Friday, June 1, 2012

Parsha Naso, stories and a Gerus Test

Instead of private enterprise give the government to
run a project:

Interesting from a
Scholastic Stand Point.

Originally the Chumash was read either
in a one year cycle or a three year cycle. When the Sages at the time saw that
the congregations of the three year cycle were forgetting the Chumash, they
condensed the Parshiyos into a one year cycle routine. The longest Parsha is
Naso. The question arises by me what was the reason that part of the Leviim are
counted in Bamidbar and the rest in Naso. Why not count all in Bamidbar and
shorten Naso or add a few words and sentences to Bamidbar. I would have liked to
be in the discussion on dividing up the Parsha and that of Balak and Pinchas
which Rabbi Schatz reminded me of when I discussed this with him for the story
of Pinchas and his Bracha is in two Parshiyos. Below I have brought down the
last section from last week condensing some of the Rashi.

4:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron,
saying: 2 'Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by
their families, by their fathers' houses, 3 from thirty years old and upward
even until fifty years old, all that enter upon the service, to do work in the
tent of meeting.

From Liab: Yet if every Jew is so
important, why does this week's Parsha go on to describe the special role for
the tribe of Levi? Isn't that discriminatory? Just by virtue of birth, is a
Levite inherently "better" than a non-Levite? In truth, everyone is equally
important. Sure, some people are born smarter, and some with more talent in one
area or another. But that doesn't make that person any

The Leviim had to be strong in
their service in the Mishkan it was heavy work building, carrying, taking down,
storing and rebuilding the Mishkan. At 28 one has the largest amount of strength
Koach which is Chaf Chet or 28. At 30 one is close to the maximum about of Koach
and more settled and mature in his outlook. This continues until 50 when the
strength of a man both mentally alert and physically strong begins to wane.
Brain cells start dying at around 50 and they cannot be replaced by modern

4 This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the
tent of meeting, about the most holy things:

The Holy of Holies: The holiest of
all-the ark, the table, the menorah, the altars, the dividing curtain, and the
service utensils.

5 when the camp sets forward, Aaron shall go in, and
his sons, and they shall take down the veil of the screen, and cover the ark of
the testimony with it;

Aaron and his sons shall come: They
shall put each vessel into its holder specified for it in this section. The
Levite sons of Kohath need only carry them. When the camp is about to travel:
When the cloud withdraws, they know that they are to

6 and shall put thereon a covering of giraffe
skin, and shall spread over it a cloth all of blue, and shall set the staves
thereof. 7 And upon the table of showbread they shall spread a cloth of blue,
and put thereon the dishes, and the pans, and the bowls, and the jars wherewith
to pour out; and the continual bread shall remain thereon.

forms, spoons, supports, and covering
frames: I have already described [these] in [the chapter dealing with] the work
of the Mishkan (Ex. 25). covering: Heb. הַנָּסֶךְ, from the term מָסָךְ [a
screen] as it is written, with which they are covered (יֻסַּךְ)" (Ex.

8 And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet,
and cover the same with a covering of giraffe skin, and shall set the
staves thereof. 9 And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick
of the light, and its lamps, and its tongs, and its snuffdishes, and all the oil
vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it. 10 And they shall put it and
all the vessels thereof within a covering of giraffe skin, and shall put
it upon a bar.

Thrice I have changed the skin to bring
it up to what it should be and Rashi says that the skin was gathered in a sack
like way. It took quite a few dozen people to move and fold the heavy

11 And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth
of blue, and cover it with a covering of sealskin, and shall set the staves
thereof. 12 And they shall take all the vessels of ministry, wherewith they
minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with
a covering of sealskin, and shall put them on a bar.

all the vessels used in the Holy: That
is, within the Mishkan [as opposed to the courtyard], which is holy. These are
the incense vessels with which they ministered on the inner

13 And they shall take away the ashes from the altar,
and spread a purple cloth thereon.

They shall remove the ashes from the
altar: The copper altar. They shall remove: remove the ashes from upon [the
altar]. And spread a purple cloth over it: The fire that descended from heaven
crouched under the cloth like a lion during their travels, but it did not burn
it because they covered it with a large copper pot

14 And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof,
wherewith they minister about it, the fire-pans, the flesh-hooks, and the
shovels, and the basins, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread
upon it a covering of giraffe skin, and set the staves thereof.

The covering of the Holy: The ark and
the altar. Vessels of the Holy: The menorah and the service utensils. They will
die: If they touch [the sacred objects] they are punishable by death at the
hands of heaven

15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of
covering the holy furniture, and all the holy vessels, as the camp is to set
forward--after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear them; but they shall
not touch the holy things, lest they die. These things are the burden of the
sons of Kohath in the tent of meeting. 16 And the charge of Eleazar the son of
Aaron the priest shall be the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the
continual meal-offering, and the anointing oil: he shall have the charge of the
entire tabernacle, and of all that therein is, whether it be the sanctuary, or
the furniture thereof.'

The charge for the entire Mishkan: He
was also appointed over the load [assigned to] the children of Kohath, to direct
each man as to his task and burden, and this is [what the verse means when it
says] “the… Mishkan and all that is in it” - all the items mentioned above, in
this section. But the burden of the sons of Gershon and Merari, which did not
consist of the Holy of Holies, was by order of Itamar, as written in the portion
of Naso.

17 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron,
saying: 18 'Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from
among the Levites; 19 but thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die,
when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in,
and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden; 20 but they shall
not go in to see the holy things as they are being covered, lest they

They shall not come in to see when the
holy [vessels] are being wrapped up: In their covering, as I explained above in
this section: They shall spread such and such a cloth over it, and cover it with
such and such a cover. The wrapping up of it [mentioned here] is identical with
the covering [mentioned above].

The Cohanim had the right and the
ability to cover the holiest of vessels while the Leviim not. There is a story
in Sefer of Shmuel of a man who was a Levi and as the Teva stumbled reached out
his hand to prevent it falling and was struck dead by HASHEM. So this warning is
very appropriate.

Parsha Naso

4:21 And the LORD spoke unto Moses saying: 22 'Take
the sum of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers' houses, by their
families; 23 from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou
number them: all that enter in to wait upon the service, to do service in the
tent of meeting. 24 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in
serving and in bearing burdens: 25 they shall bear the curtains of the
tabernacle, and the tent of meeting, its covering, and the covering of sealskin
that is above upon it, and the screen for the door of the tent of

This was the real heavy work and good
for people with strong muscles. For the items that Rashi mentions below are very
heavy and if one would take the curtain to the Mikvah it would take 300 men to
bring it out of water between the water absorbed and the surface tension of the
water. Dr. MD and Rabbi Shalom Friedman Shlita once gave the Daf Yomi and the
story of 300 men were mentioned and he thought it an exaggeration until I said
to him, did you ever learn in chemistry or physics the weight of a cubic foot of
water for cubic meter should be a ton and then we calculated the dimensions of
the curtains dry and he agreed with me.

The curtains of the Mishkan: The ten
lower ones. And the Tent of Meeting: The curtains of goat hair made as a tent
over it. Its covering: The ram skins dyed red. The screen for the entrance: The
screen on the east side.

26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for
the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar
round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and
whatsoever there may be to do with them, therein shall they serve.

Which are around the Mishkan: That is to
say, the hangings and the screen of the courtyard, which shelter and protect the
Mishkan and the copper altar all around. And everything that is made for them:
As the Targum [understands it]: everything that is given over to them, that is,
to the sons of Gershon.

27 At the commandment of Aaron and his sons shall be
all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burden, and in all
their service; and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burden.

By the instruction of Aaron and his
sons: Which of the sons was appointed over them? [The answer is:] “under the
supervision of Itamar the son of Aaron the priest” (verse

28 This is the service of the families of the sons of
the Gershonites in the tent of meeting; and their charge shall be under the hand
of Itamar the son of Aaron the priest.

Although based on the number of Pasukim
for Kohath and Gershon one would think that the Gershonites were doing nothing
but this is not so for their work was very difficult. Let the most precise work
was that of putting the boards of the Mishkan together. For while the tent part
was given to Gershon; the assembling the gigantic and heavy boards together and
holding them into place with sockets was given over to Merari so essentially
nothing was easy and each job with its problems and one needed precision and
distinct talents for each.

29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them
by their families, by their fathers' houses; 30 from thirty years old and upward
even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that enters upon the
service, to do the work of the tent of meeting. 31 And this is the charge of
their burden, according to all their service in the tent of meeting: the boards
of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the
sockets thereof; 32 and the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets,
and their pins, and their cords, even all their appurtenance, and all that
pertains to their service; and by name ye shall appoint the instruments of the
charge of their burden.

Pegs and ropes: of the pillars, since
the pegs and ropes of the hangings were included in the burden assigned to the
sons of Gershon. There were pegs and ropes for the bottom of the curtains and
the hangings so that the wind should not lift them up, and there were pegs and
ropes for the pillars all around, from which to hang the hangings from their
upper edge with poles and rods, as was taught in [the Baraitha] Melecheth
HaMishkan. — [Ch. 5]

33 This is the service of the families of the sons of
Merari, according to all their service, in the tent of meeting, under the hand
of Itamar the son of Aaron the priest.' 34 And Moses and Aaron and the princes
of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites by their families, and
by their fathers' houses, 35 from thirty years old and upward even unto fifty
years old, every one that entered upon the service, for service in the tent of
meeting. 36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two
thousand seven hundred and fifty. 37 These are they that were numbered of the
families of the Kohathites, of all that did serve in the tent of meeting, whom
Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of

Eleazar was in charge of Kohath and the
other two Levi Families were under the command of Itamar. As for the work load
and laborers for each task we had 2750 for the holiest service with the cleaning
of the Altar and the transportation of the holiest

38 And those that were numbered of the sons of
Gershon, by their families, and by their fathers' houses, 39 from thirty years
old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entered upon the
service, for service in the tent of meeting, 40 even those that were numbered of
them, by their families, by their fathers' houses, were two thousand and six
hundred and thirty.

2630 men were for the second third for
raising and lowering the tent and the curtains.

41 These are they that were numbered of the families
of the sons of Gershon, of all that did serve in the tent of meeting, whom Moses
and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of the LORD. 42 And those that
were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, by their families, by their
fathers' houses, 43 from thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old,
every one that entered upon the service, for service in the tent of meeting, 44
even those that were numbered of them by their families, were three thousand and
two hundred.

3200 men were available for the
raising and the lowering of the giant boards of the Mishkan.

45 These are they that were numbered of the families
of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the
commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses. 46 All those that were numbered of
the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the princes of Israel numbered, by their
families, and by their fathers' houses, 47 from thirty years old and upward even
unto fifty years old, every one that entered in to do the work of service, and
the work of bearing burdens in the tent of meeting, 48 even those that were
numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. 49
According to the commandment of the LORD they were appointed by the hand of
Moses, everyone to his service, and to his burden; they were also numbered, as
the LORD commanded Moses.

The whole contingent of Leviim meeting
the age requirement for working the Mishkan was 8580 which was a large number of
workers for a relatively small space and precision timing had to be used so as
to utilize the maximum output without having any

Chapter 5 deals with five topics
which have each a Maseches of Gemara not in the Talmudic Order but in the Parsha
Order is Negaim, Meilah (5th Seder), Nedarim, Nazir and Sotah (3rd

5:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Command
the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one
that hath an issue, and whosoever is unclean by the dead; 3 both male and female
shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their
camp, in the midst whereof I dwell.' 4 And the children of Israel did so, and
put them out without the camp; as the LORD spoke unto Moses, so did the children
of Israel.

Tzaras or translated Leprosy is the

5 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 6 Speak unto
the children of Israel: When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men
commit, to commit a trespass against the LORD, and that soul be guilty; 7 then
they shall confess their sin which they have done; and he shall make restitution
for his guilt in full, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto
him in respect of whom he hath been guilty. 8 But if the man have no kinsman to
whom restitution may be made for the guilt, the restitution for guilt which is
made shall be the LORD'S, even the priest's; besides the ram of the atonement,
whereby atonement shall be made for him. 9 And every heave-offering of all the
holy things of the children of Israel, which they present unto the priest, shall
be his. 10 And every man's hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man
gives the priest, it shall be his.

The Trespass is the Meilah.

11 and the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 12 Speak
unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: If any man's wife go aside, and
act unfaithfully against him, 13 and a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid
from the eyes of her husband, she being defiled secretly, and there be no
witness against her, neither she be taken in the act; 14 and the spirit of
jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled; or if
the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be
not defiled; 15 then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and shall
bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall
pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is a meal-offering of
jealousy, a meal-offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. 16 And
the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the

This is the section on Sotah. The
waters of testing only worked if both he and she were pure to begin with.
Meaning: He was her first lover and she was his but if both played the field
beforehand. However, if one or both did hanky-panky beforehand the waters would
not test them.

17 … 31 And the man shall be clear from iniquity, and
that woman shall bear her iniquity.

Neder is a vow and Nazir is a special
vow to refrain from wine, cutting of the hair and becoming

6:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak
unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When either man or woman shall
clearly utter a vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the LORD,
3 he shall abstain from wine and strong drink: he shall drink no vinegar of
wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes,
nor eat fresh grapes or dried. 4 All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat
nothing that is made of the grape-vine, from the pressed grapes even to the
grapestone. 5 All the days of his vow of Naziriteship there shall no razor come
upon his head; until the days be fulfilled, in which he consecrates himself unto
the LORD, he shall be holy, he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow
long. 6 All the days that he consecrates himself unto the LORD he shall not come
near to a dead body. 7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for
his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die; because his
consecration unto God is upon his head. 8 All the days of his Naziriteship he is
holy unto the LORD.

He is an ordinary man trying to be like
a Cohain Gadol in Tuma and Taharos privacy and it simply just doesn’t

9 And if any man die very suddenly beside him, and he
defile his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head in the day of his
cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. 10 And on the eighth day he
shall bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of
the tent of meeting. 11 And the priest shall prepare one for a sin-offering, and
the other for a burnt-offering, and make atonement for him, for that he sinned
by reason of the dead; and he shall hallow his head that same day. 12 And he
shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his Naziriteship, and shall bring a
he-lamb of the first year for a guilt-offering; but the former days shall be
void, because his consecration was defiled. 13 And this is the law of the
Nazirite, when the days of his consecration are fulfilled: he shall bring it
unto the door of the tent of meeting; 14 and he shall present his offering unto
the LORD, one he-lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt-offering,
and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin-offering, and one
ram without blemish for peace-offerings, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread,
cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and
their meal-offering, and their drink-offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring
them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin-offering, and his burnt-offering.
17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the LORD,
with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall offer also the
meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof. 18 And the Nazirite shall
shave his consecrated head at the door of the tent of meeting, and shall take
the hair of his consecrated head, and put it on the fire which is under the
sacrifice of peace-offerings. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the
ram when it is sodden, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one
unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazirite, after he
hath shaven his consecrated head. 20 And the priest shall wave them for a
wave-offering before the LORD; this is holy for the priest, together with the
breast of waving and the thigh of heaving; and after that the Nazirite may drink
wine. 21 This is the law of the Nazirite who vows, and of his offering unto the
LORD for his Naziriteship, beside that for which his means suffice; according to
his vow which he vows, so he must do after the law of his Naziriteship.

The next Paragraph is the priestly

22 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 23 'Speak
unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying: On this wise ye shall bless the children
of Israel; ye shall say unto them: 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee; 25
The LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; 26 The
LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 So shall they
put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'

7:1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had made
an end of setting up the tabernacle, and had anointed it and sanctified it, and
all the furniture thereof, and the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had
anointed them and sanctified them;

This section was obviously time wise
prior to the deaths of the two sons of Aaron. We see in this section the general
rule that there is no “early time” or “late time” or in the Hebrew before time
or after time in the Torah. For the Torah is an Israeli Law book and not a
history or story book. The Torah does contain both history and stories but the
whole purpose is to teach us how to live according to the commands of

Moses finished: Betzalel, Oholiav, and
all the wise-hearted [men] assembled the Mishkan, yet Scripture credits Moses
with it, because he utterly devoted himself to it, overseeing that the design of
each article conformed with what he was shown on the mount [Sinai], to instruct
the craftsmen, and he did not err in any design. Similarly, we find with David,
that since he devoted himself to the building of the Temple, as it says, “O
Lord, remember for David all his affliction, that he swore to the Lord…” (Ps.
132:1-2), therefore, it [the Temple] was called by his name, as it says, “See
your House, David” (I Kings 12:16). - [See Midrash Tanchuma Naso 21] [On the
day] that Moses finished erecting: It does not say: “On the day he erected.”
This teaches us that throughout the seven days of investitures, Moses erected it
and dismantled it, but on that day he erected it but did not dismantle it.
Therefore, it says, “Moses finished erecting”-that day marked the end of his
erecting [the Mishkan]. It was the New Moon of Nissan. On the second [day], the
red cow was burned; on the third [day], they sprinkled the first sprinkling (See
below ch. 19); and on the seventh [day], they [the Levites] were shaved (see
below 5:7). - [Sifrei 1:145]

2 that the princes of Israel, the heads of their
fathers' houses, offered--these were the princes of the tribes, these are they
that were over them that were numbered. 3 And they brought their offering before
the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen: a wagon for every two of the
princes, and for each one an ox; and they presented them before the

Question why was it that two princes
contributed one covered wagon together? We are missing some details but it
became obvious to the princes and the elders of the tribes that the Mishkan
could not be carried easily throughout the wilderness even by very strong men.
Wagons were needed for the heavy curtains. Each covered wagon had to be at least
the length of 20 Amos or 10 meters long aka rounded off a bit more than 33 feet
long or the size of a large truck. I assume that these wagons had to be used
also in the beginning construction of the Mishkan to transport the giant boards
from where the trees grew if in Lebanon or some other area all the way back to
Sinai. There is no hint in the Torah where the Giraffe Skins came from but
perhaps some people had them among their clothing. However, the boards were not
carried by people fleeing Egypt from the army of Pharaoh so obviously they came
from somewhere.

I have no proof but I do have a hint
where they came from. The hint comes from the building of the first Beis
HaMikdash where Shlomo took cedars from Lebanon. I assume by simple logic that
the full construction of the Mishkan was in Oral Torah at that time and Shlomo
immediately knew that the wood would have to come from Lebanon. It is an
educated guess but not having a tradition before me and not seeing under normal
construction processes that boards appear from thin air I have to draw my own
conclusions. It would have been easier on my part to invent a story for children
that Moshe used the DIVINE NAME and brought the boards ready made for

Six covered wagons: The word צָב can
denote only “covered.” Similarly, “In covered wagons (בַּצַּבִּים) and on mules”
(Isa. 66:20). Covered wagons are called צַבִּים. [Some expound the word צָב in
the sense of הַצְבִי יִשְׂרָאֵל, “O beauty of Israel” (II Sam. 1:19), (meaning)
that they were elegant.] - [Sifrei Naso 1:148, Num. Rabbah 12: 17. See
Maharzav.] שש they presented them in front of the Mishkan: for Moses did not
accept them from their hands until he was instructed to do so by the
Omnipresent. Rabbi Nathan says: Why did the chieftains see fit to be the first
to contribute here, whereas concerning the work of the Mishkan , they were not
the first to contribute [but the last]? However, the chieftains said as follows,
“Let the people contribute what they can, and then we will complement whatever
is missing.” When they saw that the people had supplied everything-as it says,
“And the work was sufficient for them” (Exod. 36:7)-they said, “What is left for
us to do now?” So they brought the shoham ONYX stones and the filling [stones]
for the ephod and the Choshen . Therefore, [in order to make amends,] here they
were first to contribute. — [Sifrei Naso 1:150]

4 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 5 'Take it of
them, that they may be to do the service of the tent of meeting; and thou shalt
give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.' 6 And Moses
took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites. 7 Two wagons and
four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service.

According to their work: Because the
burden of the sons of Gershon was lighter than that of [the sons of] Merari, who
carried the planks, the pillars, and the sockets. according to their work:
Because the burden of the sons of Gershon was lighter than that of [the sons of]
Merari, who carried the planks, the pillars, and the

8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons
of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Itamar the son of
Aaron the priest. 9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none, because the
service of the holy things belonged unto them: they bore them upon their

For incumbent upon them was the work
involving the holy [objects]: [I.e.,] the burden of the holy objects [such as]
the ark and the table, etc. [was incumbent upon them]. Therefore “they were to
carry on their shoulders” [and not in wagons].

This was no small feat but here too I
learn out from our way of bearing a body for burial. Smaller holy objects could
be carried like a person carries a pack in the army but larger objects such as
the Mizbayach would have to be placed on stretchers and carried by Leviim in
groups of so and so many men with replacements coming into and then the tired
Levi goes to the rear of the line refreshing himself for replacement. I might
further guess that if on the first carrying he used his right shoulder he would
now alternate to his left shoulder or vice versa. Another Chiddush here is up
until this point is that we began to think that the Bnei Gershon and the Bnei
Merari were doing all the hard work and muscle bound so at this point we see
that the Bnei Kohat walking for miles with weight on their shoulders were doing
a very hard and holy job.

10 And the princes brought the dedication-offering of
the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes brought their
offering before the altar. 11 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'They shall present
their offering each prince on his day, for the dedication of the altar.' 12 And
he that presented his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab,
of the tribe of Judah; 13 and his offering was one silver dish, the weight
thereof was a hundred and thirty shekels, one silver basin of seventy shekels,
after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with
oil for a meal-offering; 14 one golden pan of ten shekels, full of incense; 15
one young bullock, one ram, one he-lamb of the first year, for a burnt-offering;
16 one male of the goats for a sin-offering; 17 and for the sacrifice of
peace-offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, five he-lambs of the first
year. This was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab. 18 On the second
day Nethanel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer: … 24 On the third
day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun:

First to the east came the offering of
the three tribes in Machane Yehuda. Note too that the Chumash has not taught us
about the divisions of the tribes, which side they were on and whom they were
together with but it seems to have been from the very start before even the
dedication of the Mishkan. Again so much for a consistent story and historical
order! Yissocher and Zevulun were given the Haifa area but Yehuda was given
Chevron and the south for Calev Ben Yephuneh davened there at the cave of the

One silver bowl: Heb. קַעֲרַתכֶּסֶף. The
numerical value of [the two words] in Gematria amounts to nine hundred and
thirty, corresponding to the years of Adam, the first man (Gen. 5:5). ק = 100 ע
= 70 ר = 200 ת =400 כ = 20 ס = 60 פ = 80 - = 930 : weighing one hundred and
thirty shekels: Alluding to the fact that when he [Adam] began to raise a family
to maintain the existence of the world, he was one hundred and thirty years old,
as it says, “Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and he begot…” (Gen. 5:3
one silver sprinkling basin: Heb. מִזְרָק אֶחָד כֶּסֶף. The Gematria of
these[three words] is five hundred and twenty- מ = 40 ז = 7 ר = 200 ק = 100 א =
1 ח = 8 ד = 4 כ = 20 ס = 60 פ = 80 - =520 alluding to Noah, who began raising a
family at the age of five hundred, and alluding to the twenty years before his
children were born in which the decree of the [Great] Flood was enacted, as I
explained [to be the meaning of the verse],“His days shall be one hundred and
twenty years” (Gen. 6:3). This is why it says מִזְרָק אֶחָד כֶּסֶף rather than
מִזְרָק כֶּסֶף אֶחָד, as it says in the case of the [silver] bowl [i.e.,
קַעֲרַתכֶּסֶף אַחַת], to tell us that even the letters of [the word] אֶחָד are
included in the calculation. seventy shekels: Corresponding to the seventy
nations who emanated from his [Noah’s] sons.

30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince
of the children of Reuben: … 36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of
Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon: … 42 On the sixth day Eliasaph
the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad.

These three tribes of Machane Reuven
were in the South. When the land was divided Shimon was given the south and the
other two tribes on the Golan Heights because of their large flocks and herds as
that land is good for grazing and they purposely requested that

48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud,
prince of the children of Ephraim: … 54 On the eighth day Gamaliel the son of
Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh: … 60 On the ninth day Abidan the
son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin:

These tribes of Machane Ephraim
were situated on the western side. When the land was divided they were given the
Shomron area from south of Har Gilboa to Har HaMoriah.

66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai,
prince of the children of Dan: … 72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of
Ochran, prince of the children of Asher: … 78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son
of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali:

These tribes of Machane Dan were
situated in the North and later on would settle between the Banias and the

84 This was the dedication-offering of the altar, in
the day when it was anointed, at the hands of the princes of Israel: twelve
silver dishes, twelve silver basins, twelve golden pans; 85 each silver dish
weighing a hundred and thirty shekels, and each basin seventy; all the silver of
the vessels two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the
sanctuary; 86 twelve golden pans, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece,
after the shekel of the sanctuary; all the gold of the pans a hundred and twenty
shekels; 87 all the oxen for the burnt-offering twelve bullocks, the rams
twelve, the he-lambs of the first year twelve, and their meal-offering; and the
males of the goats for a sin-offering twelve; 88 and all the oxen for the
sacrifice of peace-offerings twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the
he-goats sixty, the he-lambs of the first year sixty. This was the
dedication-offering of the altar, after that it was anointed.

A honest leader rends an
accounting for public scrutiny and verification that nothing is lacking or
siphoned off for private use.

89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that
He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking unto him from above
the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two
cherubim; and He spoke unto him.

When Moses would enter: [When there are]
two contradictory verses, the third one comes and reconciles them. One verse
says, “the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting” (Lev. 1:1), and that
implies outside the curtain, whereas another verse says,“and speak to you from
above the ark cover” (Exod. 25:22) [which is beyond the curtain]. This [verse]
comes and reconciles them: Moses came into the Tent of Meeting, and there he
would hear the voice [of God] coming from [between the cherubim,] above the ark
cover. - [Sifrei Naso 1:162] ובבא משה: שני כתובים המכחישים זה את זה, בא שלישי
והכריע ביניהם. כתוב אחד אומר (ויקרא א, א) וידבר ה' אליו מאהל מועד, והוא חוץ
לפרכת, וכתוב אחד אומר (שמות כה, כב) ודברתי אתך מעל הכפרת, בא זה והכריע ביניהם,
משה בא אל אהל מועד ושם שומע את הקול הבא מעל הכפרת: from between the two
cherubim: The voice emanated from heaven to [the area] between the two cherubim,
and from there it went out to the Tent of Meeting. — [Sifrei Naso 1:162] :
Speaking to him: Heb. מִדַּבֵּר. [The word מִדַּבֵּר] is similar to מִתְדַּבֵּר
[the reflexive form, literally,] “speaking to itself.” It is out of reverence
for the Most High to express it in this way. [The voice] would speak to itself,
and Moses would listen to it. And He spoke to Him: [Thus] excluding Aaron from
the [Divine] statements. He would hear the voice: I might think it was in an
undertone. Therefore, Scripture teaches us: “the voice”-the very voice which
spoke with him at [Mount] Sinai, [which was loud and clear]. But when it [the
voice] reached the entrance, it stopped and did not proceed outside the

A Short Story from Barbara M. GOD was too

If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks
!!!!!! A young Canadian paratrooper was taking some college courses between
assignments. He had completed 3 tours of duty in Afghanistan . One of the
courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the Canadian
Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

One day the professor shocked the class when he came
in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD, if you are real, then I
want you to knock me off this platform... I'll give you exactly 15 min."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin
drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm
still waiting."

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the
soldier got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him;
knocking him clean off the platform. The professor was out

The young soldier went back to his seat and sat there,

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat
there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably
shaken, looked at the soldier and asked, "What in the world is the matter with
you? Why did you do that?"

The young soldier stood up and calmly replied, "GOD
was too busy today protecting soldiers, who are protecting your right to say
stupid sh.. and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

The classroom erupted in cheers!

A few words about the
turn-over to the Messianic Era

Wednesday: I was reading “The Financial
Times” and it reminded me of Sotah 49B “With the footsteps of Moshiach, the vine
will abundantly yield its crops but the wine will be expensive”. What did I read
of 96 year old David Rockefeller making a sale of 37% of his company in the
States to lord Jacob Rothschild. This will lead to a foothold of the famous
banking house in the USA. But most of the news was on solvency of Spain,
Portugal, Ireland, Greece with Italy and their industrial north after the
earthquake even shakier. The Euro followed by the Dollar is about to take a
pounding and according to the newspaper, the Pound Sterling which had 24 times
the purchasing power when Elizabeth II became queen is about to be shaken up

What is the success of the Germans and
the rising Israeli Technology, Japan, Korea, India and China? The Germans have a
saying arbeit machts die leben suss or work adds zest to life which once upon a
time in America was the idle brain is a devil’s playground. The Spanish and
Portuguese have their siesta time and the Italians like to take things easy. The
Irish and the modern Americans like to get things here and now without much
effort. Political Correctness has ruined competition and rewards for achievement
in schools. The mediocre is the norm. The USA is becoming more and more of a
Nanny State. Rods are spared and children are spoiled. (I am not saying that
rods have to be used my daughter has never ever hit her children but punishes
them in other ways.)

What is going on with escapism? Drugs,
pain killers, alcohol and sissy way outs are more the norms. In my day famous
movie stars and baseball players got good salaries but not hundreds of times the
average wage. We have lost all our system of value? I was not on the level of
Aba Chilkiah in Tanis 20B who would not talk with the Sages for he was working
as a day laborer. His prayers for rain saved Am Yisrael although he was the
poorest of the poor. Who in my generation has not had a private phone call or
joke at work? The next generation is going on the internet not during the lunch
break but almost all the time. Instant Messaging IM at work and heaven forbid
while driving is a plague. Then you wonder besides the overblown government
bureaucrats, the production at work goes down. Well the bubble is about to

The easy money and rising stocks are
turning into perhaps the greatest depression since the destruction of the
Temple. One will have to have a plan in place and a backup system for obtaining
food, shelter and clothing in the future which is looming over us. If your
mortgage is paid and you have a nest egg to fall on it may help but we may find
ourselves working hard just to survive. If the health-care law is not
over-turned in the States, the whole system will collapse and one will be at the
mercy not of doctors but of bureaucrats and protectionism.

From Lenny - Taken from a news article:

What Women's Media Needs to
Know About Chassidic Women by Chaya

When you slam Orthodox Jews because you
think you're defending or somehow liberating the women of our communities,
you're actually doing us a huge disservice. Hi. I'm Chaya, and I am a Chassidic
Jewish woman. I am also a media professional with a degree in Women's Studies
from a large, very liberal university (magna cum laude, baby!). In the
past few days, I've been reading the backlash against "the asifa," a recent mass
meeting of religious Jewish men meant to draw a few boundaries around Internet
use in our homes (meaning religious Jewish homes; not your house). Whenever
religious Jews make a stink about some cultural issue, the media moves in on it
with a bizarre kind of vengeance. Like yesterday, Katie J.M. Baker published an
article on Jezebel about the event, in which she actually compared Jewish men to
ants! See: "While men in traditional Orthodox garb filed into Citi Field as
steadily as a never-ending line of ants approaching an anthill…" Um, where have
I seen Jews compared to insects before? Oh, wait, WWII. As a resident of
Brooklyn, the epicenter of all things hipster and the home of many, many
clad-in-black religious Jews, I'd like to clarify a few things for all of you.
Here are a few things you need to know about Chassidic women: 1. We are
not imprisoned. The last time I checked (which was right now), I am
free to do whatever I want to do. Nobody is making me do anything. If I want to
leave the community I live in, whether to go grocery shopping or to put on a
pair of pants and go to a disco and snort coke, I can. Nobody is going to stop
me. Would I wear a pair of skinny jeans and snort coke in a disco? No.
Why? 2. We like ourselves the way we are. And most of us are
happy. Poor Deborah Feldman got the short end of the stick. She got a
dysfunctional family and a crummy school. But listen: That happens everywhere.
How many (non-Jewish or secular Jewish) friends of yours come from dysfunctional
families and crappy schools and just couldn't wait to leave home? Did they
represent your entire hometown? We call becoming lax in religious
observance and adopting a secular lifestyle "frying out." People fry out all the
time. Most of us, though, feel like we are leading pretty rewarding
lives. Look at it this way: When your friends go to India to learn how
to meditate and come home "leading spiritual lives" and suddenly won't go out
for barbecue with you, you think it is cool. Your friend is leading a spiritual
life. Spiritual lives involve boundaries and not just doing whatever your body
feels like at that second. We lead spiritual lives. Leading a spiritual life is
rewarding. 3. We find our husbands attractive. You know those
guys with the long beards and the black coats who are always reading something
in Hebrew on the train and you're kind of freaked out by them? So they're our
husbands. My husband has a very impressive beard. He wears a black suit,
and a kippah and a black hat. He is also the most handsome, hot, attractive man
in the entire world to me. Nobody forced me to marry him. My father did not
trade me to him for a flock of sheep. Fun fact: Jewish law prohibits
marrying someone who you're not attracted to. Another fun fact: In the Jewish
marriage contract, one of the conditions of marriage is that a husband is
obligated to sexually satisfy his wife. If my husband would deny "conjugal
rights" to me, that's grounds for divorce. Pretty effing progressive if you ask
me. 4. We have been happily shagging for millennia. Jews never had the
concept of "original sin."

Judaism is the original sex-positive
culture. What? You heard me right. Y'all need "sex-positive Third wave feminism"
to help you feel like having sex is OK. Jews bypassed the whole Christian idea
that all sex, even in marriage, is a sin. And Protestant asceticism just never
happened for us. G-d likes it when a married Jewish couple has sex. Jews
never got a message that sex is dirty. We think sex is good. It is so good that
having it is actually a commandment. No, we cannot shag "anything that moves."
No, we can't sleep around or have sex outside of marriage. But once you're
married, sex is totally cool and awesome and G-d likes it. I don't know
who made up the dumb story about having sex through a sheet, but let's bury that
old chestnut now. Having sex through a sheet is actually prohibited by Torah and
we are commanded explicitly by G-d to get totally naked to shag. Just in case
you're wondering. 5. Mikvah is awesome. We don't go to the Mikvah
because we're "dirty."

Holy moly! How many times have I heard
feminists totally misread the Jewish practice of abstaining from sex during
one's period and then immersing in a mikveh (a ritual bath)? It is hard to
explain this one to people who grew up in Puritan America. When you hear
the word "impure," it has a totally different meaning than the meaning it has in
the context of Torah. In Torah, you're dealing with states of being that are
related to the service in the Beis HaMikdash (the Great Temple). It's called
"ritual purity" and "ritual impurity." These states of being have nothing to do
with being dirty or clean. You could, in fact, not shower for days and roll in
the mud and you'd still be "ritually pure." Are you confused? You should
be. We think about these things in a paradigm that is so not the dominant
paradigm. All you need to know is that the practice of not touching
your husband when you're on your period and then immersing in a Mikvah is
awesome. Most women's Mikvahs are like spas. Picture the most beautiful spa
you've ever been to, in a quiet all-girls safe space, and that's Mikvah.
Incidentally, Orthodox Jewish women have one of the lowest rates of
cervical and other reproductive cancers because of…wait for it…these customs. We
do not have sex at times that our vaginas are vulnerable to infection (such as
right after birth). Because we do internal checks for menstrual blood the week
after we finish menstruating, the rate of early detection of (G-d forbid) tumors
and cysts in the vagina is very high. You think we are sexually
repressed and afraid of our own bodies just because we dress modestly? Every
single Chassidic woman you see sticks her own fingers in her own vagina at least
twice a day for 7 days of the month. The chicks in my women's studies classes
didn't even do that. In conclusion … When you slam Orthodox Jews
because you think you're defending or somehow liberating the women of our
communities, you're actually doing us a huge disservice. When you slam Jewish
men, you're slamming us, too. Not in my name, gals. The next time you see a
Jewish lady in a wig pushing a baby carriage through Brooklyn, I hope you won't
see an imprisoned waif who is just waiting to be liberated. Cuz we're not like
that. We're strong. We're invincible. And we make delicious kugel. L’Chaim,

A peek at a test for


The main points of

1) Why do you want to convert?2) In
what type of a household did you grow up?3) When was the last time you
visited a church or mosque?4) What is wrong with Christianity or Islam that
you want to leave the faith in which you were born?5) Who says that HASHEM
is one?6) Why is it so important to observe the Mitzvos today after all it
is thousands of years since the revelation on mount Sinai?7) Who gave the
Torah to Israel?8) Who were the fathers of Israel? Who were the

Part 2 (These question are awful easy. I
certainly would ask harder ones and Rabbi Nissim Koreletz asks even harder


1) Do you make a blessing on food
before it enters your mouth2) What do you bless on what food? What do you
bless on an apple? (At this point the Dayanim give the candidate an apple and
request a blessing)3) How many times does one read the Shema in the course
of a day?4) How many times does one read the Torah in the course of a week?
[I would throw in during Pessach, Chanucha, Rosh Chodesh etc.]5) What
actions are taken during the Havdalah ceremony? Why do we make
Havdalah?6) How do you put on food on the hot plate or cover for the gas on
Shabbos? Why do we need a hot plate or gas cover on Shabbos in the first place?
{“Platter in Hebrew or BLEECH in Yiddish”}7) Do you have an electric or gas
hot water heater on Shabbos? Why do we need it?8) How do you cook the kosher
way?9) Where do your children learn? (Or perhaps how do you plan to educate
your children if the person is unmarried)10) What is the meaning of Chag
Shavuos and (outside of Israel) why are two days observed? Can one travel on
Shavuos? 11) I would throw in a question on what is the four domains of
Shabbos and why do we make an Eruv either in our yard or around the
How did a Baptist, country girl like me,
raised in the Bible Belt, become an observant Jew? By Leah

This story is thanks to Elizabeth: Many have asked me,
"How did a country girl like you, a Baptist raised in the middle of the Oklahoma
Bible Belt, become an observant Jew? “Well, it's a very long story. It took ten
years from the time my family and I left the Baptist church until we finally
converted to Judaism. But here's a glimpse into the story that forever changed
my life.

Baptists believe that there is only one way to heaven,
which is through faith in Jesus. Only those who have true faith and manifest it
in their lives will be "saved." I was taught that true faith involved regular
church attendance, a public profession of faith in the church, baptism, and of
course, clean living. I believed that God loved me and had a special plan for my

I lived my life according to Christian doctrine for
the first years of my life. I married a good Christian man and was blessed with
three beautiful sons. However, I arrived at a point in my life, at age 37, where
I desired to have a closer and more meaningful relationship to God. I was not
depressed. I just felt as though I wanted to be more committed to God. I
remember, as I lay in bed one night before going to sleep, praying , "God, I
really want to know You – whatever the cost. Whatever it takes, please lead me
into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with you."

Little did I know what was to

Within weeks, my husband, a physician in the Air
Force, was sent to a Continuing Medical Education Conference in San Antonio,
Texas. He was accompanied by Reuvain Rossio, another Air Force physician. Both
our families were living in Dayton, Ohio, and we knew each other as former
neighbors from San Antonio. During the two years the Rossios had been in Dayton,
they had made a dramatic move towards more observant Judaism. It was a topic of
excitement for Reuvain and because my husband was always open to topics of
religion, a very lively discussion ensued while on the flight back and forth
from San Antonio. Reuvain had recently attended a lecture by Rabbi Tovia Singer.
He was so impressed by his talk that he purchased a complete set of his tapes,
entitled "Let's Get Biblical.” Rabbi Singer's intent was to bring Jews back to
their Biblical roots and strengthen their faith in Judaism. Reuvain invited my
husband to listen to the tapes. Bob agreed, thinking that not only would he find
them interesting, but also a tool by which he could demonstrate the credibility
of his own Christian faith and be able to explain to Reuvain why he still
accepted Christianity as his own true faith.

The tapes were comprehensive and intense. To my
husband's surprise and dismay, he believed that the rabbi articulated Christian
doctrine much better than many Christian pastors. Rabbi Singer raised many
serious questions about the validity of the New Testament scriptures. He
discussed, in detail, prophetic Christian scriptures and why Jews do not accept
those scriptures. He talked about the Written and Oral Laws of Judaism and why
Jews still view both of them as very important. He talked about many other
serious concerns that Jews have with Christian doctrine.

Bob commented to me that the rabbi had very valid –
and troubling – points. My response was "Who cares what he says? I'm sure the
Jews have some contriving way to explain away why they don't believe. They have
to. Don't you see? They're blinded! They can't see the true

My husband was steadfast in seeking the truth. I
thought that I already had the truth and wondered why my husband was so
confused. Yet, after much study and prayer, both by me and my husband, I had to
resign myself to the fact that there were problems with

Called into

Realizing that my Christian beliefs might be flawed
was traumatic for me. Everything I had been taught was suddenly being called
into question.

My first response was to talk to our pastor and close
friends, but sadly, they either didn't have any answers or were afraid to talk
about it. Since rejecting Jesus meant an eternal hell of fire and brimstone to
them, they didn't want to risk the consequences of considering anything else but
Christianity. I eventually had to share the painful news with my parents. The
response was hurt and anger. I felt as though I had no one to turn to other than
God. I remember standing in front of my upstairs bedroom window and praying,
"God, if Jesus is your son, then I don't want to offend you, but if I've been
deceived please let me know."

My husband was a prominent Sunday school teacher, but
after exposing our doubts about Christianity, we were painfully asked to leave
the church. Many questions arose such as, What do I teach my children? What do I
do about the fact that they are in private Christian schools? How do we fit into
any community now?

I didn't know where to turn for answers, and on top of
all that, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I was told I had three years to
live, at most. (I've now been cancer free for over 12 years, thank God.) It was
a time of deep soul-searching and re-examination of my faith in

The Air Force transferred us from Ohio to Oklahoma (my
home state) for two years, (where I gave birth to twins at age 40), and then to
Colorado Springs, Colorado. During that time, we had very little connection with
anything remotely Jewish. We learned on our own, but our self-learning left much
to be desired. However, while in Colorado Springs, we were introduced to Aish
Denver by a rabbi friend. We visited off and on and were impressed with Aish,
but found it difficult to make the trips back and forth to shul with young twins
and restless boys.

At the Crossroads

In 2001, my husband retired from the Air Force and we
moved to Denver, into the Aish community, in an attempt to study more seriously
and consider the possibility of conversion. Conversion was an intimidating
possibility for me. Many things appeared quite foreign to me and to leave the
"faith of my fathers" was a daunting thought.\

But as I continued to attend services at Aish, I began
to appreciate the true beauty of Judaism. Lori Palatnik and her family moved to
Denver approximately one month after we moved there. I began to learn with Lori
and while she taught me many things about Judaism, she also became a "sounding
board" for all the things that I didn't understand and found challenging. She
was a true friend and confidante and reminded me continuously that God loves me
for who I am.

I found the classes and participation at Aish
refreshing and invigorating. Yet, I still remained non-Jewish for several years.
There was comfort in the fact that if I didn't really want to commit to
something Jewish, I could say, "Well, it's okay. I'm not really Jewish

In April 2003, my husband lost his job at a local
hospital in Denver. While I am not at liberty to discuss specific details, the
fact that he was released the last day of Passover, and it was related to a
complaint filed by a patient's drunk grandmother spewing anti-Semitic comments,
did not seem a coincidence. Because of the job loss, Bob and I were forced to
make a decision about conversion and what was important to

Bob was offered an excellent opportunity back in Ohio,
not far from where we once lived. The salary was literally twice the amount and
the housing opportunities were much better there, as well. But the Jewish
community was very small.

A decision had to be made. "What do you want to do?"
Bob asked me. "Do you want to move one more time?"

The thought was tempting . . . double salary,
beautiful houses, a pleasant location, and "surely we would make friends,
wouldn't we?" I reasoned. Did we really want to continue the pursuit of
conversion, or perhaps concede that conversion just wasn't for us? We could go
back to eating all the non-kosher food we once enjoyed, not to mention the
unlimited restaurants and cuisines. Our kids could play more sports, even on
Saturdays and not feel guilty, we could buy a beautiful house at a much lesser
price, and life could be much easier for us in many ways. What was to

On the other hand, where would we ever find a shul
like Aish Denver? The Meyers, the Palatniks, the Wasoskys -- what shul would
ever have a staff like that? And the friends we had made were genuinely
precious. Did we really want to leave all that behind to start over, or perhaps,
forsake entirely?

I was forced to confront myself with what was really
important for me. Was eating non-kosher food and going to nice restaurants the
most important thing in life? Was living in an extravagant home with a nice
salary the ultimate pleasure? Or, was having my kids be sports heroes a worthy
goal for which I should invest hours of time and money? These goals were shallow
and never had I realized it more than at that moment.

The decision was obvious. It was inconceivable for my
family to leave the shul, our friends, or the commitment we had made towards
learning about Judaism. Just as Lori had taught in her "48 Ways to Wisdom"
class, that with much pain comes much pleasure.

A New Beginning

During the summer of 2004, Bob and I requested a date
for our conversion with Rabbi Greenblatt of Memphis. The date was set almost 10
years from the date we had the fateful meeting with the church members, asking
us to leave the church.

As I prepared for conversion and the upcoming wedding,
(as new converts, we would need to get married according to Jewish law) I
experienced mixed emotions. I mourned for the relationship between me and my
parents and how that would suffer even more. My parents were the ones who had
given me life, raised and nurtured me, and now for this, my most important
milestone, I could not joyfully share with them. I could not even find the words
to tell them that I was converting. I knew the pain was great for them and did
not wish to inflict any more than I already had.

On the other hand, I knew that conversion was right
for me. Without it, I knew I would never be fulfilled in the way I desired. As
painful or as different as it might have seemed for family or friends, it was
still right for me and I had confidence that I was choosing the right path. So
it was with that confidence that I continued my chosen path towards

As I walked down the aisle in shul to remarry my
husband, accompanied on one side by Rebbitzen Lori Palatnik and the other by
Rebbitzen Chaya Meyer, I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude and joy. I admired
both Lori and Chaya so much and felt incredibly honored that they would walk me
towards my new chatan, groom.

As I gazed at Yedidyah, (formerly Bob), standing at
the front of the shul, I could see tears in his eyes. I, too, began to cry, but
this time they were tears of intense, indescribable joy. The shul was filled
with our friends, standing in our honor, most teary-eyed, as well. We had
finally come home to our faith, our love, and our friends. We experienced the
pain, and now we overwhelmed by the pleasure.

Was the pain worth it? Yes, a hundred, million times
yes! For almost 40 years, I searched for what would bring completeness, what
would give me that relationship I yearned for so much with my Creator. For the
first time in my life, I feel complete. There is an indescribable sense of
wholeness. I feel as though I have finally returned home to a God who is real,
who hears my prayers, and loves me with an amazing unconditional

"God, I really want to know you, whatever the cost.
Whatever it takes, please lead me into a deeper and more meaningful relationship
with you." Be careful what you pray for.

From Dennis: You can tell an Ashkenazi easily.

Inyanay Diyoma

This is not a good offense but an acceptable defense:

Teen offers a full solution:

Assad kills 109 mostly women and children:

Iranian and Syrian options as B. Hussein ops out:

Semper Fidelis,7340,L-4235231,00.html

Follow-up on the Israeli climber who saved the Turkish

The cyberwar is on:

People have been talking about another beating in
Israel after more illegals raping women in Tel Aviv. This time the person was a
leftist Jew. I do not condone mob violence but the truth has to be told. So I
will not appear to give a Heter for beating the full story is now out

Have a healthy, wonderful and good