crops and make a good deal of money selling non-Jewish produce to Jews. Rabbi Mansour mentioned in his Drasha the farmer giving up his income and relying upon the L-RD to provide him with a good income. However, the consumer is willing to pay more for his goods in order to observe Shmita. This the good Rabbi did not mention because someone outside of Israel does not have the experience. 

When Yacov Glicksman Zal and I came upon our first Shmita in Israel, we bought dozens of cans of food. The Charedim had made a contract with Arabs (this was still after the Six Day War and many years before the Intifada) and at a much higher price fresh vegetables were available. The Beis Din collected fruits from farmers.

There is a Heter (Rabbinical Permission) held by the more liberal or even Zionistic Camp which states that one can sell the land to a non-Jew to grow his crops on “non-Jewish” land just as we do about selling Chometz (leaven) on Pesach. However, the right wing religious elements say that it is forbidden to sell Eretz Yisrael to a Gentile. The alternate end of the Shmita spectrum is that by giving Arabs an income, we are allowing them to be fruitful and multiply in Eretz Yisrael. There is an alternative which is done usually with potatoes and that is to import them from out of Eretz Yisrael such as Europe, Turkey or Yarden. This way we exchange essentially Israeli technology, medicines or goods like candy & snacks. The last situation is a win-win one as it allows for both countries to have employment and commerce. (There is a modern commercial problem with fruit exporters that often eat in their homes like the Chazon Ish but use the heter of selling the land as one cannot in modern society be an unreliable source of supply. I every year I sell ten or twenty tons of Avocados, I cannot say buy from Spain this year and then by from me the next, I literally dry up my income.)

5 That which grows of itself of thy harvest thou shalt not reap and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shalt not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 

Beis Din collects fruit from farms that have made their fruits Hefker. The trick is that they are appointed as laborers for Beis Din and they get paid by the crate. This method is kosher for the grapes, figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, etc. grow by themselves. Even in some cases wild wheat or barley grows but because of sinners we leave the wild wheat.

6 And the Sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee; 7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food. 8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years. 9 Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the Day of Atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof;

Trivia question: On what year and date did a non-Jewish group proclaim liberty throughout the land? 

it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 

It shall be a Jubilee: This year is distinguished from all other years, for only it has a special name. And what is that name? It is called יוֹבֵל [meaning “ram’s horn” (see Rashi on Exod. 19:13)], because of the shofar that is sounded [upon its commencement]. יובל הוא: שנה זאת מובדלת משאר שנים בנקיבת שם לה לבדה. ומה שמה, יובל שמה, על שם תקיעת שופר: and you shall return, each man to his property: that the fields revert to their owners. [This verse does not mean that the owner must return to his field, but that the ownership of the field returns to the one who had sold it (Mesiach Illemim)]. ושבתם איש אל אחזתו: שהשדות חוזרות לבעליהן: and you shall return, each man to his family: [This clause comes] to include the “bored one.” (See second Rashi on this verse.) - [Kid. 15a]

11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you; ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines. 

In 5766 I wrote the following The year 5733 was a Shemita year and interestingly our crop production doubled in 5732 (one can probably do a search of agricultural production for Yisrael if the data was entered on the net). During that year Rabbi Eliezer Weissfish Shlita (at that time only a Yeshiva Bachur) and I calculated when the Yovel (Jubilee Year) should be and according to our calculations was to be in 5734. We figured that nobody would be blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur. But on that day a siren was heard throughout the land but it didn’t “Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land”. WHAT WAS THE SPIRITUAL REASON FOR THE OUT BREAK OF THE YOM KIPPUR WAR? The answer is found in the fact that we did not maintain the conditions set in: 18. You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them then you will live on the land securely. This means our government and the majority of the Amay Aretzim were not following the Torah and observing the Mitzvos!
12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In this year of jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 14 And if thou sell aught unto thy neighbor, or buy of thy neighbor's hand, ye shall not wrong one another. 15 According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the crops he shall sell unto thee. 16 According to the multitude of the years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of the years thou shalt diminish the price of it; for the number of crops doth he sell unto thee. 17 And ye shall not wrong one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I am the LORD your God. 18 Wherefore ye shall do My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat until ye have enough, and dwell therein in safety. 20 And if ye shall say: 'What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase'; 21 then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years. 22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store. 23 And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. … 25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and sell some of his possession, then shall his kinsman that is next unto him come, and shall redeem that which his brother hath sold.

This next section deals with property of individuals. The question is open who has the right to the land that HASHEM gave us. Ancient ancestral land was originally divided among 12 tribes with a total male population of 600,000 we now have 14,000,000 not counting lost tribes and hidden Jews world-wide. It would be hard to divide the land into fair shares. Even in the times of the second Temple, people lived mostly in cities and the ownership of the ancient plots were lost. The laws of returning to the family land can only be after the Messianic redistribution of the land. The laws of Yovel do not apply today but we can learn these sections about selling a house in the city to that of a sale-long term rental in the field house. 

29 And if a man sell a dwelling-house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; for a full year shall he have the right of redemption. 30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him that bought it, throughout his generations; it shall not go out in the jubilee. 31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be reckoned with the fields of the country; they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee. 32 But as for the cities of the Levites, the houses of the cities of their possession, the Levites shall have a perpetual right of redemption. 33 And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold in the city of his possession, shall go out in the jubilee; for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34 But the fields of the open land about their cities may not be sold; for that is their perpetual possession. 

I recently asked the question about the next Pasuk regarding the poor. Today a person can collect 10 or so Shekels from his own city and travel by bus to another city and make much more money than staying local. We come across problems such as “The poor of your own town you are supposed to support” but must I support somebody from Bat Yam, Holon, Rehovot, Bnei Berak, Yerushalayim, etc. when there are hundreds from my own very local area to Modiin Illit that need help. Sometimes it is more than money my granddaughter and some friends are volunteering baby-sitting services for people with children who need medical help or family consulting by professionals.

35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and his means fail with thee; then thou shalt uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with thee. 

This was before the advent of buses, trains, planes and one has no idea if the man is real like your real neighbor who is a widow or orphan whom you know or not. One fulfills his obligation via the Torah though helping his own poor especially if they are in large numbers. When I collect money in FL for the poor in Eretz Yisrael, I know too that they will not give me the same as the poor neighbors in FL. Also if there are poor in your city and somebody comes to you asking you to donate to the Haitian Earthquake Fund or the Japan Tsunami Fund, I am not telling you not to give but your city and your brothers take priority over strangers. 

36 Take thou no interest of him or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. 37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon interest, nor give him thy victuals for increase. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God. 

This next section deal with Jewish Bond Servants and the laws regarding them and I am skipping this and continuing with: 

26:1 Ye shall make you no idols, neither shall ye rear you up a graven image, or a pillar, neither shall ye place any figured stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I am the LORD your God. 

You shall not make idols for yourselves: [This] is addressed to the one who has been sold [as a servant] to a non-Jew, that he should not say, “Since my master has illicit relations, I will also be like him! Since my master worships idols, I will also be like him! Since my master desecrates the Sabbath, I will also be like him!” This is why these verses are stated here. - [Torath Kohanim 25:106]. Also, the passages [in this whole section (namely, from the beginning of Chapter 25 until the end of Behar),] are written in a meaningful order, [as follows]: At first, Scripture admonishes us to observe [the laws of] Shemittah [and Jubilee (25: 124)]; then, if one covets money and becomes suspect of [unlawfully doing business with produce of] Shemittah (Nachalath Yaakov), he will eventually [become destitute and] have to sell his personal belongings therefore, Scripture juxtaposes to it, “And when you make a sale [to your fellow-Jew]” (25:14) (What is written therein? “or make a purchase from the hand…,” something that is transferred from hand to hand). If he still does not repent, he will eventually have to sell his inheritance (25:25). If he even then does not repent, he will eventually have to sell his home, and if even then, he does not repent, he will eventually have to borrow money with interest (verses 25:35-38). Now, the later the scenario in this passage, the more severe it is [i.e., first he sells his belongings, then his property, then his home and then even borrowing with interest which is more severe than selling one’s property; (Nachalath Yaakov) thus, the passage continues accordingly, for] if he still does not repent, he will eventually have to sell himself [to his fellow Jew as a servant] (verses 25:39-46); and [finally,] if he has still not repented, not enough that he had to be sold to his fellow Jew - but he will [be forced to sell himself] even to a non-Jew!- [25:47-55; Kidd. 20a] a pavement stone: אֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית, an expression denoting a covering, as in “And I shall cover (וְשַׂכֹּתִי) [you with] My hand.” (Exod. 33:22). [And the meaning of “covering” is relevant here,] as people use a stone floor to make a covering over the ground. On which to prostrate yourselves: even to Heaven, for the expression הִשְׁתַּחֲוָאָה, prostration, denotes stretching one’s hands and feet out [on the ground], and the Torah prohibits one to do this outside the Holy Temple [where prostration on a stone floor is permitted]. — [Meg. 22b and see Rashi there]

2 Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD

You are supposed to do your best to observe and honor the Shabbos and honor the holiness of the Sanctuary of the Synagogues of the Beis HaMikdash.

I am the Lord: Who is faithful to give reward [to those who fulfill My Torah].

A Story that happened 65 or more years ago in Meron:

Lag B’Omer Miracle - This story took place over 60 years ago and was recorded in the book Hilula D’Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai by the author who witnessed the scene with his own eyes.
The outer yard surrounding the room where the graves of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (also known as the Rashbi) and his son were buried was jammed with Jews from all over Israel. They had come to Meron on Lag B’omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the omer. Lag B’Omer is the anniversary of the passing of the Rashbi, who had enjoined his disciples to celebrate, rather than mourn, on the day of his passing. Today, all of those gathered in Meron would cut the hair of their three-year-old sons for the first time, leaving only the side-locks.
The voices of hundreds of Jews could be heard as they recited Psalms. There were Jews of all types, whose ancestors had come from all over the world. All were praying and begging G-d to help them raise their children in Torah and good deeds in the merit of Rabbi Shimon.
It was already after mid-day on Friday and time to get ready for Shabbat. The visitors from Tiberius, Tzfat, Haifa and the residents from other cities and towns in the Galilee started to leave for their homes in order to arrive before the commencement of the Sabbath.
Many of the visitors though, especially the ones from Jerusalem which is quite a distance, chose to remain in Meron for Shabbat.
On Friday night, the beautiful melodies of the various groups praying reached the heights of the nearby mountains. Their hearts were overflowing as thousands of Jews joined together to dance and sing.
Shabbat morning arrived and the men gathered in large groups to descend the valley to the small Megiddo Lake where they immersed themselves to prepare for the morning prayers. When the morning prayers had finished a scream pierced the Sabbath atmosphere. A woman who had brought her son just yesterday for his first haircut was crying hysterically.
Her son had suddenly become sick and had died. Doctors who were sent from the British government to the area immediately put the entire section under quarantine. No one could come and no one could leave.
Suddenly, the mother gathered the boy in her arms and went into the room where the Rashbi was buried. She placed the dead child on the Rashbi’s grave and started crying out, “Oh great tzadik (righteous one). I, your servant, came in your honor to cut the hair of my child. I came to make my son, my first and only child, into a good Jew. I kept my promise to come here on Lag B’Omer. Only yesterday I held him here and cut his hair in song and joy. Now, great tzadik, how shall I return home without my child? How can I show my face in my home?”
In the midst of her prayers, the mother arose and said, “Tzadik, Rabbi Shimon, I am laying down my child on your grave as he is. I beg of you, with tears, do not shame me. Give me back my child just as I brought him here. Let the holy name of G-d be exalted along with the name of the great tzadik. Let everyone know that there is a G-d ruling over this world.”
The woman concluded her prayers and left the room, leaving her son on the grave of the Rashbi. The doors of the room were closed as everyone left the room.
A few moments later a child’s scream was heard from behind the closed door. The mother ran into the room and to her great surprise she saw her son standing on his feet and crying for a glass of water. Happiness and commotion filled the room. The local doctors examining the child announced in wonder that this was not a natural occurrence or a normal incident, but rather a miracle which must have happened in the merit of the great Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
The government agents immediately reopened the gates and the masses once again poured inside. Everyone seeing the revived child pronounced the blessing “Blessed be G-d Who revives the dead.” Reprinted from – LYO / NYC

Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (also from living Torah)


Everyone in the holy city of Jerusalem knew Shalom the Shamash, the young sexton who tidied up and maintained order in the famous “Beit Kel” yeshiva. Quiet by nature, he would fetch books for the Torah scholars and in general, make himself useful. But all in all, there was nothing extraordinary about Shalom that would raise any eyebrows. Only recently had the young Jew arrived in the Holy Land, after a long and arduous journey from Yemen. Indeed, it was the fulfillment of his life’s dream when he was finally able to kiss the holy soil and devote himself to the service of G-d in Jerusalem.

Shalom the Shamash had been born in the city of Sharab, where his superior intellectual gifts were evident at an early age. Unfortunately, the premature death of his father prevented him from remaining in yeshiva, as the young orphan was now the sole support of his family. Shalom became a traveling merchant and plied his wares from door to door. This left him with only his evenings free to pursue his one true love: the study of Torah. He would often remain in the study hall till the wee hours of the morning before going home to catch a few hours of sleep.

But Shalom’s thirst for Torah knowledge was insatiable. Despite his achievements, he still felt as if something were missing. It was then that he discovered the esoteric realm of Torah – the Kabala and its mysteries – as developed by the sages of Yemen. Enthusiastically he plunged into the study of the higher worlds and the Torah’s secrets, and distinguished himself in this realm as well. But the young Rabbi Shalom insisted on working for a living, and continued to peddle his wares as before.

One time on a business expedition Shalom found himself in a very dangerous situation, and vowed that if G-d saved him, he would move to the Holy Land. Indeed, G-d came to his aid, and he left his friends and family and embarked on the long journey through the Middle East.

(Beit Knesset Bet El, Jerusalem)

Shalom’s joy knew no bounds when he finally arrived at the Beit El yeshiva in Jerusalem, headed by the famous Kabbalist Rabbi Gedalia Chiyun. His soul longed to join the other students of the inner aspects of Torah, but he had no wish to reveal his already extensive knowledge. Instead, he presented himself as a simple Jew and found employment as the sexton of the study hall. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn without being observed. As a regular presence in the yeshiva, no one paid any attention to Shalom, who kept his eyes and ears open to every word. Thus he gradually increased his knowledge until he far surpassed everyone else. But his greatness remained a secret known only to him.

One day a question came up in the yeshiva that no one could answer. For days the Kabbalists consulted their heavy tomes, but could not come up with a satisfactory explanation. Rabbi Gedalia became almost obsessed with the problem, and was very perturbed by his inability to solve it. The Shamash had been listening to their deliberations and knew the answer. But not wishing to reveal himself, he remained silent. As the days progressed, it was as if a dark cloud hovered over the study hall.

One day Shalom came upon Rabbi Gedalia weeping over an open volume, begging and imploring G-d to illuminate his mind. It was impossible to ignore such a pitiful sight. Later that night, when the study hall was empty, Shalom wrote the answer on a small piece of paper and left it between the pages of Rabbi Gedalia’s book. The next morning the study hall was in an uproar. The problem that had appeared so difficult and complex had been solved in a clear and logical manner. Everyone was curious where the wonderful explanation had come from, but it remained a great mystery. The strange phenomenon repeated itself several times. Whenever a difficult question was raised in the evening, its answer was found in Rabbi Gedalia’s book the next morning. A thorough investigation was conducted, but the head of the yeshiva could not determine where the answers were coming from.
The riddle was solved in a totally unexpected manner, when Rabbi Gedalia’s young daughter happened to mention that she had noticed the Yemenite sexton flipping through the pages of one of her father’s books. In fact, she had noticed him doing so on several occasions. The next time an unresolved question was raised in the study hall the Rabbi made believe he was going home for the evening but hid in a closet. Indeed, to his utter shock, he observed the sexton consulting the holy tomes and secreting a piece of paper between the pages of his prayer book. The next morning the head of the yeshiva insisted on seating Rabbi Shalom Sharabi at his right hand side, and revealed to all the great mystery. In fact, he later appointed him his heir and successor, despite his tender age of only 27. Rabbi Shalom Sharabi’s greatness was thus revealed to everyone in Jerusalem, and many stories are told about his wisdom. For 30 years he served as head of the Beit El yeshiva, until passing away in the year 5537 (1777). Reprinted from – LYO / NYC
I wrote in the past twice about the motor cycle that would not run on Shabbos because Rabbi Sharabi blamed the instrument and not the driver. Eventually the 6 day a week motor cycle got the driver to become a Frum Jew. 

Chapter 11

Halacha 1

In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel.
Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state. We will offer sacrifices, observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars as described by the Torah.
Anyone who does not believe in him or does not await his coming, denies not only the statements of the other prophets, but those of the Torah and Moses, our teacher. The Torah testified to his coming, as Deuteronomy 30:3-5 states:
God will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you. He will again gather you from among the nations... Even if your Diaspora is at the ends of the heavens, God will gather you up from there... and bring you to the land....

These explicit words of the Torah include all the statements made by all the prophets.
Reference to Mashiach is also made in the portion of Bilaam who prophesies about two anointed kings: the first anointed king, David, who saved Israel from her oppressors; and the final anointed king who will arise from his descendants and save Israel in the end of days. That passage Numbers 24:17-18 relates:
'I see it, but not now' - This refers to David;
'I perceive it, but not in the near future;" - This refers to the Messianic king; 'A star shall go forth from Jacob' - This refers to David; 'and a staff shall arise in Israel' - This refers to the Messianic king; 'crushing all of Moab's princes' - This refers to David as II Samuel 8:2 relates: 'He smote Moab and measured them with a line;'

'decimating all of Seth's descendants' - This refers to the Messianic king about whom Zechariah 9:10 prophesies: 'He will rule from sea to sea.'
'Edom will be demolished' - This refers to David as II Samuel 8:6 states 'Edom became the servants of David;'
'Seir will be destroyed' - this refers to the Messianic king as Ovadiah 1:21 prophesies: 'Saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau....'

Halacha 2

Similarly, with regard to the cities of refuge, Deuteronomy 19:8-9 states: 'When God will expand your borders... you must add three more cities.' This command was never fulfilled. Surely, God did not give this command in vain.

There is no need to cite proofs from the works of the prophets for all their books are filled with mention of this matter.

Halacha 3

One should not presume that the Messianic king must work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena in the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds. This is definitely not true.

Proof can be brought from the fact that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greater Sages of the Mishnah, was one of the supporters of King Bar Kozibah and would describe him as the Messianic king. He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the Messianic king until he was killed because of sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not the Mashiach. The Sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders.
The main thrust of the matter is: This Torah, its statutes and its laws, are everlasting. We may not add to them or detract from them.

Halacha 4

If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach.

He will then improve the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve God together, as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'

If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. God caused him to arise only to test the many, as Daniel 11:35 states: 'And some of the wise men will stumble, to try them, to refine, and to clarify until the appointed time, because the set time is in the future.'

Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Mashiach and was executed by the court was also alluded to in Daniel's prophecies, as ibid. 11:14 states: 'The vulgar among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.'

Can there be a greater stumbling block than Christianity? All the prophets spoke of Mashiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior who would gather their dispersed and strengthen their observance of the mitzvot. In contrast, Christianity caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the Lord.

Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts, our thoughts. Ultimately, all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for Mashiach's coming and the improvement of the entire world, motivating the nations to serve God together as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'

How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of Mashiach, Torah, and mitzvot. These matters have been spread to the furthermost islands to many stubborn-hearted nations. They discuss these matters and the mitzvot of the Torah, saying: 'These mitzvot were true, but were already negated in the present age and are not applicable for all time.'

Others say: 'Implied in the mitzvot are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply. The Mashiach has already come and revealed those hidden truths.'
When the true Messianic king will arise and prove successful, his position becoming exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage and their prophets and ancestors caused them to err.

The lady paralyzed from a stroke knows how to do the rowing stroke:

This is one of two boys that were Ben Beis at my house who died in a traffic accident. One of my son’s best friends who had an eye on my daughter – years late she would marry a very close friend of his. Since he was a soldier at the time the IDF honored him. You will need Google translate if you don’t know Hebrew.

In case you thought that the dispute between the Vilna Gaon and the Elder Rebbe of Lubavitch faded away it is alive and well in Bnei Berak and Kiriat Sefer as well as Lakewood and other cities:
Update: Following reports that he had disparaged Chabad in a meeting with the Satmar Rebbe regarding participation in the upcoming “antinet” gathering in Citi Field, Rabbi Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Medrash Gevohah in Lakewood, released the following statement: “It was noted at a meeting recently held about the upcoming Citifield Asifa that Chabad Lubavitch has traditionally not formally participated in such events. This was Chas v'shalom not intended in any way to cast any negative light whatsoever on them or on any other chug in Klal Yisroel by anyone at the meeting. Any other inference or understanding of what was said is wholly mistaken.”

Sometimes we have to get along with others and not seek revenge just get the gone:

Most of the Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s products are OU certified however: Non – Certified Uncle Ben's Whole Grain and Wild Rice Mushroom Recipe mistakenly bears an OU symbol and contains a spice packet that is not certified by the Orthodox Union. Corrective measures were implemented.

In the 24 hrs. of Yediot Ahronot it was mentioned that two Israeli Medical Researchers have found a short cut to get Testosterone to the Prostate of older men. This should eliminate the enlargement and cancer in the future.

Conservative Judaism has a death wish or something it is the fastest deteriorating form of Judaism:,7340,L-4225239,00.html The Goyim are having a similar problem in some churches: Ari sent me this private message the article is long but the conclusion I bring down: If, however, some institution to which we belong is colonized by those who are, in some way that seems important to us, different — well, we won’t necessarily fight, or “hate,” or “bash.” We will just quietly sell up and leave, in order to be among people we feel more comfortable with, and the institution will then be something different from what it was. It will belong to them, not to us.

From Ari: Jews in America a dying breed and not counting intermarriage – only the Orthodox have any hope:

Being Single wanting to get married but living like a Mensch:

Inyanay Diyoma

PLO returns to terror:

In memorium the death of moral courage:

Did the IDF or terrorist hold a secret drill?,7340,L-4224597,00.html

Home Security and the Army preventing attacks:

Iran has transferred nuclear weapon-making installations to secret Dasht e-Kavir (Great Salt Desert) sites, including nuclear-capable ballistic missile plants, debkafile reports. This prompted Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s prediction that Iran is on the way to a capability for building a nuclear bomb in 60 days. To keep the desert installations out of sight, Tehran is bidding to stop IAEA inspections altogether after Parchin. Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are fighting to keep Israel’s military option on the table against political rivals at home.

Only Rumors of war nothing more but the Sinai is the most dangerous border right now after years of one string of barbed wire just for a line between the countries.

The French election instead of balancing the budget he will borrow more be prepared to sell your Euro and the same with Greece:

Congressman Allen West - Explains what a chuckle-head is:!

From Bella L: A matter of anti-Semitism and geography. Israel has moved to Europe and in Asia there is a fictitious place called Palestine. click the continent.

The results of the French election bad for Israel:

Naphtali who-what??? Go ahead and split the right wing more you egoist.

RJC: Biden's Iran remark was outrageous Iran was and is the problem Washington, D.C. (May 8, 2012) --The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded today to a remark by Vice President Joe Biden before a Jewish audience in which he said: "When we took office, let me remind you, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem. We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe."

Who let the cat out of the bag?

Recommended reading that I received but did not read:

11 Iyar, 5772 May 3, '12 from Moshe Feglin
The Knesset factions are in pursuit of legislation that will institute equal draft into the IDF – but something is fishy. The New Israel Fund's propaganda has made inroads, and it looks like the upcoming elections will focus on Haredi-bashing.
It is true that the issue of Haredi enlistment in the IDF must be resolved in a fair and equal manner. But it looks like the new legislation is not a means, but rather, an end unto itself.
So what is the solution?

First, we must understand the problem: The problem is not lack of manpower in the IDF. The IDF is not really interested in the enlistment of thousands of Haredi conscripts. The problem is that it is not fair to exempt people from the army on a communal basis.

Another aspect of the problem is that there are many Haredim who are not really capable of learning all day and into the night – just like in any other sector. But those Haredim who are registered at yeshivas cannot work because the exemption from enlistment requires them to remain within the walls of their institutions of higher learning.

To solve the problem, we must get to its roots and ask ourselves if the IDF must really draft by coercion. In Mahar magazine we showed that a mandatory draft is not necessary and that Israel pays a high price in the economic, social and mainly security realms to preserve the ethos of the "People's Army." A professional, volunteer army will enhance security, cost less and will make the mandatory draft – for Haredim, radical leftists and other sectors who do not want to enlist – irrelevant.
This solution, however, is not currently accepted by Israeli society, that has always been nurtured on the ethos of the "People's Army." This ethos serves the ruling elites, who do not want to yield the tremendous power that comes along with the ability to forcibly induct people into the army. As such, the true solution will have to wait, and we must find an interim solution.
We can accept any law that will truly increase equality. This law must be approved by a broad consensus – both by the Haredim and the Arabs. It is important to understand that the Haredim are not afraid of the draft, but rather, from the attempts to override their traditions and customs by means of the army. This apprehension is not at all unfounded. If the IDF will convince the Haredim of the purity of its motives and will create a service framework for them that will not undermine all that is holy to them – it will be a huge blessing – first and foremost for the Haredim.

Sanctions are not against Iran but against Israel, stupid. By Yekutiel Guzofsky

While the new EU SWIFT sanctions against specific banking institutions that have already been blacklisted and designated as supporters of terrorism by the West sounds like a deadly blow on Iran, it is nothing of the sort. "The impact of financial sanctions will not come close to full potential if Iran can simply go across the street to a non-designated bank to conduct the transactions with those still willing to do business with it," said Democratic Representative Brad Sherman, who is working with Republican Senator Mark Kirk on legislation that would extend sanctions to all Iranian banks.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered an eloquent speech at the recent AIPAC convention which will be most remembered for his comparing of the Iran nuclear program to a duck. Yes, Mr Prime Minister if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is surely a duck just as sure as Iran is developing nuclear weapons to destroy the Jewish state, G-d forbid. However, let us not get too impressed by the new SWIFT sanction which is not very swift at all. Ironically, PM Netanyahu was one of the first to express his support for the new sanctions – the very same sanctions that are designed to slide Israel into the no-action zone, as the world supposedly gets tough on Iran. Bibi can quack all he wants as he blesses the new meaningless sanctions on Iran, but the duck continues to quack away along with the Iranian nuclear-clock and the new sanctions are nothing more than a smoke screen to blur the true threat posed by the Iranian Nuclear Duck. 

The presidential election slogan proposed by Bill Clinton 20 years ago was "It’s all about the economy, stupid." Indeed, the election is swayed by the economy. And the current sanctions imposed on Iran are swayed by the economy, oil prices, global and domestic economic stability and the impact that will all have on swaying U.S. elections, and not about the health and wellbeing of the Jews who dwell in Zion.

These sanctions are not about stopping Iran but rather about stopping Israel from taking military action so as not to jeopardize world-peace and the free flow of oil. In other words, it is all about controlling oil prices and keeping things quiet until U.S. elections, this coming November. If Iran happens to reach that point of ‘no return’ prior to November, world leaders will surely come to pay their respects at a new Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or at a new Holocaust Museum in Washington, dedicated to 6,000,000 Jews who perish in a new Holocaust. The leaders of Germany and America will surely come to cry over the fresh graves as they lay their wreaths and utter worthless platitudes about “Never Again”, and as they hear the ritual mourner’s prayer of kadish recited for the State of Israel, of blessed memory.

These sanctions are about sacrificing Israel on the falsely perceived altar of conquering a few more months of peace and quiet. However, make no mistake:, No lasting peace or quiet will come from allowing the Hitler in Teheran to get closer to producing nuclear weapons. The ultimate threat to world peace, the world’s oil supply and the global economy will only worsen with every day that passes and with every inch of progress that is made in the Iran Nuclear Program.
The sanctions being imposed will do more to empower Iran’s nuclear program and to embolden the Iranians than to disable Iran’s potential Holocaust-nuclear-arsenal.

Obama and most of the world will do just about anything to ensure that Israel does not take a preemptive strike against Iran, in spite of Iran’s promise to destroy Israel.

The sanctions come now, specifically now, to buy time, as Israel finally appears to be sincerely deliberating with herself about a future assault on Iran. The sanctions come now, to buy time, until after U.S. elections, and that’s all good, however, what happens if in the meantime, the “point of no-return” is reached in the Iranian Nuclear Program?

We need to change the content and direction of the Iran-debate. The debate and question should not be about detecting the exact minute Iran will be fully ready to annihilate 6 million Jews in Israel. None of us are prophets and no intelligence agency anywhere can give us an exact date or be sure exactly how advanced the Iranian threat is. However, from the moment a state denies the last Holocaust and promises to bring a future Holocaust upon the Jews, they can’t expect Jews to sit by guessing if and when that Holocaust is fully ripe. If you play with nuclear weapons and you vow to destroy us, then that is more than enough reason for us to nuke you first. When one comes to nuke you, nuke him first. When one promises to annihilate you, annihilate him first. As the Rabbis teach us, “when one comes to slay you, awaken, and slay him first.

In the Passover seder one of the favorite songs is “Dayenu”. Dayenu means: enough for us. Regarding Iran, I say Dayenu. We need no reason to seek justifications to attack Iran and to nuke them out of existence. If all that Iran did was to arm the Hizbullah in Lebanon, Dayenu! If all that Iran did was to arm Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Dayenu! If all that Iran did was to threaten to destroy us, Dayenu! If all that Iran did was begin to seek a nuclear bomb to destroy us, Dayenu! Wait until we are sure that they have reached the point of ‘no return’ and that the sanctions fail? But then it will be too late. Wait for the sanctions to do their thing? But the sanctions are not coming to stop Iran, but rather to stop Israel!

Impose sanctions to stop Iran? No, stupid, the sanctions are to stop Israel and to maintain quiet until the elections in November. In Obama’s confused brain, where Israel is certainly not his priority, the last thing he needs now is a full blown war, and a surge in oil prices. He does not have to worry about the Jewish-vote; the Jews are in his pocket, certainly as long as he speaks loud enough about sanctions. It is not about Israel’s survival, stupid. Don’t flatter yourself. Hussein Obama could care less about Israel’s welfare. It is about how to get Israel to stay quiet for now. And in the words of Zeev Jabotinsky the ideological founding father of the Likud party, “quiet is slime, abandonment of blood and souls.” Noise is the last thing criminals want to hear before they execute their crimes. It is much more convenient and easy to kill your victim when they walk into the chambers of death like silent sheep. It is possible that quiet serves Obama’s perceived short-term political interests, however, sanctions that lead to silence and quiet on the part of Israel is a death-sentence for the Jewish state, G-d forbid.

Funny but true: In early 2007, 170 Swiss troops accidentally went non-neutral for a bit — they took a wrong turn and unintentionally “invaded” Liechtenstein. Switzerland alerted Liechtenstein of the error — the small principality did not notice the error — and apologized. The apology was accepted. (Next the grand duchy of Fenwick?) 

Forwarded to me by Dr. Harry THE FURNACES OF MORLOCH ARE BACK!
Shocking: Customs Officials Intercept 17,000 Pills Filled With Powdered Baby Flesh From China
Posted on May 7, 2012 at 9:19pm by Erica Ritz Print »Email »
Comments (95)Since last August, customs officials in South Korea say they have intercepted between 17,000 and 17,500 pills filled with finely-ground human baby flesh, which is said to be both a stamina-enhancer and medical panacea in parts of Asia.
The Daily Mail explains:
The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born.
The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves.
Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummeled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers.
These particular pills are not related to those confiscated by customs (Photo: Wiki Commons)
While many are shocked and disgusted at the practice, it seems as though officials in South Korea are equally concerned about the sanitary concerns associated with ingesting human remains.
“It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health,” the BBC quotes an official as saying in the Korea Times.
The allegations that human flesh capsules were being trafficked from north-east China into South Korea emerged last year in a South Korean television documentary, but China’s ministry spokesman insists the country has “strict management of disposal of infant and fetal remains as well as placentas.”

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story for Outside of Israel it is one Parsha behind for Israel two. “Rich Uncle” comes in two parts.

Good Shabbos Everyone. The Torah gives us this week the ever important mitzvah of "and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Rabbi Akiva explained this is THE general rule in the Torah. If one follows this mitzvah, they will observe all the other mitzvahs regarding how we must treat others. Through do so, we will all lead rewarding lives both in this World and in the World to Come. The following story illustrates this concept in action.
Yakov Braunstein (not his real name) is Jew who lives in the Brooklyn, New York area. One day, Yakov’s brother brought his attention to a “help-wanted” ad in a local paper. There was an older man who was looking for an attendant. It looked like a good opportunity and Yakov called soon after to set up an appointment. Soon after, Yakov interviewed with the man whom we will call “Mr. Roth.”
Boruch Hashem, Mr. Roth liked Yakov and hired him for the job. Yakov would have to work 6 days a week helping Mr. Roth. The following is the amazing account retold in Yakov’s words about his experiences while working for Mr. Roth.
"Very quickly, I realized that life in Mr. Roth's house was no easy street. He was a bit younger than eighty, and a difficult and stern person — easily angered, nervous, and convinced that the entire world was against him, that they no longer needed him alive.
During my first few months on the job, I got to know all of Mr. Roth's employees. And there were quite a few of them: a private attorney, a gardener, a cleaner, a cook. All contributed information. I learned that Mr. Roth was very, very wealthy; he had owned factories across the globe.
Ten years previously, he'd given over the business to his sons. Mr. Roth remained a multimillionaire, with enough money to line his grave with diamonds. "They say he used to be a nice person," the gardener told me, "but you can see those days are gone."
And gone they were. Mr. Roth was a strict, angry, and very suspicious person. During my first day on the job, I realized that even though I hadn't very much to do, I had a major task: to be constantly at his beck and call. Mr. Roth could call me at any given moment and ask for something. He didn't have much to ask for, because the household followed a very strict routine, and every worker knew that the smallest mistake could cost him his job.
Even though he paid well, the turnover was astounding. When I arrived, there was not a single employee who'd been on the job more than half a year. During my first two months on the job, two of them had to leave. He simply could not tolerate errors.
Mr. Roth tested me many times during my first six months on the job. He often asked me to stay overtime; he asked me to arrive early even though it would destroy my entire morning routine and I had to search for Shacharis minyanim in different places, and believe me, those extra hours gained him nothing. I didn't do much then, just as I didn't do much during the rest of my hours. He left money in strange places, as if it had been forgotten. I found a hundred-dollar bill in the bathroom, and one day I found a package of dollar bills wrapped in aluminum foil in the refrigerator, as if someone had hidden it there. Documents were scattered in places where any curious person would have been happy to find them.
Of course, I brought the money directly to Mr. Roth. And I didn't glance at the documents, for the simple reason that it was forbidden to do so.
At first, I thought that he was really a bit tired and forgetful, but I quickly realized that he was sharp as an eagle. He was simply testing me. I smiled to myself and tried to keep up with all his demands, even though he complained about every single thing I did.
It was a conversation with my father that clued me in as to what was really happening. My father was approximately the same age as Mr. Roth and once remarked that he himself was fortunate that he had returned to learn Torah in Kollel after retirement. Otherwise, he would have felt that no one needed him, and his days would have been long and boring. My father, at his advanced age, still worked two hours every day, went to visit patients in the hospital, learned in a Kollel, and received visits from grandchildren every day. All this in addition to three minyanim a day. He was a very busy man. Once, when I visited him, he told me all about a friend who had grown depressed because his life was so boring and he felt that no one needed him. It was then that I suddenly understood Mr. Roth.
Mr. Roth was a man who had once been active almost twenty-four hours daily, who'd been consumed by international business ventures, who'd been consulted every moment, had suddenly fallen into a paradise of silence and serenity, which essentially served as a prison. No one asked his advice; no one needed him. His four sons were very busy. True, they did phone every day to ask how he was feeling, but how much time did the conversation take? Each one took no longer than five minutes, totaling twenty minutes of the long day of Mr. Roth.
The moment I understood that Mr. Roth was lonely, a lot of things became clear. I decided to implement a different method in my work. Until that moment, I had never initiated any conversation with Mr. Roth. If he didn't ask for anything, I never volunteered. That's how I had done my job until this point. But from the moment I understood how difficult life was for Mr. Roth, who felt as if the entire world had forgotten him and that his life had no meaning, I changed my perspective and behavior. Of course, I did it slowly and subtly, because I wasn't sure how he'd react.
It began when I brought up the morning paper. I said, "Mr. Roth, would you be able to explain the mess that happened in Wall Street? I don't understand what they're so upset about." Mr. Roth, who could discuss shares, stocks, trends, and the like with ease, and who hadn't had such an opportunity in ten years, began a long, detailed explanation.
I learned more in that hour than a student studying for his MBA. The information didn't interest me at all. I never dreamed that I'd ever have enough money to invest in stocks. But the fact that Mr. Roth was lecturing with such gusto told me something. Of course, I thanked him profusely for the explanation, and he asked me whether I planned on investing. I laughed and told him that for now, I was investing in diapers, baby food, and a bit of bread and milk.
Later, when my daughter Miri had a sore throat, I told Mr. Roth that I was worried about my daughter. To be honest, I wasn't really worried. Any father of several small children doesn't get excited about a sore throat. But it was the most interesting thing I could share with Mr. Roth.
Later, he looked at me in shock when I asked him if he had any good solutions for my underweight daughter, whose sore throat was preventing her from eating. "You understand," I said, "anyone can get a sore throat, but Miri isn't gaining properly, so it's a real problem."
"My mother," he seemed to come alive, "used to treat most of these simple illnesses on her own. Believe me, it helped more than all the antibiotics they use today."
But Mr. Roth now knew that I had a daughter named Miri, and for the next week, he asked how she was feeling. Then he asked me the names and ages of my other children. From then on, I told him about all their antics.
Now every morning we began our conversation talking about our families, well usually my family, because, sadly, his family members didn't really include him in their lives. During those conversations, Mr. Roth was no longer the stern master. He became a wise, experienced, and intuitive human being. Even his wrinkles looked as if they'd been ironed out. I very much enjoyed his insightful comments. Perhaps the greatest benefit was that he didn't get angry for the hour after our conversation, and didn't summon any of the workers needlessly. And when two months passed, we discovered that no one had been fired. I guess you can say that I had discovered a patent of sorts.
At a certain stage Mr. Roth fired his driver. It was so normal that I thought it amazing I was still employed. Then he asked me to drive him. That wasn't so extraordinary; he had asked me to drive him around before even when the driver was in service. But now we had new, interesting topics of conversation. He would tell me about places I didn't know or explain how the neighborhoods had changed during the last fifty years. I told him everything I knew about the Jewish aspects of the streets of New York.
One day, we got stuck in an area where a Chassidic Rebbe's son was getting married. The entire area was closed off, and Mr. Roth grumbled that they were ruining his schedule just for a wedding. But then I suggested that we get out of the car and try to see what was going on. And that's how Mr. Roth saw for the first time in his life that Rebbes do have more than twenty-three Chassidim, which is what he'd always thought. He was astounded by the sight of thousands of people filling the streets. After we managed to enter the area, he simply forgot how to close his mouth, because he was in awe. Of course, we couldn't actually see anything. We were too far away... Little did I know that Mr. Roth's life would be changed forever after going to that Rebbe's son's chasunah (wedding)... To be continued next week. Good Shabbos Everyone. .
Good Shabbos Everyone. continued from last week. ...That week, after Shabbos, I brought him all the weeklies that had devoted full-color spreads to the wedding.
Mr. Roth said that he wanted to see a Rebbe's wedding from up close. I told him that it was a big problem, because the closer areas were reserved for family members, as well as major contributors. Then he said, "I'm not a family member or a friend, but I can be a donor."
I explained that we weren't talking about a hundred- or thousand-dollar donation. Then he sighed and said, "I don't have the best of health, or the best of family, but I have lots of money, too much of it in fact. Let's get a spot. Find out how to do it."
It took me less than two days to find out how to get a spot for the final sheva brachos. And so, almost imperceptibly, Mr. Roth had a new, exciting interest added to his life. He wasn't religious. I never asked him how Shabbos was observed in his house. But I didn't have to guess.
I arranged him a place at a wedding of a different rebbe. This was also large and impressive. He spent many long hours there, as well as at the events preceding and following it. Something inside him seemed to have changed. He asked me if he could see how we observe Shabbos.
It wasn't a problem for me. Since there was no room in our house for a guest, I arranged for him to sleep at my parents' home. They had a spacious house, with room for both Mr. Roth and my little family, who would entertain the guest so my parents wouldn't have to. Mr. Roth experienced a genuine Shabbos for the first time in his life. Needless to say, he was moved to tears. That Shabbos, he became my father's friend. They found many mutual topics of conversations, and I gained even more: my father now had a new friend, and Mr. Roth had enjoyed many hours of stimulating conversation with someone who could really understand him. Those conversations became steady affairs.
I spent just a year and half working for Mr. Roth. By the time the first year was finished, he had become a member of the family. He often spent Shabbos with my parents, and there were many weeks that my wife, children, and I spent Shabbos in his home, bringing all the food and trimmings.
Mr. Roth learned how to daven and recite blessings, he covered his head some of the time, he learned about the mitzvah of tithing, and he managed to donate sizable sums and form relationships with prominent rebbes and rabbis.
During the last half year, he was busier than he'd been during the previous decade. He seemed to have come to life, and became a different person, no longer the bored, grumbling Mr. Roth, but a person filled with happiness and gratitude.
Mr. Roth died in his sleep. When I arrived for work one morning, his house was filled with his children, attorneys, and medical personnel, all walking about aimlessly. I escaped after I'd found out the time of the funeral. I cried and mourned for him wholeheartedly. I had no doubt that he would have become a true baal teshuvah. I knew that I'd miss him very much.
Mr. Roth's sons sat shivah in his home. His attorney told them their father had requested they do so. They agreed. It was a strange week; they didn't know anything about the laws of mourning and they didn't have much patience, but somehow they managed to get through the week in a Jewish fashion.
I arranged minyanim and a sefer Torah, and they managed to recite Kaddish with great difficulty. After the shivah, the will was opened. Mr. Roth had changed it three months previously and approved those changes with a notary, witnesses, and video tape.
He bequeathed huge sums to Jewish institutions, he gave his children various holdings that he owned throughout the United States, and he left me his enormous house in his upscale New York neighborhood, along with close to a million dollars.
Without a doubt, I'd received quite a large salary for a year and a half of work.
But I gained even more than that. Today I no longer need to work for my livelihood. The money has been invested in special programs that provide monthly allotments to cover my expenses. I dedicate most of my time to elderly people with no one left to liven up their day, to give them the feeling that they're still worth something.
I explain to their families and to people who care, how many mitzvos they can achieve by spending time with the elderly. I try convincing people to adopt an elderly person who lives alone or whose family is too busy to spend much time with him, and see how much they can accomplish with fairly little effort. I personally visit private homes and seniors' homes, listen to the people sitting and waiting for no one, and tell them what's happening in the world. I ask them how best to care for my large family, I ask them who should be president and why, and listen to their financial schemes. Basically, I give them the sense that they're still alive."

Hashem commands us this week saying: "You shall count for yourselves... seven weeks, they shall be complete." (Vayikra 23:15) This is the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer ­- the counting of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuos, the period in which we currently find ourselves.
The Sages have taught us that the time of Sefiras HaOmer is a time of special spiritual importance. Specifically, the Sages tell us that this is a time to work on our character. This is hinted to in the gematria - numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word "Omer" which is 49, which is also the numerical value of "midah" - character.
Historically, a great calamity befell the Jewish people during this period. Namely, 24,000 students of Rebbi Akiva died during Sefiras HaOmer because they did not treat each other with respect. (See, Yevamos 72b) By treating others with respect, especially elders, we show that are Jews whose spiritual goals include the peferction of our character. 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 In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory
A peaceful, beautiful, healthy and wonderful Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli