Thursday, August 23, 2012

Parsha Shoftim, 3 stories, Rambam on health

Please remove from your Tehillim or Prayer list the following people who have had successful surgery: Rivka bas Etta, Chana Friedel bas Sarah Tova. Please keep all the others Zahava bas Sara underwent a medical procedure but it is uncertain if she is out of danger and may need more so please keep up the prayers.

To the readers of the I am unable to figure out what goes wrong with the publishing of the blog. Everything that I write is in 12 point type except the links which the blog was printing extra-large at first. I cannot figure out paragraphs that I write and have no on-line links that end up in extra small print.

Shalom Beis is a big thing that we must not take our relationship with our spouse for granted. Rabbi A.L. sent me this as a joke but it is a true symptom of a lack of an effort for Shalom Beis. The wife left a note on the fridge that said “It’s not working! I can’t take it anymore, gone to stay at my Mom’s." I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold. Not sure what she's talking about......

Gog and Magog update

Yermiyahu 49:23 Of Damascus. Hamat is ashamed, and Arpad; for they have heard evil tidings, they are melted away; there is trouble in the sea; it cannot be quiet. 24 Damascus is waxed feeble, she turns herself to flee, and trembling hath seized on her; anguish and pangs have taken hold of her, as of a woman in travail. 25 'How is the city of praise left unrepaired, the city of my joy?' 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her broad places, and all the men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, says the LORD of hosts. 27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad.

In Gematria (Hebrew Numerical Value) Ben Hadad = Assad. Shortly after he falls the war of Armageddon will occur. It will include on one side Iran (Peh-Resh-Samach in Hebrew) which is Iran, Russia and Sin = Chin = China vs. the west led by the USA. Over 100 years ago the prophetic Rabbi of Kolin predicted that China would destroy in minutes New York, London and Paris and this was a very long time before the Atom Bomb was a thought in the mind of men and Einstein had not written his theory.

Reuven wrote after reading in another place about what I mentioned two weeks ago here but he added what I did not want to add regarding the election: The name "Obama" appears encoded in Ezekiel 38:2. My opinion is that from what is encoded, it appears that Obama is Gog - and that in the near future, he will lead an army here to try to crush this nation - and he will die on the mountains of Israel, eaten by the dogs and the birds of prey. This means that Mitt Romney will NOT be president in the United States - but that Obama will continue in office. The following was written by Pinchas in Nov. 2008 to Kumah.Org Okay, here we go. Yes, whether you believe in the Torah Codes or not, this one is interesting. Or not. Well let's just say it (since it's already spreading all over the blogosphere.)

The name Obama spelled אובאמה appears exactly two times in all of Tanach having a 7 letter skip forward pattern. (A 7 skip forward pattern is considered the most significant kind in Bible Code land.)

The first place is in Yermiyahu 46:27-28. This is how it reads:

וְאַתָּה אַל תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב נְאֻם יְקֹוָק וְאַל תֵּחַת יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי הִנְנִי מוֹשִׁיעֲךָ מֵרָחוֹק וְאֶת זַרְעֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ שִׁבְיָם וְשָׁב יַעֲקוֹב וְשָׁקַט וְשַׁאֲנַן וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד: אַתָּה אַל תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב נְאֻם יְקֹוָק כִּי אִתְּךָ אָנִי כִּי אֶעֱשֶׂה כָלָה בְּכָל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר הִדַּחְתִּיךָ שָׁמָּה וְאֹתְךָ לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה כָלָה וְיִסַּרְתִּיךָ לַמִּשְׁפָּט וְנַקֵּה לֹא אֲנַקֶּךָּ

This is how it translates:

46:27 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, says the L-RD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
46:28 For I am with thee, says the L-RD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.

Okay, so it sounds like now is a good time to make Aliyah. Shall we go on to the second place it's found?

The second place is in Yechezkel 38:2-3.

It reads:

בֶּן אָדָם שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ אֶל גּוֹג אֶרֶץ הַמָּגוֹג נְשִׂיא רֹאשׁ מֶשֶׁךְ וְתֻבָל וְהִנָּבֵא עָלָיו: וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי י-ה-וִה הִנְנִי אֵלֶיךָ גּוֹג נְשִׂיא רֹאשׁ מֶשֶׁךְ וְתֻבָל

Which translates as:

2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him
3 and say: 'This is what the Sovereign L-RD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.

Okay, so maybe not only is it a good time to make Aliyah... but you better make it quick

The war of Gog is supposed to take place on Sukkos. On Hoshana Rabbah, the US invaded Afghanistan and the war has not ended. But this new war will come about. Sefer HaChashmal predicts it the War of Gog this coming Hoshana Rabbah. A political and logical reason for it now is:

Persia is called in Hebrew Paras spelled Peh – Resh – Sin where Peh = Persia, Resh = Russia and Sin = Chin = China.

Over 100 years ago the Kaliner Rebbe predicted that NY, London and Paris would be destroyed in an instant by China. He must have gotten some message from somewhere for at that time I am uncertain if Einstein even published his theory.

Now in Sefer HaChashmal of HaRav Fish there are 660 proofs from the Tanach including Yacov’s mention of the Geula that come to either 772 or 5772 and the war of Gog is supposed to occur during Sukkos.

Parsha Shoftim

16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God gives thee, tribe by tribe; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.

Judges had to be taught and to memorize the laws as originally the majority of the Torah was the Oral Torah. This also necessitated the enforcement branch of police officers. The family structure, unlike today, was very strong and it was tribal so therefore judges of peers and policemen of peers. We see unto this day that in the religious communities most of the people will know each other or of each other and besides the moral background of the Torah the peer pressure was also binding. The story of Achan in Sefer Yehoshua is an example that the tribal and peer pressure caused him to confess his sin.

19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a gift; for a gift does blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

A judge had to be so free of influence that he could not try cases with close family and even a birthday present from a friend years ago would be considered a gift so that the judge would disqualify himself. Example of an impartial dispute which I would not want to judge would be two of my grandchildren coming before me. One boy is three years older than his brother. They are always playing together and the older one usually has the upper hand over the younger so since they don’t want to get into a physical fight they come to mommy, daddy or grandpa. In most cases it is the older forcing his will on the younger. Does the parent or grandparent really love one child more than the other. Perhaps the younger is cuter, perhaps the older acts more like grandpa than all of his siblings there is just something that could lead the Judgement astray. So even in a case that on the surface could look impartial there is a danger of respecting one over the other. Probably with identical twins and a parent there could be some minor factors too that might make the loving parent less than impartial.

20 Justice, justice shalt thou follow, that thou may live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God gives thee.

Hidden within is the spiritual power of the inanimate land of Eretz Yisrael. The Holiness of the land is so great that it will vomit out the people who are unjust. It may take centuries like with the Canaanites or a few decades with the people of Sodom but it is done. For neither HASHEM nor the land can bare the inequities of an unjust people. It will not take too long until all the so-called Palestinians will be driven from the land if not by political means by forces inherent within the land of Yisrael. By Gematria the numerical value 86 of ELOKIM = Teva so through nature (Teva) undeserving and corrupt people are driven off of the land.

{An aside example not related to Eretz Yisrael of this principle is the cause and effect of the great drought this year in the States. HASHEM gave us grain to eat or to make medicines from for the health and well-being of mankind. Man was not to grow grain to turn into fuel when people are starving on this planet. All the time, when the USA was giving away to poor countries grain to feed humans or animals it prospered from the charity. Now that it burns its grain, the drought comes as a punishment. However, most people are blind and cannot see the cause and effect. It takes one who knows the Torah and loves HASHEM to understand the true Teva created by ELOKIM.}

21 you shall not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD thy God, which You shall make thee. 22 Neither shall you set thee up a pillar, which the LORD thy God hates.

Eretz Yisrael has the propensity of having climate variations throughout the centuries. In the Arava between Sodom and Maaleh Akravim there is a tree over two thousand years old which recently started dying and water had to be brought in to save the tree. It turns out that when the tree started growing there was a nearly perpetual spring underground which nourished its roots. From that area the Romans came with horse carts to get water for the siege of Metzada. Such a lonely tree is so outstanding that the primitive people would make it into an Asherah and worship it. When Yacov flees Lavan, he sets up a pillar as a memorial but not to worship. In Roman times pillars that used to mark the ways became the worship for the god mercury and people who passed by threw rocks there. A left over from this idolatry even unto this day is the wishing well or wishing fountain. In fact when I was a child a movie was made called Three Coins In A Fountain about one such left over Avoda Zara in the heart of Rome where hopeful lovers throw coins in front of some statues. Or on the Carl Bridge in Prague there is one statue that Catholics wait on line to kiss and pray before even more so than the statue of Yeshu. If paganism still exists in the roots of a modern European Society all the more so the peoples that travelled the roads alone 3300 years ago which were subject to nomad bandits and the elements. They would be scared into worshipping anything that appeared religious as their form of Tefillas HaDerech (traveler’s prayer).

17:1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God an ox, or a sheep, wherein is a blemish, even any evil thing; for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

This is the Midos (behavior/properties/ways) of Kayn for Hevel sacrificed the best of his fruits while Kayn sacrifices blemished animals. Whereas a sheep or goat is rarer and more valuable than a few figs or dates, the inferior quality was evil before HASHEM and his Korban rejected.

2 If there be found in the midst of thee, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God gives thee, man or woman, that doeth that which is evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have commanded not; 4 and it be told thee, and thou hear it, then shalt thou inquire diligently, and, behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 5 then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, who have done this evil thing, unto thy gates, even the man or the woman; and thou shalt stone them with stones, that they die.

Blasphemy is a danger to society as it is the breakdown of respect for authority. The Blasphemer cannot hurt G-D but destroys the fabric of society. The Atheist in the States wants removed a T shaped cross beam from the original World Trade Center found in the wreckage. For the Christians it was a sign for them that heaven had not forgotten them so why not give these people respect. If you don’t believe why go after the people who do? For a Jew it is a mere cross beam from the construction of a collapsed building for the Christian it is a religious sign so let them believe as it is not hurting anybody. There is a group of Atheists out to undermine the very fabric of the solemn nature of that day to them.

So too here in our Parsha that if such a case occurred in Eretz Yisrael, I would say that it is one of the examples of a test from HASHEM to see if I would change my religion. For example in a miraculous encounter on a battle field, an ignorant Jew might say that a piece of shrapnel in the shape of the astronomical symbol of mars or Jupiter was a sign that these were real. Now go and convince him that HASHEM saved the army when he has this other god in his mind. Therefore, the Torah warns us that for a Jew this is an evil abomination and we are above this. (Of the 6 times the word abomination is used in the Torah 3 are associated with Homosexuality, 2 like in our case with Avoda Zara and once with cheating of a fellow man.) Such a person cannot hurt HASHEM but is undermining society. Therefore HASHEM via the Torah tells us that such people have to be eliminated from society as they are a danger to a moral breakdown. Homosexuality leads to the physical destruction of the continuance of a Nation and Avoda Zara leads moral destruction of society. Both are considered by HASHEM abominations and must be purged. [I honestly feel sorry for a lot of people who will not do Teshuva, Tephilla or Tzeduka and not survive the upcoming war of Gog and Magog.]

6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

The Torah does not allow for a he said – she said situation of one witness. Today we have in the case of rape a powerful second ally to a woman who makes a claim against a man and that is called DNA. In the case of Basketball Player from the LA Lakers, the man was cleared of false rape charges years ago when a woman in Colorado claimed that he raped her. She had DNA evidence from three other people but not him which does not say too much about the moral fabric of the woman.

7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee.

If you witnessed idol worship, murder, adultery, you must not only testify but you have a Mitzvah to be the first to lay hands on the guilty person throw him/her down the two meters height and roll the heavy stone from two meters that it falls upon the guilty party. If that does not kill then the rest of the nation shall stone the idol worshipper. You are commanded to testify and you are commanded to be the executioner.

8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. 9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee. 11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.

It shall be just. Unfortunately there are too many unqualified people to sit in Judgement today that Judge based on their ability to know the law but they have not the ability to investigate or listen to a sound of a con-artist working them over with sweet words vs. an honest heart. A true Judge can discern from the tone of the plaintiffs if it comes from the heart or from some combination to extract something from the neighbor. Justice is blind but a Judge has to have his eyes and ears opened during the trial.

12 And the man that does presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that stands to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

This is judicial treason and rebellion against the law and order and authority deserves death for this treason. For if not the society would turn into different mafia clans or bands like Poncho Villa running around making raids into villages.

14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; you may not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother.

You cannot be a Nation unless you have a central authority. The authority of twelve tribes on the local level is fine but collective a Nation needs a central authority.

16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD has said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

A King is given the authority to govern the people and to represent them. He is not to live like a pig at their expense. He is not to have lavish parties and go on expensive trips, but shall gather taxes for an army to protect the people and enforce the laws. He has to have a royal and regal lifestyle and palace but need not be a throne of gold and silver and is permitted based on HaMelech David up to 18 wives and a perhaps a spare method of transportation but not a collection of a few hundred vehicles given to the son of Saddam Hussein. (The amount of wives was instituted by the Sages and not Torah from Sinai but a Gezaira. The common man can have up to four wives with the exception of Yeshaya 4:1 after the war of Gog it will be 7 to prevent lewdness.)

18 And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them;

He is commanded to personally write or have written in his presence a Sefer Torah and to take it with him as the US President goes with the suitcase where he can call for a nuclear strike. He must remember his roots and who he is and be humble despite the pomp and riches. For it is HASHEM who has elevated him!

20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.

HaMelech Shaul became arrogant in his authority and abused what was given to him. David on the other hand humbled himself before Natan HaNovi when

18:1 The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and His inheritance. 2 And they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the LORD is their inheritance, as He hath spoken unto them.

20:1 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for the LORD thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be, when ye draw nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, 3 and shall say unto them: 'Hear, O Israel, ye draw nigh this day unto battle against your enemies; let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, neither be ye affrighted at them; 4 for the LORD your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying: 'What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man is there that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not used the fruit thereof? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use the fruit thereof. 7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.' 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say: 'What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart melt as his heart.' 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that captains of hosts shall be appointed at the head of the people.

When the Shalom HaGalil War broke out I was married for less than 3 months to my new bride happy, infatuated and her. She was barely starting to take care of what my ex-called “My three brats”. They were not brats but any child that had lived in a home breaking down is bound to have some baggage. We were in the middle of planning a trip to the States in another month and driving from NY to FL with a day at Disney World for the kids. Suddenly, I was dumping the kids upon her and thinking of the above. However, for a Milchemes Mitzva (Mitzva War) one even takes a groom from under the Chupa (canopy). To say that I was not over-joyed to be away from my bride would be an understatement but like some of the Mitzvos - building a Sukkah, cleaning for Pessach, buying an overpriced piece of fruit called an Esrog or some leaves of trees over priced for the Luluv one has to over-come his Yetzer HaRa and step up to it.

The main reason for all this declaration is to remove the cowards who would panic and once panic enters, armies have been known to melt away. 'What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart melt as his heart.' Fear gripped soldiers have to be dealt with and removed from the battle as soon as possible. One must remember always “The beginning of Wisdom is the fear of the LRD” – Mishlei – fear of the LRD and not of man!

From Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlita: Perceptions Parshas Shoftim Under God's Control

When you go to war against an enemy, and you see horses, chariots, and a nation that outnumbers you, do not feel intimidated . . . (Devarim 20:1)

While doing research on the last 2,000 years of anti-Semitism for a project of mine, I noticed a somewhat frightening pattern. In some periods of history over the last two millennia, anti-Semitism has basically been non-stop; only recently, has it slackened a bit so that Jews are treated, for the most part, as equals, at least in some parts of the Western world. Anti-Semitism will never go away completely before the Messianic Era, but in some parts of the world, it has become submerged—for the time being.

However, even during times in the past when acts of anti-Semitism never stopped, some periods were “milder” than others. Catastrophic levels of anti-Semitism could last for years, but very often, after they ended, there was somewhat or a reprieve before another catastrophic anti-Semitic event occurred, and very often that reprieve lasted about 70 years. Seventy is a familiar number, for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it was the number of years foretold both by Yeshayahu and Yirmiyahu that the Jewish people were destined to be exiled in Babylonia, the first exile. This, as Rashi explains, corresponded to the number of Shmittah cycles the Jewish people did not keep before being exiled.

It is also the gematria of sod, which means secret and which refers to Kabbalah, and the Hebrew word for wine, resulting in the following connection:

Anyone who becomes settled through wine has the knowledge—Da’as—of his Creator . . . has the knowledge—Da’as—of the Seventy Elders. Wine was given with 70 letters (i.e., it has a Gematria of 70) and Sod was given with 70 letters (i.e., it has a Gematria of 70): when wine goes in, secrets go out. (Eiruvin 65a)

However, the Talmud attaches another level of significance to the number 70:

Rebbe Chanina said: Once every 60 or 70 years The Holy One, Blessed is He, brings something to the world to destroy the mamzerim and takes the kosher people with them so as to not publicize their sins . . . This teaches you that even when The Holy One, Blessed is He, brings evil to the world, He does it with wisdom. (Yerushalmi, Yevamos 49b)

This would be a rather disturbing concept if not for the fact that you can be assured that when the “kosher people” die as well, it is because it is their time. And, even the way they die has to be part of their personal Tikun—rectification, otherwise they would not have die in that manner. Part of being God is being able to orchestrate history in such a way that things that seem impossible to coordinate are perfectly coordinated.

Hence it says that when God brings evil to Creation, He does it with wisdom, meaning in such a way that everything that has to be accomplished for the sake of fulfilling the ultimate goals of Creation is accomplished, no matter how chaotic and out of control history seems to get. This way free-will can be maintained since no one is the wiser that what is occurring is part of God’s way of cleaning house.

Why every 60 or 70 years specifically? Aside from the Kabbalistic significance of the number, if you think about it, less than this would be too much for Creation to bear, and more than this, few people would be around to emotionally remember what has happened previously in order to be able to warn others about what might be coming up. It is the Holocaust survivors today who are concerned about the direction of events, because they have seen what results from that, while those of who were born after the war live with the illusion that as bad as things are, it will always get better before it gets worse.

The Talmud doesn’t say if the 60 or 70 years is counted from the beginning of the previous catastrophe, or from the end of it. If from the end of it, then 60 years would be the year 2005, and 70 years would be the year 2015. If the time is counted from the beginning of the previous catastrophe, then 60 years would 2002, and 70 years would be 2012, the current year. Hmm.

Technically, a mamzer is a child born from a relationship that the Torah forbids for which the punishment is either kores—excision—or misas Bais Din, death by the Bais Din, that is, capital punishment. Examples of such relationships include having a child from a sister, or from a married woman before she has been halachically divorced (even if she has already been granted a divorce by the secular courts).

Clearly, when the Talmud speaks about mamzerim, it means the real thing. However, perhaps, in the process of ridding the world of actual mamzerim, other less-than-desirable elements are removed from the gene pool at the same time, even if they were born in a kosher manner, which can include more people than we might care to consider.

Essentially, that is what the War of Gog and Magog is supposed to be about. In fact, we find an example of it in history, when Assyria attacked the Jewish people, and laid siege to Jerusalem. The leader of the army was Sancheriv, and he commanded 185,000 officers, who controlled countless others taken from different countries around the world of that time.

As they joyfully lay in wait for their sacking of Jerusalem during daylight hours the next day, a plague broke out the night before and decimated their ranks (Sanhedrin 94a). This forced Sancheriv to flee for his life, which he lost anyhow when his own sons assassinated him. Without lifting a finger, Chizkiah HaMelech defeated a massive army by simply trusting in God and going to bed that night.

We know about the miraculous defeat from Tanach. What we do not know about is how God went about selecting each soldier, and all of the personnel necessary to support such a massive war effort, who were destined to die by the plague. We can’t see how God put the idea to attack the Jewish people into Sancheriv’s head, which caused him to recruit his army, one that included soldiers from other nations as well, so that they would all come to Jerusalem as a single, massive unit.

This might have been hard to imagine, but you can watch science videos that show you how the world may work, right down to sub-atomic strings that vibrate at different frequencies in to make up the complex matter of which this entire physical universe is composed.

Too hard to fathom how one can lead to the other? Well, that these so-called strings can result in a Creation as complex and diverse as ours, while at the same time allowing for life, mankind, and even free-will, is completely beyond comprehension. And, as awed as all of the scientists might be by their conclusions, many of which, amazingly, are arrived at purely through mathematics, they have nothing on us, since they take for granted that it is the way it is, whereas we hold that God is orchestrating the entire show every single moment. You can blow a couple of mental fuses just thinking about the idea.

This idea sheds a different light on the following:

The law-enforcers should then ask, “Is there one who has built a new house but has yet to dedicate it? Let him go and return to his house, in case he dies in battle and another man dedicates it [instead]. Is there one who planted a vineyard, but has yet to eat from it? Let him also return, in case he dies in battle, and another eats from it [instead]. Is there one who became engaged to a woman, but did not yet marry her? Let him return, in case he dies in battle, and another man marries her.” The law-enforcer then adds, “If anyone is fainthearted, he too should return to his house, otherwise he will [affect the rest of the people who fight with him], making them fainthearted too.” (Devarim 20:5-8)

At first this might seem quite unfair, especially the last one. War is tough on everyone, and there are probably at least a dozen other good reasons besides the ones mentioned here for a soldier to consider himself exempt from army duty. Why should these people be sent home while their brothers go off and risk their lives on behalf of the Jewish nation?

The answer has to do with Hashgochah Pratis—Divine Providence. This was not just any army, but the Jewish army. And, unlike the Jewish army of today, in those times, everyone was a believer, and relatively learned as well. They not only believed in God and Torah from Sinai, they also believed that God ran the world, and every aspect of it. Man may wage war, but God is the One who arranges it, and determines who will die in battle, when, and how. Men may strategize beyond friendly lines, but it is Heaven that draws up the true battle plan, arranging success and failure according to the Master Plan of Creation.

Hence, if someone was sent home from the battlefield, then it was Hashgochah Pratis. If someone had to go and fight, then that was Divine Providence as well. The guy who was sent home could end up dying in an accident on the way home, while the soldier who fought dangerous battles survives to tell the story countless times the rest of his long life.

At the end of the day, everything is orchestrated by God, every last detail, every last second. Whether the world is quiet and orderly or loud and chaotic, it is all really the same thing, since God has His fingers on all the buttons at all times. The only question is how man perceives the situation, the result of which either makes him act responsibly or recklessly. Order breeds order, and chaos breeds chaos, but one who believes that God is the Maestro running the show at all times knows and sees both as a function of Divine will, and acts accordingly.

Seventy years since the last catastrophe is coming up soon, if it hasn’t already. It may be the reason why the world seems to be so unstable, promising to become more chaotic as time moves forward. However, whatever happens, it is from God, and even the most chaotic situations are under His control. The one who finds comfort in that idea may find safety as well since it leads to trust in God, and as the Leshem points out, nothing stands in the way of trust in God.


ג באלול, התשע''ב

20 August, 2012

Copyright © R. Kossover, 2012

It was Saturday afternoon, going on 6:00. My wife had been invited to go to a “third meal”* this Sabbath. I was sorta invited, but my end of the invitation didn’t seem as solid. I accompanied my wife anyway, on spec. Since the shortcut to getting to this house involved going through the synagogue in the village, we entered and I asked if the afternoon (minHá) service had been prayed yet. I was told it was being prayed that moment in the S’faradí synagogue, which was downstairs, where we would have had to go anyway to get to this “third meal” – using the stairs in the synagogue was the shortcut.

So I went into the S’faradí synagogue after I directed my wife (who gets lost in a paper bag) to her destination across the street.

I sat in the back, well out of the way, as is my custom when praying there (when I pray in the Ashkenazí synagogue, I sit towards the front if I can, next to one of the agricultural experts who lives here, a good friend of ours). In the S’faradí synagogue, I saw a man who is a local historian and tour guide, and who helped found Ma’alé Levoná almost 30 years ago, When prayers were over, he came over and wished me a “Good Sabbath” and invited me and my family to a “third meal” at his home, a meal of thanksgiving. He said my family was invited as well.

This seemed interesting, and was a very solid invite, so I went to the house my wife had been invited to and saw my wife and my son eating there. It seemed to me to be the lowest class thing to do to try to drag may wife and son from this table, so I told them where I had been invited and gave my wife the key to the house.

It was a walk to this house, at the far eastern end of the village. It seemed as if nobody was home when I went to the front door. But going round to the back, I saw a deck downstairs and my host invited me to come down via a pathway. The whole place had been done up beautifully with benches and rock gardens and all sorts of spots to look over what is “hadérekh avót”, the Road of the Patriarchs that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob traveled some four millennia ago. This is all part of a bed and breakfast that the owner and his wife have established in Ma’alé Levoná.

A meal was being laid out by the host, his wife and daughters. I found out why this was a meal of thanksgiving. The tale my host related goes as follows:

A short while ago, his daughter was hitching a ride and was dropped off at what is called tzómet shiló – Shiloh intersection -- along Highway 60 in Samaria. She mentioned this to someone in the family who insisted she get inside the village, as a number of drive-by shootings have taken place at tzómet shiló: it’s not the best place to hitch a ride. To do this, she needed to cross the highway. Folks zoom by on this road, often at 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph), far faster than the speed limit. So crossing the road is a tad hazardous.

The young lady got half-way across Highway 60 with no trouble, but there was more traffic traveling in the direction of Shechem than towards Jerusalem. One car swerved by her, a second car swerved around her – but a third car, trying as hard as he could to avoid hitting the young lady, even going off into the shoulder of the road, hit her anyway. It was just a touch, but it was enough to throw her severely, so that she fell. The driver, an Arab, stopped his car, took the young lady to the side of the road, apologized to her over and over again, crying his apologies to her, and insisted on staying with her until an ambulance took her to a hospital.

The driver called at least three times afterwards, inquiring after the health of my host’s daughter. Even the driver’s father called. My host called the Arab driver who tried so hard to avoid hitting his daughter, a tzaddik, a righteous man, and for my money my host was right.

My host’s daughter, a young woman with dark hair, mischievous eyes, olive skin and a very sweet smile, was barely hurt. My host called this a miracle. It was. But, in my eyes, my host is also a tzaddik, a generous and righteous man, and merits miracles to protect him and his family.

* “Third meal” In ancient Israel, it was customary to eat two meals daily during the week, and a third meal on Sabbath, as it the day of rest, and a special day. The “first meal” (se’udát leil shabbát) is eaten on Friday evening, after prayers. The “second meal” (se’udát shabbát) is eaten late Saturday morning or early Saturday afternoon, also after prayers. The “third meal” (se’udát shlishít) is eaten in the latter part of the afternoon, about an hour or two before evening approaches. Today, more often than not, since folks often grab a bite before going to synagogue in the morning, the “third meal” is oft-times really a fourth meal.

Seuda Shlishi aka Shalosh Seudos has the singing of Psalm 23 “Against my enemies צֹרְרָי” which in reversing the letters turn out to be against Magog!

Hilchos Deyos of the Rambam

Halacha 3

There are temperaments with regard to which a man is forbidden to follow the middle path. He should move away from one extreme and adopt the other.

Among these is arrogance. If a man is only humble, he is not following a good path. Rather, he must hold himself lowly and his spirit very unassuming. That is why Numbers 12:3 describes our teacher Moses as "very humble" and not simply "humble". Therefore, our Sages directed: "Hold oneself very, very lowly." Also, they declared: "Whoever is arrogant is as if he denied God's presence, as implied by Deuteronomy 8:14: 'And your heart will be haughty and you will forget God, your Lord.' Furthermore, they said: "Whoever is arrogant should be placed under a ban of ostracism. This applies even if he is only somewhat arrogant."

Anger is also an exceptionally bad quality. It is fitting and proper that one move away from it and adopt the opposite extreme. He should school himself not to become angry even when it is fitting to be angry. If he should wish to arouse fear in his children and household - or within the community, if he is a communal leader - and wishes to be angry at them to motivate them to return to the proper path, he should present an angry front to them to punish them, but he should be inwardly calm. He should be like one who acts out the part of an angry man in his wrath, but is not himself angry.

The early Sages said: Anyone who becomes angry is like one who worships idols. They also said: Whenever one becomes angry, if he is a wise man, his wisdom leaves him; if he is a prophet, his prophecy leaves him. The life of the irate is not true life.

Therefore, they have directed that one distance himself from anger and accustom himself not to feel any reaction, even to things which provoke anger. This is the good path.

This is the way of the righteous: They accept humiliation, but do not humiliate others; they listen when they are shamed, but they do not answer; they do this with love and are joyous in their sufferings. Of them, Judges 5:31 states: "And those who love Him are like the sun when it comes out in its strength."

Halacha 4

One should always cultivate silence and refrain from speaking, except with regard to matters of knowledge or things that are necessary for his physical welfare. It was said that Rav, the disciple of our saintly teacher, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, never uttered an idle word in all his days - which is what the conversation of most people consists of.

One should not speak at length even about matters involving one's physical needs. On this point, our Sages commanded us and said: "Whoever speaks at length brings on sin." They also said: "I have found nothing better for one's person than silence."

Similarly, when speaking about matters of Torah or knowledge, one's words should be brief, but rich in content. This is what the Sages commanded with their statement: "One should always teach his students with brevity." In contrast, if one's words are many and the content scant, that is foolishness, of which Ecclesiastes 5:2 states: "The dream comes with a multitude of subjects, and the voice of the fool with a multitude of words."

Studying Talmud in English

Although he was in an advanced stage of liver cancer, he participated in the daily study every day in an exceptionally upbeat manner, armed with his ArtScroll Gemara.

Connection: Seasonal - The Talmud Completion ceremony in MetLife Stadium, NJ, on August 1, attended by 93,000 people!

Dedicated to the 93,000 people who filled the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on August 1, 2012, to celebrate the completion of the entire Talmud after 7.43 years, at the rate of 1 page per day ("Daf Yomi"), seven days a week, and to their counterparts throughout the world.

Rabbi Moshe Plutchok is a teacher in Derech Chaim Yeshivah of Brooklyn. Like many who live in New York City throughout the year, he and his family spend the summer in the mountains in the Monticello area, in central New York State.

There, he attends what is known as a "learning camp," located in Camp Morris. He and other rabbis, who teach in the various camps for Jewish youth in the area, have a Kollel [advanced Talmudic study for married men] where they study together in the afternoons. It is known as Kollel Mechanchim ["The Educators' Kollel"].

One day a number of summers ago, Rabbi Plutchok saw a businessman walk into the Beis Medrash carrying a bi-lingual Artscroll Gemara, the most popular of the translations of the Talmud into English. As a beginner, and studying in English instead of in the original Aramaic-Hebrew, he was a little out of place, but nevertheless made to feel certainly welcome by the Rabbi regulars. The man sat down and learned with great enthusiasm. When he had a question he would go and ask others, even if they were younger than him, until he got an answer.

Rabbi Plutchok eventually got to talking with the man. The man told him that, unfortunately, he had an advanced stage of liver cancer. Rabbi Plutchok was amazed, because this man came to the Study Hall every day in such an upbeat manner and always learned with incredible diligence. "It's amazing to me," Rabbi Plutchok told him. "You have this terrible illness, yet you come here every day and are so upbeat about the learning."

"Rabbi", the man said, "I'll tell you the truth. The Artscroll Gemara is carrying me. You see, I never went to a yeshivah. Now that the Gemara is in English, I am finally able to understand it. And if I don't understand something I ask the rabbis here. It makes me feel very special. It enables me to feel I can make a connection to the legacy of Torah and the Jewish people. That's what's carrying me."

One day, near the end of the summer, Rabbi Plutchok walked in and saw this man sitting on the side of the room, looking sad. "Is everything ok?" he asked. "No, rabbi not really," he replied. "The illness is progressing and I was thinking, what difference does it make if I learn? Who cares? You and the others are all accomplished Torah scholars. Your Talmudic studies make a difference. As for me, I don't understand everything it says even in English translation. When I ask my questions to the rabbis, I understand most of what they say, but not all. I'm not on your level, rabbi. What's the difference if I learn? Who cares? "

Rabbi Plutchok felt terrible for the man, but, incredibly, just the night before he had heard an amazing story on a Jewish radio station. He decided to share it:

A century ago lived a great symphony conductor, an Italian maestro named Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), who led concerts all over the world. He was known as an absolute perfectionist and had few peers. Toscanini had a biographer who would interview him periodically over the years as a part of a major book he was writing. One evening, he called Toscanini and told him that he would be in town the next night, and asked if he could come to the house to interview him. Toscanini answered that he could not because he would be doing something special that would require absolute concentration; he could not be interrupted.

"Maestro," the biographer said, "what are you doing that's so special?"

"There is a concert being played overseas. I used to be the conductor of that symphony orchestra, but I could not be there this year. So I'm going to listen on a shortwave radio and hear how the other conductor leads the orchestra. I don't want any interruptions whatsoever."

"Maestro, it would be my greatest pleasure to watch how you listen to a concert played by an orchestra that you used to lead. I promise I won't say anything. I'll sit on the other side of the room, quietly."

"You promise to be perfectly quiet?" Toscanini asked.


"Then you can come." The next night, the biographer came and sat quietly while Toscanini listened to the concert, which lasted almost an hour. Finally, when it ended, the biographer remarked, "Wow, wasn't that magnificent?"

Toscanini said "Not really."

"Why not?"

"They were supposed to be 120 musicians, including 15 violinists. Only 14 of them played."

The biographer thought he was joking. How could he know from 6000 miles away, over shortwave radio, that one of the violinists was missing? The biographer had his doubts but didn't want to say anything and went home.

The next morning, though, he had to find out for himself, so he called the concert hall overseas, asked for the music director and inquired as to how many musicians were supposed to have been playing the night before versus how many had actually shown up. The concert hall director told him that there were supposed to have 120 musicians, including 15 violinists, but only 14 had shown up!

The biographer was amazed. He returned to Toscanini and said, "Sir, I owe you an apology. I thought you were just making it up the other night. But please, tell me, how could you know that one violinist was missing?"

"There is a great difference between you and me", Toscanini answered." You're a part of the audience and to the audience everything sounds wonderful. But I'm the conductor, and the conductor has to know every note of music that has to be played. When I realized that certain notes were not being played, I knew without a doubt that one of the violists was missing."

Rabbi Plutchok now turned to the man and said, "Maybe to regular people it doesn't make a difference if you learn, but to the Conductor of the World Symphony - Who knows every note of music that is supposed to be played, Who knows every word of Torah that is supposed to be learned, every line of Tefillah that is supposed to be prayed - to Him it makes a difference!"

The man embraced Rabbi Plutchok and could not thank him enough.

That winter, Rabbi Plutchok happened to meet the son of this man and asked how his father was doing. The son told him that his father has passed away. However, he added, "Ever since my father returned from the bungalow colony, every time he opened his Gemara he would say, "I am performing for the Conductor of the World Symphony!"

That is why we are on this world. We each have our own potential to fulfill. You do not have to be like me and I do not have to be like you. We are all different, but each Jew is part of a great symphony called klal Yisrael, and if we don't perform the music that we can perform -The Torah that we can learn, the kind deeds that we can do, the Tefillah that we can pray - it makes a difference to the Conductor of the World Symphony, because He knows our potential and He notices everything.

Source: Lightly edited and annotated by Yerachmiel Tilles from the article "Purim, Prayer & Pulling Together" by master storyteller Rabbi Pesach Krohn, in Zman Magazine, March 2012. Thanks to CRBA and BMMK, both of Tsfat, who submitted this to our attention.

"To Him Shall You Hearken...And It Will Go Well For You"

The four brothers came to say Kaddish for their father, and then confided in me that they had a fifth brother who the doctors estimated had 6-8 months left to live.

RABBI Zalman Shmuckler, one of the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in California, relates this story from more than twenty years ago:

Thousands of Jewish Iranian immigrants currently live in California, and one of their traditional customs - whether they buy a new house or car, or plan a simchah; or on the less positive side, for an unpleasant event or bad dream - is to slaughter a chicken to ward off the evil eye.

In my professional life I'm a Shochet, a ritual slaughterer. One day I get a phone call from an Iranian immigrant family in Beverly Hills telling me they've been having a lot of bad dreams lately. "You're a Shochet" - they tell me - "Can you come to our house and slaughter a chicken?"

The first thing I noticed when I reached their home was the absence of Mezuzos. I immediately explained to them why a house needs Mezuzos in every doorway, plus the special power a mezuzah possesses to protect all the house's residents. Afterwards I slaughtered the chicken, and left in a hurry to acquire for them Mezuzos. They paid me on the spot, and we attached them to all the doorways.

A YEAR passed. One day the phone rings and it's the same family - with a new request: Their father passed away a year ago, and with the Yahrzeit date approaching, they would like to say Kaddish. But, since they only know the non-Jewish date, could I find out the proper day?

When I checked out the correct Jewish date, the Yahrzeit turned out to have been a few weeks earlier. I told them that unfortunately the date had passed, but nonetheless they should come the following Sunday to Chabad of Los Angeles' Ohr Elchanan Yeshiva. There, I said, they could learn Mishna, give Tzeduka, and say Kaddish.

Accordingly, that Sunday four brothers showed up, and we did everything mentioned above. Just before Kaddish one of them, his eyes brimming with tears, confides in me that they have a fifth brother - critically ill - who, the doctors estimate, has six to eight months left to live. "Would I pray for him?" they ask.

"Listen," I tell them, "I've got a better idea: Why don't you write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in Brooklyn?" And I do my best to explain who the Rebbe is.

Meanwhile, at their request I paid a visit to their 26-year-old brother. He looked emaciated; his body trembled, as though...G-d forbid. Family members took turns for his around-the-clock bedside supervision. This followed his repeated suicide attempts by taking overdoses of his medications.

He was suffering from a malignant disease known to be contagious; I was nervous about getting too close to him. A shadow passed quickly through my mind that his condition was - G-d forbid - hopeless. I composed myself. "Please, you should write to the Rebbe," I encouraged them again.

They wrote to the Rebbe, but didn't receive an answer. A second time. No answer. Yet, knowing at least that they had written to a tzaddik, the young man no longer tried to kill himself.

"Why doesn't the Rebbe reply to us?!" they asked. It was half-question, half-complaint.

"To receive an answer from the Rebbe," I told them, "you need a special merit. To get a blessing you need to do things - go to shul, put on tefillin, or other mitzvot." My words had an effect: besides Shabbos, they now started attending Rabbi Naftali Estulin's shul on weekdays.

TWO WEEKS went by. On Shabbos Parshas Shoftim, they decided suddenly to bring their brother to shul. He was holding a cup of water in his hand. Dangerously dehydrated by his illness, he had to take a sip every few minutes.

As soon as I saw them enter, I asked the gabbai to call him for an aliyah to the Torah. An aliyah bestows an uplifting in all realms of one's life, and that's what this poor man sorely needed.

He was called up fifth, and afterwards I spoke to one of his brothers. "You know," I said, "everything happens through Divine Providence. Now every Shabbos we read the Torah, but this week's reading, Parshas Shoftim, comes only once a year. And since your brother received the fifth aliyah, there must be a unique message there for him."

I pointed to the words in its opening verses: The L-rd your G-d will raise up from the midst of your brethren a prophet like me; to him shall you hearken [Deut 18:15]; and to the conclusion of the aliyah's final verse, ...and it will go well for you [Deut 19:13]. Then I said: "The phrase, The L-rd your G-d will raise up from the midst of your brethren a prophet like me, in this case refers to the Rebbe. It's appropriate that you make a trip to the Rebbe, because then the closing phrase, and it will go well for you, will be fulfilled." I spoke every word straight from the heart.

The brothers and their mother caught the first available plane after Shabbos. I had other commitments, and called my son-in-law Rabbi Zalman Shanovitz to ask if he would accompany them that Sunday morning to the line for "dollars" [receiving a dollar bill from the Rebbe to give to tzedaka, and his blessing as well -ed.]. Everything worked out, and the next day they received the Rebbe's blessings (and presented the Rebbe with a ten thousand dollar check!) before heading home.

I should mention here that before their flight, I had told them that the Rebbe's gaze upon an ailing person - even if just for a solitary moment - brings healing. It was natural, then, they returned home filled with trust that recovery was on the way. At the first opportunity they consulted a physician to have him confirm that the illness had vanished. When soon afterwards, their doctor reported that blood tests indicated the illness' continued presence, my phone rang again.

"How could you lie to us like that?!" they complained. They were deeply hurt, and even suggested that perhaps I had some shady business deal with the Rebbe! (By the way, the Rebbe never cashed the check: neither then, nor later.)

I did my best to calm them, and explained that there are two types of miracles: those enclothed in nature, and those transcending nature. To merit a miracle above nature, we have to go beyond our natural limitations - like Nachshon ben Aminadav, for example, who plunged into the sea, and catalyzed its wondrous separation. "Don't despair," I told them, "the Rebbe will do whatever he has to do to restore your brother's health with G-d's help. For the while, let him continue his medications and whatever else is normally required."

They responded, "Time was running out," and I should do everything possible to speed up the recovery. I answered that the year was drawing to a close, and I customarily go to the Rebbe for Hoshana Rabba [three weeks after Rosh HaShana] when he distributes lekach/honey cake. When the Rebbe gives his blessing along with physical cake, things happen rapidly. Then I recounted some of the many miracles that accompanied the lekach distribution, and ended with a suggestion: "Come with me."

And that's what happened. When we approached the Rebbe on Hoshana Rabba, he gave them blessings overflowing with encouragement. "What do you think of the Rebbe's berachos?" I asked them later.

"Our requests weren't satisfied at all," they replied. The Rebbe hadn't told them explicitly that the illness would pass, and now they were asking me: "Go back and request that the Rebbe say categorically that the illness will pass, and our brother will recuperate."

"Look," I replied, "I'm hardly prepared to give the Rebbe instructions what to say. If I knew what he was supposed to say, then I'd be a rebbe, too!" In any case, it's not customary to go a second time for lekach, I told them. Instead, they should approach the Rebbe on the night after Simchas Torah, when he gives out "kos shel beracha"--small paper cups of wine poured from the silver cup he used for havdala. While the Rebbe is pouring their wine, they can express their feelings, and - G-d willing - the Rebbe will give his blessing.

After Yom-Tov ended, I stood in line with them for kos shel beracha, and I could hear them ask for a blessing for "proper blood." The Rebbe replied that the patient should eat a kosher diet, and the family accepted. As they continued past the Rebbe, he called to them: "Consult a physician, and make certain that the patient's - as well as your own - food and drink are kosher, in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch ["Code of Jewish Law"]. And," he added, "Report back to me with good news!" This was no ordinary blessing; it was a factual statement: with G-d's help, matters would definitely succeed.

"You should know," I told them "you didn't receive just a blessing. The Rebbe's instructions to eat kosher are like a doctor's prescription. The difference is: whereas a beracha you must be worthy to receive; a medical prescription works automatically - you take the medicine, and you get better. The Rebbe's "prescription" for you is: eat kosher, and you'll have good health."

I immediately asked California-based Rabbis Reichik and Frankel to pay a visit to the family and Kasher their kitchen, and within a short time it was kosher - and replete with kosher meat, supervised dairy products, and Jewish baked goods.

Three months later, their brother's weight had increased slightly, and he was feeling a little better. But then it hit me: without keeping Shabbos, how could they fully observe kashrus? If they were cooking on Shabbos, the food might be kosher; but it was prepared through Shabbos desecration! Now it was a new challenge: how could I strengthen their Shabbos observance?

TWO WEEKS later they called to tell me that their carpet business had a surplus, and they'd like to donate some stock, worth thirty thousand dollars. I put them in touch with the yeshiva, which could certainly benefit from this windfall.

The yeshiva sent a truck to pick up the goods, and I came along to make sure everything went OK. When I reached their home (where their business was located) I saw that their brother's condition had taken a turn for the worst.

"What happened?" I asked.

"It's a side-effect from the medicine."

I saw my opening. "I don't think it's a side-effect from the medicine," I said. "The Rebbe's instructions about kashrus aren't being carried out fully."

And I shared my earlier thoughts about Shabbos-observance with him.

"And what does full Shabbos observance require?" he asked earnestly.

I spell out all of the prohibitions, and he says, "If it means being in prison for 24 hours, then forget it! You know, I'm still young; I've got friends - what's wrong with having some fun?! The one day of the week I let loose with my friends is Shabbos. How can I give that up?"

Given his response, I switched tracks to find another solution. Then it dawned on me: since his mother did all the cooking, she was the obvious one to talk to. Devoted to her son's well-being, for sure she'd agree to observe Shabbos and stop cooking then. And it worked! His mother began keeping Shabbos.

Some more time passed and one of the brothers called me with good news: the doctor announced that their brother had completely recovered. Free of any medication, he jumped enthusiastically into business, investing successfully and reaping million-dollar profits.

THIS state of affairs continued three years, during which we tried all manner of encouragement to help him grow Jewishly. But whether it was tefillin or anything else, his response invariably was: "I needn't be more observant than the Rebbe - if the Rebbe said 'kashrus,' then that's plenty for me."

Meanwhile, the household had visibly changed. From the time of his recuperation with the benefit of the Rebbe's words, his brothers deepened their attachment to - and observance of - all things Jewish, at the same time keeping strict attention that their brother follow the Rebbe's instructions.

One day the brothers telephoned: their brother had gone off the path of strict kashrus, and was eating non-Jewish dairy products. "Please," they begged me, "help him get his act together."

"Me? I should influence him!" I asked. "He knows better than anyone what he's been through, and how careful he needs to be!"

A short time later he was stricken with a severe cold (unrelated to his previous illness) and hospitalized. His family worried incessantly, and called again and again to the Rebbe's Secretariat to request a blessing. The Rebbe gave his blessing, and rather than the week the doctors insisted he spend in the hospital, he was back home in two days.

Months went by. After recovering completely, he had lapsed: Once again he was eating non-Jewish dairy products. His family's efforts to talk to him failed. "Yes, I believe in the Rebbe and his words," he answered them, "but who's there to say that my recovery was from his blessings, and not simply natural circumstances?" How cleverly his yetzer hara was working on him!

Not long after that the young man contracted pneumonia, and was in critical condition. He had become extremely weak; his natural defenses were overwhelmed.

This time - on his own initiative - he wanted to visit the Rebbe, and Rabbi Naftali Estulin accompanied him to New York. Meeting the Rebbe, he burst out crying and confessed all his wrong-doings from Day One and until the present moment; he begged to do teshuvah and promised to follow the Rebbe's directions. The Rebbe gave his blessing; full recovery followed shortly. This time, though, things were reversed: his brothers and the whole family completely embraced Judaism - through his merit!
* * * * *
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the excellent translation by his old buddy Tuvia Natkin from the original article in Kfar Chabad Magazine by Avraham Holzberg.

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading - verses 18:15 and 19:13 play a significant role in the story. – Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles.

Guest Mussar from Sara Lee

This I had to share with you all & is one of the teachings that my daughter brought home from school, thank you Ms Reich. Thoughts on Elul.....

If your parents were to give you money to spend on whatever you wanted, there are a few things you could do.

Either you can buy yourself a present with the money they gave you. That would be very nice as that is what they had in mind when they gave you the money. They give you ten dollars, you buy yourself some pizza and ice cream. They give you more, you buy yourself shoes, clothing or a new book. They give you lots of money, you buy yourself something more expensive.

But even better than that, you can use the money they give you to buy them a present. That would be extra special because you are using the money you got to try and repay them for all the good they have given you. They gave you ten dollars, you buy them roses. They gave you more, you buy them a gift to enhance the Shabbos table. They gave you lots of money, you buy an expensive piece of silver.

But imagine if you were to take that money and use it against your parents. They gave you ten dollars, you buy yourself some fuel and matches and burn the house down. They gave you more, you buy yourself some other destructive device and cause untold harm. They gave you even more, you use it to pay for a car and crash into them and they could be severley hurt or worse chas ve shalom.

Sounds ridiculous, no?!

This is what happens when we sin against our loving father, HaKadosh Baruch Hu. He gives and gives and gives to us. He doesn’t stop. And we have choices of how to use the gifts He has gives us.

We can use them to our benefit alone. We can eat the food he gives us and enjoy it. We can sing songs to ourselves and enjoy our beautiful voices. We have eyes, we can use them to read. We can use our ears to hear sounds and our lips to speak words.

But even better than that, we can use our talents to come closer to Him. We can't repay HaKadosh Baruch Hu for a bit of what He does for us, but we can give Hashem a present by using what He gave us to bring Him nachas and joy. We can say brachos on our foods or use our voices to sing songs that will inspire ourselves and others to come closer to Hashem. We can use our eyes to read stories and look at things that will bring Hashem happiness. We can use our ears to listen to words of Torah and use our lips to daven and sing Hashem's praises.

But when we use our body to sin against Hashem, we are giving Hashem a "slap across the face"!! Hashem gives us eyes and what do we do?! We read and look at things we should have never read and seen. We look at people with a jealous eye instead of fargining (Yiddish for looking favorable towards). Do we look into the siddur and the holy aleph bais when we daven or do we let our eyes wander around the room diverting our attention and getting distracted from our tefillah?!

We are blessed with the ability to hear and what do we use our ears for?! We listen to words of lashon hara and ona'as devarim. We listen to others complaining and then validate them instead of helping them realize that there may be another side to their story. Should we try to listen more when someone is trying to tell us something instead of interrupting them before they finish their thought?!

We were given the ability to speak. How careful are we with guarding our lips? Do we daven and bentch(grace after the meals in Yiddish) slowly and carefully? Perhaps we can start to say each Bracha with more articulation, thereby enabling us to have more concentration when saying it. When we use our mouths and our lips to do aveiros (sins), we are taking the gifts Hashem gave us and using them against Him! What could be a bigger insult to Hashem than that?! "I give you a gift and this is what you do with it?!" Do we want Hashem to Chas v' shalom have to wake us up by taking away one of these gifts so we won’t be able to use them altogether?!
We just started month of Elul. It is a time for us to really think. We should use this month to give Hashem nachas (pleasure) by showing Him that we are using every part of our body to serve Him. So work slowly. Take one part of your body and tell yourself, "Today I want to work on my brain. How can I fill my brain with positive thoughts and use my brain to get closer to Hashem?" Is this hard? Maybe. But think about the millions of things you can thank Hashem for. You will never get bored with these thoughts. Go through your body and start realizing how much is going on inside of you. Thank Hashem for your health and that your heart is pumping blood throughout your body... Thank Him for your family and friends. Thank Him for keeping you alive. You have so much to be grateful for! Just use your free time to think about all the things you can thank Him for and you will be serving Hashem with your brain!

You can use each part of your body to get closer to Hashem. It just takes a little bit of time and some serious thought. You can do it. Give it a try. See how it works. You'll be amazed by the feeling you'll have when you realize that you are able to use the gifts Hashem gave you to get close to Him. So instead of throwing the gifts He gave us back in His face, let us try to use them to come closer to Him and thereby merit the coming of Moshiach iy"H (with the help of HASHEM).

C. wrote me a question that was so good and such delicious Mussar that I had to copy and paste it here and try to answer it which is such a job: I was reading something at about wisdom. I was contemplating on the passage re; Women of Valor. "She opens her mouth with wisdom." I became curious about "wisdom" and what it entails. I was curious, how does one "become" wise? said to really think on those things you believe to be true and then ask questions. Tell me more, Rabbi on what the Torah has for me as a woman. What can I take away from it for me? How can I make it more applicable to my life while I'm still struggling to change the person I used to be and don't want to be anymore while bringing forth the one I want to be now? How can I see the deeper meanings in passages when I have no one to listen to, study under, be taught by? I have SUCH a hunger for Torah and I open the pages and SO much of it speaks to me, but I know there's more in there somewhere. I feel like there's something I'm not seeing or taking away from it. I want to know more. The desire is there. I want to be able to live Torah and not just read it. How do I bring it out of me in every day circumstances and situations? Surely there is just as much wisdom to be found in living it verses just hearing it although both are incredibly enticing. How can I live a more G'd centered life when I feel like I live amongst wolves?? I'm having a hard time dealing with people and I've turned to the Torah only to look up from the pages to see that I'm still here, still dealing with my adversities.

There are three important attributes in the learning process and they are at the height of the Kabbalistic Siferos. Chachma = wisdom, Bina = knowledge and Da’as = understanding.

Chachma is acquired by learning more and more Torah one cannot become either wise, knowledgeable or understand without first studying and learning the material. A fool has nothing to add but does so with the idea of getting attention and trying to be wise. A woman a valor knows when to be quiet and when to aggressively open up her mouth.

The woman of valor aka Aishes Chayil is indeed hard to find she rises early and goes to bed late, she takes care of managing the household and children, gives charity and has gainful employment. Not every woman can be like this. She opens her mouth with wisdom and knows how to gauge her husband that she keeps it shut for Shalom Beis. The wisdom of this woman is a sixth sense on doing the right thing at the right time and place.

We all struggle to control our pride, anger, hatred, temper, not to be too meek or falsely humble, avoid jealousy, not to be a false friend but a genuine person, to love pure and to be chaste and other emotions that go into our heads. We try not to be lazy but to relax on Shabbos to restore our batteries for the coming week. One thing not mentioned in the Aishes Chayil proverb is forgiveness for some people that attack a righteous person have groundless hatred and it is very hard to be forgiving of this type of hatred and jealousy. One has to be very strong to forgive but not at the point of being considered like a roach that the other can step on. A Tzaddik cannot afford to be treated all the time like dirt. Love and hate are two way streets. To overcome hate is sometimes harder than anything else.

While the Aishes Chayil is full of wisdom many in the world are fully of folly and stupidity and she must overcome this even at the point of frustration but she must try her best. Nothing more is required of the woman but to do her best and try her best. The situation may arise that the best is not enough for example I cannot fight 10 men from Sodom attacking me in one swoop so too the Aishes Chayil is a human being and among 70 wolves attacking the poor lamb it is hard to survive but we trust in HASHEM.

Rav Ovadia comes out against secular education:,7340,L-4270390,00.html

Bibi and Barak talk too much on Iran and Obama reveals too many secrets and both place people in danger:

Shocking but true 73,000 US soldiers from WWII are still MIA’s this week one was recovered and buried:

Inyanay Diyoma

There is no ACLU here and do you know why?

Burn baby burn Arab style:,7340,L-4268770,00.html

The price of bread, corn, soya and you can’t blame Bibi or Bush:,7340,L-4269917,00.html Perhaps it would be prudent to stop making corn into ethanol for fuel?

Egyptian army prepares for a possible war and not with the Pirates of the Caribbean: and

Israel to hold back via a negotiated wait with the USA:

More Egyptian troops to Sinai:,7340,L-4270856,00.html Egypt is also playing the weak Obama card:

Israel is using quiet diplomacy through the USA

Disney joins the Arab boycott:

Somebody is taking greenbacks to the laundry:,7340,L-4270992,00.html

USA Today opens up on the Iranian Threat:,7340,L-4270390,00.html

Iran expected to have the bomb by Oct. taken from

30 day war with Iran?

Hamas and the PLO:’s-personal-guards-

He is willing to go to jail for defending the Bris:,7340,L-4271607,00.html

Lieberman says that we must demand compliance to the peace treaty,7340,L-4271499,00.html

Don’t take your dog out for a walk and sing O’ Canada in Ontario.

The Iranian Threat on the Israeli Population:,7340,L-4271517,00.html

Thanks to his training in Moscow under the Soviet Rule - Political Terrorism of Abbas.

I don’t know if the number is that great but a lot of terrorists are operating in Sinai:,7340,L-4272044,00.html

Will the US remove Syria's WMD's if Assad falls?,7340,L-4272047,00.html Further to the Syrian WMD story.

Commentary by Audrey Russo: Since the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, Morsi, took office, there have been concerns about his eventual commandeering of the military. The Egyptian military has always functioned separately from the Government. But, with this recent move to fire all the generals in the Egyptian Military, and replace them with MB-friendly commanders...all in response to the terror attack on the Egypt-Israel border...brings a question to the fore...

Was the MB behind the terror attack at the Egypt-Israel border?

This is how it all rolled out:

  • Hamas was responsible for the border attack that killed 16 Egyptian troops.
  • Hamas is the MB's spawn.
  • Israel agrees with the Egyptian Military to allow more Egyptian troops along the border.
  • Morsi fires the Military generals and replaces then with MB-friendly commanders, utilizing the terror attack as an excuse.

Was the MB's little minions involved in order to create plausible deniability for Morsi's takeover of the Military? And did Morsi use the then-generals (in particular Tantawi's relationship with the Jewish State) in order to provoke Israel to agree to allow more Egyptian troops at their border and then commandeer the leadership?

Of course, Israel is not shaking in its boots...the Arab/Muslim world KNOWS they are no match for the IDF. BUT, this movement at the border will allow a free-flowing arsenal to begin to Gaza...which will again endanger innocent Israelis.

Was this terror attack an MB machination to fully seize Egypt for the infection of Sharia? Well, the MB stoop quietly, waiting to strike during the so-called Arab Spring. They struck and at the leadership...seized the parliament...and now the Military. So, I believe you know the answer.

God help freedom-loving Egyptians...God help the Copts.

Shalom through strength...

A peaceful, healthy and joyful Shabbos to all,

Rachamim Pauli