Friday, June 15, 2012

Parsha Shelach Lecha, Halacha and many, many stories

Rabbi Yacov Chai ben Margalit
(son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef) is in critical condition.

of the week from Amanda: One of the reasons I LOVE Judaism is the Torah! It is
truly a beautiful gift from Hashem and just feels so natural. Sometimes it is a
bit difficult in the physical self-discipline way but it is much better to
discipline yourself than to have the consequences of living in wickedness. What I mean is that the Mitzvos are not just empty rules, they
have depth far beyond the surface. I love them : ) I have indeed read about
some groups that are trying to say that the Mitzvos are not necessary etc. and
I just don't understand why because to me forever means forever....and that is
comforting, let me say, loving the Mitzvos and doing them
perfectly right are two different things ; ) but hopefully the effort will be

The following was posted by a fellow named
Gal: Facebook and Fake Friends by Rabbi Jason Gelber

Facebook’s Initial Public Offering (IPO)
emerged to great fanfare and expectation last week. Many prognosticators
predicted a perpetual climb in stock’s price, and why wouldn’t they? The site
hosts over 800 million people in its social media network. On Friday, Facebook
was the talk of Wall Street; within several days, the excitement had fizzled,
much of the initial zeal exposed as a function of cultural hype. After two days
of trading Facebook’s stock price was down eighteen percent; the illusion of
doubling or tripling values remained precisely that…an illusion. In many ways,
not unlike the content of its burgeoning network.

Fake Friends

Facebook accords people the illusion that
they have thousands of friends at any given time. By merely commenting on an
others’ photos, updates, and comments, people fall into the fallacy that they
are connecting and building relationships with others in the "cyber
world". However, while these tools may be instrumental – helpful supplements
to existing relationships – when they serve as the basis of the relationships
themselves they create a mirage. Without personal effort and connectedness,
human relationships cannot blossom to their potential.

Relationship Creatures

Human beings are relationship beings. The
Torah (Nitzavim 15-16) states, "And you can choose life or death, and you
should love G-d.” The Ibn Ezra explains that this verse describes the purpose
of life – to create a loving relationship with our Creator, and by extension,
to His manifold creations around us. One who fosters this primary relationship
– with the Al-mighty – will never be alone. And one who nurtures its human
corollaries will gain the selflessness and compassion essential to our life’s

The process works in reverse as well; one who
labors in the field of human relationships may find a fertile path to a
relationship with the Almighty. Rav Shlomo Wolbe provides a fitting analogy to
this experience: Imagine a person situated in a dark room with all its doors
and windows locked. When he opens the window just a crack he can see everything
– the heavens and earth. One who is self-centered and absorbed is as if he is
locked inside a dark room. The moment he opens his heart to another, he can now
see not only his friend, but the world around him – indeed, the Al-mighty – as

Without Relationships

Conversely, without relationships we suffer.
In today’s society the cruelest available punishment in the penal system is
solitary confinement. Studies demonstrate that many incarcerated in its
depressive environs quickly fade into mental illness and even suicidal
tendencies; the pain of disconnection is simply too acute.

The Talmud tells a story of Chonie Hamagel
who left his town, only to return decades later to find his grandchildren and
their peers studying Torah. He attempted to join them, study with them and
relate to them. When, perhaps owing to his absence or the ever-ubiquitous
“generation gap,” he could connect to them as he wished, Choni grew agitated
and cried out, "O’ Chavrusa o Misusa"- Either friendship or death!”


Much of the success of Alcoholics Anonymous
and other 12 Step treatment programs stems from this principle as well. Often,
a person suffering from addictions feels isolated; illicit substances tend to
fill a void, albeit in an artificial or destructive manner. The 12 Steps help
them understand that people need real relationships, and provides them with a
fellowship, a sponsorship and ultimately a bridge to a Higher power. These new,
authentically human relationships can then replace the synthetic ones provided
by alcohol or narcotics.


Any successful parent understands that the
strength of one’s relationship to one’s child will likely determine the child’s
emotional health as an adult. Children crave personal connections with their
parents; just as healthy foods nourish their growing bodies, healthy
relationships nourish their growing hearts and souls. Any superficial
substitutes –excessive television, latchkey parenting or other such iterations
– can prove detrimental to that process.

Mr. Zuckerberg may have cashed out on his
IPO, but the rest of his Facebook friends may be left short changed; unless,
that is, they reclaim the glorious world of real, personal relationships, and the
Ultimate relationship these can engender.

Rabbi Jason Gelber, MS is the co-founder of
BD Health Services, INC, a substance abuse facility in Maryland, a member of
the Kollel at Ner Israel in Baltimore and also teaches for the Etz Chaim Center
in Owings Mills.

Parsha Shelach Lecha

Last week we
ended the Parsha with Lashon Hara about a human being our teacher and Rabbi
Moshe, this week with start off with Lashon Hara on an in animate object Eretz
Yisrael. What went wrong? Probably panic of people with a slave mentality. Rabbi
Pinchas Winston in his Perceptions at the wrote this week: In the meantime, you
have to kind of be a zealot to be religious today. The pressure from the
outside world to modernize, and even from the inside, is very great to the
point that some are only observing those aspects of Judaism that don’t
interfere with a Western lifestyle. Anyone who doesn’t agree with them is
labeled “extreme,” or “Ultra-Orthodox,” terms that imply, for many who are not
of this category, misplaced zealousness.
“Extreme” is
also a term being used to refer to Jews who refuse to capitulate to
international demands to make “peace” with an Arab world that clearly has no
desire to make it. Those who stand up for their land, and for the protection of
their people, and are prepared to trust in God to help them survive what may
come their way, are called “Extremists,” when in fact those calling them this
are the real extremists—extremely secular and extremely detached from Jewish
Yehoshua and Calev were the
extremists and Ultra-Orthodox when they refused to listen to the other spies. I
know that when I speak the truth or in politics the truth the way I see it from
a Torah standpoint that I am bound to either make antagonism or strengthening
of somebody’s ideals. Aaron for the sake of peace could be Politically Correct
with the Golden Calf but Moshe could not compromise. The spies and certain
politicians can prevail at any one given time but in the end on the Truth of
the Torah will remain.

To be zealous for redemption
can be a frustrating and often dangerous path. However, as the Talmud states,
it’s what a Jew supposed to be (Shabbos 31a). Many have already died, or been
injured trying to make the Final Redemption a reality, but far more have died
in the Diaspora, in the desert, ignoring the issue.

13:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2
'Send you men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the
children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man,
everyone a prince among them.'

At this point the command came
from HASHEM.

Send for yourself men: Why is the section
dealing with the spies juxtaposed with the section dealing with Miriam? Because
she was punished over matters of slander, for speaking against her brother, and
these wicked people witnessed [it], but did not learn their lesson. — [Midrash
Tanchuma Shelach 5] Send for yourself: According to your own understanding. I
am not commanding you, but if you wish, you may send. Since the Israelites had
come [to Moses] and said, “Let us send men ahead of us,” as it says, “All of
you approached me…” (Deut. 1:22), Moses took counsel with the Shechina. He
[God] said, “I told them that it is good, as it says, ‘I will bring you up from
the affliction of Egypt…’ (Exod. 3:17). By their lives! Now I will give them
the opportunity to err through the words of the spies, so that they will not
inherit it.” - [Midrash Tanchuma 5]

3 And Moses sent them from the wilderness of
Paran according to the commandment of the LORD; all of them men who were heads
of the children of Israel.

They were all leaders and men of
distinction but what went wrong? It was that the tribes sent for themselves
men. The tribe of Reuven and others did not consult the Shechina via the Urim
V’ Tummim and they picked the popular politician who knew how to speak, bluster
and promise according to their hopes and wishes. Shmuel went to the sons of
Yeshai and looked from the first born downwards who could be Melech Yisrael. He
was told that the first seven were not qualified. But the eight was beyond the
Teva he was the baby of the family, shorter than his brothers who was attending
the sheep. He was the one that was humble and fit to be a king. But it took
prophecy to make the right choice and it takes a popular vote to make a wrong

4 And
these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. 5 Of
the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. 6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb
the son of Jephunneh. 7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. 8 Of
the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun. 9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti
the son of Raphu. 10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi. 11 Of
the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.
12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli. 13 Of the tribe of Asher,
Sethur the son of Michael. 14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of
Vophsi. 15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These are the names
of the men that Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son
of Nun Joshua.

And Moses called Hoshea…: He prayed on his behalf, “May God save you
from the counsel of the spies.” [The name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ
is a compounded form of יָהּ יוֹשִׁיעֲךָ,
May God save you.]- [Sotah 34b]

This is obvious an oral Torah tradition, however, it does
not look like to me that Moshe knew what would happen in advance for otherwise
he would not have sent out these men together but one or two to different
places so that they could not do what they did. I also think that he would have
asked for a private report had he known from the start and not a public report.

17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of
Canaan, and said unto them: 'Get you up here into the South, and go up into the

Go up this way in the south: This was the inferior part of the Land of
Israel. This is the custom of merchants; they show their inferior goods first
and afterward display their best. — [Midrash Tanchuma 6]

18 and see the land, what it is; and the
people that dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are
few or many;

What [kind of] land it is:
Some countries rear strong people, and some countries rear weak [people]; some
produce large populations and some small populations. — [Mid. Tanchuma 6] are
they strong or weak: He gave them a sign. If they live in open cities [it is a
sign that] they are strong, since they rely on their might. And if they live in
fortified cities [it is a sign that] they are weak. — [Mid. Tanchuma 6]

19 and what the land is that they dwell in,
whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether
in camps, or in strongholds;

Is it
good: possessing springs and other
good and healthy water sources.

Pasuk 18
was referring to the people and their psychological attitude if they were bold
or timid. In 19 we are dealing with how do we conquer the land from a military
standpoint. Finally in 20 we look into supporting a population from an
agriculture society not to mention flocks and herds.

20 and what the land is, whether it is fat or
lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and
bring of the fruit of the land.'--Now the time was the time of the first-ripe
grapes.-- 21 So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin
unto Rehob, at the entrance to Hamat.

This is Rehovot mentioned with
the well digging of Yitzchak which is close to the western side of the lower Negev
Desert and not the Rehovot of today. Hamat is in the area today where Syria,
Yarden and Yisrael meet at the foot of the Golan Heights and one of the famous
hot springs of Eretz Yisrael. Today they grow alligators there among other

22 And they went up into the South, and came
unto Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were
there.--Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.-- 23 And they
came unto the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one
cluster of grapes, and they bore it upon a pole between two; they took also of
the pomegranates, and of the figs.—

There are grapes that ripen in
early July and in Chevron continue until October nowadays. Early figs start in
July and late figs can continue to close to October. Pomegranates start in late
July and can continue to October or November. We know that they issued their
report by the night of Tisha B’ Av so the Pomegranates may have not been fully
ripe while the grapes and the figs would be ready. Micah Chapter 4:

ד וְיָשְׁבוּ,
אִישׁ תַּחַת גַּפְנוֹ וְתַחַת תְּאֵנָתוֹ--וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד: כִּי-פִי יְהוָה
צְבָאוֹת, דִּבֵּר.

4 But they
shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall
make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken.

24 That place was called the valley of
Eshcol, because of the cluster which the children of Israel cut down from

They carried it on a pole between two
[people]: From the implication of what it says “they carried [in the plural] it
on a pole” do I not know that it was [carried] by two? So what does “[between]
two” tell us? [The answer is:] With two poles. How was it done? Eight of them
took a cluster [of grapes], one took a fig and one took a pomegranate. Joshua
and Caleb did not take anything, for the intention of the others was to present
a slanderous report, [namely,] just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its
people are extraordinary. If you wish to know how much one of them carried, go
forth and learn from the stones they set up at Gilgal: Each man carried on his
shoulder one stone [from the Jordan] and set it up at Gilgal. The Sages weighed
them [and determined that] each stone weighed forty seah, and it is a fact that
the load a person can carry on his shoulders is only a third of the weight of
the load he can carry when others help him lift it. — [Sotah 34b]

Since it is very hard to have much weight on
the shoulder for a long time, it seems that 3 pairs would carry while 3 pairs
rested but this would go against Rashi because he exempted Yehoshua and Calev.

-- 25 And they returned from spying out the
land at the end of forty days. 26 And they went and came to Moses, and to
Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the
wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all
the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him,
and said: 'We came unto the land whither thou sent us, and surely it flows with
milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

If you want to lull somebody into
a false sense of security you first speak softly and nicely and then stealth
wise attack secretly.

28 Howbeit the people that dwell in the land
are fierce, and the cities are fortified, and very great; and moreover we saw
the children of Anak there.

They are a threat and they are
tall and strong. But from where did they know that the people were fierce as
they cowered in fortified cities?

29 Amalek dwells in the land of the South;
and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the mountains; and
the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.'

We had already battled Amalek and
they are sneaky and attack often from the rear. The other peoples also had a
tradition or questions.

30 And Caleb stilled the people toward Moses,
and said: 'We should go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to
overcome it.' 31 But the men that went up with him said: 'We are not able to go
up against the people; for they are stronger than we.' 32 And they spread an
evil report of the land which they had spied out unto the children of Israel,
saying: 'The land, through which we have passed to spy it out, is a land that
eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men
of great stature. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come
of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were
in their sight.'

Rabbi Shraga
Simmons Shlita had a great idea but I followed up on it: The prototypical spies
in the Torah are the accused brothers of Joseph: And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and
said to them, "You are spies; to see the nakedness of the land you have
come." And they said to him, "No, my lord, your servants came to buy
food. We are all one man's sons; we are honest men, your servants are no
spies." And he said to them, "No, to see the nakedness of the land
you have come." (Genesis 42:9-12) It hit me that Ephraim represents Yosef and Yehuda who confronted
Yosef in the above incident are above the advice of the spies and the other
brothers or tribes are accused of spying. Well it sort of works out with one
exception that Menashe is included in the spies in our Parsha and Levi is
exempt. Still the deeds of the fathers remain a sign for the children.

14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their
voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of
Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation
said unto them: 'Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would we had
died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore doth the LORD bring us unto this land,
to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be a prey; were it not
better for us to return into Egypt?' 4 And they said one to another: 'Let us
make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.'

This was a double rebellion
against HASHEM and Moshe’ s authority.

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces
before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of them that
spied out the land, rent their clothes. 7 And they spoke unto all the
congregation of the children of Israel, saying: 'The land, which we passed
through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us,
then He will bring us into this land, and give it unto us--a land which flows
with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the
people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defence is removed from
over them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.' 10 But all the congregation
bade stone them with stones, when the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of
meeting unto all the children of Israel.

11 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'How long
will this people despise Me? and how long will they not believe in Me, for all
the signs which I have wrought among them? 12 I will smite them with the
pestilence, and destroy them, and will make of thee a nation greater and
mightier than they.' 13 And Moses said unto the LORD: 'When the Egyptians shall
hear--for Thou brought up this people in YOUR might from among them-- 14 they
will say to the inhabitants of this land, who have heard that Thou LORD art in
the midst of this people; inasmuch as Thou LORD art seen face to face, and Thy
cloud stands over them, and YOU go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day,
and in a pillar of fire by night; 15 now if Thou shalt kill this people as one
man, then the nations which have heard the fame of Thee will speak, saying: 16
Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore
unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness. 17 And now, I pray
Thee, let the power of the LORD be great, according as Thou hast spoken,

These are the 13 attributes of

18 The LORD is slow to anger, and plenteous
in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and that will by no
means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,
upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I pray Thee, the
iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, and
according as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.' 20 And
the LORD said: 'I have pardoned according to thy word. 21 But in very deed, as
I live--and all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD-- 22
surely all those men that have seen My glory, and My signs, which I wrought in
Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to proof these ten times, and have
not hearkened to My voice; 23 surely they shall not see the land which I swore
unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despised Me see it. 24 But
My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me
fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall
possess it. 25 Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the Vale; tomorrow
turn ye, and get you into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.'

We now have an example of a
person who violates the Shabbos and his punishment in this world. Nowadays the
punishment is worst for it is in the next world but not all are punished
equally as if a person is born into a non-religious family, his punishment is
more in education while if somebody was Orthodox, his punishment is stronger.

32 And while the children of Israel were in
the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks upon the Sabbath day. 33 And
they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto
all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it had not been
declared what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'The man
shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones
without the camp.' 36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp,
and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the LORD commanded Moses.

37 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 38
'Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout
their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put
with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. 39 And it shall be unto you
for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of
the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your
own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; 40 that ye may remember and do all
My commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.'

Nowadays we are uncertain how to
make the Techeles (blue) of the Tzitzis so we generally wear white except a
small group of people who use dye from a certain fish of the Mediterranean. I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting the
laws of Tzitzis from the Mishna Berura and I have condensed the laws for those
wishing to learn in detail go to the original URL and the 75 footnotes have
been cut out the author is Rabbi Ari Lobel of the

1.1: (1) The [tzitzis] strings have to be spun
(2) lishma (for the sake of the mitzva of
tzitzis). {RAMA: Some authorities are machmir (stringent) to do nifutz
(combing-the step before spinning) lishma. (3) However, the custom is to be lenient
by nifutz (combing)} [This law requires] (4) that he should say (5) at the start of (6) the spinning that he is spinning for
the purpose of tzitzis. [If a woman is doing the spinning, the law requires] (7) that he should say to her spin me
some tzitzis for a tallis. If they were not spun for the purpose of tzitzis
they are unfit [for use on a tallis].
11.2: If a (8) non-jew spun them (the tzitzis) with
a jew (9) watching him, according to the Rambam
they (the tzitzis) are (10) unfit (for fulfilling the commandment
of tzitzis) and according to the (11) Rosh they are fit. {RAMA: (12) The custom is that the jew should
help a little [with the spinning] as is mentioned later in Siman 32:9 and in Yoreh
De'ah Siman 271
concerning Tefillin and Torah scrolls.} (13) They require (14) shezira (twisting) and the shezira
must be done (15) lishma (for the sake of tzitzis).
11.3: If they were separated from
their shezirah (twisting) (16) and turned into sixteen [strings],
they are kosher (fit for the mizvah). That is so long as there remains twisted,
(17) k'dei aniva (enough string to form a
loop). {Rama: Lechatchila (preferably) (18) it is proper to tie the strings below
(at their tips) as [we see] later on in Se'if 14 in this Siman (Siman 11:14).}
11.7: (33) Borrowed Strings are a loan [of
money, rather than a borrowed item, since] he's not going to return the actual
item. [Therefore,] it is (34) as if they are his.
11.8: If someone bows
to a sheep,
(35) its wool (36) is invalid (37) for tzitzis (fringes). If someone
bows to flax that is [still] (38) planted, then the flax is kosher for
tzitzis because it is changed.
11.9: (39) One should make the hole [where the
Tzitzis will be inserted] (40) in the length of the garment, (41) and not above 3 fingers - because (43) that would not be called
"kanaf" (the corner) - (44) and not less than (45) the size of the knuckle of the thumb (46) until the fingernail, because it is
said "upon the corner" and if it was less than from the knuckle of
the thumb it would be considered "under the corner." {Rama: And we
measure this (47) straight from the sides and not on
the diagonal from the corner.}
11.10: If the Tzitzis
were originally hung a distance equal to the length or a thumb's joint from the
garment's corner, and then some of
(49) the weave of the garment (48) fell apart, so that the required
distance no longer remained between the edge of the garment and the place the
Tzitzis were hung, nevertheless, it remains kosher, since the proper distance
existed (50) at the time these Tzitzis were hung.
{Ram"a: The custom is to make a hem around the hole through which the
Tzitzis are hung, so that the garment will not tear there and leave (51) less than the required distance, and
similarly, one makes a hem around the outer edge of the garment for the same
reason.} (52) There are those who say that (53) there is no minimum distance from the
edge of the garment in the width-wise direction, but there are those who say
that the law regarding the width is the same as the law regarding the length,
and this view appears correct. MB48: Fell apart - The same law applies if there
was a tear in the hole to the point that the required distance no longer existed,
and this is so even if the tear occurred immediately after he had tied the
first loop, as discussed shortly. MB49: The weave of the garment - As a result
of this falling apart, the length of the garment was lessened. As will be
explained below, the same rule applies to the width of the garment. MB50: At
the time - This is based on the verse, "And they will make Tzitzis for
themselves on the corners of their garments". From this we learn that the
Torah was particular that the Tzitzis be in the corner only at the time that
they were made and not necessarily thereafter. However, this rule applies only
to those Tzitzis which were hung in a proper fashion; however, if he wishes to
place new Tzitzis on the garment, which would constitute a new "making,"
it would not be acceptable until he first repaired the garment, as is set out
later in Siman 15.
MB51: Less than the required distance - Even though, in the absence of doing so,
it would be acceptable after the fact, it is nevertheless best for him to make
this hem, so that observers will not say that he is wearing improper Tzitzis,
since not everyone is familiar with the law. MB52: There are those who say -
The basis for this opinion is that the primary connotation of Kanaf,
"corner," would refer to the bottom edge of the length of the garment
and not to the width of the garment. For these purposes, the "width"
of the garment refers to the vertical dimension from the head towards the feet,
while the "length" refers to the horizontal dimension in which one
enwraps oneself in a garment. MB53: There is no minimum distance - That is to
say, there is no minimum dimension and the Tzitzis can be hung even less than
the measure of a thumb joint from the edge of the garment. However, it is not
acceptable to hang them more than the size of 3 fingers from the edge.
11.11: If the threaded area which is
(54) called "orlaiza" (not a
Hebrew word) (55) is broad, he should not place the
Tzitzit/Tzitzis there, and if they were placed there, they are not acceptable,
since the Torah says "On the corners of your garments", and this is
not considered to be part of the garment. However, this area does count towards
the minimum and maximum distances of a thumb's joint and (56) 3 fingers, respectively, so long as
the hole the Tzitzit/Tzitzis are placed in is within the garment itself.
{Ram"a: It is best if he takes the minimum measurement of a thumb's joint (57) without the fringe and still places
the hole within 3 fingers of the edge of the fringe.} MB54: Called
"orlaiza" - The "orlaiza" is an area in which threads are
left hanging without cross-threads and are then woven together only at the
edge. There are those who have written that this is what is called, in Yiddish,
"krikes". There is no distinction whether the fringe is in the length
or width of the garment. MB55: Is Broad - The reference to a wide fringe means
one which is larger than a thumb's joint, for if this is not the case, it
appears that it would in any case not be acceptable. MB56: Three fingers - That
is, that he should not make the hole more than 3 fingers' distance from the
[outside edge of the] fringe. MB57: Without the fringe - If the fringe is wider
than 2 or 3 fingers, he should trim it down. The same law applies if there are
threads without cross-threads or vice versa -- there is doubt whether they
count for purposes of measuring where the Tzitzit/Tzitzis should be hung, and
therefore he should trim the threads at the corners. Therefore, the edge of our
Tallis, which we call the "shlak" in Yiddish, which does not have
woven threads, should be trimmed before the Tzitzit/Tzitzis are placed in the corners.
---------- 11.12. The number of threads of Tzitzis which is hung in each corner
is (58) four doubled threads, (59) which makes 8 threads. If he
increased the number of threads, the Tzitzis are (60) not acceptable. One should (61) cut off the tips of the 4 threads,
push them through the corner, and double them up, so that they will be 8. MB58:
Four doubled threads - As it says in the Gemara, "G'dil would be 2,
G'dilim are 4". This means that, if the Torah had used the word G'dil,
which means fringe, it would have meant that 2 threads are required, since
there is no fringe with fewer than 2 threads. Since the Torah used the plural
form "G'dilim", it means 4 threads. At the time when Techailes was
available, 2 threads were dyed with this material and 2 threads were white;
now, we use white instead of this and make 4 long white threads. MB59: Which
makes 8 threads - After the threads are placed in the garment, they are doubled
over. This is derived from the Torah's use of the word "P'sil" which
is similar to the word "P'sila", which means a wick, which is doubled
over. MB60: Not acceptable - The reason for their unacceptability is that he
violated the prohibition of "Bal Tosif" (not to add on the Torah's
Mitzvos). However, the Gr"a is of the opinion that this is not a violation
of Bal Tosif and that the only situation in which the Gemara ruled that such
Tzitzis are unacceptable is when an additional species, such as canvas or cotton,
is added to the threads. According to this view, it would be acceptable, even
from the start [l'chatchila - if he came to ask before making his Tallis], to
add on an unlimited number of additional woolen threads. This is also the view
of several great Rishonim, and therefore, one would conclude according to this
view, that if such Tzitzis (with extra woolen threads) were already made, and
it was impossible to fix them, a person would be permitted to wear the garment;
however, as soon as it was possible to remedy the situation, he would be
required to do so. All agree that with fewer than 4 threads the Tzitzis are
unacceptable. MB61: Cut off - This means that it is proper to cut the threads
(from the ball of thread) prior to putting them through the corner of the
garment. It is best to tear the threads with the teeth, rather than with a
11:13. (62) One should be careful to cut the ends
of the strings (so that there are four doubled strings and not one long string
that is folded over four times, placed through the hole and doubled again -
that is considered one string) to make them into eight, before he begins
wrapping them (making the loops), because if he wrapped even (63) one link {meaning, the part of the
Tzitzis between two knots} (64) tied them one time and then cut them
the Tzitzis are posul because of the general principle of "you shall do -
and not from that which is already done," because (if he wrapped and
knotted the Tzitzis before he cut them) he made them in an invalid manner.
11:14. He should take
four strings from each side (after he inserts the four strings into the hole
and doubles them) and make a double knot. After that he should wrap the long
string around the other seven a few times and make a double knot and then wrap
it some more times. He should continue to do this until he has five double
knots with four spaces between them that are full of wrappings. There is no
predetermined number
(65) of loops (66) only that all the knots with the
wrappings should be four (67) (68) thumb widths and the hanging strings
should be eight thumb widths. {Rema: and if he made
the Tzitzis longer, he should be careful that one third should be the braided
part (69)
and two thirds the unbraided part} and we are accustomed to wrap the Tzitzis
seven times in the first space, (70)
nine in the second, 11 in the third and 13 in the fourth which add up to 40
(7+9+11+13) like the numerical value of "Ha-shem echad" (the name of
Ha-shem (yud=10, 2*he=10 and vov=6 is 26 and the word one in Hebrew (echad) is
Aleph (1),
Ches (8)
and Daled (4)
a total of 13) and with the singularity of Ha-shem a grand total of 40. And
people are accustomed to tying a knot (71)
at the end of every string so that the strings don't unravel.
11:15 There are those
that say that one is required to hang the Tzitzis
(72) along the length of the Tallis
because the Tzitzis (73) should drape the edge {this means
that they should hang from the edge} and if they are on its width they won't be
draping the corner because they are hanging towards the ground. There are those
that say that one should not place (74) any cloth in the holes, of the
Tallis, that one places the Tzitzis in (75) and there are those that permit this
and the custom is according to the second opinion.

Did you see that cat
two - stories I heard from the Maggid Rabbi Shalom Schwadron

The first story is of
a little cat that used to come up the religious men everyday in Shaarei Chessed
in Yerushalayim on their way to Schul. Everyday only the men carrying Tallis
Bags and Tephillin would the little cat come up to and rub against. One day
somebody went to a Tzaddik who suggested that the cat was a Gilgul
(reincarnation) of a Frum Jew who had done a lot of Mitzvos but despised
Talmidei Chachamim. The man was told by the Beis Din shel Maalah that he would
have to return to earth in a carnation and be nice to Talmidei Chachamim. The
next day one of the men said to the cat, “You have made a Tikun for your
Neshama and can move on.” The cat never was seen again and it was assumed that
the Neshama of the Frum Yid entered Gan Eden.

On day Rav Schwadron
was in a Schul where the Frum Diamond Merchants of Antwerp davened. He was the
only man there. Gradually one man with a long face walked in and slowly another
and another. He then heard “What a lavaya!” (Funeral). Oy vey who was the Jew
that died he thought to himself. Gradually more people walked in and her heard
them talking “There must have been at least one million people at the Lavaya!”
So Baruch HASHEM he thought it was not a noble Yid but perhaps some Belgium
royalty. So he got up the courage to ask who died. He was told that it was not
for him but as in inquired they told him. It was a funeral for a champion
bicycle rider who rode faster and faster and harder and harder and longer and
longer until he died. At this Rav Schwadron piped up, “For this Jews are
wasting their time and energy instead of Torah. Why I know a cat who lives in
Shaarei Chessed in Yerushalayim. He was the best of the cats and could climb
and jump like no other. He could jump high and from roof to roof. One day he
slipped on a drainpipe on the opposite roof banged his head and fell to the
ground and died.” The moral of the story is that a man without Torah no matter
what he does is no better than a cat. For a person who follows only his Behayma
(animal) Nefesh is no better than an animal. It is the Torah, Mitzvos and the
ability to communicate that make us into mankind.

Chodesh Tammuz will be observed starting Tuesday Evening to Thursday at sundown
(Yom Revive and Yom Chamishi)

How to See Israel (Version 1)

A man who had been sent from Tzfat
(Zefat), in the Holy Land, to gather funds for his community visited the city
of Rabbi Avraham Dov of
Avritch and spoke wonders in praise of Eretz Yisrael. He
described the air, the landscape, flowers and fruits. In language rich in
expression, he pictured the holy places and gravesites of the tzadikim. His
enthusiasm knew no bounds, until he finally bubbled over and said, “Rebbe, what
can I say? Why should I go on? Even the rocks of Eretz Yisrael are pearls and precious stones
of all sorts!”

The Rebbe
who had already previously pined to go up to the Holy Land could no longer find
peace. In 1830 at age 65, he left his city and his flock of Chassidim, went up
to Israel, and settled in Tzfat. Sometime afterwards the funds gatherer
returned home from his travels. He came before the Rebbe and asked with
interest, “Well, then, has the Rebbe found what he hoped to see?”

“The land
is, indeed, very, very good,” said the Rebbe. “The holy places, the graves of
the tzadikim,
the Western Wall, the tomb of Rachel, the air — the air of Eretz Yisrael grants
wisdom — everything is exceptional. But when you said the rocks were pearls,
that was an exaggeration.”

The man
reacted strongly and said, “Rebbe, whoever is found worthy sees it!”

The Rebbe
rose without a word, and closeted himself in his room. For an entire year he
did not leave that room. For an entire year he secluded himself and devoted
himself to his Maker, through study and prayer, cut off from the world. When
the year drew to a close, he emerged and invited the residents of Tzfat to a
feast of thanksgiving. All sat, filled with curiosity, desirous to hear
why the Rebbe had lived in enforced solitude and why he had called upon them to
gather for this feast. The Rebbe proclaimed, “Indeed, the statement is
correct. The rocks are
pearls; however is found worthy sees it.” Those present did not
understand him and so he told them about the collector of funds and what the
man had said. “In all my life,” he said, “no one ever spoke to me with
such force. I felt that Heaven had put the words on his lips in order to
encourage me to reach such a state. I closed myself in my room; I sanctified
and purified myself. And, indeed, my eyes were opened. I bear true witness
before you. The rocks of Israel are precious stones and shine with the luster
of pearls.”
Pri Kodesh Hillulim 111, as translated by Rabbi Shalom Meir Wallach in Haggadah
of the Chassidic Masters (Mesorah).]

When Rabbi Avraham Dov of
Avritch settled in the holy city of Tzfat, he was already elderly. But
although he had waited many years for the opportunity to bask in the spiritual
light of the Land of Israel, once there he found life in the Holy Land too
difficult to bear. The hardships were all too apparent, while the holiness of
the land was hard to discern. When he felt he could bear no more, Rabbi Avraham
Dov began to think of returning to his home in Avritch. “After all,” he
reasoned, “I left my relatives and my students behind in order to live in the
land, but it’s all to no avail, for I am suffering so bitterly. Let me return
to Avritch, and they will be happy to see me, and I will be glad as well.”

When Rabbi
Avraham Dov reached the decision to return home the rainy season in Israel was
approaching. One day, as he was walking to the synagogue for the afternoon
prayer, he heard noises coming from the surrounding rooftops. He couldn’t
identify the strange sounds, and he asked the people he passed, “What is
happening? Where are these noises coming from?” The people were amused that he
didn’t know.

“Here, in Tzfat,”
they explained, “we have the custom of performing household chores on our flat
roofs. We also use the roofs for storing food and other household supplies. The
noise you hear is caused by the women scurrying about, removing all these
things from the roofs.”

“But why are
they doing that?” Rabbi Avraham Dov asked.

“Why so that
nothing gets ruined by the rain, of course,” was the incredulous reply. But
Rabbi Avraham Dov was still confused. He looked up at a sky as blue as the sea
when there are no waves in sight.

certainly doesn’t look like rain,” he said, hoping for some further

“Surely you
remember that tonight we say the prayer for rain. We beseech G-d to remember us
and send benign rains to water our crops and provide water for us. Since we are
sure that our Father in Heaven will hear our prayers and will heed our request,
we take precautions so that our possessions won’t be ruined when the rains

unquestioning faith of the people affected the rabbi deeply. Suddenly his eyes
were opened and he saw the sublime heights of faith achieved by the simple Jews
of the Holy Land. His pain and disappointment were replaced by a sense of awe
at the holiness of the land and its people. At that moment, he abandoned all
thoughts of returning to Avritch and began a new leg of his own spiritual journey
to the holiness of the Holy
[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the
rendition on

note: Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avrush [1765-12 Kislev 1840],
a Rebbe in Europe for forty years and in Zefat for ten, was a disciple of Rabbi
Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and the first two Rebbes of the Chernobyl dynasty.
One of
his disciples was Rabbi Shmuel Heller, the chief rabbi of Zefat. His meeting with the philanthropist
Sir Moses Montifiore in 1840 led to the beginning of modern Jewish agricultural
settlement in Israel.

From the pain came
the sweetness

Rabbi Nachum Ish Gamzu used to say Gam Zu Le
Tova or all is for the best. I was sitting in a US Government Office this week
waiting to have my number called. It was and the lady who called me was
incapable of handling my case but said to me that I would be called by name.
While waiting, for the second time in the same office, I sat next to a nice man
who had worked in construction. We began to chat. He told me that he would not
be alive today if it were not for a work accident in which he lost a few toes.

A big metal slab fell on the edge of his foot
causing him to lose his toes. When he went to the hospital as a routine
procedure he was given a blood test. He thought to himself what do I need a
blood test for? I am as healthy as a race horse reading for the Belmont race!
However, the doctors came to him after the blood test and told him flatly you
have Cancer and need Chemotherapy immediately! His stay in the hospital was
covered by a settlement that he got and they were happy to receive $150,000 in
cash vs. all the red tape they usually get. Now he lost his ability to work and
his medical coverage so he was at the office looking for some way to get on the
receiving end having worked for well over thirty years in an honest living and
now being on disability. It was hard for the man. The man recognized what was
the source of the lifesaving accident. Perhaps as a non-Jew he did not say from
the L-RD our G-D but the recognition was there.

You do not know how blessed the people of
Israel are to have our four private sick funds and the compulsory National
Insurance something better than Medicare A for hospitalization and paying for
military call ups for workers vs. what is covered in the States and perhaps
Canada and Europe. Of course if you want the big specialist to do your
operation, it costs a bit of money for private visits.

Rambam Laws of Kings
and War Chapter 12

not presume that in the Messianic age any facet of the world's nature will
change or there will be innovations in the work of creation. Rather, the world
will continue according to its pattern.
Isaiah 11:6 states: 'The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie
down with the young goat,' these words are a metaphor and a parable. The
interpretation of the prophecy is as follows: Israel will dwell securely
together with the wicked gentiles who are likened to a wolf and a leopard, as
in the prophecy Jeremiah 5:6: 'A wolf from the wilderness shall spoil them and
a leopard will stalk their cities.' They will all return to the true faith and
no longer steal or destroy. Rather, they will eat permitted food at peace with
Israel as Isaiah 11:7 states: 'The lion will eat straw like an ox.'
other Messianic prophecies of this nature are metaphors. In the Messianic era,
everyone will realize which matters were implied by these metaphors and which
allusions they contained.
Sages taught: "There will be no difference between the current age and the
Messianic era except the emancipation from our subjugation to the gentile
simple interpretation of the prophets' words appear to imply that the war of
Gog and Magog will take place at the beginning of the Messianic age. Before the
war of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to inspire Israel to be upright and
prepare their hearts, as Malachi 3:22 states: 'Behold, I am sending you Elijah.'
will not come to declare the pure, impure, or to declare the impure, pure. He
will not dispute the lineage of those presumed to be of proper pedigree, nor
will he validate the pedigree of those whose lineage is presumed blemished.
Rather, he will establish peace within the world as ibid. 3:24
continues: 'He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children."
are some Sages who say that Elijah's coming will precede the coming of the Mashiach.
All these and similar matters cannot be definitely known by man until they
occur for these matters are undefined in the prophets' words and even the wise
men have no established tradition regarding these matters except their own
interpretation of the verses. Therefore, there is a controversy among them
regarding these matters.
of the debate concerning these questions, neither the order of the occurrence
of these events or their precise detail are among the fundamental principles of
the faith. A person should not occupy himself with the Aggadot and
homiletics concerning these and similar matters, nor should he consider them as
essentials, for study of them will neither bring fear or love of God.
one should not try to determine the appointed time for Mashiach's coming. Our
Sages declared: 'May the spirits of those who attempt to determine the time of
Mashiach's coming expire!' Rather, one should await and believe in the general
conception of the matter as explained.
the era of the Messianic king, once his kingdom has been established and all of
Israel has gathered around him, the entire nation's line of descent will be
established on the basis of his words and the prophetic spirit which will rest
upon him, as Malachi 3:3 states: 'He shall sit as a refiner and purifier.'
will purify the lineage of the Levites first, stating 'He is a priest of
defined lineage. He is a Levite of defined lineage.' Those whose lineage he will
not recognize will be lowered to the status of Israelites. This is implied by Ezra
2:63: 'The governor said to them: 'They should not eat of the most holy things
until a priest arises who will wear the urim vitumim.' From this verse,
you can infer that the prophetic spirit will be used to define and notify the
pedigree of lineage.
he defines the lineage of the Israelites, he will make known their tribal
lineage alone, stating: 'He is from this tribe and he is from another tribe.'
He will not, by contrast, state concerning a person who is presumed to be of
unblemished lineage: 'He is illegitimate or he is of slave lineage.' For the
law is once a family has become intermingled with the entire Jewish people,
they may remain intermingled.
Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Messianic era in order to have
dominion over the entire world, to rule over the gentiles, to be exalted by the
nations, or to eat, drink, and celebrate. Rather, they desired to be free to
involve themselves in Torah and wisdom without any pressures or disturbances,
so that they would merit the world to come, as explained in Hilchot Teshuvah.
that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good
will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust.
The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God.
the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the
knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as
Isaiah 11:9 states: 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the
waters cover the ocean bed."
completes Hilchos Melachim and the entire text. Blessed be He who spoke
and the world came into being as a whole, with all its particulars.***

Meals a non-Jewish MD speaks up on it

For years, I have been telling families in my practice,
especially those with teens, to eat dinner together. Family dinners make a
difference, I tell them. Studies show that they not only help prevent obesity,
they help kids do better in school and help keep them out of trouble.
Now a study says that's a bunch of hogwash.
Well, not exactly hogwash. The researchers from Cornell
who wrote "Assessing Causality and Persistence in Effects of Family Meals
on Adolescent and Young Adult Well-Being" (published in the Journal of Marriage and Family)
agree that youth who eat dinner with their families are less likely to
experience substance abuse, depression and delinquency. But, they say, it's not
the family dinners that do it. It's the strong family relationships that do it.
Families that eat dinner together regularly are more likely to spend time
together, communicate and generally be close. They are also more likely to be
two-parent families with higher income and one parent who doesn't work. It's
all this that makes the difference, say the researchers, not sitting down at
the table as a family.
Part of me was a little relieved to read this, because I
always miss dinner with my family on Tuesdays (I see patients in the evening)
and I often miss it on Thursdays (I get stuck at work). My husband's work
schedule keeps him from eating with us on Wednesdays and Fridays. Whichever one
of us is home makes a dinner and eats with whichever kids are home (a teen is
sometimes at work or practice), but Norman Rockwell it isn’t.
But I am not about to give up on family dinner -- and I
am not changing my advice to families one iota.
It's not all that helpful for me to say to parents, "have
a good relationship with your teen." We all want to do that. It's the
making it happen that's tough -- especially given that once they become teens,
they don't really want to be with you. They want to be with their friends -- or
be alone. Outside of car rides, it's hard to get any time to talk with them --
and once they drive, you might not even get that. But family dinners give you a
chance to check in and have a conversation, even if it's awkward. Family
dinners are a practical, tangible way to send a clear message that you care
about what is going on with your children and that they are part of a family.
These are good messages (caring about what they eat is a good one too!).
Every Monday at our house is Family Meeting -- we've done
this for about fifteen years. It's sacrosanct family time. There's no work, no
practice, no social plans -- unless there is an extraordinary circumstance,
everyone is home. We eat tortillas with various fixings (which my husband cooks
while I make lunches and snacks for the week, with the podcast of "Wait
Wait Don't Tell Me" on in the background). There is a structure to it.
First, we do "appreciations": everyone has to appreciate somebody for
something. Then we do "announcements," which we mostly use to
organize the logistics of the week. We finish with "agenda items," if
there are any -- that's when we make plans for things together, or work out
solutions (as amicably as possible) to problems (like people taking all the
towels out of the bathroom). Liam, the youngest, added "napkin fight"
to the end -- he goes into the stairwell and throws cloth napkins at us and
tries (unsuccessfully) to not get hit by the ones we throw back at him.
While in the midst of one of those cranky adolescent
phases, one of my older kids once said during Family Meeting, "This is the
only time all week I like you guys." I guess I should have been offended,
but all I felt was gratitude for Family Meeting.
Okay, so maybe Family Meeting happens and works because
of our family culture. But maybe our family culture works in part because of
Family Meeting. It's a chicken-and-egg-thing. Does it really matter which comes
first? I get that the research says that family dinners aren't the magic bullet
(imagine that, there isn't a simple solution to keeping teens out of trouble).
But you have to start somewhere -- and every little thing counts.
So if you are already doing family dinners, please don't
stop. And if you aren't, please try them out. Even if it's just once a week and
the food is take-out. Shut off the TV, get everyone to the table, have a
conversation. Don't worry if the first few feel awkward; keep at it, figure out
what works for you.
Liam recommends that you try napkin fights. Claire McCarthy,

Posted by Tzvi via Klara: Living in the Land
of Israel?

I assume that the Orthodox Jewish Birthrate
contributed to this:

Most people would be ignored at this age by
doctors but because of his importance he got better treatment:

News of the Broward Jewish
Community the non-Orthodox are losing members: I know one thing regarding the
Reconstructionist Synagogue in Plantation FL it closed for lack of continuing
participants and was sold to a church. There are stories about Temple Sol-el
the Reform on Sterling Road near the N. 52 Ave Shopping Mall in Hollywood, FL.
There was a couple who wanted to have the Rabbi of the Young Israel to perform
a mixed marriage so he sent them to the Reform at Sol-El after seeing the
atheistic Rabbi they decided to go back to the Orthodox Rabbi and work on
Conversion for the non-Jew as it was too much. It was the style and behavior of
the Reform Rabbi that shook the couple up. Even some non-Jews were surprised
and perturbed at the lack of Kosher in the Temple.

From Daniel - From Rabbi Schochet's book
Mashiach. Please people do your utmost to start keeping the Shabbis for the
Love we all have for Hashem. Let us all make a special effort to all start
keeping Shabbos properly and work together to bring Mashiach and so, be
re-united with Hashem and return His Shechina down to this Earth and also be
re-united with all our loved one's in Techiyas Hametim (Resurrection of the
one's who have passed).Let us all do this together for the Love of HASHEM.

Inyanay Diyoma

We have to watch out for self-deception: I
received this from a fellow named Gal

A great site

When does she go into sending us to gas
chambers or nuking us?

Al Gore you lost this is before you were

Fatah has a secret bank account:

Obama is cow-towing to Russia:

From Ben how sad and sick this is for all the
Jews who fought for blacks in the civil rights movement:

Surprise – Surprise:

I believe that the majority of my readers
never heard of the case that shocked the world:

The truth about Iran not what the US and EU

Attack on Jews in Paris suburb:,7340,L-4241487,00.html


Why is Tucker Carlson's Site Lying About the Jews
w/ Some Phony Story About the Burger King Bacon Sundae Being
"Anti-Semitic"? . . . I regret the
adjectives used even if the person is an anti-Semite. However, it is a
worthwhile read.

You didn’t ask but they want to tell:,7340,L-4242029,00.html

Also on Israeli Homosexual problems where
they become suicidal:,7340,L-4242382,00.html

Did Iran arrest a spy ring or just a
publicity stunt?

NASA may come to life again someday

A new Gallup poll released today shows Republicans are making
significant inroads in the Jewish community and that Jewish support for
President Obama is at a 24-year low for a Democratic presidential candidate.
the poll shows President Obama winning just 64% of the Jewish vote, while
support for Romney is at 29%, the highest level of Jewish support for a
Republican presidential candidate in 24 years. The Gallup poll also illustrates
a significant decrease in Jewish support for Obama between 2008 and 2012...

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Stories “Cover Up” and “Yet another drowning story”

Shabbos Everyone. The Torah obligates a Jewish woman who was ever
married to cover her hair when she is in public or amongst a large number of
people. (Mishnah Berura, 74:11, cited by Modesty - An Adornment for Life,
Rabbi Pesach Falk, p.228) According to some opinions, a woman should
cover her head at all times, even in the confines of her own home.
The obligation for a woman to cover her hair is derived from the
verse in this week's Parsha, "The Kohen shall uncover the hair of the Sotah."
(Ibid., citing Bamidbar 5:18), which implies that the woman's hair should be
A woman's head covering
is the source of great holiness for the woman and all those who are around her.
As the Sages tell us, "The head is king over all the limbs." (Ibid.,
citing Shabbos 61a) Thus, metaphorically speaking, a kosher head covering cause
holiness to permeate her entire being.
The following amazing true
story illustrates the power of tznius, dressing modestly, specifically the
mitzvah for a married woman to cover her hair. Jonathan Aminoff (his real
name) is a Yid who lives in Great Neck, New York. Jonathan has
volunteered with Hatzalah (Unit # Q100), the Jewish volunteer
paramedic/first-responder service, in the New York area for more than 20 years
About two years ago on the 15th
of Av (July 26) 2010, Jonathan and his family were vacationing in Miami,
Florida. One afternoon, Jonathan and his wife Charlene were enjoying some of
the tourist attractions which the area has to offer. Jonathan and his wife had
left their 2 year old daughter Avigail ("Gali") by the condominium
pool with the family's maid, who had joined them on the vacation to help take
care of the children.
At about three in the
afternoon, Jonathan told his wife that he wanted to go back to the condo to
attend to some business matters. On their way back to their room, Jonathan and
his wife walked past the pool. When they came to the pool saw an older man
standing in the pool holding a small child. When the older man turned
around, Jonathan saw that he was holding the limp body of their two-year-old
daughter Gali.
A 20 year Hatzalah veteran,
Jonathan sprang into action and began working on resuscitating his own
daughter. Jonathan's wife looked on with sheer terror as her husband
worked desperately, trying to save the life their precious
In a moment of desperation,
Jonathan's wife Charlene called out to G-d, making a Neder a vow, that if the young girl would survive,
then she would cover her hair, as is required by Jewish law. After an agonizing
3 min. and 10 seconds, during which Jonathan worked on his daughter, Boruch
Hashem, the girl spit up water and began breathing on her own.
The girl was quickly rushed to
the hospital and later transferred to Miami Children's Hospital, where the
doctors advised that she stay for 24 hours to make sure that everything was in
working order. Understandably, many of the girl's "numbers" (such as
oxygen and blood count) were "off," and the doctors wanted to be
certain that the girl did not need further medical attention.
After the initial 24 hours,
the Chief Doctor Dr. Keith Meyer (his real name) advised the parents that
amazingly, the girl had not suffered any damage whatsoever. However, the doctor
advised the couple to keep the girl hospitalized for an additional 24 hours,
just to make sure. Charlene, Jonathan's wife asked the doctor why he
recommended another 24 hours if their daughter was okay. The doctor then
said that in all his years of practice, he had never seen such an amazing
recovery in a drowning case, and it was hard for him to believe that the
young girl was truly okay. He said that he watched over and over the
security-camera tape from the pool area which showed Gali drowning and he
couldn’t believe how
she was under the water for so long and still survived with no injuries.
wife asked Dr. Meyer if he was Jewish and if so, did he believe in miracles? The doctor
answered both questions in the affirmative. Although he was totally “secular,” and he was a skeptical “scientific-minded” doctor by
nature, he said that after seeing this case with Gali, he began to believe in
Later, the
initial rescuer of the girl, a non-Jew by the name of Richard Marianski,
related to Jonathan how it was a “coincidence” that he was in the pool at all at that time. Mr. Marianski
said that he only comes to the condo 2 months out of the year. Furthermore,
Mr. Marianski had pulled a tendon and had therefore needed to exit the pool by
the shallow end where Gali had fallen in. That is how he came to see Gali
on the bottom of the pool.
The security camera later
revealed how Gali had fallenl into the pool. The maid and Gali had laid
down to take a nap by the pool and Gali woke up, unbeknownst to the maid.
Gali saw her bucket floating in the water and when reaching for it, the little
girl fell into the pool and sank right to the bottom. Miraculously, Mr.
Marianski exited the pool in the shallow end soon after Gali fell in and he
took the child out of the pool the moment Gali’s father Jonathan, the 20 year hatzalah member
happened to be walking by the pool.

As for Jonathan, he "spoke" to Hashem while doing CPR on his
daughter. He told Hashem that he had given 20 years to Hatzalah and now
he was ready to "cash in" his "IOU" and that if Hashem
allowed him to save his daughter, he would give 20 more years to Hatzalah.
Interestingly enough, this was the first time he had ever performed CPR on a
Six months after the
drowning, Jonathan and his wife took their daughter to an ENT doctor to remove
the girl's tonsils because of bad sleep apnea. Jonathan asked the ENT doctor if
he was aware of the girl's past medical history. Jonathan then filled in the
doctor of all the details of Gali's fall into the pool, and her miraculous
survival. The doctor took a look at the girl's tonsils and said that the
tonsils were in such bad shape, that the girl's breathing was very
shallow, which helped her stay underwater for such a long time without
breathing! Had Jonathan and Charlene done the tonsil surgery on Gali
earlier, as other doctors had urged them, Gali may not have survived the
Jonathan's wife kept her word
and immediately began to cover her hair after Gali recoverd. She went one step
further and began marketing wigs and encouraged other women to cover their hair
properly. She even donates wigs to ladies who cannot afford them. You can
see a picture of Jonathan and Gali soon after the drowning here at the website
for the company Charlene started to market her wigs: . Good Shabbos

Shabbos Everyone. In this week’s portion Beha’aloscha Hashem
commands Aharon through Moshe to light the large Menorah in the
tabernacle. In commanding Aharon, Hashem uses the interesting word "Beha’aloscha." Rashi explains
that the word “Beha’aloscha” contains the
root meaning “to go up,” (as in “an aliyah to
the Torah.”) Thus the
Torah chose the term “Beha’aloscha,” to indicate that when applying fire to light the Menorah, one
should make sure that the flame on the Menorah goes up -- “aliyah,” and burns on
its own, before removing the source flame from the Menorah. If lighting a
candle with a match, for example, one would leave the match burning on the
candlewick until the flame of the candle burns high.
When we look deeper into the
symbolic meaning of the verse, we begin to see a beautiful, spiritually
uplifting meaning of “Beha’aloscha...” We read in
Proverbs that “The soul of Man
is the lamp of Hashem.”(Mishlei 20:27)
We see that the soul is compared to a lamp. Similarly, the Talmud tells us that
the soul of a man is called a candle. (Shabbos 30b) We can now begin to delve
into a deeper mystical level of understanding of the verse “Beha’aloscha Es
Ha-Neros...” -- “when kindling
the lamp...”
Every Jew has a soul which is a
spark of Hashem From On High. Hashem is the Origin of the Holy Fire, which is
the Source of Life. Hashem keeps the pilot light of the soul alit as long as we
are alive, however, we as individuals are responsible for making sure that the
Holy Flame of the soul burns high. Let us now re-read the verse based on our new-found
understanding... “when kindling
the soul, you shall make sure that the flame of the soul burns high...” The following
true story will inspire us to kindle our souls.
Yaffa quickly ran back into the
mini-market in Moshav Ohr Yehudah to grab a few more items for supper. She
really wanted to make a special supper for her family. Her daughter Chana
seemed so content playing by the mound of dirt that Yaffa figured she could
walk away for a moment and keep an eye on her from afar. After all, what could
happen already? A minute later, she walked outside and called for her daughter,
"Come on, Chana, let's go ..." She looked up and realized that Chana
was not there. Not one to panic, she ran over to the mound Chana had been
playing on. Yaffa figured that the child had probably walked over to the other
side. But when she was not there either, she began to scream,
When they heard Yaffa
shrieking, many people ran over and began to search for the young child. It did
not take long to discover that the toddler had fallen into the open well in
front of the store. Why it had been open was not important; they needed help
Finally, after what seemed like
an eternity, a rescue crew came. They immediately sent a man down into the
well. Within moments he confirmed that Chana was down there, but she was no
longer conscious. He picked her up and very carefully brought her back up to
the surface. They began to try to pump the water from her small frail body and
bring it back to life. Yaffa looked on anxiously, crying softly to the Ribbono
Shel Olam to grant her daughter a second lease on life.
The men worked on her,
feverishly performing CPR. As the child's life hung in the balance, the crowd
that had gathered whispered Tehillim softly. Even those who were irreligious on
Moshav Ohr Yehudah quickly rediscovered their faith, if only for a moment, and
prayed for the young girl's life.
Suddenly, Chana spit out some
water and blood. Although she was alive, she still did not open her eyes. Yaffa
clutched her daughter tightly and kissed her with all her might. "Please,
sweetie-pie. Please, Chana, open your eyes for mommy ... Please ..."
The medics placed the girl in
an ambulance and headed to the nearest medical center, located 20 minutes away.
As he sped along, the ambulance driver knew that every additional second could
spell the difference between life and death.
Finally, the ambulance pulled
up to the medical center and the child was wheeled into the emergency room. The
doctors and nurses had been called ahead of time, and were aware of the
severity of the girl's injury. Within seconds, the team hovered around her tiny
body, searching for signs of life and awareness.
They checked her and ran tests,
as Yaffa sat with some of her friends in the waiting room, anxious for some
word of encouragement. After an hour or so, the head doctor walked out and
spoke softly with Yaffa. He explained that they would continue to try, but in
his estimation there was no way the girl would ever regain consciousness. He
also told her that even with the minuscule chance that she would come out of
the coma, she would most certainly never recover enough to live a meaningful
life. Her brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long. He said it was only a
matter of days before the end.
Yaffa looked at him. Her mouth
opened wide as she emitted something that sounded like an awful groan. She
tried to scream but she couldn't catch her breath. Her Chanale. No, it couldn't
be. "Please ..." And then she began to scream. "Ani lo mekabelet
— I don't accept
it! It's not true. It will not be like that."
Her friends
tried to calm her, to get her to stop her hysterical crying. Finally, Yaffa
declared, "I promise you that my Chana is going to live!" Her friends
and the medical staff of the hospital looked at her with compassion and pity.
It was tragic that this had happened, but it was even more heartrending that
this mother was unable to accept the reality of the situation.
No matter how hard they tried,
they were unable to remove Yaffa from her bedside vigil as she looked at her
toddler with love and hope. The poignant scene was repeated over and over, day
after day. Doctors and nurses alike would nod their heads in sadness as they
passed by. There was no progress whatsoever! But one day, after a week of
waiting, Yaffa came running through the halls.
"She opened her
eyes!" The hospital staff did not know if they should believe her. This
was the woman who refused to accept reality. There was no reason to assume that
she was telling the truth now. One of the nurses went to check it out and she
witnessed the same thing. Within moments, word had spread throughout the
hospital that the young girl had opened her eyes. Still, that did not mean she
was out of the woods. Who was to say that her brain would be back to normal?
That seemed to be impossible.
Nevertheless, they witnessed a
miraculous recovery over the next few weeks. Within a month, the little girl
was wheeled out in a wheelchair, to the amazement of the entire hospital staff.
As Yaffa was walking out, one of the nurses who had become very close to her
over the past few weeks asked her, "How did you know? That very first day,
you promised us. How did you know?"
She shook her head
incredulously, wondering how the mother could possibly have known that her
child would recover. Yaffa looked around at the small crowd that had gathered
to escort the woman and her child back to their own world. "I have a job
that does not provide me with any real money; the few shekels I get paid don't
even cover the cost of my traveling expenses. But there is a mikveh in a moshav
that is a 15-minute drive from our home, and I go there to help with the upkeep.
I thought to myself that there is no way Hashem would allow my child to die
through water when I show so much self-sacrifice for a mitzvah that involves
water. I knew that it just could not be."
When pressed further as to how
she knew this, she mentioned that she had been working in the kitchen one night
recently and had overheard her husband explaining a Gemara in Bava Kamma (50a).
It tells the story of Nechunya the ditch-digger who would dig cisterns along
the roads so there should be water for the travelers who were going up to
Yerushalayim for yom tov.
Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa was told
that Nechunya's daughter had fallen into a large pit filled with water; he
reassured everyone that she would emerge safely. When the girl was indeed saved,
they asked her what had happened.
The girl told a remarkable
story: A ram (the ram from Akeidas Yitzchak — according to Rashi) who was led by an old man
(Avraham Avinu) had saved her. When they asked Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa how he
had known that she would be saved —-was he a
prophet — he answered
that he is no prophet. Rather he knew that the Almighty would not punish
Nechunya's daughter with something for which her father was moser nefesh
(exhibited self-sacrifice) to do a mitzvah. And since he dug cisterns to
provide water for people, Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa knew that Nechunya's daughter
could not die by drowning in a cistern.
The crowd nodded and watched in
amazement as the mother, a true baalas bitachon - a person with true faith in Hashem,
headed home with her toddler, who was now Boruch Hashem healthy. (A Touch of
Warmth, P. 131, Reb Yechiel Spero) 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

a wonderful and peaceful Shabbos,