Thursday, June 28, 2012

Parsha Chukkas, Halacha, Stories

The rate of intermarriage is quite large in the States. I was looking at my family tree on from research of a cousin. The tree was research done by a lot of very distant cousins. It turned out that a grandfather from eight generations back had many children and cousins from his side. Of the distant cousins I found a Katherine Finn who may or may not be Jewish and a Son of Chung-Hoon Lee and Anne Feder who is probably Jewish via his mother and I wonder if the father was a convert. There was even a cousin Von S. who lived up to 12 years after WWII and I wonder what side he was on. Even on another side of the family Son of Wilhelm von Gutmann and Františka (Francizska) von Gutmann which would be a Jew or non-Jew and Son of Leo von Haupt-Stummer, Baron and Helene Haupt-Stummer which raises the same question as before. It is amazing looking at the twists and turns Jews have gone through the centuries. Chances are if your family escaped Spain and Portugal and went to Italy or Czechoslovakia that by all the marriages and small number of families in Prague 16 to 24 generations back that we are distantly related. I watched one side of the family marry a few times with another side and almost all the large Jewish Czech families have somebody who is my ancestor. It is not only that we say in Perkei Avos that all of Yisrael are guarantors one for another but in many cases related. In my family I have roots from Cohanim, Leviim and of course Yisraelim as well as these long lost cousins who have intermarried and not so long and not so physically lost cousins that are intermarried. I have cousins who died rather than give into the inquisition or conversion or just because they were Jewish a few hundred years ago or in the gas chambers less than 70 years ago. I saw three siblings born 1938, 1940 and 1942 who all died in 1942 with that branch of the Bondi aka Bondy family and a Lafargue Family will never have a Star Trek Jodi as they also died out. I ask my readers to remind themselves and their children where they are coming from and what their ancestors were willing to die for before they decide to intermarry. And yes one of my great-great grandmothers was Ruth the convert but make sure if this is so that it is conversion according to Jewish Halacha.

Parsha Chukkas

This is the first example of a war brought on Am Yisrael in which we conquer lands that in reality we did not desire or plan to conquer. The Bnei Yisrael are by Nahal Zin near what is now Sde Boker. Kadesh is further south and perhaps a bit west of where the Parsha starts off. Arad which is Tel Arad today is much further north east but the king wanted to make war and that is what he gets. Our Parsha starts out with what has to be done when somebody becomes Tumay Mayz (spiritually impure by contact with a dead body). We go on to Har Hor where Aaron passes away. The Bnei Yisrael avoid Esav down towards Eilat and move up northwards and are attacked by Sihon and take possession of his land and the by the giant Og the king of Bashan and take over the southern Golan Heights and the plans around it. They then return southwards to the Moav area where more treachery is in the works next week.

19:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. … 14 This is the law: when a man dies in a tent, every one that cometh into the tent, and everything that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.

Perhaps it is time after I many years of posting my Dvar Torah to speak not about the dynamics of the Parah Aduma (Red Heifer) but of the process of the ascending of the Neshama. This is based on Talmud Bavli Moed Katan and dozens of dozens of stories of near death experiences and dreams from people in the next world transmitted to a friend, partner or loved one.

When a person passes away the agents of Tuma or black colored negative spiritual angels and Shaddim come to snatch the body and claim it at that time positive angels built by Mitzvos come to guard the body. The body and soul are semi-joined between the time of death and the last person to leave after the burial. The soul can take a number of routes towards the seat of Judgement. The soul can pass through a terrible darkness on its journey or darkness with a tunnel of light or light and drawn like a magnet to the well of souls in the Machpelah Cave and then up to Judgement. There is in that realm a crystal and wonderful palace where the soul waits for Judgement shuttering in fear. One sees on the way dead ancestors some of whom are known and some one knows telepathically. If they are smiling the soul is in good shape but if the opposite that is not a good sign. Once in a while one can hear the words make way for the Tzaddik so and so. The soul is so confused that it may forget its own name when going before the Beis Din.

In the Beis Din sit famous Rabbis of past eras. I know that Rabbis so and so in the future will not Judge me for I am a family member. In fact if I have embarrassed them, they may want a negative ruling against me. Neutral Judges are chosen. The Neshama is called before Beis Din and instantaneously the whole life of so and so many years flashes before the person. The person may have forgotten this sin or promise but HASHEM did not and the Judgement can be harsh. Prosecuting Angels testify against the soul and the scales begin to sink in their direct. Then come the defending Angels trying to tip the scales of Justice in their direction. One outstanding Mitzva or heaven forbid an Avaira can tip the scales to this way or that.

The Beis Din then takes everything into account and the ruling goes forth either in rare cases Gan Eden or in most cases up to 11 months of purification in Gehennom. Very few are wicked enough to get Kaf Keller which can be years of Tikun prior to Gehennom and others in a limbo without Judgement. (The last category is like Pharaoh, Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, etc.) It is rare that a person has done so much Teshuva or Mitzvos that he goes straight to Gan Eden.

During the first 7 days, the soul still has affection for the body and this world and a spark hovers between the grave and the house of Shiva or the home of the deceased. The next period of days for ascension to a higher level is after 30 days and it is on this day or later that the spirit can come and communicate with the living via a dream or vision. For the next period of the remaining 10 to 11 months, the soul is less and less in this world and more and more in the next as the body begins to decompose. A worm in the flesh of a dead person feels to the soul like a needle in a live person. After a year on each Yahrzeit depending on the behavior of the next generations, the soul can ascend to higher heights or remain at the same level. If one was a big Tzaddik but did not transmit the religion properly to the next generation that they violated the Shabbos or Mitzvos, a black tar like spiritual substance can be smeared on the face of the soul in the next world as a punishment.

Many instances of souls knowing 40 days before they are to depart this world to prepare themselves or they have a dream with a parent saying that soon they will meet in the next world. This is a warning for Repentance, Prayer and Charity and one must not lose the last opportunity for a Tikun in this world if they are lucky and worthy enough to have been warned from the next world.

15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering close-bound upon it, is unclean. 16 And whosoever in the open field touches one that is slain with a sword, or one that dies of himself, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

Having read the above paragraph the reason is that soul is hovering around the area for the first seven days until one gets up from Shiva. Therefore the waters of purification via the ashes of the Para Aduma must be sprinkled upon the persons in the house, who touched the body or coffin, etc. (Nowadays we are all Tumay)

17 And for the unclean they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the purification from sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel. 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him; and he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

And he shall cleanse him: This consummates his cleansing. (see below)

20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water of sprinkling hath not been dashed against him: he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them; and he that sprinkles the water of sprinkling shall wash his clothes; and he that touches the water of sprinkling shall be unclean until even. 22 And whatsoever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the soul that touches him shall be unclean until even.

There is something that I have not learned or figured out regarding the importance of the third day. On Har Sinai in Parsha Yisro the people were to refrain from contact with women and purify themselves for two days and on the third day would receive the Torah: Shemos 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments, 11 and be ready against the third day; for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. Physically we know that food being processed depending on the metabolism can take more than 48 hours to process but usually it is quicker. The spiritual reason for this with Tuma I have not learned yet so I leave if for food for thought. The seventh day I have discussed regarding the soul wandering through spiritual sparks from the grave to the home to the next world as it detaches from the physical and enters the spiritual world.

20:1 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying: ‘Would that we had perished when our brethren perished before the LORD! 4 And why have ye brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, to die there, we and our cattle? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.’ 6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tent of meeting, and fell upon their faces; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.

Physically this area is near two places which tourists visit today Sde Boker and Ayn Avdat both the town and the spring. The question is that before Moshe talked to and then struck the rock did the spring exist and if this was the same area where the Angel showed Hagar for Yishmael?

7 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 8 ‘Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock; so thou shalt give the congregation and their cattle drink.’ 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said unto them: ‘Hear now, ye rebels; are we to bring you forth water out of this rock?’ 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle. 12 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron: ‘Because ye believed not in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.’ 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and He was sanctified in them.

The Medrash tells us that Miriam had the merit to bring water to the people while she lived “Beer Miriam” supposedly traveled with them in the desert. A nice Agadda but I prefer more natural ways and just based on her merits.

14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom: ‘Thus says thy brother Israel: Thou know all the travail that hath befallen us; 15 how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and our fathers; 16 and when we cried unto the LORD, He heard our voice, and sent an angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt; and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border. 17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy land; we will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink of the water of the wells; we will go along the king’s highway, we will not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy border.’ 18 And Edom said unto him: ‘Thou shalt not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against thee.’ 19 And the children of Israel said unto him: ‘We will go up by the highway; and if we drink of thy water, I and my cattle, then will I give the price thereof; let me only pass through on my feet; there is no hurt.’ 20 And he said: ‘Thou shalt not pass through.’ And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; wherefore Israel turned away from him.

This area is the southern Arava and appears to me to be well south of Zin and more towards Eilat and Akaba. So while I was scratching my head and thinking this and that I came to the exact travel 33:35 And they journeyed from Abronah, and pitched in Ezion-geber south of Eilat. 36 And they journeyed from Ezion-geber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin--the same is Kadesh. This is about a winter’s day journey by foot south of Sde Boker or maybe at the area near Sde Boker where it is possible to descend into the Syrian-African Rift. 37 And they journeyed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. So they were well north of Akaba at Har Hor and now I was able to make sense geographically where the Bnei Yisrael were. Still I cannot figure why they wanted to go back towards the south and why they journeyed all the way to the Golan Heights and returned to Yarden Yericho and I will leave that to other scholars or commentators who may have studied this.

22 And they journeyed from Kadesh; and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came unto mount Hor. 23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 ‘Aaron shall be gathered unto his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against My word at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.’

His garments: He dressed him in the garments of kahuna gedolah and then stripped him of them, to give them to his son in his presence. He told him, “Enter the cave,” and he entered. He saw a ready made bed, and a lighted candle. He told him, “Get up onto the bed,” and he got up. “Stretch out your hands,” and he stretched them out. “Close your mouth,” and he closed it. “Shut your eyes,” and he shut them. At that moment Moses yearned for such a death. This is why it was said to him, “in the way Aaron your brother died” (Deut. 32:50)-a death that you desired. — [Tanchuma Buber p. 132, Sifrei Hazinu 49]

27 And Moses did as the LORD commanded; and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount; and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

The fact of the matter is that Aaron did not expire or obtain the Divine Kiss to take his soul until Eleazar and Moshe left the cave so as not to bring Tuma upon them. The Congregation especially wept for Aaron as he worked hard to bring Shalom Beis between husband and wife for all of Am Yisrael and he prayed for the welfare of all.

21:1 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South, heard tell that Israel came by the way of Atharim; and he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said: ‘If Thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.’ 3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities; and the name of the place was called Hormah.

Tel Arad is in the south of Eretz Yisrael. It is slightly north of Beer Sheva and very eastward but west of the modern town of Arad. From there one could ascend from the Dead Sea at Zohar to conquer Eretz Yisrael. He saw the lifting of the cloud of glory for the 7 day mourning period for Aaron and decided to attack. 33:38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month. 39 And Aaron was a hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor. 40 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. At this point once the king of Arad was defeated the entrance to Eretz Yisrael from the south is open for conquest. Still there was a fortified area in the west at Yericho which is a defensive structure preventing an attack from the west up the hill to Yerushalayim and Chevron even though the Beer Sheva to Chevron road is now clear for conquest.

4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became impatient because of the way. 5 And the people spoke against God, and against Moses: ‘Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, and there is no water; and our soul loathes this light bread.’

I assume that on the way between Har Hor and Moav there was an Esav enclave that made the people turn back to walk around. The trip southward led to the murmurings. Maaleh Akravim is in the Arava between the Dead Sea and Eilat. 33:41 And they journeyed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah. 42 And they journeyed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon. 43 And they journeyed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth. 44 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched in Ije-abarim, in the border of Moab

6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses, and said: ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us.’ And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.’ 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived. 10 And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in Oboth. 11 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is in front of Moab, toward the sun-rising. 12 From thence they journeyed, and pitched in the valley of Zered. 13 From thence they journeyed, and pitched on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness, that cometh out of the border of the Amorites.–For Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites; 14 wherefore it is said in the book of the Wars of the LORD: Vaheb in Suphah, and the valleys of Arnon, 15 And the slope of the valleys that inclineth toward the seat of Ar, and leans upon the border of Moab.–16 And from thence to Beer; that is the well whereof the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Gather the people together, and I will give them water.’ 17 Then sang Israel this song: Spring up, O well–sing ye unto it–18 The well, which the princes dug, which the nobles of the people which the nobles of the people delved, with the scepter, and with their staves. And from the wilderness to Mattanah; 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab, by the top of Pisgah, which looks down upon the desert.

21 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying: 22 ‘Let me pass through thy land; we will not turn aside into field, or into vineyard; we will not drink of the water of the wells; we will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed thy border.’ 23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz; and he fought against Israel. 24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon unto the Yabbok, (from the Golan Heights to Hamat Gader) even unto the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities; and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the towns thereof. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto the Arnon. 27 Wherefore they that speak in parables say: Come ye to Heshbon! Let the city of Sihon be built and established! 28 For a fire is gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon; it hath devoured Ar of Moab, the lords of the high places of Arnon. 29 Woe to thee, Moab! Thou art undone, O people of Chemosh; he hath given his sons as fugitives, and his daughters into captivity, unto Sihon king of the Amorites. 30 We have shot at them–Heshbon is perished–even unto Dibon, and we have laid waste even unto Nophah, which reached unto Medeba. 31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they took the towns thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there. 33 And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34 And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Fear him not; for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.’ 35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him remaining; and they possessed his land.

The Golan Heights are now in possession of the Bnei Yisrael so the land of Yisrael is open for conquest from the northeast and the south now the only fortress left in the west was Yericho.

22:1 And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.

Hilchot De'ot

Chapter 1 Halacha 2

Between each trait and the [contrasting] trait at the other extreme, there are intermediate points, each distant from the other.

With regard to all the traits: a man has some from the beginning of his conception, in accordance with his bodily nature. Some are appropriate to a person's nature and will [therefore] be acquired more easily than other traits. Some traits he does not have from birth. He may have learned them from others, or turned to them on his own. This may have come as a result of his own thoughts, or because he heard that this was a proper trait for him, which he ought to attain. [Therefore,] he accustomed himself to it until it became a part of himself.

Halacha 3

The two extremes of each trait, which are at a distance from one another, do not reflect a proper path. It is not fitting that a man should behave in accordance with these extremes or teach them to himself.

If he finds that his nature leans towards one of the extremes or adapts itself easily to it, or, if he has learned one of the extremes and acts accordingly, he should bring himself back to what is proper and walk in the path of the good [men]. This is the straight path.

Halacha 4

The straight path: This [involves discovering] the midpoint temperament of each and every trait that man possesses [within his personality.] This refers to the trait which is equidistant from either of the extremes, without being close to either of them.

Therefore, the early Sages instructed a man to evaluate his traits, to calculate them and to direct them along the middle path, so that he will be sound {of body}.

For example: he should not be wrathful, easily angered; nor be like the dead, without feeling, rather he should [adopt] an intermediate course; i.e., he should display anger only when the matter is serious enough to warrant it, in order to prevent the matter from recurring. Similarly, he should not desire anything other than that which the body needs and cannot exist without, as [Proverbs 13:25] states: "The righteous man eats to satisfy his soul."

Also, he shall not labor in his business except to gain what he needs for immediate use, as [Psalms 37:16] states: "A little is good for the righteous man."

He should not be overly stingy nor spread his money about, but he should give charity according to his capacity and lend to the needy as is fitting. He should not be overly elated and laugh [excessively], nor be sad and depressed in spirit. Rather, he should be quietly happy at all times, with a friendly countenance. The same applies with regard to his other traits.

This path is the path of the wise. Every man whose traits are intermediate and equally balanced can be called a "wise man."

Halacha 5

A person who carefully [examines] his [behavior], and therefore deviates slightly from the mean to either side is called pious.

What is implied? One who shuns pride and turns to the other extreme and carries himself lowly is called pious. This is the quality of piety. However, if he separates himself [from pride] only to the extent that he reaches the mean and displays humility, he is called wise. This is the quality of wisdom. The same applies with regard to other character traits.

The pious of the early generations would bend their temperaments from the intermediate path towards [either of] the two extremes. For some traits they would veer towards the final extreme, for others, towards the first extreme. This is referred to as [behavior] beyond the measure of the law.

We are commanded to walk in these intermediate paths - and they are good and straight paths - as [Deuteronomy 28:9] states: "And you shall walk in His ways."

An Angry Prophecy by Yerachmiel Tiles

As sometimes unfortunately happens, there was antagonism between two Chasidic groups: Belz and Munkacz, ever since the Belzer Rebbe, Rabbi Issachar Dov Rokeach, moved from Poland to live in Hungary from 1912 to 1921, having sought refuge there from World War I. A certain Belzer chasid who lived in Munkacz, R. Moshe Silver, scion of the prominent Sanz hasidic dynasty, did not get along at all with the Munkaczer Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira, author of one of the 20th century’s most respected works on Jewish Law, which he titled Minchat Elazar.

One day, during a lively argument, the Munkaczer Rabbi turned around and in an angry tone said to the Belzer chasid, “You will die with your tallit katan on!” [four-cornered sleeveless with tzitzit-strings hanging from each corner]. Moshe Silber kept the Rebbe’s words in his heart.

Years passed. World War II engulfed Europe. In April 1944 a brutal deportation Aktion was initiated in Munkacz, and by May 30 the city was pronounced Judenrein. The ghetto had been liquidated and all its Jews deported to Auschwitz. Among the deportees was the Belzer chasid, Moshe Silber.

Despite the hunger, disease, slave labor, and the constant threat of random executions, Moshe Silber was certain that he was going to survive the war. How could he be so sure? Because in Auschwitz it was impossible and punishable by death to wear a tallit katan! Since words spoken by a tzadik must be fulfilled, his Belzer opponent had faith that death would have no power over him so long as he was not wearing his ritual garment.

Indeed, the Moshe Silber survived the Auschwitz inferno. Afterwards, proudly wearing a tallit katan, he moved to the USA and eventually took up residence in Monsey, New York. He used to frequently retell his personal story about the miraculous powers of his former adversary, the Munkatczer Rebbe. At the end, as if in an afterthought, he would add,

“A genuine hasidic rebbe is like a master diamond cutter. He takes a man and cuts away all the roughness, all the waste. He does it with a tale, a tune, and lots of wisdom. The end result is a polished precious stone – a Chassid. Only great masters can do it. The Munkaczer was such a rebbe.”

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from ‘Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust’ by Yaffa Eliach (Oxford Press).

Connection: Weekly Reading – the verses at the end (Num. 15:37-41) about tzitzit that we recite each day as part of the Shma Yisrael prayer.

Biographic note:
Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Spira, the Munkaczer Rebbe (Dec 17, 1871- 2 Sivan, 1937) wrote and published over twenty books on the Jewish Law, Torah, chasidism, and religious philosophy and customs. His most notable work which made him world famous was the scholarly work, Minchas Elazar, which contains six volumes.

Please read this Book Review:

From Meir: A Holocaust Story mixed with fiction book review:

Not long ago, my mother gave me a small brass charm. It’s a little man who looks as if he’s rushing off someplace important.

As often happens with my mother, the charm came with a story – one I’d never heard. This particular story dated back to May 1943. My mother and her family had just arrived in Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. “It was my 14th birthday. I was sitting on a stoop, crying. Another prisoner, a beautiful woman from Germany, asked me what was wrong. I told her, ‘It’s my birthday and nobody gave me a present.’ The lady gave me this charm from around her neck.”

My mother never saw the woman again. Like most of those imprisoned in Theresienstadt, she was probably transported to a death camp, where she would likely have perished.

My mother held onto that charm for nearly 70 years. The day after she gave it to me, I bought a brass chain for it. Since then, the little man has hung around my neck – a reminder of my responsibility to pass on my mother’s story, and now, too, this woman’s story.

Last week, the little man came with me to the Netherlands. I went there for the launch of Een Andere Wereld, the Dutch-language translation of my novel What World Is Left, which was inspired by the story of my mother’s experience in Theresienstadt.

Theresienstadt is often described as “the model camp.” It was there that a Red Cross delegation was invited to visit in 1944. The camp was gussied up for the visit – trees were planted, elaborate storefronts built and the oldest, sickest inmates hidden in attics or shipped off to death camps. Shortly afterward, a Nazi propaganda movie was filmed in the camp, directed by one of the prisoners.

My mother, her two brothers, their parents and their paternal grandfather survived Theresienstadt.

There was a reason for their relative good luck. My Opa (the Dutch word for grandfather), Jo Spier, was a well-known artist whose work appeared regularly in the Telegraaf, the Amsterdam daily. He was forced by the Nazis to produce propaganda drawings. Because he was of use to the Nazis, they kept him and his family alive.

It took me many years to coax the story out of my mother. When she finally told it to me while I was researching my book, she insisted she had never questioned her father’s actions. “Not even once,” she told me.

But I wanted the narrator of my book, Anneke, to question her father, a character whom I based on Opa. As a writer of young adult literature and CEGEP teacher, I have a special interest in grey areas – places and times where decisions are difficult and sometimes almost impossible. I know that doubt and questioning authority are a big part of teenagers’ lives. I wanted to capture those things in my book.

Life was not easy for my mother or her family in the Netherlands during the immediate postwar years. Nearly 75 per cent of Dutch Jews died during the Holocaust. They included Anne Frank, who was the same age and attended the same Jewish high school in Amsterdam as my mother. One Dutch government official, on learning that six members of the family had survived, remarked to my grandfather, “All six of you? Highly suspicious!”

Because they wanted to put their past behind them and begin anew, my mother and her family emigrated to the United States in 1950. My father, who is also Dutch, followed. After he and my mother married, they moved to Canada. Over the years, my parents have returned to their birth country many times, but because they came for the Dutch launch of my book, this was the first time they confronted the past.

Almost as soon as I got off the plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, I saw my face everywhere – blue eyes, high cheekbones, square jaw. All those faces so like my own were a reminder that were it not for the Holocaust, I’d probably have lived in the Netherlands, too.

The Amsterdam launch took place at the Joods Historisch Museum. In Montreal, I have no cousins, but I have many in the Netherlands. Seven of them attended the launch. Also, there was a man named Ronald Waterman – he’s a character whose name I did not change in the novel. Waterman was also imprisoned in Theresienstadt. Some 10 years younger than my mother, he arrived in one of the last transports from the Netherlands. My mother had told me how this little boy, now a man in his 70s, gave her a little hope for the future.

At the museum, I was interviewed onstage by Annemiek Gringold, a historian with the museum. She had made her position clear in an email I received before the trip: “We feel that decisions made by persecuted persons, during the Shoah, were made under circumstances unimaginable to us. Your grandfather did what he had to do to save himself and his immediate family, and thankfully he succeeded.”

Afterward, Gringold accompanied us to the Hollandsche Schouwburg, once an opera house, now part of the Jewish Historical Museum. It’s from this building that my mother and her family were deported in 1943.

Through the window, Gringold pointed to a colourful building across the street. This, she explained, was the site of a kindergarten for Jewish children whose parents were rounded up at the Schouwburg. Because there were fewer Nazi guards patrolling the daycare, it was possible for some of those Jewish children to be smuggled to safety.

Gringold also showed us photos taken at the Schouwburg during those dark days. In one, a group of Jews line up calmly at a registration desk. In another, a man sips from a porcelain teacup. Could these people ever have imagined the fate in store for them?

My mother said she had no memory of the Schouwburg. Perhaps it was too long ago; perhaps she’d blocked it out. But Gringold had prepared some documents to show us. One was a list of Jewish artists who taught art at the Schouwburg after Jewish students were banned from other art schools. Opa’s name was on that list.

Gringold also showed us a photocopy of my mother’s registration card. From the card, I learned the exact date my mother was transported from the Schouwburg: April 21, 1943.

My parents studied the photocopy. I’m the one who remarked on the words “In leven!” (“Alive!”) written by hand at the top of the card. Gringold explained that that was probably written by a Red Cross official. Those two words – and that celebratory exclamation mark – made me cry. My parents were uncharacteristically quiet, but dry-eyed.

During the week, I was interviewed by several other reporters. A radio reporter with Omroep Vlaardingen pushed me harder than the rest. He asked me point blank: “Are you ashamed of what your grandfather did?”

To answer, I told another story. I explained that in 2007, while researching my novel, I visited Theresienstadt. I knew that in the small museum there I would see Opa’s propaganda drawings. I worried about how they’d make me feel. At the very least, I expected to have mixed feelings. But, as I explained on Dutch radio, my feelings weren’t mixed. I knew immediately which drawings were Opa’s. I recognized his simple lines, the stroke of his pen. And I felt one feeling only: pride. My grandfather’s talent kept his family alive, and though I was not born until 15 years after the war ended, I owed my life to him, too.

I spoke, too, at the Stedelijk Museum in Zutphen, the medieval town where Opa was born and where his work is on permanent exhibit. Curator Christiaan te Strake knows more about my grandfather than I do. We discussed the controversy that still sometimes simmers around Opa’s name. Te Strake says things have changed a lot since the postwar years: “It’s no longer a question of ‘Did he do the right thing? It’s a question of ‘What would I do?’ ”

In 1970, Opa was knighted by Queen Juliana. I remember a big party at my grandparents’ home in New York. I remember, too, finding it a little silly that my grandfather was so excited about a little orange ribbon, which he wore on his lapel.

“That ribbon would have meant a lot to him,” te Strake explains. “The queen would never have knighted him if she or her people thought he had done anything wrong.”

In the crowd at the Stedelijk Museum was Ronald Waterman’s older brother, Bram, who was also in Theresienstadt. I also met Thoj and Raymond Lucardie, a brother and sister, who travelled from northern Holland to meet the granddaughter of Jo Spier. They brought with them a small silver urn, engraved with a reproduction of one of Opa’s drawings. Inside the urn were their father’s ashes.

At the end of my talk in Zutphen, I asked my mother whether she would say a few words to the audience. At first, she was reluctant, but then, cane in hand, she went up to the podium. She didn’t say a word about the Holocaust. Instead, she asked whether she might sing a couple of old Dutch songs. “My father,” she told the audience, “taught them to me when I was a girl of 3 years old.”

I looked around the audience as my mother sang. Every single person was leaning forward, smiling or laughing. Some of the older people mouthed the words.

Back at the hotel, my mother reached for the charm hanging from my neck. “He’s getting shinier,” she remarked. “Did you polish him?”

I told her that I hadn’t.

My mother nodded her head the way she does when she is pleased. “Then it’s just from wearing it. You’re looking after that little man.”

To learn more about the fate of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust, visit

Tzvi wrote, but I could have written the same: I served in Tzahal. My sons serve in Tzahal. When I hear Haredi demonstrators refer to our army as "Molech," the abominable god of the child sacrifice, it makes me angry. If it weren't for our holy soldiers, who'd prevent the Arabs from slicing the throats of the yeshiva students in Meah Shaarim?

The Chofetz Chaim on Moshiach

When Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik was in Warsaw, a delegation from Brisk asked him to become the Rabbi of their city. Rabbi Soloveitchik did not want to accept the position. Finally, one member of the delegation exclaimed: “Rabbi, 25,000 Jews eagerly await your arrival!”

Rabbi Soloveitchik immediately told his wife, “Please hand me my hat and coat. I can’t keep 25,000 Jews waiting.”

“Rabbi Soloveitchik didn’t want to keep 25,000 Jews waiting.

If Moshiach knew that all Jews were eagerly awaiting his arrival,” said the Chofetz Chaim, “wouldn’t he arrive immediately?”

(Reprinted from – LYO / NYC)

Hashem Loves You

On Gimmel Tammuz, Moshe Levi, who was awarded the “Ot Gevurah,” the highest Israeli military award for bravery, is scheduled to speak at an event in New York for Israeli Expatriates. Gimmel Tammuz is the Yom HaHillula of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn.

The Yom Kippur War could only have been won with Divine Intervention. The attack was an utter surprise, and Moshe Levi recounts leading his battalion of 75 soldiers faced with an onslaught of Egyptians, with 120 tanks and hundreds of foot soldiers behind them. The small Israeli battalion was the only thing keeping the Egyptian forces from eventually reaching Tel Aviv, and Moshe Levi recalled that he and his soldiers felt they were face to face with certain destruction. They asked how they were going to resist the attack. A religious Yemenite Jew by the name of Zandani held up his book of Tehillim and said “We will defeat them with this!”

Zandani began to read Tehillim loudly as the mainly secular soldiers said “Amein” loudly after each verse, as if it were a blessing. Moshe Levi vowed to Hashem that he would put Tefillin on every day if G-d saved his life.

When it was time to fight, the soldiers hit every target as if Hashem himself were directing the bullets. Just as the Israeli battalion ran out of ammunition, the Egyptians inexplicably turned away. While many Israeli soldiers were wounded, the only death was Zandani. Moshe Levi lost his left arm.

For years, Moshe Levi asked rabbis “Out of all of us, why was Zandani, who recited Tehillim, the one who died? Why after I promised to G-d I would put Tefillin on every day, was my left arm blown off so I was not able to carry out this vow?” No one had an answer for Moshe Levi until he met with the Rebbe many years later. The Rebbe answered that the entire battalion was meant to be destroyed, but when Zandani dedicated himself to G-d, he got what he wanted; that the others should live. You were supposed to die but the minute you made that vow you made a connection with G-d.

Or, as Rav Paltiel, a well-known lecturer in Crown Heights, tells the Rebbe’s answer, Hashem wanted you to know that he loved you unconditionally, regardless of whether you were able to put on Tefillin.

Footnote: Moshe Levi worked in the next room from me. I was always embarrassed by what he had done and I had done nothing for Israel – until I did my first border patrol not far from live fire. Now I could look Moshe in the eye. He was a relatively handsome man and the company sent him for courses and he eventually became a manager of one of our plants on the Golan Heights. The article is taken from:


One Saturday night, shortly after the conclusion of the Sabbath, the phone rang in the home of Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s personal secretary. An elderly chassid was on the line asking for a blessing for his wife. She had been in the hospital for several days, and her condition was critical. “Could Rabbi Groner ask the Rebbe for a blessing?” the chassid asked.

Rabbi Groner offered some words of reassurance to the chassid but told him that it was often difficult to establish contact with the Rebbe on Saturday night. He would try, but if it was not possible, he would communicate the message first thing Sunday morning.

As Rabbi Groner had suspected, he was unable to contact the Rebbe that night. Sunday morning, as soon as the Rebbe came to 770, Rabbi Groner told him of the chassid’s wife. The Rebbe listened and told Rabbi Groner to call Rabbi Chodakov, the Rebbe’s senior aide. Rabbi Groner got Rabbi Chodakov on the line. After speaking to the Rebbe for several minutes, Rabbi Chodakov told Rabbi Groner to call the chassid so that he, Rabbi Chodakov, could communicate a message from the Rebbe.

Several moments after Rabbi Chodakov spoke to the chassid, the elderly man called Rabbi Groner back and told him the entire story. His wife had been severely ill for several days. On Friday night, her condition had become so desperate that the doctors abandoned all hope. Early Saturday morning, however, her condition took a sharp turn for the better. Nevertheless, since it was still serious, as soon as the Sabbath ended, the chassid had called Rabbi Groner to ask for the Rebbe’s blessing. During the interim, her condition continued to improve, and now the doctors were confident that she would recover.

“Rabbi Chodakov said the Rebbe had instructed him to tell me that my wife’s condition had begun to improve about 5:00 a.m. on Saturday. He emphasized that, in case I might think this was due to other factors, the Rebbe told me to tell you her recovery came about because she had been brought to mind at that time,” [i.e., the Rebbe had thought about her].

On that Saturday morning, no one had told the Rebbe about the woman’s condition. There was no way the information could have been given him, and yet he had sensed the woman’s need. Not only could he sense her predicament, his positive thinking was able to bring about her recovery.

The above story is not an isolated phenomenon. Documented evidence has forced even the most hardened skeptics to admit that the childless were blessed with progeny, the ill with health, and that fortunes were made and/or saved because of the Rebbe’s blessings. What does this mean to us today, 18 years after the Rebbe’s passing?

First of all, the Rebbe has never stopped keeping people in mind. After the passing of his father-in-law and predecessor, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Rebbe told the chassidim to continue writing to him and he would find a way to answer. As countless stories indicate, even in the present years, the Rebbe himself has found a way to answer those who seek his blessings.

But more importantly, the Rebbe’s greatest miracles are in the realm of ideas. He provided us with clarity and insight, an awareness of who we are and where we are going that rings true and empowers. Each person whose life he has touched has become deeper and richer and a source of inspiration for others. The chain reaction that this dynamic initiated continues to produce change in many people’s lives.

In one of his letters, the Rebbe writes that from his earliest childhood, he would picture the future Redemption in his mind. In addition, the Rebbe has told us exactly what we can do to advance that purpose:

  1. Learn about the era of G-dly knowledge, peace, and cooperation that Mashiach will initiate, and share that awareness with others; and
  2. Be proactive by reaching out to the people around you with deeds of love and kindness.

By living with the Redemption, anticipating the knowledge, harmony, and peace of that era in our day-to-day lives, we can precipitate the time when these values will spread through the entire world with the coming of Mashiach.

Adapted from Keeping in Touch –Volume 2, by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, Reprinted with Permission from Sichos in English.

Inyanay Diyoma

Obama's suicide plan for the USA

I say old chap you want to visit Belgistan, Parisian Muslims or Londonistan?

Msgs from Gaza:

Turkey gets what they deserve for severing military co-operation with Israel.

Arabs please boycott Israel and our medical technology.

An interesting read:,7340,L-4245918,00.html

Also an Ed-op:,7340,L-4245743,00.html

I suspected this from my border patrol days include Ukrainian women for brothels:

The US State Dept. perhaps in a combination with George Soros:

He dares to go where no US Official will go:,7340,L-4247378,00.html

There arose in Egypt a new Pharaoh who got his PhD from the USA but did not know Yosef:

My neighbor Akiva told me that I am the gloom and doom man. I told him only until Moshiach comes - Five Grads fell Wednesday morning near Netivot:

Although I love my Israeli Health Care, what will be in the USA is a bad case of bad bureaucracy.

No rest for the wicked:

Brig.-Gen. Tamir Hayman, commander of the 36th Division, warned that the weakening of the Syrian government and its control over the Horon province bordering on Israel poses a potential threat to Israel’s northern border after years of calm. Al Qaeda gangs from other parts of Syria may take advantage of lax government in that area for attacks on Israel. The IDF is preparing appropriate measures to withstand this potential threat. I recognized the area in the TV reports and the Syrians since 1980 have built more and more dwellings close to the border.

Recently the woods near Yerushalayim have been burned by set fires:

The Brotherhood’s useful idiots By CAROLINE B. GLICK

You have to hand it to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. They know how to play power politics.

You have to hand it to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. They know how to play power politics. They know how to acquire power. And they know how to use power.

Last Friday, the day before voters by most accounts elected the Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsy to serve as Egypt’s next president, The Wall Street Journal published a riveting account by Charles Levinson and Matt Bradley of how the Brotherhood outmaneuvered the secular revolutionaries to take control of the country’s political space.

The Brotherhood kept a very low profile in the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square in January and February 2011 that led to the overthrow of then-president Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood’s absence from Tahrir Square at that time is what enabled Westerners to fall in love with the Egyptian revolution.

Those demonstrations led to the impression, widespread in the US, that Mubarak’s successors would be secular
Facebook democrats. The role that Google’s young Egyptian executive Wael Gonim played in organizing the demonstrations was reported expansively.

His participation in the anti-
regime protests – as well as his brief incarceration – was seen as proof that the next Egyptian regime would be indistinguishable from Generation X and Y Americans and Europeans.

In their report, Levinson and Bradley showed how the Brotherhood used the secularists to overthrow the regime, and to provide them with a fig leaf of moderation through March 2011, when the public voted on the sequencing of Egypt’s post-Mubarak transformation from a military dictatorship into a populist regime. The overwhelming majority of the public voted to first hold parliamentary elections and to empower the newly elected parliament to select members of the constitutional assembly that would write Egypt’s new

As Egypt’s largest social force, the Brotherhood knew it would win the majority of the seats in the new parliament. The March 2011 vote ensured its control over writing the new Egyptian constitution.

In July 2011, the Brotherhood decided to celebrate its domination of the new Egypt with a mass rally at Tahrir Square. Levinson and Bradley explained how in the lead-up to that event Egypt’s secular revolutionaries were completely outmaneuvered.

According to their account, the Brotherhood decided to call the demonstration “Shari’a Friday.” Failing to understand that the game was over, the secularists tried to regain what they thought was the unity of the anti-regime ranks from earlier in the year.

“Islamists and revolutionary leaders spent three days negotiating principles they could all support at the coming Friday demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. They reached an agreement and the revolution seemed back on track.”

One secularist leader, Rabab el-Mahdi, referred to the agreement as “The perfect moment. A huge achievement.” But then came the double cross.

“Hours before the demonstration, hard-line Salafi Islamists began adorning the square with black-andwhite flags of jihad and banners calling for the implementation of Islamic law. Ms. Mahdi made frantic calls to Brotherhood leaders, who told her there was little they could do.” Checkmate.

THE DIFFERENCE between the Brotherhood and the secularists is a fundamental one. The Brotherhood has always had a vision of the Egypt it wants to create. It has always used all the tools at its disposal to advance the goal of creating an Islamic state in Egypt.

For their part, the secularists have no ideological unity and so share no common vision of a future Egypt. They just oppose the repression of
the military.

Opposing repression is not a political program. It is a political act. It can destroy. It cannot rule.

So when the question arose of how to transform the protests that caused the US to abandon Mubarak and sealed the fate of his regime into a new regime, the secularists had no answer. All they could do was keep protesting military repression.

The Brotherhood has been the most popular force in Egypt for decades. Its leaders recognized that to take over the country, all they needed was the power to participate in the elections and the authority to ensure that the election results mattered – that is, control over writing the constitution. And so, once the secularists fomented Mubarak’s overthrow, their goal was to ensure their ability to participate in the elections and to ensure that the parliament would control the constitution-writing process.

To achieve these goals, they were equally willing to collaborate with the secularists against the military and with the military against the secularists. To achieve their goals they were willing – as they did before Shari’a Friday last July – to negotiate in bad faith.

While instructive, the Journal’s article fell short because the reporters failed to recognize that the Brotherhood outmaneuvered the military junta in the same way that it outmaneuvered the secularists. The article starts with the premise that the military’s decision to stage an effective coup d’etat last week spelled an end to the Egyptian revolution and the country’s reversion to the military dictatorship that has ruled the state since the 1950s.

Levinson and Bradley claim, “Following the rulings by the high court this week [which canceled the results of the parliamentary elections and ensured continued military control over the country regardless of the results of the presidential elections], the Brotherhood’s strategy of cooperation with the military seems failed.”

But actually, that is not the case. By permitting the Brotherhood to participate in the elections for parliament and the presidency, the military signed the death warrant of its regime. The Brotherhood will rule Egypt. The only thing left to be determined is whether its takeover will happen quickly or slowly.

To understand why this is the case, it is important to notice what happened in Turkey. When the Islamist AKP party won the 2002 elections, the Turkish military was constitutionally authorized to control the country. As the guardians of Turkey’s secular state, Turkey’s military was constitutionally empowered to overthrow democratically elected governments.

Ten years later, Turkey is a populist, authoritarian, Islamic state. Half the general officer corps is in prison, held without charge or on trumped up charges. Turkey’s judiciary and civil service are controlled by Islamists. The AKP is filling the military’s officer corps with its loyalists.

When you know what you want, you use all the tools at your disposal to achieve your goals. When you don’t know what you want, no matter what tools you hold, you will fail to achieve your goals.

The Egyptian military today is far weaker than the Turkish military was in 2002. And it has already been outmaneuvered by the Brotherhood. The only way for it to secure its
hold on power is through brute force. And the generals have already shown they are unwilling to use sufficient force to repress the Brotherhood.

The regime’s decision to outlaw the parliament and decree the military above the president was not a show of strength. It was a panicked act of desperation by a regime that knows its days are numbered.

So was its decision to delay announcing the winner of the presidential elections.

When Morsy declared victory in the presidential elections on Sunday, he did so surrounded by members of the just-dissolved parliament. His act was a warning to the military. The Brotherhood will not allow the ruling to stand.

It is possible the Brotherhood will stand down in this confrontation with the military over the parliamentary election. But the military will emerge vastly weakened. And when the next round of confrontation inevitably arrives, the military will have even less clout. And so on and so forth.

THE INEVITABILITY of the Islamic takeover of Egypt means that the peace
between Israel and Egypt is meaningless. Confrontation is coming. The only questions that remain are how long it will take and what form it will come in. If it happens slowly, it will be characterized by a gradual escalation of cross-border attacks from Sinai by Hamas and other jihadist groups. Hamas’s sudden eagerness to take responsibility for the mortar attacks against southern Israel as well as Monday morning’s murderous cross-border attack are signs of things to come.

With the Brotherhood ascending to power, the security cooperation Israel has received from the Egyptian security forces in Sinai is over. And the regime won’t suffice with doing nothing to stop terror. It will encourage it. Just as the Egyptian military sponsored and organized the fedayeen raids from Gaza in the 1950s, so today the regime will sponsor and eventually organize irregular attacks from Sinai and Gaza.

In the rapid-path-to-confrontation scenario, the Egyptian military itself will participate in attacks against Israel. Egyptian troops may take potshots at Israelis from across the border. They may
remilitarize Sinai. They may escalate attacks against the US-commanded MFO forces in Sinai that are supposed to keep the peace with the goal of convincing them to withdraw.

Whether the confrontation happens tomorrow or in a year or two, the question of whether the military remains the titular ruler of Egypt or not is irrelevant to Israel.

In their attempt to maintain their power and privilege, the first bargaining chip the generals will sacrifice is their support for the peace with Israel. With the US siding with the Brotherhood against the military, maintaining the peace treaty has ceased to be important for the generals.

This dismal situation requires Israel’s leaders to take several steps immediately. First, our leaders must abandon their diplomatic language regarding Egypt. No point is served by not acknowledging that the southern front – dormant since 1981 – has reawakened and that Israel’s peace with Egypt is now meaningless.

Recall that it was under Mubarak’s leadership that the Egyptian media reported that the Mossad was deploying sharks as secret agents and ordering them to attack tourists along Egypt’s seacoast in an effort to destroy Egypt’s
tourism industry.

Since Israel doesn’t need to actually do or say anything to cause the Egyptians to attack, we might as well be honest in our own discussion of the situation.

At a minimum, frank talk will ensure that the steps we take on the ground to meet the challenge of Egypt will be based on reality and not on an attempt to ignore reality.

Straight talk is also important in the international arena. For the past 30 years, in the interest of protecting the peace treaty, Israel never defended itself against Egypt’s diplomatic assaults on its very right to exist. Now it can and must fight back with full force.

At a minimum, this will enable Israel to wage a coherent diplomatic defense of whatever military action it will eventually need to take to defend itself against Egyptian aggression.

As to that aggression, we don’t have any good options on the ground. We cannot operate openly in Sinai. If we retaliate against missile attacks with air strikes, the Brotherhood-led Egyptian government will use our defensive action to justify war. So we need to massively expand our ability to operate covertly.

Aside from that, we must equip and train our military to win a war against the US-trained and-armed Egyptian military.

However the Egyptian election results pan out, the die has been cast. We must prepare for what is coming.

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Insult unto Injury”

Good Shabbos Everyone. The Mishna teaches us: "Jealously, desires and honor-seeking remove a man from this world." (Avos 4:28) The Torah this week tells us about Korach, an individual whose honor seeking removed him from the world.
Rashi explains that Korach was upset that Moshe appointed Korach's younger cousin Elitzafan ben Uziel as the leader of the family of Kehas, instead of Korach. The commentary Orchos Tzaddikim explains that Korach wanted for himself honor and greatness which had not been conferred upon him by Hashem.(P.33, The Gate of Pride, Edit., Reb G. Zaloshinsky, Transl., Reb S. Silverstein)
When Korach failed to receive the honor he felt he deserved, Korach attempted to stage a revolt against Moshe. We see how Korach's search for honor eventually caused his own death and the death of others who supported him. The following story shows us how far we must go to distance ourselves from honor seeking.
Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli's rebbe was the Maggid of Mezritch (1704-1772). One day, Reb Zisha visited his Rebbe the Maggid. As Reb Zisha was about to leave, the Mezritcher Maggid said to him, "Zisha, don't you have a daughter to marry off? Here are three hundred rubles," said the Maggid, "and may you have hatzlochah (success)." "Thank you, thank you!" said Reb Zisha, as he left for home.
On the way home, Reb Zisha passed an inn and saw that it was full of people. Curious, he went inside to investigate. There was a wedding in progress, but although the people on the outskirts of the crowd were celebrating, the people in the main hall were in a different mood. There was no joy, only unhappiness, frustration, and confusion.
Reb Zisha learned that the mother of the bride had promised the groom three hundred rubles as dowry and somehow had lost the money. She was frantically trying to figure out where the money could have gone. In the meanwhile, while everyone was giving her advice on where to look for the money, the family of the groom was becoming very impatient. Reb Zisha stepped into the middle of the banquet hall and asked for quiet. "I understand," he began, "that there is a problem of some lost money. It just so happens that I found some money today." He was interrupted by bursts of joyful clapping as everyone cheered the news.
"Wait!" said Reb Zisha, "I need the mother of the bride to tell me exactly how much money there was and in what denominations." The woman came forward and gave, to the best of her recollection, the number of tens, twenties and fifties that she had had in the packet. Reb Zisha announced that he would have to go back to his room and check whether the money he had found fit her description. Some people began dancing as joy returned to the scene, while others stood around waiting with apprehension for him to return. Reb Zisha went to a moneychanger, changed the Maggid's three hundred rubles into the denominations that the woman had described, and came back triumphantly to the inn. He walked in with a broad smile, went straight to the middle of the hall and announced, "Yes, the money that I have is exactly the way the woman described it!"
The guests cheered in relief and happiness, but once again Reb Zisha called for quiet. He held up his hand and said, "It is true that the money goes to the mother of the bride, but I feel that I deserve some reward for my efforts." Stunned, the people stood numbly, not knowing how to react. They couldn't believe the audacity of the man. It was obviously the woman's money, and now, on the night of her daughter's wedding, how could he be so cruel? The guests started shoving and pushing as they made their way to have a word or two with this disrespectful stranger. A family member called for quiet and said to Reb Zisha, for all to hear, "Nu, nu, tell us already how much you want for your efforts?" The people waited as Reb Zisha thought for a moment. Then he answered, "Twenty-five rubles!"
"Twenty-five rubles!" the crowd shouted in unison. "It's unfair, it's absurd!" They pushed forward and started to beat him, dragging him out of the hall. Pandemonium reigned, with everyone screaming at once, as Reb Zisha held tightly onto the money. Every few moments he reeled from another shove or punch. He held up his hands and shouted, "There is a rav in this town, let's go to him and get his ruling." The crowd muttered its consent and Reb Zisha was led out with the strong grip of several of the guests on his arms, preventing his escape. A crowd followed as they made their way to the rav's house. The rav listened carefully to both sides, first to the hysterical mother and then to the chassid who claimed that he was a chassid of the Mezritcher Maggid. As the story began to unfold, the rav became infuriated at the lack of sensitivity of this Zisha, and ordered that he give the entire sum to the woman. Reb Zisha did so and left the city as people showered him with ridicule and abuse.
A few months later, the Mezritcher Maggid happened to be passing through this town. He stopped to visit with the local rav, unaware that his disciple Reb Zisha had had a confrontation with him. As the two spoke, the rav related the incident, and expressed his surprise that a disciple of the Maggid's should have acted in a way so unbecoming of any Jew, especially a chassid. The Maggid smiled and assured the rav that he would look into the matter. He knew that if anyone was concerned for others it was Reb Zisha. There had to be an explanation.
When the Maggid returned home he sent for Reb Zisha. When Reb Zisha stood before him, the Maggid said, "I can understand why you wanted to give away the money in the first place. But when you returned to the inn a second time, why did you make such a ridiculous demand?" Reb Zisha, somewhat embarrassed that his ploy had been discovered, smiled sheepishly and explained his feelings. "When I went to the moneychanger, my yetzer hara - evil impulse said to me, 'Zisha, you are a tzaddik! No one but you would do such a thing! This mitzvah is the best thing you have ever done.' He was trying to trap me to succumb to pride. I realized that if I fell into his snare and began to feel conceited, the mitzvah would be tarnished and incomplete. Thus I decided on a plan which would earn me abuse and insult and would assure me that I couldn't possibly feel important, even to myself. As a result, I hope the mitzvah was a true one, undiminished by any unworthy thoughts on my part." (From "The Maggid Speaks," R. Paysach Krohn, p.96)
Hashem loves the humble of heart, as Hashem tells us through the Navi-prophet "High and holy do I dwell, and with the oppressed and the humble of spirit." (The Gate of Humility, p.71, citing Yeshayahu 57:15) We see that Hashem loves the humble by the fact that Hashem chose the geographically low Mt. Sinai on which to rest his Holy presence. For the Holy One, Blessed be He forsook all the high mountains and hills and rested his Holy presence instead on the lower Mt. Sinai. Thus, if we humble ourselves like the lowly Mt. Sinai, we invite Hashem into our lives.
Good Shabbos Everyone
. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah

Have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli